Exploring the Kingdom

People often ask me “where should I go when I’m in London?”

Whilst I definitely have my own favorite spots and also places that are not worth your time, I usually refer people to youtube or google to see what interests them most and then I can help from there.

We’re all so different in what we like and our attention span definitely makes a difference as well as our ability to walk for miles or climb steps.

I have a son that loves to explore the history and museums, I mean for HOURS! He also loves the forest style greenery, castles and flea markets. He is happiest in the dull, overcast fog and doesn’t care too much for food.

My daughter on the other hand enjoys art and urban style. She’s into music but doesn’t love crowds or walking a ton, so together we explore galleries and street art along with some super brand shopping. I took her to the first ever HardRock Cafe and also the First ever Dr Marten store in Camden where you can custom build some DM’s.

Beef Wellington- Bread Street Kitchen

She’s also a fan of “Masterchef Junior” so we had to hit up the Bread Street Kitchen which is one of Gordon Ramsay’s Restaurants where we had the “Beef Wellington experience” Asha also got a tour of the kitchen and apparently this is one of the establishments he regularly visits and does in fact yell at the staff when anything upsets him.

As for me, Well this is home, so I head straight to the local grocery store and stock up on junk food. I visit family and friends, ride the train and people watch like it’s an olympic sport.

Going underground

It’s probably a known fact, I also like to shop when I’m in London, or at least look around the shops for style inspo. There’s so many places that are unique to the city so I may put together a post on places to check out when visiting but my favorite and easiest go to is, Selfridges on Oxford Street and the Topshop just across from the Oxford Circus tube Station (there’s 3 top shops on Oxford street alone) also New Bond Street for Luxury Boutiques and Bicester Village for Luxury outlets. Westfield in Stratford is a huge mall and right next to the Olympic park so that can be a great stop but the market at Camden is fun for nik naks and one off gifts.

London has always been my favorite city in the world with New York very close to equalling that love. I encourage everyone to go there once and spend a few days. It’s a melting pot of cultures and the energy is on fire.

Well worth your time and money.

I’m Out of Town

I seem to say this a lot lately.

LHR -SLC Delta Airlines

I never dreamed I’d spend so much time on a plane.

I used think people with frequent flyer status had such a glam life full of adventure. Jet setting off around the world to see the lights and landscape of far away exotic locations but the reality is, most people are traveling for work and it’s just a time consuming form of transportation. An extremely long commute and you quickly get sick of cheezits, which is about all you get on a plane anymore.

SLC-JFK Jet Blue Airlines

Boyd and I have recently joined the ranks of couples who work and live in different states and whilst I get all the “wow, so exciting and it must be nice to travel so much!” or “how nice to have time to yourself” comments, I can safely say it’s not. It sucks actually.

We started out trying to see this as a fun adventure but in the very first week we realized, we don’t like the separation. He leaves and I’m the single, working parent, doing all the general life jobs until I hop on a plane to go and see him for a few days. He’s in NYC working his ass off and then going home to an empty apartment with no kids, no wife, and no big hairy dog. It’s lonely.

This change came about suddenly and while there was no solid forward facing plan in motion, we did think it could make for a fun adventure. Our kids are grown and less in need of us (or so we thought) and flying back and forth isn’t that big of a deal when you have the means to do it but even if you’re a Kardashian with a private Jet, it still takes a ton of time and more of it is spent apart than together.

So that’s why I’m “Out of Town” so much lately and why, when I am home, I don’t have as much free time to do stuff. On the bright side….

OMG,WE HAVE A PLACE IN NEW YORK!

Hudson Yards in the back ground.

How I Pack for a weekend away

Salt Lake International Airport 2019

I don’t know about you but whenever I travel somewhere, I seem to think I need to dress differently than I do in the rest of my life. I picture the fashionista in New York or executive business woman in London of which I am clearly neither, then compare my usual daily attire and realize I’m a bit scruffy and need to up my outfit game if I’m going to feel half way decent about myself. Instead of rushing out to buy sequined floaty kaftans, or a designer trouser suit and briefcase which I’d never actually wear in real life, I take a deep breath and step into my own closet and see what I have to work with.

I try to plan outfits that will make me feel good in the environments I’m in, as a beach getaway to California is a little different than a weekend full of shows and parties in Vegas. I consider the weather forecast which plays a huge part in layers, outerwear and footwear and can keep my packing more stream lined if I know the places and events I’ll be attending. I do my fair share of wandering and spontaneous stuff too, so it still needs to be adaptable for day or night. I’ve traveled enough to know the things I wear mostly and the things that rarely make it out of my suitcase so I have cut down on overpacking. I have a regular kit for toiletries and makeup which I can restock and tweak as I go and my “go to” city walking shoes and coat that seem to make every trip.

Organization is the key

I have found pouches and packing cubes to be really helpful. The first set I bought were so life changing for my packing that I started gifting them to people as I thought everyone needs this travel hack and now I have replaced them with cute girly ones, so even better. This method has made it so I can fit everything I need into a “carry on” bag which usually leaves my second bag with room for shopping.

Here’s the method:
  • Lay out daytime outfits- can any pieces overlap for night? choose things that won’t show dirt or crease really bad.
  • Lay out evening outfits- can any pieces overlap for day? adding accessories and a clutch can jazz up a fairly simple outfit.
  • Gather accessories – belt, jewelry, hat, scarf, clutch etc these turn the simple things into a stylish look.
  • Count out underwear and socks with an extra of each. make sure they work under your chosen clothes. Do you need nude or strapless? and I always throw in a warm pair of socks for the hotel room floor.
  • Sleepwear- some trips you just don’t need any (wink)
  • Gather toiletries and see if anything you use can be downsized to save space. I refill travel size bottles and keep to my same routine as at home.
  • Make up & brushes – Keep it simple. Your usual daytime routine plus an extra option for evening with some lashes or a brighter lipstick and your not filling your whole suitcase up.
  • Electronics, chargers, wall plugs and hair tools.

Once each of your pouches are filled, you can play a little tetris and arrange them in the suitcase.

If I need a winter coat or heavy sweater/hoodie, I carry it onto the plane and I usually take a holdall as my “personal item” or second carry on, with my purse, handbag or wallet inside it. Other than that, I keep the holdall pretty empty so I can shop.

On my last trip back from London, I took my, almost empty, holdall and completely filled it at the airport with Duty Free Items. To clarify, I bought over 5 Kilos of Cadbury’s chocolate!

One thing I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older is, sometimes the best opportunities come at very short notice and you just have to be ready to roll at a moments notice. Having a method or system to pack figured out, cuts the stress down immeasurably and you’re much more likely to say yes to those opportunities.