Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Some London Shopping {& an app}

I set aside our last full day in London for this.  Had a fantastic time.  From the pictures I took, it looks like we spent the whole day at the food hall at Selfridges... which I must say is amazing.  We did also make it to Liberty and I have a few snapshots from that.  Also visited Jigsaw, Jack Wills, Penhaligon's, Partridges, a couple of Zaras and Next.  Most of our purchases were back-to-school clothes for the children, but I did also find some pretty Pip Studio porcelain and a few things from Cath Kidston at Selfridges.

I ate one of those slices of the Carry On Caramel Cheesecake.

My children each chose a Lola's cupcake.

"perfect pies for picnics"

pretty chocolate boxes at Selfridges

still looking at food at Selfridges

Liberty of London

flowers outside Liberty

strawberry elderberry Bellini at Liberty Cafe 

back home with coffee in my new Pip Studio Lovebirds mug

I found the Citymapper London app to be very useful for directions.  I planned routes and took screenshots to use as we were out as I didn't find wifi that often.  I like how the app let me know our walk along Oxford Street used up .4 macarons in calories (at the bottom of the second screen shot below).  Not even close to covering my morning snack, but a start.

France up next.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Target Sweaters

I'll post about London shopping next (which, going through my pictures, I mostly have the food hall at Selfridges documented) but first a little local shopping.  I went to Target for laundry soap and came home with some sweaters.  Isn't that how it is.

These v-necks are super soft and promo'd for $15 online.  I don't usually buy a lot of purple but I really like this one and the oatmeal will be a great neutral with scarves.  I sized up to large to be a little roomy over skinny jeans and those black ponte legging-pants.  (Update: I think these run a little small as a large fits more like I'd expect a medium.) Also brought home a casual cowl neck tunic, in my regular size small.

Merona Cowl Neck Tunic Pullover in Oatmeal and Mossimo V Neck Sweater in Purple Heather and in Oatmeal Heather

Back to the UK in the next post.  Happy Saturday!


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Warner Brothers Studio Tour London {Harry Potter}

Our second day in London we spent late afternoon/early evening at the Warner Brothers Studio in Leavesden, to see the Harry Potter exhibit.  I haven't read the books, though my children have, and we watched the movies (again) in preparation for our visit. If I wasn't a fan before this tour, I am now.  The creativity and effort employed for the sets, props, and special effects is amazing.  This tour gives a very up-close and detailed experience of the art and engineering that went into these movies and celebrates the incredible talent of the people who spent many years working at this movie studio.  Truly impressive and worth the journey from London.  We took the train to Watford Junction where you can catch a shuttle bus to the studio (2 GBP return trip for the shuttle).  Make sure to give yourselves enough time.  There are excellent directions and instructions on the studio tour website.

I purchased well in advance online.  No tickets are available for purchase at the venue.  They are timed entry tickets so require a little planning.  We started our tour around 5:00 pm, which worked really well as we had such limited time in London and were able to spend most of the day in the city, and then venture out and have the whole late afternoon/evening at this exhibit.

Photography is encouraged, except in the green screen area where they make souvenir photographs and videos for purchase.  From the lobby (where you can see the cupboard under the stairs), through the Great Hall, big room (I thought Dumbledore's office was especially interesting), backlot (see the house on Privet Drive, the bus, the bridge and have a snack), Diagon Alley, to the model of Hogwarts, the scenes are impressive.  There are interactive exhibits/activities my children really enjoyed, and plenty to read up on about the making of the eight movies.  The website has a great map here where you can click on each area to get more detailed information and interesting facts.  Here are a few pictures from our visit:

London shopping day up next and then I'll start my recap of Denmark and France.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Outfits {London}

Before I start sifting through my many, many pictures from Harry Potter in Leavesden - and a few shopping ones - I thought I'd post some quick pics I took of outfits from the London part of the trip (this was August):

for our Copenhagen - London flight

Hermes Casques et Plumets scarf, Zara Oversize Sweater in Natural

My son was ready for the flight to London with his "Street of London" tee from Zara and Union Flag Converse (my 11 yr old has these too).

for tea at The Goring

Loft dress, Zara blazer with gathered shoulders (I also have this in red), LK Bennett Maddox wedges, scarf tied on handbag

This is not actually what I had planned to wear.  I had a Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress folded up next to my husband's carry-on since I didn't want to check it.  After an exhaustive search of all the luggage when we arrived at our hotel, we determined there was a miscommunication - and when we returned home, yes, it was sitting right there next to the bathtub where his carry-on had been.  This is the dress and jacket I wore on the flight from the US to Copenhagen.  They held up well.

for Buckingham Palace tour and lunch

Gap dress, Stuart Weitzman Minx wedge sandals

The rain made me a little chilly so I added a Loft cardigan (last year).

OPI Charged Up Cherry polish

for our London shopping day

Zara Multicolor Woven Fabric Jacket, F21 lace tank, F21 denim, Mulberry Bayswater

for checking out and catching the Eurostar to Paris

J Crew cardigan, striped tank from Urban Outfitters a few years back, F21 denim, Tory Burch Millers in silver


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

London Sightseeing

This trip was a quick three night visit, so I packed as much as I could into our first full day in London.

We stayed at St. Ermin's in Westminster which is an historic hotel with an ideal location for sightseeing.  It's just a minute or so from St. James's Park and right near Scotland Yard.  We walked to The Goring for afternoon tea the day we flew in, and enjoyed nice walks to Buckingham Palace, the Royal Mews, Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament the next two days.  We found the St. Ermin's staff to be warm, welcoming, and very helpful - and we were able to book a family room for five. The history of the place is quite interesting - you can read a little about its past involving spies and covert operations during WWII here.

In the morning we toured the state rooms at Buckingham Palace and saw the special exhibition of the Queen's coronation.  Buckingham Palace is only open certain dates in the summer and the Royal Collection Trust website says 2014 dates will be announced shortly.  I see there will also be a special winter guided tour December 6th - February 2nd - information here.  I did not reserve tickets in advance and our hotel did not have any available the morning we wanted to go.  They advised us however to try the walk-up and happily we were able to get tickets that way.

After the state rooms and coronation exhibit (and cappuccino, profiteroles, and a pricey gift shop visit), we found a cozy English lunch at The Colonies.  It was a classic English rainy day and this was a great spot to dry out and warm up.  I had fish and chips, of course, and also had to try the special "It's a Boy!" celebration IPA they had on offer.  After lunch, we were on to the Royal Mews.  Snapshots below.  We went out to Leavesden for the Harry Potter tour in the afternoon.  That post up next.

in the hotel lobby

perfect, rainy London

No photographs in the state rooms but here are some profiteroles and my son's hot chocolate from the outdoor
Buckingham Palace cafe.

fish and chips
My 10 year old had them with the mushy peas and she is now a fan.

"It's a Boy!" celebration IPA.

one of the signs posted around town

My son's new souvenir bear "George" joins his Danish friend, "Soren".

This sign rotates.  We had fun doing spy poses and taking pictures in front of it.

audio tour at The Royal Mews

I liked these framed maps folded into a dress and shirt at St. Ermin's.

A St. Ermin's signature cocktail at The Caxton at the hotel.