Monday, May 12, 2014


It's another beautiful London day so let's start with a walk to Kensington Palace.  I've been to London a dozen times but never toured Kensington--odd, right?

We walked from our hotel and stopped at this darling flower corner--

Passed by this cute sign....

But wait, first we need to pop in to the L.K. Bennett shop....look at those gorgeous bags!

But, I digress.  Back to the Palace.

And, voila, there she is.  Kensington Palace.

Of course, I've been to the gates of Kensington Palace, but never toured the place.

So, of we go....

       I loved the various exhibits at Kensington.  All were well put together and cleverly laid out.

             Sitting in the window sill you could hear a little audio about court gossip--very fun.

Up the King's Grand Staircase darling lanterns are posted with little characters representing the various staff members of the palace.

                       Here are a few of my favorite imaginary must-have household staff...

                                   Lady of the Bedchamber....all around assistant to the Queen

                             The Chocolate Maker...every home/palace needs one of those, right?

                                                   The absolute must.

                                                                   Loved this clock!

                  Aren't these silhouettes a pretty way to discourage people from getting too close?

                   Snapped this pic through the window--crowns atop all of the outside lanterns.

                         My niece noted that the UK has much cooler restroom signs than we do.

                Back outside for a bit of a stroll...

Always a bench photo...

And this is the only picture I took of the Victoria and Albert Museum--we had lunch outdoors after touring the pearl exhibit.  I was not on my picture-snapping game!  But nice to prove there was a bit of blue in the patchwork skies.

We were then off up the street to Harrod's and had dinner at a pub for more fish and chips. I wore a pedometer on this trip (always say I'm going to and never remember to grab the pedometer, this time I did)--we averaged around 22,000 steps a day.  Probably the reason we slept so great every single night.

         Here is what greeted us in our pretty hotel lobby at St. Ermin's.  So many little details.

The tea room at St. Ermin's--I regret we didn't take the time to have afternoon tea.  But we shall return!

And this, my friends, are the beehives kept by the hotel to produce delicious St. Ermin's honey, which we had at breakfast.  Isn't this the coolest?  One of the staff members took us on a little tour of the hotel and then brought us to the rooftop to see their beehives.  Love this.  Perfect hotel for our trip.

Sunday, May 4, 2014


It is absurd and I have no excuse.  For my darling niece's 16th birthday I took her on a ten day trip to London and Paris.  Last October.  As in seven months ago.  Can you believe that I did not post about this magical trip immediately upon our arrival home? Me, neither. I'm in the mood to relive this trip so I think a few posts are in order.

Let me tell you, it is so fun to go to London with someone who has never been before.  You get to relive all that first-time-to-London excitement--it is contagious!  This trip was about hitting all the obvious places and at least one new stop for me (both in London and Paris).

My niece thought everything was a blast from the long lines to clear immigration to the "mind the gap" at the tube stations and even loved the two measly ice cubes floating in her soda.

We arrived mid-afternoon--first stop was to check-in at our hotel, St. Ermin's.  We loved this hotel!  Friendly staff, pretty lobby and breakfast rooms, nice touches throughout (which I will show more of later) and the location was perfect for this trip.

                                              A little vanilla fudge upon our arrival.

                                          When do you ever find double beds in London?

Now, off around the corner to Westminster Abbey for Evensong....

Then around the corner for Big Ben and the House of Parliament....

And then around the corner for fish and chips....

                                                   This cute girl knew she was in London!

Then a quick dash over to the National Gallery and a quick peek at St. Martin in the Fields ending with dessert in the crypt--she really thought that was neat.

And finished the night overlooking Trafalgar Square.

Oddly, on this trip I took most of our pics with my iPhone--even though I had a fabulous camera in my bag.  Don't know why, really.  I won't do that again.

Dark clouds loomed throughout our trip but we only had about a day and a half of rain--not bad for  London/Paris in October.

After three and half hours at the Tower of London I had to drag my niece away so that we could get to the Churchill War Rooms (like me, she loves history) and then over to Buckingham Palace to meet up with some friends of mine who are living just outside of London.

                             After another good night's sleep, we were on to the next stop.

                                   Of course, we had to do the London Eye--perfect day for it!

                                                                      Crystal. Clear.

                    We are both fans of Sherlock Holmes so a stop at the museum was in order.
Lunch at the Wolseley (no pic, what's up with that?)--and then just down the street for her first visit to Fortnum and Mason.  She loved it!  She is definitely staying in my will, now.

                                                    Bought some of that yummy honey...

and took home a jar of damson preserves from the Highgrove Estate of HRH Prince of Wales.

And if you are at Fortnum and Mason you might as well walk on over to Liberty, right?

My niece loved this place, too.  And, for once, I was at Liberty for a sale--hooray for that! So, I bought a scarf and a few other fun little items.

          Put your glasses away, it's not you.  It's a horribly blurry picture but look at all of those gorgeous Christmas crackers!

                           Back to the hotel we go--not the grand entrance but a pretty side door.