Last summer I complimented a friend on her Persol sunglasses. She proceeded to share with me that she likes to treat herself to a new pair of sunglasses every summer. I thought I'd adopt a similar routine myself. Though clearly I've waited until mid summer to make my selection. I'm torn between Tom Ford's Nikita cat's eye, House of Harlow's bejeweled Sasha's, and the classic Ray Ban Wayferers.
[A pair of Tom Ford's Nikita's are on their way at this very moment.]
You'd think the massive London Eye would be easy spot from anywhere in the city. Not so much. It took a little traipsing here and there before locating it. The Eye was a solo adventure for me as Sara was hesitant, not of the heights, but of the ferris wheel aspect. She having had a bad reaction to a ferris wheel rather recently. I soldiered on and took the ride alone. The only other solo passenger being a German gentleman who kept asking me to take his picture. The pods, as I like to think of them, are massive. What fun it would be to not have to share it with strangers. This I found out can be done, for a price. Taking in all the monumental sights from that height and vantage point was spectacular. A highlight of the trip.
A good chunk of the rest of the day was taken up getting lost. We stumbled upon Shakespeare's Globe theatre by subtly following some other tourist who were heading in the same direction. Apparently one can attend a performance at the theatre on the cheap by purchasing groundling tickets (otherwise known as standing only). We didn't have the patience to take the official tour, but a wander around the exterior and a trip to the gift shop sufficed.
At that point in the day we had wasted so much time attempting to get from one destination to another. Eventually getting so fed up with not being able to find our way, that we headed back to Tophams to pick up our luggage and high tail it to our next hotel. We had a prearranged dinner date that we couldn't miss. What I wouldn't have given for a chauffeur that first full day in London.
After a lackluster dinner, we headed out to a nearby pub for Pimm's Cups and to catch a little "football". Obviously the football was an afterthought, it's just that it was impossible to focus on much else as all other eyes and attention were on the match. By the time we left London I had practically drowned in Pimm's. I couldn't get enough of the concoction.
Had an impromptu dinner at the Willows Inn this week with the girls. One of my coworkers selflessly paused between courses to snap these gorgeous photographs of some of the bites we consumed. The summer season is full of such an abundance of flavors and colors.
Forgive the radio silence since my whirlwind jaunt to London + Paris with my bestie, Sara. Upon my return to the states I jumped back into work, took over a thriving online business, and came down with a brutal cold, all while trying to “keep calm and carry on” (as the Brits say) despite a ghastly case of jet lag. Two weeks and two days have passed since my return and I’m ready to share some bits and bobs from my trip.
The first part of our sojourn found us in London. We traipsed through what felt like the entire Heathrow airport before sinking into our seats on the Express. We queued up for a taxi and were rewarded with a ride in the black model I’d been eyeing. After a whirlwind ride through London we were dropped off in front of our accommodations for the night, Tophams Hotel. The generous souls at Travel Intelligenceand Tophams Hotel, made arrangements for us to have a complimentary night stay at Tophams, a stylish boutique hotel in the heart of Belgravia. Tophams Hotel is located on Ebury Street, a quiet residential street surrounded by some of London’s most expensive properties (or so I hear). Judging by the armed guard in front of a nearby address, along with the flashy chauffeured vehicles, I’ll take the description of the neighborhood as fact. Tophams is housed inside a stylish period building. Tophams is a chic hotel in a peaceful location away from the bustle of London. Inside the walls of Tophams, you’ll find that though the common and guests rooms are tastefully appointed, they do sport a bit of decorative British quirk. Think patterned wallpaper galore, bespoke style furnishings, decorative burlesque touches, and classic period elements.
Upon entry to the lobby we were greeted by pleasant stylish staff and offered tea in a well appointed sitting area. We eagerly accepted the offer and enjoyed our first cup of what would be many cups of tea consumed while in London. After a leisurely “cuppa” we gratefully decamped to our room.
Our room, we were pleasantly surprised to discover, was situated on the top floor of the establishment and was of the double decker variety. Two floors all to ourselves! We were giddy, naturally. We immediately acquainted ourselves with every nook and cranny inside the room, bathroom, and balcony. The balcony! Gorgeous rooftops galore! The bathroom alone was uber luxurious and housed a soaking tub, separate shower, plush towels, and decadent toiletries. After our long day’s journey that took us from Seattle to Vancouver then finally to London, we were ready to make ourselves right at home at Tophams. Though we could have sunk right into a bath then bed, we rallied, not even taking a disco nap, and found our way into the gorgeous June day in London.
With assistance from the helpful concierge at the front desk in regards to directions to our destinations that afternoon, we made our way to Victoria Station, a mere stone’s throw from the hotel. After much mindless wandering around the station we stumbled upon the correct tube. After “minding the gap” we found our way to the delightful Borough Market.
After our wander around Borough Market, coffee at Monmouth Coffee (indulged in a "flat white" - an espresso drink that's similar to a latte, but tastes sweeter and has less milk and more microfoam. The best coffee you’ll ever have in London and possibly anywhere else.), shared fish & chips takeaway, got in some shopping at Harrods and Zara, we thought we’d go back to the hotel for a rest, and then hit a local pub. Unfortunately our exhaustion kicked in and we didn’t make it back out of the room until the following morning.
After a lengthly sleep in, we made our way downstairs for a traditional English breakfast. Service was prompt and attentive, while the food was just what the doctor ordered for a case of jet lag. After being well satiated, we hit the town again, this time with the London Eye as our destination. The conceriege again took the time to give us thorough directions to the various sites that we had on our agenda for the day. After a partial day out and about we made our way back to Tophams to collect our belongings and bid farewell and thanks for the wonderful accommodations and service. We then took our leave via taxi and were on to our next destination.