“In London everyone is different, and that means anyone can fit in.” – Paddington Bear
I know some of you have been waiting for me to blog my trip to England and I’m finally doing it!! I have wanted to visit the UK for most of my life. My Mom is the first generation in her family to be born in America. My Great Grandparents left Bristol and went to California after their youngest child became sick and needed a warmer dryer climate. Because we lived on opposite sides of the country- I didn’t have a lot of opportunities to ask my Grandparents and Great Grandparents many questions about England before they died. But I do know bits and pieces about their lives before they emigrated.
My Great Grandfather Winter was an electrician in the 1940s. He wasn’t drafted to fight in World War II because of his background, but served his country in many other ways. Both he and my Grandmother worked in factories building planes for the RAF (Royal Air Force), he defused undetonated bombs, and I’m not 100% certain of this- but I have been told he took a boat to Dunkirk to help evacuate soldiers. I’m proud to be their Great Granddaughter and I definitely know where I get my backbone and grit from.
My sweet parents. I think they were a bit nervous about me flying across an ocean and not being able to come get me if something happened.
I flew up to Boston to meet Julie, Matt, Annie, Sarah, and Tommy and fly over with them. I’m so glad I didn’t have to navigate flying across an ocean and a foreign airport by myself! But I did end up spending 8 hours in the international terminal at Boston Logan Airport… don’t recommend. There’s nothing to do and nothing to eat until you get through TSA. Which of course I couldn’t go through, because Norwegian Airlines didn’t open their ticketing counter until 2 hours before the flight left. Ugh.
Water terrifies me- just putting that out there. Up until I was on the plane, I tried to not think about having to fly across an ocean. Because seeing the flight path laid out made me almost hyperventilate. Thank goodness I brought Benadryl with me and was able to drug myself with that hahaha. (Don’t quite know how I’m gonna cross the Pacific Ocean to visit my friend Bekah in New Zealand one day…)
But when I woke up and saw THAT view it made almost hyperventilating 100% worth it. It was so delightfully gray and dreary and British when we arrived.
We had an hourish drive into London from Gatwick Airport, that I really enjoyed. It was so nice getting to see all the countryside and the outskirts of London (kind of fangirled when we passed Jigsaw- Kate Middleton worked there as a buyer before she married Prince William. But unfortunately I never got to visit one of the stores- Next time!)
We stayed at the Nadler Kensington the first night. It was so pretty and was in such a great location! Highly recommend! Annie and I roomed together and we felt very British with our tea and muffins. I bought myself a Jo Malone London cologne to wear on the trip because: a) Jo Malone is one of my favorite British Brands and b) so that I would always associate the trip with that smell. I picked Pomegranate Noir if you’re curious, but you can’t pick a bad scent from Jo Malone. I think it’s impossible.
We met up with a few of the other girls attending the retreat and went out for brunch and to explore before we headed out for our first shoot. Above is Ashley! We shared a hotel room Friday night and she’s just the sweetest and in addition to being a photographer she’s also a ballerina!!
FOOD. We grabbed brunch at Over Under Coffee and then grabbed Macaroons from Paul on our way back to the Hotel. Paul was my favorite place to eat all week! My Friend KC recommended it too me before I left and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to thank her enough for clueing me into the deliciousness. Seriously I’ve been craving Quiche Lorraine since I got back.
New friends are the best! (from left to right Annie, Ashley, and Kate!) We popped into the garden across the street from our hotel to gawk and take pictures! Also- English gardens are the best gardens. Fact not opinion.
We headed out to our shoot with the delightful Ellie Ryan for a sunset bridal shoot at the Tower Bridge. We didn’t really get a sunset because of the aforementioned British dreariness, but I think the overcast skies only made the shoot better!
I’ll share more from our shoot in the next blog post, but here’s a little BTS to hold you over until then…
Above two photos via Annie Elizabeth edited by me
We were all starving after the shoot and went to Vapiano by the bridge for Italian food! So yummy!! They make all the Pasta in the store and custom make the dish to your preferences!! Will definitely be going back there one day!
Just as beautiful at night.
We got rained out of our night bus tour and we found out too late that the London Eye closed early. But Harrods was still open after we finished dinner!! So we all jumped in cabs and headed over there for a little window shopping! Annie and I took silly selfies in the cab on the way there 🙂 Also! Fun story: Our cab driver drove us down the Mall (the road between Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square. Think where Kate and William rode down after their wedding.) and I got my first glimpse of the Palace. I almost cried. The cabbie also pulled over to yell at a cyclist on the way to Harrods, but we won’t talk about that… We’ll just say the British are a bit more confrontational then we give them credit for.
Also: Emphasis on window shopping. They have every designer you could possibly imagine in Harrods, but currently the only thing I could afford from Chanel would be a lipstick… or a nail polish. But if I’m gonna buy something from Chanel I’d want it to be something a bit more substantial then that. Things to work towards…
Can’t wait to come back one day with my mom and get to explore more! Day two & the London Bridal session coming soon!
Follow along on the rest of my trip to the UK