Liv gets two whole weeks of spring break here, Yay! We took a three day trip to London (my second favorite city). Antz job has an office there so he spent a day at work. We stayed at The Hoxton Shoreditch. It’s almost identical to The Ace Shoreditch. The room was much smaller but it had the same hipster vibe and Shoreditch is such a fun area to stay in. We promised to take Olivia to the Warner Bros Harry Potter Studio Tour which was amazing. I advise you to purchase tickets well in advance. I procrastinated and they were sold out a few weeks before our trip so I had to pay a lot more for Golden Tours package but it included tickets and roundtrip coach to Leavesden which was convenient. While Antz was visiting his work office, Liv and I went to The Sanderson hotel for a girls Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea Party. We also had the best cake ever from the pretty Peggy Porschen which is an Instagrammer’s dream. We met up with our friend Melissa for an authentic Indian dinner in White Chapel. She gave us a tour of her neighborhood and showed us two amazing Basquiat-inspired Banksy art! I had no idea he has been putting up new art.
I was concerned about taking the Eurostar train due to France’s SNCF on-going strike but luckily it seemed every train except ours was canceled. We arrived about 40 minutes before our train departure time and it turned out to be the perfect timing. We breezed through the long customs line and we made it to the waiting lounge just as our train began to board.
You guys, I did something I have never done before, traveled in heels! Granted, they are the most comfortable wedges on the planet. I bought these Kork Ease wedges (similar ones here) from my favorite store in Highland Park, Dotter. Of course after weeks with no rain, it drizzled all morning.
This was the emptiest I have ever seen Gare Nord. Oh! Can I say how much I love my Away Carry-on bag. At first I wasn’t sold on the price and how small it is but for weekend trips it’s worth every penny! We arrived at San Pancras station to a lovely day in London.
After a few months of daily Metro commuting in Paris, I was surprised at how different taking the Tube is in London. There are less stairs than Paris, which is a plus, however the stations have escalators that are as steep as Mt. Everest. I totally get vertigo and wearing heels, holding my luggage along with Olivia’s hand was a balancing act because I don’t ever touch the hand rail (I saw a travel show about how much fecal matter is found on them). The Tube trains are also smaller and arrive in the station at the speed of a roller coaster.
Liv spotted our first Invader right away! Our hotel was only a few blocks from the Tube station.
Guess what? I had a harder time understanding people in London than in Paris! Very cool accents but they talk faaaaaast. To be honest, the room we ended up with wasn’t my fave. It was small and there wasn’t a closet for our bags but the bed was very comfy and I had a throne-esque chair to rest my tired feet.
It’s always hard to get out of a comfy hotel bed but we had to explore the town before our dinner plans. You know I can’t resist a photobooth.
The lobby was very cool but it was so packed with people, I couldn’t get any good photos. There was an art show featuring twins that looks rad and a dreamy communal kitchen space with a bright red Smeg!
As much as I love French croissants, I missed good old doughnuts! We passed Doughnut Time on our walk in so we had to get a snack.
I forgot they don’t accept euros in London so off to the ATM for some quid! Liv still wants to know why America is the only nation without women on the currency.
This little piggy had a Notorious P.I.G. doughnut.
We took a double decker bus to Whitechapel to meet our friend for dinner and we passed the old London Hospital. Our friend Melissa who was our tour guide for the evening, told us that Joseph Merrick lived in that hospital. I am a huge fan of the film The Elephant Man. I saw it when I was a kid and I still remember weeping buckets of tears over the horrific abuse he suffered. I asked her what was the city planning to do with the old building and she said probably tear it down and build condos. Lame!
She took us to an Indian part of Whitechapel for some authentic Indian cuisine. Now, I am fairly new to the Indian food game. It took me years to figure out what I liked and unfortunately, what I don’t. I am good with chicken Tikka Masala, white rice and garlic naan. I couldn’t tell you what I ordered at this place. The food was good, but I didn’t order correctly. You know when you are having such a great time you forget to take any pictures of the evening? That happened. I am infamous for delaying a meal in order to get that perfect dish shot but I only managed to take one picture at the restaurant.
Yup, those are raw white onions (my kryptonite) but I ate all that chicken! Yummy meal and bonus, we brought our own wine. After getting some ice cream for dessert we headed to the Barbican Centre to see the Banksy art.
I am so glad Melissa was our guide because we would have never found them. Thanks for a bloody wicked night m’dear!
The next morning we woke up to cute little breakfast bags on our door and we got all dolled up for our second breakfast of the day Peggy Porchsen’s Cakes! Besides, my motto is Eat Cake for Breakfast.
This pink palace is in Westminster so it took us quite awhile to find it but OMG this place is Disneyland for bloggers and Instagrammers. I was super bummed that I couldn’t get all the people waiting out front out of my photo but what can you do? Funny thing is I did politely ask that group of girls to move over so I could take a photo and they moved one inch. Okay, I see you!
Coincidental it’s on Elizabeth Street wouldn’t you say?
You guys, my iPhone camera do not do these beautiful cakes justice! I am wishing there was a cake shop like this in Paris.
It’s in her genes, what can I say?
She’s getting pretty good at taking our photos. After a stroll through beautiful West London, we headed to Victoria Station to catch our bus to Warner Bros. Studios.
They play Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone during the 35 – 40 minute drive to the studio. It’s lovely because I haven’t seen it in ages and it sets the mood for some Wizardry.
I won’t show everything because I want you to experience it for yourself but there are some really awesome props, costumes and special effects to see.
The best part of the tour is you get a passport book that has a scavenger hunt and riddles to solve as you walkthrough. Every set had a hidden golden snitch and they were not easy to find. When Liv solved the riddles she would stamp her book with an embossing machine.