Happy New Year! Miles and I just returned from a wonderful week in England and my head is still spinning from our whirlwind trip. Here are a few of my favorite things that stood out.
Christmas trees and lights everywhere!
England was transformed into a winter wonderland. There were twinkling lights and all the trimmings on every street and inside every building. One of my favorites was the pretty in pink Christmas tree at the Savoy. Laced with envelopes, you could seal your Christmas wish with a kiss.
2. Hand lotion in bathrooms.
This observation deserves the real estate on my list. Just like salt goes with pepper, silky lotion was always standing side by side with soap. Lotion was a vital regimen for all the hand washing to stay healthy during our trip as well as a luxury for the cold, dry winter. I particularly enjoyed the bathroom at the Connaught Hotel in London because they had an entire buffet of lotions and perfumes.
3. Earl Grey tea.
I didn’t realize how delicious it is until I poured myself a cuppa from my personal tea pot that was served every breakfast and lunch. Earl Grey is a black tea with bergamot oil that comes from the rind of a bergamot orange and is commonly used as a top note in perfumes. Served with half and half and 2 lumps of sugar, this creamy tea has a delicate flavor of lavender with a bright finish of fruit loops…MMM! I enjoy the smell SO much that I took home a bottle of Earl Grey and Cucumber cologne from Jo Malone London so I can bathe in it!
4. Fashion Museum in Bath.
The museum displays an accurate evolution of fashion through 100 outfits from the 1600s to the present day. It was very interesting to see how clothing morphs as technology improves and cultures progress. I enjoyed playing dress-up with their replicas of Victorian and Georgian dresses, one of the exhibits between walking through the displays.
5. Thatched roof houses in Chipping Campden.
The Cotwolds is a charming little part of the world. We hired a car for the day and drove through the cute towns and hiked through pastures and cobbled street. The cottages in Chipping Campden where darling; it felt like walking through the Shire. The town of Lacock had a street corner display of homemade jam and meringue that you could purchase through the honor system, how cute is that!
6. Spending time with my pen pals in Bath.
In 1991, my parents met a British couple on a cruise who happened to have 2 daughters the same age as myself and Erika. We used to draw pictures and exchange notes back and forth. They came to visit us in Cincinnati when I was in the 2nd grade. Twenty-five years later, we met up at The Pump Room in Bath where we caught up on life. That evening, Miles and I had dinner and drinks with Bryher, who is my age. She welcomed us into her adorable flat, which looked as if it were ripped out an Anthropolgie catalog and designed with the elegance of a wedding cake. Without a doubt, our time with the Simmons family was the highlight of our trip.
7. Sticky toffee pudding at Clayton’s Kitchen in Bath.
My sweet tooth will never say “no” to pudding (what the Brits call dessert). This was by far the best dessert I had the entire week. It was warm, thick and perfectly paired with salted caramel gelato.
8. High tea at The Savoy.
Miles and I treated ourselves to a tea party at one of London’s most glamorous hotels. The atmosphere was elegant and cozy. The details where regal, yet fresh and the flavors were a balance of decadence and comfort food. I delighted in the peonies and rose tea. Miles had a delicious vanilla tea.
9. New Years Fireworks in London.
The fireworks show was magnificent and so popular that you needed tickets along the Thames to get a view. Luckily our hotel was within the boundary so tickets were complementary. At midnight, Big Ben “Bongs” and fireworks blast out of the London Eye. We were hugged by a tight crowd of people dancing, singing and all smiles. Afterwards, Miles and I did a goofy karaoke footwork drill to cut through the pack of people and laughed all the way back to our hotel.
10. Antique teacup keepsake.
I stumbled into an ‘oldy-worldy’ antique shop in Stow-on-the-Wold where I found this little gem. Just the day before I spotted my first pheasant and this cup will always remind me of that.
Don’t stop exploring!