I’m not sure if it is all the hype surrounding the upcoming royal wedding or my recent trip to London, but I can’t stop thinking about it! I have traveled to this city twice before and to be honest, I have never been dazzled by it at all. I have always much preferred New York and have only ever placed it in my travel itinerary as a place to “pass through.” A close friend of mine once said that you find “magic” in cities such as London and NYC – but I had never been touched by this so called “magic” in the UK until now.
Two weeks ago I was fortunate enough to travel to England on a work trip with Starpower Talent Competition to judge for the international component of this company. The whole lead up to this trip was extremely exciting because I was going to be rooming with one of my favorite people in the whole world, Alex and we had sent of stream of text messages with escalating excitement about our upcoming reunion. To further add to this we both had birthdays either side of the trip dates, and had firmly decided we were going to have a traditional English tea party to celebrate.
It was one of those times in the life where everything fell into place- from the empty plane ride on both legs of the journey, to the group we were traveling with, to the flawless weather. One quick fun fact is that this plane ride felt incredibly short to this trained Aussie – I think I have built up the stamina to almost desire those 14 hour flights (let’s see how I feel about this declaration next time I board one).
When we arrived in London excitement grew as we drove past the streets lined with classic British red telephone booths. Our first point of business was the tea party. Alex and I had carefully trawled Instagram and selected Peggy Porschen bakery where we indulged in strawberry and champagne cake and floral tea. The decor was all in my signature color “pink” and we were seated on a sunny terrace sprinkled with colorful spring flowers. It was the perfect start to our day in London Town. Deciding that cake wasn’t enough to sustain us we made our way to a traditional British pub where I was able to order a real meat pie – these are so hard to find in the US! It then became a grand adventure of let’s see where the day takes us…
It was then onto Buckingham palace where there was a photo shoot of multiple Prince Harry’s taking place – naturally I had to be involved. Alex and I jumped into the shoot and even the professional photographer took a few snaps with us in the frame. This gave the whole group a giggle and was a bit of fun. Nothing like a royal wedding right?! We then strolled through the park up towards Westminster Abbey and the scenery was like something out of a movie. The parks in London have such a different feel to those in NYC. They are so classic and elegant in their design and it gives one a sense of being transported back to another time and place. Everything was so lush and green with flowers in full bloom – I would have stayed there all day if I could have.
Despite the fact that Big Ben was completely covered for renovation our spirits were not dulled. We discovered a floating pub on the Thames river complete with fairy lights and fantastic cocktails. There was no choice but to stop and soak up the atmosphere with a perfect few of the London eye. With jetlag getting the better of us we decided to end the day with a dinner in covenant garden. It was spectacular with little boutique markets sprawled everywhere and a live opera singer entertaining the crowds. There were so many people around creating an electric energy. I didn’t want the day to end!
The dance competition was excellent and each morning before we commenced the judges strolled through Russell square gardens taking in as much of the stunning weather as we could. By the third day we were also taking our breaks in this gorgeous park! On our half day I also managed to navigate the tube and visit a good friend of mine Julie to have a delightful lunch over looking London Bridge. What a dream come true getting to see the world and do what you love? Nothing better really. It is always amazing to witness the dance competition culture in other countries – I saw a 5 year old that I think could out dance almost everyone I know! I only wish we could have timed things to be there for the Royal wedding. Upon completion of the final awards ceremony we all headed to the Shard for a very classy rooftop cocktail celebration. The view was breathtaking and I think a “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” is my new favorite cocktail! It was such a special group that was involved in this trip and I know I made bonds that will last a lifetime no matter where this globe trotter ends up!
It is fortunate that in September one of my closest friends from Australia will be getting married in Wales and she is holding her bachelorette party in this fabulous city. I will have the perfect excuse to indulge in another visit to this magical place – there are so many west end shows I want to see and areas I want explore further. I apologize London for underestimating you!