Wednesday, July 23, 2014

London 2014 Final Two Days

It's been crazy busy around the Green household lately. With new wood floors installed last Monday and then new carpet throughout the rest of the house this past Monday, it's been hard to keep up on all my regularly scheduled stuff. Somehow I still managed to hold a card workshop, finish and ship my CHA projects off to Graphic 45, and complete my Compendium Crew project. Not to mention deliver a kid to VBS daily for a week of volunteering, help get her driver's permit, and try to put the house back together after all the flooring work. Whew!

So finally I am wrapping up our London trip today. We had a half day before leaving the Soho area and heading to Gatwick Airport, so we had a light breakfast and headed out for some last minute fun.

Jamie had spotted this fantastic store a few days ago called "Forbidden Planet" which is apparently the world's largest and best-known science fiction, fantasy and cult entertainment retailer. So we checked it out. She was in heaven. The place was huge and filled with everything you could imagine from Doctor Who to Marvel Comics to Pokemon and tons more. We spent a good hour or more in that place.

We had to go back to our favorite spot (Tonkotsu) for just one more meal. This time we sat outside watching passersby as we sipped on our mint water and waited for our lunch.

Once again, a fabulous meal. We asked the waiter the secret about those eggs unfortunately his lips were sealed. I have tried to mimic them since we've been home, but there's something still missing.

The waiter enticed us with his description of the mochi balls for dessert, so we had to try them. 

Mochi is made from sweetened rice but these balls were also filled with different, unique flavors of ice cream! Wow, were they good!

We still had another hour to kill before we could check out of the Nadler Hotel, so we stopped for a quick Starbucks. This was the first time we indulged in an American coffee since arriving in London. I guess we were feeling like it was time to return back home.

Rather than battle the streets and subway with our luggage again, we opted to call a shuttle service to get us to the train station that would eventually take us to Gatwick Airport.

A quick, blurry selfie in the cab. 

Gatwick Station. We already had our return tickets, so all we had to do was hang out for a bit, then hop on our train.

We booked our last night at the Sofitel which is conveniently connected to the airport. Although it could not compare to the Nadler, it was very nice.

Gatwick Airport is quite a nice place to hang out, shop, eat and people watch. Here Paul and Jamie are observing all the options for dinner.

A view of the Sofitel's lobby from our floor. Like I said, a very nice place.

In the airport, Jamie and I discovered a store called Cath Kidston. Famous for their vintage inspired floral prints and eclectic English country house style, they specialize in wallets, purses, totes and tons of other cute stuff. (think Vera Bradley only WAY BETTER, in my opinion) Seriously, I loved this product line. (Can you tell?) This is a cute little cross-body passport clutch that I bought there and have used as a purse since we've returned to the states. The fabric is oil cloth, I believe. A coating that is totally wipe-able, not machine washable. (By the way, I got this cute sundress at a great store called UNIQLO. Much like The Gap. I later learned that there are a handful of these stores in the states, mostly in the Northeast and a few in California.)

But back to Cath Kidston, I loved the product line so much, I ordered this larger purse today, as a matter of fact. No stores in the states just yet, but I would bet that it would be a BIG hit here. I also got a great little tote from the airport Harrod's store and some chocolate for the plane ride. We never made it to the big Harrod's, so this had to do.

Enough about shopping. We grabbed some dinner then settled into our hotel room for the night and watched more of the World Cup. In the morning, we had a wonderful breakfast then hopped on our plane for the very long flight home. An afternoon flight was SO much better than evening, in my opinion. I watched a couple movies on the way home, read a book, walked around a lot, then finally we were in Orlando.

This is Customs. Holy crap, right? We got in line and moved like snails along with everyone until we realized that since we were U.S. citizens returning to the country, we didn't have to be in this long line but rather a much shorter one on the other side of the room. Whew! So off we went, got through quickly, grabbed our luggage, hopped in the car and headed home to Melbourne. (An hour's drive)

London was an absolute dream. A wonderful place to visit that I would highly recommend to anyone. Our little family of strong-willed personalities got along famously and felt that we fully experienced the city to suit our personal likes and needs perfectly, and particularly enjoyed staying in Soho. 

And even after all those wonderful meals and desserts, would you believe I didn't gain a single pound? That's because we were moving all day every day. It really made us realize how sedentary we are on a daily basis here in our town, and we've made a commitment to be even more active than we usually are, and eventually seek a new place to live where we can walk or bike to most everywhere we need to go. (Not moving anytime soon, though. Gotta get this kid through college first.) 

No matter how great a vacation is, somehow it always feels so great to be home. I wonder if you all feel the same. I also wonder, do you do what I do before you go on a trip: I clean the house really well, make sure everything is put away neat and tidy. Why? If something were to happen to me and my mother had to come in the house, I wouldn't want her to have to deal with a mess or think badly of me. Is that not crazy or what?

Crazy or not, it's really nice to come home to our cute little clean house. 

Thank you all for following along, leaving such nice comments along the way, and enjoying our London trip with us. If you travel soon, please let me know and I'll happily follow along with you in return!


  1. It was great to follow your trip with you and your family. What a great time you had. London is a wonderful place to see. Thanks for sharing Annette!

  2. I'm so glad you had a wonderful holiday Annette here in London. There is indeed so much to see. We are spending our wedding anniversary there tomorrow even though my hubby works there all week..LOL..we just love it. I agree though home is always the best place to get back to, you must have been so thrilled to get back to your own bed too. Cath Kidston is amazing, near my daughter who lives in Soutampton, there is an outlet where we get stuff for 1/2 price, yes I do have a lot of bags...and towels...and Christmas ware and.......xx

  3. Just wanted to say how much I have enjoyed reading your travelogue - so informative and with your lovely touches of humour, I couldn't wait to see your email hit my inbox. I actually live in the northern reaches of the UK but have never spent more than an odd day in London. I have noted your recommended places to stay, sights to see and restaurants to visit. Thank you so much, I so pleased you and your family enjoyed your trip so much!

  4. Oh I've had such a great time traveling with you! I hope I can return the favor in a month when we are in Japan. I love your cute green and white dress you picked up and your bags too! I've been into dresses here lately. Funny, cuz for my whole life I've been a shorts and tee girl. Taking 3 or 4 dresses to Japan even! Now I want to see pics of the "new" house!

  5. Wow! I totally enjoyed "visiting" London through your trip! Really entertaining and love seeing your family just plain have a good time enjoying life! That's what its all about! Good for you! Thank you for sharing! :)

  6. I'm a little sad to see the posts on your London trip end. I have so enjoyed traveling along with you guys. So glad you had a great time and are back home and have survived the re-flooring of your home. Thanks so much for sharing.

  7. Nice to read about your London trip. I have been there many times but it was awhile ago and I am going back there in October to attend my sister in laws wedding. So now I have some ideas on what to do and eat!

  8. Welcome Home! And again, Annette, thank you sooo much for sharing your journey with us! I lived vicariously through you during your trip!
    see you round the hood
    (online hood that is! teehee)

  9. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this London trip you took. We plan to go to London next year so this will be very helpful. We just returned from the South of France enjoying the Viking cruise and let me just say you need to go.It was amazing!!! I too clean well before I go on trips. I even took boxes of stuff to the Good Will before we left so nobody would have to do it. My kids would die if they had to clean out 40 years of stuff. Thank you so much for sharing your trip.

  10. I loved every minute Annette, thanks for sharing! xx

  11. What a great write-up of your trip...It's really fun when everything goes together so well. Good thing you took lots of'll want to remember every little detail. Thanks for sharing.

  12. What a beautiful way to showcase your fabulous trip! I love it!!


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