Monthly Archives: April 2013

Flying to the U.K. with extra leg room

Hello! I am happy to report that we are back from our whirlwind trip to the U.K. and Paris and had a fabulous time!! I have so much to blog about for the next few weeks and lots of photos to share so stay tuned!

First things first! The plane ride! We flew Virgin Atlantic out of San Francisco Airport, which required a morning drive from Sacramento. Best thing we did? We booked long-term parking at Millbrae BART station, which was $6/day! So much cheaper than any park-and-sleep package I could find and a lot cheaper than long-term parking by the airport. My husband dropped me and the kids (and our luggage!) off at the airport first and then parked and took the BART to the airport (so we wouldn’t have to lug all of our luggage and stroller and kids with us on the BART, and we saved money on three BART tickets in the process). Win!

Now about that flight … well, we flew economy and splurged on extra leg room seats, which Virgin offers now for an added $50.

Was it worth it? Well, it was hard for me to tell (but I am 5′ 3″). My husband appreciated the extra legroom.

littlemore

shoes

knees

We haven’t flown internationally in a couple of years now and I was most startled not by the lack of leg room, but by the lack of food! My 3-year-old daughter ate an adult sized portion of pasta and bread, and was starving, as were we all! She refused the Gu mango and passionfruit cheesecake pot that was her dessert and so I quickly ate hers and mine.

Big mistake. Huge.

Within a couple of hours – in the complete serenity of our turbulence-free cabin – I became decidedly unwell. I actually vomited into my empty water glass and had to climb over the poor sleepy stranger victim, who was unlucky to be sitting next to me (and who was none too impressed and looked like Jonathan Rhys-Meyers) to get to the bathroom. My husband and son were sitting directly behind us since there weren’t a four-seats-in-a-row available to us in the extra-leg room section.

My husband asked if I had eaten the Gu. He hadn’t touched it since he thought it smelled spoiled. Neither did my son. Thankfully!

There wasn’t any ice cream, or after dinner Bailey’s (which I think of wistfully, when I think of flying Virgin years ago. The water and juice tray came around a couple of times. It actually didn’t matter since I couldn’t stomach anything after the Gu. Not even the skimpy muffin top breakfast that they brought around with coffee and tea. I was sick again.

But it didn’t matter. After ten hours or so, we touched down in London and I wasn’t going to let any Gu stop me from enjoying my holiday!

More tomorrow!

Mini Boden’s 24 hour sale

Boden sale

How cute are these little summer dresses? I wish Boden made them in adult sizes!

All Mini Boden (and Johnnie B) items are 25 percent off, plus free shipping, for the next 24 hours (ends today at midnight)! No offer code needed.

And those gorgeous broderie dresses above can be found here for $42 (on sale from $56!).

The new London skyline

One thing that I love about London is that it’s constantly changing, growing, evolving, building and getting better.

I’ve blogged before about the new London Shard, which opened last year, but more skyscrapers are on the way! Check out this artist impression by Hayes Davidson of what the London skyline will look like when these are completed in the next 12 months. Thanks, Buzzfeed!

New London skyline

Busted for Kinder Surprise eggs

Kinder surprise eggBefore you attempt to head into the U.S. carrying Kinder Surprise eggs from the U.K., beware! The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol seized about 25,000 Kinder Surprise eggs in 2010 and reissued the warning that Kinder eggs are banned (due to the non-edible prize inside each egg). Rumor has it that if a Kinder egg is seized by customs, you can be fined for $2,500!

If you’ve never had a Kinder Surprise egg, they are quite fun little toys (i.e. cars, characters, even stamp rings) tucked inside a half milk chocolate and half white chocolate shell of an egg. You never know what you’re going to get! Nearly 30 billion have been sold worldwide.

And check out the Americanized version of the Kinder Surprise: The Choco Treasure! It launched last month.

Also, here are the top 10 items not to bring back from your international holiday.

Secret London map

The graffiti tunnel on Leake Street is included in Time Out's secret London map.

The graffiti tunnel on Leake Street is included in Time Out’s secret London map.

Shhh… Can you keep a secret? Time Out has a secret London map, including the Covent Garden restaurant with fire-eating acrobats, a petting zoo in Russell Square and a graffiti tunnel near Waterloo station. Categories include shops, parks, sights, bars and clubs and restaurants.

43 Things British People Know To Be True

Thank you, Buzzfeed, for this comic gem of a list: 43 things British people know to be true.

The list starts with …

#1. The Jeremy Kyle Show attracts the best guests

Jeremy Kyle Show

Read this if you need a laugh!

A guide to packing for a trip

Pack This! List

I’ll admit it. I’m a procrastinating packer that frequently forgets my pajamas. Or my socks. Or my toothbrush. Or all of the above.

And so I’m delighted by all of the various travel packing guides, apps and old-school lists that are available online. It really takes some of the mental heavy lifting out of packing and ensures that you don’t forget the big (or small) stuff.

Read the rest of this entry

Is duty-free shopping really a bargain?

Duty free

I’m running low on my favorite perfume, which started me thinking whether it would be worth waiting and buying it duty-free. With all of the deals at Ulta, Amazon, etc., I wondered how duty-free measured up.

I wasn’t alone. It seems that a host of news outlets from Esquire to USA Today asked the same question a few years back and the conclusion across the board was the same:

“Duty-free is almost never a deal for the casual shopper out to get a bargain,” says Jason Clampet, a senior editor for travel guidebook publisher Frommers.com. “You can save significant amounts if you’re a smoker who lives in a state with high taxes, but you’ll find that electronic goods, beauty products and luxury items such as designer purses usually cost less at home or online.”

There you have it!

Jigsaw’s Paris guide

I have been busily, joyfully planning our itinerary for our upcoming visit to Paris. Since it has been years since we last visited, I have been researching where to go and what to do, particularly what would be fun for our kids, as well!

British retailer Jigsaw has recently blogged about its favorite picks in Paris. Here are a few:

The Sacré-Cœur

The Sacré-Cœur

La Tour d’Argent

La Tour d’Argent

Monmartre

Monmartre

Hotel du Petit Moulin

Hotel du Petit Moulin

Read the full list, including what to wear!

Men’s Marylebone Man-Skirt

Loved Boden’s April Fools prank yesterday! If you didn’t catch it, meet their latest item: the Men’s Marylebone Man-Skirt. I only wish this were real. Sigh.

Boden's Men's Marylebone Man-Skirt