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Wicked in London

Wicked

One of the highlights of our trip was getting tickets to see Wicked in London. I had never seen it, didn’t even really know what the story was (apart from being a different storytelling of the Wizard of Oz from the Wicked Witch’s point of view) and it really was as awesome as I had hoped.

We went to an afternoon matinee show and got great seats! The voices and music were really strong, just a really big and fabulous show! The kids loved it, we loved it, it was a win-win-win-win overall!

Have you seen Wicked?


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First night in London

Shopping

After our legendary afternoon tea at Grosvenor House, we did some window shopping in London. No one does Christmas lights better than London. No one. It was great fun walking around Oxford Street and Regent Street and hitting some of our favorite places like Liberty London.

Liberty London

Liberty London

I love Liberty’s stationery section. It’s amazing and huge and there are always great gift ideas!

Stationery at Liberty

Stationery at Liberty

We capped off the evening, taking the kids to Hamley’s Toy Store!

Hamley's

Hamley’s Toy Store

Vanderpump (does) rule

Vanderpump Rules

I’ve been in a funk since the election and with the inauguration and this hot mess of the past week in the news, only one show cheers me up: Vanderpump Rules.

I discovered it on Hulu last fall and after a couple of episodes, I was hooked. Somehow the over-the-top antics of this twenty-something restaurant staff at Lisa Vanderpump’s Sur restaurant in West Hollywood was just what I needed. It’s soapy and silly and reality TV at its best when you just need a light mental break from the heaviness of life. It’s the visual equivalent of a sweet, bubbly, decidedly pink cocktail.

If you don’t know Lisa Vanderpump, she is the very British owner of three L.A. hot spots – Villa Blanca, Sur and Pump. She is grounded and funny and smart, despite her millions, a wonderfully accomplished restaurant head, a confidant and voice of reason with her young staff, and she is so delightedly British and likable.

This past weekend, I finally finished Season 4! If you haven’t watched it, give Vanderpump Rules a try!

A proper tea

I made the very good decision to schedule our English tea on the day that we arrived. After sleeping only a couple of hours on the plane, I just needed proper pampering and we had reservations at the Park Room at Grosvenor House Hotel.

I’ve never been to Grosvenor House, but it was absolutely perfect for our family. I ordered their special Christmas tea.

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Read the rest of this entry

Paddington Station

Heathrow Express

So where were we? Ah yes, just landing at London Heathrow! We took the Heathrow Express to Paddington Station, which remains part of my favorite ritual of returning back to London. There is just a certain peace in that travel – something about the homes whizzing past, the calming British accents on the overhead speaker, the quick news roundup — the 15 minute trip is one of my faves!

And then it’s Paddington Station, which still feels familiar from when I used to live here – the soup cart, Delice de France and Burger King is still there, you still have to pay to use the toilets, but there’s more construction going on! More retail and food stores in the works! It’s enough new and old to make me feel that I have returned!

Read the rest of this entry

Close to 100,000 protest in Women’s March in London

Women's March London

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Wow – what an inspiring, historic turnout of protestors across the globe yesterday! London, alone, had close to 100,000 protestors in opposition to Donald Trump’s presidency, which included London mayor Sadiq Khan.

London, I love you!

Watch the video!

BBC’s subtitle blunder is hilarious

Picture it. Today. Inauguration Day for Donald Trump (boo….) and BBC delivers this peach of a blunder, airing subtitles to BBC children’s program “The Dumping Ground” over their live coverage of the inauguration.

In flight entertainment

On my recent trip from San Francisco to London (and back), I had 10 hours to kill. I was tempted by the prospect of taking a Zzzquil and waking up refreshed (if a little hungry), but in the end, I had a cocktail and wine with dinner and missed that elusive window (and then suffered the rest of the journey, kicking myself for not taking the Zzzquil and being so weak!).

To pass the time, I had a couple of go-to’s: Read the rest of this entry

Happy 2017!

Hello and happy 2017!

I’ve recently returned from a trip back to the United Kingdom — our last trip back was in 2013 — and have much to share about our travels. We had a fabulous visit, spending nearly three weeks seeing family and friends in the U.K. and France — with stops in London, Birmingham, Bedfordshire, Colchester and Paris. It was quite a whirlwind trip, but a fun mix of places we were familiar with and new spots we hadn’t been before.

I’ll share more in the coming weeks but wanted to just wish everyone a happy new year and hope that you had a wonderful winter break!

Here are a few shots from our flight over to London on Virgin Atlantic – we traveled economy this time (at about $800 per ticket before Christmas!) — and there were some new features, including purple lighted cabins, no more window shades (but the option to darken your window with a button) and electronic chargers! And check out our clear view of London from the sky!

window view

Charge up

Purple lighted cabin

sky view of London

Views of London

R.I.P. AA Gill

AA Gill

AA Gill

I was very sad to hear that Sunday Times columnist and TV and restaurant critic AA Gill has passed away.

Oh 2016, you just can’t let up, can you?

Gill, age 62, had what he deemed the “full English” of cancers and had only revealed his illness three weeks ago. The Sunday Times posted the announcement this morning. The Sunday Times will be publishing an article he had written about coming to terms with his cancer in tomorrow’s Sunday Times Magazine.

And I should add, if you haven’t had the chance to read the London Sunday Times Magazine, do check it out. If not tomorrow, then when?

I continue to be awed and inspired by the bright, irreverent and often hilarious feature writing and first-person columns that are published in British newspapers and the Sunday Times Magazine is a perfect example (much better than the New York Times Magazine, in my humble opinion).