Monday, November 30, 2015

Adventures in England: Harry Potter!

You thought we were done with England posts? You didn't honestly think I'd go to England without visiting some Harry Potter sites, did you? Because that would be silly. Some people can't go to places without visiting the best malls, or the prettiest gardens. Me? Well, my interests are a bit less... muggle.

As you've probably guessed if you're an HP fan, we went to the end-all-be-all of Harry Potter destinations: the Warner Brother's Harry Potter set tour, and I was either speechless or squeeling the whole time. I'm actually going to apologize right now, because post is super-loaded with pictures. Like... TOO MANY. But how could I resist? It was all too... dare I say it... magical.







Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Adventures in England: London!

We saved the last day of our trip to wander around London. And really that just consisted of us taking the Underground to Westminster, seeing the touristy sights, then taking the train back to the hotel. Still... BIG BEN. 


We did get to watch the sunset from the Eye (that giant Ferris Wheel in the middle of London), which was pretty awesome. It led to some really great photos. (I mean that last one? Still takes my breath away every time I look at it.)



I really wish I could go back knowing what I know now. But isn't that the way it is with trips? I always want to take my vacations twice, because I never get to see EVERYTHING the first time. Also, the stress levels are always ridiculous for me. I really don't think that was something that could be helped, since it was Adam and I's first time out of the country. At least we picked a place where we could speak the language!


Things I'd change if I could do it again:

I'd bring multiple forms of payment. I think I mentioned it in the last post, but we were not prepared for the hassle of paying for things overseas. I knew it would be an inconvenience, but there were some miscommunications with our bank, so it crossed the line from annoying into a Problem. We got it all sorted out in the end, but for the rest of the trip I was second guessing every time we swiped a card.

I'd set an alarm. I like to sleep in during vacations, but we didn't set an alarm and ended up missing half of our day. I love sleep, I really do, but I don't think I needed to sleep THAT much.

I'd wander more. Besides the one "pub crawl," we didn't really give ourselves a lot of time to wander. I like the kind of serendipity that comes with stepping into the perfect book store, or getting the awesome meal you didn't expect.

I'd get fish and chips from the West Gate. They were just served adorably.

I. Hate. Buses. Well, no I don't hate buses. They're a great form of transportation. Rather comfortable, well heated, and I was usually able to get to sleep on them. But we had problems booking bus tickets every time, and we waited too long, (oops...) so we ended up sitting at a bus station at 1 in the morning on more than one occasion.


Things I absolutely would not change for the world:

The company. My awesome, handsome, patient husband and my fantastic, amazing, world traveling sister. I couldn't ask for two better people to enjoy another country with.

Spending so much time in Bath. I wanted to see London because, well, it's London, but I wish we could have spent another week in Bath. I loved the feeling I got from being there.

How much we walked. I averaged 16k steps a day, and I was so excited I didn't think to complain.

What I took. We just had carry on luggage, and I was worried we wouldn't have enough space on the way home, but it worked out very well. I took a sketchbook specifically bought for the trip, and a small set of watercolors. I didn't do a ton of sketching, but it was nice to have it all the same.

Buying my new headphones! I saw them at a store at home and fell in love, but we had to leave in a few days so I knew that ordering them online wouldn't work. Then I found the exact pair I wanted at a shop in O'Hare. I took that as my chance and bought them immediately. And I love them.

Heathrow airport. The security was easy, there were arrows pointing us to where we needed to go, and there was pretty much a mall to entertain you while you waited.

The sights we saw. I made a prioritized list of what I wanted to see, and I can happily say that I checked off every place.

I know there's tons of other things I wouldn't change, but if I listed every single one out it would get quite boring very quickly. So I'll just leave this off by saying that our trip to England was literally a dream come true. Thank you to everyone (*ahem* Adam and Bre) who made this not only a possibility, but a reality. I can't express how much I loved every second (even the stressful ones).

Friday, November 20, 2015

ten things




I'm head over heels jealous of this Nova cosplay by Bindi Smalls. I mean... 3D printed armor!? You don't get much more legit than that.

This Marie Antoinette inspired lookbook from WildFox is to die for! 

Loish (one of my absolute favorite artists) has released her 2016 calendar, and it's just as gorgeous as her past ones, if not even more so.

I love this breakfast in bed "room service" door hanger from Kate Spade! Do you think if I hung it on my door someone would make me breakfast? 

I've been playing a ton of Destiny, so of course I had to try to make my own ghost. This papercraft is perfect.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Adventures in England: Bath!

Last month my husband and I got a chance to go visit my sister... in ENGLAND! I had never been out of the country before, so this was a BIG DEAL for someone with huge travel dreams. I wanted to wait a while before I did this post, because in the aftershock off the trip the only thing I could remember was how insanely stressful it was (we learned a lot about how to do the money thing overseas). But now I've had time to decompress, and I'm looking through these pictures like "um, so... we're going again, right?"

I'm going to split these pictures into a few different posts (because of COURSE I took a billion and a half of them), and I'm going to start out with pictures of the place we stayed in the longest, (and, in the end, my favorite of the places we went) Bath!


Overall thoughts about Bath? GORGEOUS, but expensive. We stayed in these great apartments that were a block away from the train and bus station, a couple of blocks away from the Abbey and the Roman Baths, and literally right behind a huge shopping district. Like, there were two H&M's within a block of us. And a Primark, which was an insanely affordable shop my sister insisted I go to that I instantly fell in love with. If this sounds like the kind of place you'd like to stay, check out the SACO apartments on St. James Parade. They were a splurge, but we loved them.

As far as things to do, our time was really limited so we had to prioritize. We knew we wanted to see the Roman Baths and the Jane Austen Center, and my sister suggested the Bath Abbey, so we took a "tourist" day and went to go visit all those gorgeous sites. I actually don't know if gorgeous is a big enough word to do these places justice, so I'll just let these pictures talk for me.


The abbey was one of those things that just kind of gracefully loomed over Bath, so I have a ton of pictures of it. I couldn't get over the gothic architecture. The details made me gasp more than once.


The Roman Baths were mind blowing for me because they were the oldest structure I've ever been near, let alone in. It was beautiful there, almost soothing. At the end they offered some of the water from the baths to drink... it was like I was drinking... a key? Super metallic and not yummy at all. 

We took the time to do a little pub crawl one night, and it was one of my favorite parts of our trip. I get so caught up in the things that I just HAVE to see that I often forget to just let myself wander, but our little pub adventure helped out with that. We ended up in some beautiful places. The drawing in the top left corner was actually a gorgeous wallpaper that was hand painted. It's also the bar from the second picture on the top. See what I mean about gothic details? The second row of pictures was a pub by my sisters house, and it definitely had the most "pub" feel to me. We went there later on in the night because when we walked by the first time there was a match on and it was super crowded. 

The third row of pictures was from my favorite place in Bath, a restaurant and pub called The West Gate. The decor was very eclectic but still very trendy. The bottom set of pictures is from a pub that we wondered into last. They gave us dark beer and were playing rock music, so it was the perfect end to our night.

Besides all the typical touristy stuff, Bath itself was so pretty. I could have spent weeks there. My sister is so lucky!


That's it for Bath! In my next post I'm going to go more into the details of our trip, the things I wished we would have done differently, and what we saw in London (spoilers: a bus station. We saw a LOT of that bus station.) Be on the look out for part two!
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