one year in london - hurrah!

Yep, you know you've been in England for a while when you start saying "hurrah" instead of "hooray." The word slipped out the other day but it felt appropriate given the fact that this weekend marks my one year anniversary of living in London! I can't believe how quickly it has gone by. Joe marked his in March so now I'm all caught up and ready for another year of who-knows-what. I'm going to let the pictures do most of the talking since I've already professed my love to this city in writing. I really do love it. Without further delay, here are some of my favorite moments, places, things, and thoughts from the year....

learning to love bunting almost as much as the British do. they're crazy about it.southbank bunting

watching the wedding of the century at Hyde Park royal wedding

slowing down to lay on the grass, enjoy the sun, and have a treat at Kew Gardenskew gardens

making our first home together home

this being the normal afternoon snack tea @ cake hole

discovering the awesomeness of London's museumsv&a

wearing wellies and getting muddy along a public footpath in Devon devon

indulging in rest and country comfort at Hotel Endsleigh in Devon hotel endsleigh

playing tourist with my mom during her visit. this was the only way we could get a shot of her in front of the gate as police kept foot traffic moving! changing of the guard

being prepared for rain at any time. it's no big deal now. london b&w

getting caught in the wind with these guys on Brighton Pier brighton

pointing to our neighborhood and places we've been to from the London Eye. we felt like such locals. london eye

looking up and seeing colorful and interesting details like this in covent garden

learning the best bus routes to/from our favorite destinations color inside the double decker bus

windy days that turn joe into a little kid with his favorite toy kite

wanting to learn how to samba after Notting Hill's Carnivalcarnival

finding random places to chill on a nice day like this parking lot lounge/street food market in Shoreditchred market

hiring Barclay Bikes and riding around Hyde Parkbarclay bikes

sunset walks along the canal in Little Venice weekend

experienceing quintessential London moments and sightings weekend

exploring the unexpected in Hampstead Heath Hampstead Heath

seeing the first signs of fallfall

hopping on a high-speed train for a quick day trip to Windsor windsor castle 'the long walk'

weekend mornings spent trying new cafes and catching up on the papers cafe brunch

finding the beauty and charm in every pub vintage silhouette frames

ice skating at the Natural History Museum natural history museum ice skating, london

joe proposing under a beautiful tree canopy on the first snow day of the yearengaged

realizing that this river taxi view was just part of a normal day's commute. felt so blessed. river taxi

as is this view from Piccadilly tube station. cranes and all.piccadilly

and best of all, learning and doing it all with my favorite person in the world.smooch

Foreign travel moments and sights are next! Those will definitely be worth a "hurrah!"

feels like yesterday

london books Where does the time go??? Next weekend marks my one year anniversary of living in London and though we have done and seen a lot in this beautiful town, we've barely made a dent in these guide books. I think I'll dust them off and pretend like I've just arrived all over again since there's still so much to explore. In addition to planning new adventures around town, I'm going to commemorate our first year as American Expats by compiling my favorite photos and moments for next week's posts. There's plenty to share on that end so stay tuned!

weekend, we

Christ Church, OxfordChrist Church, Oxford Christ Church, Oxford Christ Church, Oxford Oxford Oxford Oxford Oxford tea in Oxford Oxford tulips breakfast view from Trafalgar Square St. Patrick's festival @ Trafalgar Square St. James's Park Buckingham Palace making brownies irish stout brownies

Hi, how was your weekend? We stuck to our plans and made a day trip to Oxford where we walked around the town center, through Christ Church, and the university buildings. I loved seeing students dressed in their "Oxford Prep"'s no joke, they really do wear tweed sport coats, ties, and dress-shoes, even on a Saturday. I guess between the weather, history, and impressive medieval buildings you almost have to follow the dress code to do it all justice.

Back in London, we joined the St. Patrick's Day festivities in Trafalgar Square and watched the Irish Jonas Brothers fiddle and dance their little hearts out. It's amazing to see events like this that make special use of public spaces. London is really good about that and it's one of the main reasons that I love this city. After the set was over I took my pint of Guinness to-go and we walked the scenic route home through St. James's Park and Buckingham Palace. I felt like such an alcoholic walking around with booze in my hand but whatever, it's perfectly legal - or at least acceptable - here so I'll take it!

While grocery shopping later that night I decided to go for it and whip up the Irish Stout Brownies I mentioned on Friday. I was nervous at first since I had never baked brownies from scratch (hello box mix, add water) but they actually turned out really good! Aside from the moments of frustration that come from learning how to bake, I'm starting to understand the zen aspects of the process. I've always gotten into zen-zones while sewing and crafting but cooking and baking is opening up an entire new world of sweet and savory satisfaction. Did you make anything this weekend or try something new?

weekend, we

Hi, how was your weekend?

It was so nice to be home after being gone for the past three in a row. We kept things simple since I had a photography gig on Saturday but we did go out for dinner and drinks with friends at night. If you're looking for the best cocktails and speakeasy ambiance in London, the Experimental Cocktail Club is the spot. We go there as often as possible and they have the best DJs spinning retro funk and soul.

Sunday, the most beautiful day of the year thus far, was nearly wasted by sleeping in until 1pm (wah wah). No, the drinks are not to blame, I'm unfortunately still fighting off a bug and my body is resisting it like crazy. The good thing is that Friday's spring wishes did come true - the weather was perfect. So picture perfect in fact that I didn't even take photos! I guess I was too mellow to be snap happy but it was beautiful, warm, and bright, believe me.

Here's to wishes coming true and to having a productive start to the week!

(image: from a sunny day out at Kew Gardens, London)

weekend, we

borough marketpop of color pop of color cooking class! pub mantra cozy home textures marylebone farmer's market marylebone farmer's market marylebone farmer's market marylebone farmer's market haul

Hi, how was your weekend?

As you can tell mine revolved around food so it was definitely a good one. Things kicked off with a full-day introductory cooking class where I learned practical principles of cooking and created simple yet impressive dishes. I'll share details in a separate post but for now let's just say that I've got a brand new sense of confidence to get my hands dirty in the kitchen! It's a good thing because earlier that morning I wandered into Borough Market just as vendors had finished setting up. Everything from cheeses, meats, produce, to spices looked incredible and only served as further motivation to get creative with my homemade meals.

Lately I've been surprising myself every time we clean out the fridge and have to make another grocery run.  My once chore-like mentality has turned into excitement to shop for fresh items and try new ingredients and luckily for us, one of our fave neighborhoods, Marylebone, holds a great little farmer's market on Sundays where we can do just that. It's amazing how much more enjoyable a farmer's market can be when you see possibilities instead of road blocks. Can't help but think of all of the great meals I missed out on when I lived in LA and only bought fruit and fresh-baked cookies from my local ones! Oh well, better late than never, right?

the pub life + {brilliant beats} cold war kids


With Joe being gone most of the week on business, I'm thinking he may want to take some time this weekend to hang out at one of our favorite pubs. I've really come to love their no-frills, come as you are ambiance/attitude and in some cases, their excellent playlists. Give me a song from one of my favorite albums, pair it with a good drink and you've got yourself one happy girl.

weekend, we

my new blinggreenwich park view of the royal maritime museum from the observatory view from the observatory it got this cold overnight view from greenwich park we break for churros @ greenwich market enjoying some sun while we munchboarding the thames clipper (water taxi)cross-town river taxi brixton market for dnner westbourne grove cafe brunch post "i need to feel the sun's warmth" breakdown i love him

Hello everyone, how was your weekend?

Despite temperatures reaching freezing levels overnight, London got some beautiful blue skies. We enjoyed Greenwich on Saturday by shopping their local flea market (see my new sequin jacket), walking through the park, and breaking for churros from one of the stands in Greenwich Market. We then got a craving for Colombian food so we hopped onto the Thames river taxi and headed west to Brixton Village. We really love that place...great dining options, unique little shops, and all of your grocery needs wrapped into one eclectic package.

Sunday was much more mellow with time spent in Westbourne Grove and Notting Hill. I actually had a bit of a surprising meltdown after breakfast that day. Temperatures were in the high thirties and though I was perfectly warm with what I was wearing, I desperately wanted to sit in the sun feel it on my face.  After walking to several cafes I thought might have some sunny outdoor seating, I was quickly devastated to see that the sun was too low (even at its peek) and there was nothing but more cold shade. Feeling defeated, we walked back to get some grocery shopping done but as we stopped at a crosswalk divider to wait for traffic, I felt it. The sun was shining through the cross street in full force and I felt its warmth from head-to-toe. I closed my eyes to surrender to it for a quick moment of nirvana but once we crossed the street and stood on the corner, a sudden feeling of total panic and anxiety came over me and I was practically whimpering. I had no idea what was happening and even though I recognized how crazy I was getting, I couldn't stop myself. I wanted so badly to sit outside, enjoy a hot drink and soak in the sun's rays. I had never felt so desperate in my life. Like, hello sun...I can see you but I can hardly feel you! I literally had a seasonal breakdown. My first and hopefully last.

Joe, being the amazing man that he is, squeezed my hand and lead me down that sunny street. It was the opposite direction of where we needed to go but he was determined to find a warm place to sit and calm my nerves. Of course, our detour wasn't without any of his playful teasing (he grew up in Alaska so he simply can't relate) but we eventually found a sunny spot at a little french cafe near Hyde Park. As we sat in the sun and I sipped my cappuccino, I couldn't believe how hysterical I had gotten. I felt so helpless, so silly. I've never in my life have had to make such an effort to get direct sunlight but I now fully recognize how much I cherish it. You can take the girl out of Southern California but you can't take So Cal out of the girl.

weekend, we

sidewalk artfalafel wrap @ portobello road market trimmings @ portobello road market beautiful bread @ portobello market produce @ portobello market winter skies breakfast planning

Hi everyone, how was your weekend?

Ours was nice - very local, relaxing, and productive. Saturday was all about a morning car boot sale (aka. community rummage sale) and an afternoon visit to Portobello Road for lunch and shopping. It was actually the first time that I've ever been to that market without going to the antiques section! Felt like such a local simply going there for sewing trimmings, fresh produce, and flowers.

Sunday was focused on the home which was easy to do since it was so grey out. We listened to the radio as we did our chores, prepped for the week, and in my case, prepped for the next couple of months. I've had tons of projects and ideas on the back-burner but now I'm committed to making them happen in 2012. Anyone else planning on putting their lingering ideas to work this year?