London Calling

Earlier this year, I went to a family reunion in London. What can I say - my family is awesome LOL

But the real reason for the London location is that my grandparents on my mom's side lived in London for a number of years, and I grew up visiting London every other year. I used to call it "my London" like no one else in the world went there.  I was a weird kid :) Regardless, my grandparents moved back to India in the early 2000s, and have both since passed away, but London remains a place that holds many happy memories for me, my mom, her sister, and my cousin. So London as a family vacation reunion location made ALL the sense in the world.

Nick and I ended up spending 10 days in London - a week with my family and a weekend with our friends Jenn and Graham - we were having a wonderful time, all the way until the Saturday before we left, when the attack on London Bridge occurred. It's pretty crazy being a tourist in a city that is attacked by mad men on a rampage, more so because we were less than a half a mile from where it occurred. Sunday (our last day) was pretty subdued for Londoners - people were out and about, but things seemed different - quieter even. It was a pretty weird end to an otherwise amazing trip.

In this post, I'm sharing some of the highlights from our trip! Make sure you read the captions though - that's where all the good stuff is ;)

Love,

~ Shibani

Our amazing 4 bedroom 3.5 bath air bnb! The downside was that we didn't have hot water for 4 days on account of some issue with the heater and a bank holiday, but we survived these inhumane conditions ;) 

Our amazing 4 bedroom 3.5 bath air bnb! The downside was that we didn't have hot water for 4 days on account of some issue with the heater and a bank holiday, but we survived these inhumane conditions ;) 

This isn't the most well composed shot at Sketch, but its because we were trying to get the 2 celebrities in the pictures, discretely! Look familiar? That's Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner (from GoT)!!! Incidentally, Sketch is super amazing and totally worth the splurge. The high tea (for which you absolutely 100% need reservations) runs you between $130-$200 per couple, but you can also stop in for a drink at the bar for much less. There are different rooms, each decorated with a different theme that serve different purposes. The Instagram famous pink room is for high tea. 

This isn't the most well composed shot at Sketch, but its because we were trying to get the 2 celebrities in the pictures, discretely! Look familiar? That's Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner (from GoT)!!! Incidentally, Sketch is super amazing and totally worth the splurge. The high tea (for which you absolutely 100% need reservations) runs you between $130-$200 per couple, but you can also stop in for a drink at the bar for much less. There are different rooms, each decorated with a different theme that serve different purposes. The Instagram famous pink room is for high tea. 

Like so many people, Nick and I are OBSESSED with the BBC version of Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch (swoon!!) and Martin Freeman. We went on a Sherlock tour of London with Viator that covers all the TV shows and it was so much fun!! Note however, this tour does not include 221 B Baker Street, which houses the Sherlock Holmes Museum, or the building that stands in for 221B Baker Street on the show - but there are plenty of familiar sights.

Like so many people, Nick and I are OBSESSED with the BBC version of Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch (swoon!!) and Martin Freeman. We went on a Sherlock tour of London with Viator that covers all the TV shows and it was so much fun!! Note however, this tour does not include 221 B Baker Street, which houses the Sherlock Holmes Museum, or the building that stands in for 221B Baker Street on the show - but there are plenty of familiar sights.

I love the London Skyline. Always have, always will. and this is just part of it! 

I love the London Skyline. Always have, always will. and this is just part of it! 

We missed the famous Chelsea Flower Show by a week, but lucky for us, the Covent Garden Flower Show was in full swing. There were flowers EVERYWHERE and as someone who has a *slight* floral obsession, I was in heaven. Shops, restaurants, bars - everything was decorated in flowers! 

We missed the famous Chelsea Flower Show by a week, but lucky for us, the Covent Garden Flower Show was in full swing. There were flowers EVERYWHERE and as someone who has a *slight* floral obsession, I was in heaven. Shops, restaurants, bars - everything was decorated in flowers! 

I took this picture as much for St. Paul's Cathedral as for the iconic double decker bus. I absolutely love riding in the very front on the top deck - its an amazing view of the city and we got to ride the bus like a local a few times on our trip! 

I took this picture as much for St. Paul's Cathedral as for the iconic double decker bus. I absolutely love riding in the very front on the top deck - its an amazing view of the city and we got to ride the bus like a local a few times on our trip! 

You may think this is London Bridge, but its NOT! This is Tower Bridge, the pretty one. London Bridge is pretty boring to be honest, but this one is absolutely gorgeous! Its right by the Tower of London, which is another must-see on a London Visit. My favorite parts of the Tower of London were the Crown Jewels (obviously) and the display of all the ancient armor. 

You may think this is London Bridge, but its NOT! This is Tower Bridge, the pretty one. London Bridge is pretty boring to be honest, but this one is absolutely gorgeous! Its right by the Tower of London, which is another must-see on a London Visit. My favorite parts of the Tower of London were the Crown Jewels (obviously) and the display of all the ancient armor. 

We spent an afternoon in Shoreditch, which has some really amazing street art! Nick and I were both struck by how much Americana has made its way to London - there were an insane amount of burger places, and ribs had started to make an appearance. Lots of Chicago-style ribs (although I have to be honest, i didn't know Chicago has a specific rib-style?!) We did not try any of the American food btw - there's plenty of it right here at home! 

We spent an afternoon in Shoreditch, which has some really amazing street art! Nick and I were both struck by how much Americana has made its way to London - there were an insane amount of burger places, and ribs had started to make an appearance. Lots of Chicago-style ribs (although I have to be honest, i didn't know Chicago has a specific rib-style?!) We did not try any of the American food btw - there's plenty of it right here at home! 

My favorite museum by far: Seriously, it is the coolest. The exhibit on Cartier and the evolution of their watch designed specifically for pilots was incredible. There was also an exhibit titled "California" which was essentially a whole celebration of that cool California lifestyle. Lots of amazing pastels and surfboards and technology, including several iterations of the iPod (remember those) and the iPhone, which was really cool to see, and a good reminder that no matter how much I complain about the battery life, it is still a life-changing invention!

My favorite museum by far: Seriously, it is the coolest. The exhibit on Cartier and the evolution of their watch designed specifically for pilots was incredible. There was also an exhibit titled "California" which was essentially a whole celebration of that cool California lifestyle. Lots of amazing pastels and surfboards and technology, including several iterations of the iPod (remember those) and the iPhone, which was really cool to see, and a good reminder that no matter how much I complain about the battery life, it is still a life-changing invention!

Royal Albert Music Hall - just a 2 minute walk from our air bnb - we really had a great location in South Kensington! 

Royal Albert Music Hall - just a 2 minute walk from our air bnb - we really had a great location in South Kensington! 

You may find this surprising about me, but I'm super into Shakespeare. We've tried to go to the Cleveland Shakespeare performances for the past few years and we get rained out each time. That said, the Shakespeare Globe was definitely one of the highlights of the trip for me (although spoiler alert, its not exactly at the same location as the original Globe). We didn't stay for a performance (couldn't get seated tickets) and I honestly didn't want to stand for 3.5+ hours for a full performance. Nonetheless, it was fun to nerd out and take lots of pictures for about an hour!

You may find this surprising about me, but I'm super into Shakespeare. We've tried to go to the Cleveland Shakespeare performances for the past few years and we get rained out each time. That said, the Shakespeare Globe was definitely one of the highlights of the trip for me (although spoiler alert, its not exactly at the same location as the original Globe). We didn't stay for a performance (couldn't get seated tickets) and I honestly didn't want to stand for 3.5+ hours for a full performance. Nonetheless, it was fun to nerd out and take lots of pictures for about an hour!

My family!! 

My family!!