Thursday, April 21, 2016

A Long Weekend Getaway to England


My husband and I were recently invited to a friends wedding in Cambridge, England. At first we thought, lovely jubbly, but how could we ever leave the boys for such a long and far away trip?!?!? The longest that both of us had been away from both boys had been 2 days, and I have never left the country without my children. But part of me kept dreaming about tea and scones with OUT a side of boogers and screams....Deep down I reeeeeeeaaaaalllly wanted to go to this wedding! I was so torn!

 My husband and I spent weeks discussing the possibilities of taking them with us or leaving them behind or not leaving at all. I had a good chat with my cousin and best friend Gervase, who also happens to be a life coach for moms (check her out at shinyhappyhuman.com) and she gave me some excellent words of wisdom that helped me make the decision and take the big plunge! I was still VERY anxious about leaving the boys.....I think I drove my babysitters nuts with laundry lists of "helpful suggestions".... but my anxiety ceased the moment I sat down on my Virgin Atlantic flight and the airline hostess offered me a glass of champagne....YES PLEASE!


I grew up in London and then moved back for two years with my husband due to his job, so the city holds a special place in both our hearts. First stop upon arriving on British soil was a hearty breakfast at one of our favorite restaurants in Notting Hill, Granger and Co. The ricotta pancakes and the full Aussie breakfast are to die for! Plus the people watching never disappoints :-)


Despite living in London for so many years, neither hubby or I had ever been to Cambridge. We wanted to maximize our time there so, shortly after breakfast, we hopped on a train at St Pancreas Station. In less than an hour we were in the historic city of academia.






I was so impressed with the beauty and history of Cambridge. The University was founded in 1209 and the richness of the city's heritage is apparent in every street corner.







We stayed at a charming boutique hotel overlooking the River Cam called the Varsity Hotel and Spa. Although our room did not have views of the river, it had very impressive views of the rooftops and church steeples of Cambridge.




Despite feeling jet lagged, we were determined not to curl up in the comfy bed of our hotel and instead to explore the city. We eventually strolled out of the city, following signs for a country walk through the surrounding meadows and pastures. The softly curling streams and green hills made me feel like I was a character in a Thomas Hardy novel.











We eventually came to the quaint and picturesque village of Granchester. I was charmed by the thatched roof cottages and the town's medieval stone walled church.







We stopped for a drink at a charming local pub. My hubby and I are both very mature and definitely did not snicker at the name "The Blue Ball Inn".



The next day, before the wedding, we met up with friends for a traditional punting tour of the River Cam. Our friends rented their own boat rather than hiring a guide, which made for a lot of shenanigans.












We worked up an appetite with all that punting and made our way to The Pint Shop for a delicious pub lunch








The Pint Shop, Cambridge, UK

The wedding later that afternoon was so quintessentially British. I was in Anglophile glory! The service began in the chapel at Selwyn College and was followed by champagne and cordials on the lawn. Luckily, the fickle British weather cooperated beautifully for Paddy and Corina's big day.

Dress from ASOS shoes from Steve Madden, Kate Spade bag from Nordstrom Rack, Jacket from Sacks Off 5th

Dress from ASOS shoes from Steve Madden, Kate Spade bag from Nordstrom Rack, Jacket from Sacks Off 5th





Dress from ASOS shoes from Steve Madden, Kate Spade bag from Nordstrom Rack, Jacket from Sacks Off 5th


Later, guests were ushered into the dining hall for the "wedding breakfast" and speeches. If it hadn't all been so beautiful I might have though I was in the great hall of Hogwarts.










The wedding was spectacular! After a late night of dancing and enjoyment, my husband and I roused ourselves for a last day in England. We hopped back on the train to return to London and spent the afternoon enjoying our old neighborhood, Marylebone. We tried a new trendy restaurant called the Chiltern Firehouse (so chic) and a new coffee shop called The Monocle (super hip) as well as visiting a delicious favorite The Providores (yummm).

The Chiltern Firehouse, Marylebone, London

The Chiltern Firehouse, Marylebone, London

The Chiltern Firehouse, Marylebone, London

Top from H&M and bracelet from Candy Shop Vintage, sunglasses by D'Blanc from Las Olas Charleston

The Monocle Cafe, Marylebone, London

The Monocle Cafe, Marylebone, LondonCharleston Rice Beads from Candy Shop Vintage
The food at The Providores was obviously SO good that I ate it all before I could get a good picture!
Later that night we met up with some old friends. The pubs on Marylebone High Street were all so busy and loud that we decided to go back to our adorable hotel bar at Durrants Hotel. With leather chairs and dark wood paneling, the cozy room reminded me of a comfortable British sitting room, and it was the perfect place to catch up with old friends. Our room for the night was small but perfectly charming and it had everything we needed to catch a few hours of shut eye before our early flight the next morning.
Durrants Hotel, Marylebone, London
Durrants Hotel, Marylebone, London

Ballet flats from Gap
Shoes from Gap, Bag from Sole Society
Although the trip was quick, and many of the hours away were spent flying back and forth over the Atlantic Ocean, I would do it again in a heart beat! We had such a wonderful time! The boys were safe and happy upon our return and I am not sure that they really noticed that we had been gone!