High Tea for Three

The one thing I wanted to experience in London was high tea. My sister & I already had our fill of tea over the days spent in London, but we were excited to be fancy for a day, get dressed up, and go to one of the most extravagant hotels in England. Our seating was at 1:00, so we spent the day walking around, exploring the streets of London until it was time to get ready! I was in awe everywhere we went. While I love the architecture in some neighborhoods like Soho or the West Village, it was so nice to see so many streets untouched by modern architecture.

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We journeyed back to our hotel & primped ourselves for high tea at the Ritz London! We hopped in a cab and were greeted by the most amazing cab driver of all time. I never believed I had a strong New Jersey accent, but our cab driver surely thought we did. He asked if we were on that show called the Sopranos, which caused us to burst into a fit of laughter. We finally arrived at the Ritz & headed inside. Our hotel was very modern so we were amazed by the opulence and grandeur of the place. The gold trimming, the ornate fixtures, the marble floors, it was spectacular. We were quickly ushered inside and in true Mrs. Conroy form we were one of the first parties to arrive for our seating, hence why all of our pictures look like no one was there! It was jam packed by the time we departed.

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We were beyond full when we left, having eaten our fill of scones, clotted cream, jam, finger sandwiches, pastries, and tea. Ashley headed back to the room for a nap, so my Mom & I decided to walk around in search of a tea shop. We stopped in a small cathedral along the way. The molding, the columns, the pews, everything was so gorgeous. My mom has yelled at me multiple times when I have said I do not want to get married in my childhood church. I believe it is too modern and lacks beauty, and after seeing how gorgeous these churches were, I am more adamant about it now. There is so much character in older churches, the effort that went into building them, the attention to detail, it makes a huge difference.

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We moseyed around Covent Garden and finally made it to our destination! I picked up a few boxes of tea, some Earl Gray and Chamomille!

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We headed back to the hotel had a beer, showered up and headed out for dinner. I did not take pictures this night because 1. the lighting in the restaurant was horrible, 2. we were not fond of the restaurant (a small tapas place), and 3. I left my good camera in the hotel room. We got back to the hotel after dinner had some drinks, then drifted off to sleep wanting to be well rested for our last day in London!

 

 

 

A Cloudy Day in London

Our third day in London started off dreary and cloudy, but we were determined to make the most of it. We had some breakfast, then headed off to the London underground, hitting up Trafalgar Square along the way.

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My sister took around 8,000,000 selfies the entire trip.  I am not a selfie pro but have taken the occasional, but as you can see in the below image our Mom clearly had no idea what a selfie was hence the confused “what do I do” face.

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We finally made it to the tube station and were really shocked as to how underground their subway system is. In NYC, you go down a few steps and are there, but in London you are stories underground. Compared to the NYC subway it was immaculate however, not even a speck of garbage, no smells of pee and other questionable things, it was great!

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We took the tube a few stops until we emerged at the Natural History Musuem. While my sister and Mom found it to be fascinating, I found it incredibly boring. What I did find fascinating, was the architecture. I spent more time looking, examining, and photographing that than I did the exhibits. It was remarkable, the detail,the stained glass, the time, the materials used, I was in awe. The dinosaurs, rock formations, leaves, what have you left me quite sleepy and I was ready to head elsewhere.

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Once everyone had their fill, we headed off to the museum I was most eager to see, the Victoria & Albert Museum. There were so many great collections, from fashion labels such as Givenchy, Christian Dior and Alexander McQueen, to rock tees through the decades, to art and artifacts from Ancient Rome, I loved it. We rushed through the museum, much to my dismay. My sister was starving and needed to be fed haha.

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We bolted off to Harrod’s in search of typical touristy souvenirs and some tea/food. I was not impressed, it was like an ornate Saks Fifth Avenue, but of course it was a must see along the way. We stopped in their “Tea Room” for lunch & while the tea was good the rest of the experience was not. We finished our lunch & headed to the souvenir shop to pick up some ornaments for our Christmas tree, gifts for the family & other gadgets. By this point we were exhausted & headed back to the hotel to shower & get ready for dinner!

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We headed to Bocca Di Lupo, a small little Italian spot near the Soho area of London. The food was absolutely perfect. I started off with a radish salad, which was presented in a cute little tower formation. Then moved on to a spaghetti, with basil, olives and fresh tomatoes. This was the only time I was sad over the portion size because it was THAT good. I cannot remember the dessert we tried, but my sister and I like two little kids, started giggling over a dessert entitled “Le palle del nonno” or “Grandpas Balls”. I may almost be 25 but sometimes my brain acts like a 5 year old.

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Once finished, we gathered up our things and strolled through Piccadilly Circus. It was basically the equivalent of Times Square, my mother was not too happy with the area so I hailed down a cab and we headed off to our hotel for some amazing martinis and Moscow mules.

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London Calling x 2

For some reason we lucked out with the weather in London it only rained for an hour the entire time we were there! That happened to be the day we woke up bright and early…no really my mother had us wake up at 7am (or 2am NYC time) to eat breakfast and head up to Buckingham Palace. We needed a FRONT row spot to watch the Changing of the Guards.

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We strolled through Saint James Park on our way to the palace. Stopping to take in the sights as we went along. The one thing I noticed about London, everything was SO clean! We stopped to take some pictures along the way sticking out as the ultimate tourists to all the locals.

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Finally after a 30 minute walk or so we arrived at Buckingham Palace, took a million pictures & then waited the three hours until the Changing of the Guards actually began.

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This was the only thing my mother wanted to see in London so my sister and I tried not to complain during the three hour wait. Eventually we caved & went on a search for Starbucks, making it back just in time! Did you know they play Michael Jackson songs? We found this quite humorous.

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Needless to say it was something cool to witness, but it was a one time thing. From here we planned to head to Harrod’s, but it began to rain so we decided to go on a tour of Buckingham Palace instead, no photos allowed 😦 . It was an incredible experience, being able to walk through the halls and see the opulence of the architecture and decor. We managed to get this one picture outside of the palace.

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From here we headed back to our hotel, my sister needed a nap and some gym time, so my mother & I went to tea!

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The tea in London was out of this world, I have hunted down the purveyor of the tea I drank every day and plan on having a case or two shipped to the states. After tea, we headed back to our room to get ready for dinner! The dress that I wore (pictured above) is one of my absolute favorite purchases! It is from ASOS and is on SALEEEEE ❤ & the boots were so comfortable yet stylish (similar). I love planning dinners and had researched & made reservations at some of the best restaurants in London! For our second night, we headed to Berners Tavern. It was incredible, my favorite meal of our London trip. I started off with an heirloom tomato salad which was impeccable.

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I then moved on to a glass of wine and a new season pea, broad bean and goat’s cheese risotto with crispy quail egg, pea shoot and spring onion salad! It was delicious. The quail eggs were perfectly cooked, the risotto was just right & the presentation was simple but appetizing. After, we once again split a dessert! This time we went for a toasted coconut creme brulee, with a pineapple, coconut and malibu sorbet!

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I really recommend that you make a reservation if you are ever there, but make sure you book in advance! You can do so here. Once dinner was over and we had stuffed ourselves, we walked around Piccadilly circus! My mom was not a fan of the area so we headed back to our hotel & stopped for a drink before heading off to bed 🙂 xx

 

 

 

LONDON CALLING

So, my obsession with London may stem from my love of my future husband…Prince Harry. No just kidding, but maybe not. Ever since I was a little girl I have been begging my parents to go to London and FINALLY as an early 25th birthday present my parents agreed (it has secretly been my Moms dream too). It was a magical trip and I even convinced them to sneak in a few days in Paris as well! My dad unfortunately was unable to come on this trip due to my parents new puppy & work 😦 but we sent him a million pictures so I hope he felt as if he was with us!

Our journey started off at my NYC apartment where we packed and weighed our bags and yelled over who stole each others shoes, etc. Finally, we were off to JFK!!! After a traffic filled drive we sailed through check in, security and so on! My sister even got hit on by a TSA agent of course. Eventually we boarded and were off on our red-eye to Heathrow.

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We touched down to sunny skies and perfect weather! My sister did not sleep the whole plane ride but surprisingly fought through her exhaustion and once we checked into our insane hotel (images below)& got settled we were off! For anyone taking a trip to London I definitely recommend staying at the Corinthia Hotel! It was right in the middle of everything but in a secluded area so it was quiet!

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Off we went to see Big Ben, which we found out from a friendly cabbie was not actually called Big Ben (I feel like my childhood was a lie).

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We strolled along, stopping to be typical tourists and take pictures. The architecture is INSANE! We passed Westminster Palace, Westminster Abbey, and many other known sites in London!  We stopped in front of Westminster Abbey to take pictures, but were unable to go inside as it was closed to visitors at that time 😦

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What trip to London would be complete without a photo in one of their iconic phone booths? We were warned that they would smell like pee and oh did they. Living in NYC I guess I have gotten used to the smell, but my sister was freaking out the entire time she was taking her picture haha. I also learned a little fact, to show his love for his wife Coco Chanel, her husband put the signature double C on every lamp post in the city!

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After a few hours the jet lag began to sink in. We headed back to our hotel to wash up and get ready for our first dinner in London! We stopped by the hotel lobby for some tea, some WINE for me and some little snacks before our reservation.

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We headed to the restaurant which was so conveniently located in our hotel and settled into our table. The restaurant was so beautifully decorated, everything was so grand. If you are ever in London, check out Massimo in the Corinthia Hotel. It was great fresh Italian food & the pasta was homemade which always makes for a better dish. I apologize in advance for the blurry food pictures, the lighting was so bad for photography.

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We started off with some appetizers,  I had the autumn salad & it was delicious. Layered with mixed greens, pumpkin shavings, butternut squash and other seasonal vegetables it hit the spot! Of course to accompany this I had to have a glass of red wine. I think I drank wine every single night I was in Europe but hey why not.

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For my entree, I snacked on mafalde con ragù napoletano e ricotta or in English pasta with a meat ragu & ricotta. It was exquisite! I am such a foodie, I love going to different restaurants and trying different cuisines. It makes me so happy when food is presented beautifully & tastes amazing as well, but at this point I could have cared less because it was cooked to perfection & seasoned just right! The rest of the family agreed.

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We finished our meal with a dessert to share deciding on the pastiera con gelato alla vaniglia or Neopolitan cake with vanilla gelato. After paying the bill the my mother, sister & I headed up to our beds for a jet lag induced sleep.

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