2018 Summer in London

It’s not often that I write about our London adventures, but if I’m going to share any, I should probably write about summer in London.   When we first moved to London, there were a few quintessential British events that we noted we must attend, but the last two summer’s Dan and I have been very fortunate to spend in Asia, therefore missing summer in London.

First up:  Royal Ascot!  I was so excited for this, we organised a group to attend probably about six months in advance 🙂

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And unfortunately, to be completely honest, we had quite the disaster with transport and logistics for the day.  We organised a mini bus to transport Dan and I along with 12 other friends to the racetrack.  Not going into detail, it ended up being a nightmare transport service and caused a lot of headache for the whole group.  Luckily, they at least got us to the event and we were able to enjoy some of the races.

Once inside the venue, it’s quite the scene.  It almost feels like you’ve stepped back in time as many of the men are wearing tails and top hats and the women are decked out in beautiful dresses and the most elaborate hats.  The fashion was by far the best part of the experience.  Despite the chaos with the transport, we had such a memorable day at the track.  Totally worth the headaches and we’ll remember this forever!


The second big event we had to make it to was Wimbledon!

The process of securing tickets for Wimbledon is an event in itself. There are a few different ways you can get tickets.  The first is entering the ballot a year in advance and cross your fingers you get in.  We’ve done this the last 3 years and have not been successful.  The second is to queue in line for hours upon hours the day before/morning of each day.  The third is to enter the daily ballot on Ticketmaster to win 2 tickets for the next day’s matches.  This year, we entered the ballot on Ticketmaster daily for the first 4 days unsuccessfully.  Dan decided it was time to queue to guarantee some tickets!  He went around 5am Friday morning and queued until 10am to get a grounds pass.  Funny enough…I entered the ballot that morning while at work (while Dan was queuing) and I won 2 tickets for centre court on Saturday! Our friends Gina and Charles also won tickets to the Saturday matches!

So Dan went two days in a row and was able to see Rodger Federer and Serina Williams play on Friday, then we both saw Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic play on Saturday.

The Wimbledon set-up is so quintessentially British.  From the queuing system to the strawberries and cream to the champagne to the white outfits, it was all perfectly organised, efficient and exceptionally clean.  It’s such a good day out – even if you don’t like tennis, it’s something if you’re able to try and experience!


Another really cool thing we did this summer was kayak down the Thames with the Phelps and Hitchcocks.  Us girls planned the entire evening a as a surprise to our hubby’s.  The weather ended up being absolutely perfect, and we had the most beautiful 2 hour kayak down the Thames where we ended in Greenwich for a pub dinner.


In July, we had a bittersweet moment in which we had to leave our beloved flat in Pimlico and find a new place to live.  Our landlord decided he wanted to sell the flat we were living in, so we had to be out quickly.  We truly loved our flat and neighborhood in Pimlico, it was so hard to leave.  But we were super fortunate to find a new great flat in a new neighborhood for us.  We landed on Marylebone, which has proven to be a great choice.  It is much more central (I  mean my commute to work is just a 20 min. walk!) and it’s right next to Regent’s Park.  It’s a quirky little flat (jungle garden and a wine cave!?!), but we’ve grown to love it already and are quickly making it our cozy new home.


Now that we live close to Regent’s Park, Dan and I have been trying to play more tennis.  (We were also super inspired by Wimbledon!) We knew a lot of our London friends also like to play tennis, so we decided to put on an Expats Tennis Tournament.  I hired out three courts for a morning and organised a round robin tournament with five other double’s teams.  The weather was perfect and the competition was fierce – with Mary and Nick taking home the championship! This is definitely something we’ll try and repeat next summer!


And last, but certainty not least, Dan and I celebrated our SEVEN YEAR WEDDING ANNIVERSARY!

Absolutely crazy to believe that seven years ago we vowed our lives together for better or worse.  I can honestly say it has been the best seven years, and I cannot imagine life any other way.

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We decided to stay in England for our anniversary. We found a cool castle that was converted into a luxury hotel over in Cornwall (southwest corner of England), in Dartmoor National Park.  We thought it would be cool to cycle the area, so we took our bikes on the train and headed down south.  After a quick 1.5 hour train ride, we hopped on our bikes and cycled up, up and UP.  Neither of us were prepared for the amount of uphill the 17 mile cycle to the castle entailed!  More than once we (well I) had to stop and walk our bikes up the steep hills.  Hills aside, it was such a beautiful route.  The English countryside is so special.  I love all of the little pubs, churches and villages dotted along the way.

After a lovely night stay at the castle, the next morning we were off to do some clay pigeon shooting.  We had an awesome guide who taught us some great tips and tricks which had both Dan and I hitting *most* of the targets!

After shooting for a few hours, we hopped back on our bikes for a 15 mile cycle back to the train station.  This cycle journey was much more pleasant as there were some great downhills!  Even though Dan may say I complained quite a bit about the hills, I genuinely loved this trip.  It was so nice to get out of the city and see the beauty England has to offer.  And it was so nice being outside for the majority of the weekend.  Fun to spend a whole weekend with just our cycles and backpacks! It was absolutely perfect for our anniversary!

English Countryside Camping

People thought we were crazy when we said we were going to go backpacking and camping in January in the UK.  It’s “too cold”, “too wet”, and “too muddy”. But, we did it!  And it was amazing! And you should all do it!

20170128_133223This weekend we packed all of our outdoorsy gear into our big backpacks and headed down south into the South Downs National Park.  We took a train and a bus to get to Ditchling.  From there we hiked about 2 miles to Ridgeview Wine Estate for some sparkling wine tasting.  The vineyard was beautiful and the tasting was great.  One of the best tastings we’ve ever been to for your money.  We sampled 7 different sparkling wines, each one with a very generous pour!  We both agreed that the 2011 Blanc de Blancs and the 2013 Rose de Noirs were our favourites.  We bought a bottle of the Rose to bring back to London with us (Dan had to lug it around for the rest of the weekend!)

20170128_152915After wine tasting, we walked another few miles into town for a quick lunch at a cafe’ before another few miles into our campsite.  We stayed at a place called Blackberry Wood.  It is quite a quirky place. They offer camping in a helicopter, double decker bus, a tree house and a few other odd shelters.  We settled for the simple, wooded site and set up our own tent.  There were only 2 other tent campers there, so it was nice and secluded!

After setting up, we took a nice rest and enjoyed the quiet outdoors.  Living in the city for awhile now, I often forget how much I love nature and enjoying the quiet outdoors.  At dusk, we laced up our hikers again and hiked off another couple of miles into town to grab a pub dinner.  We enjoyed the warmth of the indoors and the fireplace with our delicious pub food and pints.  At this point, it started raining, so we cheated and called a cab to take us back to our campsite.

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Although it was still drizzling when we got back, we decided we had to still have a campfire and s’mores.  It’s really hard to find s’mores ingredients in the UK – so we decided to improvise with Biscoff biscuits, dark chocolate and of course marshmallows.   You guys – don’t ever use a graham cracker and Hershey’s again!  This was a total game changer!  It was amazing and I never want a traditional s’more again!  Delish!  (Total failure on my part to take a picture – but I was too engrossed in it’s delishness to stop and snap one!)

20170129_101604Although it rained most of the night, our tent kept us dry and (mostly) warm.  I wouldn’t say it was the best night’s sleep – but it was still good.  One of my favourite things about camping is having coffee in the morning.  We love Starbucks instant packets for camping.  We boiled water with our little stove and were able to enjoy Starbucks coffee while relaxing in our tent.

Nothing crazy exciting about this weekend.   But it was perfect. Short and sweet.  Dan and I love the outdoors.  We did get a bit cold, damp and muddy – but we love getting away and enjoying our time together.  It really was so beautiful, refreshing and relaxing.   And we were able to get some good mileage in 🙂