I’m home. Back in Texas and back to normal, regular old life. When I landed back, there was a check list of things I needed to do. Eat my weight in guacamole, margarita night with April, drive around with the windows down, see my best friend’s baby bump (I am so excited to be Aunt Hailey, Kristina!!). See? There were things I missed about Texas. While I’m still missing London, it’s been nice being home too. Well kind of. I’m dealing with a little case of London withdrawals.
However, I’m most excited to be reunited with my kitchen! My kitchen in England was more like a closet they put an oven in. I’m back to my own kitchen where there is room to throw spices around, dance to Bill Withers and cook whatever I want.
That’s what brings me to today. I’m back in my Texas kitchen and I’m gonna make chili. It feels right. My chili is sans beans, extra spice and goes dang good with a Modelo and lime. Pair with cornbread, football, Taboo and loud people.
Let’s make chili!
This weekend I’ll be spending my nights saying good bye to the friends I’ve made and the places I’ve fallen in love with. Come Sunday afternoon, I’ll be on a direct flight to Texas. No more trains. No more wandering around London. No more mushy peas.
Of course, this is bittersweet. I miss my friends, my car (oh do I miss my car!), guacamole, people referring to a large group of people as “y’all.” Yet, things have become homey here in England. I’m used to it now. The speed of it all, the greenness, the weather, the style, the people. It’s going to be strange going back home where the tea is iced and I’m not a 15 minute train ride to London. I could write a whole love letter to London. I won’t. It would be way too sappy and there would be little hearts drawn everywhere with “H + L 4 EVA” drawn inside them. See? It would get weird. I’ll save you.
Instead, I’ll write 10 things you have to do in London. It may not be the most conventional 10 things, but they’re mine.
10 Things You Must Do in London
You know when you read something so nice that you get all grinny and goofy about it? Like you actually can’t help the smile muscles from happening and then you burst into dance in the middle of your bedroom? Well that just happened to me. Times 1,000, plus some leg kicks. The sweetest blogger in all of the UK, Ms. Flora from Flora E. May (check out her blog: here and follow her on bloglovin’: here) recently wrote the sweetest post about Pendelton Place and did a quick little interview.
Thanks for the sweet words, Flora! She is the best writer, loves food as much as I do and has some seriously awesome curls going on. I am so honored she decided to write a post about my little baby, Pendelton Place.
Check out her post on Pendelton Place: here!
Check out my favorite post of hers to see her mad writing skills for yourself : here!
Flora, you are awesome and so sweet and funny! Thank you!
Seriously, go check out her blog! Hurry!
Image of Flora via: Flora E May
Desk image via: Here
Winchester is the kind of city that makes you fall in love with England. I’m talking head over heels, I’m moving here and getting a yellow lab to take on my Sunday afternoon walks kind of love. People move more slowly in Winchester. You go on scenic walks, share pints at the local pub, walk down market streets. They seem to have it all figured out. Not to mention how stunning it is! There is so much history and architecture pumping through the town. I’m in love.
It all happened one magical Sunday during the Columbia Flower Market in London. The crowds were getting too much so I hopped into a shop to get some air and little did I know to get my favorite piece of jewelry. Now you should know, I’m not an impulse buyer. I actually normally always put it back. Do I need this? No, I don’t. I have major restraint with buying items, zero restraint with buying Justin’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups at the Whole Foods check out line. I’m digressing.
I’m here to talk about my new favorite English designer. I walked around the shop that Sunday for 15 minutes holding onto those pieces trying to make a decision. Do I really need this? Yes. Yes I do. Cinderela B Jewelry is an East London based designer that makes pieces inspired from all over the world. The price is doable, the pieces are unique and they just make me happy.
I think I’ve found heaven in Mayfair. Is there anything better than lobster? The answer is no. No there is not. When we stumbled upon Burger & Lobster I knew this was going to be one of my favorite London spots. The staff is friendly, the atmosphere is warm and there is heaping amounts of lobster to be had.
You know when you look at a menu and are completely overwhelmed by their selection? Why can I get gumbo and enchiladas at the same place? Burger & Lobster is exactly the opposite. You are given three glorious options: A whole lobster (grilled or steamed), a lobster roll or a burger and all for the exact same price. When lobster is an option, my advice is to always go for that option. We went with the lobster roll. More like lobster good enough to makes your eyes roll. Eh? Eh?
The Cotswolds checks off all of your English Countryside boxes. You want to see ivy clad charming homes? Check. Old men wearing newspaper hats? Check. Sheep-filled pastures? Double check. Sit in really really old pubs and have a pint? Triple check.
We ended up visiting three different villages on our trip through the Cotswolds. We went to Avesbury, Castle Comb and Lacock. The charm level in these villages is off the charts. Just look at the house above! Ridiculous.
You know those nights that you really don’t feel like cooking? You rather just eat almond butter straight out of the jar and maybe eat a couple of olives for dessert. Well I had one of those nights not too long ago. I love cooking! I really do but sometimes I just want to eat leftovers and watch Felicity. So I decided to put the lid back on my almond butter and make the easiest soup I know: vegetable soup. You just throw in loads of fresh vegetables, chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, seasoning and poof–you have dinner.
If you ever don’t feel like making dinner and you’re out of bread and cheese….this soup is your best friend. Your healthy and tasty best friend.
I’m going to be honest. I wanted to go to Stonehenge purely to cross it off my list. It is one of the wonders of the world, after all. I didn’t think it would be that interesting. It’s just a big ol pile of rocks, right? Wrong!
Well kind of wrong. While, yes, okay it is a giant pile of rocks–it really is more. It’s dramatic and kind of eery and mysterious and there really is something to being there in person. We went early in the morning so the clouds were thick and looming over the setting while the winds came blustering through. We got there before anyone had been there. No tourists doing a peace sign in front of this mysterious landmark to distract us. Just us and these colossal rocks. I’m pretty shocked by my reaction to visiting these Neolithic Stones. There’s a beauty to it. There’s a peacefulness to it. There’s just something.
Originally, Bath wasn’t on my list to visit in England. Nope. I thought, “Uh huh, yeah. Let’s go an hour on a train to see where some crazy Romans took baths.” I was kind of right in that aspect but I soon realized Bath is much more than that. It’s beautiful, chock full of history, architecture, some dang good pubs and it’s a great base to travel to places like Stonehenge and the Cotswolds. I was so very wrong about Bath. I guess Google Image isn’t the most accurate way to judge a town. Actually, Google Image isn’t the most accurate way to judge anything–except Theo James. Seriously, Google Image “Theo James”. You’re welcome.
Our first day in Bath, we decided to go to the Roman Baths. It was insane to see such history right in front you. Did you know that the baths were not only used for cleaning, but for their healing properties (minerals in the water) and for socializing? The Baths played such a large role in their lives. I had no idea.