On Vacations, Gratitude and...@#$&*

Wednesday, July 18, 2018
So our London vacation was luxury.  From the first class flight to the sharp Uber drivers and polished London taxis to the presidential suite to the in-room happy hour gin lesson to childless shopping to EVERY meal.  It was fancy and pampered and just perfect.  Then I hit a slump.  I missed my kids. My husband and my cousin got food poisoning from Saturday until Monday, our last days there. I felt grumpy and sad and lonely. How could this happen to me on my dream vacation, and to all my companions? Let's not mention I had my incredible friend from back home there coincidentally at the same time.  I'm not good at chilling on city vacations, I get claustrophobic.  I get FOMO that I'm in a another country with so much to see and do and taste.  I found myself with too much time to think and mad at the universe and everyone else.  I was mad at my husband for randomly getting food poisoning twice in 10 days.  How?? I was mad because every time I called my mom she seemed stressed and both kids happened to be glued to their iPads and barely looked up to talk to me. But I guess that's life and the universe was telling me to chill, accept, slow down, spend time alone, reflect, relax.  Maybe that's what this strong wave of the flu was.  How can I possible complain. I flew 1st class, got waited on hand and foot at our hotel and on flight with my husband at my side.  Of course, among the fancy lunches, dinners and complimentary bubbly, my favorite parts all had the least frills.  Popping into whatever pub looked cozy with my hubs.  A traditional Sunday roast at a neighborhood tavern.  The drive to Oxford with my cousin and her husband and the snow-covered thatched cottages along the way.  The oldest pub in England.  Real candles at ever table.  Half pints of room temperature ale that didn't make me bloated! Sitting and waiting too long for the bill, so you are FORCED to sit, talk and actually digest! The novelty.  Maybe getting tired and relaxed enough to continue on to the next destination.  I am so glad I only partied 2 nights, and they were 2 memorable ones.  Nothing blurry or wild.  Just walking the city and stopping at spots of interest to get in from the cold.  I return home feeling ok, not like I overdid it.  Of course there's the dietary change to be made, less drinking, more responsibility, focus, but if vacation life was like real life, what would be the point?

Here, several months later, are my highlights...


Champagne on arrival.
Duke's unparalleled martinis. (No ice!)
Thai dinner in the back of a traditional pub.

Bibendum. UK oysters. Unreal.
Local Fish n' chips
Local school uniforms and seeing kiddos marching the streets in berets and knickers.
London Pride local ale.
Scotch Eggs!
Harwood Arms and its amazing upscale pub dining experience.
Game galore: Pigeon, Venison, lamb.


Gorgeously made hand crafted cocktails.  The Ivy's take on a White Lady.
7 Dials shopping.
Monmouth's artfully crafted coffee.
A spectacular drink at The American Bar at the Savoy with its Art deco historic style.  Cotton candy dusted with matcha aside a chalice.
An interesting and informative history of gin and a tasting in our suite.
Surprisingly some of the freshest and most delicious sushi we've had.

The whole day! Minus Silas' digestive disaster.
Breakfast made by Jenn in her flat. Delicious bread, fresh eggs, incredible quality ham and that tangy English cheddar.
The drive to Oxford.  Snow, country, sheep, horses and too many quaint homes to photograph.
Time with Jenn and Michael.
Coziest pubs. The Bear and its decor of cut off school boy ties and bar side cauldron of mulled wine.
The covered market and its incredible offerings of pastries and meat.
The Eagle and Child lunch where greats like JRR Tolkien sat & wrote.
Proper meat pie!
Cheesy cauliflower.
The oldest pub in England with its low ceilings, fires and cat inhabitants, skulls on the walls, a secret door to hide the King from enemies, lots of locals and seemingly no tourists in its untouched decor.


Berner's tavern. The prettiest cocktail; The Winter cup, made with shrub, Cynar and lavender. Their champagne mimosa trolley with the absolute freshest pear puree.  Meaty cod.
Paul A Chocolatier and his genius flavor combinations.
Vintage record shops in Soho and their rare finds.
The gritty side of Soho.
Hip Shoreditch and Boxbag shopping area.
The best Sunday roast lamb at Scarsdale Tavern.
Gravy and yorkshire pudding.
Dinner with my friend Stacey overseas!
Silas starting to feel 1/8th human.

A Banksy graffitti spotting.
My husband with me again albeit exhausted and worn.
Lunch at Bentley's. The best oysters and fish I've ever had.
Impromptu tea with Stacey and family.  Champs, champs...
Jenn making it to dinner at Chiltern Firehouse. More inventive drinks. Pigeon and foie gras. Risotto and truffles. Exquisite lamb and turbot.
Birthday balloons, cake and writing on the mirror from the hotel.

I am unbelievably grateful.   My heart is full. So much cheer and food and walks and fun people and connection. Exploring neighborhoods, taking in the city and its people and customs.  I am ready to go home and hug my munchkins, thank my parents, sit more, relax more.  Workout again.  Plan my week.  Thrive.

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