Do! Harrods Food Hall

This one is an easy must-do for all ages and all price ranges! The iconic department store, Harrods, has the best food hall in town. The grand building holds room after room of decadent goodies and gourmet masterpieces that leave you staring at the glass like a kid at a candy shop window. 

I bring most guests to this show stopper, and half the time, I don’t even buy anything! Just looking is a satisfaction in itself! And, boy, is there something for everyone. 

One of the first rooms holds beautifully crafted chocolates and high-end teas. It’s the perfect spot for purchasing a gift to bring pack to the country you hail from, or to have a quick nibble to satisfy a little sweet craving. 

In the next room, you’ll find the prepared food section. Every type of food you could dream up is in there, perfectly cooked, decorated, arranged and packaged in the curved glass cases. There are casual items, like croissants and other pastries to grab with a quick coffee, or beef jerky loose and ready to be scooped into a container of your preferred size. Then there are the fancy, amazing, Instagrammer’s dream items, like rainbow-colored terrines, shiny fruit and custard tarts, and flawless cakes. And then there’s the cheese. So much cheese!

Sweet dreams at Harrods, London
For the grown ups, Harrods, London

If you don’t get lost in that last room, you can check out the produce area. There are basic and unusual fruits and vegetables, all perfectly placed, ripened, and round, stacked in charming baskets and bins. The entire room has the aromatic scent of the fresh flowers that are sold along one wall. The other shelves are filled with more biscuits and teas, nuts, and specialty gifts. 

The last room you’ll visit in the Harrods Food Hall is the meat and seafood section. A culinary artist’s dream, Harrods has a perfect variety of beautifully weighed cuts to make for an amazing cooking experience. I need to make Harrods the grocery destination for all of my special occasion cooking experiences.  I haven’t yet, always thinking of it as a luxury spot to visit, ignoring how helpful it could be when looking for high-quality ingredients, but that’s about to change. 

In addition to all that good stuff, you can take a break from walking or shopping and grab a snack or a drink at one of their many bar/restaurants. Like they needed more! Be prepared to be paralyzed by choice!

Harrods, London
So, as you can see, Harrods is more than just a pretty face with an expensive wardrobe. Their motto has always been “All Things for All People, Everwhere,” and that definitely holds up in the Food Hall. Everyone can appreciate and attain something to call their own from behind the glass at the Food Hall. It’s special, inclusive, and worth the trip! Enjoy!

A scene from Harrod’s London
Harrods Food Hall
87-135 Brompton Road
London SW1X 7XL

Categories Do!

Don’t! London Eye

Back to rain here in London! Luckily, there was nothing but sunshine this past week while my sister was visiting. She and her friend are now off partying in Amsterdam, and I will be reuniting with them this weekend in Paris–giving me enough downtime to report to you with my latest Do’s and Don’ts!

I played tourist this weekend, as I usually do when entertaining guests. Today, I bring to you my thoughts on the London Eye. This was my third experience on the slow-motion ferris wheel, and (nope, third time is not a charm), it’s still a Don’t! I really try to avoid the Eye unless someone is really asking for it. I think it’s a waste of time given everything else this great city has to offer.

The London Eye
First, I could think of a better use of £30.00. Sure, they make the ride seem like a deal by throwing add-ons in to offset the cost, like bundling in the London Dungeon or Sea Life experiences (both previous Don’ts) for only £10.00 extra, but if you’ve read my thoughts before, they’re all a waste of time and money. The Fast Track option is another way they get you to up your online shopping cart. This puts you into a shorter line, but still not right onto the ride. I do think this is sometimes worth the extra £5-10, depending on the time of day or year. You should definitely buy any London attraction ticket online prior to your visit. This will save you money.

Beware, your pre-booked ticket, however, is only good for saving you money. Your selected time means absolutely nothing. You don’t have a booking to get on the London Eye, you have a booking to get in a very long online ticket collection line and then a very long line to get on the actual ride after that. It is horrible. Both likes are long, filled with loud children and confused tourists, and you’re surrounded by an overload of the color Coca-Cola red. 

Once we collected our actual tickets and headed to the main, outdoor line, we were faced with a rude employee, which is just the worst. It really makes you feel like your £30 is completely unappreciated and that you are just being pulled in and churned out of an overrated tourist trap. This girl was on a power trip, and declined our entry because we had to get in the back of the queue. Once she realized there was no one behind us, she let us into the line, but with an attitude.  

Once we navigated through the switchback line and the rude employees, we were finally ready, after about an hour, to hop on board the egg.  I say hop because you literally have to run and jump onto the Eye. It doesn’t stop for you. I could never imagine anything like that being in line with the U.S safety standards. But, anyway, you jump onto this egg-shaped capsule that moves at a snail’s pace to show you every angle of the city. 

The capsules itself are not impressive. They are overstuffed with visitors making it a race to the best spots or to the little screens that describe the buildings around you. They’re not worth looking at, anyway. Covered in greasy fingerprints, and not cleaned throughout the day, the dark, outdated screens are not worth the diseases probably brewing on them. Back when I took my firs London Eye ride, the capsules were cleaner, quieter, and not covered with tacky Coca-Cola decals as they are today. 

Inside the London Eye

The view is just okay. London doesn’t have the most impressive skyline in the world, so I would be just as happy checking it out  from a rooftop bar with a drink in my hand. Now that is where I would prefer to spend £30!

In conclusion, if the London Eye is something you feel you need to do, go for it, but if you’re on the fence, check out the rest of the blog to find out about all the other activities actually worth your while. If you have to check it off your list, avoid a summertime ride when tourist season is at an all time high. For the Eye, aim to go in the mornings…after 2:00 that attraction and area becomes a zoo. Good luck!

The London Eye

London Eye
Riverside Building 
County Hall
Westminster Bridge Road
London SE1 7PB

Do! Kurobuta Chelsea

Hi Londoners! I hope you’re all enjoying this fabulous weekend. I really don’t think we could have asked for a better one with constant sun, high temperatures and a refreshing breeze. My sister and a friend are in town, so I’ve been playing tour guide, as per usual. The great weather has been a huge relief for our itinerary that has included some of my favorite outdoor activities. We’ve taken a canal ride, wandered through Camden and Borough markets, explored Hampton Court Palace, and just enjoyed the city’s scenery in general. As the two girls are exploring the Tower Bridge Exhibition (a previous London Checklist Do!) right now, I’m sunning along the bridge, taking this peaceful opportunity to tell you about last night’s dinner at the delicious Kurobuta!

Kurobuta, London

This was my first visit to the King’s Road Kurobuta. From the outside, it looks like a low-key casual bar/restaurant. Inside, it was more lively than I expected, with excited patrons enjoying sake bombs, which kept inadvertently waking up the dining crowd. The servers were cool and upbeat, keeping with the great energy. The menu was sassy and fun. There was nothing dull about Kurobuta, which made it the perfect venue for our girls night out. 

Sexual drinking at Kurobuta, London

I wouldn’t describe it as casual, necessarily, more like chill. No fuss decor and service. Almost minimalist like you would find a bachelor pad or an art gallery. Sexy with dim lighting, and kept interesting with mixed decor of different textures, dark colors and edgy artwork. It’s an easy place to slip right in for a weeknight dinner or plan ahead for a Friday night date. It ticks all the boxes.

The service was so lax, but given the vibe of the place, I was okay with it. We had ordered a bottle of wine, and at some point it was dropped at our table. We didn’t even notice the server bring it by, because we are used to a legitimate wine presentation. This was actually the first time in my life that a bottle was just dropped like that. I’ve had tastings been skipped before, but the server has always at least poured. Even though it was very strange, and we all noticed this before discussing, it really didn’t bother me that much given the place. Plus, with the quality of the food, it would take a lot to rile me.

Onto the food. Everything we had was fabulous.  We were unsure of the Kurobuta portion sizes (or our appetites after pre-gaming with a giant cheese plate and prosecco at the house) so we started with just a few things to share. The grilled aubergine, shrimp tempura maki, and tuna sashimi pizza. They were all delicious. The tuna pizza was much smaller than expected, and so tasty, that I would recommend for any small party sharing to order two right off the bat. We were still hungry with those small teasers, so we threw in two more items which came out surprisingly fast. The spicy tuna maki and the pumpkin tempura. Both, again, amazing. The girls agreed on the pumpkin for their favorite dish, for me, it was the eggplant (aubergine). Really, though, it doesn’t appear that you could go wrong with any dish at Kurobuta.

Tuna sashimi pizza at Kurobuta, London

We left full and happy, especially after owing under £30 each. Reasonable prices for outstanding food. I definitely recommend Kurobuta on King’s Road and cannot wait to go back and try their other locations! Go see for yourself and enjoy!
Kurobuta Chelsea
312 King’s Road
London SW3 5UH

Categories Do!

Don’t! Portobello House Bar/Bistro

Another don’t! I must say, I’ve had quite a few these days. I’m hoping my luck changes this weekend when I have my sister in town for a jam-packed five days of activities. For now, let me help spare you from picking the wrong bistro to spend your precious time and hard-earned money.

Portobello House, London

The Portobello House calls itself a “Boutique Hotel.” I think that term is used wayyyy too loosely and pretty much describes any space that is small and has some eclectic decor. Since I have never stayed at Portobello House or seen any of the hotel rooms, this review is solely for the ground floor bar and restaurant that wraps around the front of the building. Located right on the corner of Ladbroke Grove, in Notting Hill, Portobello House has the quaint and colorful exterior that you would expect in such a darling neighborhood. The inside, however, is anything but. After I spent some time in the restaurant, I was reminded of something a girl I knew once said. I thought she lived by the church near Portobello House, but she corrected me by stating “No, no. I live on the posh end of Ladbroke Grove.” I didn’t care for the comment (or even her after that attitude), but really, after spending a lot of time on the north side, you realize there is definitely a posh end.

Notting Hill’s Portobello House on Ladbroke Grove

Portobello House’s clientele can be described as a hot mess. The men and women that frequent the place seem to be wasted. The men are shouting at their football games and chain-smoking out front. The women are doing the same, while trying to adjust their too tight skirts while navigating through the place on impractical heels. Someone referred to the place as “chavy.” Since this word is still new to me and my American diction, I don’t know if it is or isn’t, but I would say that person usually knows what they’re talking about.

The establishment clearly enjoys the patrons it caters to, because they’re not doing themselves any favors. The place is decorated like the “boutique hotels” you would find up north, in a place like Derby, not in Notting Hill. There are neon lights, champagne bottles on display, and ornate chandeliers. Someone thought those things made a statement when put together, and then decided to take it all even further with menu chalkboards, black and white movies playing from a projector, and shabby chic wallpaper. It is design overload, meant to wow the uncultured guest where a multitude of trends must equal good taste.

Interesting design choices at London’s Portobello House

Now for something positive. The food is tasty. The menu has something for everyone because (like the decor) it’s kind of all over the place. But, that’s okay. Some days I want spaghetti, others chicken satay, mac n’ cheese, nachos, or a cheese board. You just never know. My husband, on the other hand, who is forever paralyzed by choice, hates it. I usually opt for the mixed Tapas & Bruchetta Board they offer to mix in a little bit of everything when sharing with a friend. They have an extremely powerful Gorgonzola Bruschetta which really is amazing. They’re all guilty pleasure snacks, so don’t go if you’re on a diet or vegan that day.

If you’re thinking at this point, it sounds like she’s been there more than once, you’re right. It took some time for me to categorize this one. My last visit sealed Portobello House’s fate after some poor, slow service and a plethora of rude and loud customers. Their Happy Hour specials and tasty apps are not good enough to keep coming back. And for that, they’re a don’t! Do not be tempted by their smart and pretty website, FYI, the place must just be photogenic. That’s all.

London’s Portobello House


Portobello House
225 Ladbroke Grove
London W10 6HQ

Don’t! Concerts at Wembley Stadium

I’m a music girl. All types. I’m a rapping, county singing, heart-wrenching lyricist wannabe, outfitting my high school AIM profile in the words of Coldplay, Dashboard Confessional, and Smashing Pumpkins and later tagging best friends in identifiable Taylor Swift and Mumford & Sons heartbreak songs and Drake and Jay Z anthems. With this affinity for music and the many different genres that fit my many different moods, comes a love for concerts. I’ve been to many, of all sorts, which is why I can confidently give Wembley Stadium as a concert venue a definite Don’t. 

Beyonce’s Formation Tour hit London’s Wembley Stadium

My husband surprised me with Beyoncé tickets since she is my favorite and he is the best. The tickets were for the Club Wembley area, which is some sort of VIP level primarily for the football games. The concert was Saturday evening, with doors opening at 5:00. I put on my Beyoncé best, strappy shoes, skinny jeans, lots of diamonds, and a low-cut top. For some reason I felt Beyoncé needed me to look like a basketball wife. Anyway, we headed there for around 6:30, which was enough time to buy a bottle of champagne and pour it into two clear plastic cups (no glasses allowed in the stadium), and inhale an unhealthy burger and questionable nachos. I didn’t understand what was so special about the Club Wembley area. The food was awful and there weren’t a lot of options. It did seem to be a quieter level, so many that’s the draw? Who knows.

With our first of three bottles of £35 bubbly for two (don’t judge us) we headed to our seats. The actual proximity to the stage was fine. The venue offered a vast floor section and filled a horseshoe shape worth of stadium seats, making for a pretty full show. Full doesn’t translate to energetic, however. My first criticism may not be Wembley specific, as I’ve seen this issue at several London concerts. London crowds don’t get very rowdy. It was baffling to me seeing concergoers sit in their seats during Beyoncé. BEYONCÉ. The crowd was disappointing, but obviously didn’t stop me from pounding another bottle of champagne and dancing like a fool while actually being drunk in love. I spoke to my friends who went to the Madison Square Garden show, and they too were in disbelief. No one sits. It’s un-American. 

An unenthused crowd at Wembley Stadium, London

I first noticed the lame crowd during DJ Khaled’s opening set. In every city throughout the Formation tour, DJ Khaled had been bringing up surprise performers to wow the crowd. I couldn’t wait to see the London guest stars after learning that some cities had names as big as Snoop and Weezie. I thought Khaled was just warmingeverybody up when two basic performers came on with a song I may have heard once. When they left the stage, so did Khaled, and everything came to a halt for 30 minutes. That’s when I realized how disappointing this London show was destined to be. I had already heard the horror stories from the previous week’s Rihanna concert at Wembley. Everyone I spoke to said it was the worst show they had seen, it was barely half-filled, and RiRi sounded like shit.

The sun decided to show up once B was on stage and the concert was in full swing. It was burning the retinas of others earlier in the evening, and once my girl was on stage, it was our turn. So much of a concert is about the stage, lighting, screens, and videos. When you have a venue that is still light out at 9:00PM, it kinda puts a damper on all of the best parts of a concert. Wembley was not only too light and bright, but the setting sun actually parked right across the guests faces for lengthy portions of the show. It was such a disappointment. None of the colors, costumes, videos and dance moves were as powerful as they could and should have been. 

Sun probs at Wembley Stadium, London

Now that you know the visuals were all compromised, let me get into the sound. Stadium concerts are always the worst. I don’t know if it’s due to being outdoors or the sound echoing all over the place, or what, but it was lame.

So that was our concert. And after a disappointing (£400 for two tickets) show that made me miss the USA and want to hide myself in Bey’s luggage, we left Wembley and embarked on a challenging journey home. We followed a sea of people toward never ending tube signs, only to give up after the crowds were so severe that we imagined a forever wait and/or the grossest ride ever. Instead, we turned around and called an Uber to a nearby hotel.

I can safely say, I will never go to Wembley Stadium for a concert again. I can see it being fine for a football match, but for something that requires multiple senses, no thanks. Take my word for it and skip concerts at Wembley!

All of the lights at Wembley Stadium, London

Wembley Stadium 
London HA9 0WS

Do! Plenish

In between all of my eating and drinking, I find myself needing a recharge. Sometimes it’s to not feel like America’s Next Top AA Candidate, sometimes it’s to shrink my waste line super-fast, and other times it’s to trick my skin into thinking it’s still in its twenties. We all have our reasons, and whatever yours may be that has gotten you to the point of Googling cleanses, Google no further and head straight to

I found this London-based cleanse company on Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle site, Goop. I trust the site to know what they’re talking about in the health world, and was pleased when they were able to narrow down my juice hunt to five different companies. From there, I crowned Plenish the winner after deciding I like the priced point, first time buyer’s discount, website, packaging, program details, etc. I purchased my first cleanse and have since been back for several more. Let me take you through what you can expect.

I opted for the three day cleanse because I am a sane person that needs to eat. I would not recommend anything longer than that if you are just starting out. I also would start with the Level One. It was perfect for a first-timer. 

Special delivery from Plenish, London

My three day package, which worked out to about £50.00 a day, was delivered on time in a nicely insulated box. It came with 18 juices, a manual with some motivational words and recipes, and a glass straw. The packaging was adorable and I got very excited lining them all up in the fridge, preparing for the new me. 

A few days prior to a cleanse, it’s recommended you prep your body by hydrating and cutting out caffeine and alcohol. I found the entire cleanse very tolerable, aside from the lack of caffeine. I never knew I was that addicted until the excruciating mid-afternoon caffeine headaches. Other than that, it was a pretty lovely experience. I felt full the entire time since you get a juice every two hours. You don’t really have enough time to even recognize hunger pangs. There’s a longer stretch in the evening, but if you make it through that, you’re rewarded with your heaviest nut milk, which allows you to sleep like a baby. That milk is so delicious, I’ve purchased it on its own as a meal replacement and to add to oatmeal. You do have a few moments when you’re consumed by an oral fixation and just want to chew, but those moments pass, and overall, you’ll be satisfied with the Plenish cleanse and its slimming results.

A healthy fridge thanks to Plenish, London

By the end of cleanse day three, I felt skinny, healthy, weak, and like my body was eating itself. It was a very strange mix of feeling alive and dead at the same. This is why I don’t recommend going past day three. 

So why do I recommend a cleanse at all? I look at it like a reset for my body. After three caffeine-less days, once day four rolled around, I only needed one small cappuccino–compared to my usual four! I had a concave stomach and my skin glowing from an overdose of fresh veggies and water. My body was forgiving me for trashing it around Christmas and giving me permission to go abuse it again in France.

We are now in Greece, and since I didn’t have a lot of time to prep, cut things out, and miss social events to drink juice in solitude, I purchased a one day cleanse. Again, it was a lovely reset. I do have to say that Level Two was noticeably more challenging. I was a little hungrier and a little weaker, but once again, my efforts paid off. 

Green juice from Plenish, London

Plenish has never let me down and I’m collecting glass straws faster than the kids are catching Bulbasaurs in Pokemon Go. (Not me, I swear.) Anywho, I feel great and will continue resetting and recharging with Plenish. If you’re looking for a tested, Goop and London Checklist-verified cleanse, look no further and enjoy!

The grand finale from Plenish, London


Categories Do!

Don’t! Fourth of July at Balthazar

Fourth of July is a tough one for me. Living abroad has its perks, but it also has many days where you can’t help but feel frustrated and homesick. The holidays magnify these feelings and, since the UK celebrates New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, and Easter, it’s just the outside holidays that put me over the edge. Thanksgiving is tough, but I’m usually preoccupied with cooking, but Fourth of July, that’s a different story.

Last year, I made the mistake of attending the most British event ever on my country’s Independence Day. I went to the Henley regatta where posh Brits sip Pimms and have polite little picnics. It would have been amazing any other day, but on July 4th, I needed something more. I needed to be surrounded by patriotic Americans, waving flags, having rowdy BBQs, and lighting off loud and bright fireworks. I wasn’t going to find that in England, so I brought my own little piece of America to last year’s regatta. 

I got up extra early and made an American flag cake for my picnic contribution. You know, the sheet cake that’s decorated with blueberry stars and strawberry stripes. I carefully placed each sliced tiny fruit onto that cake as if it was my duty as an American. I did this while blasting Toby Keith and sobbing. True story. Later, at the regatta, I got wasted and drunkenly offered a piece of my flag cake to any regatta spectator I came across. I ended up trading a couple pieces for a nice pair of men’s dress socks at one of the clothing booths. I was a mess. 

So, this year, knowing how vulnerable the Fourth of July makes me, I went a different route and tried to find an American activity where I could be among my own kind and feel at home. My two American girlfriends and I stumbled upon Balthazar’s Fourth of July lunch. The sibling to one of New York’s favorite restaurants was paying tribute to the good ol’ US of A. Not only did they have an American-themed set menu, but the whole experience was FREE if you wore Stars and Stripes! I was very excited, but should have known that nothing was going to fill the void of missing my nation’s birthday party. 

Balthazar is cool. It’s open and relaxed, elegant and classic. The perfect mix of a French bistro with a New York City vibe. It’s larger than most restaurants you’ll find in London–with high ceilings, oversized mirrors, and a grand staircase leading up to the ladies room where we took too many selfies of our Stars and Stripes ensembles. I was expecting to see a million Americans decked out for the occasion (and for the free meal) but it was kind of a letdown. I rose to the challenge, sporting an American Apparel flag tank and a striped skirt, but, aside from the waitstaff, there were only a few other red, white, and blue diners in the crowd.  The staff was cute. They tried, with flag bow-ties and bandanas. It was a nice tribute coming from some heavy-accented Frenchmen. 

A server at Balthazar, London

The menu was contrived, but adorable. Offering first a drink–a Budweiser or some cocktail that had nothing to do with America, but I don’t think they knew that. Next, we had our choice of Balthazar’s gourmet versions of a hot dog, a cheeseburger, or the macaroni and cheese. I opted for the Bud bottle and burger and fries. Later, it this was all brought to a close with their take on an apple pie. My outfit was approved, so the whole experience was on the house. I threw in a tenner for gratuity and that was my Fourth of July.
A cold one at Balthazar, London

So, bottom line: you can’t recreate America. While I appreciated Balthazar’s efforts and a free meal, of course, sometimes it’s easier to embrace the new than to try to be something you’ll never be. Balthazar in London will never be able to make a Fourth of July cheeseburger. They don’t have American cheese for starters, but aside from that guilty-pleasure, we all know the meat is different and the buns aren’t the same and it’s just not going to live up to what we grew up enjoying. The apple pie will not be a traditional Crisco-filled flaky pie crust, sprinkled with a layer of tapioca and generous bits of butter, with cinnamony, lemon doused apple slices. It will be a different-tasting tart. Good, but different. It’s just the way it is.

So, while Balthazar gets an A for effort, their Fourth of July celebration is not a do. It’s a poor interpretation of what American food is all about, and it will just magnify your UK frustrations. Next year, I vow to have a nice day at home, make all the American meals that I grew up with–that taste how you would expect–listen to country music, wear my flag shirt, and probably watch Talledega Nights or Joe Dirt or something redneck American that can just make me laugh. Here’s to next year!

4-6 Russell Street
London WC2B 5HZ

Do! Wimbledon


Summer is in full swing here in London! Well, aside from the lack of lakeside BBQs, convertibles with their tops down, ability to dress like Malibu Barbie and 80+ degree sunny weather in general. Other than that, the activities happening in London all point to summer! One of the most well known summer kick-offs is the yearly Wimbledon Championship tennis tournament. This is a must-do of the highest caliber. If you have a chance to see some of the tennis greats at this world-famous venue, take it. Trust me.

Wimbledon’s Centre Court is where it’s at. The best of the best play here and it’s where history is made. If you can’t get into the Centre Court, however, the grounds are still worth the visit, hosting lower level matches in a clean and beautiful setting. Since it’s all so great, the tickets have become very difficult to obtain.

Wimbledon tickets are sold four different ways. The first chance to acquire tickets, over the two week championship period, is through the yearly lottery. The association will send an application to you, only after you have sent a written request for one. Then you send that back and hope for the best in a few months. They say 1 out of 10 win tickets, but I have yet to meet someone who has actually won this way, but who knows. Tickets can next be purchased through Ticketmaster and again through third-party exchanges, like Stubhub, where the prices can get into the tens of thousands for the Championship matches. Hospitality packages are also offered (details on the Wimbledon website) and include packages for large groups and corporate events.  The last way to get into the oldest tennis tournament in the world is by waiting in line in the famed Queue. Millions have waited in this line that includes overnight camping for a last chance of getting into one of the courts for the next day’s play.

This year, however, history was made with Wimbledon opening up an extra day of play, known as Middle Sunday. This was only the fourth time in the Championship’s history that weather required a day of play on what is usually a day of rest. To fill the court seats, Wimbledon held a flash sale on Ticketmaster at 3:00pm on Saturday afternoon. The tickets sold out within 27 minutes and were offered between £22 and £70.00 for Centre Court, Number One Court, and Grounds Admission, all unreserved, making any seat in your purchased area available. Because of the fair prices and accessibility to all, this day, is informally known as People’s Sunday.

Whatever your method of acquiring tickets, you will be extremely pleased once you find yourself within the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club grounds. The lawns are well kept in the perfect shade of green, and the buildings and walkways are adorned with beautiful, bushes, shrubs, flowers, and ivy. The care and cleanliness continues in the restrooms  and at the concession stands.

Clean and purty at Wimbledon

As for the concessions, they really offered a little bit of everything, but everything fell flat. I had to have the traditional Strawberries & Cream sweet treat, because it was Wimbledon after all. I would next time pass on that dessert because it just seemed lazy. Whip your cream. Who wants to slurp it up loose by the spoonful?  I didn’t get it. I was also disappointed with their sandwich selections. They were very traditional English choices, so if you’re not a fan of English sandwich pairings, go with the pizza. It was fine.

While I wasn’t a fan of the food, I couldn’t complain about the prices. Everything was so, so reasonably priced. My Strawberries & Cream, £2.50! Less than a coffee in London! The day’s program was £3.00, as was the Wimbledon used tennis ball 3-pack keepsake! I could not believe it and wanted to buy fifty of them just to sell on eBay. This was a testament to London’s lack of commercialism. Coming from the US, where every event and holiday is exploited and inflated, this was nice to see. The people coming together and having a mutual respect for the grounds, the game, and the merchandise.

Centre Court, Wimbledon
Alexander Zverev, Wimbledon 2016

It really was a great day. The sun was shining, the fans were happy, and the players were on point. I had amazing Centre Court seats with a full view of three matches. While the men put up the best fight for one another, the women’s matches were the highlight for me. Watching two U.S. players dominate their competition was exhilarating. Coco and Serena made me feel closer to home over Fourth of July weekend, cheering on my country all the way from London. No matter which country you hail from or who is on the courts, though, you’ll have a great day. The intimate silence and abilities of the athletes is surreal, as is the energy in between play.  So, whether this week, or in years to come, head to Wimbledon for a one of a kind experience.

Happy Fourth of July!

 The Championships Wimbledon 


All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club
Church Road
London SW19 5AE

Don’t! Changing the Guard

Buckingham Palace, London

Buckingham Palace is an obvious must-do. The Queen’s residence stands tall and proud right in the heart of the city’s most beautiful parks. You can walk from Big Ben and the river up the ceremonial approach known as The Mall. This makes for an impressive walk, adorned with flags, leading up to the Victoria Memorial monument and the royal residence that towers over it. Buckingham Palace is an impressive site, standing alone with its ornate gates and traditionally uniformed guards. The gardens are well-manicured and the flags are updated regularly to inform the public on the Queen’s whereabouts. If the Queen is in, her Royal Standard flag waves proudly, and if she is out, the Union Jack is raised in its place. The entire site is one of beauty and tradition and worth being seen. This review, however, is for one specific area of the Buckingham Palace traditions: Changing the Guard.

Changing the Guard, London

The Changing the Guard ceremony takes place daily in the summer months, and every other day in the winter, weather permitting. The ceremony surrounds the changing from one regiment to another, the Old Guard trading places with the New Guard. This includes a full band playing while the highly ranked Adjutant inspects the New Guard. The New Guard later approaches the Old Guard, while in choreographed formations, and they hand each other arms.  The ceremony concludes with the New Guard being given the Palace keys. It takes about 45 minutes for the band and the well-uniformed soldiers on foot and on horses to complete their ritual.

This all sounds fun and magical, but believe me, it’s not. This is one of the largest London attractions, and since you have only have a 45 minute window each day (at most) to catch it, you’ll find yourself wedged between every visiting tourist. To me, that is not fun. The side from the fountain is your best bet, or down the street away from the Palace. This will allow you to see the band and the horses, but you’ll miss the ceremony that takes place behind the gates. If you really want to be able to see that (which you probably won’t regardless) you may want to peek in from the very far left of the Palace grounds. Really, what I’m trying to say is that there’s no good seat in the house. Every time I go, I am wedged between tourists and body odor and obnoxious children and selfie sticks and I regret ending up there once again. I have even joined the crowd and reached my phone up in the air, on record, to capture a scene to watch later. It was kind of sad. My most desperate attempt to catch a glimpse, though, was when I pretended to need to cross the street, so was held right at the front while the cavalry passed. A guard held me at the front temporarily, allowing me to stand exactly where I wanted to be. That video I will post, but don’t misconstrue that visibility of what a tourist could expect. That is the the visibility of an opportunist.

If you find yourself in London, I say skip it. It’s stressful and cheapens the beauty that is Buckingham Palace. Go first thing in the morning and take in the sights when it is quiet and peaceful. When you can actually take a picture in front of the gates and not have fifteen other people’s body parts in it. That will be a time worth remembering. Enjoy!

Buckingham Palace Gardens, London

Changing the Guard
Buckingham Palace
London SW1A 1AA