February 28, 2018

UK Recap Fit for a Queen // Besties Abroad

Kelly and I recently returned from our trip to the United Kingdom, and it was an amazing experience! The week went by so quickly -- and the time with Kelly just made me love her more. If you followed along on our blogs while we were gone, you may remember that we did a three-day blog event that we called UK Recs Fit for a Queen. We recommended books and movies/TV shows set in the UK, and we chatted about some of our favorite places there, too.

Now that we're home, we thought it would be fun to recap our trip with a three-day UK Recap Fit for a Queen. Yep, we basically just tweaked the name from the first event. In today's post, we're sharing our favorite photos + three good things about each day. After reading Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center, I started a "Three Good Things" journal to make gratitude a daily habit. We're using that idea in this post to help us narrow down our highlights from the trip. 


1. REUNITING WITH KELLY • I was SO EXCITED when I saw Kelly waiting for me at our designated meeting point: CaffĂ© Nero in Terminal 2 of Heathrow Airport! Honestly, I was most looking forward to spending a week with her, and you know that's saying something when you're in your favorite place. It was time for the adventures to begin!

2. VISITING THE TOWER OF LONDON • After checking in to our hotel and grabbing lunch in Convent Garden, we made our way to the Tower of London. I honestly couldn't remember if I'd visited in the past, and I loved being there with a fellow history lover. And Kelly is basically an expert in this time period, so she was the perfect tour guide.

3. BUYING MY MOST-COVETED UK EDITION • I collect copies my favorite book, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, and try to buy one anywhere I travel. I knew we'd do some bookstore browsing together, but there was one specific edition I had to buy. I found it our first night (YAY!) -- and convinced Kelly to buy a few books, too.


1. CELEBRATING KELLY'S BIRTHDAY • One of the most annoying things about having a long distance friendship is that you aren't able to celebrate (or commiserate) together in person. So, I was thrilled to wake up on Wednesday morning, wish Kelly a happy birthday and then spend the whole day celebrating her!

2. MAKING NEW MEMORIES IN OXFORD • I studied abroad at Oxford in college, and it was a bittersweet experience because of some friend drama. So, I couldn't wait to go back with Kelly and make new memories! We climbed the tower at St. Mary's, toured the Bodleian Library, ate fish and chips, bought some books, and admired this gorgeous city.

3. PIZZA, CUPCAKES & NO HEAT • We're fond of the simple pleasures in life, so we wanted nothing more than to eat takeaway pizza, treat ourselves to delicious cupcakes and watch some British home design show back in our room that night. We were less than thrilled to discover that the heat was broken, but we've laughed about it since then!


1. A QUIET TRAIN RIDE • After two very busy days exploring, we were looking forward to a long, quiet train ride to Edinburgh. It couldn't have been more perfectly timed! That's not to say we didn't talk and laugh a lot on that journey, because we did, but it was nice to spend a few hours sitting down. Especially considering what came next...

2. CLIMBING ARTHUR'S SEAT • Before the trip, we discussed the things we wanted to do or see in each city. Climbing Arthur's Seat was at the top of Kelly's list... and probably wouldn't have made mine at all. Listen, hiking isn't my thing. But my love for Kelly won out, and I'm glad she made me challenge myself because it's a great memory now!

3. A FANCY HOTEL • We then treated ourselves to some Diet Cokes, relaxed in a bookstore and took dinner back to our room. Kelly found awesome (and budget-friendly) places to stay, but this hotel was definitely the highlight. I was exhausted and muddy from our adventures, so I was so grateful for the fantastic shower and comfy bed.


1. WANDERING EDINBURGH • We woke up on Friday refreshed and ready to tackle the day ahead! We went to Edinburgh Castle, the Scott Monument, Calton Hill, Greyfriar's Kirk, The Elephant House (where J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter) and more.  I still can't believe how much we accomplished -- and we perfect weather all day!

2. TOURING HOLYROOD PALACE • This was one of my favorite things we did on the trip! It's the Queen's official residence in Edinburgh and contains the apartments of Mary, Queen of Scots. We listened to the audio tour, and it was super interesting and informative! I'm just bummed we missed Meghan and Harry by a few days...

3. PICKING UP A FEW TREATS • While exploring, I found a copy of Pride and Prejudice that I didn't own -- and Kelly bought it for me as a birthday gift! Then, I snagged a cute (and warm) pair of wool mittens and a t-shirt for my son at a cute boutique in the Grassmarket area. Did I make Kelly treat herself to a few things, too? OF COURSE.


1. EATING OUR FEELINGS • We woke up in the Lake District, where we had an all-day tour planned. Unfortunately, the tour was canceled due to the weather. We were disappointed but made the best of the situation by getting a decadent (and delicious) brunch: hash browns + waffles topped with bacon, caramelized bananas and mascarpone. NOM.

2. FIRST CLASS TRAIN RIDE • We were sad about the tour, but our main concern was getting back to London. We weren't supposed to leave until late that night, but we really wanted to reclaim some of the day. Luckily, we were able to cancel our tickets and rebook for an earlier departure. And the best part? Our new tickets ended up being in first class!

3. SIX-STORY BOOKSTORE • Once we made it to London and dropped off our stuff at our hotel, we headed to Piccadilly Circus and the flagship Waterstones there. We were on a mission to find Mhairi McFarlane's books (bless their website for letting you look up availability by location). We hit the jackpot, and I left with a long list of authors to look up!


1. EXPLORING HAMPTON COURT PALACE • On our first day in London, Kelly convinced me to pay for a Historic Royal Palaces membership. She knew that if we visited three, it would more than pay for itself. I'm glad she did because that gave us to motivation to head to Hampton Court in the morning, and I'd never been before. It was gorgeous!

2. TOURING KENSINGTON PALACE • Next, we popped over to Kensington Palace. I loved the Victoria exhibit, and going through Diana's fashion showcase led to a fascinating discussion about modern royalty with Kelly. And we made sure to stop by the Sunken Garden, where Meghan and Harry announced their engagement. If only we'd seen them...

3. CHILL AFTERNOON IN OUR ROOM • Since I was heading home the next day, we headed back to our room a little earlier than normal. Honestly, we wanted to work on our travel journals, go through our photos, organize our stuff and just hang out together without the hustle and bustle of sightseeing. It was the perfect last hurrah for me!


1. OUR LAST MORNING TOGETHER • My flight wasn't until early afternoon, which meant we didn't have to rush around in the morning. I was glad for a few more hours with this precious friend! But gosh, it was awful saying goodbye to her and boarding the Heathrow Express. I couldn't believe the week was over, and OMG I AM CRYING AGAIN.

2. NO ISSUES WITH MY PASSPORT • I mentioned this in Monday's post, but I discovered that my passport had a typo in my first name when I got to the Atlanta airport to leave for my trip. I wasn't sure if it would be an issue when I departed (since the computer flagged my boarding pass because the names didn't match), but everything was fine in the end. 

3. FINISHING TWO & A HALF BOOKS ON MY FLIGHT • I read one book during our actual trip, and then finished two and a half books on my nine hour flight home. Haha! I clearly soothed my sadness with stories. If you want to know more about what I read while I was gone, check out my Books Abroad post for my mini reviews. 

And now, take a look at Kelly's highlights from our trip!


  1. Lovely pictures! They make me want to go to the UK even more now!

  2. Oh this sounds amazing! Your Edinburgh days are really taking me back :) it’s all a bit fuzzy at this point, but I do remember doing some of those things too and I want to go back! :) :) I have an Elephant House postcard framed in our “library” and I love the photos I have in front of it too — and I DO remember the delicious shortbread I ate there :)

  3. This looks so fun! What an amazing friend trip.

  4. This is awesome! I've been meaning to read that book and it's nice to know that the gratitude journal stuff is in there; that's something else I've been looking to do!


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