Pergola at Paddington Central: A West London Adventure

When I decided to move to the UK, I made myself a promise that I would take advantage of living in a foreign country by going on adventures when I had the chance. It’s so easy to fall into a rhythm and go to the same places and do the same things. And it’s also so easy to make excuses, something I am very very good at when it comes to whether or not I should leave the flat.

Luckily enough, one of my best friends lives in London and is always open to trying new things. So the boyfriend and I met up with her and her husband out in West London to try the Pergola at Paddington Central – which essentially is a very cutely decorated street food cafeteria type place where, conveniently enough, you can get drunk. We had reservations but as all four of us were late, we lost our table in the actual pergola area downstairs. We got a table near the bar by the entrance which wasn’t nearly as loud and much more convenient for getting drinks.

We were lucky enough to have a gorgeous night outside with a beautiful sunset and very comfortable temperatures. Although, we did notice that it was a very young crowd of people who attended this place. Which in all honesty is probably because it’s mainly been promoted through Instagram and other social media.

Photo Aug 14, 9 55 18 AM

We decided to have one more bottle before we ended the night but were told that the bar was closed. If I remember correctly, this was around 11:30pm, so unfortunately this isn’t a place you can really stay all night for. But M was very familiar with the area as she got her MBA nearby so we went for what was supposed to be a 5 minute walk – which turned into about a 20 minute walk – looking for shisha. (For my American friends, shisha is what they call hookah over here.) We finally found a place, and I could never tell you what the name of it was. But I would never suggest anyone go there anyway as the people who worked there were pretty rude.. But nevertheless, we got a couple of shishas, had some more drinks, and stayed out until around 2am when we all decided it was probably time to go home. We all had a brilliant time. Lots of drinks, lots of laughter, lots of fun!

Photo Aug 14, 9 52 04 AM

If you’re ever in the West London area, I would definitely suggest trying one of the Pergola locations. There’s the one in Paddington Central that we went to, and there’s another called Pergola on the Roof¬†in White City which is even further west. The food can be a bit pricey for street food, so if you’re just in the mood for some drinks on a nice night, it’s a perfect place for it. Otherwise, if you are willing to splash out on the food, I would highly suggest Patty & Bun. The burgers were very tasty, and it was actually the first burger joint in the UK to ask me how I liked my burger cooked so I was able to get a medium-cooked burger versus the general well-done every other place just assumes. (That was a serious triumph for me, let me tell ya!)

Have any of you been to either of the Pergola locations? What did you think of it? If not, let me know if you do go! I’d love to hear what your favorite part was!

 

Much Love

xxx

My Last Month in a Nutshell

Holy moly, life has been insane!! If you hear about everything I’ve been up to, you will understand why I haven’t posted anything for weeks. Although, if you follow me on Instagram, you may already know all of this as I have been sharing this adventure on there.

But, guys, I’m in the UK. Like I am currently living in London. I think I’m still in quite a bit of shock that this is now my life. I keep thinking back to when I was at university and how I thought my future would be, and I think my 21-year-old self would have been shocked if she knew where she’d be in 4 years’ time.

Anyway, life is good right now. I plan to post a bit of a “guide” for those interested in what it takes to move from the US to the UK. I did a lot of research before I moved and nothing prepared me for everything I had to do, and how much time it would all take. Therefore, I wanted to write something realistic for others who will be in that position in the future. So more details of my experience will be explained in that post (when everything has wrapped up).

Around the time of my last blog post, I was getting everything ready to apply for my Visa. I had to schedule an appointment on a work day, then drive 5 hours to Chicago for the 30-minute appointment and then drive the 5 hours back in one day. Then, had to wait for it be approved, and mailed to me.

I had to go through all of my belongings and put them into either “sell,” “donate,” “pack” or “throw out” piles. I had to list everything I wanted to sell on a Facebook marketplace group, and rifle through dozens of messages a day, organize a time to meet or pick up, and then actually sell it. I donated the rest to charity or to my mom or friends. I threw out a huge amount of stuff. And then I had to decide what, and how much, I wanted to ship over ahead of time on a crate. I had to manage the crate and shipping process, fill out a customs form and wait for them to get back to me, and then get the crate shipped onto a boat (which still hasn’t left the port yet, as far as I’m aware).

On top of that, I had to wrap up my last week of work, say goodbye to family and friends, cancel all memberships and bills, turn in my key and sort out any apartment stuff, and try to manage a way to get rid of my car lease. Which is still sitting in my parent’s driveway since I can’t find anyone to take over the lease. It’s a 2017 Ford Fusion Sport in great condition, and has a year left on the lease. So if you live in Michigan, and you’re interested, let me know, because I’m currently still making payments on something 4,000 miles away from me and not being used. ūüė¶

Lastly, I had to pack up all the remaining stuff, and get on a plane and fly over here, saying goodbye to everything I have ever known.

So that sums up the last month of my life. Moving to a new country is hard, and timely, and expensive, and exhausting –¬†I promise you. But, I’ve been here for two weeks exactly now and I can tell you that it was most definitely worth it. We’ve managed to stay very busy making plans – getting out when the weather is nice – but also staying in and cooking together to save some money.

We plan to start looking for flats next week, and I’m hoping we have some luck and find properties worth looking at. I’d love to be able to move in shortly after – late July/early August – so that we can get settled and start our life together.

And then, when all of that is said and done, I can finally get back to focusing my attention on the blog. I have a lot of ideas to revamp the site, and will be able to go on many more adventures around London and England, and share them with you all. Eventually, when we have enough money saved up, we’ll go on holiday somewhere beautiful and I’ll be able to take you all with me – metaphorically speaking…

Thanks to all of you who have been patient with the lack of posts. As you can tell, I have been very busy and was making the move here a priority. I’ll try to shoot out some posts here in the next couple of weeks. So stay tuned for more ūüôā

 

Much Love

xxx

From One Side of the Pond to the Other

Day 22 – 31 Day Blog Challenge

The Best Thing to Happen This Year

One whole year. In the grand scheme of everything, one year isn’t much. But for me,¬†it only took one for my whole life to completely turn around…

Don’t worry, this is a happy story.¬†

During the month of March in 2016, I was going through an absolutely horrible time. I got stuck in a position that was sucking the life out of me. And as I know that sounds dramatic, that’s exactly how it felt. One day I woke up and saw myself becoming this person with so much anger inside of me. Even my health started to suffer from the amount of stress I was under. I was not happy. And that, right there, was the bottom line. I was not happy.

I was travelling to Kansas City, MO for work. I never wanted to be there and desperately wanted to get through the week so I could get home. That is, until I met someone. He was British, which scored him a lot of extra points. He was cute, and very funny. And even more than that, he always laughed at my jokes. We immediately became best friends. I couldn’t wait to go to work in the morning, and made sure we all went out to dinner afterwards so we could spend time together. Eventually, we would plan to get drinks before the dinners so we could have some alone time. I could feel that we had this special connection, but in the moment, I denied everything. I told myself I didn’t like him that way because he lived in the UK and I lived in Michigan and how the hell would this ever work. I didn’t even want to be in a relationship at the time. I was very happy being single….

LOL.

It was two months after we met and the last night we had together before he was going back to the UK for a month. And he kissed me. Finally. 

I had to drive him to the airport the following morning and then go to my Grandma and Grandpa’s house. And on the way to their house, I remember calling my best friend and telling her, “I know this sounds crazy but everything inside of me is telling me that he is the one.”¬†And he felt it too. In that moment, we both knew. There were no discussions as far as how we were going to do long-distance. There were no questions on if we should go through with it. Because we both knew that what we had found was worth it. And yes, obviously we are doing this.

It has been about 11 months since that moment. And it has not been easy. I can’t tell you how many nights I’ve cried myself to sleep or cried to him on the phone (poor guy) because I missed him so much. The only time we get together is an hour a day when I get home from work to FaceTime. We have been fortunate enough to take holidays to visit each other. But we’ve quickly run out of money. It’s hard for me to go to family get-togethers, it’s hard seeing other couples in public, and it’s even hard watching movies or TV without him.

But the best thing about long-distance is that we have been able to truly value the time we do get to spend together. We make it really special. We’ve had the opportunity to realize that we can’t take each other for granted. We’ve become so strong as a couple. I honestly don’t think there is anything¬†we can’t handle now.

But the one thing that got us through all this time is that we made the decision that someone would have to move somewhere. And from that moment on, we could see the light at the end of the tunnel. We talked a lot, weighed our options, and listened to each other’s opinions. But the biggest factor in the decision making was how I felt. I fell in love with England. I somehow feel that I get along and understand the Brits better than my fellow Americans. I actually seem to fit in with everyone I have met over there more so than anyone I have met here. It’s a weird feeling, but when I spent my first week there, I felt like I was finally home – that I finally found a place where I belong.

I went back to the UK for 10 days in April and I can’t even explain to you how depressed I was when I walked into the airport to go back to the U.S.. I felt like I was abandoning my heart. And in more ways than one, I was.

That’s why making the decision to move to London was easy for me. I haven’t been happy in Michigan for a long time, if ever, to be completely honest. And I know that this is the right decision for me.

So at the end of June, I will be making the biggest move of my life. I will leave the U.S. and everything I have ever known, and go live to the UK to be with my boyfriend, the love of my life.

We are so excited. We’ll eventually get our own flat, our own furniture, have our own space. We’ll be able to book long weekends for cheap prices to the countryside, or Spain, Italy, or Greece. We’ll get to fall asleep next to each other, and wake up next to each other. I’ll get to annoy him in person all day long. And he will do the same. Trust me.

It will be amazing. Just the simple things like making dinner together or doing laundry together is better when the other is around. We both have gotten so many compliments on how much happier we are since we’ve been together, but imagine what people will say once we’re actually in the same country! Ah, well, I guess I’ll have to update you in a couple months then…. ūüôā

Photo Nov 11, 10 01 53 PM

 

For now, I’ll get back to packing and selling everything I own. Cheers!

Yeah, ’cause that’s what ya say!

 

If any of you have tips or tricks on international moving, please let me know! I need all the help I can get. Comment below, or contact me on my Contact page!

 

Much Love

xxx

 

Back to England

For those of you who don’t know, my boyfriend lives in England. I went to visit him the week before Christmas and fell in love with London. He had planned every waking moment of the trip so I wanted this next time to be a bit more relaxed. And it was. But we still were incredibly busy. How do you justify not going out and doing something when you have 10 days in England¬†and so much to see?

So far, you’ve had the chance to read about the highlights of my trip – from Bath and the Harry Potter Studio Tour. But I’ve decided to give you a glimpse into what the whole ten days was actually like, in a diary-like format.

Friday, April 7th, 2017

Flight from Detroit to Atlanta, two hour layover, with a connecting flight from Atlanta to London.

First flight was delayed for an hour and a half so that as soon as I landed in Atlanta, I had to run from the gate to the complete opposite end of the airport. The airport is constructed like T A B C D E F. I landed in A at 6:45pm and had to get to F for my flight that would depart at 7:25pm. I got to the gate¬†just as they closed the door, running and waving my arms screaming “WAIT!” Yes, exactly like you see in the movies. With a stroke of luck, they let me on the plane. I come to find out that it was empty in economy where my seat was and I got the entire row to myself, as did others.

Photo Apr 08, 1 47 17 AM

The flight to London went rather smooth but I knew there was absolutely no way my bags were going to arrive with me so I had a good 8 hours to prepare to be very disappointed in Delta. Which seems like it’s becoming a usual during my international travels.

Saturday, April 8th, 2017

The plane landed at 8am local time and, as predicted, the bags were still in Atlanta. Well done, Delta. So I had to arrange for them to be delivered at D’s flat the next day. They had no way to tell me what time so I was given a number to call later that night to check if they had been put on a flight yet or not.

So I’m in London but have nothing with me. I don’t have soap for a shower, makeup, ANY clothes besides the smelly ones I got there with. Nothing. So we were forced to go shopping. I went to Boots and H&M and spent ¬£150 on basics. Women are not cheap. And with my psoriasis and acne-prone skin, I needed to make sure I was getting good enough products to tie me over.

I finally showered and felt like a real human again around 2pm. With half the day already wasted trying to manage Delta’s screw up, we traveled into London with the hopes of doing some walking and getting some food and drinks. We saw the Tower Bridge again and went to the Dickens Inn for dinner and a bottle of Prosecco, as usual.

Photo Apr 08, 12 20 44 PMPhoto Apr 08, 12 34 46 PM

Sunday, April 9th, 2017

I woke up to Delta’s notifications that my bags had landed in London. After talking to Virgin Airlines on the phone, they said there was no way to know when the bags would arrive, but we should expect them sometime in the afternoon or evening. It’s an absolutely ridiculous thing to say. I was on holiday, and we had plans to go to Southampton to visit D’s sister and nephews. I called them back and told them we’d pick them up instead. So we showered and set off back to Heathrow. I got my bags, changed my clothes, threw on some makeup, and we made our way to Southampton for the day.

As driving anywhere in England takes forever, we had lost out on a lot of time so we weren’t able to see any sights while we were there. We went to his sister’s house and made our way to The New Forest for a walk with the kids. It actually felt like we were in the Forbidden Forest, it was very pretty, and we had a beautiful day.

Photo Apr 09, 11 43 01 AM

We went to a local pub, got some food and ice cream, then made our way north east back to D’s flat. I finally got to give him his birthday presents, over a whole month later, and he was a very happy camper.

Monday, April 10th, 2017

We woke up with the intention of spending the day in Londan tan (London town). We went to Harrods, and a local pub where I finally had some fish and chips (and mushy peas – yummm), then went for a walk in Hyde Park and St. James Park. We had one more quick drink at a pub, then went back to the flat to meet up with his flat mate and head to Top Golf.

Photo Apr 10, 9 54 03 AMPhoto Apr 10, 9 55 45 AMPhoto Apr 10, 10 00 59 AMPhoto Apr 10, 10 40 30 AM

Top Golf was so much fun and I’m seriously very bummed we don’t have one in Michigan because I want to go back soon, especially with the weather finally getting nicer.

Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

Tuesday was Bath day! And no, that doesn’t mean we woke up and took a bath. We drove to the town of Bath in the English countryside. I wrote a very detailed post about what we did and included many pictures so be sure to check it out here if you haven’t already. It was gorgeous and my absolute favorite part of the entire trip.

Wednesday, April 12th, 2017

The drive back from Bath took 6 hours which accounted for the majority of our day as we slept in and got breakfast in town before departing. We came back exhausted from the drive and if I remember correctly, we hung out at the flat and went to bed early. I have no photo evidence of doing anything special and this night is a complete blank for me…

Thursday, April 13th, 2017

We decided to have a lazy morning as the first five days had been jam packed already and I do love having time to do nothing. We originally had plans to meet up with a friend of mine later that night to go to Dinerama in Shoreditch, but those plans got cancelled and we were actually extremely happy about that as neither of us couldn’t be bothered to leave the flat. Therefore, D made me his special Spaghetti Bolognese for dinner and we watched movies.

The sauce is spectacular. It takes a couple hours to make and the smells are overwhelming. He could open his own restaurant with this meal, no joke.

Photo Apr 13, 4 46 11 PM

Friday, April 14th, 2017

We were able to have another lazy morning to lay around the flat. It took me all day to muster up the courage for a shower as we had plans later that night to meet up with some friends for a birthday dinner and night out.

We went to Gaucho’s, an Argentinian Steakhouse for dinner. There were 10 of us in a special back room where we spent over ¬£1,000 on dinner and lots of drinks. The food was alright, the service was lacking (but it’s not America, ya know?) but the company was wonderful. We then tried going out to a few places, but as it was Good Friday, and a bank holiday, we were striking out. We finally made it to a place called Barrio’s which we had all been before – last time I was in town – which was hoppin’ and very fun.

The night ended there as everyone got tired and decided to turn in. No pictures as we were having too much fun to be on our phones. Quality time with humans, how bow dah?

Saturday, April 15th, 2017

We didn’t have any special plans for the morning but we did decide to shower up and go back to Top Golf as I still had two free games to play and D wanted to try out the new swing I helped him to attain. Instead, he almost murdered me by¬†managing to hit the golf ball against the metal wall. It came soaring towards me, I tripped over my own feet trying to run away from it and pulled a muscle in my arm. We made a huge scene and provided some comedy for the groups near us. You are welcome Top Golfers!

We had plans later that night to see a friend of mine, who lives in Canary Wharf, to eat and drink at her flat. The night was filled with lots of laughter and lots of alcohol. We had a very early morning the next day so we weren’t able to stay out too late and got the tube back to D’s flat. I was fortunate enough to witness a proper drunken night on the tube, and even got to watch someone get sick in the carriage in front of us. Joy!

Photo Apr 15, 8 21 24 PM

Sunday, April 16th, 2017

Happy Easter Sunday! We got up really early to get ready and drive north to see D’s family, as this was really the only day we could fit it in. Unfortunately, we only had a couple of hours to spend with his mum before she had to get to work. We both were the definition of knackered and I fell asleep in the car on the way back. D had to stop to get coffee as he could barely keep his eyes open driving back.

As soon as we got through the door, D took a nap, and then we popped in Harry Potter to prepare for Monday’s little outing…..

Monday, April 17th, 2017

We had to get up early again, to catch brunch in London with one of D’s friends. We spent a couple hours in Old Spitalfields Market (LOL – the name kills me), with a couple bottles of Prosecco, then headed back so that we could drive to the Harry Potter Studio Tour!

I designated a separate post for that experience because it most definitely deserves its own post. You can read about it, and see more pictures here.

We didn’t get back until late and I had to pack up my suitcases as my flight was very early the next morning.

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

Flight departing at 9:25am at Heathrow back to Detroit, MI. We left the flat at 6:30am, and didn’t arrive until 7:45am. I’m not kidding when I say it takes forever to get around England. The M25 is awful – I hate it with a passion.

The moment I got out of the car and started walking into the airport, I wanted to cry. I didn’t want to leave. The flight was horrible, even though it really wasn’t. It felt like it had gone on for 12 hours. I finally made it home around 2:45pm local Detroit time, absolutely knackered.

I managed to unpack, do my laundry, eat some food, and got into bed at 6:30pm where I fell asleep the moment my eyes shut.

And below is the picture of all the crumpets, Toblerone, Honeydukes’¬†sweets, and the chocolate egg I brought back with me. Hooray for diabetes!

Photo Apr 18, 4 38 12 PM


 

The trip was amazing. We had done so much together, it felt like I had been there for an entire month. We had a lot of fun and it was so nice to spend time with him as it had been 94 days since we had last seen each other.

We only have about 24 days until we see each other next and we’re obviously already counting down. I miss London and I miss my boyfriend, but at least I’ve got the memories, and the billions of pictures, to filter through until next time.

 

Much Love

xxx

The Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studio Tour

The very last night of my trip to the UK was spent at the Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studio Tour, which honestly couldn’t have been planned any better. We watched a couple of the movies the night before, and played Hedwig’s Theme on the way to the studio to get ourselves in the proper mood. It worked really well. I was like a little kid at Disney World.

It was amazing but I don’t want to give too much away because I would rather you all go see it for yourself, and be surprised like I was. I felt like I was in heaven. They show you the Great Hall, the costumes the actors wore, even the wigs. You get to see a lot of the props and the sets.

Photo Apr 17, 2 01 29 PM

For 2017, they added the Forbidden Forest to the tour, which I particularly loved for reasons I cannot share. Let’s just say someone in my group was scared of all the spiders……

Halfway through you get to stop off at the cafe to eat some food or drink butterbeer, which obviously I did. I love butterbeer. I’ve had it in Orlando at Harry Potter World, but that was years ago. It’s almost ¬£4 for this tiny cup, but so worth it.

Photo Apr 17, 3 01 37 PM

Then you get to see the Knight Bus, the house on Privet Drive, and the Potter house. You go through many more areas and somehow end up at Hogwarts at the end. I had no idea it was next. My boyfriend let me be very surprised – thanks babes! He walked through first and turned around to see my face. It lit up and my mouth dropped open. Ah! It was insane. I think I spent a half hour staring at the castle and trying to take selfies with it (which doesn’t work because of the lighting unfortunately).

Photo Apr 17, 3 19 23 PM

Photo Apr 17, 3 45 09 PM

The tour then ends into the gift shop and my boyfriend and I walked around for 20 minutes. I bought ¬£75¬†worth of candy and a Hufflepuff sweatshirt because I have no shame. I am very proud to be a Hufflepuff, even if everyone thinks it’s okay to bully us.

The tour was magical. I kept thinking about how all of these amazing actors had been in the same place that I currently was standing. A little part of me was hoping one of them would have randomly shown up, but I wasn’t that lucky. Anyway, if you’re in England and a Harry Potter fan, you must go. It’d be a very big mistake if you don’t.

Tip: Remember to purchase your tickets well in advance. They sell out very quickly.

Have you been to the Harry Potter Studio Tour? What was your favorite part? Comment below!

 

Much Love

xxx