The past 10 days were spent in England… my homeland and the coolest country on earth IMHO! Although it was a whirlwind trip and we were in six cities in 10 days, it was the most relaxed I’ve felt in a while. Here’s a recap of this trip!
Landed at Heathrow! To stay awake, we took the train into London and walked seven miles throughout the city. Both of us are very familiar with London, so it was nice to just stroll and see the sites! Here was our route:
We met up with two of Alex’s good friends for dinner at Franco Manca for the best sourdough bread pizza I’ve ever had. Successful day!
I successfully navigated the trains to beautiful Bath to spend time with my long time friend, Beka. All the buildings in Bath are supposed to be the same colour stone, so it makes the city look so cohesive and striking.
Before Beka picked me up, I walked up the main street and rounded the corner to see Bath Abbey. Gosh, what a sight! An opera singer was gracing onlookers with, “Caro Mio Ben,” a song I actually sang in college!
Then Beka picked me up, and after a sweet reunion we had sandwiches at her house and caught up. We walked a lot (see a theme?), had tea at the Pump Room to the sound of a string quartet, then walked to Victoria Park to watch hot air balloons ascend into the sky. That night, we made spinach, onion and paneer cheese curry and played a game. It was a special day with my dear friend!
Beka and I spent the morning chatting at coffee in a cute little garden area. Then we took the 3.5 hour train ride to our hometown! It was wonderful to stay with her parents (long time friends of our family) and eat dinner at Devil’s Dyke, a childhood favourite with an immaculate view.
Beka, Mike, Sarah and I went to a National Trust Park called Sheffield Park. The weather was idyllic as we strolled around for a couple of miles, chatting and admiring nature. We saw a 90+ year-old tree, a stunning stately home and drank a rhubarb fizzy drink in the tea garden.
After that, Beka and I spent all afternoon in Brighton. We got off the bus and went straight to the Laines, which are the quirkiest stretch of streets! The Laines is known for its bright colours, unique shops and smelling like toilets… ha! Then we walked through the city to the beach, where we had iced coffee and chips on the pebbles and chatted. It was a busy day because of the beautiful weather! After that, we ventured back to her house for curry via a long walk and stops in a few shops.
We visited our home church that morning, and I was filled to overflowing. I missed seeing my Dad in that pulpit, but the sermon was great and I was surrounded by family…. amazing people who have prayed for our family for years. The presence of God was evident and I sat in the pew just overcome with thankfulness that God placed me in three incredible churches in my lifetime. I had great conversations with long-time friends, followed by a long lunch with the Leals, tea with the Treneers and an evening service at St. Peter’s Brighton. The whole day was uplifting, affirming, convicting and joyful. It was good to be in God’s house with His people that are so dear to me!
I’d been planning this day for a while! I met Cass at The Hybrid Co. in Nashville this past May and decided to collaborate on a styled shoot in England. She’s originally from America and now lives in England, whereas my story is the opposite! It was fun to collide our experiences and lives to come up with a concept that was both fun, fitting, stunning and challenging. We’re working on getting it published, so I can’t share much, but a HUGE shoutout to these amazing vendors for giving of their talent and time to make this shoot come to life! We had a blast!
THE MOST MAGICAL DAY I’VE EVER HAD, truly. Well. I’m sure there have been others, but this one was perfect.
We stayed two nights in Burford House (highly recommend if you go to the Cotswolds) and ate Indian food, bread, cheese and raspberries on our beds. Nothing beats naan bread and chicken biryani! On our full day there, we walked up and down the main street, popped in shops, took a ton of pictures, walked through St. John the Baptist Church and ate tea and cake (this turned into a brilliant daily tradition). The Cotswolds is exactly what it looks like in movies: quaint streets with ivy lining every building imaginable.
Alex then came up with the fantastic idea of going on a walk. The weather was looking great, so we went on a 3.5 mile walk of pure bliss through cow pastures and tiny paths, past blackberry bushes and apple trees and a 900-year-old church. We’ll never forget that walk (or the cow poop that got in my shoe)!
On the way to our final destination of London, we popped into Oxford for five hours!
It’s full of hilariously wonky architecture, extremely old buidings, massive libraries and Harry Potter film locations (don’t @ me, I’ve never watched or read HP).
Having already seen the main sites and having been to London before, we had a blast just strolling around the city. We walked 11 miles… Kensington Palace and Gardens, Hyde Park, Oxford Street, Regent Street… then we went to Sketch. It was two hours of drinking tea and eating cake and sandwiches in the fanciest place I’ve eaten! After that, we saw Matilda. It was full of fun!
Our last sweet day in the greatest city on earth was spent in museums! I was so impressed by the Victoria & Albert Museum and Natural History Museum, and I always love the Egyptian and Greek exhibits at the British Museum.
After that, we walked to St. Paul’s cathedral for evensong. As soon as we walked in, I was enveloped in the sounds of choral music (my forever favourite). A 30-minute service later, and we walked across the Millennium Bridge and through Borough Market to hang out with some of Alex’s friends. It was a great way to end this whirlwind, refreshing, fun trip!
What a fantastic trip! I’m so grateful to have spent this time in my hometown with my dear friend. It was refreshing, happy, hilarious and full of cake, tea and walks. See you soon, England!