London Calling

In honor of all of the fashion mania going down in London, here’s an old blog post about what spots to hit up next time you’re across the pond:

Recently, I was in London with school and got the chance to completely fall in love all over again with the rainy city 007 calls home. Because my dad is from England, growing up I visited the UK often enough to see family (mainly in Manchester). Though I’d been to London before, on my most recent trip the city felt different. Maybe this was due to the fact that I hadn’t been in 4 years, or maybe after experiencing some college I was able to better appreciate the city’s history and culture. Whatever the case may was, I left this trip completely in love with London and thought I’d share my top 5 favorite landmarks!

Big Ben: Is there anything more English than the world’s most iconic clock tower? Seeing Big Ben is a total must, that will truly make you feel like you’re in London. Seeing the attached Houses of Parliament is equally as fascinating if you’re into politics or English history. Plus being along the Thames is always beautiful and the surrounding area of Westminster is great for shopping and pubs.

Westminster Abbey: I’m a big art & architecture lover so for me churches in general always take my breath away. Plus I’m a kind of obsessed with the royal family, so getting to be in the place where all of the coronations took place and where Will and Kate got married is so much fun! The abbey is incredibly majestic and the amount of details carved in to the walls and ceiling is enough to keep you staring for days! 

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St. Paul’s Cathedral: Like I said architecture and churches are kind of my thing. This church is so beautiful because of its roman style architecture and the grand dome at its center. When looking up at the dome from inside, the intricacy of the mosaic scenes left me staring in awe until my neck started to ache. Plus you can actually go to the top of the dome…how cool?!

The National Gallery of Art: Holy Moly! Not only is the museum’s grand architecture absolutely stunning, but its collection of art doesn’t miss a step! From Caravaggio to Van Eyck to pick-your-impressionist…it’s all there! Not to mention the museum is only a short walk for the National Portrait Gallery (also worth a stop!)

Buckingham Palace: So maybe I spoke to soon about Big Ben being the ultimate symbol of British culture. Buckingham Palace is everything one thinks of when dreaming of royalty. The tall iron gates with gold detailing won’t infringe your view of the massive palace…every time I go the palace’s massive size still shocks me! Getting to witness the changing of the guards is also a pretty unforgettable experience!


Destination Inspiration: Cannes

In honor of Day 1 of the Cannes Film Festival, I thought I’d share 5 reasons why you should book your flight to the south of France ASAP: 

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The Location: Staying on the Côte d’Azur means one thing: options! Being on the cost gives you easy access to other major towns along the French Riviera. During my stay, I travelled to Nice, Èze, and the neighboring country of Monaco. The trains/ tour companies in Cannes make it easy to reach other towns such as Saint Tropez, Marseille, and even Italy. The takeaway: This is a one plane ticket, multiple destination trip!

The Beach: First off, who doesn’t love the ocean? Now add clear aquamarine water and smooth golden sands that’ll make you think you’re in St. Barths. Finally throw in the image of the occasional yacht floating peacefully in the distance as you swim in Mediterranean Sea . How could anyone resist that…am I right?? When you’re there you have two options, either public beaches or private beaches. The public beaches seemed fine- they weren’t overly crowded and the best part is they don’t cost a penny! The private beaches on the other hand range in price from 20-40 euros per day. However, in my opinion the money is so worth it! Usually you’ll be seated on a boardwalk that stretches into the sea and have a beach chair, umbrella, wait staff, bar and bathroom at your fingertips. Personally, I used the InterContinental Carlton’s beach, and loved it! The takeaway: You’ll swim in the same sea, but pay for the experience.

The Shopping: Holy Labels! If you love fashion, you’ll think you’ve died and went to designer heaven. Even if you’re not buying anything who doesn’t want to enjoy a latté on the patio of the Armani Café? Shops including Balenciaga, Burberry, Céline, Chanel, Dior, and Louis Vuitton line the Croisette, their window displays alone being enough to give a girl butterflies. And don’t fear if these stores are out of your price range, a block or two north of the beach there’s a slew of more affordable shops like Zara and Mango. The takeaway: Come with an empty suitcase!

The Sights: Cannes is probably best known for the annual film festival it hosts. While you’re vacationing, a visit to the Palais des Festivals is in order. There you can walk the red carpet, where so many stars have done so before and get some quality photos in. You can also see the Allée des Étoiles (Cannes’ equivalent to the Hollywood Walk of Fame) where celebrities such as Spike Lee and Julie Andrews have immortalized their hand prints. The takeaway: You get to walk on a red carpet (need I say more?).

The Atmosphere: There’s something about the town that makes you feel as though you’re in another world. As someone who grew up going on vacation to the Caribbean a lot, Cannes felt like a blend of tropical island life, with a sophisticated European edge. The food was amazing, the views were otherworldly and the people were friendly, helpful, and easygoing (not a snob in sight!). The takeaway: Book your flight now!