On December 27th we departed for the UK – a bit of a whirlwind visit – primarily to see two of our closest friends Dani & Holly (Dolly) get hitched in Whitstable on January 2nd.
The journey didn’t start out too stellar. Our plane was delayed by over two hours on the tarmac. We just sat there breathing recycled air with very few updates on what was going on. Then they also re-routed the plane due to inclemate weather, adding another 2 hours to the journey. I wouldn’t have minded so much had they kept us updated. Blurg. So inevitably Roisin and I both got super ill with chest infections. Happy New Year.
Once we landed we had to race to Kings Cross to catch a train up to Edinburgh. We spent 4 days there trying to recoup so we could potentially enjoy the remainder of our trip. Hooray for antibiotics!
Roisin played a gig with her talented pals Kirsten Adamson and Roberta Pia of the Banana Sessions. We got to enjoy the Christmas markets, do a tiny bit of shopping, eat some Cuckoo’s cupcakes and we had a nice meal at the Canny Man’s. We didn’t get to enjoy our usual Black Medicine noms as they were closed for the holidays (we opted for Artisan Roast instead) and Roisin was doing so poorly on New Year’s Eve that we had to cancel our plans and miss out on the torch procession the night before. :(
We DID get to see Hannah and Roy Henderson though- two of our best pals. After 23 hours of travel from their honeymoon and New Zealand adventures, they dragged themselves from their beds to enjoy a cheeky breakfast at the Balmoral Hotel (Yes, the hotel where J.K. Rowling finished the Potter series ahhh!) before we hopped on a train back to London.
From there we went on to Canterbury where we had a lovely nighttime saunter and some cocktails. It really is what you'd expect. The architecture is stunning. We stayed at the ABode – I’d highly recommend it.
The next morning we were off to Whitstable for Dolly’s wedding – what an incredible celebration! AHHHH! I feel so lucky that we got to be there. These two ladies looked incredible and everything was so beautiful! SWOOOOOOON!
I think as our very own wedding is fast approaching this one was extra, extra sentimental for us. What a great way to enter a new year.
The next morning, after believing that we were stranded in Whitstable due to flooding and having a massive fight, we finally made our way back to Canterbury where we caught the necessary 4 trains to Brighton. Blurg. Rain + illness + being lost = deadly combo.
Brighton was incredible. I honestly need to go back. We stayed in a hotel right off the beach. The waves were pretty impressive. As a person who grew up around lakes I think salt water still weirds me out somehow.
We fell in love with Small Batch Coffee – honestly their Rwanda Kanya roast is one of the best I’ve ever tasted. We wandered the Lanes, ate breakfast at Bill’s, checked out the Royal Pavilion, explored antique stores in their Kensington/North Laine and of course we ventured out to the Pier to play a few games and wander the closed amusement rides.
We made sure to have a cheeky Nando’s and we definitely swooned over the Black Dove – such a fantastic space for a beer. I also managed to have one of the best pain au chocolat pastries… so many layers of buttery flaky noooooommm.
And then we were off to Bristol.
We opted to save a bit of cash by staying in a private room at a hostel but the place was filthy. There was garbage all over the floor of our room and the bathrooms were disgusting :( Needless to say, I kinda wished we hadn’t left Brighton. But we made the best of it, at least the location was stellar.
Their local Brew Dog became our home base. Between there and Small St. Espresso, we felt at home. Their billionaire shortbread squares were insane.
We made a day trip out to Bath to check out the Roman Baths (and to have high tea), having a necessary Greggs along the way. I’d wanted to go there since my very first trip to the UK. It’s so lovely and the baths themselves are hella interesting.
Then my pal Scott visited us from Manchester!! We enjoyed a tasty dinner at Cafe Kino, went back to Brew Dog and sauntered around Primark and the city center the following day. I love that over these past 4-5 years we’ve really made an effort to keep in touch, taking turns traveling for visits.
Bristol wasn’t necessarily our jam. I think one trip there was sufficient, but we did discover Cabot Circus in the end which was pretty neat. I somehow introduced Roisin to Wagamama while we were there. So bloody good, and the next morning we went back to the shopping center and the surrounding high end shops so I could begin looking for some sort of wedding dress scenario.
Then we were off to London for our final few days. The first order of business was seeing the film Carol at the Soho Curzon Cinema. The film wasn’t as good as Patricia Highsmith’s Price of Salt, but it was still the best lesbian film I’ve ever watched.
We went to the Breakfast Club the next morning and had a long saunter through the shops. Then we sat down to a Sunday roast at one of our staples in Islington, The Angelic.
We made our way to the airport the next morning to discover our plane was delayed by well over three hours, that we’d miss our train home, have to get a random hotel for the night and attempt to avoid paying full price for more train tickets. Weeeeee! We made it home in one piece… eventually. But winter travel is the worst travel.
Overall the trip was pretty amazing, tainted slightly by illness, but really good. The moment we got back I started packing… I think it’s go time.