We’re in Disney for the weekend and they’ve finally added a Starbucks on property. It’s definitely a magical morning if I can enjoy a latte at the Magic Kingdom… it makes the screaming children less annoying :)
I have been holding off on my Europe post, simply because there is so much to say; so many things to share, so many places to tell you about, and SO MANY PHOTOS (I took over 900 between my phone and my real camera). This weekend I finally got around to developing all (okay, 240) of those photos, so I thought this would be the ideal time to finally sit down and write this.
Our first stop was London, England, which was my favorite. We stayed at St. Ermin’s Hotel in Westminster, and I cannot emphasize how much I loved our accommodations. The hotel is tucked back from the street in a beautiful courtyard. The staff was friendly and helpful and our room was clean and comfortable (although small). It was within walking distance to a lot of places and just around the corner from the St James Park stop on the Underground.
Places we visited included the Tower of London, Harrods, Buckingham Palace, the Royal Mews, the Queen’s Gallery, Oxford Circus, Liberty of London, the London Eye, Westminster Abbey, and Kensington Palace. We also took a day trip with Golden Tours to visit Windsor Castle, Bath, and Stonehenge.
While in London I became OBSESSED with afternoon tea. If you don’t already know, afternoon tea is usually served between 1 and 4 p.m. and includes sandwiches, pastries, scones with cream and jam, and, obviously, tea. They also offer champagne. The one at our hotel’s restaurant, The Caxton Grill, was really good (their scones were the best). We also went to the Tea Room at Harrods, the Caramel Room at The Berkeley, and the Orangery at Kensington Palace.
Other restaurants we went to included Bar Bouland at the Mandarin Oriental, Byron, which is a burger place, and Golden Fish Bar, which had the best fish & chips in London.
On Thursday, we took a train from King’s Cross Station (where I got to check out Platform 9 3/4) to Edinburgh, Scotland. We also stopped in Leeds to see the Royal Armoury.
In Edinburgh we stayed at The Rutland Hotel, which was a super-fabulous boutique hotel. It’s in a great location at the end of Princes Street and it’s a short (although steep) walk to Edinburgh Castle. The hotel only has 12 rooms, which allowed for really personal service, and they give you complimentary muffins upon arrival, which were delicious.
We visited Edinburgh Castle, the Scottish Whisky Experience, Stirling Castle, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, House of Fraser, the Edinburgh Vaults, and saw the Military Tattoo. We also took a day trip with Timberbursh Tours to see Glencoe, the Highlands, and Loch Ness.
I did afternoon tea at the Edinburgh Castle Tea Room and the Café at the Palace. We ate at the Huxley and Kyloe Steakhouse, which were both at our hotel, and we also had dinner at the Amber Room, as part of our Whiskey Experience, and got drinks and appetizers at Angels Share.
Originally, our trip was only going to include London and Edinburgh, but there were no direct flights home — they all had layovers in Dublin. Because of this, we decided to stay for a few days in Ireland at the end of the trip. We stayed at the Radisson, and looking back, I wish I had selected a more “Irish” hotel. There was nothing special about this place, as it’s (obviously) and American corporation, but it was nice enough.
Dublin also didn’t have nearly as many things to see or do. We visited St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Jameson Distillery, Guinness Brewery, Kilmahan Gaol, and took a ghost tour. I did two final afternoon teas at the Shelbourne and the Merrion, we enjoyed meals at Pablo Picanté (burritos), Banyi (sushi), and Cake Cafe (breakfast).
On our last night, we got tickets to see Riverdance! at Gaiety Theater. It was definitely a fun (and very Irish) way to finish off such a memorable trip!!
Weight Watchers pick of the week — Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Guacamole. You can have 4 tablespoons for just 1 PPV!
I’ll be honest, when I was younger I hated guacamole. It just didn’t look good. A few years ago my best friend started working at a Mexican restaurant and she convinced me to try their guacamole; “Trust me,” she said. “It’s delicious.” Turns out she was right, and I’ve been a huge guac fan ever since.
Well, unfortunatley, avocados are one of the few vegetables that are not 0 PPV on the Weight Wachers plan, so mowing down on guacamole is usually not a great option… until the discovery of this Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt version.
It’s made with Greek yogurt to cut down on the fat and calorie content (50% less fat and 40% less calories, to be specific), but you can’t even tell. In fact, I put this guacamole out at a recent party, and by the end of the night, the serving dish was practically licked clean — and nobody knew it was made with Greek yogurt!
Trader Joe’s also has a Reduced Guilt Spinach and Kale dip that is made with Greek yogurt, which is pretty good, too… But not as good as the guar! Check it out!
I’ve coveted this Zoe Karssen sweatshirt since I first saw it on Pinterest a year ago. It came up on a blog I was reading recently, which included a direct link to purchase it from Zoe Karssen’s online shop. One thing led to another and I bought it as a birthday present to myself.
Of course, Zoe Karssen is a designer who only makes XS, S, M, L. I figured if the Large fit, it would also be a present to myself for all of my hard work on Weight Watchers the last 2 years… and a boost to get me back on the bandwagon, since I’ve been slacking since September.
Well, it was delivered by DHL today & it fits! Happy birthday to me!! Now time to hit the gym!
Check out my super cute Chatlotte Olympia scorpio zodiac flats! It’s my birthday this month, so be sure to send presents ;)
WW Pick of the Week - Weight Watchers Peanut Butter Brownie Bliss. PPV 2.
These peanut butter brownies might be the best supermarket food that Weight Watchers has ever created. Seriously.
The brownie is topped with a real layer of peanut butter, covered in chocolate, and then topped with a peanut butter swirl.
They are very tiny, but they are oh. so. delicious. In fact, I can barely keep them stocked in the house, because my husband, who is not on WW and can eat whatever he wants, keeps eating them all on me! They’re THAT good!
Additionally, they come in Triple Chocolate Brownie Bliss, which is also 2 PPV, but I haven’t tried them. Let me know if you have, and what you think!