*just British things* – Afternoon Tea and Christmas Time

Another week gone by far too fast.  I checked quite a few things off my London Bucket list last week so I thought I would fill you all in…

The first thing I checked off my Bucket List last weekend was to go see the Rugby Stadium.  As I know I have mentioned before, the Rugby World Cup took place this past fall right down the road from my school.  Well, I never made it to a rugby game and therefore, I never made it down to the stadium.  Well Tuesday afternoon last week I finally made it to the stadium.  I didn’t actually get to see the inside, I didn’t know how to go about doing that and figured hopping a fence wouldn’t do anything but get me into trouble.  But I know a lot of famous, influential, and very drunk people have been in and out of that stadium in the last few months so it was still cool to walk a mile down the road and be able to see where it all took place.

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Afternoon Tea

It’s no secret that Afternoon Tea is a very traditional thing to do in England.  Break up your day with a nice cuppa and some finger-food smack dab in the middle.  Well it is a tradition I haven’t really taken part in since I’ve been over here, as my caffeine addiction can only be satisfied by 2-3 cups of coffee a day, but nonetheless it was one thing I simply had to do because…#JustBritishThings.

So Wednesday afternoon my friends and I headed to the Sanderson Hotel for Afternoon Tea. We chose to have tea at the Sanderson Hotel, because they offer a special twist to this tradition: The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.  Everything is Alice in Wonderland themed.  There are 5 different kinds of tea to choose from, all of them are different characters in the story.  The teapots where crowns and all of the treats are critters or characters.

First you are served your tea, obviously.  Then comes the first round of treats.  Little finger sandwiches of different assortments.  One of them was a cucumber sandwich on some kind of green bread, so that was interesting.

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S’Cute

Next comes the sweets, and there were lots of them.  Biscuits, cookies, macaroons.  You name it, it was there.  I had a headache from the sugar overload.  But they were all delicious, and I wasn’t expecting anything less because Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson Hotel comes to about 50 pounds a person.  For those of you who aren’t up to date with your USD to GBP conversion rates, that’s one expensive cup of tea.  But it’s all about the experience, and Afternoon Tea has now been checked off the list with #NoRagrets.

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The caterpillar was bangin’

*Just Christmas Things*

Someone asked me the other day if they do Christmas over here.  The way Britain does Christmas is the way I wish everyone did Christmas.  Since they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving on this side of the Pond, as soon as Halloween is over the Christmas Season begins.

Cue, lights on every street, trees in every square, Christmas markets everywhere, and yes ice skating rinks all throughout the city.  So yes, London does Christmas.  It has really helped in getting me in the holiday spirit, and so Caroline and I decided to spend our day ice skating and Christmas shopping on Friday.

An Oxford Street Christmas
An Oxford Street Christmas

Our first stop was the Somerset House.  They have a rink, that over looks a giant tree and have Christmas Markets to browse through when your done.  It’s the whole 9 yards.  Well we both managed to skate for an entire hour without falling, even though I came close about every three minutes. It was just nice to be around so many people who were not only struggling as much as I was, but also embracing the season and the beautiful sunny day.  I also watched Love Actually on Saturday night and they flashed the Somerset House skating rink in the movie, so like now I can say I’ve done that as well.

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I almost ate it when this was being taken
Somerset House, 12/6/15
Somerset House, 12/6/15

After we left the rink, we browsed the Christmas shops at Somerset House and then made our way to Covent Garden.  Covent Garden was full of holiday shoppers looking for gifts, street performers entertaining the lively crowds, and Christmas decorations adorning every shop and stall.  I am definitely feeling the holiday spirit, which is a very nice change of pace as normally at this time of year I am stuck in the library studying for finals and I feel as if the Christmas season comes and goes without me ever really having time to appreciate it.  Just another wonderful thing about studying abroad!

Much Ornaments, Very Festive, So Christmas
Much Ornaments, Very Festive, So Christmas

Well after finding some gifts we headed to South Kensington for our next stop on our list.  We managed to hit both the Natural History Museum and the Victoria and Albert museum on Friday afternoon.  Given, we probably should’ve dedicated a lot more time to each and definitely didn’t appreciate all that these two very famous museums have to offer but we saw and became more ~cultured~ and besides, I’ve been to so many damn museums lately everything is beginning to look the same.  But I can now check them off my list!

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Natural History Museum, December 2015

I had a very uneventful weekend.  Saturday I did homework and watched Christmas movies, and yesterday I got up early and spent the day on Brick Lane, endlessly searching for some good vintage finds to bring home with me but turning up unsuccessful.  I did manage to get a famous Brick Lane Bagel, and found a few more Christmas Presents, so I wasn’t all that unsuccessful after all I suppose.  I will truly miss being able to wake up on  a weekend morning and have any number of markets at my disposal to waste my day at.

I’ve started to feel very nostalgic.  I woke up around 9:30 on Saturday morning and realized that two weeks from that very moment I would be boarding my plane to go home.  For the first time I thought to myself that I really don’t want to go home.  I obviously am almost ready, I really miss my friends and my roommates and my bed and my dog, but I’m very reluctant to give up this life filled with adventure and new experiences.  But part of this experience is that it has to end eventually.  Time is just moving a little too quickly for my liking.

Speaking of time, I will be spending the majority of this week in the library, trying to finish up every paper and presentation I have so I can do nothing but appreciate this wonderful city on my last week here.  So I probably won’t be doing anything too interesting this week, but hey you never know so stay tuned. Cheers 🙂

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