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A London WeekendALondon Weekend-03London Weekend-03
Friday we venture towards Bank and I take him to Leadenhall Market, a place that was used as Diagon Alley for the Harry Potter films. He is an avid fan of the novels and production and when we arrive he takes in the architecture and the stalls, all with Isla by his side. It is the sweetest thing to watch. Him and her cuddled closely together against the London wind as we experience new sights together.

The weekend is spent in total relaxation with us all in loungewear and it passes by quickly. Mister and Isla take walks in the crisp autumn air while I stay home in the warmth of our flat. There are soaks in the bath and time spent reading novels and magazines. I finally feel recharged and replenished after almost a month of travel and giving of myself to my family.

On Monday we celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving with friends from Vancouver over a simple dinner but always lively conversation. When the evening is over and we’ve said goodbye to our guests we fall to sleep quickly yet thankful for all we have.

By Tuesday we are ready to explore London some more and make our way towards the Natural History Museum in Kensington and he is completely in his element, and soon I am as well, as it brings us back to our primary school days of learning all about the earth and the animals that once ruled it. As we pass by exhibits soon I am completely taken with the architecture of the building and a gasp escapes me. It is so grand and beautiful I can hardly contain my excitement. One of the reasons I adore and love Europe is for all it’s architecture and design it has developed over the centuries, and having citizens who want to preserve it.

There is a moment on Thursday when she goes down for her afternoon nap and he looks at me and says ‘go out on your own, I’ll watch her’. I almost don’t know what to do with myself but am elated at the freedom. I wander in and out of stores hitting all my favourites: Jo Malone, The White Company, Paperchase, LK Bennett all the while completely at ease with myself. I stop in at Fortnum & Mason and pick up a tin of Countess Grey. I wish to have time to sit and enjoy an afternoon tea but instead to return home happy with my purchase.

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We settle very quickly into our rhythm of London. It isn’t the typical rhythm as there is no commute to contend with or the rush to and fro, but we love it nonetheless. We are experiencing London just the way we want to. We all slow down to a beautiful pace that we thrive in. Mornings are spent with all of us in our bed, after Isla has woken in her cot, and we slip her under the covers and let her play and roam around us while him and I slowly wake up. She takes her morning milk here and we stare at her looking at all her tiny features, always exclaiming how happy we are that she is ours.

We fall into our routine of taking a morning walk to our favourite café within Camden, where they quickly learn our order and always have it produced within minutes of our arrival. After our coffee, sometimes we head back home but most times we head out to explore another area of London. We typically head towards Marylebone as it’s a quick bus ride from Camden and an area of the city we love. There we wander in and out of stores stopping at my favourite The Little White Company and The White Company looking at all the wares that I feel embody who I am so easily…feminine, simple, and refined. We spend hours together like this before he leaves us to go back to our flat to work and I spend the afternoon with her as we wander up and down the streets of London.

Everything is just as I imagined it would be, but even better.

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Saturday it is raining and we escape to the National Museum for hours of wandering and enjoying history. Once we get our fill we step outside to the bright sunshine and the smell of crisp autumn air, it fills our lungs and refreshes us. We walk and walk before we step into a thai restaurant in Soho where I realize I have dined, 3 years prior on a work trip to London, when I joined successful engineers for lunch. Before coming to London I was afraid it would feel large and too busy. However, I find that even though there is much to learn and experience, somehow it feels familiar and much smaller than I anticipated. In a way it feels like home.

Sunday it is sunny and beautiful so we head to our new favourite cafe near Camden Town before walking through Regent’s park while Isla sleeps away in her pram. When she finally wakes we walk down famous Baker Street towards Marylebone and pass by again more familiar streets where we’ve once shopped and explored. We take our time as we walk through Hyde Park towards Kensington Gardens and I realize that this is all I ever wanted to do, was explore the parks and gardens of London with Isla. With her by our side we view the city differently than before. We stop by playgrounds to let her explore and lay for hours in the grass as she crawls all around and over us. I lay down a white blanket before the Physical Energy Statue in the gardens and the Long Water behind us we lay in the grass overlooking the Palace for hours and it’s the most enjoyable moment we’ve had as a family on this getaway. That evening we make a wonderful paella for dinner before calling it a night after our long day.

Monday morning we enjoy a much needed family nap after a fitful night of comforting Isla. Even though I said I would never let my child sleep in my bed there is something so comforting sleeping with her in my arms. When we finally make it out of the house we are greeted at our cafe and two flat whites are quickly produced for us to enjoy. While she continues to sleep in the pram we walk to Primrose Hill and enjoy stopping in at the estate and letting agents to look at what is available in the neighbourhood, what attracts us, and what we could potentially live in. We step into a quaint cafe when the winds blow and the chill sets our cheeks all pink and are greeted with friendly smiles and hellos. We settle in with a warm hot chocolate for me, perhaps the best I’ve ever had, and another flat white for him. She sits in our laps completely content to play with our hands and faces while we watch the leaves fall from the trees outside.

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We arrive into London excited and ready to settle into our usual routine. After a two hour ride through the city, admiring the passing affluent neighbourhoods of Kensington and Marylebone, we arrive at our flat in Camden. Our place to call home for a month.

We settle in quickly by setting up her baby-cot and highchair and unpacking all of our clothes. While we tumble a load of laundry we head to the nearest market to pick up a few essentials. Before long we are all fast asleep in our own rooms, with our clothes neatly put away, and a fridge with breakfast ingredients.

We head out the next morning to purchase more essentials for our home by walking through Camden. I am surprised at how familiar everything is to me and lead us to a breakfast place while she sleeps in the pram. After, with two flat whites we stop in at Whole Foods and Sainsbury to pick up groceries before I head out on my own.

There is the typical infuriating moment of taking transportation in London, but I chalk it up to just experiencing London to the fullest. I eventually decide to walk to my destination and end up loving the result. I sit in a cafe with a friend while our babes crawl around on the wooden terrace and it is a moment. There I am sitting in London with a friend from Vancouver, whom I officially met in Barcelona, with our two small children playing together.

I come home and prepare Isla for bed fixing her up a delicious supper, running a bath, and placing her in white pjs before placing her in her bed. I run across the street to a small grocers to pick up a bottle of wine and settle in on the couch.

I wake up with our babe and quietly we escape upstairs to not disturb Adam. I play soft classical music while I fix her a breakfast of tart yogurt (something she did not enjoy two weeks ago) mango and apple puree and a bottle of milk. We spend the morning enjoying the time together, in the quiet, just the two of us.

We walk as a family through Camden towards Kings Cross before ending up at The Albany for a late lunch. Never allowed into Pubs in Vancouver with Isla it is a relief to be able to pop in with a baby to enjoy a meal and feed her as well. Later that evening when she has been put down for the night we make a delicious Indian dinner of Butter Chicken and Tikka Masala which we savour and enjoy.

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Live your desired life thumbnailDownload the Live Your Desired Life workbook and learn the 4 easy steps on how I started to live the life I always dreamed of that you can start implementing immediately.

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As I sit here in my London flat watching my baby explore every nook and cranny that she can find I realize how much I have grown, expanded, in the past couple of years since we have moved away from Europe. In some ways I am proud of myself. Yet sometimes I still struggle with ‘am I sharing too much? not enough?’.

I am unsure of what instituted the shift, but it is clearly there.

Before the summer of 2012 I loved announcing where I was traveling to, where I was staying, while also offering and accepting lunch and coffee dates to socialize and meet new people. I got so excited sharing the news of the new (or familiar) places and would anticipate the types of people I would meet along the way.

Summer of 2012 we made the decision to move home to Vancouver (where we quietly travelled around Europe for a month before returning) and then suddenly I found myself facing reverse culture shock and a mild depression, and since then I have become more secluded in my online profile. If you follow me on Instagram it is probably the only place where I am little more carefree with my posting. Facebook feels like a chore and Twitter feels like another universe for me.

So while I sit here in my London flat I realized that I didn’t say anything about us traveling back to Europe. That this is not just for a two week holiday but for a longer period than normal. And how excited I am that we actually made it happen!

On Instagram I’m posting almost every day of what this past month has looked like for us, but here on my blog it has been quiet and on Facebook I haven’t said a word.

This has been the result of not posting on social media for months and then really taking a look at what feeds me and what drains me.

I have become more private in what I post; keeping our lives a little more to ourselves and not so much of a “look at me and what I am doing”. And it feels good, really good to have some privacy.

But on the other hand I also understand that you might be wondering why it is so quiet here and perhaps where I have gone.

The answer is I am living life. It is lovely and beautiful. In the past month we’ve visited Paris, Amsterdam, Warsaw and are spending the month of October in London before flying to Porto, Portugal for the month of November. This has been a dream come true for us, one that I didn’t think was going to happen back in July but so happy that we were able to make a reality.

Live your desired life thumbnailDownload the Live Your Desired Life workbook and learn the 4 easy steps on how I started to live the life I always dreamed of that you can start implementing immediately.