Christmas is on its way! It’s December tomorrow, and it’s time to start Christmas shopping. To help you find the perfect presents for your family and friends, I’ve searched the UK for great Christmas gifts. Whether you’re looking for ideas for travel lovers, food fanatics, or fashionistas, for women, men, or children, I’ve handpicked great gifts for everyone. So here’s A Lady in London’s Christmas gift guide…
Happy Thanksgiving! If you’re like me, you’re in Britain and feeling a bit let down that today is just another day. You’ve been invited to a million work events tonight, declining them all politely while wondering how someone could possibly be so crazy as to plan an event on the best holiday of the year. And then reminding yourself that it’s not actually a holiday here. And then thinking it really should be.
I never knew there was so much to do in Normandy. Despite it being so close to England, I haven’t explored the northern coast of France since I moved to London. But now that I’m here, I’m finding enough to fill four days and plenty more to bring me back again. From what I’ve seen, these are the five best places to travel in Normandy…
I’ve never driven a car onto a train before. It feels odd, and yet strangely exciting. As the wheels roll up the ramp and down the long, narrow corridor, I feel like I’m about to traverse into another world. And in a sense, I am. I’m traveling from England to France, leaving the cliffs of Dover for the ports of Seine-Maritime as I embark on a trip to discover the best seafood festivals in Normandy.
It’s been an unseasonably warm start to winter in Britain. The balmiest November weather on record occurred earlier this month in Wales, and if not for the gray skies I might think I was back home in California. But I’ve been living in London long enough to know that winter will come eventually, and I’m actually looking forward to it. Why? Because Christmas is one of the best times of year in London. In anticipation, today I bring you A Lady in London’s guide to the 9 highlights of Christmas in London.
It’s been a difficult month for Bucharest. After a fire in a nightclub on October 30th, the city has faced large-scale protests, civil unrest, and the resignation of the prime minister. I was in town the day before the fire occurred, and was lucky to experience Bucharest in calmer times. In doing so, I discovered a vibrant, entrepreneurial city far from the corruption and scandal that has plagued Romania’s leadership. It’s a city full of life and passion, and one that deserves to be seen on a local level where the true nature of Bucharest shines through the legacy of a turbulent past.
Can expats ever know a city as well as natives? I was asked that as part of a panel discussion at London’s World Travel Market last week, and I felt a bit of pressure to justify my answer in front of 200 people. Thankfully I had just been to San Francisco, where as a native I realized I had done fewer of the must-do things in my city than many American transplants, expats, and even visitors. While there, I got to experience 5 unmissable highlights of San Francisco for the first time.
Every time I travel to Sonoma County I wonder why I haven’t moved here yet. The rolling hills, miles of vineyards, and pretty town squares draw me in, and the warm California sunshine begs me to stay. With each successive visit, I discover more about this region that makes me love it, and now that I have 48 hours in Sonoma County, I find more to tempt me.
What do you do on your millionth visit to a city? There’s an endless supply of travel guides offering tips for first and second visits, but when you’ve worked and lived in a city, it can be difficult to find new things to discover on each successive trip. I love Paris, but when my Eurostar train pulls into Gare du Nord and I arrive at Hotel Le Bristol, I’m not sure if I’m going to find anything new this time. But then I discover 8 secret courtyards in Paris that make me fall even more in love with the City of Light.
Diocletian was a bit crazy. Among other things, the Roman emperor believed he was Jupiter and enjoyed killing people that thought otherwise. But in spite of his flaws, he managed to build a pretty impressive retirement home in Croatia. Diocletian’s Palace in Split is one of the best-preserved Roman palaces in the world, and the only one that still functions as a living city. And that’s why I can’t wait to spend 24 hours in Split.
It’s an exciting day for me: I’ve been living in London for 8 years today! It’s hard to believe so much time has gone by since I quit my job, got a visa, and moved to London to see where life would take me. It’s been a great adventure, though, and writing the A Lady in London blog throughout my time in the UK has been one of the biggest highlights.
I keep forgetting how pretty Primrose Hill is. Walking across the bridge from the Chalk Farm tube station, I notice the colorful accents on the houses, a smattering of sweet boutiques, and streets full of independent restaurants, cafes, and pubs. This part of London is a little slice of village loveliness.