My trip to the UK was so memorable. I spent time with family, enjoyed British culture and caught up on fashion trends. Exactly how I like to spend my vacations. It was a long trip but it went by in the blink of an eye with all of the events I attended, the brief stint in Spain and travel time.
You know that even when I go away, I think about all of my readers that email me, send messages on Instagram and wish me safe travels. It is so exciting to have people that regularly visit my blog and grow with me everyday. During my trip, I tried my best for you all to feel the UK Iconic British vibes by capturing fun images and posting them on my instagram. From the phone booths to the vintage furniture and the fashion, they all shouted Spice Girls with a touch of Princess Di! Here is a little something to say thank you.
One of my favorite places to shop when I head to the UK is Primark. Though the store is slowly coming to the US but is not in Canada as yet, it is still one of my favs for easy and quick fashion. So… I have a small gift bag with a few Primark treats inside to give to the first person to tell me what my silver Louboutins represent in my July 18. 2016 post. Leave your answer in the comment section with your email address for me to contact you!
Just a small taste of London.
From my heart!
Thank you for all the support.
Guess what? It was maddddddd hot in the UK. I was prepared but not prepared. I packed summer clothes but not as much as I should have. It was warm and with the unsuspected heat came fatigue. Between travelling around Spain, London and Nottingham, there was no time to really dress up and therefore no time to shoot looks.
Everyone knows London for its fashion, fun nights and fish and chips but Nottingham is two hours away and has this peaceful essence to it that makes me keep visiting. Even if my cousins did not live there, I probably would still visit for the fun attractions and the overall break from city life.
BUT when I arrived in Nottingham, I could not resist the beautiful surroundings. First of all, my cousin lives in a Harry Potter style home lol! It is like the perfect Hogswart’s or whatever it is called. The big doors with huge locks, the greenery, the archways… all screamed luxe. I had to shoot there.
It was fun twirling around in the sun and playing in the grass. The outdoors grounds of the University of Nottingham are so lush and well kept. Thought gardens are not my thing at times, I wanted to capture the elegance and beauty of the University of Nottingham. The sun was just right and ironically I had the perfect outfit to express the beauty around me.
I made this ballgown skirt a while ago using fabric from my friend’s studio. It is a great piece of raw silk in an emerald teal colour. I paired it with a white shirt by Burberry and a scarf from Hermes. Though I wanted to wear my favorite shoes of all times by Gucci, the grass and cobblestone nearby would not permit. Once again my Hermes enamel bracelet made a cameo.
How do you keep cool in the summer weather?
I literally have dreamt of this UK trip for a quite a while. The last time I was there was in 2012 for my Masters graduation. It was way before my blogging days but I enjoyed just being in London and even more so, Nottingham.
Instead of going the straight route, I decided to celebrate my wedding anniversary in Mallorca, Spain and though beautiful, it added another layer to the travel cake.
Let’s take a bite of it!
We flew business class with Air Canada to London which is always a treat. More space, better food( They served my favorite Ravioli) and sheer comfort. I highly recommend flying business on flights that are longer than 5 hours. We arrived in London on Saturday morning, quickly scurried to the American Express lounge for breakfast and to freshen up. We then spent the day in the airport waiting for our flight to Spain in the evening. Ding, ding, ding… quality time. But this also allowed me to explore to wide array of duty free shopping in London Heathrow airport.
We arrived in Spain… more details to come in my iTravel Spain post next week.
Upon our return to London we checked into the lovely Hilton Euston. Small, quaint and appropriate situated right next to the Euston subway station. This allowed me to hop on the tube to any of the classic London shopping spots like SOHO London and Oxford street. I would highly recommend Hilton Euston ( though they are renovating right now) because it had an adequate gym and an extensive complimentary breakfast buffet. I looked forward to breakfast every morning after my workout. Apple juice galore! Most of all the rooms were top notch. Though the room was small, the sheets were sparkling white and the rugs were fresh. The bathroom was full marble with glass showers and bright white basins. So glorious, clean and calming.
During the day, I walked around the city ( in the rain) and spent time learning London. From the Oystercard needed for the tube to the double decker buses, I wanted to learn how people got around on one of the world’s most elaborate subway systems. Though I got frustrated at times, I figured it out and got to all the places I wanted to visit. John Lewis, Warehouse and River Island ( Shop the collection using the link on the right) were all stores worth the visit when in London.
I enjoyed lunch at Marks & Spencer and was completely impressed with their intricate approach to packaged food. They had everything in their café! EVERYTHING. All packaged neatly and ready for life on the go. From high calorie creamy pastas to their “ Count On Us” low calorie packaged meals, the food looked fresh , yummy and colourful. I even took some food back to the hotel for the next day after my workout or to snack on in the evening.
So I had to check out Nando’s. I know we have it here in Toronto but I initially heard about it from the UK bloggers on Youtube. My cousin Michelle ( a research academic) took us there for dinner and it was tasty. Quarter chicken meals for everyone!
Michelle was kind enough to drive us through the centre of London and the most beautiful sight was Harrods at night. One of the most iconic fashion site in the world, Harrods was a must see. I have seen it before during Christmas and during the day but to see it on a regular night was motivating and inspiring. Fashion is a universal language and I speak it wherever I go.
My cousin Kezia arrived in London the following day and that is when the party started. She is like a little me. I would like to say that I have taught her everything she knows about pop culture, fashion and being fab.
Kez and I dropped her bags at the hotel and headed out for lunch. We enjoyed lunch at a quick pizza spot called Pizza Express. Over a Margarita pizza and casear salad, we caught up on events back home in Trinidad, critiqued the recent Chanel collection and strategized both of our next moves in life. It was a very surreal moment to be talking business with my “not so little anymore” cousin Kezia.
That night we headed to Nottingham to meet up with the rest of the cousin crew. This part of the trip was filled with chilling, food and jokes. My cousins are academics, one being a lecturer and the other a PHD student, so they live on the University of Nottingham campus. I was so inspired by their flat. It was filled with so many cool nooks, greenery and history. Hence the glorious pictures in my Green in Greenery post ( will be up on Thursday) and in this post.
Nottingham reminds me of Ottawa. Very lush and green and extremely quiet in a simple way. We headed to a restaurant called REDs True BBQ. The main attraction: Beef ribs. Beef ribs are soo hard to find in Toronto, so it was nice to have them abroad, especially with Cornbread and maple butter. YUM!
Though there was rain in London, it was blazing hot in Notts. So there are more motivation to hangout shopping and eating and shopping and eating. With all the cousins in tow we went to brunch at an Indian resto called Tamatanga. The main attraction: Lamb Rogan Josh. Sigh. Lamb is also my favorite and my husband definitely enjoyed the food there. We even wanted to take some home.
We visited the Wollaton Hall Manor where the Batman movie was filmed. My hubby was happy to check out the building. The inside was stunning and full of emotional art that even moved me.
My cousin’s graduation was on the Monday and it was definitely worth the travel over to the UK. The full recap here. The University hosted a light, yet harty reception for the graduates and their families featuring a yummy white cheddar and pickle sandwich and light orange juice. We then headed to Iberico Tapas for a full celebration meal full of Tapas and Spritzers. Kezia and secretly ate the "inside out wings" quietly in a corner. They were soo yummy and innovative.
The next day we were headed back to Toronto. We drove back to London and hopped on a flight back to Toronto. I was exhausted and pretty much slept all the way back home, I mean even in the UBER from the airport to our condo.
Though it appeared like I shopped a lot, I actually didn’t. The British Pound is killer and I just could not justify some of the purchases. But I got something for you all. More details to come :)
The main reason I was there was to spend time with family as we celebrated this monumental moment of my cousin receiving her Ph.D!
And we celebrated as much as we could, as hard as we could!
Top 5 things you need to have with you in the UK:
My trip to the UK was a vacation but I was also there to witness my cousin Dyneshia affectionately known as Diddy, cross the stage at her graduation. Like me, she has a deep admiration for entrepreneurship. I am an entrepreneur but she is a bit different. She is an entrepreneur educator and has completed a PH.D in entrepreneurship. Cool eh?
I sat in my seat and was moved with emotion because I was witnessing the reward for her years of dedication and patience. She was reaping the harvest. She worked hard, persevered and finally reached her goal. Not to toot my own horn, I credit myself with adding or removing commas, periods and run-on sentences from her paper. Ha! I did all I could to help her during the writing up her PhD. It was the least I could do as a younger cousin who has literally hung on her every word for years.
I sat next to our baby cousin ( Turned young woman and academic) Kezia. We are kind of a crew, me, Diddy and Kezia. We been rolling deep for years. To be with Kezia and witness Diddy cross the stage, it was just overwhelming.
Pride. Joy. Praise. Victory!
To attend her graduation, I wanted to wear something simple and in a print. I found this cool navy blue floral print and knew I was going to make a two-piece pant outfit.
The pants were fine and easy to whip up but I had no inspiration for the top. I chose peplum. Peplum looks great on my body but there needed to be a flare. After a few trials, I made this cris cross top. It sits on your shoulders or can really emphasize your neck by sitting higher up.
Navy blue is one of my favorite colours and really brings out my skintone. The floral, though kind of wild ( as my mom would say) added a bit of personality with the fabric. I like using cotton fabric because it is so soft and keeps you cool.
Because it was a graduation, I had no idea if I would be sitting so I put on my comfy Maison Margiela red heels. There was red highlight in the fabric, so red shoes would do. For a bit of sparkle, my Queta Accessories clutch was a great option.
Congrats to my cousin.
From Crescent Gardens
in our country of Trindad and Tobago to a PhD in the UK…
This is your moment!
I am so excited about this look. I dunno why. Maybe because it brings back great memories from my trip to Spain. Maybe because I can still feel the hot Mallorcan sun on my skin. Sunscreen was my best friend. I applied Conditioner daily to my hair.
Pina Coladas and sparkling water were the drinks of the day.
Talk about Melanin overload.
For Spain, I knew I need to pack a few swim looks and boy, I did. I wore a variety of swim outfits but fell in love with this one. I got so may compliments and questions about where I got each piece and was happy to provide some info to my readers.
Mara Hoffman is one of my favorite swimsuit designers but sometimes I either can’t get the swimsuit on time or its soldout. But recently I realized that local stores in Toronto had cute, quick options that I could pick up and feel great wearing.
I have admired the Triangl swimsuits but didn’t like that they were two piece. So when I spotted this Triangl inspired tankini set I swooped it up immediately. Guess where it is from? Ardene! YES, Toronto’s Ardene. Isn’t it so cute? It was perfect for my trip and looked excellent on my body.
As a cover up I used an old neon orange chevron print shirt I purchase from Bluenotes. Yes Toronto’s Bluenotes. Mixing patterns is my favorite fashion technique, even at the beach.
My sunnies are once again by Celine.
So, you see! You don’t have to spend tonnes of money to have a cute swimlook for the beach. You just need coordinate pieces that when combined make you look chic but are practical.
Where do you shop for swimwear?