Tipsy Tea with Mr. Fogg

For our next “Afternoon Tea” adventure, Arnie & I headed to our good friend Phileas Fogg’s Residence. Mr. Fogg has a few establishments dotted around London – his residence (where we came for tea this time), his Tavern, and his Gin Parlour.

In case you aren’t yet acquainted with our dear friend, Phileas is the protagonist in Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days.  So naturally, his home is filled with knick knacks and relics from his fictional adventures around the globe. Visiting his London institutions are always a treat; they are quirky, unordinary, and thoroughly lovely.

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WE LOVE MR. FOGG!

This Afternoon Tea is particularly fantastic because it doesn’t serve tea, strictly speaking. Instead, the tea pots featured on the menu are filled with delicious cocktails, all available with “bottomless” options. That’s right. All you can drink Champagne cocktails are available (that is – if there’s anything remaining after we left).

Check out the menu:

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What’s even better – if you choose the BOTTOMLESS option, you’re able to try a different concoction with every round. They were all delicious. Arnie went for the Bottomless Spirited Teas, and I went with the Bottomless Champagne Teas.

The tea pots are so pretty, and the libations themselves were gorgeous as well.

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HELLO FROM ME & ARNIE (before we became way more than Tipsy)

 

When you have the chance, check it out! We ❤ Phileas, Always xoxo

Oh – and BONUS TIME!!! This BANKSY street art is right around the corner from Mr. Fogg’s home. Can you find it??

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(note – feature image here has been graciously borrowed from https://mr-foggs.com/residence/)

Mayfair’s Mad Hatter Tea Party

As part of our London Countdown, Arnie & I are tackling all the things Afternoon Tea — embarking on both the fancy and the eccentric pinky-up fanfare.

At the Sanderson Hotel in Mayfair, you can fall down the rabbit hole and get tucked into  herbal teas and sugary confections, with a side of animation and childhood dreams.  This Mad Hatter themed afternoon tea is a TREAT! And guess what? It was BOTH of our unbirthdays, so we were in the mood for celebration.

Let’s start with the tea itself. There were 4 enticing flavours: Alice, Cheshire Cat, Queen of Hearts, and White Rabbit. How very curious!

 

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Next, let’s talk about the delectables that accompanied the tea. The savoury selection included a salmon scotch egg, croque monsieur, a fancy shmancy crab roll, and cucumber sandwiches (as if afternoon tea could exist without cucumber sandwiches, even in wonderland)!

The selection of cakes and sweets, however, was a bit ridiculous. Everything was sooo sweet that we left with tummy aches and a penchant to never sugar again.

The selection included heart cookies with rose cream filling, mocha chocolate cake, a lemon cake, mushroom marshmallows, a chocolate caterpillar, a white chocolate macaron, scones with the sweetest jam I’ve ever tasted, little meringues, and a the best touch of all – a glass filled with something delicious that I was hoping would shrink me to the size of a peanut. Then, when we thought it was all over, the waiter brought out ice cream with chocolate caramel “dirt” on top.

Here is the toppling tower, and then us of course 🙂

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That’s it! Thank you for sharing our adventure 😉

Twinkle twinkle little bat, how I wonder where you’re at

xx Bergen

Tale of a Canterbury Day Trip

That’s right, folks! We have completed another day trip in our London Bucket List FINAL COUNTDOWN.

So what brought us to Canterbury, you might ask? Well, I’m not really sure, to be totally honest! It was one of those towns where I recognised the name and it came up on lists of day trips from London, so I figured, why the heck not – let’s go for it.

When we got there, we headed straight for the tourist information office and asked what’s up. I don’t think the staff were expecting someone so unaware of the Canterbury attractions; I legit went to the desk and said, “hey there, we’re here for the day and have no idea what to do, guide us, kind sir.”

But before we knew it, we were toting the perfect little map, had a plan of action, and were ready to explore.

Here are a few starter pictures of things we came across through random stumblings:

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The first notable thing about Canterbury was just how old the city was, and how old some of the buildings were. The typical white houses with the black outer woodworkings, the stained glass windows, the charm of the pubs decked out in flowers – it was all so wonderfully old and British – a true delight. I forget that a lot of London burned down, and that you have to get to places like Canterbury to really appreciate the age.

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Now – before I get into the serious and important things about Canterbury, can I talk about Punting and Food ?

Punting …?

Punting is this thing where long, flat-bottomed passenger-carrying boats have a man/woman standing up on the back, pushing the boat along with a long skinny pole. It’s basically like paddleboarding, but instead of paddling, you’re shoving the stick on the bottom of the canal to thrust the boat forwards. It’s actually quite elegant and peaceful, and they do it on the canals in Canterbury.

Here are some pleasant punting & canal pictures ::

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Food & Bev in Canterbury

Given we went on this little trip on a Sunday, we needed to stop somewhere to get the most important meal of the week – a Sunday Roast.

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We opted for the oldest pub in Canterbury, which dates back to the early 1300s. This pub is called The Parrot, and I’d like to think it was inspired by a pirate’s friendly pet. It is super cool and super old, and such a great atmosphere. They also served beer from Shepherd Neame brewery, which is the oldest brewery in England, and local to Kent.

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The inside of The Parrot with the old wooden beams ::

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The other totally British feast activity we partook in was a visit to Tiny Tim’s Tea Room, where we indulged ourselves with pots of delicious tea with scones, jam and clotted cream. This combo is known as a “cream tea” and it is absolutely delightful.

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Churches & Religious Significance

Now for the historical / important stuff (with some pictures at the end 🙂 )

It was throughout the day that we realised the significance of our pilgrimage to Canterbury, as this route has been taken by many a traveller, especially after the death of Sir Thomas Becket in 1170.  Essentially people thought his remains, stored in the Canterbury Cathedral, could perform miracles – and people would travel from all over to pray for miracles at Sir Thomas Becket’s shrine. The tales that people told on the pilgrimage from London to Canterbury was the premise of The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer.

Also, random factoid – the horseback riding term “to canter” stems from the pace people would wish to ride their horses on the journey from London to Canterbury.

However, before all of this, Christianity was brought to England by Augustine in 597AD (by orders of the Pope), who became the first Archbishop of Canterbury.  I have a hard time understanding which church was first, but the 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites are 1) St. Martin’s (claimed to be the oldest functioning church in all of England), and it’s got a great graveyard, 2) St. Augustine’s Abbey, and 3) The Canterbury Cathedral, known as “the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion.”

Without further ado, here are some holy pictures.

First, the Canterbury Cathedral.

If you can’t tell, I love the ceilings and the stained glass —

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Next, St. Martin’s Church & Graveyard ::

This first picture looks like Dorothy Jane is trying to escape from the grave ….!!! can you see the eyes peering out at you? SUPER CREEP!

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That’s it!! Thank you 🙂

 

xx

Bergen

Park Cinema :: La La Land

In our search for fun London things to do, we came across a company that shows films in major London parks, and yesterday we set out to see La La Land in one of our favorites green spaces close to home – Battersea Park.

There was so much promise, so much potential for a truly magical date night; a romantic, cute, fun film under the stars (…that is if the stars actually existed in London).  Viewers bring along camping chairs, blankets to share, a picnic, some tinnies (British for beer cans), and all your hopes & expectations for great memories.

Look at this venue pre-show, and how excited Arnie looks!  That is true excitement, brought on by the anticipation of an enchanting evening, and NOT just because there is a vintage donut truck (though donuts didn’t hurt the cause either).

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However, events soon turned sour when huge gusts of wind foretold of the impending rain. Go figure – you go to a nice outdoor cinema in early September in London, and it immediately gets freezing cold and starts pissing it down on you *right before* the movie starts. Thank goodness they had these trash bags… I mean “ponchos…” to keep us some-what dry.  Arnie kept calling them condoms because, well, we pretty much all looked like dicks ha!

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By the end of the film, we were soaking wet and shivering, and my butt was totally numb. Here’s me looking like a babushka taking cover in front of a random house while we waited desperately for uber.

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I will say though – THANK GOODNESS the film took place in LA and was showing a sunny & warm climate. Had we gone to see something like Revenant, then mentally I think it would have forced us to find a bear carcass and take cover!!

Moral of the story – this was definitely a memorable night, with a concept that is super cool… but I don’t know if I’d do it again unless it happened to be on 1 of the 5 hot summer days we get here each year – OR if this was in LA LA Land itself.  So who wants to give it a go again tonight?? 😛

 

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thanks for stopping by 😉

xx Bergen

Superior Cool :: Carnaby Street

Carnaby Street, along with the collection of streets surrounding, gives off a feeling of proper (borderline “posh”) coolness – almost the hipster antidote – where true pioneers of the good vibes flourished. What do I mean? I mean Jimmy Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, Famous 60s Fashionistas, Mods, Punks, and all of their faithful retailers selling the threads that thrust them into stardom.

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I mean, check out these guys to the left. How awesome do they look? It’s like Megan from Mad Men level coolness (though Joan was always my favorite).

 

Just walking on these streets, breathing in the air, I get the sensation that just for that moment, I get to be on the inside of the palace walls, live like a true star, like a true leader and influence in counter culture …that is until I see all the other 100s of tourists taking pictures and living in my dream.

I do not belong. I am not worthy.  But for these few moments, I am in.

This place isn’t just super cool, it is “superior cool,” and my “borderline cool” self only knows the edges of what to do and where to go. So any suggestions are welcomed – I promise not to kill the vibe.

As for what I do know – there is so much to see and do in this area, and on any given day after 11 am (and maaaybe even earlier – we are in Britain after all) you will see thirsty pub-goers in the streets under the colourful hanging light bulbs with pints of amber ale in their hands. There are restaurants and bars galore, and the shopping on Carnaby street leaves nothing to be desired (and nothing left in your credit limit either).

One spot that is not to be missed is Kingly Court, which is a small courtyard tucked away – almost hard to spot at first if you’re not looking for it. There are about 20-ish restaurants & bars in the square across 3 stories, including places like the Rum Kitchen, Wright Brothers ( … oysters!!…), a place I passed that looks like it’s got banging chicken burgers, and a TRUE gem and speakeasy – Cahoots (which I will describe in more detail in my next post).

This whole area is great for after work drinks, date night, dinner with the girls, random wandering around central London, probably a few good little music venues, and of course for making you feel much cooler than you really are 😎

Random factoid – not only is Carnaby known for its influential pop culture / counter culture eminence – it is also famous for housing one of the first buildings where Londoners with the plague were annexed to as to not infect the rest of the population. So yeah, this area’s got that going for it, too.

London Museums :: Natural History Museum

For my first museum post, I take you to the museum that I have visited most frequently over the 5 years living in London. As a nature lover / dork, and a wishful student of photography, the annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year is something I always try to get to. This exhibit is what brought us the the museum today.

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…. notes on the building ::

A few notes on the museum itself first. This museum is striking because it was purpose built for this specific scientific & exhibition museum.  Therefore, not only is the architecture stunning to look at, but it’s filled with a number of little animal & plant ornaments scattered throughout the building; take a look at this monkey I found checking out the whale skeleton ::

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The Standard Exhibits ::

As for the rest of the museum, there are thousands of “specimens,” including large stuffed animals (like dead ones, not teddy bears), skeletons, rocks, butterflies, coral, and then obviously some pickled dead things in jars. Here are some of my favourites that we saw today —

Rocks & Coral

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Random pretty things and this Dodo skeleton ::

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Creepy jars with things (that make you feel like a mad scientist) ::

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Some really pretty seaweed & butterflies ::

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…. and let’s not forget some skeletons!!

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You could easily spend multiple days here reading and seeing everything, but beware, there are lots of kids (which may be a good or bad thing for you)!! Like most museums I’ve found in London so far, I prefer to go to the special exhibits, such as ….

… the Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Now, about the exhibit we went to see – Wildlife Photographer of the Year. There are a number of categories (maybe 10 or so?) each with at least 5 finalists and then each with the winner. They also have really interesting stories that accompany each photo, and there are at least 2 whole categories dedicated to photojournalism on specific environmental or wildlife conservation topics.

All the photos were true pieces of artwork – I hope one day I can take a photo as perfect as some of what we saw. We grabbed a bunch of postcards – so here are some pics of some of our favourites (please note my few pictures of the postcards are no where near as brilliant as the photos themselves).

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I don’t think I was supposed to take this, so please don’t rat me out!
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this photo was so awesome – the fish on the top of the photo look nearly invisible, it’s a defence mechanism. 
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these mushrooms are the coolest

 

Royal Parks :: Regent’s Park

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As mentioned in The London Park Series home page, there are 8 Royal Parks in the Greater London area. The first one we are crossing off today is ….. (drumroll …)

….Regent’s Park!

Regent’s Park is in North West London, around Baker Street (read: Sherlock Holmes!!) and also around Camden (read: cool & strange hipsterville, music, markets and eccentrics).

Regent’s Park has a few bits that truly make her stand out from the (crow)d.

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First of all, it is huge, and there is plenty to eat & drink. There are at least 3 cafes and one big restaurant that bursts with BBQ smoke, enticing diners with grilled hotdogs, hamburgers, pork sandwiches, and probably some veggie options… though those were ignored after being smoked out with the aroma of BBQd meats.

Second, there are THOUSANDS OF ROSES!!!! So many flowers. The smell is enchanting, and all of the roses are just absolutely gorgeous. The colours of the roses – some of the colours I didn’t realise could actually exist in flower form. It reminded me of Alice & Wonderland when the cards go around and paint the roses red. Seriously, I am shocked some of the colours were real and not some sort of icing coating. Nothing is typical about these roses; after all, they do belong to the queen, don’t they?? (The real queen, not that b*tch the queen of hearts).

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Third – the Freize Sculpture Park. Here are a few of my favorites. I think the upside down elephant or the zombie-esque Micky Mouse are my top two ! Arnie also likes that guy with the horns.

 

What else do we love about Regent’s Park? Well let’s not forget that it is quintessentially English. And by that, I mean there are those green & white striped lawn chairs everywhere, that beg to be sat in with a jar of Pimms and perhaps some scones & tea (queue pinky raise)!

 

And of course we cannot forget the WATER FEATURES ooOOOOoOOOoO !! Within this category I am also lumping in ponds and bridges, because they are all wonderful.

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And I almost forgot (how could I forget this??) – there is a huge open air theatre in the middle of the park that shows plays during the summer. We missed the shows the day we visited, and all are now over until next summer. So I will not consider this bucket list task complete until one of the shows has been seen! I am already looking forward to part 2 🙂

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Thanks for reading to the end! For the end of my next post, I think I will post a joke. Any good jokes? I am not funny 😛