I will be throwing in a week’s worth of memories in the U.K., all made on the week of April 11 – 17, 2018! Currently feeling very low (depression reminding me it’s around), so I thought it would be best to reflect on some of the best days I spent on Earth by typing this entry.
Ah, I miss my Family so much.
Alright. I flew to the U.K. a day before Harry’s concert at the O2 (which we all know as “Day 2”, because that’s our Harry, selling out the entire O2 Arena on a two-day concert of his World Tour during his London stop), which I will be sharing on a separate entry. Let’s go by dates, shall we?
APRIL 11, DAY 1 : Decided to take the train from Heathrow to Canary Wharf all by my lonesome. I can’t tell you how psyched I was to be doing this on my own because there’s nothing like exploring a place by yourself. The idea of getting lost and figuring things out is one of the best feelings in the world, and I am just so grateful that I am blessed with that opportunity. Of course, it does help that Gee has showed me the way around the tubes in London, it’s definitely a plus factor to have experienced it. I mapped the routes I knew I should be taking (I love you, Google Maps) a few days prior my flight, wrote them down on paper too in case I run out of Battery or won’t have Roaming (for some reason my Roaming did not work on my first trip to the U.K. in December 2017). I had to do a lot of asking (and nothing is more humbling and empowering like knowing you need help, and actually asking for help), so bless all the kind attendants for being so patient with me! In about an hour, there I was, giddily pulling my wheely bag to the Hotel, which I booked for two nights. I was to spend two days by myself before going to Bucks to be with my Family.
I drop my bags and freshen up, since I had a movie to catch at The Prince Charles Cinema, you’ll never guess what it is so I’m gonna tell you : it’s CALL ME BY YOUR NAME (no exaggeration, it took me days to find out because I was scouring through Google checking time slots and cinemas it was still playing on). I get lost a bit because I wasn’t on my roaming and I literally went around in circles before I got to the Cinema (3:50 ON THE DOT, and thankfully only the trailers were playing then). It was definitely refreshing to see people’s initial reactions during particular scenes. I loved Prince Charles Cinema so much. It felt like I was amongst my people, like I belonged. Truly grateful I get to see the film the way it’s meant to be seen and experienced.
On board the Express Train from Heathrow to Paddington!
Literally all I had on my face was eyebrow make-up and cheek tint. Didn’t want my mascara / eye make-up smudging during my flight! This is my Flight Face!
Of course I wear my CMBYN shirt!
We have come full circle!
I look at this with so much pride.
I walk around more (I went to look for Anthropologie to check out their stuff), then I headed to Oxford Circus and, of course, did a little damage at UO and Topshop, picked up dinner from Ponti’s and headed back to the Hotel. I discovered another route to get there, with the station being LITERALLY behind the Ibis. Imagine how happy I looked walking back to the Hotel. It was drizzling, too. I couldn’t think it could have been any more perfect.
APRIL 12, DAY 2 : Before Harry’s concert later that evening, I originally planned to go to Greenwich Market which was close to the Hotel, but I really wanted to see Isle of Dogs already because it wouldn’t be playing in the U.A.E. until May. I booked my Ticket, headed back to Oxford Circus to do more damage, this time in Uniqlo … and … uh, Topshop again. I grab additional stuff from Liberty (for Harry’s concert), and then I make my way through Carnaby to get to Curzon Soho (where, as you know, Timmy, Armie and Luca were for the CMBYN Q&A just a few months ago … I felt their presence). ISLE OF DOGS IS AWESOME. I’m definitely watching it again next month. Films like that should be seen more than once in the Cinema (anything for you, Wes).
This is like, my Winter uniform! Lol. I should get at least one more coat, most likely this year.
I love Curzon’s choice of Nibbles for the movies. I got the Chocolate-covered Berries. OMNOMNOM.
I love Soho so much, I’m cry.
I look for the closest Arts & Crafts store because I wanted to make a sign for Harry! He doesn’t see it though but I won’t call it a wasted effort. At least the Security who asked me to put it down during the Concert saw it (more on that on my separate post meant solely for Harry!). It was during this walk that I realized, Soho’s definitely one of my favorite parts of Central London. I pass by this store called GOSH where they sell Indie Comics + Graphic Novels, where I find some of my favorite titles too (like Saga and The Wicked + The Divine). Nearing 4:00PM, I head back to Canary Wharf to get ready for Harry.
APRIL 13, DAY 3 : I check out at Noon and make my way to Bucks. Mama V picks me up from the station and she treats me to nomnoms at Zizzi (it’s become a favorite of mine now). I spend an hour to unpack and pack for my sleepover at Gee’s and Robin’s, snuggle with Lily, and then head to Gee’s office to pick her up. We also do some Grocery shopping at the nearby Sainsbury’s, grab a few things from the house, and then Mama V drops us off!
GeeGee and LilyPad! Aww. Where does the Cat begin and the Human end, who knows, no one knows, they are one.
I loved this Concoction so much, and I never liked Gin and Tonic!
Gee was having a few friends over and I was honestly a bit nervous but it was another example of me making up monsters in my head because it turned out to be one of the best nights of my life. Robin makes Guac, Gee fixes me and Gin & Tonic, more people arrive and we have THE.BEST.TIME., I’m not even over it. I love Gee’s friends so much and they didn’t even let me feel like I was “new” company. It takes a group of special people to make you feel that way. None of us held back. We were just hurdled around the dining table, having crisps, drinks, taking in a lot of information during our conversations, and taking in much more during our improvised Game of TELESTRATIONS (we kicked it old school first and totally went rogue during the last two rounds — Robin’s idea, lel). It’s definitely one of the highlights of my stay — we had so much fun, we DIDN’T EVEN TAKE PHOTOS (also, the ones I managed to get are meant just for us, lel).
APRIL 14, DAY 4 : Family planned a trip to Hampton Court, so Mama V and Uncle Ian picks us up from Gee’s place. It’s about an hour drive from Bucks (or was it two? I lose sense of time with my Carters). And MY GOSH, IT WAS SUCH A BEAUTIFUL DAY, we didn’t even need our coats. Not being able to park by the Palace was a blessing in disguise too because we enjoy the walk from some of the most charming parts of Hampton Court. I’ll think about that day and smile — everything was perfect.
Since my visit to the U.K., this is the first time I’ve seen all of us in most likely ONE, or TWO layers of clothing. I loved it so much!
GeeGee gave me this flower and I was wearing it on my head for awhile before I placed it back down together with the other flowers.
Maybe I need to be more educated on this but based on what I’ve gathered so far, I do not like Henry VIII.
This Madame was AMAZING. She was portraying Mary Boleyn, sister to the Queen. There was an interactive telling of History that I was definitely into.
GeeGee and I
Mama V and I
GeeGee took this photo of me with them Cherry Blossoms! SO PURDYYYYYYYY!
I love this “Everyday Life” moment caught on Camera.
We drive over to Kingston right after, where I get a car tour of Gee’s “Uni Experience”. We walk around a bit, check out the shops, and then we have dinner at Brown’s. It was lovely. I wish I had a broader vocabulary to find the best word to describe this day. It was the best. Definitely one of my most favorite days, ever.
APRIL 15, DAY 5 : Tagged along to go see Grandad who I am just so fond of. I love him so much. He has an actual fireplace in his quaint common room and that’s where Gee and I spend most of our time if we weren’t by the Dining Table. Of course you know we play Rummikub. It was a very special, chill day. I wouldn’t change a thing, except I wish for more days to spend with Grandad!
This is Grandad’s front lawn! He has more in his Garden out back.
Purrty Tulips, Grandad’s Flowers!
We went to see Cockblockers later that evening. LOL. I LOVE IKE BARINHOLTZ. Of course you know Leslie and John kills this.
APRIL 16, DAY 6 : Gee and I get an early start for HAMILTON DAY! We of course take advantage of the whole day (prior to the show that’s changed our lives forever). Uncle Ian drops me off at the Station at 9:40AM, Robin drops off Gee at 9:45AM, we get Breakfast, and then get on the Train! Out of nowhere I just spring “221B Baker Street” on Gee when we got to the Marylebone Station, and we make a run for it. IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN OPEN BUT for some reason they decided to open late that day. I was pretty satisfied snagging these shots.
And since we had time on our hands, we walked all the way to Abbey Road. Gee took a video of me crossing, so I thought to prance. One of the best decisions I’ve ever made. We check out the Abbey Studios Store too!
I was imagining Harry being in there filming “Behind The Album”, heh.
Gee takes a video of me prancing across Abbey Road …
Repping QUEEN GRETA GERWIG. It’s quite a conversation starter.
Ah, finally. KING’S CROSS. We go around in circles for this one, and we were expecting it would ACTUALLY be at the Platform, but it isn’t. The line’s really long to get a photo taken so I skip it, because even if we had time, we didn’t actually “have” time, given other things we wanted to check out before the show. I snap a photo and we go to the store where we get a few goodies (like my Ravenclaw patch, finally)!
We have Burritos at King’s Cross then we walk to the Skate Shop Gee wanted to go to (which is a specialty shop, you only come by appointment). Gee’s a member of one of the Roller Derby Teams in Bucks (so proud of her, I have my very own HURL SCOUT). I meet a Samy / Land Cloud and actually enjoyed talking to the staff while we make sure Gee gets the perfect Skates.
Gee decides to go through to Covent Garden before heading to Oxford Circus, where I find Penhaligon’s and I decide to go for it. Heh. Finally got a bottle of Luna! My jaw drops as soon as we get to Covent Garden, wow. Did a bit of shopping at Charlote Tilbury at Covent Garden and Monki at Carnaby en route to Oxford, where we have dinner at Ponti’s (it’s Mama V’s favorite restaurant which she obviously rubbed off on me), and then make a move to VICTORIA STATION for *drumroll* … HAMILTON!!!!!
GAH! Okay, here goes. HAMILTON BACKSTORY: as you know, I’ve been wanting to watch Hamilton since it made its Broadway debut. I even acquired a bootleg copy of the show (please forgive me) which I’d watch every now and then. Of course, on top of this — and, needless to say, I listened to the OST countless of times (the OST is all I listened to after seeing it at the West End, obviously). A few days before my flight to the U.K., Gee and I were talking about our plans for Monday (the 16th) since she took the day off. It dawned on me that I should just go for it and get us both tickets. The only available tickets were for the Royal Seats, which was 200GBP each. I didn’t hesitate this time and just bought them. I’m glad I did. NO REGRETS. ONE OF THE BEST NIGHTS OF MY LIFE.
We get shmancy service too at the Golden Circle Lounge, jeez louise. I was in the moment so much I didn’t even snap a photo.
On our way back to the station, we see forking Obioma Ugoala. I was babbling and Gee was like “BIE, ISN’T THAT …” and then she points at him all speechless. We run after him, and he’s kind enough to stop for us to take this photo! HE IS SO GOOD, AND THE PERFECT GEORGE WASHINGTON!!!! It was definitely nice to have him on our side. GEDDIT????? EH?????
I’m trying my best to describe how that night went, but I’m failing. But let me put it this way : it was otherworldly, and the fact that we were witnessing first-hand, the genius of Lin-Manuel, it’s just … priceless. AND INDESCRIBABLE. I can’t wait to watch it again, hopefully with the rest of the family next time!
APRIL 17, DAY 7 : Family drops me off at Terminal 1, and I fly back to Dubai. Not without Mama V. telling me to come back soon of course, and I have every intention to, God willing. I’ve fallen in love with everything.
I’m so glad that I pushed through with this trip, winging everything, financially speaking (my Credit Card hates me so much), but wow, so worth it. There’s definitely growth every time I get to travel alone, on top of actually living alone in an awesome city like Dubai! I can’t wait ’til I get to do this again!
Thank you Family for always making sure that I have the BESTEST time. I love you all so much!