bffs and babies in london!

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back in january, i got a text from one of my very best friends, catherine. it said, “call me when you get this. it’s really important!” for a minute i was concerned that something really bad had happened, and i facetimed her as soon as i could.

in fact, something really really good had happened. “we just got a much-bigger-than-expected-tax-return,” catherine told me. “and we decided that we should use it for me to come visit you!” whaaaat. we were both so excited! it was decided that cath would come in early may and bring her five-month-old baby boy, andrew, with her. we started planning right away and the anticipation built until at last we met up at heathrow last tuesday!

it was really great timing for catherine to come visit me, because ian is in full-throttle exam preparation mode and i hardly see him these days. so to have some company – and a bosom buddy with whom i share twenty years of friendship, at that! – was awesome. it was so so fun to show cath around london, and to have a bunch of adventures with our sweet baby boys in tow. we laughed and cried and nursed and changed diapers and traded off with babies in my stroller and in carriers. we stayed up late talking and woke up early to tend to snuggle babies. we made it all work with nap schedules and sleeping arrangements in my tiny flat, and we saw and did so many fun things, and we got to know each other’s sons, and we just had a total party in this amazing city.

here’s some photos from our days together!

first stop: afternoon tea! cath wanted to experience a classic, traditional afternoon tea and for that i believe there is noooo better place than the insanely lovely fortnum & mason. we were quite the sight in that fancy place with two wiggly babies, and it was a little tricky to enjoy all the yummy wonder with our hands usually pretty full, but we had such a great time!
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^^ i love the photobombing guy in the background of this picture. he looks so happy! :) ^^
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^^ i had to document moses at his first afternoon tea! lucky boy sure liked munching on the tea sandwiches! ^^
the next morning, we popped by all the big sites: trafalgar square, buckingham palace, and big ben! cath and andrew went in westminster abbey and i took moses home for a nap and then we took a stroll across waterloo bridge. and catherine was delighted to find the same chain of gelateria that she frequented often during her semester abroad in paris.
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that evening, we had dinner at the gallery at sketch. sketch is this super funky cool restaurant in mayfair that has this faaaabulous pink dining room. cath had seen my pictures of it when i went there for afternoon tea right after i moved to london, and wanted to experience it herself. i was happy to oblige, and we went for dinner instead of tea to do something different (and i loved the dinner menu!). again we were a bit of a spectacle in a fancy place with two babies but we had a blast!
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^^ i had the pink burrata appetizer which was covered in some kind of edible paint that matched the hue of the walls exactly! for my main course i had pesto gorgonzola risotto with prune marmalade! all so yummy and unique! ^^
okay, although the dining room at sketch is drop-dead fabulous, the best part of that place is definitely the bathrooms. check it out…
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each pod has a toilet inside, and also speakers that play different music/sounds. both times i’ve been to sketch my “pee pod” had played relaxing classical music/nature sounds, but some of my friends said they’ve been in pods that play a recording from mission control saying “blaaaaast off!” ha! 
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the next morning we headed to notting hill so cath could buy some souvenirs at portobello road market. andrew has two older brothers that would be so delighted by toy double decker buses and the like! we strolled through the colourful streets and ate some treats.
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and then we popped by kensington palace so cath could see where will and kate live! the sunken garden was looking glorious!
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and we rode home on the top deck of a big red bus. cath had to take videos to show her older boys!
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after some naps, we went to the tower of london! we didn’t have much time there before it closed, but we popped in to see the crown jewels and the torture chambers. and then admired and walked across tower bridge!
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in between all these adventures, we tried to give the boys a bit of time to just play at the flat. they were at times totally oblivious to each other, at other times not super gentle with each other (mostly moses being a bit aggressive!) and every once in a while delighted in playing with each other for just a couple minutes :)
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we spent the day on friday in the magical little castle town of arundel, a short train ride from london. i’m going to post pictures from arundel in a separate post because it was sooooooo pretty and cool (so we took a ton of photos!).
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on saturday, i went with the primary children from my congregation to the london temple, and cath and andrew took the train to brighton to see a friend that lives near there. we met up by the london eye to get tickets to ride it the next day.
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and after church we took in the sweeping views of london under the finally sunny sky!
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^^ i kind of love that you can see the reflection of little mo’s clothes in this picture! ^^
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on sunday night we tried some charcoal face masks and took some selfies. naturally. haha, it was like we were back in high school again, laughing our heads off in the bathroom trying some random beauty product. cath and i used to giggle our heads off taking ugly selfies together – way before “selfie” was even a word. man, i love this girl. we are so different in so many ways, and our lives have taken us down different paths, but our hearts are completely knit and we are the closest of friends, and will be forever.
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we made sure cath experienced a couple of london classics, fish n chips and abbey road, before she and andrew went home.
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^^ cath’s husband is a huge beatles fan, so this crosswalk was a must to check out on her last morning in london. ^^
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^^ one last ride on the tube and one last selfie! ^^

having catherine and andrew here was just the best!!! we had an amazing week that i will never forget and always consider so so special.

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5 comments:

  1. Looks like you had a great time! BTW, not to be petty, but a tax "return" is what you file. A tax "refund" is the money you get back that you loaned to the government interest-free.

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  2. Surprise money is the best. How great that this young family decided to give this mom a special getaway. And how generous of you and Ian to host so many quests in your small space! That would stress me out but it certainly does keep the costs down and I'm sure makes for some nice "togetherness" memories.

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  3. That bathroom at Sketch is sooooo cool! I want to go to the bathroom there!

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  4. Love you and miss you! Thanks for the blog post, now I don't have to scrapbook it ha!

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  5. Do you have any suggestions on how to be a good hostess? I'm nervous about having guests over because I feel like I don't know what to do with them, where to take them, what kind of foods to serve them, if you have an idea of what you feel works well please share. :)

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