I haven’t written a post yet in the new year, and it feels great to be back writing something to you that’s longer than a line or two on Instagram. Last week I went on a very last minute trip to London and Milan and wanted to take you through some of the the places I saw, what I wore and what I did while I was there. The Fitbit was off the charts — covered a lot, so here we go.
How it came about
First I just wanted tell you the brief little story of how this trip came about because it was all so perfectly synchronized that I knew it was a little gift. I don’t know if you guys ever experience this, but when you know you’ve manifested something, or that you’ve received a gift, it’s really an amazing feeling! I just had to share.
I was in Chicago when my friend who had already made plans months ago to go to London the following week said, “I wish you could come with me.” If you know anything about me, you know that you don’t have to ask me twice to go on a trip so I was quick to hop on the computer and look for flights. I was planning to see my dad soon who lives in Florida, so I searched for flights both from Chicago and Florida and found a ridiculously inexpensive roundtrip flight from Tampa the next week. Like every other part of this little gift, this worked out perfectly because I could leave my little puppy with my dad while I was away, and return to Florida after my trip which is just nicer than going back to Chicago in the cold and alone to my apartment. In all of my back and forth trips to Italy when I lived there, I never paid this little for a ticket, and this was one for the following week — insane.
I knew while I was in Europe this time that I had to pass by Milan to see all my friends as I hadn’t been back there since returning to the US three years ago. I lived in Milan for three years and it is a very special and happy place for me and I couldn’t believe I would see all my friends again so soon. After making those arrangements, I realized that my passport was expiring in June and that you’re advised to have a valid passport at least six months out from the expiration date when traveling to Italy. After a mini panic, my friend suggested the Passport Agency in Chicago, which I didn’t even know existed. Google said they were closed for the day but I gave them a try on the phone and to my surprise, a very friendly voice answered the phone. She calmly told me “no problem” when I explained that I’d need to renew my passport for a trip in a few days, and set me up with an appointment for the next day. I went in, got my passport renewed that day and was ready to go.
The fact that in a matter of a couple hours, I had booked the trip (very inexpensively), found an ideal solution for my dog, made arrangements to renew my passport and was about to see so many people I loved in a few days felt like a big giant present that had already taken care of any little fear or concern that could have arose in the plan. I actually cried that night with gratitude because I just couldn’t believe it and was so happy — and because I’m a weirdo and cry at everything. There were a few smaller things that fell into place as well, but I leave you with those biggies.
I think it’s such an amazing sign when you recognize that you’re able to manifest things (big and small) and if you pay attention to what’s happening, and not dismiss it as luck or coincidence, you can keep that momentum going and continue to make magic happen.
My trip was a little Milan sandwich with London on either side. I had one day and a half in London at the start of the trip and two days at the end but for the sake of the post I’ll do all London things together first. I also took some clips of the city as I went along to string together in a little video you’ll see at the end of this section.
I’ve been to London once before, but it was back in 2012 and on that trip I had focused more on touristy places like Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, The London Eye etc. So this time felt like exploring a whole new place as I wanted to see the different areas of the city more closely. I don’t really like to travel with a specific plan of things to see and do and my friend is the same way, so we just set off walking for that whole first day. We walked through Mayfair and Soho primarily but we covered so much through our walks that I’m not even fully sure where else we went. That day was actually Valentine’s Day and I was so surprised to see how much effort the whole city put in to decorating for it! It was very beautiful with flower arrangements everywhere and my favorite part was this adorable little courtyard that was tucked away from the main streets selling oysters and prosecco (that you’ll see in the video). Too cute!
So many stores and pubs in London are just gorgeous buildings and they’re decorated immaculately to boot. I tried to capture the best ones in my little video but look at this stunning pub below! We stopped into a couple stores and coffee shops before finding a cute pub to eat at in Mayfair that first night. Pub food is ok, but not amazing I’d have to say. Just kind of fried/heavier things like fish and chips and bar food.
When I got back from Milan on the second leg of my time in London, my friend and I went to a few really special places. I think my favorite part of my whole time in London was eating at the Brasserie of Light restaurant inside the legendary Selfridges department store. It was the most gorgeous place and everything was delicious. I was willing to sacrifice the quality of the food for how stunning the place was, but everything we ordered was amazing – take a look at this salad we had that could double as a work of art. The logo of the restaurant was a pegasus and there was an enormous glittering pegasus mounted on the wall of the restaurant. Stunning decor with a pink and modern art deco theme complete with an all pink bathroom (including pink toilets!). Dead.
After lunch we walked through the department store which was pristine and had so many interesting things in it — not just your usual clothes and shoes. And it was packed! Very cool that department stores are still so gorgeous and frequented in London, not like in the US where they’re dying a slow death to online shopping.
After Selfridges, we walked all the way to Hyde Park to visit this amazing cafe that I had seen on Instagram so many times and had to see. It’s called Saint Aymes and it has amazing flowers all over it and decadent, pretty pastries and tea service. Unfortuantely, we experienced a bit of bad customer service there which was a total let down when you’ve been dreaming of a place and we didn’t end up staying. Strange experience but still a beautiful place.
Lastly we stopped in to Liberty London, which is another iconic department store that is so interesting because the building seemed to be a massive old home. It was all dark wood inside with six floors of just about everything. I snagged some amazing chocolates and biscuits for myself and friends while I was there.
All in all I thought London was gorgeous, as I remembered it to be. The architecture is beautiful and like in most European countries, you can see how much pride people take in their stores and restaurants. It’s definitely crazy with lots of people but feels like a much prettier and less chaotic New York. I will say that I had a few unfriendly interactions with both customer service people (salespeople, waiters and waitresses mostly) and just random people around, so I was surprised to feel that. Not sure if that was just a random sampling of people or if it’s the norm for the city but that part wasn’t ideal.
I missed my Milano so much!! I was ecstatic to be back and tried to see as many friends as I could fit into four days. I was much more focused on seeing friends (and eating) than shopping or covering the whole city. I stayed with some of my favorite people and was really looking forward to spending time with them too. *Bonus* My friend that I stayed with is an incredible cook. I could have just stayed there at home the whole time and been perfectly happy.
I wrote a whole post about Milan many moons ago with many more photos, but I’ll repeat myself here a bit: the Duomo di Milano is the most beautiful duomo, and structure for that matter, that I have ever seen. I’ve traveled around Italy quite a bit, and have never seen a more breathtaking cathedral. And right beside it is another insane structure, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. It’s a luxurious galleria filled with cafes and luxury stores.
One of my favorite areas of the city is Brera, it’s a little old section of town, not far from the Piazza Duomo with tons of amazing restaurants and shops along all cobblestone streets. It just so happened that on the day I was walking through Brera with a friend, they were holding an outdoor market of antique and new clothing, jewelry and home items. I found (and manifested) the most beautiful pair of earrings by a Florentine artist. — will be showcasing them soon for sure. That was my favorite little find of the entire trip.
I could talk all day about Italy and Milan, so I’ll try to keep it brief here but on the food front, I was determined to eat all of the brioches and cappuccinos in existence, alongside copious amounts of pizza and pasta in any form. Mission completed.
A prestissimo, Milano.
What I Wore
I got a lot of dms about my pearl hair clips that I wore throughout my trip which I actually found on Amazon for super cheap. The two in my photos came in a set of 12 pieces (see below), all gold and pearled and gorgeous. Find them HERE
My chunky white sneaks are a new favorite item of mine. I can’t get enough and can’t wait to style them with so many different looks so stay tuned for that. They’re by Jeffrey Campbell and I got them through Shopbop on Amazon HERE (btw the Shopbop x Amazon partnership is amazing. Two day shipping on all those clothes and accessories on Shopbob — yesss)
My black leather over the knee boots are Via Spiga from last season but I found some similar Via Spigas HERE
My leggings are these from Artizia and they are my favorite leggings in the whole world. I like the high waist fit and they are so so comfy and durable. You can wash them over and over again and they never wear. Perfect for flying.
I got my comfy gray oversized sweater from Pretty Little Thing not too long ago, but I can’t seem to find it. It’s so soft and this one looks similar and made from the same type of fabric.
My little white bag is vintage and was a gift from my friend who inspired my love of vintage bags.
Have any of you been to ethier London or Milan? Curious to hear your thoughts and if you had similar experiences. Let me know in the comments!