When I booked this trip, I didn't know it was the Diamond Jubilee
, celebrating 60 years of Queen Elizabeth on the throne. But, it made for a very Union Jack experience... and I've never met a Union Jack I didn't covet.
I started off walking over to Monmouth Coffee
at the recommendation of Eric
, one of my friends who is espresso-obsessed in Baltimore. It happened to be closed on Sunday, so I decided my next destination was going to be TopShop
on Oxford Street, where I was convinced I would find a non-cheesy, subtle Union Jack something to wear to the Jubilee that afternoon. TopShop was totally over the top and I didn't find something I wanted or really needed
(what I still needed most was my Hunter boots that I decided against packing.)
On the way back to my hotel, dumb luck took me down Carnaby Street
which ended up being my favorite shops of the day. I still wish I had picked up the Grumpasaurus t-shirt from David & Goliath
and the cool punk jewelry at The Great Frog
|Shopping on Carnaby Street in London|
I'd been hearing all about friends who had great meals at Spuntino
, so I popped in for brunch. They had me at truffled egg toast and a Bloody Mary.
|Truffled Egg Toast & a Bloody Mary at Spuntino|
Everyone had also been raving about Hummingbird Bakery
cupcakes on Portobello Road, but honestly, trendy cupcakes are getting on my last nerve. I passed a Hummingbird outpost near Spuntino though and their Jubilee Union Jack cupcakes sucked me in. I decided I could justify it by getting one to take with me down to the Thames and that my personal tribute to the Queen would be toasting her with a cupcake.
|Union Jack cupcakes at Hummingbird Bakery|
After that, I booked it back to my hotel to blow dry my shoes and decide where I wanted to attempt to watch the royal barge on the Thames for the Diamond Jubilee River Pageant
. I decided that since I hadn't yet seen Parliament or Big Ben or the London Eye yet, I'd head down to the Victoria Embankment. It was perfect - jam packed with partying and even though I couldn't get a spot on the river, they had enormous big screen TVs to watch the royals go by.
|Kate, Harry and Wills got lots of cheers|
It was neat to be near the spectacle and with such history all around me. But, honestly, what I was most impressed by was the Queen's stamina. She stood for hours and hours and hours. At some point, I had to head back home to dry off and relax before dinner. But, she was still there, in the rain, taking it all in. Sixty years ain't nothing to shake a stick at... as soon as I got home, I downloaded this biography to learn more about her and her ascension to the throne
|Me toasting the Queen as she passed by on my left.|
With the River Pageant behind me and a long flight home the next day, I had a great wild rabbit tagliolini at Jamie's Italian
, enjoyed a walk back through Piccadilly Circus to my hotel
and settled in to a deep sleep.
PS. Clearly, I'm smitten with London, but if you need a Union Jack fix back in Washington, DC, stop by Foundry
on U Street. Designer Yvette Freeman is equally obsessed and has a store full of unique Union Jacks for your home.
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