Our Jungle Luxe Minimoon in Tulum

The most incredible, lush pool at Nomade.

Choosing a destination for our mini-moon turned fuller moon  (thanks to my luxury prone choices) was actually a tough decision. While we are still hoping to do a honeymoon part two in Northern Europe, we are rather grateful for our sandymoon in Tulum. 🙂

My newly minted husband took two weeks off for the wedding; the first week he spent in Maine leading up to the wedding and the following week for our honeymoon/mini moon. With only having one week for our honeymoon getaway, we didn’t want to jet too far. We had originally been thinking of the south of France and/or Italy, but one week is not enough time to get the full experience of a southern European honeymoon. We dabbled with East Coast options, but ultimately wanted an adventure out of the States. And finally, we landed on Tulum. Tulum came highly recommended by several friends, and we were quite curious to explore this trendy nook of Mexico! I am SO glad we took the time to plan and budget for Tulum, it was so important for us to have time together, for the first time, as husband and wife. 

Getting There 

On Monday, we left Maine and arrived in Charleston. We then flew from Charleston → Atlanta → Cancun on Tuesday morning. We hired a car service coordinated by our hotel that drove us to our first honeymoon stop, Sanara. There was a bit of confusion when we were finding our car, as there were two vehicles waiting for us which both had our information. We were exhausted, hot and kind of freaked out but it was fine. It turned out that the hotel’s backup car service arrived in addition to the primary option- this was not communicated to the hotel or primary car. The car service was about 195 USD but I am so glad we did this. When we left Tulum we took a local taxi to the airport and it was a frightening experience. I highly recommend using a nice car service, to ensure that you are safe and comfortable. No one drives according to a specific speed limit in Tulum/Cancun so the hired car services still drive fast, but are usually in vehicles that don’t feel like they are going to fall apart. Anyways, just a thought!! 


Day 1 

I hopped right up on the first morning of our little moon and ventured to a yoga class right at our hotel- Sanara, which was a lovely class in their studio that overlooks the sea. 

From yoga, I went searching for Adrian, who was already on his second drink. Conveniently located at Sanara, is an entirely gluten free, health conscious restaurant called The Real Coconut. It was so amazing to have easy access to an abundance of options. Adrian said several times how great it was that The Real Coconut is Sanara’s restaurant. While he doesn’t vocalize it constantly, I know that my dietary restrictions can give him anxiety. I’m unsure if it is his concern that I may or may not be able to be served by a restaurant, or if he is wondering how soon he will be fed. Lol. Both are legitimate concerns.

“Let’s go” – @mr.curiel

After breakfast, we got ready for the beach with plenty of SPF and our Yeti’s ready to be filled with a cool cocktail. Sanara reserves beach beds for hotel guests, which was a very nice touch. We also took a cute beach bag that our room provided to fill with our/my beach activities. Having our yeti’s on the trip was SO helpful. It was scorching outside and just about everything in Tulum is outside. We put almost all of our drinks in our cups to keep chilled for as long as possible. While I do love Yeti, I do feel that my swell tumbler keeps liquids at your desired temperature significantly longer than Yeti 🙁 however, Yeti has several cap options which are very accommodating.

Wearing a kimono/robe by Spell & The Gypsy Collective. Purchased last summer, similar here and here.
A totally gf pizza for a perfectly loungy afternoon
at The Real Coconut
Adrian’s idea…
ALSO totally gf!!!
Exploring nearby shops

We ended our first day with dinner and drinks at Casa Jaguar. The mezcal assortment at Casa Jaguar was quite impressive. Thankfully, Adrian and I both love tequila, and it is a libation showcased at every establishment in Tulum.

Casa Jaguar
Casa Jaguar

Everyday essentials for Tulum:

Day 2 

Another blissful breakfast at the Real Coconut. I began every day here, with a refreshing iced matcha with almond milk

After a slow, blissful morning at Sanara, we ventured to lunch at Posada Margherita !! This meal was one of my favorites, coming in close second to Hartwood. I read many suggestions saying that this Italian spot was an absolute necessity to enjoy in Tulum, and I agree. They were gluten free friendly, and Adrian and I ended up splitting one gluten free spaghetti and wow, ‘twas perfect. The lopsided, pasta filled vibe made me miss the hodge podge that is Italy in all its glory.

Wearing a little Ref dress from last summer, Tulum is the perfect spot for tiny linen dresses
Back at Sanara for a dip in the pool
Lack of Colour hat
love love loved this book

Dinner at the infamous Hartwood establishment

Hartwood, was an incredible social and culinary experience. The vibe is very Swiss Family Robinson in 2019, with dishes and drinks that melt in your mouth with impeccable flavor. We did not have reservations, arrived early and were promptly seated. However, we were in Tulum in the beginning of the off season. If you are going to Tulum in high season, make many reservations and be sure to book dinner at Hartwood.

I may have had four, or five (?????) of these mouth watering banana mezcal cocktails
So good.
Most of the spots in Tulum, are cash only. We spent a lot of mula on our dining experiences, so I highly recommend going to Tulum with more cash than you think!

Day 3

Our last morning at Sanara, I enjoyed the toast and sampling of spreads. Of course, all gluten free.

Unfortunately, on Friday Adrian was up through the night with an upset tummy 🙁 I am unsure if it was the richness of his meal at Hartwood or brushing his teeth with tap water? I don’t know, but it was a bummer seeing him so unwell. I encouraged plenty of rest, and tried to facilitate everything without him having to think of much.

It was our last morning at Sanara, so I enjoyed a solo breakfast at The Real Coconut and quickly packed up for our transition to Nomade

When we arrived to Nomade, our room was not yet ready so we found a nice shady spot to relax until the room was ready. Adrian was SUCH a trooper. I know the heat was making everything so much worse, but I couldn’t think of a better option. 

Once Adrian was settled, I explored the next nook of shops nearby and ended up walking back to the hotel in a new bathing suit! Soon Adrian was able to get tucked into the room to take a nap in the aircon, while I enjoyed a new book and refreshing lunch by the pool.

Shopping!!

A really great nook of shops! I found two lovely table runners here the following day when I returned to show A the shops.
Peeping into Casa Jaguar Swim
My new suit by Casa Jaguar Swim and Lack of Colour hat. Sunnies are Off White x Warby Parker, that I found on ebay last summer. I love them oh sooo much!!

Note on getting sick in a foregin country:

  • Cold washcloths on your forehead 
  • Plenty of filtered water
  • Easy on the tummy foods. I always go by the BRAT diet after a tummy incident (Bananas, Rice, Applesauce and Toast) 
  • Shade, air con if possible, naps, movies. 
  • Point to your stomach and look sad, people will understand and do what they can to help you. People care! 
poolside ceviche served by Nomade’s beach restaurant

Day 4 The Happiest BIRTHDAY I have ever had !!!

Began the day with Birthday yoga at Nomade
I dragged Adrian back to the Real Coconut for breakfast, and it was perfect. Birthday girl gets what she wants, always. 🙂
A little birthday surprise at The Real Coconut !!

I believe I may have cracked the code to create my ideal birthday. This was the first birthday in I have no idea how many years, where I did not CRY. Shit always goes awry, or I set my expectations way too high and concoct some dream that there is going to be a massive surprise waiting for me at some point in the day. Terrible, I don’t know why I do that to myself.

However, this Birthday may have shifted things. In addition to being a crazy Birthday person, I am totally the girl celebrating my “Birthday month,” the second June arrives. This year, the wedding took that focus. I was too busy planning every meticulous detail to think about my birthday. In addition to that, no one gave a flying hoot about my birthday, which was refreshing. My Birthday was not a priority for myself this year, and that felt great. Although, I am sure you can catch me throwing myself a fabulous Birthday party next year.

My 25th Birthday in Tulum, was so blissful. Beginning the day with yoga, allowed me to be in my body and start with gratitude. Having body work in the afternoon permitted me to rest and be pampered in a manner which I adore. Shopping in the afternoon, for a fun treat. And enjoying so much of the day with Adrian, the best treat of them all. It was a quiet, introspective, happy day, and I am so grateful for that.

An afternoon massage at Yaan Wellness. A beautiful, tranquil space and my service was amazing!

Dinner at Gitano!! We were scheduled to dine at Gitano on Friday night, but due to Adrian’s tummy and him needing rest we cancelled that res. Thankfully we were able to get in on Saturday night, and we enjoyed a very yummy meal. With live music and great cocktails, Gitano is the place to go Friday or Saturday night! Another spot that was easy to get into off season, otherwise, book ahead of time. (Note, there was a cancellation fee for our original Friday plans)

such a vibe.
Gitano’s space is quite extensive. A great venue option in Tulum, and seems like it would be such a fun spot in the high season. The majority of the restaurants, etc in Tulum have a day or two of the week where they have a “party.” Our visit earlier in the week to Casa Jaguar was very quiet, because I think Thursday is their evening to turn up. Planning your dinner’s according to these “parties” would be a super fun way to make the most of your visit to Tulum!

Day 5 Homeward Bound

Since returning home we have been having SO Much fun, continuing to celebrate being newlyweds, catching up with friends, enjoying our registry gifts and loving married life. More posts to come on important things in wedding planning, the big day itself, newly married life, and of course, lots of beauty!!

In addition to wedded bliss, I unfortunately got a parasite that wiggled its way into my foot while (most likely) in Tulum. After several weeks of a misdiagnosed jellyfish sting, I went to the York Hospital walk in clinic in Maine where they were able to confirm with their infectious disease specialist that I had Beach Worm or Cutaneous Larva Migrans. I was then prescribed an anti-parasite medication, which killed the parasite and provided near immediate relief. After three weeks of absolute agony, insane itchiness and waking up in the middle of the night with my foot on FIRE, I was ecstatic to be on the road to recovery.

I went to Tulum with open wounds on my feet, because of stepping on glass out at a gross bar after my cousin’s wedding in May. The cuts were SO small, but it provided easy access for this nasty parasite. SO have you or do you know of someone who is contracted such a thing? So wild.

Posing with the hubby. Love him, love being married to him!! Xx

Natural Nail Solace in Williamsburg


You know the scene in Legally Blonde, where Elle is just beside herself when she arrived at Harvard, only to find Warner engaged to the preppy brunette with basic (or lack thereof) style? You know the one. So what is a girl to do? Elle hopped in her bougie convertible and whirled into a nail salon. She sat down, cried, and found immediate comfort in the seat of the salon. There is a great sense of relief in the experience, and I know it all too well.

Ph7 was my nail destination for the summer. Nestled on Grand Street, I found it rather convenient to stop by when I was in need of nail attention.  A ten minute walk from the Bedford Avenue L stop, Ph7 is an easy and lovely destination for nail solace.

I am all for pampering, and I think I am pretty good at it. For realz. For those who struggle with constant business, over- working and anxiety, treatments that practically force self-care, can give you rest. There is literally only so much you can do in the pedicure seat, choose to enjoy your treatments. Rest up, buttercup and let yourself be taken care of.

I usually go for a basic pedi, and gel manicure at Ph7. Occasionally followed by a 15 minute massage, because why not. My visit this week included nail art and I am thrilled with the result! Not to mention, it was genuinely affordable for a New York nail salon. I am impressed with the consistent service at Ph7, and I appreciate their reasonable prices for a natural salon.

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Ph7,  a Williamsburg nail salon. Non-toxic, chic and efficient. Walk-ins are welcome, you can book online or give them a call. Check them out!

Photographed by Hannah Rice

 

The Alcoholic Green Juice Worth the Hype

Ask for the drink that tastes like green juice. I am serious! I guarantee they will know what you are referencing. More formally, the cocktail is called “Too Good For You” and it will be the best treat of your summer happy hour experiences.


I have been dying to visit “While We Were Young,” in the West Village, and I got a chance to park my bum in their beautiful space for drinks last week. I sauntered up to WWWY only to gawk like a little girl at her first experience in a luxury department store. I think you catch my vibe. The space is even better in person than it is from the copious quantities of instagram posts and “look where I am” insta stories. Think pink. Floral. Adorable. Everything the girliest girl could dream up in a restaurant. The feminine aesthetic is topped with a tasteful open floor plan with floor to ceiling windows that fill the restaurant with natural light and soft city noises.

Due to our early happy hour, the space was near empty when we arrived. Of course not entirely, because a place so perfect is bound to have admirers at odd hours. The (sort of studly) owner of the hip restaurant was seated by the window being modern with his Macbook, some girlfriends were chatting by the neon sign, and two couples were enjoying the restaurant as well. We placed ourselves at the bar facing the street, for people watching purposes (obviously) and it was a splendid decision. Shortly after my arrival, an adorable waiter bopped over to take our orders. I wanted everything! I pulled the, “What do you recommend?” to our darling waiter, and he pointed me straight to the magic green juice with a buzz. He described it as “tasting like a green juice.” I was hooked at the notion of such a concoction.




‘Twas a success! Damn did it taste like a green juice out of a romantic comedy. Not something far too earthy and textured, but smooth and bursting with flavor. In this case a tiny bit of alcoholic flavor but ever so subtle. The drink was beautiful, tasty and effective. IE that buzz made me order two and I was slap happy by the time I departed. Honestly, for the asking price of their cocktails, I would sure hope they deliver in taste. The cocktails certainly did.


I am elated to report that this cute as ever spot, lives up to the fantasy. Make this your next happy hour destination and you will not be disappointed.

Bisous

H

Farewell, Cinque Terre

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En Route

We are en route from Firenze to Cinque Terre for a quick two day jaunt. You know the place- it’s probably what you envision when you hear someone chatting about the coast of Italy. It’s an incredibly picturesque little town composed of five wee villages replete with stunning views and landscapes. Strangely, though, it’s also home to some of the world’s ugliest Airbnb’s. Perhaps in the high season there are some nicer options, but at this time of year it was slim pickings for “Mern” and me (Welcome Marie-Nicole- also known as Mern, French American, Sassafrass glam babe, and my closest friend abroad in Firenze!! Xoxxoo muah)! One would think that an infamous location like Cinque Terre would have a plethora of boutique hotel and summer-flats available. Unfortunately, however, all the lodging options we found were over-priced and full of old school euro décor – not exactly ideal.

It’s a lovely Saturday and we are heading towards Riomaggiore by train! Despite Cinque Terre’s proximity to Firenze, the journey to Cinque Terre does require one train change after departing from the central train station in Firenze. We booked our Airbnb & transport last night, with the knowledge that it might be a bit chilly and rainy during our visit. Mind you, we are heading to a location that’s known for its long hikes and views from the water. All of the popular activities are entirely outdoors. But hey, we are going!!

The weekend is already shaping up to be an adventure. I slept through an hour of alarms. Leaving myself with less than thirty minutes to get ready for the day, pack, eat breakfast, etc. It was also in my morning schedule to bathe, so I’m sporting dirty hair and no make-up. I was late to the train station and we had to hustle onboard, sweating and grumpy. We finally find seats only to hear an announcement in Italian telling us that the train is out of service and to move to an alternative train. My fellow travelers and I competitively scramble to find a good seat with their travel buddy of choice, on our new train. The flurry of activity made for an exciting ten minutes of havoc to say the least, especially considering the fact that I’m also carrying two obnoxious tote bags. As we are shuffling through the train, desperately searching for seats, I am thinking for the hundredth time that I need to invest in a sleek Lululemon backpack for shenanigans like this. Somehow we found seats near, but not next to, each other and the journey finally began.

Have I mentioned that nothing really works in Italy? No?? Perhaps I can enlighten you. For instance, yesterday when I was moving to my new abode it took us 45 minutes to get a cab. One does not “hail a cab,” here in Firenze- you have to find a phone and make some calls. There are three taxi companies, no Uber, and a country full of people that have no sense of urgency. Added together this makes it nearly impossible for a taxi to be consistent. I do not find myself too flustered by this lag in progression, but it is something to be aware of. As in, what if there’s a flight to catch? You might want to give yourself more time than necessary. Additionally, try to compose yourself. Adapt. Get over it. It’s a different place where things simply run differently (or not at all, like the train we had to vacate).

Back to the weekend ahead- we are going to have fun! I’ve got a bag of snacks (including gluten free bread) so I feel aptly prepared. However, I also have some sort of sinus pressure, ear pain, running nose situation happening right now, so I’ve got to go find some tissues (aka toilet paper). Classic. Oh, and this just in! Mern just passed me her phone to show me the expected weather for Cinque Terre today. The little screen of her iPhone 5 gleams: “Sixty-eight degrees Fahrenheit, with gray skies and a solid chance of rain.” I am telling you, it’s always an adventure. Chat later ya boobs.

 

One Week Later

It’s been roughly a week since our return from Cinque Terre, and I am still in awe. Unfortunately, not the good sort of awe that leads to daydreaming and future trip planning- quite the opposite, actually. Let me explain: Cinque Terre can be best explained as hype.

According to Urban Dictionary, hype is “A fad. A clever marketing strategy which a product is advertised as the thing everyone must have, to the point where people begin to feel they need to consume it.”

My gal pal and I were greatly disappointed with the entirety of Cinque Terre. We arrived on a gray day with high hopes for a lovely weekend. We managed to find affordable accommodations with Airbnb in Riomaggiore, and our host was very sweet and hospitable. After we arrived and took a quick tour of our little flat, we promptly ventured out for sustenance. With approximately five restaurants in the town of Riomaggiore, we settled on the first one (I cannot recall the name, probably because I neither felt the need to recommend it, nor store it for later dissection on Yelp). The waiter cautioned that there may be cross-contamination, but thankfully I was left unscathed. My fish was fabulous, and the side of veggies was so-so. The day was soon dampened by rain… as was our weekend. Jokes, jokes! We made it an adventure.

We really did enjoy ourselves! We laughed, found nutella, and enjoyed being bloated due to our respective digestive issues. Yet, I must say, the gray skies and dewy weather did not help the looks of the decrepit architecture of Cinque Terre. Honestly, it resembled a Eastern European slum. The biggest disappointment was the lack of culture. To start, Cinque Terre is compiled entirely of tourists. I know we are visiting as well, but I did not spy one local roaming the town. The magic of Cinque Terre has been entirely stripped by the override of tourism. It goes beyond “a tourist town,” and I can say that confidently as I am currently living in Florence. It was like Disney world for adults- nothing more than an attraction (lines and bad food included). Isn’t this supposed to be Italy? It felt like a bad trip to Epcot.

On our second day the sun came out, so we set out to visit three of the five towns that make up Cinque Terre. We began the morning with Nutella toast, a recipe for success, and soon after caught the ferry to Monterosso; the furthest town from Riomaggiore. This venture allowed us to see the five towns from the sea, and let me tell you- perspective is everything. Riomaggiore looked quite lovely from the water, but was questionable when viewed up close. Sorry ‘bout it.

Starting our morning off in Monterosso was quite nice. We hopped off the ferry and right back into the sea! We cleverly changed into our suits, on the pebbly beach and dipped in the water for a morning swim. Apparently jellyfish have been a bit wild in Cinque Terre this season, so I was a little frightened. Nonetheless, this was the best part of the trip. The little beach was not overrun with tourists, so the experience was restorative. After lunch, we discovered the larger beach of Monterosso, along with the striped beach umbrella’s of your dreams. Monterosso really is much bigger than the other towns, and the images and blogs do not do its size justice.

We then pranced to Vernazza, which was strange and not as charming as Monterroso. We scooted away from the crowds to find an aperitivo on top of a cliff with a breathtaking view (the local vino bianco of Cinque, was actually quite lovely).

While the land and sea of the area are beautiful- truly stunning- Cinque Terre is  best known for its towns, which have been ransacked by the masses and stripped of their appeal. Once upon a time- in the seventies- Cinque Terre was a hidden gem. A lustrous, beaming, secret, spot for holiday. And I apologize for letting you down, but in 2016 Cinque Terre was nothing more than a beautiful disappointment.

Oddly enough, it remains immensely picturesque when viewed through a lens- especially with solid editing skills. So here is a little mind F for you. Enjoy these beautiful, idyllic pictures of a sad, soulless place called Cinque Terre. Xo  H baby 

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Chan Luu Dress (No longer avail.) & Soludos Smoking Slipper (ON SALE)

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Day Two!! And the sun joined the party!

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Riomaggiore

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Riomaggiore from the sea

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Mern!

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bae.

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Vernazza from the sea

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Warm waters, sandy toes and a little Mern

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Wearing: Marysia Swim (Similar here

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View for lunch & where we spent the morning dipping in the sea

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local vino bianco for the win

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At this point in the day, we sat in exhausted silence. This was a real candid, as I could not conjure the strength to do anything more than read… and drink.

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A magical spot, by the Riomaggiore train station

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guardian angel pup that helped our disastrous return home 

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Farewell, see you never, Cinque Terre

 

Photos via iphone. Taken by myself (Hannah Rice,) or not if I am pictured.

Cinque Terre 2016

London: Short, Sweet & Trendy

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Hello my loves!

    My affection for the international city of London, is rapidly growing. I adore becoming attached to a place. It motivates me to better understand the culture, curiously explore and get to know amazing people. Whenever I am visiting a new or familiar city, I ask myself, Could I live here? Often the mental response, is no. ( ’cause I am so dern picky) But a few spots have creeped into my heart, and then magnetically pull me to plan my next visit. London happens to have crawled into my life and does not want to leave. It wants me to go go go to London and stay stay stay. Until I can plan to move my booty to London, I will prance around and discover the best nooks, cocktails and boutiques! Enjoy this little weekend guide to London for the chic, health conscious and occasionally trendy traveler. Xo

*All restaurants are celiac/gluten free friendly.*

P.s. I will be sharing more about my current whereabouts & life happenings soon !! Keep those eyes peeled because my laptop is fixed and I am ready to write! Meow Meow xoxoxo

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Clean & Lean cafe at Bodyism. Breaky of an almond matcha latte & avo toast on gf/paleo bread

Clean & Lean Cafe at Bodyism 

When to go: Stop by for a light breakfast, coffee rest (limited seating) or an in-between snack

What it is: The cafe at the uber chic, members-only wellness center called Bodyism. With the warm & energetic atmosphere, you will feel right at home. It is difficult to tear yourself from the hot trainers & positive energy of Bodyism, but you must keep on keepin’ on! I mean the staff and guests are seriously good looking and the food is so tasty and friendly for my people (celiac people) !! 

Must try: Matcha latte with RICE milk (for a sweet & smooth addition to the earthiness that is matcha), as well as the gluten free/paleo bread

Celiac Awareness: Nearly everything (if not everything), is gluten free friendly. Fast & yummy nibbles that make you feel happy happy healthy. Bonus points that the team at Bodyism cares about the ingredients of their products as well as dietary restrictions !! 

Where: 222 – 224 Westbourne Grove, London, W11 2RH

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Peanut Butter protein pancakes at Clean & Lean with a nice matcha latte (aaaand thanks to my friends at Bodyism, I gave this matcha a go with rice milk –> DELISH)

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Duck & Dry boutique blow dry bar in Chelsea. Sadly, my stylist this visit was not thorough or the slightest bit friendly. It did not make the experience as nice as it should have been. <y lovely Sarah visits this spot frequently, and only has issues when she unfortunately is passed to that specific stylist. (book in advance)

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Wearing: See sunnies (unsure of availability), Tee found at Urban & Club Monaco pants (on sale !!) paired with Stuart Weitzman mules (no longer avail.) & LV Neverfull MM.

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The Ivy Chelsea Garden

The Ivy Chelsea Garden 

When to go: Literally any meal you could ever hope for… but I would say an indulgent lunch or dinner would suffice. However, one must plan ahead of time and book in advance. TRY to book a table in the garden !!

What it is: Incredibly chic and wildly delish. I usually avoid large menus, but I genuinely feel that the variety of options at the Ivy Chelsea does not hinder the quality and taste of the dishes.

Must try: An anytime cocktail (IE breakfast, lunch or dinner. Go wild.) I had the Six Bells Tea Cup (served in a china cup and served with a refill) & Sarah sipped on the Lavender Lady. We both agreed these cocktails just might be the best in London…

Celiac Awareness: They were very accommodating at the Ivy Chelsea, and helpful as I made my lunch choices. A+ friends !

Where: 197 King’s Road, Chelsea, London, SW3 5EQ

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The Ivy Chelsea Garden 

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The Ivy Chelsea  

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Seasonal Soup: Roast iron bark pumpkin soup with truffled goat’s curd and sage leaves. Dying to return to this meal and recreate this soup in my kitchen. { The Ivy Chelsea }

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Ottolenghi Notting Hill

Ottolenghi Notting Hill

When to go: Early lunch. This little spot gets mad busy during lunchtime. Either go at an off time to pick up some grub, or allow time for a short wait.

What it is: Where does one even start? My sister-friend Blaire, introduced me to Ottolenghi. She is a big fan of his cookbooks, so these dishes are assimilated into our kitchen-culture in Charleston. (love you bb Blaire !! ) This Notting Hill gem gives you a little taste of Yotam Ottolenghi & his team’s extensive culinary talent. Each bite contains exuberant flavor that somehow does not overwhelm the senses. I am not a spicy girl, and I really appreciate intense flavor that is not painful for my tongue and/or tummy! So go. ASAP. 

Must try: Grab a few things! (Veggies, fish, etc… your options will be equally mouthwatering) Have them toss your goodies in a take away bag and you can make your way to a park for a moment of rest with a yummy lunch. 

Celiac Awareness: Most of the food is gluten free and there were several sweet options friendly for my people during this recent visit.
Where: 63 Ledbury Road, London, W11 2AD 

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I was happily surprised with the gf sweet options at Ottolenghi !! I am all about it, and this Lemon Pistachio Polenta Cake (gf) ft my nude nails, was tasty and moist (grody word but a real struggle in the celiac sphere of baked goods)

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Raw apps at Farmacy London

Farmacy London 

When to go: I was not enamored with the brunch, and prefer the full lunch menu. I am hoping to return soon and investigate the dinner situation. Bookings are available, however we did not book in advance and happily sat at the bar.

What it is: Healthy & upscale. The clientele all appear to bloggers with a mass of followers; given their indoor sunnies and decked out ensembles.

Must try: One of their seasonal dishes.

Celiac Awareness: Everything on the menu has some little “*” pointing to the allergens, or lack thereof. However, they were very cautious about my celiacs, as cross-contamination was a possibility. They were very thorough and kind, and thankfully I felt fine after my meal. I was surprised they weren’t more allergen friendly, given their obvious healthy mission.

Where: 74 Westbourne Grove, London, W2 5SH

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Avo toast on gf bread at Farmacy

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Farmacy London

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People watching at Farmacy London

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GF Granola served with almond milk {Daylesford Cafe}

Daylesford Farmshop & Cafe 

 

 

When to go: Breakfast or Lunch

What it is: Organic farmshop and cafe in Notting Hill. Daylesford has an organic farm and has created a mini bio empire in the UK! The cafe and farmshop in Notting Hill, is just a glimpse of all that Daylesford has to offer.

Must try: Gluten free granola & almond milk !! Being gluten free and lactose intolerant, the luxury and simplicity of cereal and milk as an option at breakfast join is unheard of! 

Celiac Awareness: Certain of the ingredients, the staff was accommodating.

Where: 208-212 Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill, London, W11 2RH

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Organic market at Daylesford Farmshop

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Anntian top at Couveture & The Garbstore

Couverture & The Garbstore 

Why worth a visit? It’s got a nostalgic air of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, meets the modernity of the women of Notting Hill. Eclectic & tasteful brands can be found along the likes of Trademark, Apiece Apart, Rachel Comey and the list goes on… They’ve got women’s, men’s and children’s clothing along with a selection of trendy cat-lady home accessories.

Where: 188 Kensington Park Road, Notting Hill, London, W11 2ES

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Rugrats vibes at Couverture & The Garbstore

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Lutyens & Rubinstein Bookshop

Lutyens & Rubinstein Bookshop

Why worth a visit? If you like books and have lovely taste in reading material, you will dig this. 

Where: Lutyens & Rubinstein Bookshop, 21 Kensington Park Road, London, W11 2EU

Purchased at the bookshop: 

   NW Zadie Smith

   How Fiction Works James Wood

   Between a Wolf and a Dog Georgia Blain

Recently Read:   

    A Moveable Feast Ernest Hemingway  

    Kitchens of the Great Midwest J. Ryan Stradal 

    The Opposite of Loneliness Marina Keegan

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I adore you, Notting Hill.

London. September 2016.

Photos snapped via iphone. Taken by yours truly, aside from the obvious where I am in the picture. 

 

A Cornwall Wedding

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So my mom has been shoving a book in my face for days. She made me promise I would read one specific essay, of course I mumbled, “yes… you got it.” Needless to say, it did not happen immediately. It was not to spite my precious, well read mother, but I am enamored with my current read.

Fast forward a few days. I’m lounging at my house in Maine, wrapped in a soft blanket and tactfully tucked in bed. So classic, I am in said position whilst waiting for something to load on my computer. I glance at my bedside table, to see the book my mother has been begging me to read. I pick up, “The Opposite of Loneliness essays and stories” by Marina Keegan. The young and accomplished author, passed away a week after her graduation from Yale University. I was instructed by my mother, to find the specific essay, and title of the book, “The Opposite of Loneliness.” I flipped through the pages and quickly found the essay. Her words pulled me deep into a feeling that is wildly difficult to describe. The description of the opposite of loneliness, evoked tender memories and tears quickly slid down my cheeks.

“We don’t have a word for the opposite of loneliness but if we did, I could say that’s what I want in life… How I feel right now. Here. With all of you. In love, impressed, humbled, scared. And we don’t have to lose that.”

I get it. I understand it. I feel it. The simplicity of her wonder assures feelings we do not even have a word for. The opposite of loneliness.

All of this, to explain the sensation of fulfillment that is so often, difficult to express. I have recently felt loved and filled, during the few days of celebrating the union of a happy couple in Cornwall.

The joys of weddings are seemingly never-ending. I love reunions with old friends. The vulnerable experience of guiding a bride through the havoc of a wedding. Happy mother-of-brides, tickled with excited anxiety. The beginning of committing two lives into one journey, is a remarkable statement of humility.

Our days at Boconnoc Estate blissfully flew by. We laughed, cried, and made nutella toast. We snuggled sweet Aurora (maid of honour’s sweet new beb). There were countryside strolls with bewildered goats. We happily rejoiced for a blue sky on the wedding day. Dresses were steamed… with tedious caution. Concealer was applied in copious quantities and perfumed readily spritzed. And on a rare occasion, we may have caused the bride to cry?

It was an honor to stay at Boconnoc Estate, and help Sarah prepare for her wedding day. The sweet girl was a classic beauty on her special day. She was easily, the most thoughtful bride and graceful with every ounce of stress thrown her way.

When I found myself leaving Cornwall, my heart was so full. Eyes so heavy. Curls a day old (or so). I wish I could have played those sweet days on repeat. Over and over and over.

It was a fairytale. Yet, it was real. It was real and lovely. There was so much love at Boconnoc Estate. I grasped the tangible love, every minute of our days celebrating the wedding.

I felt every smidge of feels possible. Let me tell you, they were completely, the opposite of loneliness.

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Hotel Views

It was a busy day when I arrived in the UK. I hopped on the Heathrow Express to Paddington (SO efficient & affordable. Tickets are available on the platform. Seriously do not waste time or money taking an uber straight out of the airport.) From Paddington, I made my way to Cornwall. The ticket to St. Austell, was pre-booked and with my card of purchase, I was able to pick up my ticket at a self-service machine. Additionally, prior to my arrival at St. Austell, a cab needed to be booked to retrieve me. (Thanks Sarah. lol) Another travel note, get cash. Either arrive with it, or get a decent amount somewhere.

I loved my quick stay at The Cornwall Hotel & Estate! Albeit short, I was very comfortable while I dozed for hours. My stay was very brief, as I was due to head to the wedding venue the following morning of my arrival. Had I stayed longer, I would have been very happy exploring the grounds!

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GF Croque Monsieur at the restaurant downstairs

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AAaaand then I arrived at Boconnoc… treat yo self with these drool-worthy images

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Boconnoc Estate has only been very recently restored, and is now available as a venue rental, read about Boconnoc’s History here

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explorin’

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Boconnoc was the venue for the wedding, as well as the accommodations for the bridal party and family. There are rooms at the main house, as well as rooms in the barn (still absurdly adorable, don’t let the word fool you.)

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The perfect view from my sweet room

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countryside strolls

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creatures…

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The Chapel at Boconnoc, where darling Sarah & Mark were married

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Boconnoc Estate

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Snooping at the wedding flowers the day before…

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Wearing Elizabeth & James (now on sale) – found at Beckett Boutique, Stuart Weitzman Nudist High Heel (similar here

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The barn & venue for rehearsal din din

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Sun for the wedding day!

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Boconnoc Estate in all its glory

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Hair and make up on the wedding morning!

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Co-maid of honour of the year

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Wedding portraits

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Isabel’s bouquet

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Vintage portraits, I have mine and it is ready to be framed! Such a sweet memory

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Most thoughtful bride and incredible catering- they found me to present gluten free scones with clotted cream and berries!

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Our lovely bride

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Love you little bean

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Before I had a chance to fix my ratty hair… ps wearing Yumi Kim Tokyo Night Kimono Dress & same heels

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Love you guys!

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Isabel & Aurora

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Quick snuggle break

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Post-reception coffee & tea

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Waking up after the wedding festivities, with not one bit of enthusiasm to leave Boconnoc

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Pictures taken via iphone. Taken by yours truly, aside from the obvious where I am in the picture.

Cheers to Sarah & Mark! We are all so lucky to witness a love centered on Christ. Thank you Mark, for taking such fantastic care of our princess Sarah. From what I saw at the wedding, you two have so much support for this marriage. We are all here for love & prayer, whenever it is needed.

All my love,

Hannah