Hi friends! Welcome to the first edition of the Friday Five from London, England! I’m loving it here so far! I didn’t get too many requests from y’all this week [on Snapchat] in regard to categories so I just kind of went with whatever came to my head first! I’m still in the process of finding a new photographer[s] to work with while I’m here so I’m trying to string out the outfit posts that I have ready to go for you guys until I shoot with a photographer here, so expect some ‘different’ posts than usual coming in the next week or so, including the Ulta video I asked y’all to weigh in on! I’ll be sharing my five favorite drug store beauty products. That’s been a highly requested post for some time and I’m really excited to partner with them on this for you guys! I’ll also be sharing a long-awaited Instagram roundup next Tuesday and a post on the items I scooped up here in London to make my home feel a little more ‘like home’! Let me know any other suggestions you may have … I’m all ears!
Without further adieu … here is this week’s Friday Five categories:
Five Items on My Lust List
Before crossing the street earlier this week, I happened to look behind me and saw a beautiful CHANEL store that I somehow missed as I walked past it. I was probably on my phone, let’s be real. So, anyway, I stopped in and decided to ask to take a look at my dream bag, the beige classic quilted double flap bag. It’s SO beautiful in person! I haven’t pulled the trigger because, honestly, I’ve spent enough money this week … but I think, before I leave London, that little bag will be mine. I love the idea of buying a designer bag in Europe. It makes the experience of buying the bag just a little more special.
I’ve had these Manolo’s on my lust list for quite some time. I’m obsessed with the color! They’ll go with so many outfits. I mentioned this beautiful peplum top in yesterday’s post. Snag it if you can! It’s so, so cute! How hot is this jumpsuit and this bright blue dress for a date night with your man!? I’m obsessed!
Five Fall Handbags I Have My Eye On
Earlier this year, I sported this ADORABLE hobo by Rebecca Minkoff and was so happy to see it’s available again! Y’all, it’s such a great bag, especially for those laid-back Fall looks. If you love this color for a bag, I’d also recommend the Tory Burch Perry Tote if that hobo isn’t really your style! This all black Longchamp bag is so chic. It reminds me of this Givenchy Tote, just at a much more affordable price point. Longchamp bags are so durable so you know you’re getting your money’s worth! I’d absolutely splurge on the Chloe Marcie bag in the Nut color. It was a favorite of mine last Fall! I’m excited it didn’t get discontinued, so y’all still have the option to snag it when you see me style it. I always hate when the exact item I’m wearing isn’t available for you all. This beautiful slate gray Michael Kors tote is such a great dupe of this designer option! And, this year, I splurged on this beautiful plum cross body. I may actually wear it tonight to dinner with Ben in Trafalgar Square.
As always, I will highlight handbags that are considerably more affordable than these [under $100] as I find them! I’ve been wearing this tote nonstop since I got to London.
Five Takeaways From My First Week Living In London
My first week in London was full of up’s and down’s. I couldn’t possibly explain everything it took to get me here and what it’s been like, completely, but I thought I’d share five reflections from the week to give you a little insight.
It’s impossible to prepare for everything. I shared this struggle I was having earlier in the week on Snapchat. When I made a deposit for my studio flat, I did so via Paypal. The property management company didn’t mind and they said I was okay to pay my first month’s rent when I got here. Well, upon arrival, my landlord said she absolutely did not want rent to be paid via Paypal. I completely respected her position and would get her the money in the way that she preferred, which was a wire transfer from account to account. Well, silly me … didn’t realize that is quite a difficult venture for the girl who has banked with the same small credit union in her hometown since she was 16. There are so many things you think about and prepare for before going on these big adventures, to make the transition easier, essentially, but this definitely reminded me that you can’t plan for everything. Experiences are going to unfold the way they’re supposed to and struggles come up so that we can grow and learn new things. That doesn’t necessarily make me feel better when I’m going through the experience but, at the same time, I am thankful for these struggles. If you’re wondering how this situation is going … I’m still waiting to see if the transfer I made went through. I used a company called TransferWise to securely transfer money from my bank account to my landlord’s account. It’s taking a little longer than I thought it would [3 days now] but it says it’s just working on coverting my US dollars to the British pound, which I’m sure my landlord would appreciate. So, I’m hoping it works. Thankfully, I have one last back-up plan if that doesn’t work so partner with me in praying that this is all I need to get this done, ha!
Getting ready to travel with your pet to another country isn’t fun … As most of you know, especially if you follow me on Snapchat, it took so much work getting Fish ready to travel internationally and how stressed I was the day of travel. In case you’re unaware, which most of you might be, rabies does not exist in the U.K. So, for years, they wouldn’t allow domesticated animals into the country without spending six months in quarantine first. Thankfully, back in 2012, they changed the laws and regulations. Now, they do allow them into the country but there are a laundry list of requirements and they’re all clearly laid out here. While they may be clear, there are so many little notes that you have to remember, that you have to read it multiple times … carefully … to be sure you have it all right. So, there’s governmental paperwork you have to fill out for him as well as airline paperwork. The paperwork has to be filled out very precisely and if something is incorrect or in the wrong spot, the United Kingdom reserves the right to quarantine your dog and they often don’t disclose how long that will be. We had drama with Fish’s microchip. He got one back in 2010 when I rescued him, but it’s only 10-digits long. Well, on the travel requirements website, it says that the microchip has to be ISO compatible, which means that it has to be scannable by an ISO scanner. We found, on the USDA’s website, that ISO compatible microchips are 15-digits. Animals traveling into the UK from outside of the EU have to be seen by a veterinarian of the originating country no more than 5-days before travel. So, when I went to his appointment, the girls at the vet wanted to give him a new microchip, which I was completely fine with so I consented. Well, I forgot that another requirement is that his rabies vaccination has to be given AFTER the microchip insertion AND his rabies must be given at least 3 weeks before travel into the EU. *queue freakout* Aside from all of that, my assistant and I combed the paperwork and realized that my vet missed a few spaces he was supposed to sign AND he wouldn’t be working again before I left. He was the one that did Fish’s exam so, now … ALL of his paperwork would be completely wrong if I had another vet sign the papers. All in all, with the help of one of the vet tech’s, we found out that it was okay that Fish got the ISO compatible microchip and he wouldn’t be required to get another rabies vaccination to enter the U.K. [If you want to travel with your pet internationally, I highly suggest you look up their governmental requirements as well as what APHIS, an agency within the USDA that gathers all pertinent information regarding exportation of pets into other countries. THIS page is where you should start.] However, both chips needed to be accounted for on his paperwork as well as everything else that is required. I also had the actual pages from his medical record copied so I had them in case anyone in the U.K. or along the way wanted to question anything. We ended up reprinting all the paperwork and having the other main veterinarian at Fish’s vet examine Fish [Thank you, Dr. Batten!!!], and sign everything. It sounds so simple, but the whole process of redoing the paperwork took three hours, because things kept getting accidentally put in the wrong spot so we had to redo it. THEN …. the International Health Certificate has to be signed and STAMPED by a USDA accredited veterinarian. So, we had to do that in Atlanta. I had no idea you needed an appointment for this and, of course, they were booked the day I needed to come in when I was made aware of this. Thankfully, the Dr. Tess [the USDA accredited veterinarian in Atlanta] had mercy on Fish and I’s situation and told us to come in at 8:45AM the day Fish and I were to fly out. So, I get to where I thought I needed to go for this appointment but start to feel like something isn’t right. Sure enough, due to my misunderstanding after talking to multiple people as to where to get this done, I went to the complete WRONG place to get this done. This sweet, sweet police officer that works for the office that clears people for Global Entry helped me figure out exactly where I needed to go. Thankfully Dr. Tess, again, felt bad and told me to hurry over and she would still go through his paperwork. At this point, I’m freaking out. Thankful. But freaking out. I hadn’t checked out of the hotel we were staying at. I knew they were going to be busy and I was going to have to wait awhile and I had to drop Fish off at the cargo check-in at 1:30, four hours before our flight. The guy at the check-in desk does his initial look through of Fish’s paperwork and finds that his 15-digit microchip number was copied incorrectly on to his International Health Certificate. I’m like okay, great. Looks like I’m not flying to London today. Sweet man says ‘it will be okay’ but he doesn’t say ‘This happens all the time. We have the authority to fix it if we have an original copy of the microchip number.’ so I sit there for almost two-hours seriously unsure about whether or not this adventure is going to take off that afternoon or not. Finally, he asks me for payment and says everything looked good, the corrections had been made, and that he hopes Fish and I have a great flight. Y’all … I’m not sure if I’m really painting the stress factor into this picture but the sigh of relief that I had over his paperwork being correct was great. There wasn’t anything that I could have done if I was missing a signature from my veterinarian, etc. and then I still wasn’t sure if he was going to be accepted into the country. The woman that checked Fish in to cargo holding said everything looked good, but YOU JUST NEVER KNOW! My mom was a worrier so, I think, as I’ve gotten older, I have become a little bit of one, as well. OH! And then … when I was checking Fish in at cargo holding at the airport, Annette [the lady who checked him in] said I had bought the wrong kennel. If he traveled in the one I bought, it would collapse during the flight. Awesome. So, again, THANKFULLY … they had extra kennels that happened to be the exact size of Fish’s kennel. Y’all … it was all so frustrating … and then to put him in there knowing he had no idea where he was going and he has a history of separation anxiety. I was a mess …
… but it’s worth it. When I arrived in London, I had to wait up to four hours to retrieve Fish and know if his paperwork passed. I think I called the Animal Reception Center five times before they had looked through everything and said he passed. I started crying and hurried Ben into a taxi with me to go get him. Y’all … the love for a pet is like no other, as I’m sure love for a child is. Seeing him see me there to pick him up was the best thing ever. I didn’t want to let him go all day. In that moment and every moment with him in London since made all the stress and frustration worth it. Seeing him become accustomed to a new home, new person [Ben], new part of the world, has been one of the coolest things I think I’ve ever gotten to experience. I am humbled by the fact that God strategically placed all the right people in our path to get him here. Every time we hit a speed bump, we overcame it with the help of SOMEONE who clearly . With the microchip drama, He gave me Jillian. With the USDA vet office, He gave me Officer Friendly [that’s what I’m going to call him because, in the midst of it all, I don’t remember his name]. With the kennel drama, He gave me Robert. For the drive up to Atlanta, He gave me my old assistant, Lyndsey, who is one of the few people that can instantly make me laugh and forget my stress. And, through the WHOLE THING, He gave me my assistant, Justine, who is the biggest rockstar of them all. She scoured that paperwork and helped me figure out everything, logistically, over and over again. This experience would not be as bright as its been if Fish wasn’t with me, that is for sure. I love him so much.
The world is made up of so much more than America. If there is anything I want for all of us, it’s mutual respect and the ability to travel. What a world that would be, right? But, seriously. I’m realizing that traveling, immersing yourself in a completely new country and culture, really opens your eyes. It helps you think outside of yourself, what you’re accustomed to and gets you to realize and respect that life can be lived differently and, not only is it okay, but it’s really, really cool. Did you know more than half of the American population doesn’t own a passport? That’s so sad to me! The world is such a beautiful place and, I realize money is always going to be a small factor as to why Americans don’t travel but, again, it’s a small factor. I think traveling is more of a decision than it is a circumstance of your financial ability. We all make choices on how we spend our money. Please don’t find this next statement too ironic, especially coming from a style blogger, but … stop spending so much money on things you don’t need and start putting ghat money toward a cool experience! Plane tickets to these types of adventures are the only things that can actually make you richer! Thank me later 😉
No matter how comfortable your walking shoes are, you feet are still going to hurt at the end of the day if you walk too much. London is pretty easy to navigate once you’ve taken the time to understand how the tube system works. But, my preferred method of transportation is walking and if there’s one thing I brought too many of … it’s shoes. I’ve worn quite a few of my flats around so far and, oh my goodness, none of them leave my feet feeling like they didn’t just walk as far as i did. They’re comfortable to walk around in but your feet are still going to hurt if you walk a long time. Just a head’s up for anyone heading to Europe and are looking for great shoes! You have to keep that in mind! Here are a few pairs I’ve been wearing since I got here:
Five New Arrivals Worth Mentioning
Here are just a few things that are brand new and I wish I could buy! This basic long sleeve tee is everythingggg and it’s only $20! I also really love this multi-color blue scarf, and I mean … anything leopard print is great in my book, so I wish I could snag this leopard print phone case!
Five Plans For The Weekend
I think my weekend is going to be a mix of plans and no-plans which, for an extroverted introvert, is a dream!
To start, I’ll head over to Trafalgar Square to head up to Vista Roof Top Bar for a drink before finding somewhere for dinner in the area with Ben. It looks like it has amazing views from above of the city. Hope to snap a good one to share with you all on Instagram & I’ll let you now if it’s a good place to stop at while you’re in the city!
Tomorrow, I believe Ben and I are going to check out Borough Market. My best friend from high school, Kelsey, told me it’s a ‘must do’ while I’m here. She lived here four years ago when she helped plan the London Olympic games. I’m usually not a fan of market’s but, I trust her judgement so we’ll see how it goes 🙂
After I assess how I feel about the venture, I think we may head over to the Tower of London for a tour. Ben said he hasn’t been since he was a boy, so we both thought it would be a fun thing to do together! I’ve been outside of the Tower of London and Tower Bridge but never inside, so I can’t wait to check it out!
One other thing on my list of things to do this weekend is go to church on Sunday. I’ve heard great things about the Hillsong campus here in London. Supposedly, it’s not far from where I’m staying so I can’t wait to try it out!
On Sunday night, Fish and I are going over to Ben’s sister’s house with him for dinner. I’ve chatted with her on Facebook here and there, but this will be our first meeting so fingers crossed all goes well 🙂
Alright, that’s it for this week’s edition of the Friday Five! Thanks so much for all of your support as I transition into life here and checking out today’s post! My gratitude for your readership is so deep! It means so much to me! Hope you have a wonderful weekend! xo.