No matter the era, the blood line, or the prince waiting at the end of the aisle, Katherine Middleton and Grace Kelley knew what style dress would stand the test of time.
After a four minute walk down the aisle trailing a cathedral length train on her Alexander McQueen dress, Catherine Middleton arrived at the altar where her Prince awaited. “You’re Beautiful,” he whispered as she continued to beam, holding onto her father’s hand at her left side. The royal wedding was well under way as the world watched.
Crowds had gathered before daybreak, with some choosing to camp out and stake a claim on their spots to view the progression. In America, we set our alarms before the sun yawned and stretched in awakening, turning on BBC America to get a commercial-free, front row seat. Flipping to Good Morning America, the rowdy Americans were happily bantering on their views, opinions and personal interests.
But no matter which program was watched, all showed the same images of Prince William and Harry setting out on their journey, decked out in military regalia and waving joyously at the enraptured onlookers. Soon after, members of the family took the scenic drive to Westminster Abbey as well, including the Middletons, the Royal family, and of course Prince Charles, Camilla, and the Queen mum.
The first glimpse of Catherine’s gown could be seen from the windows of her arrival car. Quite similar to Grace Kelley’s wedding gown, the McQueen dress didn’t fail to live up to Kate’s new title of Duchess of Cambridge. Long, delicate sleeves of lace accented her slim figure, with a fitted bodice and ballgown complete with bustle. The Queen’s tiara, bestowed especially for the occasion, sat upon her head under a sheer veil. As she stepped out of the vehicle, her train followed slowly behind – her sister and Maid of Honor, Pippa, helping to straighten and make sure everything was picture-perfect.
But the bride’s attire wasn’t the only thing worth looking at. All ladies in attendance were required to adorn hats, and they did so in timeless, and sometimes flamboyant, style. Couture creations bedecked the heads of the rich, the famous, and the just-lucky-to-be-there, wearing pill boxes, chapeaus, fascinators, and umbrellas.
They slowly made their way towards Buckingham palace, waving to the overjoyed crowds and talking quietly of upcoming events – the famous kiss on the balcony included.
Travel to London with even the roughest draft of a plan, and it just may include a trip to one of the city’s many bustling markets. Generally open on the weekends, the markets feature wares ranging from antiques to junk, and offer hungry shoppers both street food and gourmet delicacies.
On a recent trip, I set out to discover the city’s lesser known, more affordable dining options. No chain restaurants allowed, the aim was to hunt down local eateries that used fresh, natural ingredients. In a world bogged down with McDonald’s and Starbucks on every corner, I knew I was in for a challenge. My legs didn’t realize they would be getting the workout of a lifetime, either.
We arrived later than expected our first day, and after checking into our hotel and glancing at a city map, I realized that we would be eating around 3pm by the time we made it to the restaurant I had in mind. Not to be sidetracked by the waft of fried chickpeas from the Falafel cart around the corner, we hopped on a bus and headed towards the Old Truman Brewery. No, we would not be eating in a Brew-Pub this afternoon. The Brewery is now home to one of the city’s largest weekend markets, and the location of many locally run places to grab a bite.
After hopping off the bus, walking through back alleys, past the bar where Jack the Ripper and his victims hung out (you know you’re in a great part of town when you pass locations such as this), and down narrow corridors painted with graffiti, we finally found the marketplace. Even though my eyes wanted to do some window shopping, my stomach strongly protested as it practically led me towards the smell of food. Unfortunately, most of the scents were coming from street carts selling everything from Barbecue to Vietnamese. Against my natural instincts, I asked for directions from a local in a deserted alley (not smart, by the way), and found the destination we had spent an afternoon trying to find. Read more
Step into London and you wander into its storied past, filled with foggy streets reminiscent of Jack the Ripper, warm pubs inviting images of Charles Dickens having a political debate, and corner shops quirky enough to potentially be owned by someone as Mad as a Hatter.
What I discovered while planning an upcoming trip not only took me by surprise, but had me longing to pack my bags for a more permanent stay. Welcome to England, where storybooks come to life in the most unusual of ways.
At the Sanderson Hotel, guests are invited to plummet down the rabbit hole with the promise of a Wonderland Tea awaiting on the other side. Set among flowers that seem to whisper with gossip and stories of guests long past, the Courtyard Garden is the setting of an afternoon tea with Mr. Carroll himself in mind. Read more