Tag Archives: style

Life in London Part IV: Royal Wedding Mania

7 Jun

You should have seen this one coming. And now that I’ve had a month to bask in post-wedding tabloids, entertainment news programs, and Barbara Walters specials, it’s my turn to write about the Royal Wedding.

William and Catherine. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Future Prince and Princess of Wales (once Charles is finally king). Future King and Queen (once the current Queen dies, Charles becomes king and dies). Quite a lot of titles and future titles. I like to think of them as Will and Kate, this blog tends to be informal (see: awkward statues, nerdgasms, my new boyfriends).

How adorable is this photo? Answer: too adorable.

I’ve always been in awe of royalty, it kind of comes with being a girly girl. Then I went to London in 2005 and, in two short days, I was hooked on all things House of Windsor. Add an obsession with Shakespeare and the History Plays and a fascination with all things “sparkly” and my current obsessions are warranted.

One of my favorite things that was shown to me so graciously by my dear friend Sam, is this blog:

Kate Middleton for the Win

Now, I love Kate Middleton. I think she’s an incredibly classy lady who will do wonderful things for the British monarchy just like Diana before her (but in much better clothes and hair, naturally). But this Tumblr takes images of Kate and slaps snarky phrases on them, such as this:

What makes these so funny to me is I don’t picture her to be at all like this, and I doubt the blog’s creator does either. But nonetheless, they’re good for a laugh.

I was lucky to be in London during the lead up to the Wedding, and saw much of the preparations…

Like people camping out and camera crews setting up at Westminster Abbey two days before.

Some of my friends joined the chaos by camping out by Buckingham Palace! I flew out the day of the wedding (no lines, no waiting!) but I waited to leave for the Tube until Will and Kate were officially married. I couldn’t leave without seeing that part of the ceremony.

And now for the moment we’ve all been waiting for: What did I think of the dress(es)?

Kate wore a dress by British designer Sarah Burton, the late Alexander McQueen's protege. She took over the label after his tragic suicide last year. To start, I love the modest train. Diana had a 25 foot train which was, let's say it, RIDICULOUS. A tradition of respect at Westminster Abbey mandates that shoulders be covered, which is why the dress has sleeves. I love that Kate went with a lace overlay for the sleeves and collar of the dress. It gives the look a classic feel while still being a little sexy underneath. As for the veil it's quite sheer, which I like as I detest most veils. Plus that loaned tiara suits her.

Notice the detail of the lace: it is completely sheer at the sleeves but a bit denser at the shoulder/collarbone. The edging is lovely. Her makeup is flawless, and as most people (well, most royal wedding obsessees like myself) know, she did her own makeup. Is there anything she can't do?

For the after party Kate changed into another Sarah Burton design. The overall silhouette is similar to the first dress, but this is a little less church and a little more party. The shrug is playful (but looks kind of itchy to me) and the crystal belt highlights her slim figure. As usual, her hair is glorious.

Pippa Middleton in Sarah Burton. Who wouldn't want to look this good in a dress this beautiful? She (almost) upstaged her sister. I want this dress. Also, perfect hair clearly runs in the Middleton family.

How can I resist posting a picture of the ever-charming Prince Harry? Especially when he is in uniform...

I should note that, since being back in the states, two people have told me I look like Kate. The highest of all compliments, if only my hair looked like hers every day…

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A pile of rocks, a church, and a giant bathtub: The Thomas’ take a tour

6 Mar

On Sunday the 20th we all got up early to take a bus tour of Stonehenge, Salisbury, and Bath. Jack met us (in the nick of time) and we went from the hotel to Victoria bus station to wait for our tour. When we finally got on the big, white bus we were introduced to our tour guide, Michael. Now I have had a number of tour guides over the last two months, but Michael exceeds them all in terms of wit, style, and knowledge. Plus, he was just plain fun. He was also the most stylish of all my tour guides (even surpassing the fabulous Stewart): he wore spats. Yes, spats. The shoe coverings from the 1920s. He also wore a cabby cap, vest, scarf and a classy coat. He looked like he had stepped out of a Jazz Age movie. I definitely enjoyed his sense of fashion.

The tour was great because while we drove to a new destination Michael told us a little about the history of the place and it made the bus ride easier. Our first stop was Stonehenge.

Even though no one is certain what these stones were used for, it's still fascinating to see such giant stones erected into this monument.

We had a free audio tour for Stonehenge and let me tell you, if you ever get the change to go, be sure to take advantage of the audio tour because it is interesting, and there’s not only dramatic music but the commentators (a man and a woman) are so over-the-top dramatic it is almost funny.

Historically speaking, the stones that comprise Stonehenge are from Wales. Stonehenge is in England. So somehow, the stones were moved from Wales to England and then arranged in a circular pattern. Another feature of Stonehenge is what they called “earth shaping” which basically was the ancient people dug out almost a moat around the circle of stones and they often built mini hills which can be seen throughout the nearby countryside.

We were lucky to have mostly clear skies which makes everything look sharper and the grass greener.

We didn’t spend too much time at Stonehenge but you don’t really need that much time there. We headed back to the bus and on to our next stop: Salisbury.

Salisbury is a small town not too far from Stonehenge. Its main feature is a cathedral built in medieval times. Notre Dame was also built in medieval times so there are similar design elements between the two churches.

The shapes of the windows and spires are all similar to Notre Dame.

It's most noticeable in the arches at the doors, the sculptures of the saints and the grotesques.

And especially inside the cathedral, where there are giant archways and sculpted ceilings, stained glass windows and tombs.

Absolutely incredible that a place this spectacular has been standing for hundreds of years.

A medieval clock that is thought to be the oldest working clock in the world (build in or before 1386!). There is no face or minute/hour hands; instead, the clock is connected to a bell which chimes the hour.

The church courtyard, kind of like Hogwarts.

Salisbury Cathedral is also famous because it houses one of the only original copies of the Magna Carta, written in Latin on parchment (which is made of animal skin). Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take pictures in that part of the Cathedral.

We spent a decent amount of time walking around the Cathedral and gasping at the absolute beauty of it all, Jack and I lit candles in the memory of loved ones and soon we were on our way.

Our final stop on the tour was the Georgian town of Bath, where Jane Austen (among others) lived. Celebrities have homes there now, including Matt Damon, Nicholas Cage, and everyone’s favorite, Johnny Depp.

Bath is a beautiful town built mostly out of limestone. Any buildings that aren’t from the Georgian period must be made in Limestone so as to preserve the Georgian history of the town.

There are many reasons to go to bath including the Jane Austen house and museum, celebrity stalking, and the Roman baths. We were there for the latter.

The Roman bath house and museum

Though the exterior of the bath house is relatively new, the actual baths have been in operation for about 2000 years.

Quite the heated swimming pool...

We were specifically told not to touch the water because it is dirty. And that’s made obvious by the lovely green tint. This main bath was once in a covered space. This is also the only remaining “bath” that is filled with water. The ruins of the other original baths remain in the museum. I won’t bore you with too many pictures of dark, foggy ruins but here’s what a Roman bath ruin looks like:

A bit hard to see... But the best I've got!

An Uncomfortable Plane Ride

12 Jan

First thing to know about Virgin Atlantic: they’re a great airline…if you pay extra for premium economy (business class) or upper class (first class). For those of us stuck in economy (coach), we can expect the following: tiny, cramped seating; no leg room if you are over 5’4″; and of course, the ever-present crying child. If you are traveling east, chances are people will tell you to sleep on the plane. I will tell you that unless you pay for a better seat, you will not sleep. I took a nighttime cold medicine and had a glass of red wine. Normally, cold medicine knocks me out. And red wine is always helpful in making one feel sleepy.

This is comfortable in comparison to economy class on Virgin Atlantic

 

It’s also hard to sleep when the passengers on either side of you hog the armrests. One of my neighbors was a 70-year-old nun. You read that right. A nun. She slept the whole way, save for dinner. I had a feeling that she was on her way to the Vatican and after snooping at her itinerary, my suspicions were confirmed.

if only she were awake... I bet she knew some great nun jokes.

A cool thing (to me at least) about Virgin Atlantic is that, being a British airline, the staff is also British. And their uniforms are kind of the chicest flight attendant outfits ever. I think that Vogue or Elle or Marie Claire should do a fashion spread on flight attendant uniforms. Maybe that’s just me.

Looking so fly.

Normally I’m an ok flyer once the plane is in the air and the transatlantic flight was no different. But then we hit some turbulence. After I had my wine. And my meal. And my cold medicine. So I was pretty loopy/exhausted/half-asleep-but-not-quite. And even though I have experienced scarier turbulence, I gripped the side of the armrest (the lady to my right was still hogging the rest of it) and kepy my eyes closed with more force than necessary. All I could think of was the pilot episode of Lost when the people slam into the ceiling while the plane is bouncing around. Luckily for me, unlike Oceanic 815, my plane did not break apart in the sky and leave me stranded on a strange island. Or maybe that is unluckily for me…

At least the Losties had leg room

Other observations from the plane and Heathrow Airport:

  • British men wear Uggs.
  • Some people bring 20 bags with them. No joke.
  • Bring a small carry-on. There is no room in the overhead lockers as it is, so keep it simple.
  • An eye mask is your best friend. (The nun kept her light on the entire flight even though she slept. Drove me absolutely crazy!)

After we landed and went through customs we had to wait for about two hours for other kids’s flights to arrive so people watching was a success. From there we got on a bus and headed to campus. Funny thing about boarding the coach to campus: we had a separate van for our luggage. The van was bright yellow. And a Mercedes. So my suitcases rode in style.