To A Tea: BB Bakery Double Decker Tea Tour

The day my students first arrive in London, we typically take them on a private coach tour around the city with a guide. It's a tradition that is expensive and (slightly) boring, but we do it so that they can see all the famous places they've been thinking about for so long and to get them familiar with the city. 

Earlier this summer my friend, Stephanie, sent me a tweet about BB Bakery's Afternoon Tea Bus Tour. (She always finds the best stuff and sends it to me.) Afternoon tea served on a vintage route-master while cruising around London? Brilliant.

So instead of doing our normal tour, I swapped the plans and we all did this as a group. It ended up costing almost the same and was considerably more awesome. Totally touristy, but if you can get over feeling a little dorky, it is really fun! 

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The food was really good, too. Going into it, I wasn't sure if the "tea" would just be an afterthought, but everything was really delicious. While I wouldn't say this is a place to meet up with a friend to catch up (because the price tag is a bit hefty at £45pp), it is a great way to celebrate. Save it for visitors to London, birthdays and hen parties- it's worth the splurge for special occasions of that caliber. 

They can also accommodate (in a yummy way!) vegetarians and those in need of GF alternatives.


Sound like fun? Visit the BB Bakery Afternoon Tea Bus Tour page here for more information.

Not your cup of tea? Check out the other tearooms I've tried in London in my To A Tea series.




*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on September 22, 2014 and filed under eat, england, london.

People I Like: Laura Row Studio

I used to always try to bring back a print or piece to hang from my travels. I would always try to find one that I loved or a bottle of perfume. I figured neither took up too much space and wouldn't seem overtly touristy.

Then we moved into flat-rental life where you can hang anything on the walls, and I stopped. I was backlogged on things to hang... and it was making me sad to just roll them up and stick all the pretty prints I'd collected in big tubes to store in the back of my office.

I'm hoping that someday SOON I will have a place that I can cover the walls of with special glimpses of places and moments we've enjoyed. Subtle images that bring to mind great experiences from some other place.

That's why when the sweetest Etsy artist, Laura Row, contacted me about hosting a giveaway, I couldn't say no. Beyond being really nice, she also has a gorgeous collection of watercolor prints that remind me of some of my favorite places. (Mainly Paris!)

Here's your chance to bring a bit of her loveliness into your own home! Laura is giving away $50 shop credit so that you can hang a couple of pretty pieces in your own home. Check out all of her work at her Etsy shop, Laura Row Studio. She does really sweet custom work, too, like her custom wedding prints. What a fun gift for a couple to remember their special day!

Cute stuff, right? What's your "go-to" souvenir? Mug? Magnet? Christmas Ornament?



 Entry is open from 19 September to 26 September.

 One winner will be selected at random.


Posted on September 19, 2014 and filed under giveaway.

School Days.


If I were a cool blogger, I might have been clever and titled this blog post "School Daze" to go with the craziness of the long days I've been having this week... but that felt cheesy, so I couldn't. Plus, I'm not a cool blogger. Either way, I'm sure you can get the idea. (If you didn't see the post I wrote announcing I started a Masters, go on and read it here. For some weird reason, it's not showing on the main page. Sorry!)

Thanks for all the kind words. I'm actually really excited to be getting my masters. Maybe I'm just a dork, but I feel like learning is one of the most luxurious positions that one can find themselves in. My job as a student is to be taught amazing information by world-class leaders in their field. Maybe that's not the same perspective I had when I was in college... but what can I say? I'm older and wiser... and probably a bit more boring these days.  


A few highlights from the past few days...

1. Student prices. I have a student card. All of the sudden, I get 10% off everywhere I go. And the prices in the coffee shops and cafes on campus? £1.10 for coffee! Sandwiches for £1.50! Amazing.

2. It was time to swap out my computer at work. I now have a pretty new Mac sitting on my office desk. It's gorgeous. Doesn't a new computer make you feel, though just momentarily, really productive and excited?

3. In the weirdest turn of events, I've actually been able to meet blog friends and readers through joining the tiny program. I think it's pretty cool that people who enjoy being silly over trivial things like blogging can also do serious stuff, too. High five, blog world. 

4. Also, the image above is from this Buzzfeed article. I can't tell if it's mocking college students or being serious. Either way, I'm guilty for owning way too many of these pieces. 

5. After a long summer of floating around, Tyler & I are operating on a really tight schedule. (We have no other choice, if we want to both work, have a kid and do school.) While it's a bit a hassle to have your schedule so locked down, it's actually really freeing, too. Everything is jotted out and the day is planned the night before. 

Has your world changed since school started back up? Is your house quieter? Are your days longer now that you're back in school? Are you back to work as a teacher? Or are you clocking the same routine year-round?



Posted on September 17, 2014 and filed under london, school.

Five Awesome Things About Staying In a Hotel

You could say that we stay in hotels a lot. With work and living overseas, we are often bouncing around from place to place finding ourselves in new cities and strange hotel rooms. There really is nothing better than sleeping in your own bed, but there is something to be said for staying in a hotel. Five of my favorite perks are below. Granted, there are many more plush things that hotels can offer (spas, room service, etc), but these are amenities you can get pretty much everywhere without having to pony up extra. 

1. The Bedding. First, I have to say... this isn't 100% consistent. Help us all in cheap hotels with sketchy, crunchy orange blankets made from unknown materials. We've had our fair share of those nights, but let's focus on the positive. Anytime a hotel has white bedsheets and a big fluffy comforter... It's going to be a good night's sleep. The other, obvious perk on the bedding, you don't have to make it!

2. The Movies. No, not those kind of movies you can get in a hotel room. Just the regular old kind you find on cable! We have the basic TV package, so I love to flick through the channels and find a movie to watch. Even if (and when) its just some terrible rom-com from the 90's, I feel like I'm having a party.

3. The Bath Time. I have spent approximately 12% of my adult life in the bath tub of various hotels around the world. Okay, not really, but I have been known to fall asleep on many occasions in a hotel bath tub. I love over-pouring the bubble bath (read: shower gel) and turning on a really terrible playlist. It is definitely the time each day when I actually can clear my head.

4. The Maid Service. I'm not a tidy person, so having to pack up and organize myself every time we leave a place isn't a bad thing. It keeps me perpetually organized. But on those days when we are staying for more than one night and you walk into a tidied room upon returning to the hotel? One of the best feelings I can think of. Clean! (Tyler & I are firm believers in tipping the maid, by the way! They are unsung heroes who deserve some extra love!)

5. The Tea Kettle. Okay, this actually doesn't really appear that often in the US, but in Europe it's so nice to come in and have a tea kettle stocked up for you. Even the most basic hotels typically have a small set up including a kettle, various teas, sugar, milk and biscuits. On a cold day (which happens more often than not when we travel), it's the best welcome.


The photos above are from a hotel that we stayed in while visiting Barcelona, Hotel Market. We really loved it and the price was too good! You can book rates through Tablet Hotels- one of my favorite sites for affordable boutique hotels. Do it via this link and we each get credit for our next booking. Win Win. :)

Posted on September 12, 2014 and filed under travel.

Souvenir Style: Iceland


We got to have dinner the other night at our friends' house in Reykjavik. He was a classmate of Tyler's while at Oxford. He was also a bit of legend, as his wife stayed back in Iceland for the entire program watching their four boys and baby girl. Or maybe I should say, SHE was the legend. She made a traditional Icelandic dinner for us, and we sat around the table for hours chatting with them and laughing with their kids. They're a really great family, and we loved getting to spend the evening with them. 

Beyond being a really sweet and well-behaved family, they are also very traveled. Funny enough, they lived in Iowa for four years, too. They talk about the Midwest like I talk about Southern France. (It's funny how where you're from changes what sound "exotic" to you, isn't it?)

Haraldur, our friend, was waxing poetic about Midwesterners and how similar they were to Icelanders. He felt a kindred connection to the people there because they share a love of large families, open space, and they typically mind their own business.... "but we don't share our fashion."

I laughed. No. No, they don't. Iceland has a very slick, Scandinavian look that merges well with functionality for being in the outdoors. I actually have really started looking forward to packing my suitcase for when we come. I'm not sure I've completely got it down, but I'm improving each year. Bring on the Fair Isle, chunky boots and leather. 

ONE  |  TWO  |  THREE  |  FOUR  |  FIVE  |  SIX  |  SEVEN  |  EIGHT

ONE  |  TWO  |  THREE  |  FOUR  |  FIVE  |  SIX  |  SEVEN  |  EIGHT




all artwork original to Aspiring Kennedy.

affiliate links are used in this post. opinions are my own.

Posted on September 10, 2014 and filed under fashion, iceland, travel.