Here VS There: Dining Out.


Having new students arrive so often leaves me with the chance to ALWAYS be seeing & explaining the cultural differences between the US & Britain. I also get to answer a lot of the same questions again and again. (Will they take US dollars? What is a pudding? Why is everyone so quiet on the tube? Etc.) Generally, I like it. My dorky side enjoys explaining the cultural nuances so it's pretty fun to constantly rehash the same conversations. Though I have yet to come to a good defense for their passion for meat-flavored crisps. Gag.

The biggest hurdle for visitors to adapt to in Europe is definitely dining out. The ingredients and portion sizes are always noted, but it's the speed of service that always gets people. (Do you they forgot about us? Do these people not want to make money? and the most popular, Where the %&$! is our bill?)

Moments like that are a definite contrast to life in the States where you can always count on being asked if you "saved any room for dessert?" as the pre-printed ticket is slid on the table. 

The pace in Europe is just... slower. It, generally, suits my style. Though sometimes I get confused in dining out in London. They seem to pick & choose between "metropolitan city" and "quaint village" pace at moments of varying discretion. Overall though, I like it lingering over a meal and sitting with a coffee for until I feel completely satisfied with food and conversation. 

What about you? Do you love it or does it drive you crazy?





*image original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on September 2, 2014 and filed under england, europe, travel.

The Lovely Drawer: Pistachio + Raspberry Shortbread


I love shortbread. One of my favorite parts about flying home from Europe has always been the snack packs they pass at towards the second half of your flight. Tucked inside is the complete compliment for the hours of video watching you're in the middle of enjoying: grapes, toblerone, kitkats... and, oh, that little packets of delicious buttery shortbread. Tagged along with a cup of coffee, I'm in my happy place.

Teri has taken this classic British tea treat and made a sweet twist on it. I have to say, it can be dangerous to remake such a household recipe.... but the result is amazing. White Chocolate, pistachios & raspberry? Such a good combination that even the Queen may have to add her to the Order of The Guard. Or give her a country or something.

So if you're in the mood for an easy dessert recipe that has a lot of personality, try out this amazing Pistachio + Raspberry Shortbread recipe. Pair it with a cup of tea and a great flick, and, by George, I say you're on to something special.



by The Lovely Drawer


This is a Scottish Classic, often associated with tea and tartan printed tins that promise that all butter, crumbly goodness. I have to say shortbread has been a slow burner for me and in fact I still don't love lots of recipes but this one I do!

I've added a few extras because I just can't bear to leave recipes alone. The pistachios add a bit of crunch, the raspberries give added freshness and that white chocolate makes it even sweeter! 




1.  Pre-heat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas Mark 5

2. Beat the butter and sugar together until smooth.

3. Stir in the flour to form a dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and roll out with a rolling pin until the dough is roughly 1cm/ half an inch. 

4. Cut rounds, sprinkle with icing sugar if you'd like and transfer to a lined baking tray. Chill for 20 mins before baking. 


5. Bake for 15-20 mins or until pale golden brown and cool on a wire rack. 

6. Chop the pistachios and raspberries really finely. You can use freeze dried raspberries if you'd prefer not to keep the biscuits in the fridge.

8. Melt the white chocolate in a heat proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water or in short bursts in the microwave. 

9. Take off the heat and stir in a few drops of pink food colouring until you get your desired colour. 

10. Then dip half of each biscuit into the chocolate and sprinkle the chopped nuts and raspberries over the top. Lay out on a plate and chill  in the fridge until the chocolate is set. 

*images via Teri Muncey for Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on September 1, 2014 and filed under eat, the lovely drawer.

Easy like (Monday) Morning.

Since Tyler & I both work from home, we've staggered our schedules a bit to make it work. I use my night owl inclinations to stay up late and work. He gets up early. This makes our mornings are pretty routine. Tyler gets up first, makes a smoothie, reads and gets to work. Viola and I stay asleep. Sometime around 6:30, she'll wake up and say, "Mama! Mama!" until I go grab her and toss her in bed with me.

We'll snooze a bit more, and finally wake up. She'll wave to me and say "Hi!" and then we'll snuggle for a long time holding hands and reading. Finally, I'll text Tyler and say, "We're up!" He comes with coffee for me and takes Viola down for breakfast while I get ready.

I actually really like the set-up. It's fun to spend good chunks of the day with each other in different ways.

And I especially love that thirty minute stretch of just rolling around in bed with Viola before the day starts. She pats my arm, I count her toes, she hides under the pillow... and, well, I'm just enjoying it because I know someday soon, those moments will be gone. Like a sweet dream that comes and goes with the morning light.

I also really enjoy my Love Ophelia robe that they gifted the attendees for The Hundred. (I know, so generous!) I wear it while I work late and in the mornings as I get my act together and sip some coffee. It's really soft jersey cotton that washes perfectly. I, literally, have worn it every day since getting it. It's that good.

You know how once you get married, your perspective on what gifts you want to give a couple change so much? You actually realize what they'll use instead all the time. I feel the same about lingerie showers & new-mom gifts. Instead of getting some sexy nurse outfit, I always gift a robe. (I might have worn one so often in my pregnancy, Tyler referred to it as my "day gown.") A good robe will last you for years of quiet, peaceful moments. 

So engaged or expecting friends, consider yourself warned. (You'll probably/definitely be getting one of these as my gift to you.) And if I won't be gifting you with a plush robe in the near future (sorry!), you can gift yourself with one. Thanks to Love Ophelia, any of you nice people with 15% of your entire purchase in celebration of The Hundred. Just use code THE100 at checkout. Sweet.




*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on August 30, 2014 and filed under kids, life.

Falling Into Things.

As seen previously on Instragram....

As seen previously on Instragram....

Ah... we are back.

We've been busy unpacking (which takes so much longer when you have a small place because everything has to be put in the correct place). To be honest, I only left the flat once to run to Sainsburys and Paperchase today for a couple of quick errands. But I keep getting distracted looking out the windows at the people passing by. I find myself with a smile on my face most of the time when I do it. It feels great to be back in London.

This fall is going to be extra busy (more on that later!), but the funny thing is: the busier I am, the more scheduled and thoughtful I am. (We probably all are, right?) So while I'm mapping out the weeks ahead, I'm looking for good empty spots to tuck in a few things that look too good to pass up.


1. Double Decker Afternoon Tea | My friend Stephanie tweeted me the link to this amazing experience. It took me about 3 minutes of scanning the website before I was inquiring about booking tickets. Afternoon tea on a double decker bus while zooming around London? Sounds like my cup of tea. (I know, couldn't resist. Sick.) I'll be snapping lots of pictures and adding it to my TO A TEA series on my favorite places to have tea in London. 


2. The Ham Yard Hotel | This is one of those names that sounds hilarious to Americans, isn't it? In truth, it's a really cool, hip new hotel. One that I'm helping host a tea in celebration of my dear friend Amber + her baby-to-be at in a few weeks. I think it's so funny how un-British the idea of a baby shower is... we'll win them over eventually! (Again, this will be added to the above-mentioned series!)


3. London Fashion Week | While I'm NOT a fashion blogger, I am happy to that a dear friend and colleague of mine, Susan Posnick, will be working with a gorgeous brand showing here in London at the most bonkers venue.  Do you think they'll judge me if I show up in Topshop? 


4. A date night at Chiltern Firehouse. Kate? Posh? Gwyneth? Or any of my other celebrity friends? Can you please get me a reservation? Looks and sounds like an amazing place. Has anyone been?


5. #londonbloggersocial | Okay, this isn't at all in the works, but I'm planning on hosting another night out for anyone that wants to join in on the fun. I love meeting people face-to-face and, with being busy, this is honestly one of the most meaningful ways that I can connect. I would so much rather chat in person than email. 


I think that's everything. Oh, and one more thing: It's in the 60's here! Coming from Texas, it was quite a shock. (Though a nice one.) I've been loving wearing a few layers around, but I have a feeling I may regret that statement after 6 more months. Oh well.... three cheers for the excitement of fall clothing. (My personal favorite for the main reason I can hide my booty behind long coats.) Here are some great ones that you could see here on the streets of Notting Hill.

*image original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on August 29, 2014 and filed under london, life, fashion.

Across The Pond We Go.


After 3.5 months in Dallas, we are flying back to England today. I'll be honest: we weren't 100% sure we would be going to be returning at certain points of the summer. We were in visa limbo, and ... well, we weren't exactly sure what life would look like in the fall. (Visas are serious business, you can't just ignore them and fly over anyway. You'll get refused at the border, which would jeopardize getting a visa issued for 10 years!)


Anyway, we got them. Finally. We are at least legally welcome back to live in Britain.


And today we head back and pick life up in London. I can't wait. I've been feeling a bit like a caged animal the past few weeks... Not one that is a threat to people. Just one that wants to tear up some pub food and endless days of walking.


In no time at all, we'll be back in our tiny flat feeling blissfully cramped... and we couldn't be happier about it.



image via.

Posted on August 27, 2014 and filed under london, travel, england.