On the Kindness of Strangers

Recently, I read (somewhere where I can’t remember) that you can’t be both wise and young. If you’re young, you don’t have the life experience to be wise. Wisdom only comes with age. Thinking you know it all at a young age leads to cynicism- which isn’t wisdom at all. In fact, the piece said, cynical people are actually fools.

Here’s a confession: I have a tendency to be cynical. It’s a gross attribute I’ve acquired in adulthood and I really dislike it about myself. I can’t tell if it’s from moving to Britain where cynicism runs as wide as the Thames or the parting gift I took with me from my first job... but it doesn’t really matter where it came from, it’s my own problem.

Today, I was in the tube home, trekking across London with a heavy baby and groceries. She was waking up and fussy, and it wasn’t a dream scenario. I started to get grumbly about the situation, and decided to try and refocus on what was making today good... rather than mentally jumping down the Rabbit Hole of frustration.

So I started thinking about all the kind people that had gone out of there way today- for my benefit. The nice man on the tube that moved away from the wall so I could set down my bags and lean against it. The sweet lady who offered to help me if I  needed anything as Edie got upset. The nice girl who helped me check out at Mark & Spencer. I realised I’d not grabbed a bottle of water for the journey home and she ran across the store for me to get it. The handsome husband of mine who picked me up from the tube station because it was really cold out.

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Okay, so no grand gestures- but the coziness of the collective people doing small things for others. And me getting to the recipient of their kindness. It was just a nice reminder that what we focus on is, often, our choice. 

Things are tough. I know they are, you know they are... but things (and people) can also be really good. And I’m trying to find the joy in that rather than the shortcomings of the people and things around me.

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Do you have any good practices for choosing joy in your daily routine? I’d love to hear them, if so. I think it’s something we (read: I) could use a lot more of!



*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on November 17, 2017 .

My London | A Toast to the Sunday Roast

The best part about doing travel consults is that I can get people to see so much more during their time overseas than they could get from third-party information. I love being able to tailor an itinerary to really cram in all the stuff that really is going to make that particular person see the city in the best light possible. Those kind of things and experiences come easy after living here for so long. We’ve just been lucky to travel and see the city with so many difference types of personalities, that it has given us a huge rolodex for things to do/see/eat/enjoy while traveling in Europe. (Lucky us, right?)

But I thought I’d share something that most tourists never get to do when they come over, because they simple don’t know that it exist: a Sunday roast. For one reason or another, this classic meal hasn’t made it to the mainstream tourist checklist, but fear not… that’s why you (don’t) pay me the big bucks to blog about these things.

The other day when I met up with my friend, Sara, who was visiting town after a photoshoot in Provence (lucky her, right?), I suggested we hit up a pub for a Sunday Roast. Now, Sara studied in the UK during her college years and has been back countless times since. So imagine my surprise when she told me she didn’t know what a Sunday roast was. The tragedy! It got me thinking that most of the people that come to visit us or that I chat with for consults are new to this idea, too. I realised I needed to start a public awareness campaign to spread the news and I needed to do it fast.

While afternoon teas are the splashier dining experience in England, the Sunday roast is one of the purest and most authentic meal you can really have here- whether out on the weekend in a sleepy country town at a pub or dining with a friend at their home on a Sunday. These meals are packed shared with close friends and enjoyed often. So go to a pub on a Sunday and get a roast. They’ll often have several types of meat to choose from (beef, chicken, lamb, pork belly or a nut roast for vegetarians) and the plate will be stacked with various veggies to go with it, doused in gravy and crowned with a pillowy Yorkshire pudding. 

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And now I can hear you asking: What is a Yorkshire pudding?  It’s not pudding like you know it, but a little savoury bready thing. It goes perfectly with gravy and really no proper roast will go without. The nearest thing that I cam compare it to in the states is a popover, but it’s not an exact likeness, so you'll really just have to come over and try one out.

And if you do head to a pub to do that, you’ll find yourself seated among actual Brits enjoying a lazy Sunday afternoon with people they like… and food that they love, too. (In fact, so much so that you’ll want to have booked yourself a table at all of the pubs listed below!)

A few of our favourite places to get a Sunday roast are in London are all clumped unapologetically around Notting Hill Gate:

The Windsor Castle | The Hillgate Pub | The Mall Tavern



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*images by Sara Kerens for Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on November 13, 2017 and filed under eat, london.

My London | Petersham Nurseries

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One of the things I have been most looking forward to since we have bought a car is using it to pop out to Petersham Nurseries in Richmond. I’ve got big dreams of letting the kids wander through the greenhouses and rows of plants while Tyler & I sip coffee from the deli and splurge on a candle or a couple of coffee mugs from the shop.

It’s not too far away from us- about 20 minutes by car- but would take way more time to get there and require some walking down random country roads. Basically, a major hassle.

The only problem is, Tyler would rather be pretty much anywhere other than a fancy garden center on the weekend... regardless of how much I sell him in it’s charm.

Luckily for me, Petersham Nurseries have opened a second location in Covent Garden. While the names “Nurseries” and “Garden” may indicate lush areas full of greenery, the truth is- it’s not really. It’s not a place to go if you’re looking to redo your garden. You won’t find bags of fertiliser or plastics containers of perennials for £1.49. 

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But, it does have pretty things for gardens (like copper spades and posh linen aprons) and it also sells nice things that come from gardens in its deli. The back of the store is full of florals and all the bits you need for them, including pretty staff members in aprons climbing up and down pretty ladder so nearby to arrange them for you.

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And it’s total eye candy, so I have to definitely recommend stopping by when you’re in the area.

Imagine if Anthropologie had an older, snobbier sister who had moved away to Europe, married into some aristocratic family and now makes gorgeous homemade jams in the country home with their 5 kids and two black labs. That’s kinda the vibe here... and just like you’d feel around that girl, so you’ll feel here. A bit intimidated and totally sucked in.

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The deli is small and well-curated. While the shop is narrow, it winds back and offers the chance to see (and buy!) fresh flowers that are being arranged. Expect an edited menu of sandwiches and fresh eats... and to pay £6.50 for some artisan mortadella on fresh salty ciabatta with some rocket sprinkled on. Choose from one of the photo shoot worthy sweet treats and a hot drink to finish off the experience and you’ll be on your way!

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There’s a restaurant coming on the premise soon, I’m told, and I have no doubt I’ll find myself back to try it when it opens, too. While it will most likely be pricey and hard to get into, the allure of Petersham is pretty hard to resist. Stop by their new show and I have a feeling you’ll see what I mean!


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Petersham Nurseries | 27-31 King Street, Floral Court, London, WC2E 8JD



*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on November 10, 2017 and filed under blog world, london, shopping.

Get Out of Town | Greenwich

Bus. Walk. Train. Repeat. I wish I had a little trail that I could track of all the places I’ve been in this city just to see how much of it I have covered. While I have no doubt that I’d have some impressive coverage of the city of London over the past 7.5 years leading groups, I get a certain kick from traveling off the beating path. And when you’re traveling on the Thames, it’s definitely not the traditional way to get around town.

If you wander down to Big Ben, you can hop on a Thames Clipper and head down the river to Greenwich. While it’s a tiny village feel, it still has tube access, London city buses and a view of the skyline in the distance. It’s very much part of London… just kinda on the outskirts. I got back tonight from a great day there, and I figured I’d share what our itinerary of the day so that you can copy it sometimes when you’re itching to get out of the city. Or you know, almost out of it. 


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08:45 | Meet at Westminster Pier to get tickets for Thames Clipper
*Just outside Westminster tube station, Caffe Nero just there so you can buy a coffee before you go!

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09:14 | Depart for Greenwich via the Thames Clipper
*Check the Thames Clipper website for updated timetable information

10:00 | Approximate arrival time to Greenwich

10:15 | Visit the Cutty Sark Tea Clipper
*Buy tickets on arrival. Get the combo ticket for the Cutty Sark + Royal Observatory

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11:30 | Depart Cutty Sark. Wander up to Royal Observatory. Stand on the Prime Meridian!
*Give yourself a bit longer to walk up here than expected. That hill takes some time to wander up!

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12:30 | Have lunch in town
*The Greenwich Market is a favourite place because of the endless food stalls and cheap eats, but if you’re feeling up for a real British treat, try the iconic Goddards for British pies, mash & pies as a really affordable price.

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13:30 | Head to the Maritime Museum (free!) or wander through the shops. Don’t miss Joli’s! This is a great vintage shop with cool art pieces, furniture and clothing.. and the prices are perfectly reasonable. 

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15:00 | Walk to the Fan Museum for afternoon tea. Go ahead and pre-book your table, and make sure that you’re coming on a day when they serve tea. You'll be in a gorgeous setting enjoying one of London’s cheapest afternoon teas!

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16:30 | Walk back to Thames Clipper and head back to London!


Have a great time in Greenwich. What am I saying? Of course, you will. It’s gorgeous in the fall, and that view of London from the Royal Observatory! Ahhhh, you’re gonna love it.


Find more of our favourite spots in England here, or jump along on some of our days on my Youtube channel!



*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on November 8, 2017 and filed under uk getaway.

What I (Actually) Wore

A few years ago, I read an article that discussed how highly successful people repeated the same basic behaviours in every day situations in order to save their time and eliminate the need for making a decision. This might be eating the exact same thing for breakfast and lunch everyday to reduce the amount of time choosing what sounds good or where you can get to in the timeframe available. It also was present in the things that they liked to enjoy for entertainment- no skipping around and wasting leisure time. Have your show/sport/hobby and commit to it.

But the area that stood out to me was that they wore the same thing everyday. Brilliant minds like Mark Zuckerburg, Steve Jobs, Queen Elizabeth, they all stick to one look that suits them and keeps life fuss free. 

When I read the article, Harrison was tiny and I was still in denial that I could actually have a healthy marriage, raise little kids, work, be involved with church, maintain a social life and look awesome while doing it.

Ha. Zuckerburg, you only wish you had it so easy. (Joking, joking.)

I started dreading finding clothes to wear because it just felt like SUCH a hassle everyday. When I read that article, the idea of a uniform really appealed to me. Taking that internal battle away from me seemed like a brilliant option for the stage of life I was in, and, slowly, I filtered out my closest to an easy arsenal of similar styles. 

The thing is, I’m at an age where I know what looks best on me and what works for all the various roles that I have to play. While I do look great in heels, they just don’t transcend from office to school-pick up to running to the store for butter. I love cute empire-waisted dresses, but attempting to feed a baby on a train in one of those may get you arrested. But I can cross over between most of those moments in my day in black skinny jeans, nice flats, a solid knit shirt and my favourite long-lasting red lipstick.

And so I present to you- my uniform. I hesitate to say “capsule wardrobe” because, the truth is, I have a closet busting with the stuff. But the style is, for the most part, the same. I do have some other items tucked away in there for special occasions… but for the most part, I’ve narrowed down what works for me at this point in my life. (And I love not doubting myself when I get dressed!)

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

BLACK SKINNY JEANS | I have several pairs of black skinny jeans. I have a couple from Primark (my first pair from here is what got me into black skinny jeans!), but my favourite for work and social events are the Grace from ALLSAINTS. They’re £98, so not cheap- but definitely a better deal than many others. And I don’t worry about them not being available from season to season.

LONG COATS | The mixture between fitting my body and being what Parisian women wear make this my favourite type of coat. I have black, navy, chocolate & camel. I can dress them up or down, and they cover my bum… which is, obviously, the most important reason I wear them.

LONG TANKS | Speaking of covering my bum, I wear long tanks under every single shirt. I can’t imagine the day when these are no longer in my repitore…. But with little kids pulling on me, writing on white boards and nursing babies, this is the easiest way to cover my tummy up until I can get back to the gym… when I’m in my forties. (You’re welcome, general public.)

SHOES | I have really dialed down my shoe game, but it makes it easy to pick what to wear based on where I’m going? Night out? Tan suede Miu Miu pumps. Work or social event: wine Lanvin flats or Pretty Ballerina leopard flats. Park with kids? Slip-on converse. Work travel? Suede ankle boots or fancy trainers.

SOLID TOPS | I wear solid, long-sleeved shirts over my tanks. My torso is exceptionally long, so I really love the soft, solid bamboo range that PIKO makes. I also wear black & white strips.

SWEATERS | Who can resist a good jumper? (Read: “sweater”) Not this girl. I like the solid colours with subtle patterns in the weaving, I like them oversized, I also like them short with a button-down underneath them.

SCARF | I always have a scarf on me or in my bag. I like a bluish-grey one I bought years ago (like this), my leopard one that matches everything (like this) or my camel coloured one that has a hole from a moth that desperately needs replacing. Between London, Paris & Scotland- I always seem to need one, and it makes feeding in public so discreet. It’s all I’ve ever used and works like a charm. My favourite are big, lightweight ones that can wrap around.

MAKEUP | I’ve actually got a post coming about what I keep in my makeup bag, but the main thing for me is black eyeliner, mascara & something for my lips. If I’m feeling low-key, I wear this from L’Oreal, if I’m feeling professional I wear this long-lasting mauve from MAC, and if I’m feeling particularly fancy or grotty- red lipstick. Forget under-eye concealer, that stuff covers exhaustion better than anything I know.


So there you have it. My basic wardrobe essentials. Do you feel like you have your look narrowed down, or do you still like exploring and changing your looks? If you do, come find me in a few years when life slows down and get me up to speed with what’s new. Ha!



Posted on November 6, 2017 and filed under shopping.