Posts filed under my reykjavik

The Adults-Only Club, Reykjavik Chapter

One of the perks of being an adult is getting to do things that you always suspected adults were up to as a kid, but never had any proof.

Friday, we got to Iceland really late- like 1:30 into our beds. When we woke up the next morning, before the kids knew what was going on as they slurped up their cereal, Tyler & I tucked out for about 45 minutes. We grabbed coffee and pastries from Sandholt Bakery (which Tyler boldly proclaimed his “favourite place to get pastries in the world!) and then walked back home by taking a little detour along some of our favourite shops.


It was short, sweet and our kids were none the wiser about the little adventure we had been on while they got dressed and played. You know, until we opened up the box of goodies from Sandholt.


For them, it was a little downtime with our au pair… but that little slice of time for us, well, those make the memories.


And it always makes me wonder, when I do that kind of sneaky double-life stuff on my kids, what all my parents were doing when I was bopping around as a kid. I guess I’ll never really know… but I do hope they had fun doing it!

*. * *

Oh! And read more about Sandholt Bakery here. That Danish is worth reading about, and tiny little Viola is really cute in the pictures, too. (Says her mother.)


*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on February 21, 2019 and filed under tyler, travel, my reykjavik, marriage, iceland.

My Reykjavik | Kaktus EspressoBar

For a long time, the Icelandic coffee scene has been ruled by the hipster Mecca, Reykjavik Roasters. (And with good reason, it’s great coffee, a good setting and it’s close enough to Braud & Co’s addictive cinnamon rolls to make it an arranged marriage of the dream Icelandic mid-day treat.) While Reykjavik Roasters and it’s massive weekend queues aren’t leaving anytime soon, I have great news for anyone that is coming to Reykjavik and wants delicious coffee without the hassle of buying it from a coffee shop that nearly doubles as a tourist site. But despite this opening paragraph, this isn’t about Reykjavik Roasters… this is about something new and something really darling.

Just off Laugavegur, Kaktus Espressobar has quietly opened in the early days of 2019. The shop is bright with sunlight, even on the greyest of winter days like the one I’m hiding from now, and the atmosphere is perfect. With a solid background of Scandnivavian feel- clean lines, blond woods, a jar of homemade kleinur and candlesticks lit for each table- the places feels very much at home in Iceland. However, with the cute addition of cactus planters dotted around the space, Italian coffee beans, matcha lattes & homemade treats ranging from pistachio croissants to healthy date balls & chia pudding- it seems to have also rounded up the best parts of the rest of the globe, too.


But what makes the place especially adorable is the owner who can speak with confidence, pride and the sweetest smile as she talks about items on the menu. You can tell that she has made this place and is really proud of it. You see it in the way she arranges little cakes, the way she helps instruct the employees in the kitchen as they roll out scones in the kitchen, and it makes the feeling so lovely.


I have a feeling that while this place is a bit untouched now, it’s going to become a favourite spot soon. Though I think, from the looks of the crowds here today, it’s going to be claimed by the Icelanders first this time. It’s a local gem and feels like less of an attempt to become popular spot for tourists in the middle of Reykjavik and, rather, the manifestation of someone’s dream to create a great place for people to meet, share and return to week after week. 


And hey, even for tourists like me, it’s a great spot to get some cultural observation, that hygge feel, and some good wifi. 

KAKTUS ESPRESSOBAR | Vitastígur 12, Reykjavik, Iceland | Open Daily from 07:30 - 18:00 | Weekends from 09:00 -18:00

Find more of my favourite places to eat, sleep and see in my Iceland guide, or read more about the best places in the capital city in My Reykjavik posts.

*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on February 20, 2019 and filed under iceland, my reykjavik.

My Reykjavík | Barber

Harrison’s hair is perfectly suited for him: gorgeous and, yet, totally crazy. Ha! While we were in Reykjavik, it seemed to hit an all time-low with being constantly in his eyes, so I googled places to get it cut nearby.


There were options that looked like regular hair salons and then I found the most dapper looking place with some tatted-up men cutting hair and figured that this was the place to go. For no other reason than it seemed fun and I figured it’d probably look about the same irregardless of where I went.

When we arrived, things were running a bit behind. The kind barber offered me a coffee but I declined. As Harrison grew restless, I tried to entertain him. I went with a weird story about a dragon who ate to many fish bones who met a frog with herbal tea... about the time I got to the herbal tea’s secret ingredient (flowers), his eyes shut and he was out for the count. (We just cut out his nap and he’s still adjusting!)

The barber came over, asked me if I was sure I didn’t want some coffee. I looked down at the passed out kid in my arms, decided to go with the moment of calm, and ordered a maccchiato.


Ahhh. So nice.

Then a few minutes passed and it was time for Harrison to get his hair cut.

Except he was still asleep.


Like realllly asleep.

Eventually, I whispered the magic words (“Do you want to play with my phone?”) and his eyes opened, he said ”yeah,” and sat straight up.

He is so funny and serious during haircuts. I love it so much and I was giggling at him staring at himself, making faces and watching the man cut his hair. He’s such a champ.


When it was done, he got to pick some candy from a Darth Vader helmet and it was all done. 

And the best news was... he kinda looked the exact same after it was finished. Just without hair hanging all in his face. Mission accomplished.

Next time, I’m bringing in Tyler because they do men’s hair so well there and the whole experience was just really fun. If you’re looking for the best men’s haircut in Reykjavik, well- Barber may just be it. And with it’s easy location on Laugavegur, it’s definitely one of the more convenient ones!


Barber | Laugavegur 66, 101 Reykjavík

Find more of my favourite places in Iceland and Reykjavik here.

*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

My Reykjavik | Farmers Market

I’m a big fan of buying souvenirs from a place that, well, actually come from that place. And that are hard to get outside of that place. I’m never going to plunk down money for a Louis Vuitton in Paris because I can get that at any luxury department store, you know? If I’m gonna haul something back, I want it to be because it’s truly something special from that place. 

So if I’m in France, I like to buy Monoprix baby clothes, cheap Apilco dishes and loaves of brioche from Aux Mervielleux de Fred.

I’m in in Italy, I want pretty leather bags from the Florence market or olive oil from an olive grove we stay near.

You get the idea.


Going to Iceland, I always like to find something Icelandic... the only trouble is, since they only have 300,000 people- they have a smaller output of goods to choose from.

But each year, I make it a tradition to buy something made of lambswool... and if you’re going to be real Icelandic lambawool, you should head to Farmers Market to do so.


Farmers Market is located in Laugavegur and makes the coolest knitwear in the country. That’s not just my opinion. That’s pretty much every Icelanders opinion, too. Other than your grandma knitting you a sweater, Farmers Market makes really nice and cool pieces.


I bought an oversized cardigan there this year and I love it so much. It is cosy and perfect for my wardrobe... especially when it includes a baby carrier.

The shop has more than just sweaters- it has cool shoes, tights, scarves, and homewares.


Even if you don’t want anything, you need to at least stop in to see one of Reykjavik’s coolest shops. And if you’re looking to find on of the best wool sweaters in Iceland, we’ll look no further. Farmers Market will be your place! 

And you know what the best news is? After you’ve shopped, you can hop across the street to Sandholt Bakery for some of their killer pastries. Mmmm!


FARMERS MARKET | Laugavegur 37, 101 Reykjavik

Find all my Iceland favourites on my travel guide page or in my previous posts.

*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on November 19, 2017 and filed under iceland, shopping, my reykjavik.

Notes from the Road | Reykjavik

Well, if you're following on Instagram, you'll have seen that we are in Iceland. Yup- back again for our 7th trip. (Isn't that nuts? Time seems like it's just flying these days. For those that have read this blog for a while- doesn't it seem like we just started going on these trips?)

While we are becoming really comfortable in visiting this lovely country, my parents had yet to visit. And seeing as how they love to travel and love to see us (read: our kids), a little trip was planned for the days before our work started here for all of us.


It's been several easy days here. Lazy mornings around the hotel, a few slumber parties for the kids in my parents hotel room allowing Tyler & me to do dinner with our friends here, and lots of meals and little outings in between.


While my Iceland Guide is pretty stacked, I have to say- it will be expanding again soon. There are just SO many new places here that it's hard to stop finding good places to add to the list.

But for now, I'll just share some pretty pictures with you and whet your appetite for the fun I've got in store for later.


Oh, and I found out that "Bless" is an easy way to say "Goodbye" here. You can only imagine how much I enjoy saying that now in my most Southern drawl... complete with a hand in the air and a smirk on my face.


More to come later from places with harder to pronounce names. 

P.S. Check out my YouTube channel for some fun new videos. Or subscribe to make sure you never miss out!

*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on September 7, 2017 and filed under iceland, traveling with kids, travel, my reykjavik.

My Reykjavik | BurgerJoint

I've mentioned it elsewhere- but Iceland has changed SO much in the past five years. The amount of people in every locations is exponentially more than when we first started going... and I would say more than doubled since even last year.

Whenever we saw friends or colleagues, they all asked us what we thought of it. The boom of tourism is changing the lives of all 330,000 people that live there. Every block in town and small village along the (only) highway is full of cranes and new business popping up in response to the hoards of tourstics flocking to Iceland.

While there are so many new (great!) places opening, I still feel drawn back to Burgerjoint (or "Bullan," as the locals call it) on days around lazy days when we are near the marina in Reykjavik..

This tiny shop tucked right on the marina makes fresh burgers. They're one of the most affordable meals in town, and they're pretty stinking good. No visit there is complete with a basket full of fries- generously sprinkled from the shaker of seasoning salt- and a coffee milkshake.

The BBQ bacon cheeseburger is a crowd-pleaser, but with huge sides (the large fries could easily feed 5 people), a small cheeseburger does the trick for me.

Find Burgerjoint at Geirsgata 1, Reykjavik 101, Iceland. (Right by the IcelandAir Marina Hotel)


*images by Ashel Parsons for Aspiring Kennedy


Posted on September 23, 2016 and filed under eat, iceland, travel, my reykjavik.

My Reykjavik | Salt Eldhus Cooking Classes

This year when planning our trip to Iceland, I was really wanting to add something that added a bit of exposure to the urban culture of Reykjavik. Since most of Iceland is being outdoors and in nature, it seemed a bit one-sided. I wanted to know more of the Iceland story- something that spoke told a narrative that couldn't be seen from wandering through natural parks or floating by icebergs. I wanted to get cozy with Icelanders.

So since I'm unaware of a service that allows for spending the evening in a home of an Icelandic family over their home cooked dinner, we opted for a cooking class with Audur at Salt Eldhus. The typical class cooks a multi-course meal focused on Icelandic specialties.

For our group, I asked to do a traditional Icelandic dessert/cake + coffee class during an afternoon. It was a new request, but Audur came back with a "Yes!" Thank goodness she did, because cooking traditional crepes and eating them over big mugs of hot coffee ended up being the perfect way to spend our last afternoon in Iceland.


The class was so nice- we had great instructions on everything we did and funny personal stories of sneaking rhubarb from neighbors as children and the love of crepes in Iceland (wives are expected to learn this skill in a big way!). We also got interesting background on the ingredients we used like Skyr (basically, the yogurt in Iceland that is extremely unique and delicious) and rhubarb.


A Few Things To Know For Your Trip...


1. The class is in an tall building down by the water. (You'll probably want to take a taxi, as it can be a bit tricky to find for a tourist.) The interior is adorable, and the views of the city around you are great.


2. They'll take care of everything. Show up and be ready to be taken care of.


3. the food is really good. I can't speak for anything other than crepes, skyr and rhubarb compote... but man, it was delicious. I have a feeling whatever you end up cooking will be amazing with that team.

Really, I don't have much to say other than GO. It's a fun addition to your Iceland trip that will give you an added perspective to your time in Iceland. I love connecting with people/cultures through food, and this is one the best ways to do it in Reykjavik!


Salt EldhusÞórunnartún 2  (Skúlatún House) 6th floor.

+354 551- 0171 or


Interested in doing a cooking class in Europe? Here are some that I've loved:

Cotswolds (Daylesford Organic) | Paris (Le Cuisine Paris) | London (Jamie Oliver's Recipease)


*images by ashel parsons


Posted on December 3, 2015 and filed under iceland, travel, eat, my reykjavik.

My Reykjavik | Reykjavik Roasters

The week before we went to Iceland, Tyler had some work projects that came up. The result of said work projects was that he couldn't come with us anymore. Luckily, my sister swooped in and rescued us by taking Tyler's space and helping with the kids. (You may find it hard to believe, but it's hard to focus on 23 other humans when you have two babies with you. Sarcasm heavily noted.)

Anyway, sister arrived. Day was saved. Iceland carried on as normal. Students had a fantastic trip. All was good. While the trip was wonderful, I will say: I missed Tyler! I missed seeing Iceland with him. So many of the sites there are special to us. We have memories together when I was pregnant with the girls and when Viola was so so tiny. The sites and restaurants that we love are special to us... but I was also excited to find a few new places that I could bring him next year.

The place that is on the top of that list is Reykjavik Roasters. If you're looking for a hip, understated Scandinavian coffee shop- this one ticks all the boxes. 

Not only does Reykjavik Roasters have a great vibe and a mean cup of coffee... but they also have delicious eats, too. Croissants, Sarah Bernhardt cookies (the dessert of my dreams) and Omnon Chocolate (coincidentally, the chocolate of my dreams). 

We had a great time there. We ate too many sweets and got overly jazzed on caffeine. But as good of a time as we had this time, I can't wait to be back there with Tyler next time.


REYKJAVIK ROASTERS | Karastigur 1, Reykjavik 



Find more of my favorite Iceland spots in my ICELAND TRAVEL GUIDE or read my Iceland posts here



*images by Ashel Parsons



Posted on October 15, 2015 and filed under eat, iceland, travel, my reykjavik.

My Reykjavik | Sandholt Bakery


I'm starting a mini-series of a few of my (new!) favorite places to eat in Iceland's capital city, Reykjavik. The city has changed SO much since we first started traveling there four years ago. The rising economy and the boom in tourism is changing this city quickly. I'll sprinkle these out over the weeks to come. Be on the lookout if you're planning a trip to Iceland! 

The first place that I want to share with you is Sandholt Bakery. Shocker that I picked a bakery, no? But this place is the place to go when you are looking for something beyond the typically Scandinavian savory spread for breakfast. This is the place to find a perfectly baked croissant, a giant slice of cake... or some traditional pastries done just right. I don't know another place in Iceland that even competes with the level of baking that Sandholt does.


Because I do have access to great croissants in London, I asked the girls working what were the "most Icelandic" things that I could try. If these are the best bakers in Iceland- I want to try the best of the best! They pointed me in the direction of a kleiner, snudar and vanilla danish. They added that the danish was more "Scandinavian" than specifically Icelandic... but not to be missed.


Let me give you a little Icelandic-pastry-play-by-play....

First up, the kleiner. The kleiner is Iceland's answer to a donut. It's always in the traditional twisted diamond and is unfrosted. You can buy them in bakeries or in grocery stores in bags of ten. To be honest, they're not my favorite. I prefer a glazed, softer donut... but maybe, someday, they'll grown on me.

The next up on our trial list was the snudar- a sweet bun. You'll see these covered in caramel or chocolate. I opted for the chocolate, at the recommendation of the sweet girl working behind the counter. Again... I have to say, it wasn't my cup of tea. A bit too dry, but I could see how people could grow up and love these.

Yet don't worry... our visit was not fruitless. Last, and not least, was the vanilla and almond danish By far, it was the best treat I have had in a while. Oh my. GET THE DANISH.

The next day, my sweet friend, Ashel, went and bought me one for breakfast. I felt so spoiled to have a second chance with one of these lovely treats.

Make a stop by Sandholt when you're in Reykjavik. Whether you have time to sit down and enjoy sweets in their cafe- or just grab some goods for the go. (Plus, it's hard to beat the shopping around it on the hip street it is located on, Laugavegar.)

Sandholt Bakery. Laudavegar 36, Reykjavik Iceland  | +354 551 3524

 Open every day, 06:30am to 8:00/9:00pm




*images by Ashel Parsons



Posted on September 30, 2015 and filed under eat, iceland, travel, my reykjavik.