Living life in the Piccadilly lane.
*See what I did there... I spent four days in London last week. Two days of workspace scoping and digital nomading followed by two perfect days of living exactly how I aspire to - sans the London postcode dwelling and the higher disposable income (yet!).
I began the day lazily awakening on my friend's sofa in Camden, catching up with Mumma Talbot after a couple of weeks via FaceTime and then enjoying the sun on the way to the tube.
One short and sweet ride down the Victoria line to Green Park, I stepped off and into Piccadilly. The home of high end fashion and The Ritz, as well as Burlington House.
Burlington House is the host of the Royal Academy of the Arts - or rather the RA as all the connoisseurs would say - and this was where myself, my friend Beckie and her Uncle were headed on the Saturday.
We originally planned to meet in the RA entrance however we happened to have the same marvellous idea to pop by Ladurée in the Burlington Arcade for some brunch delights first. So that is where we found each other and we enjoyed a sweet creation and beverage each. I say sweet creation because mine was more of a meringue - pistachio with red berries in the middle and on the top for decoration - while the others had a cake slice and miniature pudding.
I felt like I should be sipping my espresso with one hand under the saucer and hand on the delicate tea cup handle.
It was like being in another world, but one I would love to be a part of. The part I want to play is the high-earning leader that can afford to treat herself regularly. Being inspired by the Vogue covers on banners high above your head as you walk in. Inspired to create and aspire to something influential.
We caught up on each other's journeys, gathered up our belongings and headed into Burlington House for our midday ticket pick up. (I was also relieved to check-in my massive overnight bag into the cloakroom).
For some reason I never thought I would be that interested in art, but I've come to learn that I enjoy it more and more. Getting a window into someone else' mind and interpretation of a concept - as well as laughing at how much someone is willing to pay for it - is so intriguing. Even the strange metal construction that stood at least two storeys high waving a camera on the end was fun to watch.
There is a different curator - and thus a different style of layout - every year. In beautiful, tall rooms the locations the art was displayed in was just as beautiful as the contents.
I have to say I was rather tempted by a cheeky flute of Prosecco just to get into the spirit (aha!) of the occasion - and having recently seen the Ab Fab movie, you also felt a bit inspired.
After questioning, reflecting and documenting a bit more we made our departure. We'd worked up an appetite and decided to at least have a perusal of Fortnum & Mason - I daren't call it a supermarket...!
We selected some deli delights from the downstairs counter and were super excited we could afford purchases without breaking the bank.
Rather than heading to the park, we crossed the road back into the RA, perched on some steps in front of a statue and had our own DIY (posh) picnic.
After waving goodbye to Beckie's uncle, our afternoon consisted of properly wandering through the Burlington Arcade, pretending we had money to spend into Ralph Lauren, Tiffany's and Prada and finishing off an incredible day by chatting to people in Stella McCartney's shop.
I've known Stella was a cruelty-free brand for a while, but it was so wonderful to be able to wander into her shop and experience her creations. Definitely one I'm keen to aspire to. There is a care about the work, the place and the employees who work in it - which is SO important!
Afternoon turned into evening and we headed from a BBQ in Kennington to a post-rugby match in West Ham. It was at a club house not far from the tube, but it reminded me of my childhood. Walking through the changing rooms downstairs to the fields and through to the bar, for a few minutes I felt like an eight year old again. It was familiar.
With Canary Wharf and other parts of East London as a back drop, I knew I was exactly where I wanted to be. I had lived the Saturday I want to live. I have a new aspiration.
Staying in a built up candy factory for the night definitely makes my top places I've stayed in so far. While I wouldn't choose to live there, it made for an awesome evening adventure! Talking to people about their experiences of LoveBox, rating the best Disney films (Mulan, obvs!) and playing games before turning in around 3am was a fun end to such an action-packed day!
The next day we ate breakfast next to the Thames, cycled to Tower Bridge for ice creams and then back up to Brick Lane for some light shopping. While I was lugging - with the help of Ali - my massive bag around with us, for the first time I really stopped to notice just how comfortable I was with this city. I would love to be able to pack up a book and lunch, cycle to a random part of London and chilled out for the day. It was my kind of weekend adventure for sure!
I felt like I belonged.
We stopped in a really cute vintage shop just off of Brick Lane and purchased some bits and pieces - which I will show you in another blog sooooon.
A couple more hours passed in Shoreditch during which we collapsed in a park and then cooled off our feet in Ali's friend's paddling pool, and then Beckie and I made our way back to Victoria coach station.
I was desperate to get my bag off my back but also sad to leave London and its buzz. Having spent a few days *actually* in the city rather than fleeting weekends at seminars or otherwise occupied, I now understand why city dwellers need to leave it every so often. However I couldn't be deterred. There are SO many adventures small and big to be had there!
We had one of those really great life chats for most of the coach journey back during which it got me to really thinking about properly planning and looking at where I want to be. Day dreams are all very well but it's time for me to put something in place.
I have several questions to answer, but the four days in London definitely made things clearer for me. Gave me a bit more focus. Ah! So exciting!
Anyway, I should probably stop here before this post gets too long, but tell me, what would living your best life look like? And by that I don't mean *the* best, but the one best *for* you?