June 2015 I stepped onto a plane and travelled to a place I only dreamed of to see in person one day! As I arrived in London, I met up with my good friend Andrew Skipper of Andrew Skipper Everyday. Andrew was currently working in Berlin and around Europe, so he was the perfect friend to show me this brilliant city!
Our first stop was to arrive at Amba Hotel Charing Cross. As we entered this stunning hotel we were greeted by each person in the front lobby and offered a morning beverage! I have to say this is the way to begin a trip of a lifetime!!! I walked up to the main counter to check in and I was greeted by Suzan Quist. Suzan was beyond lovely and so helpful and kind!
After we checked into the beautiful room, our room doorbell rang and Suzan sent up a bottle of champagne and a lovely card welcoming us! I was beyond amazed how wonderful they treated their guests and it actually made me want to incorporate more of this service in my own photography business!
Andrew & I had a full week planned of photographing, meeting up with some of his good friends and exploring this amazing city!
The second evening we met up with Andrew's good friends Mark Hill & Philip Reicherstorfer! Philip currently owns an amazing restaurant called Counter Vauxhall Arches & Mark is an Antiques & Collectables Expert. The restaurant was absolutely wonderful & we had such great conversation! I can not thank them enough for such a lovely evening!
During the week I would go for runs in beautiful St. James Park. It was such a peaceful place and the perfect place to people watch! I loved to watch how people would interact with one another. You would see couples reading with one another, children walking home from boarding school, and families enjoying time together. I even got to experience "Changing of the Guard!" Towards the end of the trip I decided to go and photograph all these lovely things taking place. I felt inspired again with my work and I was excited to take this home and apply it to my work there!
Towards the middle of the trip Andrew planned an amazing tea time experience at Afternoon Tea Cafe Royal! I had always wanted to try this and it was absolutely brilliant. The lighting, decor, preparation, service, etc... was exquisite! We spent most of the afternoon enjoying the lovely tea, desserts, listening to the pianist, and deep conversations about life. I have to say it was one of my favorite afternoons of the trip!
After the amazing tea experience we decided to check out the Savoy American Bar as well as Beaufort Bar. Talk about stunning hotel and wonderful decor & cocktails! The history of the hotel is that it was the first true luxury hotel in London and many celebrities & royalty often make their appearance at this lovely establishment!
Towards the end of the trip we met up with Andrew's good friend Mariska Meijers. Mariska is a beautiful artist & designer! The day we met up with her she got to meet and connect with her hero Paul Smith! So of course we had to celebrate her amazing day! We shared many laughs, talking about our careers and of course a little too much champagne! It was such a fun evening and I am so thankful and honored to have met her! We still keep in contact today and I got to photograph her amazing scarf creation- which you can view in this blog post! She is a brilliant artist.
The second to last evening Andrew & I decided to check out the nightlife in London. We had heard about some fun places to go to but I wanted to ask Suzan (the lovely manager of our hotel). I went down to the front desk and struck up a fun conversation with Suzan and the best places to go. Her friend Carolina DeFreitas worked at the hotel as well and they both suggested a fun place just right around the corner from our hotel. We had a blast and danced the night away! As we arrived back at the hotel Suzan & Carolina were excited to hear about our fun evening and we instantly became good friends! I don't think I ever laughed so hard after that evening talking with the two of them!
Our last night in London... We decided to have a low key evening in St. James Park. In the park area there is a lovely restaurant you can sit outside and take in the amazing view! We reflected on the whole week and all the fun experiences that took place. As we were walking back into the hotel we stopped and talked with our lovely friends Suzan & Carolina. They both were excited to hear our last night in London plans. Well needless to say we were just going to pack and head to bed early and they were like no way!!! You need to celebrate! So they treated us to dinner in the hotel & upgraded us to an amazing suite with lots of champagne! What a great way to end an amazing trip! Andrew and I could not thank Suzan & Carolina enough for everything!
As I arrived at the airport to travel back to the states, I reflected on my amazing experience in London! For me it was a life changing experience that I will never forget! Not only did I become an international photographer and meet some amazing people, I got to experience a place I only dreamed of going to! London changed me and I can not thank everyone enough for such an amazing journey!
One year has passed... Andrew & I were in Chicago for work and we decided to check out LondonHouse and celebrate our London 2015 trip!
Not only is the view breath taking but the service is top notch! Our lovely server Monica helped create a wonderful experience! The food was wonderful and the architecture reminded us of London. Their presentation was lovely! It is a perfect place to view the city & have a few cocktails. I highly recommend checking it out!
Overall London changed me but the best thing about it was the experience! I feel in life - it is all about the experience and what you can take from it! To all the lovely people I met- I can not thank you enough! Cheers and keep chasing your dreams!!!
*LondonHouse Chicago, Amba Hotel Charing Cross, Counter Vauxhall Arches, The Savoy American Bar, Beaufort Bar, Cafe Royal, Suzan Quist, Carolina DeFreitas, Mariska Meijers, Philip Reicherstorfer, Mark Hill*