27 June 2011

The family takes London

My family left early yesterday morning after a wonderful 8-day vacation here in London. We did a lot of fun things, but most of all it was just amazing to be able to spend time with them. I'll let the photos do most of the talking.

They arrived early Friday morning. After making our way into Central from Heathrow and doing a few odds and ends type things, we made our way straight to the pub.

It was Pimm's o'clock...almost all week.
B was a huge fan of the fish 'n chips. I think he ended up having 5 rounds over 8 days.
Later that night, we went back to flat and my mom surprised me with a package from my Aunt Martha...3 boxes of funfetti cake!! Of course I made one (or two) that night.

On Saturday, we went to Borough Market for lunch and did a lot of wandering around town to see the main sights.
B and I in front of Millennium Bridge. 

Siblings at Buckingham Palace.
The fam (minus Timbo) at Westminster.

 On Sunday, we took a trip over to Greenwich via riverboat. We saw the Royal Navy College, the Queen's House, Greenwich Park, the Royal Observatory, and wandered around the market where a few purchases were made. I won't lie...they involved a vanilla raspberry jam cupcake and a piece of lemon cake. My sister and I have a similar love of sweets.

K and I in the Royal Navy College, Queen's House in the background.
View from the Royal Observatory.
Later that night, we did a night bus tour so everyone could see London by night in an efficient manner!

We then woke up at about 5:30 a.m. Monday morning to go to Wimbledon! We had a few grounds passes for the day, but needed to get in the queue to pick up a couple more.

I read...
While we waited for this to get moving.

K and I watching the Mardy Fish match.
Tommy Haas.
On Tuesday, Kellen left for a short trip to Edinburgh, and I took Mom, Brett, and Julie to the Tower of London.

On Wednesday, Mom and Julie went to the British Museum while it rained in the morning. After that, Brett and I met them down around St. Paul's. 
Purdy momma.

I made good use of my
After that, mom and B needed to experience the best London chips. They weren't disappointed.

Thursday was the Kings of Leon concert in Hyde park with K and B.

On Friday, the family went to Westminster Abbey and the War Rooms museum, while I stayed behind to get a few things done and go for a run. We met up for lunch at Lupita after, and of course K and I had to end on a sweet note with ice cream cones. :)

That would be St. Martin in the Fields in the background, but naturally mom chose to focus on what was really important: the cones.
That night was a chill one. Well...for most of us. I made some homemade pizzas for dinner, which were enjoyed with salad and wine. The girls decided to stay in, which led to us watching (and falling in love with) the British reality show 'Made in Chelsea'. Holy it. Brett ended up going out with my friend Ed, and didn't make his way back to the flat until 4:30 a.m...the sun was already up! 

Finally, on the last day of their trip, we decided to wander over to Notting Hill for most of the day.

After perusing Portobello Market for a while, we headed over to Hyde Park and the Kensington Palace gardens.

After that, we appeased K's intense craving for Wagamama, and then went back to the flat to get packing. Later that night, we spent a last little bit at the pub, and Brett was able to have his last round of fish 'n chips. I told you, the boy was obsessed. 

We had to wake up bright and early on Sunday morning (ehh, 5 a.m. early) to get to Paddington for the train to Heathrow. And such was the end of the family's vacation to LDN.

I wish I could say that I've been super productive for the past two days, but I haven't. I'm sitting in my new room with an unpacked suitcase and several full bags of odds and ends scattered around me. I also have my last dissertation supervision meeting on Friday, and I haven't made much progress on that. It's definitely time for me to get my head back in the game -- I've got 9 weeks left here and so much to do! 

I feel very torn. I know that when the 9 weeks are up, it's going to be hard to leave London and my friends behind so I want it to go by slowly. At the same time, part of me wants the time to pass quickly, because I'm feeling very eager to get home to my family, friends, and dogs. So, I'm finding it difficult to reconcile my different feelings about the situation.

Okay, enough deep thoughts for now. I'm off to the gym to attempt to work off some of the chips, funfetti, pizza, and Pimm's that I consumed last week. 

22 June 2011

Sorry for my absence...

...but I have been so busy with my family! We've been having a great time so far -- we've been to Greenwich, Wimbledon, and have done lots of sight-seeing (St. Paul's, British Museum, Tower of London, Parliament, Big Ben, Westminster, Buckingham Palace). We've had fish 'n chips, a Sunday roast, and have had lots of Pimm's. We've experienced true London weather -- sunny and warm one second, and rainy and windy the next.

We still have four full days together. Tomorrow is the Kings of Leon concert that Kellen, Brett, and I are going to in Hyde Park. Mom and Julie are going to do a Windsor/Stonehenge/Bath day tour. Friday and Saturday will be spent doing whatever we fancy! :)

I'll update with photos and much more when I have some time, most likely after everyone is back on their way to the States.

16 June 2011

My Family Lands in Less Than 12 Hours!

The next 9 days will be amazing...I can't wait to see them!

I just have that dissertation meeting to get through tomorrow morning, then I'm off to Heathrow to greet them. I'll try and update a couple of times throughout the week. :)

14 June 2011

A Sunny, Sunny Day: in photo.

I know you're shocked, just shocked!, to discover that I managed to avoid doing much dissertation work again this afternoon by heading over to the park to frolic and read and take photos.

I love London in the summertime. I'm lucky to be able to experience my second one.

13 June 2011

Today's Inspirational Tidbit and a Life Update.

I love that quote. 

Today, my 'can'ts' have mainly consisted of: I can't find the motivation to do this dissertation work, I can't figure out which survey model I'm going to use for said dissertation that I can't find the motivation for, I can't stop watching bad reality television and old seasons of 'The Wire' in an effort to avoid working on said unmotivated dissertation work...and the like. You get the picture.

My next meeting is on Friday morning, bright and early. By that time, I really need to be able to walk into Alex's office with a solid first draft of the survey that I plan to use to gather data for my project. In reality, I do have the majority of the questions that I'm going to ask planned out. The next step is to get these questions formulated into an online survey. To do so, I plan on using my school's survey mechanism, but I didn't realize until today that I had to apply to be able to use it! So, that's on hold until I receive confirmation and a password -- hopefully in the next couple of days, yikes. I also need to work on compiling a basic webpage that I need to use to help prime my survey respondents while they are completing the questions. Those are my two main tasks for the next few days.

Also on the agenda for Friday: moving! SO, packing definitely needs to happen this week as well. Packing and dissertation, packing and dissertation...I just need to keep repeating it to myself and I'll somehow make it happen. 

Oh, but wait -- there's more. MY FAMILY GETS HERE ON FRIDAY MORNING!! That sentence warranted some serious Kanye-capitalizing because it's so major. I'm ecstatic and I can't wait to see them. It has definitely put a little more hop in my step! It's been six months since I last saw them -- that's (by far) the longest I've ever gone without seeing them. Prior to this, the longest was the three months between moving here and going home for Christmas. To say that we're a close family would be an understatement. My sister and brother are my best friends, and I have the best parents anyone could ever ask for. Kellen was obviously here back in November for a couple of weeks, so she's practically a Londoner. ;) But this will be the first time in London (and Europe, in general) for my madre, Brett, and Julie (our dear family friend). I'm so excited to show off my lovely city to them. Wimbledon will be attended, much beer and Pimm's will be had, fish 'n chips will be eaten. In short, it's going to be amazing. The only downside to this trip is that my dad is unable to come...unable meaning there isn't a strong enough drug for him to take to be able to make it through the eight hour flight. Understandable. Flying doesn't bother me, but I totally sympathize for those who dislike it. ((So it's okay daddio -- I love you and will be seeing you in two and a half months!))

I know -- dissertation meeting, a move, AND the arrival of my family! It's going to be a hectic day, that's for certain. My basic plan is to get my meeting done and out of the way early (9:00 a.m., check), head to Heathrow, get the fam-damily situated in their Covent Garden flat, head out for lunch and a walking tour (I know, I'm a nerd), enlist the help of my brother to move me out of my little room, and then head to a pub for dinner and some drinks. Perfect, perfect. After that, depending on how tired and jet-lagged everyone will (might?) be, maybe we'll do a little night on the town. Hey, when you only have eight days in the best city in the world, you need to make the most of it! 

I'm sure you all understand how it's difficult for me to focus on the tasks at hand when such awesomesauce things are on the horizon! I'm already thinking of things I can do to get out and enjoy the sunny, 70+ degree weather tomorrow...I'm thinking a park day with my new book (and I'll most likely bring along the monster LSAT prep book for good measure). 

Speaking of awesomesauce, look what I found at M&S today:

Awww yeah. Chocolate covered pretzels are one of my most favorite things in the world. These babies were new at M&S and you better believe I grabbed them the second I saw them. Once home, they went straight into the fridge to chill for a cool few hours. My tummy was so happy. I would like to note, however, that my original intention going into M&S was to pick up fruit. Judge away.

Okay, Hayley out. I really should try and get some work done between episodes of 'The Real Housewives of New Jersey', of course. 

09 June 2011

And She Shall Go To The Ball.

Last night was the much-anticipated SPP end of the year ball -- officially dubbed 'A Night at Monte Carlo' due to the blackjack tables that were present. It was held at Opal, a kind of swanky little place down on Embankment. There were 150+ people, and I think a fun time was had by all.

Kate and I started out the day by hanging out at her flat and catching needed. She left for a two week vacation back in Texas early this morning, so we needed some quality time before then! A couple of hours later, Paloma and Harry joined, and we had a grand little time being ridiculous: singing, dancing, eating, drinking, playing games, and finally getting dressed and leaving.

Apples To Apples -- umm, we'll just say it's a fun game. :)

In the middle of our little dance party.

Not sure why we thought this was a good idea but this picture shows pure happiness. I love my Palomy!

She was my date for the night. :)

Keeping it super classy with the huge honking carrots dipped in hummus. And peanuts. And vodka.

Love, love, love my girls. These are two of the main reasons I will miss London so much.

Prom photos!

About to embark on a booze-filled tube ride. Looking back, this was probably unnecessary.

At the actual event.

Overall, I think the event was really nice. It was well-planned (good job, Char!) and I think enjoyed by most, if not all. I, for one, am more than happy to have an excuse to throw on some five inch leopard print pumps, a pretty dress, and red lipstick!

This morning...was a tad rough. I may or may not have stayed in bed until 1:00 p.m. ((You know that means I did.)) Thankfully, I'm feeling much, much better now, and finally feel like I can start being somewhat productive, albeit from my bed. On this evening's agenda is more LSAT studying and possibly a trip to the gym. Rad.