London with Love

London with Love

I never expected that in 2016, my Valentine's Day would be in London.  This day filled with love has always been on my radar, but normally celebrated with romantic comedies (my favorite movie genre), chocolate, and best friends.  This year, I celebrated the Valentine's Day weekend with a wonderful flatmate, the London Eye, and Harry Potter. 

14 things I loved about London (in the spirit of the 14th of February, Valentine's Day style): 

1.  The London Eye.  What a stunning half hour of my life.  My one stipulation while in London (through consultation with a dear friend, fellow blogger, and lover of London) was to ride on the London Eye at sunset.  The view was spectacular, and there was even an adorable couple on the ride below us with champagne and a picnic basket.

 My view from the Eye. 

My view from the Eye. 

2.  Platform 9 3/4.  London is the place to be for Harry Potter admirers from all over the world.  We stood in line for about 30 minutes to get our picture taken at the platform in King's Cross Station, and it was so worth it.  The girl working there even waved my scarf, and the guy counted in order to get the perfect picture of flying through the wall.

 Blurry due to the flying. 

Blurry due to the flying. 

3. The Tube.  I am absolutely terrible at working public transportation, but the Tube/Underground was so easy!  We probably used it about 15 times in the weekend, and it was a lifesaver, to say the least.

 What a quintessential London picture. 

What a quintessential London picture. 

.  Buckingham Palace.  The gates are golden and ornate, and we even saw some of the guards talking to each other in front of the palace.  The whole square is fit for a queen.

 Golden and glorious. 

Golden and glorious. 

5.  Big Ben.  If you haven't noticed already, we visited many of the tourist sites in our two days in London.  Big Ben is giant, and it overwhelms you as soon as you walk out of the subway station (see number 3).  

 No filter needed. 

No filter needed. 

6.  Abraham Lincoln statue.  Surprisingly enough, we found a taste of the States in London.  Abraham Lincoln has a statue situated near Big Ben and Westminster Abbey, so I had to take a picture.

 Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery? 

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery? 

7.  Tower Bridge.  This iconic London site has blue hints to it, and it's magnificent.  I even stood at the place where the two halves connect and looked down at the River Thames.

 Towering over London. 

Towering over London. 

8.  Foyles Bookstore.  A five story bookstore filled with everything you could possibly imagine.  I found the graphic design section and purchased a book about blogging!

 Book lovers are the best friends. 

Book lovers are the best friends. 

9.  Bend It Like Beckham.  We planned the different places that we wanted to go on Saturday, but we hadn't originally budgeted time for a show.  After visiting Foyles, we decided to take a chance, and it turned out so well!  The musical was hilarious and fabulous.  

 The beautiful Phoenix Theatre and backdrop for the show. 

The beautiful Phoenix Theatre and backdrop for the show. 

10.  Bloomsbury Coffee House.  If you're ever in Russell Square, visit this adorable coffee house.  The table markers are painted wooden spoons, and the smoothie and French toast were scrumptious.

 Sunflowers and sweets. 

Sunflowers and sweets. 

11.  The Harry Potter Studio Tour.  This one takes the last few numbers because it was just that amazing.  We stood in the Great Hall, and I imagined being there with Harry, Ron, and Hermione.

 You can't beat the magic. 

You can't beat the magic. 

12.  Butterbeer.  A delightfully sweet and fizzy drink with extra fluff on top.  This is found in the Backlot Cafe, halfway through the studio tour.

 Butterbeer is better.  

Butterbeer is better.  

13.  Diagon Alley.  The alley is as twisty and quirky as you would expect, and all of the stores are exactly how you see them in the films.  Unfortunately, you can't go inside of them, but they were so fun to walk by. 

 Harry Potter shopping and photographs galore. 

Harry Potter shopping and photographs galore. 

 14.  Hogwarts Castle.  The last part of the tour involves the mockups and sketches for all of the Harry Potter places and people.  Once you walk past these, a magical place awaits.  I've seen many castles since my travels in Scotland, but this one is just handcrafted so well and inspired so much wonder. 

 Where the magic happens. 

Where the magic happens. 

Lucky Strike of the Day: This weekend and today, I was feeling the love.  I received a few letters and even a video from some great friends who sang "Sugar" for my Valegram.  Sending so much love to my friends back home and abroad.  Thanks for the kindness.  

Difficult to Say

Difficult to Say

Dig for Depth

Dig for Depth