My mom left this morning and I’m already missing having my parents here. But there’s also part of me that’s ready to settle back into normal life and have a breather.
Having them in London was such a great reminder of what this city is like when you’re seeing it for the first time. Of all the things that make it wonderful and different. Narrow cobblestone streets. Vibrant red phone boxes. Everyone chattering away in charming accents. The bobbies with their rounded hats. A quaint pub on every corner. Big Ben and The London Eye looming in the distance.
For a North American, these are all things out of the movies and London looks like a storybook.
The wedding was the main event, of course, but in between we’ve been whizzing around so that we could see my favourite haunts and take in the sites.
There was lots of wandering around central London, poking into shops and sipping pints in pubs. Walks along the Southbank to check out the iconic vistas. Trips to Hamleys and Harrods, Liberty and Fortnum & Mason. Cultural days at the V&A, The British Museum, & the Tate Modern. And, of course, a Sunday roast and a cheeky pub quiz, to really live it up like the locals.
Perhaps my favourite was yesterday. We made the trek to southwest London and spent the day wandering the paths of Kew Gardens, stopping to smell many a rose, tour around a palace, and marvel at tropical plants. It was one of the places that had been on my to-do list for ages and having visitors was the perfect excuse to put in the effort to get down there.
Touring around with my parents gave me fresh eyes for London and a renewed interest in discovering more of her, both the hidden gems and the obvious attractions.
You don’t have to be an expat to be a tourist in your own town. Challenge yourself to have more adventures, wherever you’re living!
What’s THE thing that people think of when they hear the name of your city? What’s a big attraction you’ve never done? No matter how cheesy it is, give it a go. Even if it’s kind of lame, you’ll have fun if you bring some friends along. You can take a silly photo and tick it off the list.
Make a ritual out of it. Every month have a mini “staycation” and seek out something new to do. Make time for those things you’re always meaning to see and experience but never get around to.
There’s a balance, I suppose, between keeping FOMO at bay by allowing yourself to just live and making the effort to get out there and do stuff.
As much as I had my zest for London renewed, visiting my parents also showed me how much I love my everyday, mundane life here. Because I was so excited to show it to them. And I’m so happy to be easing back into it.
It’s good to push yourself out of your comfort zone and try new things, but there’s pleasure in routines as well. Try to make time for both. That’s the balancing act I’m working at.
Did you notice my eyeball ring in the first pictures? It was a gift from the lovely Cristina. She wrote to me about her shop, Now or Never, and let me pick out one of her beautiful gems. I decided to go for something a bit ghoulier than my usual crystal bling and it was so much fun to style on my adventures these past few weeks. I’m so inspired by people who are out there chasing their own dreams by starting new businesses – she’s quit her job in graphic design to design jewellery! Cristina’s designs are a celebration of the weird and the whimsical, the feminine and bizarre. Her collections are diverse and if you’re looking for a little treat, I bet you’ll find something you love.
It’s so good to be writing to you again! I’ve come back with a new name, both legally and online. You can now find me on Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram as @sarahstarrs_ (I hope I can drop that pesky underscore one day, but for now, it will have to do). This is foreshadowing a big change around here: next month this site will be transitioning to sarahstarrs.com as I get ready to launch some new services and products, and create some really cool new things for you.
All of the content will be moving with me but I wanted to give you a heads up. If you’re subscribed by RSS I’ll let you know if there’s anything you need to do to keep getting my blog posts but I’m hoping it will be seamless and you won’t have to do a thing.
What could you do to be a tourist in your town this month? What are the best things to do in your city?