When Friends Visit

I have a love-hate relationship with having friends come visit London. I love pretty much everything about it: reuniting my friends, showing them my favorite places in London, traveling, etc. But it really stresses me out. I think it’s all part of the wanting everyone to be having a good time always thing. Working from home, I can be around my friends, but can’t really go and do anything with them, so I kind of have to send them off on their own during the day and then meet up with them in the evening.

We also have a very, very small flat. This means that air mattress is a way to go, and I must say…it isn’t a comfy air mattress.

However, despite all of this, I am always inviting friends to come stay. We’ve developed a bit of a routine for when friends/family visit that guarantees they see more than just the touristy stuff. As I mentioned, I ship my friends off into London during the day with decent directions on how to get places and my personal recommendations. Then, when everyone is free, we go for the following:

  • Fish & Chips – We used to pick up fish and chips from Moxie’s in Clapham South and bring it home to our friends. Now that we’ve moved, our go to is Kerbisher & Malt on Abbeville Road. Craft beers + delicious fish (& scampi!) + an overload of chips = heaven on earth.IMG_0001.JPG

 

  • Our Local Pub – Sunday roast, Wednesday burger night, any day drinks – it’s the perfect opportunity to show our friends a *real* London pub.  

 

  • A Swanky Bar – There are so many that I want to try! Rooftops, sky high bars, pop ups. I usually drag my friends to something I’ve never even been to, but sometimes I go for a repeat.  

 

  • Cook at Home – Save money. Eat in pajamas. Show off our new cooking skills. Drink wine. Play Cards Against Humanity. Everyone wins on the nights when we just can’t be bothered to do anything.IMG_5193

 

  • Afternoon Tea – If we have a free weekend day, this is probably my favorite thing to do with visiting friends. It’s extremely British and so good for a girls day out!IMG_4001.JPG

 

  • Ticketed Event – There is ALWAYS something going on in London. From Cocktail Week (Marisa’s visit) to pop up experiences to musicals and plays, there are endless things to do that provide a great London experience without all of the tourist queues.IMG_0020

 

  • Weekend Away – I try to travel with every friend who visits. After all, they’re coming all the way across the ocean, so it’s worth seeing more than just London! This started when Sara visited last year after I first moved here and we went to Nice. Then, Marisa visited and we hit Marseille. We choose a cheap and relatively quick place so we can make the most of it and just go!IMG_1568

This list has changed a bit, but after Sara’s (second) visit this past week, I think this is the best of the combinations. It’s nice to have a little routine that we can tailor to each friend who visits. Next I need to figure out the perfect three day itinerary for sending my friends off to explore London on their own.

Who wants to be my next visitor?

My 5 Favorite Couples Travel Blogs

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After browsing travel articles on the Internet and planning some trips of my own last week, I ended up spending a good two or three hours searching through couples travel blogs. At this point, I do not even know how I ended up in that state, but I became obsessed! There is something so incredible about these couples that give up everything to travel together. I think Sean and I are so fortunate to do all of the traveling we do while still maintaining full time jobs, but I cannot help but envy these people who have made traveling their full time job!

Some of these duos are so incredible, doing extremely adventurous (sometimes dangerous) things all over the world and snapping the most incredible pictures and videos in the process. They have even inspired me to add a GoPro to the top of my big purchase list in order to capture water and adventure memories as Sean and I travel this year. I previously wrote about why I love traveling with Sean, and I feel like these couples must feel the exact same way. It’s so incredible to travel and experience new things with someone you love, and you walk away with incredible memories to cherish forever.

Here are five couples travel blogs/instagrams that I am currently obsessing over:

  1. Traveling Newlyweds – This was the first travel couple I started following on Instagram, and I absolutely love them for everything they have done. They’re working day jobs and still getting in a ridiculous amount of travel. Please…teach me your ways?
  2. Couples Coordinates – I keep meaning to get into yoga. Then, I found Couples Coordinates and I really need to get into yoga. Seriously – you think certain parts of the world cannot get anymore beautiful and then you throw in a beautiful couple doing yoga in the spot. Beautiful pictures!
  3. Murad Osmann – Pretty much everyone knows this one. Murad started the #FollowMeTo series when he was traveling the world with his then girlfriend (now wife). All of the pictures are from his perspective of her pulling him along. Gorgeous sceneries and gorgeous photos of gorgeous people.
  4. Lens Between Us – These two are AMAZING. They take pictures of each other taking pictures of each other and put them side by side. It’s incredible to see how a moment was captured by two individuals in the same place at the same time, simply just standing across from each other.
  5. Flying the Nest – Not only does this Australian couple blog and instagram their travels, but they video record them and post YouTube videos…and it looks like they have had the most INCREDIBLE time!

p.s. All of this travel and blog talk has inspired me and Sean to share more of our travel moments. We are now sharing pictures on Instagram under the name @apairofpassports – follow for snaps of our trips as we start a big travel period at the end of this week (he even contributes sometimes!).

Things I’m Loving

After having everyone over for Friendsgiving last Sunday, I knew I was doomed to be tired the entire week. However, that did not keep major things from happening, so this post is a bit of a life update mixed with things I’m loving!

New Beginnings

I resigned from my first official job this past week, marking a major milestone in my professional life! My friend, Lucy, recently did as well and is planning on going traveling starting in the end of December. I’ve spoken to a lot of friends recently who are all making post first job plans. It’s an exciting time for us all and definitely calls for a celebration! Lucy and I celebrated this past week with some prosecco at Madisons.

I will be heading back to America to train for my new job in January and I am so excited to see my dogs and friends…and start a new adventure!


Christmas Shopping

Everybody knows that I love Christmas. I love picking out gifts even more! While I obviously love receiving gifts, the satisfaction of somebody liking a gift I give them is even better! Therefore, I start planning Christmas gifts well in advance (still in November). I’ve been perusing websites and shops trying to find the best gift for each person in my life. I’ve even been picking out wrapping paper and gift bags (another favorite). The festive season is here!!

The Guest Book

Sean and I were not 100% convinced in getting a guest book. It was more my idea than his, solely because I think they’re adorable and I want to be the best hostess in every situation. But we are absolutely loving it! Everybody who came over for the wine tasting and Friendsgiving signed it, plus a few extra entries here and there. And it is so fun going back to read everyone’s entries. We really do have some amazing friends! Can’t wait for my dad to sign at Christmas!

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Five Favorites: What I Love About Traveling

I got this one from my sister-in-law, Sarah, who got it from another blogger. I suppose that’s how the chain works! I’m choosing to write my five favorite things about traveling. I know that I have written similar things before, but having just come off a trip, I love reflecting on the best parts that are in common with all trips I take.

  1. Time with Loved Ones

There is something incredibly different about spending time with loved ones in your home environment versus in a new and different setting. I mentioned a lot of this when I wrote about why I love traveling with Sean, but it is worth mentioning because it is hands down my favorite part about traveling. Whether with family, friends, or your significant other, traveling gives you the opportunity to get closer, learn new things about each other, and make great memories (yes – even remembering awkward situations counts!).


  
  

  1. Discovering the Beauty in New Places

Sometimes this one is really easy; other times it involves a bit of digging, but every place has its own form of beauty. From breathtaking panoramic views, to ancient crumbling churches; white sand beaches to hidden alley ways, discovering the most beautiful (or mysterious, or secret – you choose your personal adjective) part of each city you visit is an incredibly rewarding experience. I immediately think of Florence when I think of the most beautiful places on earth, and often discard the other cities I have visited; however, when I think of each city I’ve visited individually, I realize how truly fortunate I am to have experienced so much beauty in my 23 years (almost!) so far.

Here are some of my favorite pictures of what I consider beauty in a city:


  
  

  1. Trying New Foods

I would definitely be a food blogger if I had enough time to cook (or blog for that matter)! I think Plan B for my career is as a food critic because I would literally be paid to go sit in restaurants and eat…hello, dream come true! However, I am not a good cook, and my version of critiquing food is usually as simple as “ooh, this is yummy” or “eh, not a fan.” So, instead, I use travel as my way of trying new foods. From local specialties to visiting top international restaurants to trying to discover which city has the best late night street kebabs, food is such an important part of traveling for me. I truly believe that it opens me up to the culture as much as meeting local people, and it’s also just really interesting and usually delicious!


  
  

  1. Doing Unusual Activities

Sean and I just went horseback riding at some ranch in Punta Cana. In Florence, we went to a historical soccer match that only happens once a year and that very few tourists know about. In Marseille, Turkey & Florence, I had an incredible experience wine tasting. Though not all “unusual” activities, traveling always opens the door to do things you do not do on a day-to-day basis. Even when I was biking up and down the coast in Nice I took a moment to think about how long it had been since I was last on a bike. Whether the activity is particular to the city (Calcio Storico in Florence) or just something we had wanted to do but had not had the opportunity to (horseback riding on the beach), there is no better excuse than to say you finally got around to trying it while traveling!


  1. Souvenirs

This is a cheesy one, but I love souvenirs. Every time I go someplace, I bring something back, whether it’s a shot glass (trashy), a Starbucks mug (a collectors piece), a little knick-knack (unique), or food/wine (temporary, but yummy). Sean and I are starting a collection of things we have picked up while traveling, soon to be displayed on our bookcase in the travel-themed living room. There’s plenty more about the travel bookcase in my living room inspiration post. I can’t wait to style the bookshelf to best display all of the places we have been & all of the places we hope to go through photos, books, and souvenirs! The wine rack will be a whole different souvenir display case (currently featuring wines from Florence & Turkey – more to come, I’m sure!).