Family Magazine

What to Do in London When You've Been There Four Times Before

By Sherwoods
A month ago I went to London to have first-trimester screening done and meet with my OB.  Before I even got pregnant, I convinced Brandon that it would be a great idea to have our last baby in London.  I pointed out that 1. it's only one flight, 2. it's five hours closer than North Carolina, 3. it will be easier to get the post-birth paperwork completed in time, 4. we don't have to rent a car that fits nine people for three months because, public transportation, and 5. it would be FUN.  Brandon wasn't swayed at all by reason number five (fun is never on his list of considerations), but the other four reasons were convincing enough that he agreed.
Since we are in Tashkent and I have graduated into the advanced maternal age category, I have to travel to London for both first and second trimester screenings.
My first visit went well and everything looked well, so I got to spend the rest of my visit enjoying myself.  This was my fifth visit to London, and I am going back in June and then spending three months there, so I didn't feel like I needed to squeeze everything important in over a few days.
Usually I don't plan my visits very well and end up sitting around my hotel room enjoying endless hours of uninterrupted reading time.  It always feels like a bit of a waste to fly all the way to London just to read a book, but it's always so tempting.
So this time I decided to be a responsible tourist and go and visit a palace.  I arrived Sunday evening and had all of Monday to myself, but it turns out that lots of places are closed on Mondays in London.  I would have liked to go to the temple, but it is also closed on Mondays.  I contacted a stable in Richmond park about going for a hack, but they were also closed on Mondays.  So I ended up going to Kensington Palace.
The tour was actually pretty interesting and not too long and probably not something I will take the children to when we are there for the medevac in the fall.  I got a history lesson in the succession of the Stuarts and how many babies died.  Also, I didn't realize how wide the dresses from the Georgian era were.  It sure is nice to live in an era of yoga pants.
Afterwards I got a nice lunch.  Once of my favorite things about London is the food.  It helps that I'm always coming from countries where the restaurants are okay but never fantastic.  I always feel so luxurious sitting at a table reading a book while someone else brings me amazingly delicious food and then takes the dirty dishes away without me having to do anything more than turn the page of my book and put the food in my mouth.  When your job includes cooking, cleaning up, feeding children, and maintaining order and conversation during meals, it's the highest luxury to eat a meal entirely alone with only a book to keep you company.
Then I took a nap.  Because, jet lag.  I always forget that a four-hour time difference is still enough to wake you up at two in the morning even though you still want to be sleeping.  And for dinner, I had ice cream.  Sometimes being an adult is amazing.
The next morning I went shopping.  Usually I don't shop in London because I don't like shopping that much.  But I was in the mood, so I went shopping.  I can't shop here (maybe I could, but I don't want to), and in the States, I have to ditch the children with my mom if want to spend time alone at the mall.  So I took advantage of being alone and went shopping.  My shopping was interrupted by my OB appointment.
After lunch, I had a makeup lesson at Selfridges, a crazy-expensive department store.  I pretended that I was silly and rich enough to buy two-hundred dollar jeans and waltzed right past the Gucci, Prada, and Cartier counters on the way to the M.A.C. counter.  I'm not much of a makeup person - why bother when most days I only see my children and my husband - but I decided that I needed the help of someone else to tell me how to do it right.  As I've gotten older with more disposable income, I've realized that sometimes it's better to pay a professional who knows what they're doing than relying on the internet to tell you how to do things.
Two hours and [undisclosed sum] later, I walked out of Selfridges with a whole new bag of makeup and a much better look.  I've never put much store in makeovers, but I must say that this one showed me a much more flattering way to apply makeup without looking like a twenty-something beauty vlogger.  It is so much better that Brandon - who never notices anything about my appearance - has commented several times that my makeup looks a lot better.  So if you want some makeup help, M.A.C. is the place to go.
I finished my shopping - swimsuits, candy, and a birthday present for Eleanor - and decided that shopping is better in America where the malls have stores closer together.  Luckily everything fit into my suitcase and the next morning my luggage weighed in at 22.2 kilograms with .8 kilos to spare.  I didn't wistfully wave goodbye this time as my plane took off because I would be back in less than two months.  Time to start planning for the next trip!

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