I recently came back from a lovely holiday across the pond visiting London for the second time and Amsterdam for the first. Both are such amazing cities – and must see places to add to your bucket list. My first trip to London was during the fall months – and this last during the spring, and while they are both such gorgeous times to visit, I think the spring time trip really won my heart with all the gorgeous blooms around the city. Today I’m sharing my top FIVE favorite spots – and while some are yes, touristy – and others not so much, they can’t be missed.

FIRST – Neal’s Yard. It’s easy to miss – this pretty little courtyard full of tables, benches and planters. It’s surrounded by a few pretty little shops and cafes and the perfect place to grab a coffee, lunch and pastry and relax for a few minutes. Stop in St. John’s Bakery – my favorite is the apple toffee doughnut – you’ll fall in love, I promise.

SECONDLina Stores Italian Restaurant. Friends – my family is from Italy. Pasta, bread and olive oil run in my blood. And since I’ve been fortunate to have real Italian food in Italy – I’m super picky when it comes to my pasta. This is the real deal. And one of the prettiest little spots to dine. My heart is actually STILL breaking that this place isn’t right here in Utah. Please, please go!

And just to further my pleading – before and after’s of our delicious dinner. Order the Gnudi con Burro e Salvia, it’s ricotta & herb Gnudi, with sage & brown butter. It’s heaven. And don’t skip the cannolo for dessert.

THIRD – Churchill Arms Pub. If you’ve done any sort of image browsing on hot spots in London, this has certainly popped up in your feed. And rightfully so. It’s a gorgeous little corner pub covered in real floral fauna – and filled to the brim with vintage decor inside. I’ve visited Churchill on both of my trips to London – it’s a great stop for a drink or just to snap a few photos of the gorgeous building. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen and almost a dream.

FOURTH – Notting Hill. Especially on a Saturday morning for market. Yes, it’s crazy and packed with people – but it’s such an awesome experience, you have to go at least once. There’s several great cafes and shops to grab lunch – and so many gorgeous houses to wander through. My favorite little shop is Alice’s – it’s red and on a corner, you can’t miss it. It’s full – I mean every single corner packed with antiques. Also – for my fellow GP fans, GOOP is a short walk away and sits on the prettiest little street.

FIFTH – Columbia Flower Market. Only on Sunday’s – and probably my favorite thing in the city. It’s an absolutely gorgeous market full of live plants and flowers by the bushel. I could seriously spend all day here wandering. It’s only open from 8AM to 4PM – and I’d suggest getting there early – it does it very crowded with locals and tourists alike.

I know, I know – I said only five, but I needed to share one more little spot that you need to stop in. When you need a little treat – it’s called Doughnut Time – there are several locations across the city. I personally stopped at the Shoreditch location – but they all offer the same menu. PLEASE don’t leave the city without trying one of their doughnuts – they are divine. And unique. And you won’t find anything like them. I tried the “Houston, we have Biscoff” – and probably could have eaten at least seven more.

Here’s to safe and happy travels. XOXO.

Cooking with GP: Braised Chicken with Green Olives & Lemon

A few days ago I shared my favorite cookbook round up over on IG in hopes of providing some cooking inspiration for my followers. I know I’ve mentioned in the past – but nothing makes me happier than having my friends and family fill my house over a shared meal. I feel especially good about it when it’s clean, healthy, whole foods I’m preparing for them. And even better when they are equally as delicious. I picked up a copy of GP’s It’s All Good as soon as it hit the shelves a couple of years ago. I can’t even count how many times I’ve prepared this Braised Chicken now – it’s one of our favorites. The ingredients are simple and clean – and it’s such a comfort food. I love that once you’ve got everything going you can essentially walk away from it until it’s ready. I modified the original recipe a bit by using a whole chicken instead of a half – this feeds about 5, but feel free to cut it down too if needed. I also prefer cooking this in my cast iron dutch oven – if you don’t have a large pot you can always cut up the chicken as needed too.

I hope you all enjoy this recipe as much as I do. Make it for someone you love. ♥️ I’ll be taking next Sunday off from writing while traveling in Amsterdam & London – but promise to come back with some awesome travel tips for both lovely cities. Happy Sunday friends! Xoxo.

How I Survive a Long Haul Flight

I live to travel. Sometimes I feel like it’s all I can think about – the next place I want to go or see. I’m constantly browsing trip itineraries, flight prices and destinations. I’m a little bit crazy over it, really. Each time I go someplace far away there’s that looming little bit of long haul flight anxiety – not that the idea of flying makes me anxious, but the idea of sitting in a small, usually uncomfortable seat for 10 + hours makes me anxious. I also feel like I might have the smallest bladder ever – and get up about 10 times a flight. (Sorry other travelers who are in my row!)

I’ve been fortunate to visit over 10 countries now – some of which have ended up being 24 hour travel days and long 14 hour flights. This sounds crazy – right? I promise it’s all worth it. Over several long haul flights I’ve figured out a little system and essential items that make it all a bit easier on me, thank goodness. I’m headed to London & Amsterdam next week – and already preparing for my 10 hour flight. I wanted to share some tips and source a few of my favorite items here to hopefully help make your next long plane trip a little more enjoyable.

My first tip – if your anything like me, book an aisle seat. I know most of us love those take off and landing views of the window seat, but on a long flight I love getting up to stretch my legs as often as I’d like without bothering anyone in my row if I can help it. It also beats being squished in the middle too! Second – invest in a comfortable pair of headphones. My husband gifted me with a pair of AirPods for Valentines Day <3, super comfy, wireless and over 24 hours of listening time with a full charge. I also am loving that I can bring the charging case with me to boost battery life if needed. The sound quality is also awesome! That brings me to my next item – a portable charger. Fortunately on most of the newer planes they have charging ports – but just in case you end up needing extra battery life after landing, aren’t able to find a plug at the airport or end up on an older plane – I love my Jockery Portable Battery. I just make sure to give it a full charge before I leave home and again before heading home. It’s small and fairly light as far as portable chargers come. Remember to bring any charging cords you might need for other devices too! Next up – I’m always cold on flights and love having an over sized scarf or poncho to stay warm – insider tip, spritz a few sprays of your perfume at home before leaving in case you need to pull it up around your neck to avoid unwanted smells on the flight. I always pack a pair of warm socks too. As well as an inflatable travel pillow; I have this one – it’s held up great on several vacations. It deflates and folds into it’s own little case to save space in your carry on too. I am almost always carrying a small notepad and pen with me everywhere – I love having it on a long flight to journal, write to-do lists or keep travel notes. One of my favorite things to do DURING my trip is end the day with writing down a few favorite memories or quotes from the day. It’s so fun looking back on these later – and usually ends up being full of things I might have forgotten later on. You’ll need the pen for customs if your leaving the country too! 

I always make sure to pack a small cosmetic case with moisturizer, favorite lip balm, deodorant, a hair tie, IBU pro fin, ear plugs and eye mask. I never used an eye mask until my last two long flights – GAME CHANGER. I also bring along a few of my favorite essential oils – I love the touch collection from DoTerra for travel. Breathe, lavender and peppermint are my travel go to’s. If you get a little motion sick – the peppermint beadlets are magic! Don’t forget a water bottle – it’s super important to stay hydrated while flying (with water, not wine – haha). I bring my own and fill it up before boarding. I’ll usually ask the flight attendant to fill it as needed also. I love this inexpensive option from Walmart. I make sure to bring along a few snacks too – granola or protein bars, beef jerky and nuts are my top choices.

Do your research on which airline your flying with and what plane. Most planes these days offer free on board movies and games – these are a life saver! But I’ve had the occasional flight with nothing – and I’ve been so happy to have extra movies and music downloaded to my phone. I’m a light traveler – and normally don’t pack extra devices such as an Ipad, kindle or laptop – although these are great options for bringing along your own entertainment. I carry a book with me wherever I go. Not kidding – everywhere. I always keep one in my bag just in case I get a few extra minutes before an appointment or while traveling. Grab something new to start on your flight and continue reading throughout your trip. (Another post coming soon on favorite reads – I’m thinking I’d like to create an online Red Front Door book club of sorts.)

Now that we’ve got the list of essentials – what to pack them in? When trekking across the country – I’ve found a light backpack to be my favorite option. I’ll usually pack a small cross body bag into my carry on suitcase, but prefer using the backpack during my flights and even day tripping during my travels. I swear by and LOVE this Eddie Bauer Stowaway Packable back pack. My husband and I both have one – and they’ve adventured with us for about 8 years now. These are super light weight, resist moisture and are easy to pack down if needed.

I hope this gives you some tips and items to carry along with you on your next adventure – if your brand new to the #travelbug or an experienced wanderer. Happy travels!