Eat Your Heart Out: The Borough Market

I'm not exactly sure how I first heard about the Borough Market.

I think I remember reading about it in some foodie's column
recounting his recent visit to London.

Regardless of what inspired the initial visit,
I've been a huge advocate/fan/fat kid 
for the kid ever since.

Tucked under the arches of old bridges 
just off *the* bridge of London
(London Bridge, obviously)
sits the Borough Market.

I could geek out and tell you all about
it's prominent history in London's Southwark borough
for hundreds of years.

(I'll save that for my student groups though.)

Instead, I'm just going to let the pictures do the talking for me....

A few items of note for your visit...
since, I am forcing you to go when you come to London.

Yes, forcing you.

Which, as author/monarch of this blog, I'm allowed to do.

1. Eat a chorizo sandwich from Brindisa. 
The stand is across from Monmouth Coffee.
If you can't find it, 
ask any employee. 

They'll point you in the right way.

One toasted warm bun drizzled in olive oil 
+ spicy chorizo straight off the grill
+ a roasted piquillo pepper
+ a bed of rocket/arugula
 _______________________________  =


We pretty much bring all of our out of town visitors here
because it's such a hit.

We force the chorizo on them, too...
and they have yet to not love it.

Another crowd favorites is ROAST,
a stand that sells meaty sandwiches.

The lunch line is made up of about 92% dudes in suits
waiting for their hot pork belly smothered in bramley apple sauce.

It's often seen in food shows- 
I think Mr. Bourdain visited there, if I remember correctly.



Full Market Days: Thursday, Friday, Saturday
Lunch Only (10-3) : Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy

FAQ: How Do I Get To/From Heathrow?

Let me field a question that I get asked quite frequently:

I'm coming to London via Heathrow...
but how do I get in from the airport?

Here are the three options that I recommend:

This is a train that runs every 10 minutes from the airport
that will take you into central London's Paddington Station
in only 15 minutes for £19 each way.

It's not cheap, but it's fast and easy to do
when your brain is foggy with jetlag.

From Paddington, you can hop on the tube,
jump in a taxi or take a bus
to wherever you are staying.

*You can also get on the Heathrow Connect,
it's only £9.50 to get to Paddington,
leaves every 30 minutes,
and will take around 45 minutes.


Did you know you can take the Tube 
all the way to & from Heathrow?

Yup. The Piccadilly Line runs all the way to Heathrow.
It takes about 50 minutes from Piccadilly Circus,
but it only cost about £6. 

You pick it up at Heathrow right near the Heathrow Express trains-
just follow the signs, you'll see it.

If you're on a budget and have the time,
it may be worth it to get your bags down the escalators of the underground
and read a book on your way out there.


Don't wait to get a cab until you're there
or you'll pay around £75-100.


Book ahead and the taxi TO Heathrow is approxiamately £30 
for up to 4 people.

The taxi is an awesome option to the airport 
as they pick you up (and you don't have to deal with transport to the train/tube)
and drop you off at the departures terminal.

Best case scenario and cheaper than two tickets on the Heathrow Express, too.


Book ahead and you can get a taxi FROM Heathrow for around £50
for up to 4 people.

The price is a bit more 
because they have to wait for you 
to go through customs 
and pay for parking while they come get you.

Dialing from outside the UK: +44 845 612 1212
Dialing from inside the UK:         0845 612 1212

I use a taxi company that can be reached at this number. 
I'd book 24 hours in advance.


Now, you've got that issue settled
and you can spend your time thinking about the important issues....

Like where your first meal will be when you arrive in Central London.

{I like these places, btw.}

*     *     *

Also, as many of my readers are involved in the study-abroad scene
with US universities here in London or elsewhere, 
I hope you'll get in touch with my new sponsor, Tyler Knight.

Tyler can help staff your program with some top-level business professors.

(The guy went to Oxford, so he doesn't hang out with dummies.)

Contact him with any staffing needs
to beat that last minute panic that we all often feel!

*images via

Life's a Beach: The Ups & Downs of Expat Living.

Living in England means I can travel to Italy 
several times throughout the year
on a budget that is anything less than luxurious.

Living in England means
I can be a ten minutes walk 
from Kensington Palace...
and that much closer to becoming 
best friends with Kate Middleton.

Living in England means
I get to dress my baby in Baby Zara.

Living in England means
I get to wander Notting Hill's Portobello Road
ever single day and still be enchanted 
by the colorful houses & stalls of aged wares.

But living in England also means
that I'm far away from home...
and that we live, as expats, in a transient society.

People come for a few years
to work or study,
and then, it seems, 
that they leave in waves.

Right now, we are in one of those times
where it seems like life is pulling our friends
back out to the lives 
where they originally came from
and our community is washed down
like a sand castle by the tide.

image via

This month, we are saying goodbye to several of our friends here
and also the two expat bloggers that I've spent my time abroad with:

I'll be honest,
as excited as I am to see our friends so happy 
for theses new chapters of life,
it kinda sucks to start over.

When I arrived at college 
and was feeling the standard freshman awkwardness
of the gap of loneliness that happens
when you leave your high school friends,
but are yet to make your college friends.

My friend, Amanda, was a sophomore at the time,
told me that her freshman year,
she asked God to give her just one person for that day
to help her feel less lonely.

So that's what I decided to do,
and over a few weeks & months,
those small interactions became friendly faces
and then those friendly faces became friends...
and by Christmas, 
I had more friends than I knew what to do with.

So when we moved to England,
I did the same...
and, again, God was good
and brought some ridiculously sweet, smart & talented people 
into our lives.

When you live abroad with family far away,
your community of friends 
becomes like family to you.

When our babies were born,
our little group of friends rallied
in a way that made us feel so loved.

I'll always be thankful that our lives were so full of dear friends at that time.

image via

Now as it begins to drain back down
I can only wonder what new, wonderful friends 
the tide of relocation & expatriotism will bring our way.

It can be lonely.
It can be awkward...
but it always shakes out to be okay, doesn't it?

I think so, too.

Pack Your Bags: Staying at Le Chateau Les Carrasses

I stumbled across this gorgeous chateau
while researching a place for a work project.

{Yes, I know- best job.... but it is a lot of work!}

Like most places online,
it looked too good to be true.

Which, as a traveler, can be a common disappointment
after arriving to find the location of your vacation
less than it looked in the photoshopped pictures online.

So while these photos are, indeed, photoshopped-
don't worry,
I've taken the risk and checked it out myself:

is not only as amazing 
as it is in pictures...
but it's better.

Here's what I loved about it:

1. First things first, 
it's affordable for people like me....
which makes me think
that you can afford it, too.

For a two bedroom apartment in high season,
we paid 280euro a night.

Split up between friends staying with us,
 this wasn't bad pricing...
especially when you consider how luxe the property is!

2. You have your own kitchen
so you can keep food costs down.

Not only does each place within the property have a full kitchen,
but they also have a terrace or garden 
with outdoor dining & a barbecue. 

You can shop at the market in town
and make your own outdoor dinner party...
or head to the chateau's terrace restaurant 
for a gorgeous night of being pampered.

3. The staff is wonderful.

A common complaint from American travelers
is that while the destination is gorgeous,
the service is lousy....
but guess what,
not here. 

I was blown away by the kindness and attentiveness of the staff.

From the initial inquiry I made online 
that gave me an immediate email & call back
to the sweet waiter who laughed off 
the pool of baby poop our daughter left on a chair cushion.

Viola didn't seem to mind, but Tyler & I were horrified. 
Nothing says "classy" like pooping on a chair.

{Plus, they offer good free wifi... major plus in rural France.}

4. It's so easy to get there.

To reach the Chateau,
you fly into Beziers...
a little under 2 hours from London Luton
if you're flying RyanAir or Flybe.

From there, you hop in a rent car from one of the companies sitting in the small airport
and drive 43 minutes- according to our Garmin route- to the Chateau.

5. The pool.

This pool will receive it's own post later this week...
but let's just say,
I was in heaven....

And I wasn't the only one
with such affinity for the infinity. :)

6. The possibilities it offers for day trips.

The Chateau sits in a great point to explore the region.
If it's vineyards, castles, churches, rivers, beaches, hillside towns... 
it's not too far away.

The medieval city of Carcassonne is about 1.5 hours away.
The gorgeous hillside city of Roquebrun is 40 minutes away.
Montpellier is an hour away... 
and the smallest city in the world 
to be the home to a cathedral sits at the footsteps
of the chateau's vineyard...

And for everything else,
the chateau leaves extensive/honest book of options
in your apartment to let you choose your fun.


So if you're looking to stay somewhere amazing, affordable & accessible in France-
this is your place. 

Made up of private apartments and "maisons" that you can rent,
I have no doubt that you'll be as smitten with your stay 
in the Southwest of France as we were.

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Bonjour, Y'all.

Where have you guys been lately?

I mean, day after day, 
I've been checking in to the blog
and nothing is here.

Oh wait,
I guess that might be my fault.

But I have a good excuse...
and it's that 
I've been in France.

{Southwest France, specifically.}

 I discovered a whole new area 
that I'm ridiculously excited to share with you.

It was a game changer for us
for future travels to France.

Just a couple of days there,
 opened up a whole new travel destination for me,
and I'm pretty confident that it will do the same for many of you
who are looking to get an amazing European vacation
in a spot that is untouched by the chaos of so many popular places,
is easy to get to...
and, oh yeah, is actually pretty affordable.

{Which, let's be honest, is the most important factor when we typically travel.}

But I can't do that quite yet.

I've got my best friend in from college
who is lifting my spirits in a way that only she can do,
I've got Regent Tweet happening this weekend
and get to see Megan & Stephen because of it,
and I've got a group of students that are touring London this week
that will land me in the Hard Rock Cafe for lunch in about 35 minutes.

So, do you know what all that means?

That it's time to get out of my pajamas,
brush my teeth,
and get the heck out of here.

Au Revoir for now!

PS. It is widely accepted that the pistachio macaron is supreme flavor, right?

I thought so, too.

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Peacock Alley: Lights, Camera... Hide.

Does anyone actually like to be filmed?

I think movie stars should be paid high salaries
because to be able to act normal while being taped
is one of the most impossible tasks I've ever encountered.

Skinny dipping?
Truth or dare?
The cinnamon challenge?

I'll step up to almost anything...
but ask me to stare in a camera and talk to myself?

Errr.... you might as well ask me to do it in Mandarin
while I'm at it.

* * *

Luckily, my day filming a little video
at Peacock Alley was a lot of fun.

The type of day that is right up my alley.

{Some pun with Peacock Alley should be made, but I can't think of it. Help?}

I got to play around the pretty linens,

catch up with my old friend, Laura,

and dream about what my house would have looked like
had I married an actual Kennedy
instead of that hot guy from my Business Law class.

{Since, obviously, so many of the actual Kennedy's were pursuing me.}

The only drawback was that I couldn't actually roll around in the beds
and take ridiculous pictures for your enjoyment/horror
since, apparently, showroom beds aren't exactly sturdy.

I know, I know...
I was just as disappointed as you are.

* * *

The video we shot is being edited by some cool people
and I'll share it with you when it's finished...

Unless my suspicions aren't confirmed
and I am indeed the world's biggest tool
with the most terrible voice in the world.

If that's the case,
just forget I ever mentioned it.

But don't forget how awesome Peacock Alley's line is.

Seriously, I wasn't the only one drooling on the stuff....

But the BEST part of the day?

Viola got a new line of bedding named after her.

That's right...
their new, gorgeous collection is called 

I mean I'm swelling with motherly pride.

I'm not sure she could win an Olympic gold medal
and I be any prouder.

She felt pretty awesome about it, too. 

It's coming soon... and you better believe
that it isn't going to be hidden on here. :)

*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

To A Tea: The Drawing Rooms at The Ampersand Hotel

My friend Kelsey
invited me to tea
with some of her friends today
at the Ampersand Hotel.

Since I never say no to a chance
to sit around with baked goods
under tha guise of testing new tea rooms
and getting out of the house, 
I happily obliged.

To be honest, I'd never heard of this hotel before,
but I'm so glad that she had...
because, y'all, 
this place is cute...

The hotel is in a great location in South Kensington-
just feet away from the tube stop,
making it the perfect way to round off 
a day visiting the V&A 
or toodling around the halls of Harrods.

We had tea in the hotel's Drawing Rooms.

And I have to say,
it might be one of my new favorite spots.

Here's why:

The scones were warm and delicious.

Not many tea rooms bake fresh scones
for each tea order...
most of the time, 
they are pre-cooked
and waiting to be served.

To have a hot one
makes it oh-so-much better.

{Editor's Note: This also applies to donuts & rolls.}

The place was cute,
but it wasn't pretentious.

It also wasn't a scene....
which I enjoyed for an easy afternoon out.

When I arrived at 2pm,
the place was fairly empty...
by the time I left,
there was a fun social buzz of chatter in the room.

Comfy, cozy chairs abound 
for lounging and chatting.

Baby Mama Friendly?


The staff was so sweet
and the room had plenty of space 
for our "push chair" brigade...
but the steps into the hotel are steep 
and tough to do by yourself!

It's not crazy expensive.

The afternoon tea 
-you know, with the pretty tied tray-
is £23 per person.

It has all the classics
like scones & sweets,
but offers yummy open sandwiches
that make the standard tiny triangles 
that most other places offer feel a bit dated.

I, being cheap, opted for the "Cream Tea" for £7-
but was perfectly pleased with it.

A Cream Tea gets you two warm scones
-complete with clotted cream & jam on the side-
plus a pot of tea of your choice.

Perfect, I dare say.

And look how cute the tea pots are?

{They remind me of this Bodum teapot which I have been wanting for ages.}

All in all?

Tea in The Drawing Rooms was a definite win!

Check out The Ampersand for your next trip to London
or it's Drawing Rooms for your next afternoon with the ladies.


If this place doesn't look like your cup of tea,
check out some of my other favorite places to do tea in London here.

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