Flat Hunting - Part Four

3.24.2015

I've done a previous series about flat hunting from another country,
but now that I am IN the country and it won't be long until Heather and I start this dreaded process again,
I thought it may be helpful to start explaining how we are going about it, now that we don't have to search from across the world.


London is a big, BIG city.
I can't even begin to guess how many agents, landlords, websites, etc. there are dedicated to rentals.
It gets a bit overwhelming.
But if you've got the basics that are needed to find a place to live,
it won't be as bad as you think.

To start, Heather and I have spent a lot of time around the areas of London that we haven't been to.
This includes areas out in zone 2 and 3 that we've heard about and haven't managed to visit,
but also includes those 'dream' areas that if we find an affordable flat we will jump at.
Right now, we've got a range of areas from Clapham to Fulham to Stratford to Islington.
Having a list of higher priorities makes it much easier take on the millions and billions of areas within the city.

We've first chosen areas based on what we want the most, which are safety and distance to a Tube Station.
After this, we begin listing more of the necessities; price range, how much space, furnishings, etc.

Once we've got a little spreadsheet of our desirables, then it's time to search.
Or in our case right now, browse.

Estate agent websites can be tough to navigate, but they aren't all difficult.
Strutt & Parker specialize in properties around both London and Wiltshire, and is one of my favorites to browse around.
It is a great example of how letting agents should organize their site.
There is nothing better than an easy property search function with all of the categories that can help narrow down to exactly what you are looking for.

Right now, as we have some time before we need to get serious, we are really looking at different agents that we may be interested in,
as well as the portal sites that have multiple different properties.

We're just getting prepared with ideas now, but there's no harm in starting early, right?

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http://www.amyandthegreatworld.com/2015/03/how-moving-abroad-has-changed-my-life/

Happy Travel Tuesday!

Not here last week?
Don't worry - I've got the best post of the week right here.

On the greatest things that traveling and jumping out of your comfort zone can bring you, 
check out Amy and the Great World --> How Moving Abroad Has Changed My Life

Link up below!

Sunday Lovin' - In Photographs

3.22.2015

Had a few guests in town, so we spent a significant time wandering around the city.
Photos are through Regents Park, South Kensington, St. John's Wood,
and embarrassingly my first time ever in Hyde Park..
Enjoy!



Beautiful: The Carole King Musical - The Aldwych Theatre

3.17.2015

I'm a little late on this, but it takes about 3 weeks to get over the fact that you actually saw Carole King,
so forgive me.


Beautiful opened on Broadway in 2014 to rave reviews,
so it wasn't a surprise when the announcement came that it'd be making an appearance in the West End.

The musical follows Carole King,
in her life from the beginning of her career at the ripe age of 16,
with her first hits It Might As Well Rain Until September, and Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,
to the making of her legendary album Tapestry into her first live performance at Carnegie Hall.

The story captures her success in topping the charts with husband and song-writing partner, Gerry Goffin,
along with the growing relationship with best friends, and fellow music legends, Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann,
and moves on through the journey she takes of finding herself as a solo artist.

From some of Carole's most popular solo songs, 
You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman, It's Too Late, and You've Got A Friend,
to others that were given away to some of the top artists of the day,
Up On The Roof, Pleasant Valley Sunday, and Chains,
the show features hit after hit, making it quite hard to stay in your seat.

The cast compliment the music beautifully, giving a perfect portrayal of the story that plays alongside;
Katie Brayben is a force to be reckon with, leading the show as a Carole King,
Lorna Wants gives Cynthia Weil the spunk she deserves,
and Ian McIntosh adds the humor to the show as an overanxious Barry Mann
Each give a standout performance and are more than deserving of their most recent Olivier nominations.

 
Once the show finished and the applause began,
the cast got a surprise of a lifetime from Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil, and the incredible Carole King.
They thanked the cast for the wonderful performance, and Carole took to the mic to speak.
After praising the cast, she explained how Gerry would have enjoyed it just as much as she did.
(Gerry Goffin sadly passed away in 2014)

She then continued saying, "I don't know if there's any better way to thank you, then to just say this.."
and with a motion to the conductor, she began singing You've Got A Friend, inviting everyone to join in.
 
And yes, I absolutley cried. I have no shame.
 
 
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical runs at The Aldwych Theatre.
Performances are Monday to Saturday 7:30PM, with matinees Thursday & Satuday 2:30PM.
The running time is approximately 2 hours 20 minutes including one intermission.
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Happy Travel Tuesday!
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Fab Four Friday - Let It Be at The Garrick Theatre

3.13.2015

Is there any better way to celebrate Paul coming back to Europe other than an event that literally centered around The Beatles?


Let It Be is less of a musical and more of a tribute.
It previously hit the West End in 2013 where it played at The Savoy Theatre,
and has recently found its way back - this time, though, at The Garrick Theatre.

Wednesday was opening night for the show, and in celebration, there were a few events held leading up to the evening performance.
The first, that I was invited to with the lovely Rebecca at Official Theatre,
took place at the Waldorf Hilton Hotel
They've recently become the hotel sponsors for the show, and have redecorated one of their suites in a Beatles-themed paradise.

  
Beatles being Beatles

The suite was filled with Beatles memorabilia and photographs from the production.
Beatles fanclub letters on the desk, playing cards, and even a guitar with a song book to try and teach yourself a few tunes.
The bedroom had more photos I couldn't stop gushing over and Sergeant Peppers pillows on the bed that I was resisting urges from taking home with me.
There was also champagne
and cake pops
and if you haven't already caught my drift, a LOT of Beatles stuff.
I was a very happy girl.


The band had a short acoustic set to play for us during the event
and as much as I wished they were taking requests, they did play If I Fell which was one I was hoping to hear, so I was pretty satisfied.
After, the guys gave some interviews and took a few photos with fans.
They were a bit rushed for time and others had prepared legitimate questions to ask them about the show and their role,
which was much better than my position, which was really just wanting to talk about the actual Beatles with a bunch of people who obviously loved them too.

So while the others got all professional, I gushed over how cute the boys were in A Hard Days Night that was playing on the TV while trying not to jump on the snare that Ringo left open...


The event ran for about an hour before the boys were rushed out for their NEXT pre-show event,
which was a 'rooftop concert' recreation on the balcony of the Garrick Theatre.
I was finishing up my 1st (or 4th) glass of champagne
and coming to grips that I was, in fact, not going to be allowed to call this suite my new home,
so we unfortunately missed the performance, but made it just in time for the actual show.

Now I'm a stickler when it comes to The Beatles.
If you don't know, I am a pretty big fan.
I notice the little movements and mannerisms, and can be pretty critical when they aren't up to par.
Overly picky? It's possible.

Anyways, even with this particular attitude,
I will say Let It Be is incredibly authentic.
For how much you can capture who John, Paul, George and Ringo were on stage,
these guys do a pretty good job.

The most impressive aspect of the show, though, is when they sing together.
Their harmonies are so close to what you'd hear on an actual record it blew my mind.
And that's coming from ME - so you know that means they did it really well.

 
 
They also threw in the 'cranberry sauce' at the end of Strawberry Fields,
'Paul,' while a bit ambidextrous, played most of the show left-handed
and was barefoot during Abbey Road,
'John' counted off a song as typical John would do (1, 2, 3, SEVEN),
and 'George' absolutely smashed all three solos in The End,
which probably all made me happier than it actually should have.
 
Even if you don't notice these things,
or aren't disgustingly in love with The Beatles,
it's still a night to be enjoyed.
Everyone is on their feet rocking out, clapping, twisting and shouting,
you know the drill.
I think the only real requirement for this show is that you like to have fun.
 
All in all, it was a fantastic evening filled with amazing music, 
& you can't really ask for much more than that.
I can always appreciate a nod to the greatest group in the history of just about everything,
so I will, of course, be back again.

Let It Be plays at the Garrick Theatre until 27 September 2015.
Show times vary, but stick around Monday-Saturday 7:30PM with Thursday & Saturday matinees 3PM, but check the website to be sure of your date.

The Beatles Suite at the Waldorf Hilton can also be booked until April 30th.
 
 

Chain Letters

3.10.2015

Otherwise known as the Leibster.


I was passed on this thing again.
This time, it was by one of my absolute favorites - Cynthia!
She is living in the Czech Republic, and you can read all about her life as an expat over at Adventurings.
She also loves The Beatles. It's only right we became friends.

Her questions:
1. If I handed you a plane (or rail) ticket to anywhere in the world for one week, where would you go?
 My 'set in my ways' self would say hands down Liverpool - but that's just annoying.

Not being annoying I would looooove to visit Iceland. I have seen too many posts and photos on this gorgeous place and I am dying to see it for myself. A close second is Hallstatt, Austria.
GORGEOUS.

2. What was your favorite book you’ve read in the past year & why you loved it so much?
 Okay - I'm a terrible person and a master's degree is taking away any reading I could do.
I've also been binge watching House of Cards which takes away doing absolutely anything productive with my life right now.
So can I turn this question around and ask what books have you loved and why? Gimme those suggestions!

3.What  does your “default outfit” look like? (AKA - If I stopped by your house or met you for coffee on any given day, what might you be dressed in?) 
 Ha! What a great question for me - if you were to ask Heather on any given day what I would be wearing, she would probably throw out three specific outfits and I would most definitely be wearing one of them.

Tights, black skirt and a crop sweater or flats, black jeans and a sweater. Every day. All the time.

4. What item do you miss the most from home (that can be bought at a store) and wish it could be shipped to you posthaste?
I've thought about this a lot, actually. My boss just went to America and asked if I wanted anything and I couldn't really think of something I really have been missing.  McAlister's Deli cookies are always my go to. That place is so damn delicious.

OH. YES. Jolly rancher jelly beans. That's 100% it. So if you're asking for a reason... then yes I would absolutely love a shipment.

5. The mountains or the beach?
This is a torturous question!  How am I supposed to decide?

Since my parents live on the beach, can I choose the mountains and just have them as my holiday time? Sounds legit, that's my answer.

6. What’s a strange quirk of yours?
Someone told me I'm too animated when I talk. Like, flailing my hands all over the place like it's needed to get my point across. I think I try to do that less now

Can I also just add this even though it's more of a "talent" and less of a "quirk?" Well, it's actually more of a 'who care's Caity, why are you so proud of that' BUT I can fold my tongue and it's in Ripley's Believe It Or Not because so few people can do it. And yes, it may be weird but I feel SO COOL ABOUT IT.

7. Would you like to move back to the town you grew up in someday?
I spent my childhood in a tiny place called Chardon, Ohio - an amazing place to grow up.  Almost one of those 'everyone knows everyone' towns, and it was so safe that we could roam around as kids. There was a huge area of woods behind our houses that our parents never minded us running all over. I knew those woods like the back of my hand, and could probably still navigate it if I went back today.

I spend my teenager years in Louisville, Kentucky - another amazing place to grow up.  I always said that Chardon and Louisville were both so perfect for the ages I was at the time. And while I consider both places I grew up, I wanted to answer the question with both in mind. I would choose life over here before moving back to these places, but I wouldn't rule them out. I owe so much of myself to these cities and I would love to raise my own kids in a place I spent my years as a kid in.

Buuuuuuut I'd also like to raise my kids in London.
And stay here forever.

8. What inspires you most, creatively?
People!
Nothing makes me happier than seeing someone go after what they are truly passionate about.
And better yet, seeing them finally make that dream come true.
It's those stories that inspire me to create my own story how I'd like to read it.
 And then it's accomplishing that, that makes me want to share it with the world through this little thing.
That's some good ol' creativity inspiring creativity, y'all.

9. What do your travel plans for the rest of 2015 look like?
My travel plans in 2015 are so generically me, it's sickening. I'll be in Liverpool at least 3 times - knowing me it will be more. And in June, I'll be going back to America for a quick little visit! I'll be in Florida for about two weeks hanging out with my BFF's, otherwise known as Mom and Dad. And I also get to make a trip up to Louisville for a friend's wedding that I am SO exited and so unbelievably happy about! I've also not been to Louisville or seen these friends in two years, so it's going to be a good trip.

Yes. I know. No crazy Euro-raging or world-seeing. I'm boring and I'm broke. FORGIVE ME.

10. What’s a place you’ve been that you love that is totally underrated or off the tourist radar?
Can I say Liverpool? I've clearly over-used my mentions in this post already, but it's just such an incredible place!
I think, especially in England, a lot of people have misconstrued ideas of what it's like there.
But I think people need to make a visit before they judge.
Between the music, the history, and the people - it is one pretty amazing place.

I also think the Scottish Highlands are severely underrated for the beauty that they hold.
You can go to Spain, Italy, any of the 'must-see' places,
but I have never seen views like I did in Scotland.
Whether I was on a lake, a mountain, or even just standing in the middle of the road,
everything around me was the most incredibly sight I'd ever seen.
If there's a trip I'll tell you to take, it's up to Scotland.

Then make a detour and stop at Liverpool on your way back. OK I'M DONE NOW.

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- I want to throw this out to Elle at What The Elle
because she lives in Bristol, she's awesome, and what other reason do I need?

- I want to tag Rebecca's personal blog too.
She's from  Official Theatre, and she lets me tag along to all these cool events that just make life better.
And she also appreciates good theatre .. and a good drink. Or four.
But who's really judging when there's wine around?

- Lastly, I want to give this over to the lovely Travel Tuesday co-hosts,
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My questions:
1. What's a day in the life of you?
See what I did there? That's a Beatles song.
Not my best, but I promise it's getting better.
HA GOT YOU AGAIN  ...Am I the only one laughing?

2. What are you really really good at?

3. What meal could you eat for the rest of your life?
Food, drink, AND dessert. I know, I'm feeling nice today.

4. Favorite musical?
Come on, you know this was coming.

5. Life goal - what is it?

6. Dogs or babies.
Is that cruel?

7. You have to travel with only on person for the next 5 years. That means 24/7, baby. Who is it?

8. What is your current JAM? 
(As much as I wish we hadn't left the topic of food, we did at question 3 - we're talking about music here!)

9. Most thrilling adventure you've ever taken

 10. What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail?


11. What is your favorite day of the week?
You don't have to answer that.
I was just trying to do a really smooth segue into the fact that it's TUESDAY!


Did you get a chance to read Katrina's post last week about the legend of the Richmond Vampire?
It was one of my favorites.
Don't worry if you didn't - I've got the link for you right here.


Link up below!