Posts tagged #friends

Pack Your Bags: WILDE in Dublin

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I met my friend, Orlagh, a few years ago at a press breakfast when we were both huge and pregnant with little boys. She was so nice and we just kinda clicked. We’ve kept up with various meet ups, but when she moved back to her home of Ireland last year… well, I was a bit sad. (How many times have I complained about friends moving away from London on this blog? Only 357? Okay!)

Anyway, I’ve changed my mind that her being gone is bad now that I realise I have a friend to hang out with in Dublin. And not only a friend- Orlagh is super hip and just…. the nicest. (Also, how many times have I waxed poetically about my love for nice people on this blog? Only a million? Great. It’s true- I love sweet people.) She held Edie so I could eat and just loved on her as if she were family. 

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Orlagh met me for lunch at WILDE and it was such a dream. The restaurant is bright and airy with pretty pink throws on the backs of chairs. There’s greenery hanging over you and crawling up the walls, and I have to say- the surrounding tables of Dublin’s finest femmes make it a gorgeous place to be!

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We had lunch and before I even tasted a bite, I knew I’d still come back again. The staff were SO sweet and every time our waiter came to the table, he chatted to Edith (calling her by name) and speaking to her as if she would actually place an order, too. Ha! They were all so sweet.

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(For those that have asked about my shirt, yes! It is a nursing shirt, and yes- it is fantastic. It’s so not frumpy and I wish they had a million colours of it. Plus, its only £32.)

But luckily for me, the food was KILLER. I had a chestnut and apple soup (this girl can never resist chestnut soup in the winter) and the most perfect salad of all times: rocket (or “arugula,” if you’re in the US), fresh figs, goats cheese, beetroot, truffle oil… and maybe some kind of nut? Hazelnut? I can’t remember. I’m pretty sure I blacked out. They whipped me up a little pear and almond mocktail that was so refreshing and light. The whole experience felt exactly like you’d hope a girls lunch would feel. I think WILDE is one of the best lunch spots in Dublin, especially if you’re with someone fun.

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Orlagh is just one of those people who has sincerity washing over her words and her actions are intentional. (Example: I asked when she’d be in London next, and basically she just said she doesn't socialise when she’s there because she needs to keep her trips as short as possible to get home to her kids. Respect.) She makes motherhood look so stylish and I have no doubt that you’ll feel the same way if you follow her on Instagram, @theminipost…. She’s the coolest.

There were so many desserts that I really wanted to try, but I had to peace out and leave on a high note of a well-behaved baby. But next time! And thank goodness I’ll have a sweet friend there to meet me when I go. 


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WILDE RESTAURANT | Harry Street, Dublin 2, D02 CH66


Find more of my Dublin favourites in my travel guide or book a travel consult for personalised help for your upcoming travels.



*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on November 29, 2017 and filed under ireland, friends, eat.

A Quick Getaway to... 2011

I started my blog in 2010 when I was working in Dallas, and my friends pulled me into this weird/new/online world of blogging- but it wasn't until we moved to Oxford that my blog shifted into the style and feel of what it is today.

When we lived there, I would write (with fresher eyes than I have today) about all the cute and quirky things that we were experiencing together. We lived on a shoestring budget, so everything from booking the cheapest tickets RyanAir could offer (even if we didn't know where that destination was without googling it!) to shopping in "old" produce sections of the market stalls for dinner was a daily adventure.

And while I think that was what gave me something to talk about it- the real fun of our first years here was because of Oxford. While life would seem very normal at times, we would also find ourselves in some of the most gorgeous places with such extra people. The dinners on long wooden benches with the paintings of prime ministers and authors hanging over head, the end of term balls held in quadrangles with Alice in Wonderland-esque fantasy all around us (hookah tents! hot air balloons! servers spray-painted from head to toe in golden glitter passing around trays of drinks & food!)

When our time there ended, our amazing group of friends dispersed to the far corners of the world to do really amazing and great things. We are so proud of them, but oof! We miss those moments when we all were carelessly running around Oxford as kings.

Tyler's class just had his 5 year reunion (you may have seen in on Instagram), and I had been so busy that I hadn't put much thought into what the weekend was going to be like before we went. But when we got there and walked into the quadrangle of Christ Church, time seemed to flip back seamlessly into life back when we lived there. We saw so many of those faces- I can't tell you how much of a homecoming it felt like for all of us!

There really is a special magic to old friendships- friendships that love and get you, regardless of how big or small life may have made you. You just can't make old friends. (And you sure can't beat a place like the old dining halls of Oxford to catch up with them!)


Find more of our Oxford days here and my city guide to Oxford here.



*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on October 12, 2016 and filed under oxford, england, love, friends, tyler, uk getaway.

A Posh Picnic with the Queen...and Dukes, too.

 

I was looking for a fun day out for my friend, Amber, before she had her baby girl. Since it wasn't her first baby, we agreed that she wasn't in need of swaddling muslins, bottles or diapers... but probably could go for a little "me" time before the baby arrived.

We were stuck in between doing another afternoon tea (not complaining! just wanting to shake things up a bit!) and jaunting away for the day somewhere fabulous (felt like so much effort!)... in the midst of this planning pergatory, I heard about Dukes Hotel's Picnic in the Park and knew it would be perfect.

 

Why, you may ask, did I think a picnic would be a good fit? I'll keep it simple with some bullet points.

 

WHY WE SAID 'YES' TO DUKES PICNIC IN THE PARK:

1. It was a luxury meal that we didn't have to make or prepare.

2. It came in an adorable stripey hamper and was served to us by a butler.

3. It only costs £35 per person, so it wouldn't break the bank.

4. We could sit alongside Buckingham Palace as we ate... which, if we are honest, is as close are we will be getting to lunching with Lizzy anytime soon.

 

And did the outing living up to our experience? YES. It was such a refreshing day out for both us doing something easy while feeling very extraordinary!

Our butler was so sweet and very attentive. He met us at the hotel when we arrived and walked us to the park.

When we got to Green Park, he let us choose where we wanted to set up camp, laid out everything for us, poured our drinks and then left his number for us to call should we need anything. He came back every so often to check on us and bring us sill things that we requested.

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The actual picnic itself was really good- light and fresh. As all picnic food can be, it was a bit messy by the time it made it across the park and out of saran wrap. But we quickly fluffed everything up with a fork though and tidied it up to restore it back to its full potential. The cous cous salad and piri piri chicken skewers were exceptionally tasty.

And there's no better way to celebrate an upcoming birth than with some baby-friendly fizz!

 

As we lounged around Green Park like we were Roman nobility, people kept strolling by and gawking at us like we were pretty fancy. (Which made us giggle a lot.) By having a butler serve you a picnic does get a bit more attention than our normal picnic spread of M&S sandwiches, juice boxes and plastic hummus cartons.

 

 

This posh picnic in the park from Duke's Hotel in Mayfair is a definite winner for an exciting London experience. I'd recommend it to anyone- tourist or local alike. It's a fun and tasty option for enjoying the city in a really special way!

 

DUKES MAYFAIR | St James Place, London SW1A 1NY.  +44 (0)207 491 4840



 

*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

*our picnic was complimentary. review is my own.

 

Posted on August 1, 2016 and filed under babies, england, eat, london, pregnancy.

A Girls Weekend in Germany and Hero's Welcome (Nearly) Home.

 

You might have seen on Instagram and Snapchat that I flew up to Germany last week. I flew up with my friend, Amber, to see our friend, Emily, on her way home from serving as a doctor in Afghanistan for the past six months with the Air Force.

Emily and I became friends a couple of years ago. We both experienced big life shocks near the same time, and, as life has a funny way of doing, became friends as we muddled through the grief process. And when she was deployed to serve six months in the Middle East, requiring her to leave her husband and 16 month old daughter behind in Texas, she found herself facing another one of life's toughest challenges.

During her time overseas, there was a little WhatsApp chat between her, Amber, Amanda Marshall and myself. We're all moms, all Americans and were all connected to eachother through blogging over the past few years. Since we are in the closest timezones to where she was stationed, we got to chat throughout the days she was away from home. We'd chat about big stuff like parenting, little stuff like nursing bras and military food, and all the moments in-between.

Even though we got a first-hand account of the her life on a base in a war zone, I'm not sure that I still could ever fullywrap my head around the experience. But even though it may be hard to imagine life in the desert surrounded by soldiers and performing medical evacuations for wounded soldiers- I do know what it feels like to have days pass by without being with your daughter. That I do get. I know how it feels to walk around, looking like a normal person, but feeling confident that- somehow- a significantly large piece of your heart has, in fact, broken off.

So, after months of being stranded in the abyss of overseas duty, the end of her deployment came into sight- and we decided to meet her at the finish line. On her way home from Afghanistan to Texas, she stopped through Germany for a few days and we didn't want to miss it.

Amber & I flew out to Frankfurt early on Friday. We hopped on a train, devoured apple turnovers, and headed to Kaiserslautern.

An hour and a half later, we reached the tiny town near Ramstein Air Force base where we hopped out of the taxi, heard a friendly, "Hey!" and turned around to find Emily running towards us with the biggest smile.

We met at a tiny hotel and spent the next 24 hours in all the girly splendor you might imagine: giant meals, chocolate truffles, long talks over coffee, shopping in a flea market and the like.

KEEP UP WITH MORE OF THE FUN ON SNAPCHAT. Username: aspiringkennedy

 

At dinner that night, we got to eat with the rest of the doctors that Emily had worked with in Afghanistan. They were all married, and (all but one) fathers of small children. Getting to sit at the table with them as they ate one of their first decent meals in six months was an honor. The smiles at that table as they cut into giant steaks, cheers-ed eachother with enormous steins of beer and talked of their familes back home was an incredible experience. There was so much JOY. The only way I can explain it is to the feeling you have at a wedding or when a baby is born. I, honestly, felt undeserving to be sitting with them at that table with them in that special moment.

I know there are so many things that I will remember from Emily's deployment. But I think that the most significant thing that I've taken from her experience is that each soldier that goes off to fight doesn't go alone. The sacrifice of military service doesn't stop at the soldier- but there is a huge ripple effect for deployment. Just leaving my kids for the night took a ton of planning, caused me a lot of angst and took hustle to pull off. What these families have to do- both logistically and emotionally- is a lot tougher than I ever expected.

As we said goodbye on Saturday, there were tears. Of relief that this was over. Of sadness for time lost. Of thankfulness. And yet, smiling through it all in anticipation. In the midst of it all, I clicked out my phone and took a picture. This last moment of sadness after such a long time deserved to be documented. Today was the last day of tears! Tomorrow, she would be home. (And she is! And the video she posted seeing Nick & Lyla gave me goosebumps and made me cry like a baby.)

Thank you Emily. And thank you to all the others who serve by quietly keep life together while your loved one is gone fighting. Your support is invaluable and, often, overlooked. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

 



 

*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

 

 

Posted on May 10, 2016 and filed under life, travel.

Get Peddling. | London Blogger Meetup

 

London Blogger Meetups! If you've read this blog for a while, you may remember that I used to be decent at hosting little get togethers on the regular. Then I got too busy, but this winter I've been really missing the in-real-life aspect of being online. It's too long since the good old days of icing biscuits and eating pizza with other nice Londoners- but I'm SO HAPPY to announce that on February 11th, we are back in business!

 

LONDON BLOGGER MEETUP 

FEBRUARY 11 | 18h - 20h

 at 

PEDLARS NOTTING HILL  

128 Talbot Road | Notting Hill W11 1JA

 

Maybe you're new to the city and looking for some friends, maybe you're not new to the city and still looking for some friends, maybe you're jumping in the blogging scene and wanting to meet other bloggers, maybe you only read blogs but don't actually blog yourself. Whatever category you may think you fit in, you're invited. The goal of this night is all about nice people getting to know other nice people for the sake of making people on the internet a little less online and a little more real-life.

 

I'm REALLY excited to have the event be at Pedlars which is, honestly, one of the kindest neighborhood spots in Notting Hill. They're all about community and see the value in bringing people together. When I asked them about hosting a Blogger Meetup, they didn't think twice about it. Not only is the merchandise so cool (like this Fish & Chips print!), but they also are a team of people you'd actually want to be friends with. Plus, their coffee shop makes an incredibly tasty latte. Just saying.

Okay, so gushing over. I love people. I love people that love people. I'd love to meet you people.... so please come out for a nice little night out! No admission tickets. No entry fee. Just come as you are, awkward and solo or with a group of friends. Only nice people here! (The only request is that you comment below if you're coming to give us a good idea for a headcount.) 

 





Posted on January 26, 2016 and filed under blog world, london.