Posts tagged #shopping

My Reykjavik | Farmers Market

I’m a big fan of buying souvenirs from a place that, well, actually come from that place. And that are hard to get outside of that place. I’m never going to plunk down money for a Louis Vuitton in Paris because I can get that at any luxury department store, you know? If I’m gonna haul something back, I want it to be because it’s truly something special from that place. 

So if I’m in France, I like to buy Monoprix baby clothes, cheap Apilco dishes and loaves of brioche from Aux Mervielleux de Fred.

I’m in in Italy, I want pretty leather bags from the Florence market or olive oil from an olive grove we stay near.

You get the idea.

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Going to Iceland, I always like to find something Icelandic... the only trouble is, since they only have 300,000 people- they have a smaller output of goods to choose from.

But each year, I make it a tradition to buy something made of lambswool... and if you’re going to be real Icelandic lambawool, you should head to Farmers Market to do so.

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Farmers Market is located in Laugavegur and makes the coolest knitwear in the country. That’s not just my opinion. That’s pretty much every Icelanders opinion, too. Other than your grandma knitting you a sweater, Farmers Market makes really nice and cool pieces.

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I bought an oversized cardigan there this year and I love it so much. It is cosy and perfect for my wardrobe... especially when it includes a baby carrier.

The shop has more than just sweaters- it has cool shoes, tights, scarves, and homewares.

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Even if you don’t want anything, you need to at least stop in to see one of Reykjavik’s coolest shops. And if you’re looking to find on of the best wool sweaters in Iceland, we’ll look no further. Farmers Market will be your place! 

And you know what the best news is? After you’ve shopped, you can hop across the street to Sandholt Bakery for some of their killer pastries. Mmmm!


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FARMERS MARKET | Laugavegur 37, 101 Reykjavik


Find all my Iceland favourites on my travel guide page or in my previous posts.



*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on November 19, 2017 and filed under iceland, shopping.

My London | Petersham Nurseries

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One of the things I have been most looking forward to since we have bought a car is using it to pop out to Petersham Nurseries in Richmond. I’ve got big dreams of letting the kids wander through the greenhouses and rows of plants while Tyler & I sip coffee from the deli and splurge on a candle or a couple of coffee mugs from the shop.

It’s not too far away from us- about 20 minutes by car- but would take way more time to get there and require some walking down random country roads. Basically, a major hassle.

The only problem is, Tyler would rather be pretty much anywhere other than a fancy garden center on the weekend... regardless of how much I sell him in it’s charm.

Luckily for me, Petersham Nurseries have opened a second location in Covent Garden. While the names “Nurseries” and “Garden” may indicate lush areas full of greenery, the truth is- it’s not really. It’s not a place to go if you’re looking to redo your garden. You won’t find bags of fertiliser or plastics containers of perennials for £1.49. 

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But, it does have pretty things for gardens (like copper spades and posh linen aprons) and it also sells nice things that come from gardens in its deli. The back of the store is full of florals and all the bits you need for them, including pretty staff members in aprons climbing up and down pretty ladder so nearby to arrange them for you.

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And it’s total eye candy, so I have to definitely recommend stopping by when you’re in the area.

Imagine if Anthropologie had an older, snobbier sister who had moved away to Europe, married into some aristocratic family and now makes gorgeous homemade jams in the country home with their 5 kids and two black labs. That’s kinda the vibe here... and just like you’d feel around that girl, so you’ll feel here. A bit intimidated and totally sucked in.

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The deli is small and well-curated. While the shop is narrow, it winds back and offers the chance to see (and buy!) fresh flowers that are being arranged. Expect an edited menu of sandwiches and fresh eats... and to pay £6.50 for some artisan mortadella on fresh salty ciabatta with some rocket sprinkled on. Choose from one of the photo shoot worthy sweet treats and a hot drink to finish off the experience and you’ll be on your way!

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There’s a restaurant coming on the premise soon, I’m told, and I have no doubt I’ll find myself back to try it when it opens, too. While it will most likely be pricey and hard to get into, the allure of Petersham is pretty hard to resist. Stop by their new show and I have a feeling you’ll see what I mean!


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Petersham Nurseries | 27-31 King Street, Floral Court, London, WC2E 8JD



*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on November 10, 2017 and filed under blog world, london, shopping.

What I (Actually) Wore

A few years ago, I read an article that discussed how highly successful people repeated the same basic behaviours in every day situations in order to save their time and eliminate the need for making a decision. This might be eating the exact same thing for breakfast and lunch everyday to reduce the amount of time choosing what sounds good or where you can get to in the timeframe available. It also was present in the things that they liked to enjoy for entertainment- no skipping around and wasting leisure time. Have your show/sport/hobby and commit to it.

But the area that stood out to me was that they wore the same thing everyday. Brilliant minds like Mark Zuckerburg, Steve Jobs, Queen Elizabeth, they all stick to one look that suits them and keeps life fuss free. 

When I read the article, Harrison was tiny and I was still in denial that I could actually have a healthy marriage, raise little kids, work, be involved with church, maintain a social life and look awesome while doing it.

Ha. Zuckerburg, you only wish you had it so easy. (Joking, joking.)

I started dreading finding clothes to wear because it just felt like SUCH a hassle everyday. When I read that article, the idea of a uniform really appealed to me. Taking that internal battle away from me seemed like a brilliant option for the stage of life I was in, and, slowly, I filtered out my closest to an easy arsenal of similar styles. 

The thing is, I’m at an age where I know what looks best on me and what works for all the various roles that I have to play. While I do look great in heels, they just don’t transcend from office to school-pick up to running to the store for butter. I love cute empire-waisted dresses, but attempting to feed a baby on a train in one of those may get you arrested. But I can cross over between most of those moments in my day in black skinny jeans, nice flats, a solid knit shirt and my favourite long-lasting red lipstick.

And so I present to you- my uniform. I hesitate to say “capsule wardrobe” because, the truth is, I have a closet busting with the stuff. But the style is, for the most part, the same. I do have some other items tucked away in there for special occasions… but for the most part, I’ve narrowed down what works for me at this point in my life. (And I love not doubting myself when I get dressed!)

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ONE | TWO | THREE | FOUR | FIVE | SIX | SEVEN | EIGHT | NINE | TEN

BLACK SKINNY JEANS | I have several pairs of black skinny jeans. I have a couple from Primark (my first pair from here is what got me into black skinny jeans!), but my favourite for work and social events are the Grace from ALLSAINTS. They’re £98, so not cheap- but definitely a better deal than many others. And I don’t worry about them not being available from season to season.

LONG COATS | The mixture between fitting my body and being what Parisian women wear make this my favourite type of coat. I have black, navy, chocolate & camel. I can dress them up or down, and they cover my bum… which is, obviously, the most important reason I wear them.

LONG TANKS | Speaking of covering my bum, I wear long tanks under every single shirt. I can’t imagine the day when these are no longer in my repitore…. But with little kids pulling on me, writing on white boards and nursing babies, this is the easiest way to cover my tummy up until I can get back to the gym… when I’m in my forties. (You’re welcome, general public.)

SHOES | I have really dialed down my shoe game, but it makes it easy to pick what to wear based on where I’m going? Night out? Tan suede Miu Miu pumps. Work or social event: wine Lanvin flats or Pretty Ballerina leopard flats. Park with kids? Slip-on converse. Work travel? Suede ankle boots or fancy trainers.

SOLID TOPS | I wear solid, long-sleeved shirts over my tanks. My torso is exceptionally long, so I really love the soft, solid bamboo range that PIKO makes. I also wear black & white stripes.

SWEATERS | Who can resist a good jumper? (Read: “sweater”) Not this girl. I like the solid colours with subtle patterns in the weaving, I like them oversized, I also like them short with a button-down underneath them.

SCARF | I always have a scarf on me or in my bag. I like a bluish-grey one I bought years ago (like this), my leopard one that matches everything (like this) or my camel coloured one that has a hole from a moth that desperately needs replacing. Between London, Paris & Scotland- I always seem to need one, and it makes feeding in public so discreet. It’s all I’ve ever used and works like a charm. My favourite are big, lightweight ones that can wrap around.

MAKEUP | I’ve actually got a post coming about what I keep in my makeup bag, but the main thing for me is black eyeliner, mascara & something for my lips. If I’m feeling low-key, I wear this from L’Oreal, if I’m feeling professional I wear this long-lasting mauve from MAC, and if I’m feeling particularly fancy or grotty- red lipstick. Forget under-eye concealer, that stuff covers exhaustion better than anything I know.


So there you have it. My basic wardrobe essentials. Do you feel like you have your look narrowed down, or do you still like exploring and changing your looks? If you do, come find me in a few years when life slows down and get me up to speed with what’s new. Ha!



Posted on November 6, 2017 and filed under shopping.

PACK YOUR BAGS | An NHS Maternity Ward!

A few weeks ago, I started this post, planning to share it long before our new little lady made her entrance... but life had other plans! Here's a peak into my pre-Edie state of mind- and a few tips about what to bring to an NHS maternity ward.


Well, the time has come… I’ve officially hit the state of pregnancy where I feel compelled to bring my notes everywhere I go (a weird NHS thing I’m going to explain in an upcoming vlog!), plan a childcare schedule with friends in those “just in case she comes early” scenarios, actually put together the baby crib by our bed… and pack my bag for the hospital. At 36 weeks, my stomach feels more like I swallowed a squirrel with peg legs than the sweet bumps and flutters that once tapped around inside me. You can easily identify body parts: foot! bottom! back! The time is coming near, and I gotta get my act together.

So first things first… when you are headed to your third trip to the hospital, I’ve learned to focus more on what I’ll enjoy having post-hospital trip rather than those few days in there. You see, the first time around- I was shelling out cash on items that would be useful for those few days in the hospital without much care to beyond those walls. A cute hospital gown, fancy coming-home outfits that I paid way too much for, nice slippers to waddle around the hospital in, etc. This time, I’m putting that money into items that I can enjoy long after I get out of the hospital. So here we go… what’s going in my hospital bag to have a baby through the NHS in London.

I’m working alongside WAREMAKERS for this piece, as their very cool artisan-led company inspired me into putting this kind of post together. After all, there are tons of places I could go with gorgeous handmade-items… but something felt especially right about walking into the unknown of the birth of a baby as a big adventure. So while it’s just a London hospital, I always feel like I’m going into uncharted territory. 

If you’re looking to support a great company with a great mission, and hey- actually fantastic looking items!- WAREMAKERS is going to be right up your picturesque European alley. It took me one glance at their site to get their mission, love their cool aesthetic and become a big fan of the artists and brands they bring together. I have a feeling you’ll love what they are doing, too. (Especially, if you’re like me and have a weak spot for those If-George-Clooney-were-a-bag leather bags that just get better with age that you know will be with you on holidays for years to come.)


ONE | TWO | THREE | FOUR | FIVE | SIX | SEVEN | EIGHT | NINE | Ten | eleven

HOSPITAL BAG | I think for my first delivery, I literally rolled into the hospital with my things in plastic shopping bags. Ha! But as you know, third times a charm or however the saying goes. I actually didn’t have a good overnight bag (all of ours seem to be enormous roller suitcases), so this time I got an actual bag to take with me. The bag is from La Portegna  which is an incredible brand handmade in Spain- but also with a store here in Marylebone! I’m excited to remember this as “my hospital bag,” but really excited to take it with me on other adventures outside of London, too. (Also, check out their company history for the wildest inspiration you’ve ever heard of. Spoiler: It involves an exotic gift from Hemingway.)

ROBE | I like having a robe to wear in the hospital, it kind of allows for covering up all the lumps and craziness happening underneath it… especially when you have friends come by to meet your baby. It somehow adds a bit more dignity to the moment… but I always buy a cheap robe that I won’t fall in love with for ever. This is for two reasons. First, they’re going to get trashed with so many… fluids. Sorry if that’s gross, but it’s true. Secondly, I always buy up a size or two, since I’ll be wearing it in weird-post-baby-still-have-a-bump time. I bought a cute, soft-touch robe here for £10… plus, it has a cute pattern to help create a diversion from my post-delivery stupor.

SLIPPERS | Speaking of slippers, I’m still buying some. Just some really cheap ones I can throw away the second I walk out of that hospital. You see, having an NHS baby means you share recovery rooms… and bathrooms. And I have to say, the bathroom I had after Harrison was born kind of traumatised me. Not because they weren’t clean and kept up… but maybe, the potpourri of 8-10 post-delivery women and all their output was too much. So slippers are needed to go around in the hospital, but I want nothing to do with taking anything that has touched those floors back into my home. Again, I buy cheap and simple ones like these.

SOCKS | While I do want to throw away the hospital slippers as soon as possible, I do think it’s nice to have splurge on some pretty socks to keep your feet covered while sitting around with a new baby/random hospital staff/etc, so this time I’ve got a hand-knit pair of wool socks from the English designer, Jules Hogan. (I actually think for what they are, they’re worth every penny. I can’t wait to take them to Iceland, too.) So yes, skimp on slippers, but spend on some socks that you’ll love to wear during your stay.

PAJAMAS | Now, I have to have a caesarean because of previous deliveries, so I’ll actually be given a gown to wear from the hospital, but if you are having a straight-forward delivery… you deliver in your own clothes! My friends have given birth in their husbands XXL t-shirts or bras… Obviously, these are clothes that they plan to get destroyed, so if you want to buy anything new- go cheap. (I typically do a Primark run before the hospital to get all of my hospital loungewear.) Again, don’t forget to buy up a size or two from your pre-baby size. You’ll be in weird territory between maternity and regular clothes for a few days, so some cheap items that you can easily loose after are nice.

BABY (HEAD) GEAR | I’m not sure why, but this surprised me the most: a hat for my baby. I suppose that because all US- born babies get the traditional striped-hat, I was expected the same when I gave birth here. But, no. You bring your own baby hat into the delivery room.  So yes, finding a cute hat is on my mind… and harder than you think. So many are enormous and I really want a small stretchy, jersey-like one. In the meantime, I've settled for these  but am still on the search via Etsy for something handmade. (Recommendations/hand-me-downs welcome.) We used a really sweet one of Tyler’s when he was a baby for when Harrison was born, but I’d like something a bit less boyish for this little girl. First-world problems, I know.

Do you need anything else for right after they are born? They do wrap them up in a little plain white blanket/towel after delivery- but you’ll need your own swaddles and clothes for them as soon as… well, you want them dressed. 

*Since I’ve had some crazy deliveries, can anyone else weigh in on what a “regular” delivery would call for? Do you give them their first diaper/nappie? The hospital has always put that on them for us after weighing/checking them… and they even put clothes on the girls in the NICU, which was sweet, but I know not standard. Any of your experiences would be so great to hear below in the comments!

Also, is now a good time to tell you- they don’t bathe your babies after delivery. They wipe them off (mostly) and then hand them over. They say all the gunk is really good for them, and that their skin will absorb it. (Which, I have to say- has been true of my babies… and neither really had cradle cap badly. Maybe God does know what he is doing afterall! Hey!) Did I read somewhere recently where this is becoming more common in the US, too?

NURSING BRAS & TANKS | First of all, I need to say: Welcome to the next year of your life. Go ahead and splurge on these, friends. They’re going to be on your body forever and ever from this point on. Want a tattoo? Maybe do a test run and see how you like wearing the same thing everyday (like a nursing bra!) for a year to see how you like the idea of permanency on your body. Also, the longer the nursing tank the better. These are pretty good and long!

ENTERTAINMENT | Maybe you get cable in American hospitals, but after you deliver in the NHS- you’re in a shared room with curtains separating you from other new moms. It’s a free system, so I can’t complain… but you can get real bored real quick. It’s good to bring your own forms of entertainment. Some people may brings books and small hobbies like knitting, but I’m planning on vegging out completely. I’ve already started downloading movies on my Netflix app and can’t wait to pop in my headphones and zone out. (These are things moms dream of when they have impending hospital stays, amiright?.) This amazing earbud case from the Danish company, Ham/Lerche, is so cool. This simple leather pouch keeps the tangled web of earphone tragedy from happening in my bag. Plus, it’s really nice leather that just looks cooler and cooler the longer it is around. 

On this note, don’t forget chargers of any sort that you may need…. And maybe bring a portable/battery one, if you have it? That way, if you get stuck in some random room waiting for a while, you aren’t stuck without an outlet? (Not sure this has ever happened to me before, but I’ll probably toss mine in this time just in case.)

WATER BOTTLE | I have to admit, I’m a bit jealous of the hospital swag that my friends/sisters get when they have a US-born baby… especially in the form of those giant water bottles., In the early days of nursing, when you have that obscene thirst dry up your entire body as you nurse, I always think of how nice it would be to have 835 oz of ice water next to me. But we don’t get them in the UK, and we don’t even have ice… so, you know, whatever. I have purchased a water bottle or two with each kid, and leave them upstairs and downstairs so that wherever I find myself perched- I have water nearby. Bring one to the hospital, because they’ll just bring by small jugs of water and styrofoam cups for you at random.

DISPOSABLES | If you thought the above text was glamorous, just wait until we dive in here. At a NHS hospital, you bring your own party favours… as in, your own breast pads, pads/diapers, underwear (in my case, the higher the better to avoid contact with the incision), and any other type of disposable item you may also end up needing to use at home- you bring of your own to the hospital, too. 

Oh, and of course- that doesn’t just stop for you. Don’t forget your baby! They’ll need newborn diapers and cotton balls/wipes. Just make it easy and do one giant shop for it all and have it delivered to your house around 34 weeks. I also buy all the baby shampoo, nappie cream, etc at this point, too.

REGULAR PACKING ITEMS | Now that you have all the other stuff you’ll have to have, don’t forget to pack the regular items that you’d spend the night away from home with: clothes (to come home in), toiletries, makeup, etc. I had my entire bag packed and then realised I hadn’t actually packed any clothes to come home in or my toothbrush. And on that note, don’t let your husband forget to pack those kind of items, too. They don’t offer beds to them, but they can sleep in the chairs, if they want… and most new dads do want to stick around and see the baby, I’ve learned. Better to have a few items to make their life better, too, with fresh contact solution, a toothbrush and a fresh shirt or two!

I am packing all of my essential makeup items (waterproof mascara, French face cream, toothbrush, deodorant, lipgloss that never goes away) in this pretty French linen pouch from Catherine Dang. I’ve been looking for a simple pouch to put in my backpack/travel bag for ages, and this is honestly such a great find: no obnoxious glitter words on top, great design with French linen and the perfect size for stashing in a slightly larger bag, and- to be candid- a much better price than the comparable “designer” ones I found with a similarly pretty aesthetic. 


There we go. I feel like that is a pretty honest breakdown of all the “essentials.” Having a baby is cute and amazing… but it’s not always glamourous. (Though, Tyler did used to work for a Dallas-based hospital system that served champagne & lobster to new mothers in their maternity unit, so maybe it actually IS in the US suburbs or in private healthcare!) I’m sure a few more items will make their way into my bag before we leave, but I’m not sure Nutrigrain bars and outdated bags of Cadbury eggs from Easter should make the official list.

I’m really grateful though for the opportunity have such amazing (and kind!) doctors take care of us. What we have learned is: if you have a straightforward pregnancy, you’ll find no frills care without a lot of handholding… because they know that this is a really natural process and the general checkpoints along the way will get you to having a healthy baby. But for people that need help and hand-holding (Hi!I I’m Lauren, and I’m traumatised by delivery!), you’ll get the help and care you need. Being a “bells & whistles” case is never the situation you want to find yourself in, but I can tell you- when you’re there, we’ve found that the staff will be some of the most attentive and gracious people. 

For more information, you can find a list that the NHS has provided on what to pack for you hospital bag here on their official site



*Images original to Aspiring Kennedy.

*This post was made in part by sponsorship from Waremakers.

Granada: It's All White.

 

Earlier this week, I got the chance to visit La Alhambra in Granada. I've heard about La Alhambra, but I'll tell you the truth: I was blown away with how beautiful it was. It's hard to describe, but I really liked the way Lonely Planet summarized it, so I'll leave it to them.

 

The Alhambra is Granada’s – and Europe’s – love letter to Moorish culture, a place where fountains trickle, leaves rustle, and ancient spirits seem to mysteriously linger. Part palace, part fort, part World Heritage site, part lesson in medieval architecture, the Alhambra has long enchanted a never-ending line of expectant visitors. As a historic monument, it is unlikely it will ever be surpassed – at least not in the lifetime of anyone reading this. (Read more here.)

 

Much better than I could have done. My summary can only be summed up as shaded courtyards, the smell of sweet oranges, cool white marble and sprawling gardens.

Now that you have a bit of an idea of what La Alhambra is, you're gonna need to take a look at it's amazing architecture and design. I was blown away... and the thing is, it's not just a tiny section of the building that is in this intricate style.


It's an entire hilltop fortress. It sprawls over the mountain and building after building mirrors this gorgeous craftsmanship. Yet, while the skill is endlessly dotted around the entire fortress, each area is unique. You really have to see it to believe it.

Also, I've been getting asked to bring back my style/shopping guides that I used to pair with my posts. So in the spirit of the soon-coming warmer months and the gorgeous white walls of La Alhambra, here are some easy picks that I'd love to take back with me on my next visit to Granada.



 

*images original to Aspiring Kennedy


*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on February 12, 2016 and filed under travel, spain, shopping.