City Break Planning (Stress!)

Is it just me (such a Seinfeld opener!) or does anyone else have periods where life is quiet, and then all of a sudden it's all happening at once and you're just not nearly organized and things get sprung on you and then you're flat out non-stop stressing? I have about a week (and a bit) left of quiet time, but also need to organize a few things, some of them just popping up all of a sudden (like when your Mom says she doesn't want to do "anything special" on her visit; then, two weeks before changes her tune to "Let's go to the middle of nowhere in Ireland! That'll be a fun jaunt", and your husband is all like - "um what are you, crazy people?!"). Oh and we also need to have a weekend away in amongst this planning to the one place left on earth without wi-fi (in-laws...honestly ;-) or phone signals of any kind - the signal vortex known as Forres! seriously should a Stephen King/sci-fi mobile phone signal attack a la "Cell" ever happen, Forres will be just fine!

The main trip I (was) planning was a short trip to see The Replacements play in London in the first few days of June (dream come true for any 90's Westerberg/'Mats superfan!). I say "I" because to be frank, I am the travel planner in the house. I fuss and consult the o.h. on dozens of hotel/flight options, but essentially end up making the decisions myself. To be fair, this is because I'm a fussbudget (literally, fussy, with a small budget!) when in comes to hotels in particular - the o.h. would quite happily bunker down anywhere, me I need some semblance of unique-ness or boutique-ness  (which I'm finding in London, for our travel time, just impossible). So, clean and not too Griswolds European vacation-esque it is then!

And it's fine, and I know I stress way too much about a three day trip, but in a way it's much harder than planning a longer trip. We need to be central but ideally not too far from the gig (I learned from a visit to London in May 2012 that tubes go down and you end up going in loop de loops and taking two hours to get anywhere - so I'm trying for a place that is walking distance from Camden if need be (but don't actually want to stay in Camden as it's slightly far out for getting to and from tourist spots).

SO I (think) I've settled on the rather un-glamorous seeming Euston/King's Cross area. It's just the best fit for our needs, after hemming and hawing. I really loved Kensington, where I stayed the last time with my Mom, it's just so pretty and chilled out and Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park park are gorgeous, and you stumble upon church courtyards that look like this:

St. Mary Abbot's, Kensington

And we wandered into the chapel and there was a free concert by a young pianist playing Chopin - my favourite, and it was a dreamy and peaceful moment in a busy trip. I love cities, but I really love when you find quiet places in cities too!

Tranquil spot in Kensington

I'm sure I will have different adventures on this trip but I really did adore Notting Hill, it's quaint prettiness and quirky shops (the Mary Portas charity shop is a must) that I have a feeling we might not get to on this particular trip.

As Liz Lemon would say: "I want to go to there..."

The funny thing is, my Mom and I planned the 2012 trip ostensibly to see the Royal Chelsea Flower Show (which merits a post all its own), and that ended up being the most stressful, least fun day of the trip if I'm honest (Oy vey the crowds! It's not like the tranquil Queen sniffing roses bits they show on the BBC AT ALL!). I wouldn't not recommend it, but were I to do it again I'd maybe plan for two days at the flower show to avoid wanting to stab the HORDES OF PEOPLE:

No plebs were allowed to go in Diarmud's giant topiary tower

...or maybe I'd just take a peaceful walk in a park (Regent's Park is meant to be nice and is near where we're staying so looking forward to that). I don't know. I guess you can only plan for so much, which I always forget when I'm planning these things, and they have a way of working themselves out in the end!

Ok well I'm off to book budget London hotels and maybe try to figure out how to get to the middle of the west coast of Ireland (Galway, my Mother wants to go because she saw it on a  t.v. show and they made it look EASY!). It does look lovely, but all of the airports are two hours away, which, gaaah. All I can envision is Amy Adams in Leap Year stranded in the Irish countryside missing bus after bus, covered in mud, only I will be with my Mother, not Matthew Goode! ;-0 Heaven help me...


  1. Wow, I loved your post. Awesome pictures. You know how to keep your reader interested.

  2. Such gorgeous pictures! I always want to stab the hordes of people. Not so good with the crowds, me. Good luck on this trip. When exactly are you planning it for?

    1. Thanks! The weather was beautiful, which helps! The Chelsea Flower Show was truly a mob scene, like Disney with less toilets! We're going May 31st-June 3! I booked the hotel, finally. Now just have to figure out how much touristing I can smash into three days! Also really want to see a play, preferably American Buffalo with John Goodman & Damian Lewis or Elephant Man with Bradley Cooper. Going to try to get the cheap seats on the day, it worked a treat last night my Mom and I went. :-)