This last week was absolutely fabulous. For starters, we had our first visitor to London! And it happened to be my best friend since I was four years old (who we’ll refer to as “AF”). AND I got to take a week off to pal around London with her and see a bunch of things I haven’t seen yet. We even had pretty decent weather…if you don’t count the Saharan dust storm (WTF?)…but at least it didn’t rain.

We managed to pack quite a bit into eight days. She arrived on a Saturday morning and left the following Sunday afternoon. On our first day we relaxed and walked around the neighborhood where we live, wandered up to Primrose Hill for a view of the city, then stopped into a pub on the way home for a glass of Prosecco (cheap Italian sparkling wine that they had on draft!).

The next day we began our tourist adventures. After a bit of a sleep in and a late breakfast to be kind to the jetlagged, we started out with a nice leisurely stroll through Kensington Palace. You can only tour part of the palace because it is still the official London residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (Will & Kate), their son Prince George, and Prince Harry. None of whom we saw.

But it has been a residence of the British Royal Family since the 17th century and had some interesting rooms dedicated to Victoria & Albert, Queen Mary and Queen Anne, including a very moving art exhibit dedicated to the 18 children Anne lost (five of which survived past birth but not past childhood). I can’t even imagine.

Coincidentally, this day was also Mother’s Day or “Mothering Sunday” in the UK. So I counted my blessings (which included flowers, chocolates, cards, a gorgeous son and a wonderful husband who was home with said son so I could enjoy a day out), and AF and I continued our day with afternoon tea at the Orangery, which Sir John Vanbrugh designed for Queen Anne in 1704.

After tea we walked back through Kensington Gardens and found the statue of Peter Pan that J.M. Barrie commissioned from Sir George Frampton in 1902. It was erected in Kensington Gardens in 1912. In his Peter Pan story, The Little White Bird, Peter flies out of his nursery and lands beside part of the Serpentine lake called the Long Water. The statue is located on this exact spot and was a lovely way to end our Mothering Sunday outing.

Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace.

Queen Anne's 18 Little Hopes

Queen Anne’s 18 Little Hopes.

The Orangery.

The Orangery.

Me at afternoon tea at the Orangery.

Me at afternoon tea at the Orangery.

Sharing a small tea.

Sharing a small tea.

Fairies on the Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens.

Fairies on the Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens.

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