Tourist in Your Hometown: London

Tuesday, June 30, 2015 | Stamp in My Passport| , | 2 Comments

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

I'm so excited to share Jen of Lady Relocated's tips on how to experience London like a local. If you would also like to participate in the Tourist in Your Hometown guest post series email me stampinmypassport (at) gmail (dot) com. 

I'm often asked what it's like to live in London, and I typically respond like a deer in headlights. It's impossible to answer that question easily. London is unlike anywhere I've ever traveled or lived. A city of contrasts, old and new, historical and modern, chaotic and peaceful, maddening and magical, cold yet welcoming, claustrophobic but expansive, quintessentially British yet culturally diverse...I could go on and on. London refuses be characterized in simple terms.
I've taken my best shot at tourist advice for my visiting family and friends, but there's also something to be said for taking a page out of a local's book. Londoners have taught me to embrace free museums, appreciate pubs, and keep up with the latest cultural events. They've also taught me to cram too many people into a tube car and queue properly, but that's another story.
If I was showing you around London like a local, here's what we would do.

1. Take the bus

The #11 bus is the perfect route to see all the major sites. Rather than getting on a crowded tourist bus, we would pay the regular commuter fare and grab a seat on the top deck of a city bus to sightsee like a local.


2. Enjoy the pub scene

Sunday Roast is like Thanksgiving every Sunday. Wear your stretchy jeans. Here's a guide for the best roasts in London according to The Londonist.


3. Night at the museum

Most museums in London are free which is reason enough to go. But many also offer late night hours, often serving drinks and hosting activities so we can get our culture on, drinks in hand, without dodging school tours and strollers. Peruse our options here.

4. Grab lunch at the market

The tourists all go to Portobello and Borough Market. We'll hit up the Real Food Market, Maltby Street, Broadway Market, Brixton, Columbia Road Flower Market, or Spitalfields instead. These are just a few of the markets in London that serve up tasty food at reasonable prices alongside fresh produce and handmade crafts.


5. Coffee and Canals

When I learned about the canals snaking through central London I was intrigued. One of London's best kept secrets is Regent's Canal. We'll get our caffeine fix at local coffee shop Towpath along the canal and start strolling.
6. Brunch

One of the biggest misconceptions I hear about London is that British food is bad. In case you couldn't tell from my food theme, this couldn't be further from the truth. London has Michelin-starred restaurants coming out of the woodwork and a diversity of cuisines that mirrors the cultural mix of this town's population. Brunch is the latest revelation in London's food scene. I would take you to Granger & Co. in Notting Hill for an Australian-style brunch, or The Breakfast Club if you preferred American-style bacon and hash browns. Ottolenghi is another hot chef in town with several brunch and dinner spots.

7. Go to the theatre

The West End isn't just for tourists. We can buy day tickets or scour for a great deal. There is so much talent in this town we're sure to enjoy whatever show we choose.
8. Ferry to Greenwich

We can escape London without ever leaving the city limits by hopping on a water taxi and sailing East to Greenwich. The covered market, expansive park, and museums will keep us occupied for hours. The views from the water taxi are stunning too, and much cheaper than a tourist cruise.


9. Walk in the park

Everyone knows Hyde Park is amazing, but have you been to Richmond Park, Regent's Park, Victoria Park, or Hampstead Heath? Those are just a few of the more popular ones. We'll walk off all the food we've indulged in and take in some people-watching as a bonus.

There's never a dull moment in London. I hope you have a chance to experience it like a tourist AND a local for yourself soon.

A Foodcation Guide to Tallahassee

Monday, June 29, 2015 | Stamp in My Passport| , , | 4 Comments

Monday, June 29, 2015

During my blogging hiatus, Samantha came to visit for a long weekend. No one appreciates (and requires) a foodcation more than that girl. You may remember our previous foodcation guide to NYC, which was a true test of endurance but we pushed through all of the doughnuts, truffle cheese fries, steak frites and brunches. This weekend was no different except that we couldn't have asked for better weather (not a single summer afternoon shower which is unheard of in Florida) and were able to take advantage of eating outdoors at most places. When we weren't eating, we were making plans for Germany, which is only two months away now! 

Saturday brunch at The Front Porch We hit the ground running on Saturday with brunch, which is the best meal in my humble opinion. Biscuits and sausage gravy for Samantha and biscuits, veggie omelet and hashbrowns for me.  

Photo via @tlhdowntown

Farmer's Market The key to being able to push through a foodcation is to eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies as often as you can inbetween stops. Your body will thank you. Typically my eyes are bigger than my stomach when it comes to buying produce. I say yes to everything all at once and then after a week or so am left with a fridge full of produce that is a little past its prime.

Bella Bella This may possibly be my favorite restaurant in Tallahassee. My advice to anyone going is order the bubble bread (garlic bread topped with . You'll thank me later. My other recommendations include the eggplant parmesan and the spinach ravioli with shrimp.

Photo via @paisleycafe

Paisley Cafe Also located in midtown, Paisley Cafe has fresh and locally-grown soups, salads and sandwiches and is the perfect location to catch up with girlfriends over a long lunch. You can't go wrong with their chicken salad croissant and lobster bisque, farmhouse grilled cheese and tomato soup. If you are ambitious and want to brunch Saturday and Sunday, they also have a brunch menu that is sure to not disappoint.

Pub Sub Picnic at Cascades Park Samantha loves Publix possibly more than Floridians and requested a pub sub at some point. The weekend's weather couldn't have been more perfect for a picnic. We loaded our cart with pub subs, pita chips and bacon horseradish dip (my new obsession), and fresh berries before driving to Cascades.

Jonah's On Memorial Day we drove over to Thomasville, and although most of the shops were closed for the holiday, Jonah's was open and offering free fried pickles to their Facebook fans. Yes please. Jonah's is a staple in the Thomasville downtown area. I was hesitant because Samantha typically has an aversion to all things seafood, but she was a good sport and was even pleasantly surprised by her first grits experience. My recommendations: the grilled salmon or grouper with the Jonah's sauce and the white cheddar grits. And if you're really hungry, or had a long wait (you'll want to arrive early), start off with the calypso shrimp, their version of bang bang shrimp.

Photo via @grassrootscoffee

Grassroots Coffee Although no Midnight Oil, Grassroots comes in a close second for a unique atmosphere that makes you want to hang around all afternoon. And their coffee, which is roasted in-house, isn't half bad either.


Saturday, June 27, 2015 | Stamp in My Passport| | Be the first to comment!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The moment that you can't remember the last time you blogged is a wake-up call. Do you completely throw in the towel and say sayonara to your online space or do you get back in the saddle? I'm a firm believer in not forcing yourself to write when you truly feel uninspired. Writing and blogging shouldn't feel like a chore or just another item to cross off your to-do list. During my hiatus, several people mentioned that they enjoyed following along with my blog and I felt a little guilty about ignoring this space. I say all of that to say that I'm back!

And now onto a few of my favorite posts, recipes and thoughts. 

The idea that "you can just shorten a bridesmaids dress and wear it again" 100 percent applies to these. I wouldn't complain one bit to have 27 of these bridesmaids dresses hanging in my closet.

There is something about summer that makes you want eat healthier and local. Perhaps it is all of the pool and beach days that act as motivator to say no to the office doughnuts and yes to the salad. 

Looking for a few new clean eating recipes? I've tried the roasted veggie salad from Day One, the nicoise salad from Day Two (I would suggest swapping the canned tuna for steamed shrimp or salmon) and the roasted pepper and spinach egg muffins from Day Nine of this Buzzfeed Two-Week Clean Eating Challenge. I haven't quite decided to give the full challenge a try yet.

And while you're in the habit of eating healthier, you typically want to also get moving more. If paying $15 per barre class is not in your budget, try this 15-minute barre workout at home. Trust me, you'll feel it the next morning. 

Oh Nashville, how I love you. I can definitely see myself living in Nashville and part of me wants to move sooner rather than later before I become too settled in Tallahassee. 

I grew up going to St. Simons Island for family vacations and besides the gorgeous views of the intercostal and the moss covered oak trees, the food is the best part. I thought I had tried all of the good restaurants until I came upon this list.