To London! With Karina!
Laura Connell is a freelance fashion writer living in Toronto. She is the editor of the blog For Those About to Shop: Fashion With Purpose, where she explores her interest in fashion as a social barometer and shopping with a conscience. Her work has been published in the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, and the Calgary Herald. You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook.
Have I mentioned how well my Karina dresses travel? Wrinkle-free, taking up no space in the suitcase, perfect for day or evening, so comfortable you feel as though you’re wearing nothing (which is very sexy by the way), these frocks are made for jetsetting. Having travelled with me to California last summer, this year my Karina Dresses got to accompany me to England – where my sister has lived for the past five years. Our dad was born and raised in the historic city which gives us the privilege of holding UK/EU passports, which gives us license to live anywhere in Britain and Europe for as long as we like. I know! Thanks, Dad.
As expected, London was abuzz with Olympic anticipation, which as my sister explained, is more accurately described as mild panic at the number of people that will descend upon the already-congested city. The Tube (subway) is filled with signs reminding people to expect delays and find alternate routes to get to their destinations on time.
We were lucky enough to spend Canada Day in London! The Brits love the Canucks as a mother loves her (somewhat independent) child, so we had a huge party in Trafalgar Square complete with Molson Canadian beer, poutine, and more maple leaf face tattoos than I care to mention. Sweet, but I didn’t come to London to be around Canadians, so we snapped a photo under the massive Olympic countdown clock and got out of there. (That’s me in my floral Gala with my two daughters).
I’m pleased to say my coral Marisa dress got me many admiring looks from the London men. I love this shot by the River Thames with Big Ben in the background. Such an iconic scene, it looks as though I’ve been photoshopped in!
More Olympic fever: I took this shot from the front seat of the top of a double decker bus as we drove down Regent Street. Serendipitously, the new driver had taken a wrong turn and this was part of a detour back to the correct route. The street is lined with the flags of nations participating in the Olympic Games.
“All of England is a garden,” said my sister when I oohed and awed over the abundance of fresh flowers. Imagine walking into a low end convenience store and seeing the most perfect bouquet of a dozen roses for the equivalent of about $5. Or seeing this scene of floral beauty at the corner of your street. (My 8-year-old bought the guardsman’s ‘bearskin’ at Buckingham Palace and rarely removed it. Much suppressed laughter from passing strangers ensued.)
In front of Westminster Abbey:
The thousand-year-old Abbey is a living part of London’s history as are many of the landmarks we visited. Services and communion are given throughout the day and each hour guests are asked to pause for a moment in prayer or silent reflection. I loved being reminded that the Abbey is first and foremost a place of worship.
Of course, it is also where Kate and Will got married and the site of nearly every royal wedding and coronation ceremony since 1066. One fun thing to do is sit in the very same spot the Queen occupied as she watched her oldest son get married. We also had fun at Buck Palace standing in the spot where the Queen proclaimed, “that was lovely!” after being dropped off following the wedding ceremony. Insider tip: if you visit Westminster Abbey, go Tuesday through Thursday to see College Garden, the oldest garden in England.