London Photo Diary + A Year In Review

gates of Buckingham Palace

By now its probably no secret how much I love London, so it probably won’t surprise you to hear that I’m heading there yet again (!!) in a week – after having just returned from that beautiful city three weeks ago. I just cannot stay away.

I’ll be in my heart-home for just three days, to celebrate New Years Eve there. I actually rang in this past NYE in London too; I was with my friend Yasmine and her family at the Savoy Hotel. It was such a beautiful evening. Later we traipsed over to a house party where I hung out in the kitchen with new friends while sipping champagne out of a mug, all while still in my ball gown, til 7am. What a night! Very excited to start and end the year in the same city with my same friends.

We will get to that review of this year at the end of the post, but first I want to share some photos from this past trip to London. There is no place where I feel more… right… than this city. Something about it, man. Its my place. I know that I will live there someday, hopefully sooner rather than later.

roses and beautiful houses in Brixton

Charlotte Street Hotel being all sorts of lovely in this light

catching the last bits of fall in Marylebone High Street

the only photo I snapped at sketch… sigh, just means I need to go back!

Big Ben with some dusky light 

Westminster Abbey looking straight up Harry Potter level magical

but seriously, are we on set? London is pure magic everywhere

hello beautiful Westminster Bridge

oh, I did. 😉

streetside flower shopping

One of the best things about this trip was my Hyatt credit card. If you don’t know this about me, well, credit cards are one of my favorite hobbies (if thats a thing?). I’m very good with my finances, I don’t build up debt – I always only spend what I can afford to pay off each month, as I’m not looking to pay interest on anything. But I do LOVE the perks that come with various cards.

My Hyatt credit card, when I opened it, came with two free nights at any Hyatt in the world. After the first year its a $75 annual fee, but you still get a free night – and at a luxury hotel, thats worth way more than $75. Its definitely worth it to keep the card. Originally I wanted to use my two nights in Paris, but didn’t have the chance to get my butt over there this year. I decided to book the two nights at the Hyatt Regency Churchill.

my Hyatt suite living room

cozy bedroom – also, had TWO bathrooms. wat is life?

Upon checking in, they told me I had received an upgrade. Meaning… upgraded to the most amazing suite. What?! I loved it. It was beautiful. It even came with free wine and snacks in the room. I’m such a constant Airbnb user, but it was amazing to get the luxury of such a space. I was in London for four nights – the first two nights I spent at Yasmine’s flat, and then we migrated to the hotel. I spent the first night there with Yas and Becky, and we had so much fun, and the second night with my mum (who had previously been staying at our lovely aunt’s flat, who also lives in London).

breakfast with friends after our night out in Soho

The actual best part was the daily breakfast and high tea, in the Regency Club lounge. Just perfect. I was so happy to be able to share this with my family and friends as my guests. We all felt so pampered – thanks, Hyatt!

So now, getting back a year in review…

The last few years I’ve been amazed at how fast they go by, but seriously – 2016 was a freaking doozy. Not only did it go by so insanely fast but it was the most personal growth I think I’ve ever experienced in the span of one calendar year.

A few things I’m proud of are that I turned vegetarian/mostly vegan, got my yoga teacher training certification, and grew my Brooklyn Kitten brand into something substantial, a foundation from which I can really spring from in 2017.

I traveled more than ever- London 3 times (going on 4!), Poland twice, Florida and Maryland and Virginia multiple times. Explored for the first time the countries of Costa Rica, Denmark, Netherlands, Morocco, Canada, Spain, and Iceland. Visited the west coast a few times to see my friends in Las Vegas and San Francisco.

But there were also tremendously sad and hard times. I went through a breakup at the beginning of the year. I later went through a severe patch of depression in the fall brought on by other factors in my life, the worse it had been in years. These things happen. I went back to my therapist to work through everything, something I cannot recommend enough if you are struggling. I’m such an advocate of therapy. It’s not something anyone should ever be ashamed of; keeping my mental health strong is just as important to me as keeping my physical health strong.

Because of everything, I became so much more self aware throughout this whole year, throughout the whole process, and I’m thankful for every bit of pain now. If you let it, really let yourself feel it, pain has a way of burning away everything, leaving you with just the deepest part of yourself to examine and explore.

Nowadays I love myself more than ever, and it’s an amazing place to be to start a new year. I always say life is like the sea, it’s full of waves, ups and downs. It’s never all up and definitely never all down; but when you’re really fucking low, you just have to remember that something insanely amazing is waiting for you on the next wave up. I promise.

So where to from here? I have so much hope and excitement for 2017. I have the feeling of being on the precipice, that spot where you can fall or you can fly, and I want to fly. I’m ready to fly, I’ve never been more ready. 2016 has prepared me in such crazy ways for this lifestyle I’m choosing, and I’m ready to embrace it fully.

We’re still 10 days away, but cheers, my loves. I hope 2017 is an upper for everyone.

xx

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