Monday, June 11, 2012

The Smug Mummy Jet-Sets: England, The First Bit

Let's just cut to the chase, shall we?

I may be a dork, but at least I'm a DORK IN A FANCY HAT!

At the races in fascinator by Rachel Trevor-Morgan; turns out she outfitted Her Majesty's head that day too, which I actually saw (as attached to the rest of HRH's wee body) at a distance, ooh la la! (with thanks to my friend the IWOM for the hat loan)

Is there any greater joy to the Anglophilic heart - ok, any woman's heart - than the legitimate excuse to wear a beautiful, beautifully silly hat? Oh, and the fun of visiting two of your best friends in your favorite city on the map?

*start boring travel philosophy interlude*

You know how people get glassy eyed when they're droning on about Paris, or New York? That's how I get about England - it is my happy place, quite literally. I can't tell you when or how it happened, but somewhere early on - probably around the 1,000th listening to some Beatles record - England got into my system. It's not at all that I'm any less glad to be American or whatever, it's just . . . well, it just *is*.

I don't tell you this as any sort of character bonus or in an "Ooh, aren't I international and sophisticated?" sort of way. If anything, this England problem is a liability, both financial and in the way that makes me prone to speaking in a dreaful faux accent a la Madonna for days upon my return. Really. I've been lucky enough to have visited a few times many years ago, but never with locals outside of the usual touristed areas.

*end boring travel philosophy interlude*

Hence when two of my bestest best friends, independent of one another, had the great foresight to move to London, as a loyal friend I just had to go visit them, didn't I?

So what if my ace babysitter squad - speaking of, my undying gratitude to the Anonymous Husband and his mama for making this trip possible - just happened to only be available during the festivities surrounding the Queen's Diamond Jubilee - that is, her 60th year on the throne (can you imagine 60 years in the same job?) (I struggle to commit myself to six minutes of the same magazine) (parentheses)

Ahem.

Anywhooo - I started off my visit with my friend the International Woman of Mystery ("IWOM") and her gallant partner, the Consort - both of whom wish to remain mysterious, so unfortunately you'll have to deal with photos of just ME ME ME. We meandered around charming Hampstead, their particular corner of London:



We ended up at "their" pub, where I was reminded of one of the things the Brits do better than everyone else - the neighborhood family bar, at which man, woman, child, and dog are all welcome:

Try The Wells if you're ever in Hampstead - friendly service, and the sticky toffee pudding is to die for, most importantly.

See those little Union Jacks dangling from the building? In honor of the Queen's Jubilee, this "bunting" was EVERYWHERE. For a nation that doesn't wear it's heart or much else on its tweedy sleeve, the patriotism was palpable.

After a delicious evening out, during which I was reminded that keeping up with ones DINK friends and their cider consumption isn't the best of travel plans, we headed home to rest up for our morning afternoon trip to the Epsom Derby. It's one of the famed so-called "flat races" in England, and one at which the horse-loving Queen makes an annual appearance - along with 130,000 or so of her loyal subjects, as it happens.

(Please read in between the lines here as "OMG excuse to wear fancy hat and dress and possibly see royal types and ponies YES YES YES!")

The three of us sped off the next morning afternoon in style . . .

Traveling to the races - it's how we do
. . . and arrived a few hours and London traffic boondoggles later at the races . . .




If you're thinking, as I was, that horse racing in England = everyone acting hoity-toity BBC costume drama and wearing silly hats, you would be . .  well, suffice to say the whole of England showed up in that crowd of 130,000. Imagine that a NASCAR race had a one night stand with the Kentucky Derby, and that's the, uh, mixed look of the crowd depending on where you were sitting; we were in the fancy dress bit, chockablock with fun hats and such, but we also saw plenty of . . . of . . .

. . . in other words, it was top hats mixed with tube tops, and if that isn't a recipe for a successful day of people watching, I don't know what is:


The owners milled about this winner's paddock - no tube tops allowed in here, alas - which is where I spotted Her Majesty. Naturally, I promptly freaked out and forgot to snap a photo. I promise, there she was, in all her tiny blue glory. Pinky swear.
Having scored both a profit on our Derby race bets - and more shorts with pantyhose sightings than I'd ever dreamed possible (sidebar to England: really?!) - we sped off to the west to spend a couple of nights in our country lodgings . . .



Yes, really. More about this the next time . . .

26 comments:

Emily said...

The polka dots! I love the polka dots!

What a wonderful adventure! I would love to know how they secure the fascinators so they don't slide down. This has been a personal question of mine for a while, and I feel like you're an insider now.

Kate said...

Ahhh you look so pretty! I just LOVE your fascinator. One of the cutest I've seen!

The Waspy Redhead said...

You are absolutely channeling the Duchess m'lady! Rock that hat. Rock them polkadots. Well played.

Heather said...

What a lovely trip. And you look amazing!

The Epsom Derby is something I've always wanted to attend. It looks amazing; I'd love to see how it differs from Kentucky races. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm dying! Your adorable polka dot dress! Your fascinator! It's keeeeeeling me. What an extraordinary trip. I'm beyond jealous and living through your posts.

Related topic: did you see that article Preppy Princess posted a few weeks ago about the organizers of the Royal Ascot race not allowing fascinators? Whaaaatever. How could you even enforce such a rule!?

Anyway, you look lovely, as always and I'm dying over the color of your friend's front door!! Beautiful!

(Shorts & pantyhose isn't confined to the island - it is all over the continent. Ugh)

xoxo
Tippy

Anonymous said...

I just went back and reread the rules at Ascot. One is not allowed a fascinator in the Royal Enclosure. But in the grandstand it is allowed. Methinks this is to prevent Beatrice and Eugenie from wearing some insane fascinator that looks more like a teacup or Corgi than hat.

:)

xoxo,
Tippy

Belle on Heels said...

Well I, for one, am still angry that you went without me. How rude.

Can't wait for more posts and pics! I sparkly heart your fancy hat :)

Samma said...

I'm insanely jealous right now! So much fun- I have always wanted to attend a race in England, after becoming obsessed with reading Dick Francis mysteries as a pre-teen. You look fab!

Melissa @ I Pick Pretty said...

@tippyl - Too funny, I'd completely forgotten about that Ascot change. Though we weren't in the Royal Enclosure - we were in the one next to it, think the Duchess one? - they must have allowed all hats (and required top hats of men) in the Royal Enclosure here. Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice both were wearing adorable, non-insane fascinators, for example.

I'm aggrieved to hear about the continental shorts + hose scourge. Europe, call me!

Mrs. Type A said...

oh my gosh. lovely hat! and I am INSANELY jealous of you right now! I studied in London for five weeks during college and I'd love to go back now and actually do it right!

Perfectly Imperfect said...

I have been waiting for these posts!!

You are so Duchess-esque in your fantastic fascinator and perfect polka dots. I'm all shades of green with envy over here.

And you saw Her Majesty?!? Dying. Dead. So amazing.

Carly Anne said...

Well, I'm sufficiently jealous. Madrid is my England, but nonetheless.

{Jessica} said...

I can't wait for the second part of this post! It sounds like a dream trip. Although I have never been to England, I have a feeling it would be my 'place' too...There's just something about it that I love. And kudos to you for rocking that fascinator, pretty-style. It's perfect!:)

Anna said...

I love your polka dot dress! Can't wait to hear about the rest of your trip!

ms. mindless said...

Obsessed with the hat. You are beyond cute. You look like a distant Spencer cousin in it!

Europafox said...

Your Anglophilia is the mirror of my Texaphilia! I can't believe I have been out of blogland so long as to have missed your news about visiting our shores. How aptly put about 'top hats and tube tops' - that is probably a great description for the country at large!

Emily Rehse said...

Brilliant fascinator! Looks like the trip was a success!

Elz said...

I lived in Britain for 5 years growing up and the general fashion sense was ...interesting, to say the least. Sounds like an amazing trip!

TCP said...

Have been waiting for the story of your trip with baited breath. Dying, DYING, of jealousy over all of it, but most especially the hat. Natch.

D @ Naptime in Suburbia said...

The DoC must have seen your post, because she wore a very similar hat (by the same designer, no less) today!

Annabel Manners said...

So fabulous! I love that you got to fuel your anglophilia and sneak away for some restorative time with friends. I bet you were the cutest girl at the races!

What Kate Wore said...

Like a few others, I am dying. DYING. Over the entire Prettified-shebang-boondoggle-extravaganza. (Although still smarting I wasn't there along with your other 105,000 close friends. Sniff.)

The fascinator is killer. TDF. I am simply out of words with this one Miss Pretty. STILL DYING!!
tp/WKW

The Shabby Princess said...

Yes, this is perfection. I love that we can both wax poetic about our love for England even though I feel that our beloved land gets mocked because you know, it's not Paris or Rome or whatever. ENGLAND ROCKS PEOPLE.

And, I adore Hampstead! Well, I adore everything about this.

Re: the tube tops, isn't that so funny about London? You have so much fanciness, and, then, well, that. Well played, Europe, well played.

a H.I.T. said...

I'm beyond obsessed with England and beyond jealous of this trip and that you were able to where a fascinator for a real, true occasion that requires one such hat. I wish my best friends would move across the pond so I could visit. Some girls get all the luck.

Amy @ Forever 29 said...

Agreed that a trip to visit locals beats any touristy type trip. Pantyhose & shorts? I thought that look was exclusive to Hooters. Oh, and did you get your own ladies maid? I hope so!

Nat said...

Wow so jealous of this trip! Can't wait to read the rest! PS- you look adorable!

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