The Beaux Guide to Travel, Relocation, & London

Guys!!!! Hi. It's me. i literally just put on a playlist called "its lit!!!" on apple music to pump myself up while writing this blog post...CANNOT WAIT.

so i actually began writing this blog post last month when i was in and out of london to germany and mexico and bascially traveling lots. over the last four years (its been two years since I formally moved to London), i have acquired a few things that have made my travel +london life experiences so much better and wanted to talk them out bro! Esp. since some of these I wish I had known soooo much sooner. SO! this post is dedicated to anyone and everyone first of all. second of all it goes out to anyone who has uprooted their life to another country. third of all omg this playlist is SO BAD. Fourth of all I hope this little listy Tipsy for moving to London, traveling about London, and then living in london helps. 143 i love u

Airplane tips:

-Before I moved to the uk and spent many a long-haul flight traveling to meet my beau(x??? haha)...who is now my hubba hubba husband, I was sure to bring a little dop kit on my flights across the Atlantic to freshen up with in the baggage claim bathroom w my bags before you go out to arrivals/meet the love of your life. It's not glamorous but it DEF HELPS HYGIENE / MAKES YOU FEEL HUMAN AGAIN!

I'd recommend packing: some natural deodorant, some Buddha balm (I like to homemake my own with thieves oil, blog post to come), natural toothbrush and toothpaste, lavender/vetiver/ rose/lemon/ or bergamot organic essential oil for perfume, cream blush (my fave is by Rosie Jane), natural wipes to clean your face and a face spritz (my fave from clemence organics)

-Bring a spare pair of cotton underwear, contacts and seeing glasses on your flight just in case your luggage doesn't meet you.  if you have perfect eyesight...you lucky son of a gun and just bring spare underwear.

-Bring some organic thieves oil and drop two or three drops on a tissue and breathe in deeply every so often. Help thwart airplane germs and grossness bc its antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial, etc.

-Always say yes to every ounce of water they offer you on the flight and then some. (To be fair, I also say yes to champagne...🙊🙈))

-I always bring a pair of nap socks and a scarf on the long haul flights bc I've only been warm on a plane once. I also like to wear birkenstocks with said socks so I can take off my shoes easily at security (even though im TSA precheck bc airport staff literally have no idea whats going on ever) and also take them off easily when Im in my seat and not have to fuss about putting on socks BC THEYRE ALREADY ON. BLAAMO.

-Away Carry on bc my phone never dies. My other luggage is handmedown tumi and so far so good...the plan is im pretty much going to run those into the ground. Otherwise I honestly bring my stuff in a plastic bag. My husband told me to never tell anyone about that but look at me now!! I took photos below w my beloved celine but if im honest i ususally use a old plastic bag as my purse. haha. that paired w my socks +birkenstocks is pretty cool, says me. 

-The best lounge in the whole world is the virgin Atlantic in terminal three at heathrow. I.e. Eggs Benedict for breakfast and free spa treatments. Almost worth that business class ticket or else the many, many flights to become a platinum skymember. almost. 

-Where to begin with airlines other than they all suck. In terms of comparing airline seats: Delta economy is worth upgrading to comfort. Virgin economy is so so tight but so is the comfort so, not worth the upgrade. British airway economy is doable plus I don't think they have comfort option. Book BA Tix far in advance to get best price. Delta's fares are always high but then they get even higher less than four weeks before the flight.  In terms of business class (thanks frequent flier miles) my fave is virgin (lie totally flat and good food), then american airlines (HUGE TVS, not fully flat seats, food is ok), then BA(lots of space but not totally flat... awful food), then delta (less space, not flat, and terrible food).

Random side note: the best economy I've ever flown was Aeromexico from Buenos Aires to DF on a plane from the 70s and the seats were literally laze boys. Massive and so comfy. I slept the whole 12 hours.  Wehhhhhh!

-Take the tube to/from heathrow! I always take the Piccadilly line bc its 3.80£ instead of 40-50£ in a taxi/uber. Heathrow express (30£ roughly) only makes sense for ppl who lives near paddington or else on the central line. Aka above Hyde park areas. Gatwick is another story also i dont like gatwick. 

-Visas: be prepared to be frustrated at every point. The process took me 1.5 solid years to get my residence card and not one part was easy or cheap. 

-My final and most crucial tip for international/uk airport travel is:

Become a registered traveler. Seriously. I can now go through the electronic customs and skip lines and awful customs agents who don't understand residence cards/ why I am coming to England (RETURNING HOME...le sigh). ( you can also get registered traveler status if you travel more than 4 times to London a year even if you don't live here.) 

London life/life hacks:

TRANSPORT: I try to take the bus everywhere. ( Except to the airport bc then I have to take the Piccadilly line). It's the best and half the price of the tube and less claustrophobic. Also I walk a lot. You see gems of London that way.

NATURAL MEDICINE/YOGA: My go to acupuncturists are beata Florova and Sharon Subner at evolve. My yoga studio is also evolve. My osteopath is makiko at grace belgravia bc she gives full on massage treatments.

LONG DISTANCE WALKING: I have a great pair of sneakers that I actually walk around London in, but I bring a nice pair for chic meetips in my bag. 

DRY SHAMPOO DIY: I use arrowroot powder instead of batiste or any other dry shampoo. It's natural and won't cause cancer. (I feel legally it's important to note I'm not a doctor here just a hippy dippy mama jama) I put some in a jar and add a few drops of my fave essential oil and then brush it in to my scalp with an extra face brush.

TOURIST AREAS: Only brave the high streets (regent, Oxford, etc) before 1130am. Otherwise it quickly becomes my version of hell with people stopping mid pavement to take a photo of a pigeon eating french fries...with an iPad. 😶

WHERE TO SHOP: I only shop on high streets (cos etc) or dept stores(Harvey nicks/ Harrods) after Xmas and then at the beginning of July. #sales. Plus january is a super quiet time in London and that's just great to deal with the more typically crowded streets of London. in general however I try to shop slower/local fashion with a sustainable and or organic ethos. Or I just shop straight up vintage or repurposed clothing.

---->Massive life/christmas hack: shop all Xmas stuff at burford garden Centre in the cotswolds (my safe place) and at the white company in January for like 70% off beautiful Xmas stuff. It's funny how literally after dec 24th everything has depreciated so drastically...

GROCERIES: I use farmdrop for groceries. It's seriously cool and mostly local produce. This is important to me bc nutritional value decreases exponentially everyday that food has to be in transit between garden to plate. Imagine how little nutrients our food from Peru has, even if it's organic etc. I do supplement that w tesco organic and waitrose organic though. 

PHONE: Do not use vodaphone!! It's the worst. Don't believe those stupid ads that say it's he best uk network. They say that about themselves. It deadzones on Oxford street and goes out of service once you leave zone 4 London. No joke- it's "no service" in everywhere but London, plus Oxford street. My husband has ee and loves it and also I know for a fact that three gets service in the countryside. Say no to vodaphone.

UTILITIES: I got to choose between time Warner or cox based on my zip code when I was in LA. TWIST: both are awful. In London I had to use sky but it's been great so far. I've never had to call them in the two years I've used them unlike time Warner which I had to call every two months.  I'm totally fine now/over thatobviously.

BANKING: I use HSBC and I hate it. I have to wait 30 mins to reach anyone on the phone (i.e. When they block my card randomly bc they think something is fraudulent on a rountine payment). I am opening a Santander account. Wish me luck.

HAIRCARE: I freaking love glasshouse salon in hackney. Tricky thing is that I live on the west side so it takes an hour to get there. It's amazing and all organic and natural and it's where I temporarily dye my hair pink and purple. For west side I have heard that Taylor Taylor in libertys is great at ombré, josh wood in Notting hill does great natural blonde, and finally my husband just got the best haircut of this life at allure in south Ken on bute street (it's not chic or anything) and I saw someone getting amazing ash blonde color so I may try that at some point.

EATING: My favorite casual eating spots: Ottolengi double choc cookies are in themselves worth a ticket to london, Franco manca is life, daylesford is where i want to spend my free time, dishoom is great but go at a off time so no queue, and udderlicious for great fresh ice cream. 

WIDE OPEN SPACE: Get out to the countryside at least once a month. It's good for the soul. I'd recommend paddington to kingham for a day at the wild rabbit and daylesford.

{Guys that is literally the most ive ever typed in a blog post. are you guys alright? i hope so bc i have a little more to say haha}

In general, uprooting your life is difficult no matter how amazing the destination or circumstances are. I am still trying to acknowledge any frustration/anger I feel and then let it go, esp when I feel like ppl around me take my upheaval/ move around the world for granted/ that it was expected of me (however inadvertent on their end. BUT No one will know how hard it is to do that except for you, plus anyone else who has gone through it themselves. There's something very different about studying abroad or traveling to a country, and then moving to a country. I definitely have had a mourning period for my loss of idaho.)

Adding on to the above, it's ok if you suddenly find yourself in a 'sacred void' following the upheaval. Work may not come as easily or in the form that you have expected. And it may be a super barren time for a while (I know I've had times of super frustration during my adjustment period!!) My advice I can only give myself now that hindsight is 20/20 is: try to soften and stay open with this void and let the universe create something for you during this super magnetic time. Be like a river running through new terrain. Try to let go of all the anger. (Hahaha, this advice is still too relevant for me bc I don't want to listen to right now)

Moving to London was no easy feat. It was not easy even when I was married to a British man. I wouldnt wish that move or visa process on my worst enemy. BUT the bottom line is that I am SO GRATEFUL TO LIVE IN LONDON. It is handsdown my favorite city I've ever lived in. It is so magical and beautiful and full of history. And i LOVE the ppl Ive met here (you hear that @byvanessleigh?) I'm so happy to be here even though there were times when I wanted to retreat back home along the way. 

Xo, ashley

do u even facetune bro? no i do not so this is me, raw

do u even facetune bro? no i do not so this is me, raw

beauxtravel
beauxtravel
sometimes i tell myself ive yet to hit my growth spurt...but for now culottes and capris still hit my ankles. ill grow into them. 

sometimes i tell myself ive yet to hit my growth spurt...but for now culottes and capris still hit my ankles. ill grow into them. 

beauxtravel
got my birkys, my charger bag, celine/plastic bag, and cashmere socks I AM READY 

got my birkys, my charger bag, celine/plastic bag, and cashmere socks I AM READY 

beauxtravel
beauxtravel
beauxtravel
beauxtravel
beauxtravel
beauxtravel

Jacket: Vintage Max Mara

Bag: Celine

Suitcase: Away

Shoes: Birkenstocks

Cashmere socks: The White Company

Pants: Boden

Turtleneck: Cos 

(A few of the pieces I am wearing are not in stock any more, so here are as similar as I could get!)

xx