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Puttin’ on the Ritz

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The Occasion: Last time I went to England, I didn’t have tea at the Ritz. Now, you’ll see in lots of the upscale touristy books that “tea at the Ritz is a simply a must;” what they neglect to mention is that “must” is nearly 100 dollars a head for the same high tea offered throughout London. So last time an emphasis on practicality, frugality, and poor planning prevented my dining in style. This time around, with most of the other big tourist attractions behind me, I decided to budget and see what the hubbub was about. For our group of five, I booked in September for an early December tea slot around noon. At the time, I didn’t account for the Christmas fever that would be spreading, but what a catching epidemic! Everything looked very snappy.

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The Tea: I must declare everything was simply topping. Between the seven types of sandwiches, the luxurious ambiance, the smart tidbits of conversation, and the cake man bringing more delicious options to choose from, the Ritz was lovely! But to be honest, I think part of the reason I enjoyed it was because of the mounting anticipation and the planning and waiting that went into it. There’s a sense that if you’re going to spend every dime on the tea, it better be worth it, so you might try a bit harder at witty conversation, I picked a dress that I thought had a twenties vibe, and then I went all out with my fancy daycoat. If you are looking to just get high tea in London, don’t come to the Ritz, but if you want to feel like a million dollar trooper drinking the same tea, you’ve found your outlet (but book now).

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The Outfit:

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Coat: Tally Weijl | Fur: from estate sale (shown here and here)| Dress: BCBG | Tights: Primark | Shoes: Pour La Victoire | Shoe Clips: Vintage Clip-on earrings | Purse: Kate Spade | Leather Gloves: Vintage

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Tips his hat just like an English chappie…

And for a bit of last minute tree-decorating inspiration, I’d recommend Mr. Astaire singing this little ditty.

Hej Stokholm: Part I

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I bought my tickets to Sweden after checking the Ryanair prices for all of Scananavia. I ended up in Stockholm rather than Copenhagen or Oslo due not to my overwhelming longing for St. Lucia’s Day and love for Ikea, but really my overall greed (or thrift, as the boy scouts say) and ignorance. I was even more excited to find out that for every American Dollar, I would get a whopping 7 Swedish Kronor. Get that? SEVEN!!

Well, fate played a cruel joke.

That remarkable 7 wouldn’t buy a candy bar, much less a coke, and 7 kronor is about the equivalent of 25 cents. As it turns out, Sweden is one of the richest, and most expensive countries in Europe. While it’s not, you know, Zurich, Priceoftravel.com lists it as the second most expensive city on its backpacker index. Do note that Monaco does not figure in the rankings, but honestly, when you are competing with Monaco, doesn’t that concede the point?

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Nevertheless, unlike Paris, with the price tag came a new standard of cleanliness. Stockholm proper was cleaner than Disney on a given morning, and some of the views could seriously compete for one of those two remaining spots on the world showcase. Virtually everywhere in the city is surrounded by the river (Norrstrom), and it makes for some truly breathtaking scenery. With such a pristine city, I can only imagine what the fabled countryside of the rest of Stockholm looks like (though Ryanair is always quite in coming complete with an hour- long sightseeing tour as you try to find civilization relative to the remote airport where it has dumped you- this was no exception).

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20140926_143849Once I finally reached the city, I immediately bought a map and some “toast” which turned out to be none other than a well-timed panini. After planning out the day, I decided I would go to the hostel and drop off my luggage bag. Unfortunately, it was then I realized (bereft of wifi and data) that I had no idea, except for a general direction, where the hostel was. With that, I started walking in the direction of the island area (there are 4 major ones that compose Stockholm) that I thought it was on. The Hostel’s name was “Lodge 52,” so I decided to keep walking until I came to the address numbered “52” (which was much further away than it sounds). My father likes to say “even a blind hog finds an acorn now and then,” while I cannot speak for hogs, I can say I had an incredible stroke of dumb luck, because apartment 52 and Lodge 52 of this random road happened to be the same place.

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Master of Directions

From there, I went to see the Royal Palace (which looks more like another feat of seventies architecture than anything old and regal), the town, and the Nobel Museum.

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What I Wore:
As a preface, I would advise anyone travelling to Stockholm to bring almost exclusively black clothing if you are visiting after September 1st. I was the only breath of pastel on most streets I was in. But more on that in the next post…
Hat: British Vintage (from charity shop)
Dress: Anthropologie
Scarf: BCBG
Tights: Wolford (ebay)
Shoes: Clarks

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