Category Archives: festivities

Notting Hill Carnival

This post is coming to you a little bit late. Two weeks late in fact. I’ve had other things on my mind and just forgot to post this, so I apologize. I realize that some of you probably don’t care to hear about anything other than the results of our IVF journey and I promise, that will be coming soon, very soon. In the meantime, take a peak at the craziness that engulfed our neighborhood for two days.

Notting Hill Carnival is held every year on the last weekend of August which is our last bank holiday weekend of the summer. Sunday and Monday finds our peaceful little neighborhood transformed. Food stalls, beer stalls, sound stages and a chaotic parade fill the streets and about 1,000,000 people show up to enjoy the festivities. Our quite street is transformed into one of the main thoroughfares into the carnival and the sound of whistles and horns can be heard all day long. Even though Carnival can be a bit of an inconvenience it is still a pretty cool thing that Europe’s largest block party happens right outside our door.

The Cheap Seats

Hard Rock Calling was this weekend. We had contemplated going on Friday night to see Pearl Jam, but when it came down to it we just didn’t feel like forking over the cash. After several years of being treated to the Hard Rock VIP section with complimentary all you can eat and drink for the entire weekend, plus a roped off area out in the crowd for excellent viewing, going back to having to pay for our tickets and stand in the thronging crowds just didn’t seem so appealing. Anyhow, we went the cheap option and brought a bottle of wine to the park and sat outside on the grass with the hundreds of other cheapskates and enjoyed the concert from there. Sure, we couldn’t see anything, but the sound was pretty good and it only cost us a £10 bottle of rose.

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Royal Ascot

Ever since we moved to London I have been wanting to go to Royal Ascot. This year I finally had the opportunity to attend. I went with three good friends and we had such a great time! We started the day with brunch at Canteen at the Royal Festival Hall and then hopped on a train at Waterloo Station to make the 50 minute journey to Ascot. The train was packed with race-goers all very excited to get to the track.

When we arrived at Ascot station we followed the crowds making their way to the track. After a bit of a ticket dilemma (read: I somehow lost my tickets en route) we entered the gates to Royal Ascot. The scene was so overwhelming I didn’t know where to look first. The track facilities themselves are quite nice, but what had my attention jumping all over the place were the all the amazing hats and outfits of the race-goers. People put a lot of attention and detail into the outfits they wear to Ascot. Our little foursome was pretty conservative when it came to our outfits (as seen below), but I’d say we were the exception, not the rule.

Before the races started we got a little glimpse of the Queen and her Guards.

There were so many great outfits to chose from, I probably took about 100 photos of hats alone! Below I’ve picked out a few of my favorites.

Mid-way through the races we had a nice little afternoon tea that we had pre-ordered. I’m not sure why it was called afternoon tea because there was no tea to be had, only champagne.

We were very lucky to have such beautiful weather the day we went.

Three of us pooled our resources and placed a few bets on several of the races. I get overly excited if I win anything no matter how small, but we actually walked away with about £100 in winnings. Not bad.

After the races were over everybody moved out to the parade ring for a group sing-along.

The atmosphere for the day was very festive and happy. Everyone seemed to be having such a good time, enjoying the races and the beautiful weather. Even though it was a really long day the actual races seemed to go by so quickly. I wasn’t ready for it to end.

I have now been to four of the six “English” sporting events that I have on my list. Rugby, football, Henley Royal Regatta and Royal Ascot horse races. Next up: cricket and polo!

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