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Of all the cities in the world that I’ve visited, London is my top pick for traveling to with children. This is my second time visiting, but my first bringing the kids. Despite all the cool things we did while on our 3-week multi-city Euro trip, my kids LOVED London the most. (Check out my posts from Vienna, Hallstatt, and Salzburg.) It’s safe to say they have the fondest memories of their time spent here in the UK, especially London.

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From prehistoric Stonehenge and the Roman-built baths in Bath, England, to the lavender fields of North Kent, our hearts were taken by all the charming pastel neighborhoods in London, and the city’s abundance of educational, historical, and entertaining activities. London is a family’s paradise – there is something for everyone – and I’ll tell you about some of our faves:

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Hop-On Hop-Off with The London Pass

Hop-on hop-off buses are the best way to see a big city with kids. We rode the Tube when we were just leisurely exploring the neighborhoods, but we also choose a hop-on hop-off bus tour day package (which we like to do in every major city we visit). In London, we went with The London Pass to get us to all the major sites. First, it saves you money because entry fees to London’s most popular attractions are already paid for and included in the price of The London Pass. Second, it saves you (and the kids) a lot of walking. On top of that, you can really pack in a lot of attractions without having to break a sweat. You can hop-off at the places you like to explore more, and then hop back on again!

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Tower Bridge

The Tower Bridge is synonymous with LONDON to the world. It was built between 1886 and 1894 and designed to be harmonious with the Tower of London. This drawbridge has two prominent Gothic towers which are linked by high-level footbridges, encased in steel latticework. My kids’s absolutely fave part was the glass floor in the walkways at the very top of the Tower Bridge. It was even more cool when we were laying on the glass, the drawbridge was going up! This only happens 3-5 times a day! You can plan your Tower Bridge experience here.

p.s. LONG LINES here, so buy tickets in advance, or if you have the London Pass, it’s already included!

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Tower of London

The Tower of London is an absolute must-see part of any London itinerary. It has been a royal palace, a prison, an execution site, a zoo, a museum, and a crown jewel house. Because of its history over a thousand years, you can imagine the stories (and legends) are never-ending and highly entertaining! At one point inside the Tower of London, while we were waiting in the massive line to see the Crown Jewels, my kids were starting to act crazy. So I asked one of the Royal Guards to set them straight. And he did! They were on their best behavior after that ‘cuz they were scared they were going into the dungeon where they keep bad kids.

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The London Dungeon

This attraction is nasty in a good way, with all the gruesome gory bits from London’s history. Small boys love this stuff. The actor led tours are awesome and we learned all about medieval torture methods, Jack the Ripper, the plague and the great fire. If your kids are old enough (or just really brave and crazy like mine) and like their history horrible, they’ll love this experience for sure!

Hope you enjoyed reading the highlights from our time in London – scroll down for more pics!

xo, Melissa

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It’s that time of the year! I remember as a kid, it was one of my favorite time of the year. This year, I will have three kids in school! I’ll have a preschooler, a kindergartner, and a first grader. To be honest, I’m very sad they’re all going back to school. As much as they drive me mental daily, I love having the freedom to take them anywhere to explore.

We were able to take care of all their back to school shopping needs in one trip! So not kidding! From fall clothes (because it’ll be cold in just a few short Midwest weeks!) to shoes, we got it all covered. That’s the best part about Woodfield Mall. There are so many kids friendly stores to choose from. Have you shopped at Woodfield Mall lately? I got to check out their new food court. It’s about time! It’s been long overdue. It’s nice and bright with a nice selections of good eats. Are you planning on going to Woodfield Mall for your back to school shopping? What are your favorite stores?

Check out some of our favorite finds from last week’s shopping trip!

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Just because the kids are shopping for back to school doesn’t mean this momma can’t! I couldn’t help it! After all, I’ll be doing three drops off at two different schools and three different time pick ups!

All these great finds were from H&M, Nordstrom, Zara, and Colombia Sportswear. Will you be doing your back to school shopping at Woodfield Mall this year?

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Come run away with me to a dreamland! I’m currently soaking in a yummy smelling lavender bath at home after putting the kids to nap and remembering my time earlier this summer at a dreamy lavender farm in North Kent. Lavender season is now over, but trust me, you’ll want to bookmark The Hop Shop at Castle Farm for next year!

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This family-run lavender farm in North Kent is the largest lavender farm in the UK! In the summer months, the lavender fields burst into a sea of purple. It’s literally 95 acres of jaw-dropping magic. At Castle Farm, they harvest and extract pure Kentish Lavender Oil, which you can shop along with other lavender products, here on their online store.

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Back in June, I was lucky enough to gain private access to the lavender fields courtesy of my friends at The Hop Shop, which isn’t available for everyone unless you pay for a private photography session. The public is welcome to join on lavender tours throughout the month of July every year, which includes an hour-long guided tour of the fields, a visit to the oil distillery, and photo opportunities. You can also visit a section of the fields for free without having to pay anything! Or reserve a special picnic evening in the field or an aromatherapy massage (must book in advance), which would totally make this trip one to remember. For more information, click here.

Here’s a few tips of how you can use lavender for its calming, therapeutic qualities:

  • Relax with a few drops in the bath or on a pillow.
  • Massage gently into the forehead to help soothe headaches and reduce travel sickness.
  • Use with a base oil in aromatherapy massages to help relieve muscular tension and painful joints or to induce relaxation.

Don’t forget to follow along with The Hop Shop’s Instagram for more pretty photos!

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This blog post is sponsored by The Company Store, but all opinions are my own.

When it’s hot in the Midwest, it is HOT!! Living in Chicago, you get used to really only having two seasons: brutally cold winter for six months and then a hot summer. I like to try to air out my home at the first signs of spring by opening up all the windows, but this can also make our bedroom feel a bit warm in the summertime. Just like Chicagoans are pros at switching out our wardrobes with the change in seasons, this also extends to our bedding. In the winter, I love cozy knit or flannel sheets, but in warmer months, I like to switch it up with silkier lightweight bedding.

When The Company Store reached out to me about their premium linen bedding, I jumped at the chance to try. Good quality linens are worth investing in especially if you live in a hot climate – but remember, not all linen bedding is made equally! In general, a sheet with a higher thread count will be more durable and feel softer. A thread count of 200 is a good standard, and a count of 300 will be noticeably softer. I’m a huge bedding snob – it has to be at least 600-800 thread count to touch my body!!

I always look for a nice quality sateen material, which is a cotton fabric sought after for its soft, silky touch and subtle sheen. Sateen is lightweight and breathable – perfect for hot summer nights. Noone likes tossing and turning all night because it’s too hot – and The Company Store offers linen bedding that is made to keep you cool, and your bed stylish.

I chose the Legends Camellia 600-Thread Count Egyptian Sateen Duvet Cover, which is this pretty pastel floral print in greens and taupes totally perfect for summer style. I paired it with matching 600-thread count shams. But the real prize is really the Legends 800-thread count Egyptian Cotton Flat Sheets and Pillowcases – soooo soft and smooth, and like I said before, nothing but the best will ever touch my skin lol 😉 I also accessorized the whole look with white Beekman Matelassé Shams and Coverlet. I love the quality of my new bedding!

p.s. I’m a planner! If it were up to me, summer would never end, but since this isn’t the case, it’s never too early to start planning for a Chicago winter. I ordered the Legends Geneva Down Oversized Comforter for extra warmth and can’t wait for snuggly mornings in bed with my boys!

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