5 Reasons Everyone Falls In Love With London

As you all probably know, London is on the Bowman short list for travel. Here’s why!

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“Alright geezer, how’s it hangin’?!” Whether you’re a cockney wideboy or a tourist, there is one feeling when you land in the English capital: love. 32 million visitors flock to London on a yearly basis for this reason. And, it’s probably behind the Mayor’s attempt to up the total to 40 million by 2025. Anyone who has ever been will one-hundred percent believe in his ambition.

Tourists aren’t only from the sorts of places you’d imagine, either. Yes, we Yanks like to frequent the place when possible, but it’s a city open to the world. There’s been a 103% increase in tourism from China, for example, and 90% from India. Even the Emirati people are getting in on the act as there’s been a 43% bump from the UAE.

These figures alone prove the point: London is loved by all regardless. So, it begs the question – why? What makes Asians, Americans and Britons themselves fall into a kind of deep adoration. Let’s take a look and find out.

The Lack Of Stereotypes

Imagine Britain and plenty of stereotypes will pop into your head. They have bad teeth, terrible food and even worse weather. Why are we going again?! Generalizations do come from truth, but the reality of the Big Smoke is very different. Yes, sometimes the sun has its hat on and there are some lousy burger joints, yet the majority of the time it crushes stereotypes. Some of the best restaurants in the world are located in the city, think The Savoy or Gordon Ramsay’s 3-star Michelin eatery. Plus, the weather in the south of the country is always better than everywhere else in the UK. Being closer to the equator means there’s a lot more sunshine to go around, especially in the summer. Tourists have an image in their head and it gets smashed into tiny pieces of arrival, and that is an amazing feeling.

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The History

On the flip side, we all want to see Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and beefeaters. These are the types of things no one else has because they don’t exist. Are there royal families in other countries? Of course, but they don’t have the same pop and ceremony. Are there clock towers that are bigger and grander than Ben? Probably, yet they don’t seem to be able to replicate the same elegance. And, let’s not get started on the Houses of Parliament. The building is crumbling into the sea but it’s still fantastic to stand on the Thames and gaze at the baroque architecture. In simple terms, it beats stereotypes but it also embraces them too. The balance is a difficult one which London pulls off with ease.

The Activities

And let’s not only focus on the shopping or the bars. Sorry, the pubs as the locals call them. Other cities in the UK are one dimensional whereas London town has an array of tricks up its sleeve. Take the West End as the perfect illustration. At the moment, there is The Book of Mormon in London or Wicked the musical. That’s great because these are two excellent shows well worth watching in one of the city’s finest theaters. Still, some people prefer to go off-piste and take in a different production. Down the many backstreets, there are fringe theaters such as Southwark Playhouse. There, you’ll find quirky, edgy plays and musicals that are as engaging as they are creative. Music-lovers should try a catch a gig at Alexandra Palace or Brixton Academy.

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The Satellite Towns

It’s easy to see London as one massive megalopolis, which it is in fairness. However, it’s also an amalgamation of small towns with their own culture. Soho is an area which is famous around the world for its shows, bars and openness. It’s the gay area of London. But, there are even better places to experience. Shoreditch high street is as hipster as it gets in this day and age, while Maltby Street has an amazing market. Probably the main area to check out is Camden. Home to bars where Amy Winehouse started her career, it’s a bustling town unlike any other.

The Exercise

Okay, you’re on vacation and don’t want to bother with the gym. The good news is that there is no need to worry in London. Like New York City, there is too much walking to even contemplate an hour on the rowing machine. Unlike NYC, it has government-sanctioned bikes to get from A to B and see the sights. Plus, there’s rowing on the river too.

Who needs to work out when London provides natural exercise?

5 Things This Girl Absolutely Needs for Summer Vacation Comfort

Thank you Rohto Dry-Aid for sponsoring this post.

Going on vacation this spring and summer? Here are 5 items I absolutely can't leave behind when I'm packing for a trip in the warmer weather. #ad #RohtoDryAid  #ByeByeDryEye

Summer life goals – spending lots of time by the beach, whether it’s the beach house in Cape Cod or a local lake.

I live for summer weather. No amount of heat and humidity, however uncomfortable can make me love spring and summer less. I don’t miss winter and I don’t miss the gloomier New England days of early spring – with cold rain, snow, slush and clouds. When spring finally arrives, all I want to do is be outside! The thing is, there are uncomfortable aspects to warmer weather. And I remember the first time I asked my doctor about dry eye. It wasn’t just the warmer seasons, but it was increasing screen time – through TV and the Internet. These days, we rely on our computers for much of our days and weeks.

And sometimes our eyes pay the price.

dry eyes

My dry eyes are so much worse in warmer weather. I’m talking dryness, irritation, grittiness, burning and stinging. Then you factor in windy beaches with sand flying, and it’s enough to make me cry! I love summer so very much but I have to be honest. When I think about my hair whipping around, my skin getting burned, or my eyes irritating me, it’s a deterrent.

I don’t get the carefree feeling I want so badly.

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And over the past few years, I’ve switched up my packing. We hit the beach in the summer at Cape Cod, and we hit the beach in the winter at St. Augustine Beach. We know our way around the beach at this point, and I want to know my way around feeling comfortable outdoors on vacation. No cringing or dreading. Only feeling wonderful, comfortable, and RELAXED at one of my favorite places. Here are The 5 Things This Girl Absolutely Needs for Summer Vacation Comfort:

1 – Rohto Dry-Aid. This will be wonderful at relieving your dry eye so you can go back to doing what you love on vacation – whether that’s hiking, sunbathing, swimming, reading, etc. Dry eye can be so difficult, but when you’re on vacation? Not cool at all! That’s why I make it part of my routine. And I realize I’m not always at the beach during the warmer months, but more often than not, I AM near a body of water with a good book. There are beaches in every town around here.

2 – This one might blow your mind. A yoga mat. That’s right. If you use a yoga mat instead of a towel, you can enjoy its cushioned and waterproof comfort. I tried this once by accident and I’ve never looked back since. So. Good.

3 – Bring a DIY facial mist or spray. Here are two to try. You can just spray yourself with mineral water, OR, use green tea steeped in cold water. Put the mixture into some icy water and spray it all over your face and body in the heat.

4 – Sunscreen, of course, but you have choices there. I use a special formula for my face and one for my body too. I usually use a high SPF – like 50. Also, use a lip balm with SPF. Lip burns or sun damage on your lips is no good at all.

5 – Bring a little kit that has all the medications you might need, hair ties and frizz tamer for your hair, aloe for sunburns, and bug spray. I never expect so many bugs to be at the beach, but they are. And some of them BITE!

dry eyes

I’ve had dry eye and its symptoms for as long as I can remember – way before being a parent. They are particularly troubling in warmer weather, and they make me lose some of the momentum and just plain FUN of summer. You know how it is. Spontaneous road trips, impromptu get-togethers and neighborhood BBQs. Birthday parties, date nights and tons of time by the water. That’s why I was happy to talk to my optometrist. Rohto-Dry-Aid is an over-the-counter (OTC) lubricant eye drop that helps relieve dry eye symptoms. For me personally, having dry eye is a huge challenge, especially as a photographer.

I’m supposed to be on my game, and it has honestly ruined events for me.

That’s why I love that Rohto Dry-Aid brings fast-acting, long-lasting relief for dry, irritated eyes due to overuse of digital devices, environmental conditions like arid or windy weather, extended use of contact lenses, laser eye surgery, or hormonal changes. Also, it’s clinically shown to improve key symptoms of dry eye disease – like dryness, irritation, grittiness, burning, and stinging – without making your vision blurry, and you don’t have to continually re-apply Rohto Dry-Aid.

It contains a unique formula that cools and soothes burning, stinging eyes instantly and offers consistent and continuous dry eye relief, comfort, and protection throughout the day.

dry eyes

Optometrist Dr. Susan Resnick has tips to help relieve dry eye symptoms. She said that whether you’re experiencing discomfort or redness, it’s important to treat the underlying dryness that’s causing your symptoms. Rohto Dry-Aid over-the-counter eye drops are a first line of therapy to minimize dryness and provide relief from dry eye symptoms. She also suggests getting enough sleep and drinking plenty of water throughout the day. A balanced diet with fruits, vegetables, and foods high in omega-3 fatty acids will also help restore moisture.

Always remember to remove your contact lenses before applying Rohto Dry-Aid, and wait at least 15 minutes before re-inserting them. Check out Rohto Dry-Aid’s product page here, and also read more about eye drops here.

Visit the Rohto website here for a $2 off coupon!

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What do you do for dry eyes? And what to you pack for vacation comfort?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.