Springtime in London - une femme d'un certain âge

Out and about in London (sort of)

Spring colors in private garden in London.

Our stay in London was scheduled to be short, but full. I’d arranged meetups with several friends, and was really looking forward to seeing everyone. But the universe had other ideas.

About an hour after we arrived, I came down with a bad stomach bug, which turned out to be bacterial food poisoning (per lab results). I must have picked it up somewhere in Paris, not sure where.

Each morning I hoped I might be feeling better and be able to keep plans, and each day I had to cancel. I was still not well the day before we were supposed to fly home. So the doctor strongly suggested we push back our flight to give me more time to recover. I did not relish the idea of an 11 hour flight in that condition, so we did.

We were able to enjoy a few short walks while the weather in London was spectacular, so here’s a snippet of springtime…

Susan B. in Green Park, London.

Above: I’m wearing a little blazer I picked up at Comptoir des Cotonniers in Paris. And a big smile because I was SO happy to get outdoors for a little while.

I can tell this blazer is going to be real workhorse…I’ve worn it almost daily and it goes with everything. Here are a few with a similar look:

Path in Green Park London, early spring leaves.

London has some of the most gorgeous parks! (And avian residents.)

Spring blossoms and duck, Green Park London.
Fancy schmancy duck in Regent's Park, London.
Ignoring the sign, feeding the birds. Green Park, London.

Really, people??

Looking toward Buckingham Palace.
Buckingham Palace guard by sentry post behind iron gate.

Around Buckingham Palace. Thursday was the Queen’s 96th birthday!

Photograph of Queen Elizabeth in Claridge's lobby, London.
Sherlock Holmes Museum on Baker Street, London.

On Baker Street.

Easter display at Hedonism Wines, London.

Le Monsieur snapped this cute Easter display one of the days I was stuck in bed. Fortunately, he was unaffected by any stomach troubles.

Red and white floral dresses in LK Bennett window, London.

I haven’t really spotted any noticeable style trends in London, other than floral frocks and skirts, which seem to be popular. Otherwise you see a little bit of everything (including athleisure).

The next few days…

Because we’d used miles for our air travel, the next available flight we could get was for next week. (Apparently everyone is wanting to travel now, and flights are more booked up.) So we’ve now relocated out to the countryside just a short train ride from town. It’s much less expensive, and a nice decompression from the stress of the last few days.

Sipping Bollinger champagne along the Thames in Hampton Court.

I’m grateful that my illness hit when it did, after we’d checked into a hotel where we had access to staff and a doctor and didn’t have to go anywhere for a few days. Had I been sick before leaving Paris it would have been much more difficult. And I’m grateful that we were able to shift our plans and make the best of it when things went sideways. More to come, cheers!

Stay in touch.

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47 Comments

  1. Penny
    April 23, 2022 / 1:10 am

    Sorry to hear you weren’t well Susan, and I’m glad you had time to enjoy a bit of London. Your posts are a constant pleasure . I can’t tellyou how much I enjoy reading them.

  2. Susan D.
    April 23, 2022 / 2:12 am

    I’m glad you are finally on the mend! I hope the time out from London in the countryside has been restorative and fun.

  3. Ellen
    April 23, 2022 / 4:17 am

    Glad you are feeling better, and able to salvage some of the London part of your trip. England in the springtime is gorgeous; ig you are feeling up to it, a trip to Kew Gardens, easy to do by train, would be worth the effort.

  4. No Fear of Fashion
    April 23, 2022 / 4:18 am

    That is a great jacket you picked up in Paris. Suits you really well.
    Greetje

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      April 23, 2022 / 8:28 am

      Thanks, Greetje!

  5. SuD
    April 23, 2022 / 4:25 am

    I hope you feel better soon. Do you have any idea how you got food poisoning? Only curious because you said your hubby did not get it.

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      April 23, 2022 / 8:28 am

      No clue. We didn’t eat anywhere out of the ordinary. We usually order different dishes so we can try each other’s. Whatever it was, I got the bugs, he didn’t.

  6. C
    April 23, 2022 / 4:27 am

    Could you please post where you stay in London?

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      April 23, 2022 / 8:27 am

      Look for a separate post soon!

      • Ann Y.
        April 23, 2022 / 9:53 am

        Thanks…I was going to ask the same thing! Looking to do a Paris river cruise and then spend a few days in London !

      • Denise Lalande
        April 24, 2022 / 5:50 am

        Great, looking forward to it.

  7. Jill Jenkins
    April 23, 2022 / 5:15 am

    I’m happy you’re feeling better Susan & you were able to work around the inconveience of being ill. Take care! Jill

  8. Téa
    April 23, 2022 / 5:16 am

    You certainly know how to pivot and make the best of a “not great” situation…enjoy the rest of your trip!

  9. Teresa Pouncey
    April 23, 2022 / 5:34 am

    So glad you’re feeling better Susan. It’s miserable being ill on holiday.
    Love your jacket, it looks really good. I too recently discovered comptoir des cotonniers in Bologna and love it!

  10. Kathryn Sonek
    April 23, 2022 / 5:48 am

    I’d be curious to hear what caused the food poisoning. My husband also had a similar thing in Paris. Makes me very cautious about what to eat when traveling. So glad you were able to make the most of your time and that you are finally on the mend.

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      April 23, 2022 / 8:26 am

      I wish I knew. We didn’t eat any place remotely sketchy. My husband and I usually make it a point to order different dishes so that we can try more things. Whatever it was that I had, he didn’t have enough of it to get sick.

      • Judy
        April 23, 2022 / 10:12 am

        Gosh Susan so sorry to hear this.
        Reminds me of a similiar experience in Spain. We were there two months and each tasted the others dishes. My husband got very ill the day we were boarding a train for a day trip out of Madrid. We got to the destination and immediately turned around and came back to our apartment. For the first time I realized how much I relied on my husband’s Spanish as getting soups etc at the grocery store alone was a challenge for me. He was sick a few days but you never know.
        I am not a Doctor but was advised by one long ago to take a probiotic everyday, which I do and have been fortunate to not get sick. Not sure it’s the probiotic but cannot hurt. Also being up to date on shots for food borne or certain illnesses is important in my opinion. My biggest fear is getting ill on a long trip. We have found there is very good health care in many countries.
        Hope you feel better. Happy you could stay on. Your puppy must miss you, and you her 🙂
        Take care

        • SuD
          April 24, 2022 / 5:22 am

          I’ll second the probiotic. We don’t travel without it ever since I got a terrible stomach bug upon arriving in Costa Rica many years ago. I’ve been back many times, and it’s never happened again.

  11. Frances
    April 23, 2022 / 5:59 am

    I’m so sorry to hear this, Sue! Nothing like violent g-i disturbances when you’re not in your own home — horrid! It’s good to hear that you’re feeling better and that you’re able to take time, even getting some Added Value to your travel. We’ve also hit a little bump here in Rome (my bag was stolen), and it’s a good reminder that travel doesn’t always look the way the Tourism Agencies show it. It’s important to pack some resilience, patience, and flexibility along with the good walking shoes!

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      April 23, 2022 / 8:23 am

      I saw that Frances, and am so sorry this happened to you! I hope you were able to get the passport situation sorted out, and that you didn’t lose too much else that was dear with the bag.

  12. Karen
    April 23, 2022 / 6:04 am

    Well that stinks, but at least your where able to extend your stay so that you where not miserable and trapped on an airplane. Hope you are feeling better and back to your normal self soon

  13. Debra
    April 23, 2022 / 6:19 am

    Glad to hear you are on the mend. Expect the unexpected is my mantra for traveling these days! My son had an unexpected extra week stay in London when he tested positive for COVID before our departure, but we were able to find him a spot through AirBnB and…well, you just move forward and make the best of things, right?

    By the way, if you’re ever really sick in Paris, head to the American Hospital. I was quite ill once while in the city and they were a great help. Seeing an English-speaking doctor was a godsend. And I think the visit, meds, etc. ended up costing me around $300, without insurance. Certainly different than the US.

    I’m too curious as to what caused the food poisoning, but you’ll likely never know. Going to be careful about what I eat this summer!

    • Jill Ann
      April 23, 2022 / 1:22 pm

      Can second this. My friend tripped & split her chin open on a curb. Taxi driver looked at her (bleeding profusely ) & said, “American Hospital”. They saw her promptly, stitched her up, and were overall very kind and efficient, all at minimal charge to her.

  14. Linda Reichertz
    April 23, 2022 / 6:25 am

    So very sorry to hear you were sick with a stomach ailment while traveling. That is so hard. Very glad to hear that you were able to find out the cause and get good medical care. That is crazy how all those people are trying to feed the birds out of their hands with the sign warning there. Go figure.

    It sounds like you were able to maintain a positive attitude which is a blessing.

  15. C.D.
    April 23, 2022 / 6:37 am

    So sorry you were ill, Susan, but glad you’re feeling better and were able to make the best of the situation. Your comment about being glad you were in a hotel that could help with providing a doctor is a good one. When my husband got sick during a trip abroad a few years ago in a country where we didn’t speak the language well, our hotel sent a doctor who helped him recover more quickly. Obviously, language wasn’t a problem in London, but still glad it worked out for you. And thank you and your husband for taking such lovely photos for your readers despite it all!

  16. Lesley
    April 23, 2022 / 7:16 am

    Glad you’re feeling better – our parks in London are known as “London’s lungs” we’re fortunate to have so much green.

  17. Brenda
    April 23, 2022 / 7:34 am

    Glad you are feeling better. Kudos to you for the great attitude about it!

    On my 28th birthday, I boarded a train for Florence, having spent the morning in Rome. Food poisoning set in along the way – next thing I knew I was waking up in a hospital, being told ‘Happy Birthday’ by a handsome male nurse who was jotting down my info from my passport. All my stuff was safely with me, and I got excellent care until I was recovered and could move on. Little moments of grace and human kindness. I was grateful.

  18. Sarah
    April 23, 2022 / 7:48 am

    Yikes! So glad you are feeling better. It’s miserable to be ill and far from home, but clearly you have the right attitude to handle vacation vicissitudes. Hope your extended stay is a great success.

  19. Julie-Ann
    April 23, 2022 / 8:04 am

    Glad you are on the mend. Being ill when away from home is the worst. Thanks for the beautiful pics of London.

  20. Jean
    April 23, 2022 / 8:33 am

    So sorry that you were sick in London; but glad you access to a doctor and could stay longer. I have been to London once; after a cancer surgery
    and it is a great place to visit. So much history and so many things to do. I really enjoy your blog.
    Rest well! safe trip home!

  21. Florida Lyn
    April 23, 2022 / 8:52 am

    Losing days to stomach bug while travelling has been a recurring theme for me. You just have to ride it out. (By the way, you can’t buy Pepto Bismol in France, so if that is your go-to treatment, bring a supply with you.)
    That new blazer is a real winner. It suits you perfectly. There are a lot worse things than having to spend extra days in London. Enjoy the bonus days once you recover. Santé!

  22. Mary Alice
    April 23, 2022 / 8:56 am

    I am so sorry to hear of your illness! I hope you had trip insurance. I bought it for the first time on a whim for a trip to New York. While we were there, moving my daughter into college at NYU, Hurricane Irene hit NYC. Insurance ended up covering my additional days at the hotel (airports and all ground transport was closed) and even all meals during the delay days, as well as train fare to the airport when we were finally able to leave. It was a godsend!

  23. Nancy MK
    April 23, 2022 / 10:33 am

    So sorry, Susan. 7 years ago I caught a bug on the ship so spent most of our 10 day stay in London, my husband’s first time there, in bed, fortunately in a nice flat with a view of trees, while he went out. On day 6 appetite returned, never did anything taste so good as those fish and chips. I hope that you will soon be able to relish food as well as enjoy the surroundings.

  24. Mary
    April 23, 2022 / 11:21 am

    I certainly feel for you. Glad you are on the mend and able to at least spend a bit of time out and about in London. These days, folks simply have to be prepared for the unexpected. I’ve recently returned from London myself (traveling solo), after a nine day unexpected extension of my trip due to Covid–caught two days before my original return date. I was also somewhat impeded by the fact I badly injured my knee on the flight to the UK, so spent my first day in a (private) hospital getting an MRI, being seen by orthopaedic consultant and then fitted for a leg brace (which I am still wearing). But even with the bookend setbacks, I consider myself lucky. I had absolutely great medical care, was still able to get up to Edinburgh (via train) to spend time with friends and upon my return to London (and testing positive for Covid–fortunately with relatively minor symptoms of a sore throat and runny nose) was able to extend my London hotel stay so I never had to leave the hotel or even change rooms. I had a large, 12′ ceiling room with three tall windows that opened for fresh air and–best of all–my own kitchen facilities. So I ordered groceries for delivery via my Waitrose app. Extra LFTs were delivered by Boots and NHS sent a PCR test (hotel staff sent it back for me) so I was able to get an official diagnosis without leaving the hotel. I had brought extra prescribed medication with me, as well as a thermometer and pulse ox reader and recommend others do the same for international trips. I’ve very few complaints outside of the extra costs 🙂 and the amount of time spent on the phone with the airline rearranging my flight home. But, still, I’m glad I went.

    One firm recommendation for folks–make sure you have a good travel insurance policy for international trips.

  25. Sally
    April 23, 2022 / 12:47 pm

    Wow! Bacterial gastrointestinal infection that’s terrible! I’m so glad you’re better. I’m amazed you could post anything while you were ill. I’m glad you had proper medical attention and aren’t you and Le Monsieur clever to relocate and a a later flight back! What an ordeal!
    But you look adorable as usual. Love the new jacket. Stay safe!

  26. Angela
    April 23, 2022 / 1:09 pm

    Our local pharmacist recommends travelling with capsules of Activated Charcoal. It is good for mopping up toxins in your body. Thankful for the advice when my husband got sick on a tour in China just before the covid outbreak.

  27. Jill Ann
    April 23, 2022 / 1:38 pm

    So sorry about your illness! Not the way you want to spend vacation days. Like others, I can relate: my bff & I were doing our “Roots Tour” in England a couple years ago. Went to visit the Broad Street Pump and had dinner at the John Snow Pub (John Snow was the dr who figured out that the pump was the source of a cholera epidemic, huge scientific breakthrough). Early the next morning in our London hotel, I was violently ill. We joked (to the extent that I could joke) that I got cholera from the pub! Don’t know what I had, but it was miserable and disgusting. Good news was that it was really only a 24 hour thing. Bad news was that my friend came down with it 2 days later. We’d had to cancel a couple of plans with nonrefundable tickets, but we had booked afternoon tea at the Ritz, and she was absolutely determined not to forfeit that! I admired her grit for making it through the tea successfully, although she went back to bed immediately after we got back to the hotel. I went walking in Hyde park!

    Main takeaway from the experience was to always travel with imodium…..

  28. Chris
    April 23, 2022 / 6:55 pm

    Hi Susan
    So glad you’re on the mend! We’re going to London on May 7. At your recommendation I have a Red Leopard session scheduled. So excited! But I’m confused about what supporting color capsule I should put together. -/ I have navy as a base with denim jacket, jeans and black EF. Crepe pants plus athleisure gray leggings with navy/gray camo jacket by Anatomie. Medium or dark denim? Two one pair?

    Should my supporting pieces be more in the rust or khaki family? I have a khaki EF jacket similar to the one you posted today. Also have similar EF pieces in rust. I can easily go in either direction. Hard to determine how light to go. Also packing a tiered solid midi dress in a bright yellow. Bought new white sneakers and soft, stretching denim jacket recommended by Tania. Love it! If you were packing today, what recommendation do you have?

    Thanks for all your help and the continuing sophistication of your blog

  29. Daniella
    April 23, 2022 / 7:11 pm

    Good looking blazer. Chic, sporty, youthful. Nothing else comes close.
    Growing up in Europe toughened my immune system. Rarely, if ever, do I get sick while on travel there. Not so, for my poor American husband.

  30. June Haynes
    April 23, 2022 / 9:11 pm

    I had a similar experience. Last night before leaving Paris for home, several years ago, we went out to an Indian restaurant that we had eaten at a couple of times before. Was up all night back and forth to the bathroom. Decided to go to the airport the next morning as planned. Felt somewhat better and actually ate a croissant at the airport. Thankfully was okay on flight back just somewhat weak. Not a fun way to end a trip.

  31. Susan M
    April 24, 2022 / 2:29 am

    Glad you are on the mend Susan, but it is disappointing when you get sick on holiday. I think gastro is the worse thing to get, especially in Italy circa 1978, when most of the loos seemed to be of the squat variety. On my last trip to Bangkok, I was careless and had ice in my drink and ended up as ‘crook as a dog’ with gastro. The irony is, most people are worried about getting Covid and we forget that gastro, flus and other bugs are still floating around.

  32. Cath
    April 24, 2022 / 6:51 am

    Susan, I am near Russell Square right now! Montague on the Gardens ( 4th stay)
    Had you been well, and still staying in London…rather than elsewhere getting your energy back … I
    might have shyly asked if you might like to meet for a chat. But , you are wise to enjoy this fabulous springtime until your flight s are set for your return home.
    I am here in London until Tuesday , at which time I will stay in Bedchester, Dorset for a 4 day cottage retreat , with bespoke daily jaunts about the country side ( English Cottage Vacations) .
    I got sidelined too …a bad cold for part of my PONANT cruise ( Lisbon to London) . Drank copious amounts of water and slept a lot…and wondered how, with masking on board ( very diligent), I came down with a garden variety cold!?
    Tomorrow, which is Monday, I am booked for my Red Leopard appointment with Manina and Rachel…so looking forward to my indulgence! All because of you, Susan! That’s the only reason I know about their brilliant business.
    Hope all goes well for the rest of your extended holiday, and you feel perky and comfortable for your return flight to CA. Loose clothing after your bout of the bug?
    Cheers! I am off for a mini Sunday afternoon tea overlooking the gardens.

  33. Joann Czarny
    April 24, 2022 / 7:43 am

    I am so sorry to hear that you got sick. When traveling in Paris, I too got the same bug as you. It was attributed to eating their eggs because eggs in Europe are not refrigerated.
    I sympathize because it is a tough go. I’m glad you got care and we’re able to pivot and change your plans. I always enjoy your travels and your outfits!

  34. Lee Rosenthall
    April 24, 2022 / 8:51 am

    I’m so sorry that happened, Susan. I got deathly ill from something I think I ate on a plane on the way to Russia to adopt my son 20 years ago. Fortunately, we were told to travel with Cipro, and it seemed to do the trick. Glad you’re on the med and getting a little time to enjoy the UK countryside before you return home. I just LOVE all those red/white ditsy prints. I’ve always been a sucker for ditsy prints – especially Liberty ones – but these looks so fresh in the red & white. Thanks for sharing!

    • Lee Rosenthall
      April 24, 2022 / 8:53 am

      *on the MEND (although “med” might work too!)

  35. Karen G.
    April 24, 2022 / 6:57 pm

    So very sorry. It must have been so disappointing. Happened to me in the Czech Republic. Just grateful to have recovered w/o a Dr. visit. It can happen anywhere, and glad you were in a place with good care.

  36. Elisabeth Mestlin
    April 24, 2022 / 11:00 pm

    Glad your feeling better. I always lucked out on that .sofar never got sick ,but as I’m getting older I find myself getting better insurance for my trips .one never knows .

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