You guys you guys you guys you guys I have the most exciting project to share with you today!!
(No, I’m not going to London – I WISH.) I can hardly contain my excitement for today’s post – read on!
So my incredibly talented cousin and her friend are authors of the Val & Kit Mystery Series. They are delightfully witty novels, and their writing is equal parts entertaining and relatable. I’m so proud of them! For their upcoming installment in the series, they graciously asked me to collaborate on a fun project – a “packing list” of sorts for the girls! (They are traveling to – you guessed it – London in the 6th novel.) I had so much fun “shopping” for Val and Kit, and I think you’ll get a real sense for who they are from what they chose to bring. Scroll through to see their looks and read their itinerary for the trip!
So here’s the skinny: in the soon-to-be-released Foreign Relations, No. 6 in The Val & Kit Mystery Series, the lifelong friends are headed to foggy London-town to hit up some super-tourist-y attractions before making their way to Little Dipping, the village where Val’s daughter Emily lives. If you haven’t read the books (which you should – they are so good!) fret not, as I think you can grasp a pretty accurate picture of their personalities based solely on their packing lists (above). So let’s jump right in to their fun-filled four days of sightseeing, pastry-eating, and champagne-drinking, shall we?
DAY ONE: ARRIVAL
As you can imagine, Kit likes to travel in style. High style. She actually sometimes mistakes herself for Princess Kate, and thinks the world should treat her accordingly. Needless to say, an 8-hour plane ride across the big blue ocean isn’t going to keep her from sporting something fabulous (hence, the Valentino studded flats), while also managing to make a sleep mask look chic (not pictured: ear plugs to drown out the annoying children and talkative neighbors). After downing her complimentary glass of champagne (what, you thought she was traveling coach?!) she cozies up in her cashmere sweater and falls fast asleep.
Val, on the other hand, is a no-nonsense traveler. Comfort is the name of her game, as I’m sure you’ve gathered from the chic gym-shoe-plus-yoga-pants look she’s sporting for the long flight. Other necessities include a shot of Nyquil and some highly educational and thought-provoking reading material. Grateful for her dear friend’s generous offer to bump them both up to first class, she tucks her polyester airplane blanket under her chin and is soon softly snoring.
Our girls have got their priorities straight: after landing at Heathrow Airport, they cab it to their hotel, order room service, and lie in bed watching The Great British Bake Off while scarfing down creme brulee. Gotta eat up, we’ve got a big day tomorrow!
DAY TWO: BUCKINGHAM PALACE
After a luxurious breakfast of fresh-baked croissants (Val may have had two, but who’s counting) and the best damn cafe au lait either woman has ever tried, the pair made their way to Buckingham Palace, where Kit mistakenly felt a little too at home (no, Kit, you can’t touch the suits of armor just because they’re shiny and pretty). Clearly a women of comfort, Kit’s attire included 4-inch leopard stilettos and leather pants, obvious choices for perusing the streets of London (what cobblestones?).
Val’s still rocking her Nike sneakers, seeing as her ankles are swollen from the plane ride (or was it the second croissant?). Boyfriend jeans and a cozy sweater are her uniform for the day – along with her $24 cross-body purse from Target, which Kit insists has got to go (“But it’s the perfect size for traveling!!” says Val). Highlights of the day include watching Kit getting kicked out of the Queen’s bedroom for trying to lie on the bed and that second glass of delicious bordeaux at lunch.
DAY THREE: KENSINGTON GARDENS
Ok, so by now our girls are finally getting over the jet-lag and are ready to do some serious sightseeing. Or in Kit’s case, shopping (you mean Chanel doesn’t count as a monument?!). So their morning started off with another one of those deliciously addictive cafe au laits and a thick slice of brioche (with clotted cream for Val). Then it was off to the races! First stop was Kensington Gardens, where the girls lucked out weather-wise. They toured the gardens and picked up a second cafe au lait (calories don’t count, it’s vacation!!). Val was enamored by the beauty but Kit admittedly found it a little dull. So dull, in fact, she may have wandered off to the shops down the street. Which meant the girls missed their scheduled red tour bus ride!! (Val had been so looking forward to sitting down for a bit.) Kit promised to make it up to Val, so she did the only thing she knew how: steered them straight to Harrod’s (where she may have done some serious damage with her credit card). They wrapped up their evening with dinner in a classic English pub, stuffing their faces with fish and chips. Like I said, calories don’t count when you’re on vacation!
DAY FOUR: BIG BEN
With a hearty meal and a good night’s rest, the gals are up and at ’em early today. No one is missing any scheduled tours on Val’s watch! Unfortunately, the weather has taken a turn for the worse, and it’s raining cats and dogs. But that doesn’t stop our girl Kit from donning her Louboutin’s, now does it? Practical-minded Val opts instead for a pair of duck boots and a waterproof parka, just like any sane person would do. They make their way to Big Ben for their scheduled tour and somehow Kit manages to still look chic as ever, even after their trek in the rain. Val on the other hand, is sporting a sort of drowned-rat look, since the wind broke her umbrella on the way there. After their very long, very dry tour of good old Benny Boy, the girls opt for another meal in a warm and cozy pub. On a whim, they decide to take a tour of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre (Kit’s always sworn she was an actress in another life). A stage rehearsal of Twelfth Night was taking place, and our girls couldn’t help eyeing the strapping young lads on stage. Hey, there’s no harm in looking! Back to the hotel after for a hot shower. It’s room service tonight, as both gals have to pack up for tomorrow’s big trip to Little Dipping.
Back home during the planning phase, in a moment of pure panic, Val decided Kit should be the one to rent the car and she would navigate. Need I remind you, in England they drive on the other side of the car. On the other side of the road. I don’t even want to imagine how that ride is going to go. Hey, at least she’ll look good going in the ditch. Heck, maybe they’ll even be rescued by a handsome English countryman enjoying his estate for the weekend.
Our girls can dream.
Many thanks to Patty and Roz for their generosity, wit, and inspiration! I had so much fun working on this project, and I hope you’ll check out their books for some cozy winter reads!