My eyes are heavy after this very, very long first day of my trip, but before I go to bed, I wanted to share some of the amazing things that I have experienced in my first 12 hours in London. The gin itinerary (gin-tinerary?) officially begins tomorrow!

First, I checked in at The Dukes hotel, which is oh so very Bri-ish. More than a century ago, it served as guest quarters for friends & family of the royalest of royals. (Is royalest a word? Did I just make that up? Am I delirious?) The rest of the details are fuzzy at this late hour, but the most important thing to remember is that the related Dukes Bar was often frequented by Mr. Ian Flemming. All I managed to squeeze in this evening was a glass of champagne (there is a salon at this hotel dedicated solely to the act of drinking champagne — no joke), but tomorrow evening I intend to make time for a martini shaken, not stirred.

This afternoon my mission was to visit the Victoria & Albert museum, but due to a misadventure I arrived with only enough time to browse the permanent exhibits and dine at the cafe. I was very impressed with the cafe. Here is a photo of a Giant Meringue.

I had a very simple meal, which was made all the more special due to the Victoria & Albert Museum’s lovely lunch trays.

I loved this museum. Check out the gift wrap (I love gift wrap) sold in the shop(pe). I almost bought the bejeweled one. I mean, c’mon. It is awesome. There is no denying this.

On my long walk back to my hotel, I saw this (which will one day thrive in Chicago, we can hope):

The Dukes is very good with quiet little details. Just before readying for dinner, this arrived at my door.

Finally, the whole group on my trip rendezvoused for dinner at the Oxo Brasserie, known for its views as much as its food. I sat window-side. This was my incredible view at dusk…stained with a spotty window & me not caring much about quality because I’m taking better ones with my real camera. I’ll share those once I’m back, but for now, Instagram is my jam.