London Stationery Tour: Part 2

My sister Natalie is back today with Part 2 of her review of the London Stationery Tour!

Stationery

Liberty of london

Great Marlborough Street

Liberty is worth visiting in and of itself, let alone for the stationery department. The store itself is beautiful and they sell a wide variety of high market products, from the usual perfume, make-up and clothing, to antique jewellery and home wares from around the world. It’s expensive but not always unaffordable. The home ware department is really quirky and interesting and although a lot of it is well beyond what i can afford there is plenty that is surprisingly affordable. There’s also a great chocolate department which sells a lot of British products and also products from smaller companies. One of my favorite things about this store is that you will find things that you cannot find in chain stores.

The stationery department sells various upmarket collections, such as notebooks by Christian Lacroix. There is plenty that is affordable though, i shop here fairly often myself. It does feel like you’re treating yourself a bit since it does cost more than ‘basic’ stationery, but the quality is great and it’s nice to buy something a bit different. There is also a lot of Liberty themed products, such as gift cards and notebooks, and, as i discovered by going on this tour, they now sell Liberty print washi tape! I was so excited about that one. If you’re visiting London and would like some nice stationary for souvenirs then this is a good choice. Liberty prints and quintessentially British and I think that being able to buy them in notecards or notebooks gives you an opportunity to buy something which is usually fairly expensive as a more affordable product.

John Lewis

300 Oxford Street

John Lewis stores in generally sell a good range of different stationary products, but the Oxford Street store has a huge selection. I’m a fan of John Lewis in general but even I was surprised by how much was here. John Lewis sells its stationary is sections of brands, so for example there is a table of Kate Spade products here (the largest selection of this that I’ve seen in London). John Lewis does have its own brands of stationery products but it does mostly sell brands that you could find in other stores, such as Pusheen or Disney. This store also has a large section of gift cards and gift wrap, along with a wall of Filofax products – again, the largest that I have seen in London.

Selfridges

400 Oxford Street

Going to Selfridges for this stationery trail was the first time I had visited the store. I’m not sure what I expected exactly but I think all i could say was ‘more’. The stationery products sold are similar to those in Liberty and Fortnum and Mason. There are mostly upmarket brand which are fairly expensive, for example around £20.00 for a letter set, if not more. There is also a good selection of Moleskine products and plenty of MT washi tape. For your basic stationery products I would say that this store could be skipped. However, in the stationary section is a WHSmiths store that has a great selection of magazines which is worth having a look at. I bought Flow magazine, I couldn’t stop myself. I was also very tempted by the chocolate department that you have to walk through to get to the stationery… it’s difficult to walk past so many macaron without trying one or two!

Smythson

40 New Bond Street

I don’t think that I would have come across this shop at all if not for the tour, it’s on New Bond Street on which are plenty of high end designer shops. If you want to shop at Gucci or Chanel (or just look in the windows) then this street is for you. Smythson is not immediately obvious as a stationery shop, the window display featured a lot of leather products like bags, wallets and passport holders. Going in the store it is clear that these are the main things it sells but there is also a variety of high end stationery products, such as notebooks and luxury office items. I don’t frequently go into expensive shops in London since I know I won’t have the money to spend there, but it can be nice to browse. However, in the case of Smythson I have never felt so uncomfortable in a shop as I did on this visit. My boyfriend and I were followed around the shop by a shop assistant like we would fill our sleeves with notebooks the moment her back was turned. You could argue that she was just being helpful, but as there were various assistants standing ready to help in every room i would guess not. Luckily this shop’s products weren’t my kind of thing, I don’t have £45.00 to spare on a tiny pocket sized notebook, and even if I did I would chose a material other than leather or alligator skin for the cover. Needless to say I will not be returning here.

Campo Marzio

166 Piccadilly

Campo Marzio is a tiny little shop at the bottom of New Bond street, selling Italian notebooks, pens and leather goods. I’ve taken my boyfriend on this stationery tour and in Campo Marzio I think we actually found a stationery shop that he liked more than I did. The leather products will never be my type of thing since I don’t like leather, but i will admit that they look nice. The range comes in a variety of bright fun colours and there are plenty of items from large handbags, to card wallets and USB keyrings. They also do a range of small notebooks which are really fun and quite cheap. My boyfriend loved the fountain pens which come in all sorts of colours and designs. The shop also sells plenty of inks, some pen and ink sets, and sealing wax and stamps. As for the leather goods, they’re not vastly different from those in Smythson. The main difference is the price, and the lovely customer service we had in Campo Marzio. My advice would be to walk down the street and shop here instead of Smythson.

Fortnum & Mason

181 Piccadilly

As much as I love Fortnum & Mason I wouldn’t say it was for its stationery department. The stationery is upstairs, so to get to it you need to walk through the food department where I could have stayed. If, like me, you’re a fan of speciality tea and biscuits you’ll also be distracted here! There’s no harm in that though. I think that one of the nice things about this stationery trail is that you come across much more than stationery. I mean yes, that is the main focus, but stores like this are great in that you can find so much more. It is well worth taking a bit of time to look at the food and drink on offer. For example, I found stationery themed sugar cookies when I visited.

A lot of the stationery here I also saw in Liberty and Harrods since it stocks stationery by upmarket brands. However, you can buy a few things that are a bit different too. There was a lovely table of quills and inks, and also wax seals which I love! There’s just something about a pen made out of a feather that I love the look of, and I haven’t seen these sorts of tools in many other places. There were also a series of notebooks made from classic book covers which were so nice, I couldn’t justify buying them for myself but they would make a great gift.

Which of these stops would you love to visit and buy a little (or a lot) from?!

Make sure to come back in a few weeks for the third and final part of the mini series.

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Restaurant Review: Hard Rock Cafe London

Having been to a couple of other Hard Rock Cafe restaurants elsewhere (Rome and Orlando) John and I thought it was a bit strange that we’d never been to Hard Rock Cafe London. We were in London a couple of weeks ago so we had the perfect opportunity!

We arrived at close to 12pm when we thought the restaurant would be packed. Although it was  getting busy there wasn’t a wait for a table and we had plenty of choice of where we could sit. We were seated quite close to the toilet and baby changing which was perfect as we had Erin with us. Our waitress soon came over and introduced herself, dancing at the same time. Laura was fantastic and so bubby! She took an instant shine to Erin, who loved the attention!

Hard Rock Cafe London has a fantastic menu. There was so much choice and really, there is something for everyone! Usually when we go somewhere like this I’m really boring and always have a burger. John and I both decided to choose something different though. I went for the BBQ chicken while John had salmon.

While we were waiting for our food Erin was kept busy with crayons, a colouring sheet and lots of straws. Once she’d realised that she could put a straw in the lid for her apple juice she wanted more. Laura was fantastic and brought her a load of straws to play with. She certainly knew how to keep the kids happy and it was so nice to see someone take the time and the effort with a 15 month old. Erin hasn’t received this kind of service anywhere else!

We were pretty amazed when our food arrived. The portion sizes were much bigger than what we were expecting. There was a lot of food but it was super fresh, hot and delicious!

Erin was in a bit of a strange mood for lunch. We ordered her pizza and chips but I honestly wasn’t very optimistic about her eating it. She’s been having a bit of a fussy time recently and didn’t eat much at all. This wasn’t the fault of the restaurant though as her food looked great. Her pizza and chips came out on a plastic guitar with some ketchup in the middle. Once Erin discovered ketchup the game was over! She scooped it up on her finger and licked it off. At least she enjoyed some of her lunch!

Although we were getting pretty full from our mains, we were determined to have dessert. I couldn’t resist the Oreo cheesecake while John had a chocolate brownie with ice cream. At first we thought the desserts were quite expensive, at around £8 each. However, when they came out I could see why. They were both massive! Needless to say, neither of is could finish them. The problem was, we both wanted something different otherwise we might have shared!

After our meal we headed over to the shop. I have a Hard Rock t-shirt from each of the other restaurants we have been to and I wasn’t about to let this be an exception. I also wanted to get Erin her very first t-shirt to start her collection!

Our visit to Hard Rock Cafe London is most definitely my favourite so far. The service is what makes a restaurant so special and we couldn’t have gotten any better than with Laura. The attention she gave Erin, the attention she gave us and her high and fun energy was amazing. Next time we go, I’d want to be sat in her section again!

Disclaimer: We received discounted meals & merchandise for the purpose of this review. All opinions are our own.

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Ripley’s Believe It Or Not: London

John and I got married in Florida in 2013. While we were there we went to Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and it was so much fun. We recently had the opportunity to visit Ripley’s London and we couldn’t wait!

Ripley's London

Ripley’s London can be found smack bang in the middle of Piccadilly Circus. When we arrived Erin had just fallen asleep! Typical and very bad timing. However, we were heading home that day so we couldn’t wait for her to wake up and it’s a good job we didn’t as she ended up sleeping through our whole visit to Ripley’s!

For those who don’t already know, Ripley’s is a place showcasing the weird, wonderful and seriously strange. You’re bound to discover something you’ve never seen before and there is loads to learn!

One of my favourite parts was right at the beginning and that was The Gallery. Here you will find loads of different pictures, mostly of famous people but they’re all made from something a bit strange or different; coins, matchsticks, ash from a fire… you’ll really find all sorts here!

I think both mine and John’s favourite part of Ripley’s London was the Mirror Maze! We’d been told that it was a lot of fun but we didn’t really know what to expect! We were shown to the start of the maze and opened the door. As we went inside we were told to find the exit and the door shut behind us. We didn’t have much choice!

The Mirror Maze is so disorientating! You can’t tell one mirror from the next and passages look like they’re there but they’re not really. I was sure we were going the right way a couple of times and got met with a dead end. However, I was quite proud that it didn’t take it TOO long to find our way out.

John absolutely loved all of the cool picture ops as we worked our way through Ripley’s. I think the picture with the huge, silver gorilla is my favourite and probably his as well!

I don’t want to add too many photos to this post because there is so much to discover and I wouldn’t want to ruin that! Ripley’s has a whopping 5 floors so it’s a great activity for the whole family. I know if Erin had been awake for at least some of the exhibits she’d have really enjoyed them, such as the moving fish floor!

Having been to another Ripley’s already, I have to say that Ripley’s London was so much better than the one in Orlando! There was a lot more to see and a lot more do to! I’d love to take Erin again when she’s a bit older, and a bit more awake!!

Disclaimer: We received complimentary tickets for the purpose of this review. All opinions are our own.

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Sea Life London Aquarium: Ocean Invaders

Just recently we were invited to attend the opening of a brand new experience at the London Sea Life Aquarium. I was gutted to not be able to attend but we planned a visit the next week when we were taking Erin to London for a few days. Erin had never been to a Sea Life Centre before and I couldn’t wait to see what she made of it. My sister and her fiance also came with us as they’d never been before either.

First Impressions

When you first enter Sea Life London there is a really big glass floor where you can look down at the sharks. Once Erin realised that there was something down there she was mesmerised. She pointed and giggled and placed herself perfectly in the middle of the floor and plonked her bum down. She was not going anywhere! It didn’t matter that other people wanted to look and walk past. Erin was there and she was there to stay.

It came to a point where we really had to move on. Moving Erin was not a fun job and she cried as soon as we picked her up to go to the next part. Luckily, she quickly realised that there was more fish to look at and she was happy again.

We went to Sea Life London at around 4pm on a Wednesday and it wasn’t too busy which was lovely. This meant that we were able to walk around without being too crowded and Erin was able to get up close to each tank if she wanted to without being pushed out of the way. I think things like this are so important with children Erin’s age. She’s only 16 months old and still finding her feet so she needs a bit of space to fall over sometimes!

We were all really impressed with all of the exhibits at Sea Life London. At some animal attractions you can sometimes feel like the enclosures/ tanks etc. aren’t big enough or good enough but that was not the case at all here. Everything is so spacious.

Ocean Invaders

The Ocean Invaders section was amazing! To enter you have to go through a doorway with cool holographic jellyfish. We were loved the entrance because it was so much fun. It was certainly different and it made us wonder what we was going to discover next!

The whole area is bright, colourful and perfect for children. Erin was amazed by the colours of the jellyfish.

I honestly didn’t realise there was so many different kinds of jellyfish. Ocean Invaders is one of the most beautiful things I have seen in a very long time and it was quite magical. I don’t want to write too much about what you can learn in Ocean Invaders because there is so much! However,  I took loads of pictures to show you just how amazing this section is.

Once Erin found the moving attraction on the floor she was mesmerised once again. It was so hard to get her out of this part of Sea Life London. I think it was her favourite out of everything because there was so much going on and the colours were so amazing.

Our trip to Sea Life London was a definite highlight of this trip to London. Seeing my girl discover something for the first time and be so amazed by it was a very special thing and I have to thank 365 tickets for allowing us to have this memory.

A massive thank you to 365 tickets for inviting us to experience Ocean Invaders. I cannot recommend this enough! If you would like to visit yourselves, 365 tickets have some great offers on at the moment so be sure to check them out. 

Disclaimer: We received complimentary tickets to Sea Life London Aquarium for the purpose of this post. All opinions are our own. 

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Restaurant Review: Bubba Gump Shrimp

Normally when John and I go to London, especially now we have Erin, we tend to eat at the same places. We like to pick places that we know are family friendly so that there are no surprises. However, on our most recent trip to London we decided to be brave and try somewhere new; Bubba Gump Shrimp.

We arrived at about 4:15 for our table booked at 4:30 and the restaurant was pretty quiet. I guess we were quite early for a ‘normal’ dinner time but with Erin we need to eat quite early! We were shown to a table with plenty of space for Erin and close to the bar. The restaurant is actually upstairs so we left the stroller at the entrance where it was watched by staff. It really helped to have more space at the table and not have a stroller get in the way.

Our waiter explained everything we needed to know about the menu and drink and also explained something quite special to us. You know when you’re at a restaurant and you either get annoyed because the wait staff come over too often or not enough, well, that’s not an issue here! Bubba Gump Shrimp has a very unique system that stops this. On each table there is a sign that can be flipped over. One side says ‘Run Forest Run’ and the other says ‘Stop Forest Stop’. If you want someone to stop, you turn the sign to ‘Stop Forest Stop’ and the other way around if you don’t want to be bothered. I imagine this makes the staff’s jobs a lot easier as well as making it a more relaxed dining experience.

Strangely, I don’t eat a lot of sea food so ordering was super easy for me as I went with a burger. John on the other hand LOVES sea food, which is why we wanted to try Bubba Gump Shrimp. John was in heaven with the menu and it took him quite some time to decide on what to have. In the end he went with the Shrimper’s Heaven, consisting of Hand Breaded Coconut Shrimp, Chilled Peel ‘n’ Eat Shrimp, Fried Shrimp, and Japanese style Tempura Shrimp all served on a bed of Fries and dipping sauces. For Erin, I chose a classic fish and chips.

When the food arrived we were amazed! John’s main meal was MASSIVE! It was £19.50 so probably designed as a sharing meal but that didn’t stop him.

I’m quite picky when it comes to burgers and I hate any kind of slightly pink meat. This burger was cooked to perfection for me though and it was delicious. John did amazingly well with his meal. Each little basket had chips in the bottom so there was a hell of a lot of food. He very nearly finished the lot!

Erin’s meal was fantastic. It came in a little boat and had some fruit and jelly as well. Erin can be a bit funny with battered/ bread crumbed food so she didn’t eat too much of the fish. However, the fish looked lovely and white and it wasn’t at all that it wasn’t nice. Erin did eat a lot of the chips and all of the jelly though. She also loved the boat that her meal came in!

Even though we were quite full we powered through and ordered desserts. John went for the Key Lime Pie as he’d never had it before while I had the Chocolate Chip Cookie Sundae. I was not prepared for the size of it at all!

It’s safe to say that we did not manage to eat everything. My sundae was so big that both John and I gave it a go and couldn’t manage it. This is definitely one to share, especially after quite a big meal. It was so nice though so I really wish I’d been able to manage more of it.

The bar has Forest Gump playing all the time! I can imagine that would get seriously annoying if they had the sound on but luckily, they do not! I kind of wish we’d paid a little bit more attention to it though as at the end of our meal we were quizzed! It has been a long time since I last saw Forest Gump so we had to cheat a little bit. John ended up running around the restaurant to find an answer in a picture!

Bubba Gump Shrimp is definitely somewhere I’d go back to when we’re in London again. The staff were great with Erin and so friendly and fun. Our food was delicious and we honestly couldn’t fault any of it, apart from maybe there was too much for us to finish! John said the Shrimper’s Heaven was absolutely amazing while I’d go back just for that sundae!

Disclaimer: We received a complimentary meal for the purpose of this post. All opinions are our own.

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London Stationery Tour: Part 1

Today marks the start of National Stationery Week and we’ll be posting all week on this subject. To kick off the week my sister Natalie is guest posting today with the start of a mini series all about the London Stationery Tour.

Stationery

I was shown a list of shops in London which could be visited as a ‘stationery tour’. Being a huge stationery fan thought this would be great opportunity to visit some new shops and see what I could find. After completing the tour I’ve decided to amend the list of shops a little bit. Some of the shops on the tour are closed now, and some of them weren’t worth visiting. For example, on the original list there were two Paperchase stores; if you visit the shop on Tottenham Court Road then you really don’t need to visit another. I’ve also added a couple of stores which I think that it would be a shame to miss.

Paperchase

213-215 Tottenham Court Road

This store is Paperchases flagship store, I’d never been to this store before I moved to London and now it’s my main destination for stationery supplies. There’s 3 floors selling a huge supply of stationery and arts and crafts supplies, and there’s even a cafe where you can get a free drink once a week if you hold a Paperchase card. If you only have chance to go to one stationery store in London this would be my recommendation. There is so much on sale here, you might not find anything truly spectacular but you’ll be able to buy all of your essentials.

The ground floor sells all of Paperchase’s main collections. Since this is the flagship store the full range of each collection is on sale whereas in smaller stores you might only get a small selection from a few of these. I really like the range of collections which Paperchase has, some are clearly aimed at children but there are plenty that are a bit more sophisticated and aimed towards older shoppers. Each collection tends to sell a few ‘staples’, such as sticky notes, stickers, notepads and paper tapes but there is also a good variety of other products, each collection tends to have its own range of novelty items. Also on the ground floor are diaries and notepads, both Paperchase products and brands such as Moleskine. Paperchase offers a service where you can get your notebooks personalised which costs £5.00 per product, or £3.00 for card holders. There is a very good selection of writing paper, letter sets and note cards, including thank you notes and things like wedding invitations. There is also a huge greetings card section, postcards and wrapping papers. Along with Paperchase’s own branded stickers they have recently added a small collection of Korean sticker brands which I really love, they’re slightly more expensive but nothing that would break the bank.

The first floor has all the party supply ranges along with some slightly more expensive stationery ranges. I’ve not bought a lot from this floor, I’m not one to throw a party but it does look like they have some good themes, they are suitable for both children’s parties and more grown up parties along with hen parties. The stationery on this floor looks pretty classy although some of it is very expensive. There’s also a good selection of stationery aimed at men here which I think can be difficult to find. The cafe is on this floor too, I go and collect my free drink every time I’m in the area since I have a Paperchase card. They’re free to have and it’s worth it for the free drink! You also get £5.00 free to spend in store for every £50.00 you spend.

The second floor sells all of the arts and craft supplies, and it’s also where the craft classes run. There is a selection of really lovely handmade papers, including those from Cavalini papers which are so nice. There are plenty of different kinds of paints, brushes, drawing and painting papers, etc. You can also pick up supplies for tons of crafts here, such as lino printing, decoupage and paper crafts. You can buy a small selection of MT washi tapes, although I think that they’re quite expensive here.

Just a small note on Project Craft – craft courses offered by Paperchase and held here. There’s a really good range of craft classes and they’re fairly inexpensive. You can send the kids to mask making classes, learn how to make paper flower garlands and learn paper crafts such as scrap-booking. I have only done the lino printing course but it was so much fun! Of course you can buy the supplies from the classes here but i think they’re a little over priced, it’s much more worth waiting until you get home and then buying them from Amazon.

Tiger

Tottenham Court Road

Just a few minutes walk from Paperchase is a good sized Tiger store. Tiger sell a variety of cheap Scandinavian products and not just stationery, so you can visit for affordable home wares, toys and food too. They’re good for cheap note books, tapes, stickers and art supplies. They tend to sell seasonal items too, so if you want some Halloween stationery you’ll find plenty of tapes and stickers for themed for the holiday. Along with art supplies like paper, pens and paints, they also sell affordable canvas and easels, and even wooden figure drawing models.

Muji

Tottenham Court Road

There are plenty of Muji stores across London and it’s easy to nip into this one between shops. The stationery section is on the first floor and sells pretty much what other Muji stores sell. It’s good quality and fairly affordable. I like Muji’s plain products, they’re so practical and easy to use. I feel like I’ve gotten to a point where I cannot survive without Muji’s black 0.5 nib pens, if I ever move out of London I’m going to have to seriously stock up because I could not face running out of them. They’re £5.00 for a pack of 6 black pens and they write really neatly for me. My boyfriend is a big fan of the ‘To-do’ lists too which he uses for work. Also on the first floor are various storage items, so not only can you buy stationery, you can also buy something in which to store it away nicely on your desk.

 

Foyles

Charing Cross Road
The stationery section in Foyles isn’t huge, but it’s worth visiting. Also, it’s an amazing bookshop so it’s worth visiting in its own right. The stationery section is on the ground floor opposite the cash registers. Foyles have just released their own range of notebooks which are a bit pricey at £10.00 each, but the book themed covers are great. There’s a good range of MT washi tapes sold here but as with everywhere that sells them in London, they aren’t cheap. There are two main reasons for visiting Foyles stationery department, the first is Harry Potter stationery. Short of visiting Platform 9 ¾ (which you should do!) they sell a really good selection. There’s also a great selection of the books including colouring books and Funkos.

If you are a fan of Harry Potter and would like an opportunity to buy more related stationery then The House of Minalima is just around the back of Foyles and they currently have an amazing display of Harry Potter products and there is a shop on the ground floor. They are the company that designed all of the graphics for the Harry Potter films and fantastic beasts, you can buy limited edition posters there, a huge selection of postcards, badges, notebook and some very cool writing paper. This shop sells a lot of products you can’t buy online and isn’t sold as official merchandise, so if you’re a Harry Potter fan it really is a must visit.

My main reason for loving Foyles is that they stock Traveler’s Notebook products. It’s the largest range of these that I’ve seen in London, they sell the leather notebook covers, inserts and limited editions tins. I don’t think they’re relatively expensive either especially as they’re imports.

Are any of these your favourites in London? Foyles is a personal favourite of mine and not enough people know it exists!

Come back for Part 2 in a couple of weeks!

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London Duck Tours

I have been to London many times before but something I have never done is to go on a bus tour. During my recent London Getaway I decided to change this. Me, my sister and her boyfriend were really excited to be heading off on a London Duck Tour.

London Duck Tours

When we arrived at the Duck Tour bus stop near the Southbank Center I was really excited. The ‘Duck’ was sat there waiting for us. I knew that it was a bit of a mix between a  bus and a boat seeing as it went in the water on the tour.

On the day of our booked tour there was a memorial service happening so we had to change from the Classic Sightseeing Tour to the City of London Tour. We were given the opportunity to come back later in the day instead but we were all happy to go along with whatever.

Some Places we visited on the tour

St. Paul’s Cathedral

Monument to the Fire of London

Bank of England

Tower Bridge

MI6

London Eye

Houses of Parliament

Our tour guide was absolutely lovely and was happy an cheery the whole way through the tour. Although the tour had been changed quite last minute, he was very knowledgeable about the other route. What was really nice was that he spoke when there was something to see but he didn’t fill quiet gaps just for the sake of it. He did manage to squeeze in some Harry Potter trivia though which my sister was pretty happy about, especially as it was something she didn’t know.

The whole tour lasts around 75 minutes with the first 45 minutes or so being on land. Once you reach MI6 though it’s time to splash down and go into the Thames. This was my favourite part I think as you get fantastic views of London and I found it to be quite peaceful on the water. Something I will say though is take a coat or jacket with you. We went on a warm day but I was pretty cold once we hit the water!

We all had a fantastic time on our Duck Tour and I’ve since been looking at maybe doing the Christmas tour later in the year! Although the tickets could work out quite expensive for a large family, I wouldn’t hesitate to pay to go on another tour. Between the knowledgeable tour guide, spacious and comfortable Duck and the views, I couldn’t have asked for more!

Disclaimer: We received complimentary tickets for the purpose of this review. All opinions are our own.

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My London Getaway!

Last week I did something I didn’t think I’d do for a really long time. I went away for a couple of days without Erin or John. Part of realising that I have PND also meant that I realised that I need some me time now and again. So, I headed off to London for a night to see my sister and her fiance (Nat & Chris). It was also a kind of late birthday present too.

London

I arrived late morning on the Thursday and we started off with a Wetherspoons breakfast before heading off to Jurassic Kingdom (Review coming soon). Even though Erin wasn’t with me, I still wanted to do a couple of things that maybe I wouldn’t have normally done before. We all had loads of fun, especially taking selfies with the dinosaurs. It was a beautiful day as well so it was nice to get out of the city and in a big, open space.

After Jurassic Kingdom I headed to my hotel, the Holiday Inn Express (Review coming soon) in North Acton, to check in and lighten my bags a bit. The hotel was a 2 minute walk from the tube station so that was great. It is about 20 minutes away from central London on the tube but I didn’t mind that at all.

On Thursday evening we had tickets to see Dreamgirls (Review coming soon), which was my birthday present from Nat and Chris. Before the theatre we went to Bills for dinner. Bills is one of my favourite restaurants so I knew the food would be amazing!

I was so incredibly excited about seeing Dreamgirls. Not living in London means never really being too bothered about seeing any shows. However, Dreamgirls is a favourite of mine and I was desperate to see it. Unfortunately though, Amber Riley wasn’t in it on the night we went but that wasn’t a problem. Come back to read the review in a few days!

On Friday we also had quite a few plans. I got up quite early and headed out for a roam about on my own before meeting Nat and Chris again. We were meeting near the Southbank Center so I went to look at the London Eye and to chill by the river. I think I got there at about 9am and it was so quiet and peaceful. It was a lovely place to be before everything opened.

At 11:30 we had tickets for the London Duck Tours. (Review coming soon) I’ve never done a tour of London before and I was so excited about this. This really didn’t disappoint and it’s one of the most fun things I’ve done in London.

Lunch on Friday was my favourite restaurant of all time, Vapiano. There are branches all over the world and they have the best pasta ever.

Vapiano

Of course, we had to do a bit of shopping so we went to Liberty’s and Carnaby Street where I finally got to go to Choccywoccydoodah. I was in chocolate heaven and could have bought everything. I didn’t though. Instead, we went to Bubblewrap Waffle in Chinatown. I had to wait an hour for a waffle but my god was it worth it!?

By this time we were all exhaused but we headed to Westfield Stratford as it’s not far from where Chris lives. He had to pick up some bits as he and Nat were coming back with me for the weekend. Nat and I did some wedding dress viewing and a bit more shopping but that didn’t last long. My poor feet were killing me.

My London getaway was bloody knackering but it was so needed. I got to do loads of my favourite things and also do something new and exciting. I can’t say I felt refreshed but I can quite happily go for quite some time now before needing some time to myself like that again.

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