A couple of weekends my girlfriends and I headed up North to spend a weekend in the cool, hip neighbourhood of the Northern Quarter in Manchester.
Travels from around the globe
A couple of weekends my girlfriends and I headed up North to spend a weekend in the cool, hip neighbourhood of the Northern Quarter in Manchester.
This months travel link up is all about our greatest adventures, I have been very lucky over the past 8 years to experience all sorts of adventures since I left my home in New Zealand.
I lived on the beautiful island of Koh Samui in Thailand for a year, travelled throughout South East Asia, moved to the other side of the world, backpacked around Europe (more than once), got married and now I am planning my biggest adventure of all, a year long adventure around the world.
But one particular adventure sticks out as the greatest – my adventures getting to London and my first year here where I visited 10 countries and got up to all sorts of crazy things that 24 year olds get up to.
It’s time again for the monthly round up about all the adventures I’ve been having.
Firstly, welcome back after a week offline due to my little website getting an upgrade from Gatto Web. There are a few tweaks and new things floating around the blog so have a look around and let me know what you think.
This year for my birthday my girlfriends took me to Sketch for their famous afternoon tea. I’m trying not to afternoon tea too much as I’ve been to quite a few in the last year and it’s definitely time for a break but I’ve always wanted to visit Sketch and its famous pink room so one more won’t hurt.
We went to Sketch on a Saturday in August and had a late afternoon booking, upon arrival we were greeted by well groomed staff members a.k.a pretty ladies with smiles and ushered quickly into the famous pink room for our afternoon tea. We were shown to our booth and swiftly offered their champagne afternoon tea at a cool £59, we all declined and went for the traditional afternoon tea.
Straight away all of us girls were in awe of the famous pink room that is among one of the most instagramed places in London, I can see why. It is enchanting, a girly room full of everything pink and during our visit to Sketch there was some fantastic art dotted all over the walls.
We all chose our tea, I went for the blackcurrant and hibiscus as I like to try new teas at fancy afternoon teas and this one was so yummy. Before our afternoon tea trays came out we all enjoyed looking at the art work on display at the Sketch Gallery from David Shrigley, there were over 200 pieces of art around the room and the art work continued on the table. The ceramic plates, cups and saucers were very simple phrases and words but they were so cute!
The afternoon tea came out and we were all very impressed with how it looked, this is what was on the menu:
The sandwiches were pretty classic which I like. Here is what sandwiches were on the menu for the day.
Coronation chicken (a classic in my opinon)
Cucumber and ricotta, Mozzarella and pesto Panini
Overall the sandwiches were good, although some of the bread was in my opinion a little stale and certainly not fresh but they were beautifully presented.
It was a choice between plain or sultana served with clotted cream, fig and strawberry jam. Unfortunately this was the disappointing part of the afternoon tea, unfortunately my scone (I went for plain) came out boiling hot but rock hard and as I learnt best from Kelly the afternoon tea guru, this is a clear sign that they were not fresh and had been re-heated. You can tell from this photo just how rock hard it was on the bottom.
The sweets looked pretty and were pretty tasty too, here is a list of what was on the top tier on the day. It was a real mixture of flavours and like most good afternoon tea’s it was tricky trying to fit it all in.
Passion fruit tartlet, Lemon and raspberry cake, Cheesecake, Chocolate and mint gateau, Tangy citrus meringue and Malabar Marshmallow.
The overall experience was quite enjoyable and the room was incredible! The toilets were just as you imagine from every single instagram photo you see! They are futuristic, they have French maids and well they are basically giant eggs. The toilets are also the ultimate selfie.
The price was £41 but my friends kindly gifted this afternoon tea for my birthday.
I’m wouldn’t recommend Sketch as an afternoon tea destination as the food just wasn’t up to scratch for me, especially because I’ve been to several afternoon teas in London that were better. The bread was definitely a bit stale and the scones just spoilt it for me. But the building, the famous pink room and those toilets are well worth a look! Plus it I had a lovely afternoon with my girlfriends.
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So the latest craze to sweep London is bottomless brunching, who doesn’t love a good glass of bubbles whilst eating their brunch? Well most normal people but in London it is totally acceptable to drink whilst brunching and in Bad Egg’s case it is more like drinking LOTS of bubbles whilst brunching. I’ve been to a bottomless afternoon tea (which is amazing I might add) but this was bottomless brunching totally new to me.
I have been to Bad Egg twice now so I will share what all the fuss is about.
Bottomless brunch at Bad Egg #1 – August
It was my friends birthday so she got a whole group of girls together to celebrate at Bad Egg. The atmosphere is great, it’s busy, it’s loud and everyone is having a good time. Our waiter was energetic, funny and was always taking the piss out of one of us but most importantly was always there to top up our drinks.
You choose three small tapas like dishes to come out separately as part of their bottomless brunch, the selection was quite varied so it was tricky to choose.
Firstly I went for the poached egg with avocado on sour dough toast. This was my favourite dish of the day, the egg was poached egg perfection, it went all gooey and runny when I cut into it, there is nothing worse than cutting into a poached egg and finding it all dry. The sour dough toast was also really delicious.
Dish number 2 was breakfast tacos, it was 2 corn tortillas with scrambled egg, guacamole and salsa. Again, a good choice and more filling that I expected. The guacamole was so good and the scrambled egg was perfectly runny.
When they say it is a bottomless brunch they really aren’t lying, in between and during our food our waiter was constantly topping up our drinks, we never had to ask him to come over and top up. We were a group of around 12 girls and he was flawless!
The third dish came out after some time and I chose a more dessert option as it was the last one. I went for a pancake with bacon and maple syrup. It was fairly basic and not a dish I would choose again but still yum. My friend opted for the blueberry jam and vanilla cream pancake and I was instantly jealous.
Our waiter continued to serve us drinks until our two hours was up and even refilled our glasses one more time to enjoy our last glass of prosecco outside which he didn’t need to do but he did.
The cost was £32.50 each plus tip which I thought was really reasonable considering just how much prosecco we drunk. If you want a fun brunch with a big group Bad Egg is definitely the place to do that. A great birthday celebration.
Bottomless brunch #2 November
After having such a great time at Bad Egg in August I went back to celebrate another friends birthday recently. A few things had changed, first of all the price had gone up to £35. I understand they have become popular since they opened and have hiked the price up a bit which is fair enough but what I didn’t realise until we got there was that they had changed the bubbles from prosecco to Frizzante, a drink I had never heard of. When the waiter came around the started pouring the drink we all noticed that first of all it was out of a jug (not a bottle) and it was completely flat, no bubbles at all and the taste was pretty awful. We then asked the waiter what the deal was and he said they had recently changed to this drink, when we expressed our unhappiness about not fizzy bubbles he very promptly spoke to his manager who said they had some bottles of prosecco left which we could have which was an absolute life saver! But do be aware, the Bad Egg bottomless brunch is now a drink called Frizzante.
Onto the glorious food! The menu had changed slightly since my last visit and there and I was looking forward to trying some of their new dishes. I had to order the poached egg with avocado again because it was so good last time and this time did not disappoint either. Just look at all the gooey egg goodness.
Dish 1 and 2 came out together this time, I am presuming it was because we had a later booking and they wanted to get the food out. The second dish I went for and was without doubt my favourite – the macanchini balls. I adore arancini and macaroni cheese so this was pretty much my dream dish. So this is crispy mac and cheese balls with chipotle aioli sauce. It was really quite filling and so cheesy and a great spin on two yummy dishes!
It was hard to chose the final dish because I knew by this stage that after a few bubbles you need something to soak up all the alcohol so I went for the Nduja Cheese & Fried Egg Fries for something a little different. It was posh chips and cheese with a fried egg thrown on top so nothing special but just what I needed after a few too many glasses of the bubbles.
Like the previous visit the waiter was always on top of making sure everyone had their drinks filled and always checked in to make sure everything was OK. One diner was gluten and dairy free and they made sure that her dietary requirements were looked after and she was able to tuck in to dishes without too much hassle.
I would definitely recommend Bad Egg but as you can imagine I was a little baffled as to why they increased the price but replaced the lovely prosecco with frizzante but it is still a fun thing to do, especially in a big group.
Have you been to a bottomless brunch?
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Well it has been one month since I moved to my new neighbourhood and once all the unpacking was done it was time to explore. London Fields is right on my door step and that includes the very cool Broadway Market which is on every Saturday. I have spent the last month sampling the local walks, restaurants, pubs and parks and this is what I have found so far.
Market Cafe Broadway Market
One Saturday morning after a rather heavy night at Pub on the Park in London Fields I ventured to Market Cafe on Broadway Market to feast on their brunch menu, I am a creature of habit so of course I opted for the Eggs Benedict but my friend got Avocado on toast and Dan got ratatoulie. When the food arrived it was stone cold so I sent it back to be heated up but received a new plate of food, still a little cold but better than before. I had a lovely freshly squeezed orange juice and because I was in need of good food I ordered a side of hash browns as well. The cafe is really quaint but very busy on the weekends, they have a licence so there were plenty of bubbles floating around as well, they even had prosecco on tap!
Patty and Bun
I stumbled across this little burger joint which is situated under the arches of London Fields station after purchasing some bread from the E5 bakery after a recommendation from a friend. Patty and Bun was busy and bustling upon our arrival but we sat down at the large bench table and ordered a burger to share along with chips and coleslaw. The highlight for me was their caramelised banana milk, the service was good and we enjoyed our food and will most definitely return.
We discovered Bella Vita restaurant on our first night in the new house and fell in love with the Italian restaurant and have since returned for their 30% off Tuesdays. The place is always packed and with good reason, the food is amazing. On the first occasion I ordered the gnocchi and the second time I got the spinach and ricotta cannelloni. Both dishes were rich in flavour and I couldn’t finish them!
From London Fields and down Broadway Market you can step on to the canal and take a leisurely stroll to nearby Victoria Park, I haven’t spent much time in this park but I was pleasantly surprised how lovely it was on a Sunday morning. The pavilion cafe was so popular we couldn’t get a table but I was happy to just stroll around, watch people doing yoga, walking their dogs, cycling and watch the canal boats float by.
Have you been to London Fields and Broadway Market? Can you suggests some places for me to try?
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Having lived in London for five years and a half years I definitely feel like a Londoner. Although I spend most of my time predominantly in North and Central London I feel like I know it pretty well now. I do love a good view, you must know that by now as I’ve written 25 posts about ‘views from the top’ from around the world so it seemed only fair to include some of my favourite view’s from the top in my adopted home town of London.
I lived in North London for four years and I loved it, my favourite part of where I lived is that I was walking distance to one of the best parks in London – Hampsted Heath. If you haven’t been there you are missing out! I am a member at the tennis club and often spent sunny Sunday’s strolling through the park or visiting the free Kenwood House or drooling over all the cute dogs that jump into the ponds. It’s a beautiful place. One thing I always do when I visit is go up to Parliament Hill to get the view over London. At the top of Parliament Hill you can see Canary Wharf, The Gherkin, The Shard, London Eye and St Paul’s Cathedral. There is also a plaque at the top to tell you everything that you can see in the distance. I always take visitors from overseas up to Parliament Hill as well as it takes in all the big sites, that’s my sister in the last photo the day after my wedding.
I can’t believe it has taken me five years to visit Cambridge but I can tell you this quaint little town just outside of London was worth the wait. Cambridge is famous for the Universities, bridges and punting and I was very pleased to see and do all three and this day trip to Cambridge was so much fun I can’t wait to go back. Come and read about what I got up to.
I took a train from Kings Cross station to Cambridge, the journey was 50 minutes and through some of the greenest parts of England I have seen yet. The walk into the centre takes about 15 minutes and once you are there you realise just how special this place is.
On my day trip to Cambridge I saw cobbled streets, churches, tiny buildings and I very soon realised that the place is rich in history the moment you step into the old town. Some universities open their grounds to the public for free whilst others charge and some just don’t even allow the public in so if you see one open do go inside.
The first one I visited on my day trip to Cambridge was Emmanuel College, the grounds were flawless and I just loved all the arches. It was here that I realised Cambridge was a really unique destination, the College was founded in 1584, I almost can’t comprehend how old that is.
Once through the fore court and past the beautifully manicured grass was almost a secret garden. Every inch of the garden and grounds were perfection and it was a pleasure strolling through the grounds.
Just further along the road from Emmanuel College we visited Christ’s College which was equally as stunning. The buildings are older that you can imagine and it must be such an experience to come to Cambridge and be part of these College’s. This college is even older as it was founded in 1505, one of their most famous alumni is Charles Darwin.
We then meandered through the streets filled with tourists, students and people trying to sell you a punting trip. In no time we found the famous Kings College, having seen it in so many pictures I thought I’d be prepared but the building was actually breath taking.
Kings College was founded in 1441 and is one of the most prestigious of all the Colleges. I later found out on my punting trip that there is a climbing club and they have been playing tricks on the security for years by placing cones all over the highest points of the College which I thought was hilarious.
As it was a lovely sunny day we found ourselves a company to go punting with and hopped on board for a 40 minute boat trip with a wonderful guide who provided us with more information that I could take in about historic Cambridge. We chose Scudamore’s Punting as we got a pretty good deal in comparison to other people trying to flog it to us.
Seeing all of the College’s from the boat was without doubt the best way to see them and no day trip to Cambridge would be complete without a punt. Our guide was full of information and did not stop talking to us from the moment we got in the boat, he was a wealth of information and I am really glad we did it just for that.
After disembarking we did another loop around Cambridge town and headed back to catch our train back to London. There is not a doubt in my mind that I will return back to Cambridge, it is charming, easy to get around, close to London and there is so much to see! A day trip to Cambridge is the perfect weekend activity.
Have you been on a day trip to Cambridge?
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Is September really over already? Seriously where is the year going? Like all months it’s been a busy one but a great one because I BECAME A HOME OWNER! Yes, that is right I own property in London! It’s a very surreal experience putting the key in the door for the first time and realising that this little flat is all mine (and Dan’s of course).
But firstly here is what I got up to in September. September means back to work for me after the summer break which obviously sucks but it means I get to see all my friends every day so it’s not so bad after all. Dan’s birthday is in the first week so we celebrated this year by going to Street Feast Dinerama for a spot of Sunday lunch. Lucky for us the sun was shining, I felt a little uninspired by the hot food so I just opted for a cute ice cream and donut from You Doughnut.
Our Taste Club resumed after a little hiatus, Cara chose a wine bar and restaurant called Tinto in Islington, we opted for tapas style food and it was all so good, we had a little sangria to wash it all down too.
Dan and I celebrated his birthday again with a trip to our all time favourite restaurant in the world – Pizzeria Pappagone’s. I can’t rave about this place enough, the staff, the food and the atmosphere keeps us coming back again and again.
One Friday night was spent at the Green Man Festival in Kings Cross, it was a three day beer and cider event show casing drinks from all over. On our way there we saw a canal boat with a big band on the front belting out the tunes and it instantly got us in the mood. There was a band, a huge tent, outdoor seating and some food to munch on. After one cider us girls opted for cocktails, why not? Kings Cross is changing so quickly and all for the better, I can’t wait to see what happens next.
I also became an Aunty this month, my big sister had a gorgeous wee girl called Ruby May. I’ll admit that I balled my eyes out when I got the first photo through whataspp, firstly tears of joy but mostly because it’s times like that that I realise I’m so far away and I know I am missing out on these precious moments. We’ve had a face time date already and she is just so cute!
So after six months of dealing with the most incompetent solicitors in the world we finally exchanged contracts and moved into our new place! There were tears, arguments and moments where I thought it would never happen but it all seemed worth it when we went to pick up the keys. We celebrated by going to a restaurant by our new place on Broadway Market, a bonus was that is as 30% Tuesdays! Bella Vita’s food was mouth wateringly good and we can’t wait to go back.
There was one day in September where it rained from the moment the non existent sun came up to the moment the sky turned dark and that day was the day I moved house. It took around 5 hours but we made the move from Islington to Hackney, we are finally starting to feel settled in our new home. I’ve also managed to build an IKEA sofa and bed, that in itself is an achievement!
As Street Feast in Dalston was closing we decided to give it one more go after visiting twice previously. I will miss this little weekend food festival and I hope it returns next year. Us girls opted for tequila slushies and Cara and I shared some macaroni and nachos from Mac not Crack.
The weekends have been spent discovering my new neighbourhood in Hackney and thankfully the weather has been kind on the weekends to do so. I walked around London Fields, picked up a coffee in Broadway Market and strolled along the canal. I also stumbled across a cute little flower market after a walk along the canal and picked up a few succulents, we then went to the ever busy Franco Manca on Broadway Market for a take away pizza, is it worth the hype? Yes!
My girl friends bought me an afternoon tea at Sketch for my birthday so we all got dressed up and headed along one Saturday, the room was just like every picture you have ever seen! So elegant and so very pink. The toilets are without doubt the best toilets I’ve ever set foot in (with French maids and all).
The Rugby World Cup kicked off here in England and I am so excited that I get to watch several rugby matches a week, my husband bought me an All Blacks jersey for my birthday and I’ve been wearing with pride for all the matches so far, I am going to a Quarter final match in Cardiff very soon so super excited for that.
I went on the London Eye and on a River Cruise with thanks to Avios and their Do More with Avios campaign, you can read more about it here.
After our London tourist day, we tried the food market at Waterloo which I have been dying to go to for ages, not a bad spot for some lunch.
Last but not least, I got to catch up with two old friends. When I was at high school I did a six week school exchange to Melbourne (total culture shock right), well I met two great girls who I’ve kept in contact with, 12 years later we reunited in London! It felt like no time had passed and it was so good to catch up and have a few giggles.
Plans for October
NFL in London – Miami Dolphins vs New York Jets
Rudimental at Alexander Palace
Quarter Final Rugby World Cup Match in Cardiff
Long weekend in Riga, Latvia
Did you catch my blog posts from September?
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To say I am excited about the Rugby World Cup is an understatement. Coming from New Zealand it is pretty much ingrained in us, we love rugby it’s that simple.
I am so happy that England and Wales are hosting this years Rugby World Cup as well because it means for the next six weeks I get to watch rugby a few times a week and more importantly I am in the right time zone! No more early morning pub sessions like last time when New Zealand hosted it, those 8am snakebites at the Walkabout still make me shudder.
This year I will be celebrating by watching it at several places in London as well as my new home. The best bars to watch rugby in London (in my opinion of course) are as follows.
This pub located in Finsbury Park is my go to pub whenever there is a rugby match is on so it will be absolutely pumping over the next few weeks. There is a large room with a few TV’s as well as a gorgeous garden out back to bask in the last of the London sunshine.
Having just moved into the area this will no doubt be my regular hang out for Rugby World Cup matches. This pub is HUGE, with both indoor and outdoor areas with screens and the beautiful surroundings of London Fields it’s a perfect place to sit back, grab a pint and watch some top class rugby games.
This traditional London boozy located in cool Kentish Town is showing every single Rugby World Cup match along with tasty food and great beers on tap. The location is great, the actual pub has two levels as well as a beer garden balcony and pretty sweet interiors.
I will no doubt we celebrating the Rugby World Cup with all of my kiwi friends here in London at my house. We will eat, drink, hopefully celebrate many wins and take home the Web Ellis Cup for a third time in the Rugby World Cup’s history.
I will be attending a Quarter Final Match in Cardiff in October and fingers crossed it will be an All Blacks match. I can’t wait to pull on the famous All Blacks jersey, put on my New Zealand beanie and cheer on my time as they play their hearts out. The best part of seeing the game live is the famous haka, seeing it live sends shivers up my spine.
The great people at Kit Bag provided me with a brilliant girls All Blacks jersey (these are very hard to come by) so I can support my team. Go and check out their website and get behind your team!
How will you be celebrating the Rugby World Cup?
Disclaimer: I was provided with a rugby jersey of my chosen team in exchange for a blog post about how I am celebrating the Rugby World Cup.
Pretty much everywhere I go, everything I eat and everything I do ends up being photographed and eventually on the blog. But I went to Bristol and I was a bad blogger because I DIDN’T take photos of everything. Sometimes it is nice to take a break and not see everything from behind the lens and actually enjoy it without feeling the need to document EVERYTHING! Straight after I went to Bristol I found this post from Pack your passport and it was pretty much exactly how I felt.
Dan and I went to Bristol to meet up with family and do a bit of sight seeing. We caught the bus from London Victoria with National Express for a small £9 fare, how amazing is that? We arrived in to Bristol on a sunny Tuesday afternoon, we were booked into Jamie’s Italian for lunch so we headed towards Park Street, a giant hill in Bristol full of high street chain and quirky shops and restaurants.
At the very bottom of Park Street we found a Banksy. This was my first ever Banksy I’d ever seen, can you tell from my face how excited I was? It was so much bigger than I imagined as well, it is just a shame that is has paint over it now.
We ate a three course meal at Jamie’s Italian for £20, it was a bargain and the food was of course delicious. Bad blogger didn’t take any photos until dessert, sorry!
Bristol Cathedral was looking gorgeous in the sunshine, it looks like the perfect place to hang out. There was even lettuce growing in the flowers!
In true British summer time fashion weather changed dramatically, it rained and then it poured. We got on a boat anyway because that’s what we had planned to do. The boat trip was around half an hour and took us all along the river to see the ship Great Britain and the various boats, and pubs along the river. Apart from the rain it was really interesting and the commentary was informative and I do love a good West Country accent.
As the weather wasn’t picking up we decided it was time to go. I really want to go back to Bristol, I’d love to go on a Banksy hunt and see a lot more of Bristol as I really only scratched the surface. I’m sure I will return and perhaps be a better blogger but I must say it was nice to see a city not behind my iPhone screen.
Bloggers to do you find it hard to switch off sometimes in new places?
To celebrate our wedding anniversary in August Dan and I decided quite some time ago that we would go back to the place where we spent our wedding night – The St Pancras Renaissance. This hotel is something pretty special, designed by Gilbert Scott and opened in 1873 this building is a London icon.
We decided to book into the Chambers Club room again this time as we loved having the access last time. By booking a Chamber Club room you are served breakfast, afternoon tea, wine and beer and dinner canapés. All of this for just over £100 more than a standard room which we thought was a pretty good deal for two people.
Our room wasn’t ready when we checked in but we were quickly showed to the Chambers Club and served some champagne to kick of the celebrations. Thank to the lovely staff for this.
We then went to the St Pancras Renaissance spa for a swim in this beautiful pool. The room is situated under ground and you can even hear and feel the tube. The pool room is very calming with music playing, soft chairs to sit back and relax and read magazines, a steam room to get all hot and sweaty in and of course a pool. There is also a hot tub at the end with bubbles and all. We spent a lot of time down here over the next day. I also loved how children can only visit at certain times of the day.
We then got into our room, it was station facing so we were graced with this view. I know it’s not a sea view or a view over a skyline but to me it’s not bad!
We then headed down to the Chamber Rooms for our afternoon tea to be served. The Chambers Club is quite big so it never feels too busy. It is a buffet afternoon tea but there is always someone there to serve drinks and check that everything is going well. I couldn’t fault the staff in the Chambers Rooms, they were so attentive throughout the whole stay.
The afternoon tea was delicious, I started with scones with cream and jam before tucking into the sandwiches. There was salmon and ham and both were yummy. I have actually had a traditional afternoon tea at St Pancras Renaissance before when there was a Cloudy Bay afternoon tea. The sweet treats were my favourite, macarons and a lemon meringue tart. The lemon meringue tart was literally melt in your mouth goodness.
After getting comfortably full on afternoon tea we took a walk around the hotel. The architecture of the interior is beyond beautiful. The dome roof at the top of the grand stair case is what dreams are made of. This was the perfect place to take photos on the go pro. I refrained from belting out ‘Wannabe’ whilst on the grand stair case.
We also found the ladies smoking room where there is a lovely balcony over looking the beautiful hotel with the famous clock tower. This is a great wedding reception location.
After a nose around we headed back to the room and I took a bath before we headed back to the Chamber Club to have our dinner canapés. This duck has his own instagram account!
We thought we would have a few and then go to the Booking Office for dinner but then we realised how good it was, we stayed and were soon filled up. They were more like tapas than canapés. We sat back, I drank some wine whilst Dan sipped on the St Pancras beer.The canapés were sweet potato, spring rolls, chorizo salad, meat balls and deep friend brie.
We then moved onto dessert, the sweet treats were beautifully presented and of course scrumptious.
I sunk into bed to enjoy my sleep at the St Pancras Renaissance. The bed is without doubt one of the most comfortable I’ve ever slept it.
Breakfast were served in the Chamber Club again, I didn’t take any photos (shock horror, bad blogger) because we had agreed to no phones at breakfast. But it was a mixture of scrambled eggs, bacon, bread and cheese.
After check out we headed back down to the pool to spend the afternoon there, swimming and steam rooming up a storm. I sat back on one of their comfy chairs and read the Conde Naste Traveller magazine which was complimentary from my room.
What we loved the most:
We absolutely loved our second stay at the St Pancras Renaissance. The staff, Chamber Club, food and drink were exceptional. Now I’m wondering if this will become a tradition for our wedding anniversary? I hope so! Sometimes it is nice to splash out on a bit of luxury and the St Pancras Renaissance is the perfect place to do so.
After we left we popped to MI + ME just outside the Booking Office but still part of this establishment for the best cheese toastie I’ve ever had in London, it is a big call I know but I do love my cheese toastie’s. Do check it out if you find yourself with a bit of time in St Pancras.
Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire has to be one of the best days out I’ve had in England.
Longleat has an incredible stately home, the most beautiful gardens and grounds that cover a huge 9000 acres and a drive through safari park. Longleat was the first drive through safari park of it’s kind in the U.K when it opened in 1966. We arrived at Longleat on a beautiful sunny day and headed straight for the giraffes and lemurs. There were over 20 giraffes roaming freely in their rather large enclosure and you could get pretty close to them too. The lemurs had a walk in enclosure and again they roamed freely through their enclosure, they didn’t seem to mind us hanging around and got pretty close.
We then jumped in the car and headed for the fun stuff! The very naughty monkeys. There are multiple signs warning you of the dangers of the monkeys and what they will do to your car and they are not wrong. From the moment we drove in to the separate enclosure the monkeys are all over your car. The car in front got their windscreen wipers and aerial yanked off in record time. We were lucky to only have one guy have a go at the aerial but he didn’t manage to tear it off.
Then the real safari began. After leaving the separate monkey enclosure you then drive by camels, rhinos, deer and elephants. The animals can come right up to the car and it was incredible seeing a rhino close up, they are even bigger than what I imagined.
The road then leads on to the big cats enclosures. I didn’t know what to expect when we drove in. I was a little nervous but also excited. The let only a small number of cars in at a time and from the moment we got into the tiger enclosure we spotted one and then two and then a third. It was like being on actual safari, everyone is on the look out and when you spot one you just stop and stare and try and get as close as possible. The tiger enclosure was huge, they have a massive amount of space to wander around in and wander they did. They were on the move the whole time. It was so exciting seeing tigers that close up.
Next was the lions enclosure, I couldn’t believe it myself but there was over 30 lions. Prides were obviously separated but seriously there was a lot! Lions were doing what lions always do…sleep. Again we got insanely close to the big cats but they were all being very lazy indeed.
After the excitement of the safari we parked the car and headed straight for Longleat House. The current house was built in 1580, yes it is that old! This was without doubt one of the most grand buildings I have ever seen. It was the first stately home to be opened to the public in 1949 and the eccentric Lord Bath resides here.
Included in the ticket price was the Longleat House tour, we went inside and got dressed up in some costumes to you know get into it, Dan went a little overboard with the costumes.
We spent about an hour walking through this fantastic house. Lord Bath’s art is on show throughout and a lot of the rooms have kept original furnishings. It is an absolute beauty, inside and out.
Just when I thought Longleat couldn’t get any better we jumped on a boat and went for a cruise around the river. In the middle is ‘Gorilla Island’ where one of the oldest Gorilla’s in the world lives (with a TV). We caught a glimpse before he slunk away, he was covered entirely in grey hair. There was another family of gorillas further down, their enclosure was again really big and far enough away from us. There was flamingos, two hippos and some very hungry seals as well. You could feed the seals from the side of the boat, they put on a great show for us. The commentary on the boat trip was excellent as well.
To finish off our day at Longleat we then headed for the maze. This was my first maze and I can’t say I’ll be rushing back into one. Myself, Dan and some other family members went in together but then the boys ditched us and it was a challenge to get out! We made it though (thank God).
Longleat is an absolute gem, there is something for everyone and I enjoyed it immensely. The grounds were manicured to perfection and you can tell how much time and effort is thrown into keeping this place beautiful. I highly recommend a trip to Longleat if you are in this part of the country.
Tickets cost £28 for an all in one day ticket. For more information check their website
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If you follow me on Instagram you know that I’ve been away for the last few weeks. If I was a good travel blogger I would be all organised and have posts scheduled but at present the blog has had to take a back seat. Mainly because I am in the process of buying a flat and it takes up a lot of time! I’ve also been away from my trusty laptop for a few weeks and I must say I’ve enjoyed the break from the blog. Sometimes it’s nice to switch off and enjoy what is going on around you.
In the last few weeks I’ve been to:
I jumped on a plane and headed to Biarritz in France
Before jumping on a bus to San Sebastián in Spain
Then finished up the trip in Bilbao in Spain
After one day in London we hopped on a plane to Jersey in the Channel Islands and were graced with beautiful blue skies and days of sunshine.
And now I’m finally home in London! I am celebrating my birthday this weekend by starting with brunch at the Duck and Waffle, going to the Natural History Museum to see the Wildlife Photographer of the year and then hanging at my local pub on Saturday with friends.
I’ve got ALOT of pictures to edit, lots of blog posts to write and of course lots of reading to catch up on my favourite blogs.
Stay tuned over the next few weeks as I share what I got up to this summer. I am officially back in the blogging world now!
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You may be a little confused with the title of this post, you probably haven’t thought about spending your summer in Camden Town but read on and your mind may be changed.
You may know the Round house as an iconic music venue in Camden town but from now until the end of August the roof top has been converted into a little beach haven. There is plenty of sand, deck chairs, tunes, fish and chips and most importantly cold beverages.
I was lucky enough to visit on opening weekend and it wasn’t too busy when we got there at 12.30 so there was no queueing. It was also a beautiful sunny Sunday and I even got a little burnt so remember to take your sun cream. You can rent these little beach huts for you and friends to drink prosecco and beer in the sunshine, it’ll set you back about £350 though.
The drinks were a little on the expensive side, a rum mixer cost £8 at the main bar but there was a craft beer container called Pork where you can get a cider or beer for ‘normal’ price of £4.20 and they also serve sausages.
There is a rum shack, a Stoli lemonade van and a fish and chip shop where you can pick up your traditional fish and chips to make you feel like you are truly at the English sea side. The best bit? It’s FREE!
There is more info here about Camden Beach
Proud Secret Garden
I love Proud Gallery in the Stables Market, every time I’m in Camden I pop in as they always have great exhibitions and talented musicians playing on Sundays. One of my favourite exhibitions was the Edie Sedgwick Warhols Muse from last year. This visit was a little different as I discovered the Proud Secret Garden which has recently opened for the summer. It is a welcoming place filled with colourful flowers, bunting, plenty of seats, live music, yummy food and just good vibes.
We easily nabbed a table, listened to a brilliant guitarist sing some tunes and basked in the rare London sunshine. The food on offer looked delicious – burgers, pizzas and the flatbread and dips looked like the perfect snack.
If you are game enough there is even a hot tub right by the bar, there were no takers when we were there but after a few drinkies anything can happen!
More information about the Proud Secret Garden here
Camden is one of my favourite spots in London, I am looking forward to checking out the newly opened Cereal Killer Cafe, The Diner and of course spending more sunny days at these two spots over the next month.
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I have read so many mixed reviews about The Sky Garden that it was high time I went there and saw for myself what all the fuss (or not fuss) was all about.
A few weekends ago Dan and I got on a very early train from Waterloo to head down to Dorset for the weekend. I knew pretty much nothing about Dorset or more specifically Poole where we were heading to but I was keen to get out and about before we attended a 40th birthday party that evening.
The train ride was just over 2 hours long, we got to Poole and headed straight to our hotel The Antelope to dump our bags and get out into the sunshine. On first glance I must say I didn’t like it, the high street was pretty awful and had some very questionable looking characters milling around but once off the high street and into Old town Poole I found it to be very quaint. There were some beautiful homes, with gorgeous doors and being spring the flowers were all in bloom.
There are plenty of cute little pubs dotted around as well. I found this absolute gem of a house tucked away and wondered who lived here.
Poole is by the seaside but it is a harbour, there are countless boat trips out to nearby Brownsey Island which is a conservation site. There is also a castle from Henry VIII era which is apparently a John Lewis staff only premises, you can’t even go in for a peak.
That evening for the birthday we were going on a boat party for a couple of hours around Poole harbour. Having grown up by the seaside it wasn’t until I was there that I realised just how much I missed it. Being by the sea and having the fresh air just makes you happier, I do wonder sometimes why I live in London when I get this view?
It was a little tricky to get that perfect boat ride couple picture as it was a tad windy but we gave it a good try! My hair was not behaving.
The boat trip went out to a place called Old Harry Rocks which is a pretty spectacular rock formation, I actually want to come back to Dorset to see these rocks and ones further along the coast from the shore.
The morning after the party we headed right across the road from our hotel to Coffee Saloon. The staff were so friendly and after Dan got his coffee fix and me my hot chocolate we were on our way out of Poole.
We stopped off and get a few snaps by the seaside.
The following day we had a bbq in the garden, the sun was shining and I really didn’t want to come back to London! I am hoping this summer to see a bit more of the U.K as I spend most of my holidays over seas. England is gorgeous, you just have to get out there and find it.
Have you been to Dorset?
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I’ve decided to do a monthly round up permanently on the blog now because I’ve been getting up to so many great things lately that I just have to share them all.
The month started off with another live chat show. Myself and my friend Jess went to Alan Carr Chatty Man. As I mentioned in my April post I went to The Jonathan Ross show and saw some amazing celebs so I was so happy to receive an email to confirm my tickets for Chatty Man. It was such a laugh and I can tell you now going to see the show live is so worth it! I got my tickets through SRO audiences.
Now that my time in Kentish Town in London is coming to an end as we are moving soon, I have been trying to check out as many of the local bars and restaurants as possible. The Arancini Brothers risocotto balls are world famous (in Kentish Town) and I have been meaning to pop down there for so long. It was a gorgeous sunny Saturday and they had just opened their garden out the back. The staff were AMAZING, you even get to sample the risotto balls before ordering and I can confirm they are worth the hype. Next time I will go back and order the risotto ball wrap.
That same day I walked down to Camden town to get some vintage levi denim shorts for my upcoming Ibiza trip. I love the vintage shops in Camden stables market so much and again I’m going to miss it when I move to Hackney. For all of its flaws, Camden is a great place, full of life and never dull. We had dinner at Mexican restaurant Chilango, I go past on the bus all the time, but after reading about it on Frankie’s blog I knew I had to give it a go. After Italian, Mexican is my fav and this place didn’t disappoint. The fresh lemonade was THE BEST!
I had a wonderful afternoon tea with Kelly at my favourite place in London. The Cloudy Bay afternoon tea at St Pancras Renaissance was beautifully presented and a great chance to catch up with the afternoon tea queen. You can read her gluten free review here.
I also was lucky enough to get tickets to The Graham Norton show but after queuing for about an hour and being 20 people from the front of the line they said the theatre was full. So gutted as it was an epic line up, but it does mean I get priority tickets for another show which is fab. So that evening I treated Dan to a dinner at Wahaca on the Southbank to ease the pain of queuing in the rain. I love Wahaca and they have a new menu at the moment which is scary and fun all at the time same. It’s sad to say goodbye to old faves but good to give new dishes a try.
After receiving vouchers for D&D restaurants back in October 2013 for an engagement present from friends we FINALLY got ourselves to Madison for dinner. Madison is at the top of One New Change building right next to St Paul’s. The evening we went was sunny and there was so many people doing roof top drinking at their outdoor bar. The food and service was impeccable and you can tell from the look on Dan’s face how much he loved his steak.
After our meal and drinks we headed to the balcony to watch the sunset over London. It was so pretty. If you are after a good view over London that costs nothing, head up the lift in the One New Change building and spend some time marvelling over this wonderful city.
A newbie that has appeared in Kentish Town recently is Joe’s Southern Kitchen. Dan and I went to Joe’s Kitchen to sample the new restaurant. Having been to the one in Covent Garden before our expectations were high but it totally fell flat (boo). The food was good but not great and we left feeling a little disappointed. The décor was really neat though and they have done a lot with the place. To start we had devilled eggs and corn bread and for mains we had the Southern fried bird to share with a side of fries and mac and cheese.
I took a stroll around my fav part of Kentish Town after our meal and snapped a few of the prettiest houses around. There is a particular street called Leverton Street where all of the houses are painted beautiful bright colours.
Our monthly taste card club outing finally ventured out of Islington. Nikki chose a North African restaurant in Central London just near seven dials called Souk. We could choose between chicken, lamb or vegetarian. We chose a sharing menu between the four of us that included chick peas, breads, hummus, meats and all sorts. All though it doesn’t look ascetically pleasing it was delicious. The restaurant was totally decked out in lamps and had cute little corners to dine in.
Last week was half term for us teachers and after going to Ibiza three years ago I have been dying to get back, so myself and 5 friends booked 5 nights on the Balearic Island for sun, partying and fun! We stayed at Playa den Bossa beach and had lots of fun partying at Bora Bora day party, Pacha and Sankeys night clubs and of course enjoying that all inclusive. We also ventured over to the stunning island of Formenterra to get bikes and go around the island. More of this great trip to come.
To finish off the month I headed to the very famous ‘Breakfast Club‘ to have brunch on Friday. Mainly because it was a week day and I will never queue for an hour for brunch. I went for the huevos rancheros. So good! Even better when you don’t have to queue.
I also got a couple of new gadgets this month. First of all I got the iphone6 as my contract was up for renewal, I love it so much and can’t believe how great the screen is. I also splashed out and got a GoPro Hero4. I’ve wanted one of these for so long so I finally bit the bullet just before Ibiza, so glad I did!
I had some lovely guest posts over on the blog this month as well. You should check them out
In June my plans so far are:
Wicked Theatre Show
Weekend in Bournemouth
Alex McQueen’s Savage Beauty
BBQ at my house
Taste card club
Hello Big World, Small Me readers! I’m Amy and I blog at Amy and the Great World, where I write about my adventures around the world–mostly about my life here in Prague, where I am currently based. I’m honored to be posting on Sara’s blog today for her month all about London!
London is a city that evokes images of tea, red phone booths, the Queen (as well as her grandchildren and great-grandchildren!), the river Thames, and centuries of great writers, poets, artists, and world-thinkers.
It’s also overwhelming–especially for the first time visitor. Where to start? What to do first? What is “unmissable?” While I am hardly a London expert by any means (since you are here on Sara’s blog I have a feeling you know she is much more of one that I will ever be!) but I do wish I had access to this list during my first time visit in London. Here’s the makings of a wonderful first (or second, or third…) day in the incredible city that is London!
1. Hop on a red double-decker. While cliche and touristy, this is one of my favorite activities from our time in London. It’s a great way to see the city and get your bearings, and it’s fun! Seeing Big Ben for the first time from the top of an iconic double-decker hits high on my favorite travel moments. (The buses usually have a covered area, too–as we all know, London can get wet!).
2. Hop on and off as you choose! I would recommend Westminster Abbey, especially first thing in the morning, so you can avoid some of the lines, or Buckingham Palace, especially on days when they are changing the guard–which is not every day. Big Ben is also in that area, as well as Trafalgar Square.
3. Hyde Park. While the weather may impact this one, even on a rainy day Hyde Park is lovely. It’s nice to break away from the crowds for awhile and explore some green space. This will lead you to…
4. Afternoon tea at Kensington Palace. Specifically, in the Orangery. In lieu of a bigger lunch, order their full Afternoon Tea. It comes with an assortment of lovely food, including the required clotted cream and scone, as well as tea, of course. It’s in a gorgeous setting! You’ll feel like a royal yourself, just for a little while. Feel free to tour Kensington Palace itself. Much of it was closed during our time there for renovations, but the gardens are also so pretty, so explore! Plus, Will and Kate live there, so make sure to wave at Prince George and his new baby sister.
5. Visit the Tower of London. Hop back on a the red bus (it should take care of most of your transportation for the day) and cruise over to the Tower of London. Our hop-on hop-off tour included a boat ride down the Thames–so that’s how we went to the Tower! The Tower of London is so full of history, and I enjoyed just walking around the walls.
6. Cross the Tower Bridge. Not the London Bridge as many think, the Tower Bridge is yet another iconic symbol of London. We were blessed with beautiful weather–and if you’re lucky, you might see the Bridge open for a passing ship!–so we grabbed an ice cream each and moseyed across..after it closed up again, of course. ;).
7. Walk along the South Bank. After the Bridge, spend some time walking along the South Bank. This is the point in time where I simply fell in love with London–I’m not sure the views could get better than this.
8. The London Eye at sunset. This is an optional one, as it can be a tourist trap, but I loved getting a view of London from this giant Ferris Wheel. Buy your tickets ahead to save time!
9. Dinner in a pub. Finish of the day with a relaxing dinner in a pub. English food gets a bad rap–but I enjoyed every meal we had there, despite being prepared for some soggy fish and chips. Our hotel, the Chamberlain (a bit of a splurge for us, as it was my birthday), had a delicious restaurant, but the city is full of pubs for you to enjoy. Go ahead and pair your fish and ships (or steak and ale pie, or whatever you fancy) with a cider or a beer, for the full “British” experience :).
Some of my other favorite activities in London included King’s Cross station (especially for my fellow Harry Potter lovers), the British Museum (possibly my favorite sight–but I would recommend a large chunk of time for this!), Oxford Street, a show at West End, grabbing Indian food, more time in pubs, exploring Notting Hill…to name a few!
One of the things I love most about living in London is all of the fantastic gigs there are. Coming from New Zealand, they are few and far between and very expensive! But here in London you could see a gig almost any night of the week. I don’t go to as many gigs as I would like to as I’m a little out of touch with music at the moment and I rarely take the time to research when bands are in town. It is also pretty tough to get a ticket as most of them go on sale at 10am (does no one think of poor teachers who can’t sit in front of a computer) but here are some of my favourite gigs from the years in London.
Only last year this kiwi songstress was in town and I am so glad I got to see her, she is super talented, incredible live and makes me feel pretty proud to be a kiwi.
So Sam Smith is now HUGE all over the globe but I was very lucky to get tickets to see him last year at the famous Brixton Academy. Although he only played for just over an hour, he was of course spectacular and totally humble.
A great kiwi band that pops into London every year, these guys have released a new album and signed with Capitol Records in America, big things are happening. I love their new song and the video makes me crazy home sick. See it here.
Another kiwi great, I’ve been to see them twice here in London. Reggae masters and good ol skanking music. Again, it makes me so home sick to see these guys live in London but what a treat they are.
I’m not an emotional person but seeing this incredible Icelandic band live in London reduced me to tears. You may well know Sigur Ros music from BBC wildlife documentaries but seeing them live was a totally new experience. They had me captivated from the moment they entered the stage. If you ever get the chance, see them.
I love The Doors and have done from a very young age so when I read that Ray Manzarek (who has now sadly passed away) and Robby Kriegar of the Doors were playing in London I jumped at the chance. I had just arrived and went with two friends from home. It was a totally surreal experience. I couldn’t actually believe it was them in front of me belting out the tunes I grew up on. I feel so incredible lucky to have seen them before Ray passed away. Long live the Doors!
This soulful Detroit singer has been on my radar for about five years. He is super cool and very suave and was a real show man. I’ve never seen an artist interact with an audience so much, he even gave out some Hennessy to the crowd. What a dude! It was wicked to see him here in London as I knew he’d never make it out to little NZ. Check out his soulful tunes.
We got given tickets to see this London girl at the Barbican Theatre as an engagement present. She was playing a special one of gig with The Guy Barker Orchestra. She was a real darling, chatted to the audience and played some really unique tunes.
OK this is was a total teenage dream come true. When I heard Five were playing I just had to fulfil my teenage dream. Myself and my friend Danielle bought tickets and were like two giddy school girls. We danced, sang and remembered all the moves from back in the day. The gig was a total blast from the past.
I got these tickets for Dans birthday a few years back and it was one of the only gigs I’ve bought seating tickets and I’m glad I did as it was truly magical and I could enjoy the light show from the seat. This guy is so beautiful and I fell completely in love. His heartfelt tunes really shone through in his live set.
Dan bought me tickets to see James Morrison for Christmas one year. I’m a total sucker for tear jerker tunes and this is the ultimate. He was great live and a proper sing along. Dan spent most of the night at the bar (with the rest of the boyfriends and husbands) but I was happy to be seeing him I didn’t mind.
The ultimate gig I have attended since living in London was the legendary Glastonbury. Without doubt one of the best weekends of my life. Not only was it a totally amazing experience with my friends, I got to see The Rolling Stones and I got engaged!
What’s your favourite gig you have attended in London?
Recently a friend of mine was over in London from New Zealand so we thought we would do something special and go up the Shard to one of the bars. I had been up the Shard before to their viewing deck but this was my first visit to a bar and we chose Gong.
We decided to go to Gong as it was the highest bar located in the Shard, it was on the 52nd floor. There was a minimum spend of £30 per person which was clearly stated to us before we went up. We were then checked in via iPad and taken to the lift with one of the fantastic bell boys who work at the hotel.
The lift was super fast and before we knew it were being greeted by a staff member as soon as we got off the lift. Straight away the view over London was breath taking. The sun was just beginning to set so the sky was a shade of pink. The bar was quite busy for a Monday night but we were very lucky to receive a table right by the window.
Now onto the cocktail menu. On first glance I had no idea what to order, the cocktails were no run of the mill ones, they were obscure flavours and really random mixes but I was keen to give them a try.
My first cocktail was:
Black & Blue Swizzle £17
A modern interpretation of a ‘Creamy Scotch’ with a British blue cheese twist. Mixed with a swizzle technique and served on crushed ice.
Talisker 10, Stilton cheese, honey, Pedro Ximenez sherry.
Whilst we waited for our cocktails we were given crisps, nuts and rice crackers and these kept coming all night. We sat back and enjoyed the view. The sun set and I can tell you that from the 52nd floor I couldn’t think of many places in London that are better to watch the sun set.
The service was good, not great. Although they filled up our food regularly when it came to getting a second drink we couldn’t seem to get the attention of any of the staff and when we finally did the drinks then took a very long time to arrive but to be honest we didn’t mind as we were just pleased to be up there and catching up.
My second cocktail was:
Romeo & Juliet £17
‘If music be the food of love, play on.’ Inspired by the nearby Shakespeare’s Globe, this long drink features an invigorating bouquet of botanicals with a hint of summer.
Dodd’s gin, raspberry puree, Earl Grey tea, citrus.
The boys opted for some whiskey and my friend went for the Bermondsey Bubbles. We called it a night after we each had two drinks. I would highly recommend going up to Gong to sample the cocktails and take in the view. I am definitely keen to try more of the bars up the Shard.
Have you been to Gong or can you suggest other bars in The Shard?
You can stay at the Shangri La Hotel in the Shard, check it out here
My first guest blogger of the month is the gorgeous Angie from Silver Spoon London.
Angie blogs about all things luxury and has me green with envy after reading her posts. She is Londoner who writes about London life, foodie adventures and luxury travel. Thanks to Angie for this lovely post about her favourite London places with her favourite man.
I grew up in a small town in Buckinghamshire within a easy distance from London so I frequently visited the big smoke. As a kid London was for visiting museums and the zoo, as I grew up it was for shopping and in my late teens we’d loved the night life…but always had to leave at midnight; little Cinderellas reliant on the last train home to Amersham.
At 18, I headed off to study English at Warwick University and then a year in Leeds doing a masters. I always knew in my heart I’d be coming back to London and in 2005 I moved to the capital for good. I’ve now lived here for ten years but I’ll never take that gorgeous view of the London skyline for granted.
Of the ten years I’ve lived in London, the last four have been characterised by my relationship with Mr Silver and now my favourite places are those spots that we visited together and have a strong meaning to us as a couple.
When I saw Sara was asking for guest posts from bloggers and their favourite London moments; I asked her if she’d like a post about places of significance to Mr S and I as a couple while sticking with my usual topic of restaurants and hotels. Sara loved the idea and I really hope that her readers enjoy it too.
Mr S and I had our first date at Crazy Bear in Fitzrovia; he was late, I was hungover (despite an attempt at dry January) and it wasn’t exactly love at first sight. I leapt back on the sobriety band wagon and sipped on herbal tea all night while he one beer. Despite us not falling in love straight away, he suggested a ‘proper dinner date’, and when he suggested one of my favourite restaurants, Hakkasan, now I knew we had something in common.
It was over that steaming basket of dim sum that attraction started to blossom, and it’s been a special place for us ever since. Though after he drove me home, he leaned in to kiss me and I turned my face at the last minute. A total accident and not a brutal act of rejection!
It was on our third date to Dean Street Townhouse that we finally sealed the deal with a kiss; and that’s when you really know that you like someone isn’t it?
A year later we moved in together and a year after that we took the decision to spend five weeks travelling the east coast of Australia. It was in Boxing Day in a hotel called Jonah’s in Sydney that Mr S proposed to me!
But he didn’t propose to me with a ring, now no exaggeration it took three months of research for him to finally get me a ring. When I told people we were engaged it looked like I’d made it all up in my head with no ring to show for it!
When he *finally* got me my ring, which he had specially made for me, a celebration was in order and we had a very special dinner at SushiSamba. I was so excited to wear my engagement ring for the first time, I couldn’t stop looking at all night!
The next step was clearly a big old knees up and cocktails and champagne with all our friends to celebrate! So we hired out the third floor of private members club, Beaufort House, and it turned out to be the perfect place to have our engagement party. The party was in late March and when we woke up on the morning of the event, our hearts fell as snowflakes settled on the ground outside. So unexpected for the time of year, but the weather didn’t thwart us and our friends all showed up to celebrate with us.
Our wedding took a year and a half of planning, blood, sweat and plenty of tears were involved but finally the big day came around! We both love London, and it was clear to us from the start that we would have a central London wedding. Most of our friends and family live in and around the capital and we didn’t want people to have to worry about travelling far or paying for hotels. As we were having such a large number of people for our traditional Jewish wedding we had to choose a place with a huge capacity to allow for all our guests. We visited the ballrooms of some of our favourite hotels….
First The Savoy…
And then Claridge’s, where we’d also enjoyed an incredible date back in the beginning of our relationship…
But we finally settled on London’s old grand dame…
After a traditional service at London’s oldest synagogue in St Petersburgh Place in Baywater, we headed to The Dorchester for a reception, dinner and lots of dancing!!
Though we love travelling and UK breaks, Mr S and I often celebrate our little milestones and special occasions by revisiting these places in London. I love the fact that we so close to our wedding reception venue so every time that we drive past, I can smile and think of that day!
Thanks so much to Angie for writing this lovely guest post. It’s so nice having those meaningful places and wonderful memories to look back on with your special someone.
Go and check out Angie’s blog Silver Spoon London for London life, foodie adventures and luxury travel.
I was very lucky to win tickets to Street Feast at Dalston Yard’s opening night last Thursday through a Time Out competition so me and Dan headed along after a long day at work. When we arrived the sun was shining and it was a gorgeous London evening, we received free entry with two free drinks each so of course the first stop was going to be the bar but we didn’t even need to do that as once our tickets were checked we were graced with these.
Who doesn’t love a free beer? I passed mine onto Dan as I knew there was a tequila slushy on offer and that sounds like my kind of drink.
We made our way around Street Feast at Dalston Yard which is essentially an outdoor warehouse space that has been taken over by various street food vendors for the next few months. It’s not your normal run of the mill street food though, it’s all very nice.
There was lobster, Indian, burgers and a Thai themed bar.
There was a variety of cuisines and all the smells coming from them made me instantly hungry. We began the night at Street Feast with some chicken strips from Breddos Tacos to share. The chicken was so tender and seasoned to perfection.
We walked around before I decided on curly fries with blue cheese dip for my second round from The Orange Buffalo.
Me and Dan shared these, although I insisted on having most of the blue cheese dip because I am a cheese freak. There is also something cool about curly fries, I know they are just fries but I just have to get them whenever I see them.
The next stop was the bar for my special tequila slushy from Jose Cuervo. This drink was soooooooo good! It had an almost creamy taste to it with just a hint of tequila. Slushy and curly fries, I was in heaven!
We continued to have a look around, it’s not a huge space and it wasn’t as busy as I’m sure it’s going to be over the coming months so you could actually have a good look at the food on offer. We chatted to a few people who were eating and Dan then decided to go to Smoke Stak as he had major food envy after spotting one of their meaty creations. He chose to have the Beef Brisket roll for £9. By all accounts (and hilarious man noises) he enjoyed it very much and the meat looked so tender.
I was then having a bit of food fomo so I headed straight for Breddos Tacos where we got the chicken to see if I could spot something else to munch on. I saw a couple in front of me munching on what looked like amazing guacamole so I went straight for the chips and guacamole. It was a really big portion that I didn’t even end up finishing because it was so filling (and Dan won’t touch guacamole). I got another tequila slushy down me and enjoyed people/hipster watching.
There were several fire pits scattered around the place and I got cosy next to one of them as once the sun goes down it gets really chilly there. After doing one more round just to check we didn’t miss anything we headed off. Not before snapping this beauty of a sunset.
I have no doubt I’ll head back to Street Feast over the coming months. It was a really well organised event with plenty of security, clean toilets and good food options. Now all they need is some music or a live band and it would be tops!
Street Feast at Dalston Yard is open every Friday and Saturday from now until the end of September from 5pm to midnight. It is free entry up until 7pm.