London In The Sun: Day Three and Four…

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A wonderful couple of days in London were quickly followed up by another couple of days!! (I was there for six, aren’t I lucky!!)

Tourist at Trafalgar:

I got to continue being a tourist on Wednesday whilst my friend Lizzy was at work. First stop was Tottenham Court Road for a cheeky look round Primark. I needed a dress to go under my belted shirt I was wearing as the one I had packed had SHRUNK IN THE WASH!! Ooopsie! I found a perfect simple black dress and a floppy hat that tied the outfit together perfectly!! I loved my outfit for the day, but somehow managed to not get a photo of it!! Ahh well, i’m sure I will get to share it with you in the near future.

The sun was glorious as I walked around the centre, so naturally I headed to Trafalgar Square to munch on my lunch (left over pizza thank you very much Domino’s). Being a weekday it wasn’t packed but it was still busy enough to pass the time sitting on the fountain edge and watching the world go by. I love seeing everyone pose for their photographs, don’t you? This was followed by a stroll around Covent Garden and St Paul’s Church garden which is currently decorated for a Shakespearean play being performed there.

The Breakfast Club:

I met a friend at The Breakfast Club for tea. It was YUMMY! … We both had an American breakfast which means pancakes, bacon, eggs, sausage and potatoes. All with lashings of maple syrup. Whoever worked out that pancakes, bacon and eggs taste fantastic together with syrup is a genius. I can’t get enough of that concoction! More importantly than the food however was getting to catch up with Chris. A fellow ex-colleague who is about to start a Masters in Drama Therapy! I am so proud of what he is achieving and know that he is going to be incredible in his field of work. Luckily for me, he has also been on his travels to Australia so he can send me me lists of places to visit when he thinks of them!

Appi-Hour Anyone?:

My ultimate and all time favorite chain for cocktails in London is Be@One. After tea we headed to Greek Street’s Branch to meet some other friends from my work in London. I haven’t been back to London since February so it was wonderful to get to see everyone again and find out how they all were. So much changes in just a few months, I can’t imagine how much will differ next time i’m back in London. We spent the evening trying a few (a lot) of the hundreds of cocktails on offer to us, making good use of Be@Ones clever ‘appi-hour’ app once happy hour was over, and enjoying the show the bar staff put on when making each cocktail. They really do rock the “service with a smile”!

Muggles Everywhere As Per Usual!:

Thursday’s first stop was at Platform 9 3/4. I nearly swapped my plans and headed to Hogwarts instead of Australia, but alas, someone had been tampering with the barrier again so we couldn’t get through. A fellow wizard managed to capture me and Lizzy on a photograph as we tried to push the trolley through the barrier… proving Gryffindor and Slytherin can work together sometimes!

A Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time:

Wow! If you are in London at any point… OR the tour is coming to a theatre near you… GO AND SEE THIS SHOW!!! It is STUNNING. The script, the acting, the set, the lighting, the projections, the costume, the perfectly timed work of the back stage crew. Everything is FLAWLESS. I was in awe throughout the whole performance and I don’t think it is a show like any other at the moment, especially on West End. Based on the book by Mark Haddon (which you should also read!) A Curious Incident is based on a tale by Christopher, a 15 year old boy. The story enables the audience to see into the mind of someone who may have Autism or Asperger Syndrome and delves into how they cope with the challenges that life brings. I would go and watch this play again tonight and tomorrow if it was possible! … Several £15 tickets are released for every performance, at 10am on the day, in the Gielgud Theatre box office. I bought one of these and had a slightly restricted view but felt I did not miss anything. …. FYI… don’t rush off at the end of the show.

xoxo

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London In The Sun: Day One and Two…

London in the sun

The past few days have been a blur of activity in the city. I lived in London for almost five years before making the decision to pop home for a few months before heading out on my travels to Australia. I was lucky enough to spend six days last week revisiting some favourite spots, taking in some sights, shows and new experiences as well as seeing some of my favourite people that I haven’t been able to see in way too long!

Bend it like Beckham:

I got to spend Monday night seeing two friends who I went to University with as well as being travel companions on my trip to Uganda. We spent the evening catching up, eating typical English pub grub and going to see Bend It Like Beckham, The Musical at the Pheonix Theatre. Bend it like Beckham was one of the first VIDEO’s I bought for myself out of my saved up pocket money. It made me want to be a footballer for approximately two days until I was reminded just how quickly that football could fly at you! I was keen to see how they would make such a film into an on stage musical and it did not disappoint. An easy going show to watch, BILB’s score and script has hints of ‘Matilda’ meets ‘Billy Elliot’ with a clever fusion of traditional Indian music and original musical numbers. There is also an interesting generation blend shown by the parents and teenagers within the cast during the Bhangra numbers that could get almost anyone laughing and bobbing along. The coming of age struggle, alongside the debate of how to please a traditional family’s views whilst trying to follow your dreams, is shown in a delightful humorous way. And although a bit long, the evening passed quickly and we left the theatre smiling and daydreaming of sparkles and football.

My Village Cafe:

On Tuesday I discovered a cafe that I highly recommend everyone drops into when shopping at Camden. Called ‘My Village Cafe’ and based just past and opposite The Stables side entrance (before you reach Morrisions) this little cafe is a decorative delight. I stepped inside out of the rain for a cup of tea and was immediately made to feel incredibly welcome by the cafe’s hosts. Whilst browsing the fresh food I was handed a sample of a coconut milkshake they had just concocted and I knew I couldn’t have something as simple as an English tea here. Mind you I am fussy when it come’s to my tea, and I don’t like coffee, so a hot chocolate was the only way to go. I ordered and was given another drink sample… this time a chocolate, coffee and ginger blend which was delicious even to a non-coffee drinker like me. I would definitely recommend it to any coffee and hot chocolate lovers visiting. I settled down amongst the rustic furniture, next to the bared brick walls with scattered artifacts, and tucked into my hot chocolate and book whilst the bad weather passed. It was so pleasant I ended up staying for lunch. I wish I discovered this place when I lived in London. It would definitely have been a regular spot of mine.

See their website (under construction) for what it looks like inside. The dim lighting means my photographs do not reflect the place as they should… http://myvillagecafebar.co.uk/virtual-tour-to-my-village.h

Two for Tuesday:

The rest of Tuesday was spent with my housemate and best friend of five years in her new house catching up, watching films and, of course, eating Domino’s!! A perfect couple of days.

xoxo

Oh So Real…

Oh So Real

I have booked the first place that I am going to stay when I reach Brisbane! Now, when I head off on my own after living in the luxury of a house with my Aunt and Uncle I will be hitting all manners of hostels and unusual accommodation. Of that I am certain. However for my first couple of nights I figured i’m going to be a tad (a lot) jet-lagged! So I would like a good bed for a good sleep so I can make the most of seeing my friend Elise and exploring Brisbane in all its glory!

Where to look for a more persAirBnBonal stay in Brisbane that isn’t a hostel… AirBnB of course! My first ever request has just been accepted and I am so excited to be staying with Clare and her family, in what looks like an absolutely gorgeous place!

Photo’s and tales of my first AirBnB experience will be heading your way from the 31st of July!! Suddenly it feels Oh So REAL!!

I made my own AirBnB logo for my profile, I thought it was quite fitting don’t you agree?

xoxo

Mother & Daughter Road Trip… Oxford, Bicester & Milton Keynes…

Oxford

It’s one of those wet Sundays that makes you want to curl up on the sofa with films and copious amounts of tea. The type of Sunday that you look at that list of to do jobs and that room that is in major need of organisation and you just think, nope. Not happening!

So instead of being productive like I should be, i’m watching Harry Potter. Lovely!

Last weekend on the other hand, the sun was shining even more so than yesterday, and it couldn’t have been more perfect for a Mother and Daughter Road Trip!

Mum has a mile-stone birthday coming up in November and as I will be on my travels when that happens I decided we better have a little celebration before I head off! On Saturday morning we headed out in my little Kia Picanto (or Percy) for a weekend full of fun and frolics that my mum had no idea about!

First stop was Oxford. I think we were both relieved to arrive after a detour taking our journey – in the heat with no air con – to about 4 and a half hours long! I had booked a room for the night through the University and was placed in a little cottage-esque style halls of residence. What luxury those students live in! No different to a hotel, the room had a comfy double bed beautifully made, with a gorgeous ensuite shower room. I think I could handle living there for a year!

A short bus journey took us into central Oxford where the next part of the surprise was waiting. My friends Sophie and Lydia were there with their mum Heather – my mum’s friend. Neither mum’s knew so it was lovely to finally be able to break the secret!! … The rest of the day was spent strolling in the sun, exploring the various University buildings and the little streets and parks of Oxford. We even stumbled across a circus with wonderful old-fashioned carts and caravans. It looked so pretty in amongst the trees!

We finished the day having a delicious meal at Cote. Lemon sole for me, it’s my go-to fish when i’m feeling splurge worthy with my money! And Cote did not disappoint. Washed down with Pimms, wine and lots of giggles it really was a wonderful day!

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On Sunday morning I revealed Part Two to mum. We would be spending the night at Bicester Golf and Spa Hotel. I figured we would need a little down time after all the walking over the weekend!

We headed back into Oxford for the morning and devoured a hot chocolate and croissant from Pauls… a favourite treat from my time in London with the best hot chocolate in England. (Angelina’s in Paris does top it though, sorry Paul!) .. I also had to ask a girl where her gorgeous top was from which she revealed was Zara. Low and behold when we popped into the local Zara, there it was in my size AND in the sale! Bonus!! … We spent the rest of the morning exploring the shops and wandering along the river before heading our separate ways. The girls back to their homes and me and mum to Bicester where we spent the afternoon in the spa and eating steak in red wine sauce. Delicious.

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Monday morning meant the conclusion of our trip with one more surprise on the way home… A stop at Milton Keynes for a spot of Indoor Sky Diving!! … Whilst a tad on the expensive side considering you only get 2 minutes in the tunnel, I would highly recommend this experience! It doesn’t make me want to jump out of a plane at great heights anytime soon, but it does make me want to learn all the cool tricks the instructors can do! One did a little superhero show  – think iron man – flying around the tunnel! Wow! I was just about able to learn to hold myself still enough for the instructor to let go for a few seconds before the air blew me off-centre! … The best part was at the end when, if the instructor thought it was safe, they would hold on to you and spin you up to the top of tunnel and back down again. I did not stop grinning!

xoxo

Five Happy Things…

Happy Things

I have 19 days until I fly out to Australia!… And I need to get organised!!!! I don’t think i’ve got any further since my last ‘the flight date is approaching’ post!

Still to do: Travel insurance, Packing checklist, Pick a camera, Book a place to stay for the first couple of nights in Brisbane! … and i’m sure there’s more!

If anyone has any recommendations for any of the above then I would love to hear them!!

On top of sorting my life out I’m also trying to see as many friends and family before I head off on my travels. So far since leaving work I have traveled to Durham and Oxford to see friends and family. I have spent this week at home catching up with various friends and next week i’m in London. I’m so excited to be heading back to the place I spent 5 years living to see some of my favourite people and places.

I plan to put some posts up all about these moments soon but after the sad news of my latest post, and as it’s a Friday, I thought i’d post some things that have made me happy this week:

Friends: So far this week i’ve had catch ups and dinner dates with 5 friends and I have even more plans for this evening, tomorrow afternoon and night where I plan to see even more lovely girls and boys. And it has been wonderful! I’ve been able to see friends who live far away so we’ve had months to catch up on. It’s also amazing how much happens in just one week when you’ve been away, which means I still have lots to catch up on with friends you often see. I have an evening of pizza and girly chatter to look forward to tonight. (Secret revealed: I also had pizza last night, yum yum yum)

Mother And Daughter Road Trip: Because i’ll be away when my mum turns the big 5-0 later this year I took mum on a secret road trip for an early birthday present. It was lovely to spend some quality time with her and we had an awesome time. Shopping, eating and strolling were involved, as well as an extra surprise activity on the way home. … A big thank you to my friend Katie who loaned me her Satnav! Who knows what would have happened along the road without that amazing creation!

Sunshine: It just makes you feel brighter and lighter doesn’t it!? Even at 5am when it streams through my beige curtains!

Thunderstorms: Waking up to a thunderstorm in the middle of the night, hearing the rain lashing against your window, the grumble of thunder building up and seeing a crack of bright light burst through your curtains.. and then getting to snuggle down further into your warm cosy bed, your duvet tucked tight around you and drifting back to sleep knowing you don’t need to go out in the rain. Bliss. I think i’d sleep a lot better if we had more storms at night.

Colouring: I find it’s very difficult to switch off. From life, from thoughts, from technology. Sometimes you just need a few minutes where you don’t think and i’ve found my way of doing so. Colouring! I am loving this latest trend of adult colouring books. You can really focus on the page with the only thoughts being what colour shall I use for the next section?

I hope you all have plenty of reasons to be happy this week!

xoxo

Some Sad News…

I have some sad news to share, the reason for my silence these past couple of weeks. You will have all read, seen, heard about the awful happenings in Tunisia two weeks today. I was horrified to originally hear about the attack unknowing that the effects would hit very close to home.

My beautiful friend’s parents were at that very hotel. Stuart Cullen was her dad, one of the 38 who was killed. I’m not going to go into any more detail, I just wanted to take this little moment to say how heartbroken I am that such selfishness can bring so much grief on so many people all over England and throughout the world.

Stuart was an incredible man and I was lucky enough to witness the love he always showered over his family and friends.

xoxo

Let’s Have A Catch Up…

Let's SummariseOops! I cannot believe how long long it has been since I last wrote a post!… No excuses but I have been super busy rehearsing for a show and must admit that I felt a bit guilty writing or reading when I could be going through that song just one more time (five more times…). So time has well and truly slipped by. Time for a little update on whats been happening then don’t you think?

As I kind of said above, i’ve been in a local AmDram production of Legally Blonde The Musical! As you can tell by me actually sitting down and writing again, it’s now sadly finished, but what a rollercoaster ride it was! Having not sung or danced for nearly four years it was a pretty scary thing being offered a named character role. Margot…. It was a pretty big deal for me and I hope that I rose to the challenge and people enjoyed my take on it/singing/dancing/overall performance! It was an incredible feeling to be back on stage after all this time, such a buzz! However the main thing i’ll take away from the past few months are the amazing friends I made who supported me throughout… More people to miss whilst i’m away!!

Work-wise, time has flown by and now I only have two days left!… English GCSE’s have been and gone and I suppose that means that my job is done… But what a lovely week to finish though as the Year 11’s have their High School Prom tomorrow. I’ve been helping organise it and will be spending the afternoon harnessing my inner events designer to try an make the venue look wonderful. I cannot wait to see all of the girls in their dresses and the guys in their suits.The excitement will be bubbling out of them i’m sure.

Fitness. I have been going to the gym fairly regularly (for me) for the past few months to try and improve my fitness ready for travelling. Friday is my last day of my membership there so I think I am going to attempt the ’30 Day Shred’ from the beginning of July. My friends have seen incredible results in their fitness, stamina and toning since they started it. Let’s hope I can keep the motivation up once i’ve started. Maybe mentioning it on here will force me to keep it up!

It’s been lovely having my brother home for a few weeks. He found out yesterday that he passed his second year of university with a 2:1 in Chemistry!!! He is quickly overtaking me in academic knowledge. The little smarty-pants. I am so proud of him. He starts his placement soon which he will complete over the next year before going on to finish the final stage of his Degree.

My other little brother has just turned 18!! Not so little any more hey! He has also been offered the character of Eugene in Grease! with the same company that we performed with in Legally Blonde!.. Another reason to be a proud sister!

Finally, it’s also just been my Nanny’s 80th birthday! How amazing is that? .. I won’t say much though as I plan to do a separate post later on.

I should be posting more regularly from now on.. Time is quickly vanishing before I head away and there is so much to be done!

xoxo