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Wow, these past few days have been manic. Whilst I thought that I was rather organised for my trip, turns out.. I WASN’T!!! I was running last minute errands right up til the last minute! … Meaning I didnt even have time to update on here how things were going.
You’ll be happy to hear (i hope) that I have reached the halfway point of my journey and am happily typing away in the comfort of Changi Airport, Singapore. The 12.50 hour flight went as smoothly as possible, the only downfall being my inability to sleep well sitting upright… I’m sure that will change by the end of my travels!!
I flew with Singapore Airlines, an incredibly accomodating company. Before we had even moved hot towels were passed out, although with the amount of bodies in such a small space I was happy for the towel to turn cold as quickly as possible. Food and drinks were constantly handed out. It was good to see trays of water and orange juice being passed around so often as well, especially on such a long trip.
Singapore airlines have set up a new transit programme just in time for my arrival which meant that I was handed on my arrival two complimentary $20 vouchers. One was for the cosmetics/alcohol counter and the other could be used in most stores and services in the airport. I treated myself to some new nailpolish and handcream with the first voucher and best of all 2 hours in a transit lounge with the 2nd voucher. Food and an amazing shower was perfect after a well needed nap.
Before I could nap I took advantage of Changi’s free bus tour of Singapore. It was great to be able to visit some of Singapore whilst I was there! The tour is about 2 hours long with 2 twenty minute stops to see the merlion statue and the king”s mansion. These were more than enough for me on this particular day as the heat was humid and uncomfortable when fighting against having had no sleep. I enjoyed watching the world go by, seeing everyday life from the road. These are a few photo”s from my phone…
I would love to tell you about my ride down the 12ft Slide they have at Terminal 3… and the rooftop pool they have on top of the Terminal… But unfortunately both were closed due to renovation work. I was really looking forward to both of these, but I suppose they will have to wait for another time!
I”ll be heading off for my 2nd leg of the journey soon! Only 9 more hours and i’ll be in Australia!
It’s the final chapter of my trip to London. But don’t worry, there was still plenty to do in the last couple of days.
Up, Up and Away:
Friday started off with a little adrenaline rush as Lizzy, Tom and I headed off to conquer Up @ the O2! .. I figured I couldn’t possibly climb Sydney Harbour Bridge if I hadn’t climbed the O2!… And what a buzz you get from accomplishing it! Whilst not the most spectacular views of London when you reach the top viewing area.. unfortunately it isn’t in the best situation for that… the experience is still well worth doing purely for the climb. I mean, who doesn’t want to say that they’ve climbed over the Millennium Dome? Dressed up in the lovely provided jackets, donning the comfiest shoes i’ve worn in a while and weighed down by a harness that is attached to a cable throughout the climb meant that I was ready and raring. There is even a phone pocket built into the suits for photography purposes at the top! The floors were springy to give the effect of actually walking over the O2 roof, this also made the climb comfortable on the knees and easy to grip. If you get the chance to do this, do it! … Mind you, if you were going to do it for the view, do the London Eye instead!… Don’t forget O2 customers can get a discount code as well.. what more do you need!
Wining and Dining:
After the climb I met up with my lovely friend Holly, at Caffe Concerto in Green Park, for an evening of good food and great conversation…. In fact, yesterday was Holly’s and her BF Elliot’s third year anniversary.. So a huge congratulations to you both!… Caffe Concerto was a lovely restaurant complete with grand decor and chandeliers. However the price was much sweeter than you would have expected considering the service and food that was offered. The evening passed quickly as we brought each other up to date on our different adventures.
I also managed to fit in a little catch up with two university friends, Will and Bruce, who have taken over the flat that I stayed in when I lived in London. I hope they are loving it as much as I did!!
Breakfast At T..rafalgar :
Saturday… the final day! Lizzy and I managed to fit in one last little treat before I had to catch the train back home. We popped by Trafalgar Square for breakfast in the sun and then into the National Portrait Gallery to see the Audrey Hepburn Exhibition. I think Audrey Hepburn is the pinnacle of sophisticated fashion. She just looked flawless no matter what she wore, however you can see that precision and decision went to every outfit. Simple and elegant. Mind you, I may even have a touch of sophistication if I had Givenchy filling my wardrobe… I loved living her life for a few moments as i wandered around the exhibition, devouring the stories that went with each of the incredible photographs of her.
And then it was time to go home… But not for long! I now have less than a week until I fly!!
Two drifters, off to see the world
There’s such a lot of world to see.
We’re after that same rainbow’s end, waiting, round the bend
My Huckleberry Friend, Moon River, and me”
Moon River, Breakfast at Tiffany’s
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 personal 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!
I made my own AirBnB logo for my profile, I thought it was quite fitting don’t you agree?
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!
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.
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!
How was everybody’s bank holiday weekend? How wonderful was it that our Bank Holiday Monday, which are renowned for being wet, was instead replaced with beautiful blue skies! It was glorious!
I spent a lovely day wandering the city of Bury St Edmund’s; exploring the ruins of the Abbey and pottering around the shops in the town centre.
Bury St Edmunds is about an hour and a quarter away from where I live… close enough to pop to for the day but far enough away for those unfortunate motion sickness sufferers (like myself!) to arrive feeling a bit queasy!… So the lovely weather was welcomed as soon as I stepped outside of the car. The morning was spent exploring the park that holds Benedictine Abbey’s ruins. To enter you walk through the Great Gate, which while originally this would have lead to the Great Court and Abbey’s Palace, it now leads into the Abbeys Gardens. And what a beautiful sight they are! Laid out in a Victorian bedding style, the garden was full of unexpected colour. Deep oranges, reds and yellows burst out of the greenery. Well I couldn’t help but stop and take several photos to share with you!
Due to the sun shining and it being bank holiday the park that followed on from the gardens was full of families playing games, walking and eating picnics. Children and parents ran through, around and over the ruins, chasing each other or their dogs and having just a wonderful time. It was so nice watching everyone enjoying themselves, smiling to each other and strangers passing. I think that is part of the beauty of Bury St Edmunds. The history is right there on everyone’s doorstep… or back garden as such. It’s not fenced off with a ‘do not touch’ sign. You can get right in there. Walk the paths of the Benedictine Monks, and the Royals who visited. The children can reenact the history that is in the stone they climb over whilst the adults can daydream about what once was and what is now left behind.
As we stepped out of the park and gardens we came across some houses that were built into the stone wall. They were really quite incredible. We only stopped in the cathedral for a few moments as we had a reservation for lunch, but I think it’s honestly the first cathedral that didn’t make me feel like i’m intruding. Does anyone else ever feel this way? The glass windows were gorgeous, and I think the walls being white rather than a dark brick accentuated them, overall making the place so welcoming.
Whilst we normally like to try a local place rather than a chain restaurant for lunch, we had some vouchers for Pizza Express.. and who can turn down a chance to try somewhere for free?! … Whilst not the best Italian restaurant, it was still lovely. The restaurant itself was decorated wonderfully with local art canvas’ which had designs of post signs pointing to nearby towns on them. It had a light and airy feel to the place which was surprising as from the outside it looked small and cramped. Foodwise: I would highly recommend the Romana Pollo ad Astra Pizza.. although if you like a bit of spice like me, maybe ask for a extra topping of your favourite chilli to give it a bit of a kick… anyone else find that chilli oil never really does much?
After lunch we spent the afternoon wandering around the shops. I love trinket shops with little treasures for your home. It was a true test not to spend any money in them whilst i’m trying to save for Australia! … I did buy a cute tin box with an arty picture of a cat on the lid for my grandma’s birthday which is next month. I’m going to fill it with random notecards as she loves writing letters. A couple of larger shops did catch me out, but in my defense, I did have a H&M voucher from my birthday, so I was allowed to buy the scarf, matching phone case and sunglasses. They will obviously be used on my travels! Oh and that bag from Accessorize had £15 off, so it was just as cheap as if I bought one from Primark. I mean Mum and I really can’t continue to walk around with our matching rucksacks for much longer ;D
We rounded off the day watching The Avengers at the cinema. I love the current Marvel collection and can’t wait for the next installment!
And that sums up a lovely Bank Holiday. ….Unfortunately i’ve been rather ill ever since, so daydreaming about Monday and the other places I’d like to visit before I leave England is the only thing keeping me sane. That and finally being able to sleep again!
I finally have some very exciting developments on my Australian Adventure!! Meet Emma (above photo), my lovely friend who has decided to take some time out of her busy schedule working in TV Land and will be joining me in Australia for a month in November!!
Now in case you haven’t worked it out yet, deciding where to visit and when is proving difficult for me! So far I land in Brisbane at the end of July, and will reside in that area for a little while exploring. Then I don’t really have any plans. I know of hundreds of places that I would like to visit. I just don’t know in what order yet…
But Emma has kicked my bum into gear and for November we have a whirlwind tour ahead of us!! SO, where do we plan to go?? First stop Sydney (Can anyone really travel all the way to Australia and not visit Sydney?!). Then back to Brisbane and Gold Coast where I will be able to show off my favourite finds. To Byron Bay for a surf lesson (sandy faceplants anyone?). Then up the coastline of Queensland, featuring: Noosa National Park, Fraser Island, Rockhampton, the Great Barrier Reef and finishing with Whitsunday Islands. … I am overwhelmed with just the thought of how much natural beauty I am going to experience on this trip!
Only just over 12 weeks until my flight departs!! The time is flying by…
By the way.. do you like the photo of Emma? Emma is a singer and this photo is from a shoot I did of her to make an album cover. We had to hand stitch the flowers to invisible thread to make them hang. It looked so beautiful. As does Emma!