London, Manchester and Carrying On

Just under two weeks ago I had a couple of days off work booked, because I was supposed to be seeing Ariana Grande at the O2. As you might know I’m a huge Ariana Grande fan and it was going to be the highlight of my summer.

I don’t need to tell you why the concert was cancelled, and I don’t want to go deep into my feelings about it here. We had a hotel booked (the Intercontinental O2, which is right next to the O2) and we’d paid already so we decided to go and have a couple of days in London in the sunshine despite the attack.

I’m really pleased we did. London in the sunshine is beautiful. Our room overlooked the O2 and we could see the people walking over the top of it – we were that close!

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We had a lovely time wandering around. We never really have the chance to just mill about, since we’re usually in London for a particular reason. Stands selling fresh fruit, juices and waffles pop up this time of year, and they look and smell so inviting.

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We ate dinner at The Diner, and I had this yummy corned beef hash.

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The next morning we grabbed breakfast at Le Pain Quotidien and sat outside on Covent Garden markets – it was already too hot to sit in the sunshine, but we had a lovely warm breeze from our table.

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I won’t lie, the police presence was both reassuring and scary. I have an issue with guns, they make me nervous just by seeing them. I know they’re in capable hands in this circumstance but they can still be used in error. Besides that it was a lovely couple of days and a nice way to spend it in lieu of the events.

As I type this, the afternoon after the London Bridge attack, my heart is heavy once more. The Ariana Grande concert for Manchester is this evening, and I don’t suppose my eyes will stay dry. The whole situation is frightening and frustrating. No one knows how to behave in these kinds of situations and people are sensitive for varying reasons. Arguments are being caused because of people’s differing opinons in situations like this and no one knows what to do. No one feels in control. All we can do is do the right thing and continue to live our lives.

I’m glad we decided to keep our reservation in London and continue our day. London is beautiful in the sunshine, everyone was happy and it was lovely to see so many people enjoying themselves.

This Week I Have Been Mostly

this week i have been mostly

Wow, where did that weekend go? I’ve been super busy and before I knew it it was Monday.

Last week I:

  • Went to visit Amy. She’s just moved into a lovely little house with her boyfriend and even though they’d only been in for almost a week, it already looked cosy and homely.
  • I had dinner with an old friend and caught up with what’s been going on since it’s been years since we last hung out.
  • I went out with my sister-in-law, mother-in-law and niece for a meal whilst the boys went out in London.
  • I visited a sports therapist to look at my TFL joint as I’ve been in pain for a whole week since my last run. Some deep tissue massage later, I’ve been told not to run again until my Bupa 10,000 next Monday. That will have been two weeks off running so hopefully I’ll be okay for the event. Either way I’m still hoping for a PB!
  • Me and my Mum have been practising for a big concert on Friday, with Rock Choir, at St Albans Abbey.
  • I’ve been getting excited because two of the Book Club girls who have been out of the country for months are back in a few weeks and we’ll all be back together again!
  • I’ve been trying to understand lactose intolerance a bit more, and missing the food I used to eat with no problems. I had a big flare up this weekend and after speaking to some people who have dealt with LI for a long time, it seems the condition is really temperamental. You can be fine for weeks and then the smallest thing will set it off. So I’m going to try adding some dairy back into my diet to see what’s bad and what’s not so bad, and hopefully build up some kind of tolerance again.
  • Last week I drove to work and back on my own. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you may know how absolutely massive this is, since my fear of driving has prevented me from being able to drive on my own since I passed my test years and years ago. One day, whilst practicing, it just clicked. No anxiety… in fact no feelings towards it either way. Which is totally fine with me – the enjoyment will come with time, I’m sure 🙂
  • I’ve been getting fed up with the weather, since it’s still cold and rainy and windy. I want spring and summer now! I swear this time last year I had a tan already.
  • We’ve just finished re watching Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes again. They’re amazing shows, if you haven’t seen them before, you must!

And that’s what I’ve been up to. I have another busy week and weekend this week! I’ll slow down and relax one day 😀

I Don’t Know About You

Last night we took our niece Leah to London to see Taylor Swift at the O2 arena. We bought the tickets for a birthday/Christmas present for her and it seemed like ages until the day arrived but yesterday it finally happened! And it was amazing!

We arrived in time for Leah to get home from school and get changed and then we headed to the train station. We knew about the tube strike but still wanted the train journey to be part of the fun day out so arranged to go out on the train and then get a lift home. The wind was so strong and it was very cold but we kept busy chatting on the platform while we waited for the train. The journey was fun and before we knew it we were in London!

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We took the busy underground to Greenwich and headed for the O2 where we made a beeline for the merchandise stand. We got very excited when we saw there were glow sticks! We got a glow stick each and a cool t-shirt too! Then we had a mooch for restaurants and ate dinner at Frankie & Benny’s.  Fed and watered we headed to our seats – we didn’t want to miss the support act.

Sitting in our seats, I was amazed at all the signs people had made – all of which were adorned or shaped with fairy lights! When the lights went down the effect was amazing – like a massive Christmas tree of shapes and words. People were dressed up too – we spotted a massive pumpkin, two bears and two women dressed in wedding dresses with veils! There were a lot of tiny red shorts and striped tops too! Everyone had put so much effort in. Our seats were really good too with mostly adults around us we were the most exuberant in our area!

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The support act was The Vamps and only knowing two of their songs I wasn’t sure whether I’d enjoy it, but they were really good and sung two covers which I knew. Such a young group of lads but they really knew how to work the crowd and got everyone warmed up for the main event.

Candy floss in hand, we were all sugared up and excited for Taylor to come on stage. We didn’t have to wait long but were entertained by watching Momma Swift making the rounds in the seated floor area and taking photos with fans. And then finally the lights went down and the crowd went mental. Seriously the loudest crowd I’ve experienced – and that was including myself!

The whole show was amazing, with great sets and dancing, pyrotechnics and confetti. The songs were themed and included steam punk, circus and ballet with some amazing violin work mixed in with dancing from Caitlin – she’s amazingly bendy! Well known songs were performed in alternative genres and kept you guessing. Taylor spoke to the crowd too which was great and kept it interesting. She’d been having surprise guests at her London concerts just as she had in her US tour and I was a little nervous as to who she would choose – they’d all been British so far (Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith) and last night was Danny from The Script. They sang Break Even which I actually know, which was helpful! The crowd went mental for it!

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After the show ended we were all hoarse and deaf but happy! Because of the tube strike they’d shut the station so it was a bit crazy with people and the weather had made a turn for the worst with torrential rain and gale force winds (not exaggerating!) But we eventually found our lift, and had the chance to shut our eyes for the journey home. Tired but content we arrived home and jumped into bed. We’d had an amazing time and had lots of memories of the night.

I can’t wait for my next concert!

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Weekend, Wall and Wonderful Surprises

Well, I have had a jam-packed and eventful weekend!

Yesterday, after my driving refresher lesson I did some house work and then Gary and I headed off to London, to have some dinner and then head to Wembley Stadium. Roger Waters was doing another tour of The Wall. Having seen it before, two years ago in Manchester, we knew we had to see it again if we had the chance.

For anyone who doesn’t know about Pink Floyd’s The Wall, I’ll let you wiki it and read about it yourself. For those who do know what it is, you should be jealous if you haven’t managed to see it – it’s a spectacular.

We started off by heading for some dinner at Bodeans in Soho. I had pulled pork, chips, coleslaw and corn bread. Yummy! Then we set off for the show. On entering the stadium we noticed that the wall spanned the entire stadium and was bigger than we’d seen the last time. I’d never been into Wembley Stadium so I was generally impressed by the whole place anyway.

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The show is an event rather than a music concert. There’s a story and you’re involved in it. The sound was incredible and went around the stadium so you could hear things going on behind you and around you, which sometimes made it quite frightening (but in a good way!). I was amazed at the graphics which were projected onto the wall the whole way through. This with the surround sound really helped to immerse you in the whole thing. I know we’ll probably not get to see it ever again, so I’m glad we got to have a second go and really experience it again.

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We were really lucky with the weather because it had been raining a lot of the day and the stadium was open roofed. On the drive home it was really foggy, and eerie.

Gary had been telling me all day that his parents wanted to take us out for the day on Sunday and that he didn’t know what they wanted to do. When we woke up this morning I asked him to find out what we were doing because I wanted to know what to wear – it was rainy and windy. He told me we were going to a shopping village nearby so to wrap up warm but layer and take a brolly. We woke up fairly late so had tea and toast in bed and watched The Great North Run. It looked very cold and windy and wet there too! I got ready and was waiting to leave, picking at Gary because he wasn’t ready yet. The doorbell went and Gary told me to get it, I opened the door and there were Jen and Sarah, two of my best friends shouting surprise!…… I was super shocked and confused! They said they were taking me on a surprise day out as a belated birthday present!

So I hopped in the car and we headed off to an undisclosed location! We arrived in Cambridge a fun road trip later, and began our day out! 1176267_10153388649995727_2083259091_n

It felt very autumnal but nice and cosy as we wandered around and looked in the little nooks and funky shops. It started to rain so we dived into Byron burger for our lunch. We had yummy burgers and lots of chats and giggles. After food we carried on wandering around. Cambridge is so pretty and has some lovely unique shops. The rain started again so we headed into a little tea shop for a cuppa and more hilarious moments. Some of the shops were still open when we came out so we headed back to the car via those. It was such a lovely day and we laughed so much I gave my stomach muscles a great work out!

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I love those girls! It was a wonderful surprise and day trip and even the weather didn’t spoil it! Thanks girlies 😀 xx
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Oh What a Night!

If you’ve been following my blog for over a year you might remember that last June I got to see Frankie Valli play at the Royal Albert Hall. A one time event, surely? Nah, we went again last night!

Gary’s family have always been huge Frankie Valli fans and have seen him perform many times at lots of different venus. I have seen Jersey Boys about 5 times now (I think!) and I’m a big fan of his earlier music.

After having cancelled a lot of his previous UK tour dates due to illness, we were lucky enough to see the man himself perform and he really did bring the house down. The first half was a little slow for me. He sung some slower songs and some covers which are a little to croony for me – very Vegas.

Nicky and I in the interval
Nicky and I in the interval

The set list was the same as last year, so I knew that by the second half I would be right back into the swing of things. By the end the whole place was standing and singing along at the top of their voices. Nicky and Gary even ran down to the front near the end to try to get a handshake from Frankie.

Nicky (the only head you can see in the crowd) getting a handshake from Frankie
Nicky (the only head you can see in the crowd) getting a handshake from Frankie

Nicky actually managed it! The show was great and it’s made me want to see Jersey Boys again – which is incidentally being made into a movie directed by Clint Eastwood (which the whole of the RAH laughed at, I’m assuming because they don’t know Clint Eastwood directs…. it was a little embarrassing.) We listened to The Four Seasons all the way home. A great night!

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