This Week I Have Been Mostly….

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And so the wonderful run of hot, sunny and dry weather continues. I’m totally loving this weather, though I could do with it being a little warmer in the day and a little cooler in the night. We were promised a thunder-storm on Friday which turned into about an hour of rain, which was much needed.

So, a couple of weekends ago, we headed to London’s Hyde Park to see Bruno Mars performing at the British Summer Time festival. I’ve gotta say, festival food has changed a lot. I actually looked forward to some food van noodles, but there wasn’t a noodle to be found. It was all artisan pizzas, chicken wings and vegan falafel. They had sold so many tickets it took us an hour to get to the front of the line for chips, and we’d chosen the shortest line to queue up at! They weren’t even that nice… But that wasn’t why we went.

Bruno was, of course, amazing. He always is! Gary got me some merch (I hate that word) when I got chilly, and now it’s too warm to wear the sweater I got, but I loved wearing it that night. I’ll crack it out again in a few months.

I also visited a launch of a new type of corporate Christmas even (Christmas in July!) and had a lovely evening with my bessie (who I’m lucky enough to work with!) drinking fresh mocktails and eating the most amazing calzone from The Calzone Kitchen. The tunes were banging, the sun was setting and it was nice to have some catch-up time!

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This past weekend I visited the Cosgrove Craft Fair to see a friend’s stand. Apollo Creative, you may remember, made my Mum’s birthday present recently. I picked up a couple of bits for my home and a gift for my niece. Check Apollo Creative out on instagram!

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We’ve been having some quiet weekends of late, since we’re trying to save some cash for our upcoming holiday, to Florida. We have a few more little trips lined up, but nothing major (from what I remember!)

I’ve also been thinking about how I want to ‘cover’ my holiday on my social media channels. I usually just post the odd photo when I’m away, since I’m taking a vacation and I want to be ‘off’ for the duration. But since we now have instagram stories and IGTV I was thinking I might do some videos, a bit like I did last year, of places I’m visiting, stuff I’ve bought etc. Do you think that’s something you’d like to watch? Obviously I’ll write some blogs on my return, too 🙂

That’s it for now. Do you have any exciting trips coming up? I’d love to hear about them!

Fun Times at Winter Wonderland!

Last weekend we headed to Hyde Park in London for the annual Christmas fair, Winter Wonderland.

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The intention had been to go the previous day but despite it being mild weather it rained hard all day. I’m so glad we waited because the weather was lovely the following day and even though it was colder, the sun shone brightly!

When we arrived at Hyde Park the line to get into Winter Wonderland was huge, but we walked a little further down the path to a different gate, and walked right in (pro tip!)

We headed to the Bavarian Village section first, because that’s where the best food is, and I was hungry! Every year I get the same thing. German sausage, potato dumpling with gravy and hot spiced red cabbage. It took a little while to find it this time around as they’d extended the Bavarian Village section massively, but I followed my nose and found the correct stall.

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The food was yummy as always, and after eating we had a little further look around the area. I was pleased to see the inside tent still there, with live singers on stage performing Christmas hits.

I got some mulled wine too 🙂

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The village wasn’t too busy at this point but it was getting more and more packed by the minute! For some reason they felt it important to correctly sign post EVERYTHING!

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The fairground rides this year were awesome. There was a fantastic looking rollercoaster, big wheel and haunted house.

Gary grabbed some sweetcorn to munch on which looked amazing.

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We had a little look around some of the craft stalls and then headed out of Hyde Park.

We wanted to see the Christmas lights on Oxford Street and I had to nip into some of the shops. If I hadn’t already been in London I wouldn’t have dreamt of going to Oxford Street at Christmas time. It was PACKED. But I’m really glad we did. We headed to Liberty and just as we walked in a choir started singing ‘Carol of the Bells’ which is one of my favourite carols. I’m so pleased we went in when we did!

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Heading home, shattered, but happy, the sunset was awesome and it was a lovely end to a perfectly festive day!

I also vlogged this trip so make sure you check out the video, even if it’s just to see the sunset at the end!

December 17th: Walking in a Winter Wonderland

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This year I have visited Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland twice already and I would gladly go back. Having been for two years previously, but never with Gary and never a night, we decided that we needed to give it a visit. So two weekends ago we hopped on a train and traipsed with the crowds to check out this year’s offering.

We turned up at about ten to 5 and were turned away by police warning us that it was so busy it would take about 2 hours to get to the front of the line, and it was so busy that we’d be shuffling through the crowds to get anywhere any how. So we turned back and went to some other places in London before coming back at about 8pm. By this time the crowd has dispersed but it was still very busy.

We weren’t disappointed by the food offering – food from everywhere, but mostly Germany as it’s a German market, duh! We had already eaten dinner by this point, not knowing if we would make it back into the place after being turned around to start with. I’ve had the bratwurst and red cabbage there before though, and it’s amazing! Gary and I spotted a lot of places we wanted to try, but as soon as we saw the sweetcorn stand we knew we had to buy. A massive corn cob, boiled and then painted with melted butter and sprinkled with salt. It was outstanding!

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We carried on walking around and headed towards the Giant Wheel which looked amazing against the black night sky.

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There was a fun fair next and more food stalls, bars with live bands and market stalls. It’s a very festive place to be, with Christmas music playing everywhere. We headed up to the Bavarian Village which I’d been to before, but only in the day and it sounded amazing inside. We didn’t go in, needing to head back for our train. We had such a great time, and will definitely be going back next year. I only realised afterwards that we’d missed the Ice Rink and I would have loved to go and watch the skaters. Next year perhaps.

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On Friday, for my work Christmas party we packed up early and I headed to Winter Wonderland again! It’s a great place to go with a group of friends. We grabbed some pints and headed to see what was what. The rain started pretty lightly as we were heading in, but soon it was coming down heavily and we escaped into a Carousel bar. The bar was in the centre of a moving carousel and you stood around it. It was a great laugh singing and dancing as the world spun around you. Then we moved onto the Bavarian Village where you could get steins (2 pints) of beer and there was a live German band playing, followed by a very entertaining middle-aged German man named Joseph who really got the crowd going. You could buy food and drink inside and it was dry and very warm so we spent about 2 and a half hours inside before heading out to try some of the rides before they closed. A great time was had by all!

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Winter Wonderland is the kind of place that groups of friends, family, young and old can appreciate and there’s something for everyone. I’m so glad I’ve been able to visit not just once but twice this year, and I can’t wait to visit again next year!

Have you visited Winter Wonderland or a German Market this year? What’s your favourite thing to do there?
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Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snow

Arg! No matter where you are in the world, I’m sure you’ve heard about the UK and it’s wonderful snow overreaction? Seriously, a little bit of snow and the country grinds to a halt.

I used to love snow, and still it has it’s beauty. When I got snowed in on holiday in New York in 2003 it was so great. New York snow is the prettiest snow I’ve ever seen. But UK snow sucks. It means that I can’t get places, and things are cancelled and it puts my other half in a bad mood because it makes the roads so dangerous. That’s mainly due to the council not gritting early enough, and idiotic, cocky, drivers on the roads.

It’s snowing outside as I write this. Tomorrow morning I am due to catch a train to London and spend the morning in Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland. Then I’m spending the evening at the 02 areana watching Paul McCartney. I’m really excited about the whole day, but I’m really worried about the travel and the cold. Urgh! Weather!

Snow can be wonderful, but as the song says, only when you’ve got “no place to go”.