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.

Glamour Beauty Festival, London

On the 11th March Sophie Kate and I headed to the Saatchi Gallery on London’s King’s Road for the Glamour Beauty Festival.

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Sophie won tickets on Pixi’s instagram competition and chose to take me along, so I was ecstatic. Not just to go to the event, but to finally get to meet Sophie!

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The weather was fantastic, and promised to be around 17c which made choosing an outfit a lot easier – no need for the bulky coat!

Our slot was in the morning so we arrived and got our wrist bands. The event covered three floors, with treatment stands in every room. In the first room was OGX and GHD. We grabbed some free samples of shampoo and watched people getting their hair braided and curled on both sides of the room.

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There were also a few good selfie opportunities!

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Across the hall was skincare, featuring fresh and Pixi. In here you could get a luxurious facial from any of the brands.

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Then to makeup, one floor up and as well as shopping for makeup you could have your makeup and eyebrows done professionally or get a manicure – all for free.

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The top floor was the theatre for talks and though we didn’t have time to attend one, we still wanted to pick up our goodie bags – worth a whopping £190!

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The event was great and there was a lot on offer, if you were prepared to line up for a while. I could imagine if you turned up hair undone and makeup free you could leave looking ready to attend London Fashion Week! Personally I’m not a fan of treatments, I like to do all those things myself, but you could really get bang for your ticket price if you spent the whole day there.

It was an awesome morning, and I’m really pleased I got to go! Thanks to Pixi Cosmetics for the tickets, and to Sophie for bringing me along! Same time next year?

 

This Week I Have Been Mostly….

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It’s been a busy few weeks and feels like I haven’t slowed down! With so much to do it’s important to plan in down time, and thankfully I feel like I’ve managed to book in some of that too!

Two weekends ago I spent a lovely evening with my Mum and Sister at a local pub for a girly meal. It was a really great evening, despite the waitress mixing up the drinks and telling us the alcohol was in the wrong one. Doh!

Then this weekend I had an awesome Five Guys on Friday evening, Saturday was spent in London, at the Glamour Beauty Festival. I met up with a fellow blogger Sophie Kate, who had won tickets to the event via Pixi Cosmetics and chose to take me along!

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The event was really great – we didn’t have much time due to prior engagements, so skipped on our talk, but got to see all the stands and grab our goodie bags. Stay tuned for a post dedicated to this event, coming soon!

There was also an awesome food market just outside the Saatchi Gallery that I had a little look at before heading off.

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After the event I met up with Gary and we headed to get some lunch at Bodeans in Soho. We love this place, as it’s really authentic BBQ, done right. The food is so good, and they have Key Lime pie on their desert menu – so we had to go there, really 😀

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After lunch we wandered towards Covent Garden, and Neal street as there was a store Brandy Melville I wanted to pop into. On the way we came across a really powerful women’s march, against male violence towards women. It was really wonderful seeing women of all colours, races and cultures marching together. Many of the banners spoke of first hand experience and really struck with me.

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Ironically after we’d been to Neal Street (where I bought I lovely grey and so so soft sweater at Brandy Melville) we came across a load of police standing by as a group of drunk, aggressive football hooligans threw cups of beer into the shoppers and made utter fools of themselves. After seeing the women’s march, to see this from these men was like seeing two polar opposites of human nature. It’s amazing how humans can be both so strong and inspiring, and so disappointing all at once. It was a really grounding experience.

We also popped into the Minalima store and exhibition in Soho. We’d been given a flyer when we saw The Cursed Child, and hadn’t had the time to pop in, but it was great to see what they had in there. The building was 3 floors up, creaky floorboards and all, which really suited the theme.

After this we wandered around for a bit and then decided to head home because we had gotten up super early, eaten too much were really tired! It was a really awesome day. And once we’d gotten home I had a root through my goodie back from the festival, and OMG. You’ll have to check back for my post to see what I got!

I also posted my ColourPop video to my YouTube channel, so make sure you have a look if you are interested in seeing what I picked up. I’ve linked the video below.

The next few weekends are really busy too, so I don’t know whether I’ll have videos to go up for a couple of weeks. Next weekend is a family wedding, and then the following weekend I fly to Rome. The weekend after we’re off to Secret Cinema Moulin Rouge – Hopefully I’ll have video of some of that to go up afterwards.

In the meantime, keep up with me on instagram and twitter!

 

Shopping in London!

Recently I took a trip into London to have a little shop and walk around. It’d been a long time since I’d been to London on my own and I wanted to take advantage of having a good old browse in shops as I came across them.

I had a really good look in all the shops I wanted to and picked up everything from my list (and more!) I grabbed lunch in EAT and it gave me the chance to have a flick through my newly acquired copy of Blogosphere magazine.

A stopped into the Oxford Street Disney Store because I’d heard their Beauty and the Beast display was pretty special. You’ll have seen these (and the video I took) on my instagram if you follow, but here’s a few pics of the displays

That window in the centre photo had snow falling between the panes. So pretty!

I stopped into Forever 21 and almost bought a whole heap of tops I would never wear. The most tempting of all was this

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A Gudetama hoodie! It was way too expensive and had something written on the back so I didn’t buy it, but still – Gudetama!

But enough of what I didn’t buy, here’s what I did buy!

I picked up the Pixi Glow Tonic to replace the one I’ve just finished. I had to buy this in Liberty since Pixi in Carnaby Street were all sold out. I also picked up the Pixi Glow Mist. I bought a new Better Than Sex Too Faced mascara. I’m giving it one more try since the last one I bought appears to have been a dud – always clumping and flaking from the start. Fingers crossed this one’s okay, because no one I’ve spoken to has this same issue.

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From a store called & Other Stories I bought this gorgeous mermaid toned nail polish called Liquid Sky and two pairs of the prettiest earrings.

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Again, from Liberty I picked up the C.O. Bigelow Cold and Flu Soak as a gift for Gary. We saw this a while back but didn’t buy it. Then when we went back to get it they’d sold out. Liberty is the only place in the UK that stocks this brand and we assumed we were out of luck. Then when I saw it on this trip I knew I had to buy it! I also picked up a Kikki K magnetic meal planner, and of course the Blogosphere magazine.

It was a really fun trip, finished off with a fun meal at the Rainforest Cafe with Gary after he’d finished work (we were having Disney withdrawals!).

All in all I spent slightly over what I’d budgeted, but it’s all in the fun, right?….. eek!

December Favourites

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And here we are, all of a sudden, at the end of the year! So, it’s only fitting that I do my December favourites, right?

This December I was lucky enough to receive a Liberty London advent calendar as a gift from my husband, which meant that every day leading up to, and including, Christmas Day I received a little gift from the Liberty beauty hall. It was an amazing gift and exciting every single day to open the huge drawer and see what was inside. I’m not even joking when I say the cost of the calendar was paid for in product a few times over. So needless to say, some of the items I’m talking about this month were a result of this calendar, however I’m only talking about things I have loved and been using regularly.

It was a fantastic experience because I’ve been able to try brands and products I would never have tried otherwise. A resounding success, I’d say!

Let’s start with these products:

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The Votary Facial Oil came to me pretty early on in the month so I’ve been able to give this quite a few tries. I have combination skin with an oily t-zone so the idea of putting oil on my face seems really backward. But that being said, I’ve been totally converted to oil in my hair despite having a greasy scalp, so I was willing to give this a try. I use this after doing a proper cleanse in the evening. You drip 4 drops onto your hand and then lightly move it over your clean, dry skin and finally tap what’s left on your hands onto the under-eye area. I have found that this isn’t greasy, sinks in fairly fast and doesn’t leave me oily. It also smells gorgeous which is lovely. I feel like I’m giving myself a real treat when I use this, and I look forward to using it more!

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The Aveda Hand Relief cream has found its place in my handbag as my go-to every day hand cream when I’m out and about. The rosemary mint scent was a little odd to start with but I actually really enjoy it now. It offers long lasting moisture and sinks in fast which is what I need when I’m not at home.

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As you know, I’m always looking for something to fix my ever-dry lip issues, especially in the winter. I got this C.O. Bigelow rose salve and I’ve been adoring it. It’s basically fixed all my problems (well maybe) – it smells amazing, is hydrating, and when I use this I can go ages before my lips feel dry again. It’s also perfect for tapping onto my lips if I’m wearing lipstick and I feel like I need a moisture boost. I’ll be re-buying this!

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And lastly from the advent calendar was this Skin Laundry face wash. Rubbing this over my face for 60 seconds and then washing it off leaves my skin feeling so clean but not stripped or dry. I even think it might be helping to clear a little of my redness and texture. We’ll see, but so far I love it, and I’ve used it quite a lot and barely made a dent in this little bottle! Yay!

Next, we’ll move onto a couple of items I purchased at the end of November and have loved using in December.

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I made an E.L.F order and have been really pleased with some of the items I got. I picked up a new blush in Twinkle Pink which has been said to be a dupe for the NARS Orgasm blush. I’ve not seen the NARS blush in person, but I wasn’t expecting the ELF blush to be so glittery. I’ve tried to capture some of the fallout in the photo but it just didn’t translate.

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Needless to say, I kept this for the Christmas season when it’s okay to be glitter drenched, but I’m not sure I’ll be wearing it outside of party season. Either way I really enjoyed how it looked, and it wasn’t too sparkly once I had it on (or at least I don’t think it was!!)

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Next from ELF was this under eye setting powder. A teeny tiny pot, which came with a little brush (though I’m not sure how you would use a teeny brush so I’ve been using a fluffy setting brush as normal) I really like this finely milled powder and as long as you use the tiniest amount, it sets my under-eye area without drying, looking cakey or settling into fine lines. It’s a win!

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Lastly for makeup is a product I’m so glad I found out about. It’s changed my makeup life completely and I can’t believe no one really talks about it. The NYX Pro Foundation Mixer in white is a must have for anyone who is a little pale, or likes to change up their foundations between seasons. You just need a teeny amount, mix it into your foundation and it’ll correct the shade. I have been able to buy foundation not worrying if it’s slightly off colour, or wear foundation I’d usually save for the summer. It doesn’t change the consistency or wear of your foundation and it makes it totally customisable. I think it was about £7.50 which is a steal – go buy it!

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I was lucky enough to receive a brand-new iPhone for Christmas from G Man, to replace my 2.5 year old iPhone 6. He knew I had fallen in love with the iPhone 7 Plus camera, and surprised me with one on Boxing Day, when we went into the Apple store to look for something else. I am over the moon with it, and have very quickly gotten used to the size of the handset. I can never go back!

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Last for December, I need to tell you about this fantastic back pack I treated myself to at the start of the month. Knowing that I had fallen in love with the idea of a backpack for a handbag, since coming back from Disney World, I had been looking for the perfect one. But none of them fit the bill, so I put out a request for help on twitter, and my good friend Bushra told me about Knomo London. I’d never heard of them but had a look, and within a couple of days I’d placed an order.

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Knomo specialise in bags and purses for technology. The one I chose is a small backpack with a padded back pocket perfect for an iPad, as it offers the right size and protection. I don’t have an iPad but the sections, pockets and the size of the pockets is perfect. It even fits my iPhone 7 plus perfectly. The fabric is water resistant and wipeable and even with all my stuff inside, once it’s on my back it doesn’t feel like it has anything in it. It also doesn’t look like it has lots inside, which I appreciate AND it fits my vlogging camera inside. It’s all kinds of awesome. Go check Knomo out!

So, that’s it for another year of favourites. Stay tuned for my 2016 favourites round up!

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!

Jurassic Park In Concert

A couple of weeks ago Gary and I went to The Royal Albert Hall to see Jurassic Park In Concert.

As huge fans of the film it was great to go to this venue and see John Williams’ score performed by a live orchestra.

We’d been to a few similar events previously (Back to the Future, Pixar, Brief Encounter) so knew what to expect, but I’d forgotten we’d got box tickets which was a nice surprise.

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At events like this it’s easy to forget the orchestra are playing alongside the film, and I really think that’s a compliment to the orchestra, since you totally forget that something unusual is happening and that the music is coming from people actually playing in front of you.

The music to Jurassic Park is so classic and impactful that it was really nice to sit and watch them play. Lovely to focus on parts of the music I like in particular and see the different sections making the sounds I’m so familiar with!

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I love seeing musical performances at RAH and always love having a good look at the discs on the ceiling, which I like to call smarties. They’re to aid the acoustics but I think they just look so pretty! I actually performed at the Royal Albert Hall in a choir singing Carmina Burana, as a child, so it has a special place in my heart!

It was a really lovely way to spend a Saturday afternoon, and I managed to get some wear out of my Jurassic Park t-shirt from Universal Studios 😀

Harry Potter and The Cursed Child

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A few weeks ago Gary and I were lucky enough to go and see the Harry Potter play, Harry Potter and The Cursed Child.

We had bought our tickets a whole year before when they were first released and had been avoiding hearing anything about it ever since.

For those who don’t know, this play is set 19 years after the Battle of Hogwarts and is shown in two plays. We managed to get tickets to the Sunday matinée and also evening performance so we could see parts one and two on the same day.

They’re actually very good about encouraging people not to go about blabbing the secrets of the show (she blogs…) and when you leave the theatre after the first part, they hand out badges stating #keepthesecrets (free merchandise, whoop!)

I’d never been to a play set in two parts before, and it was really nice going in for the second part, sitting in the same seats and being able to get straight back into the story.

So what did I think? The show was absolutely awesome. Within minutes I found myself agog with wonder. I knew there’d be talk of magic but didn’t expect to witness real magic. I kid you not, this is an impressive show.

And something I’d forgotten prior to seeing the play was that Imogen Heap scored the plays. As a huge fan of her work I found hearing her music, which is obviously hers, wonderfully comforting surrounding a world of narrative I was so familiar with.

The casting was spot on, and especially Anthony Boyle playing Scorpius Malfoy who was, for me, the star of the show.

I hadn’t bought my copy of the book before I went to see this, but picked it up the next day. I was so glad I knew nothing of the plays before I saw them, because now when I read the book I can see the staging in my mind’s eye.

If you can manage to get hold of tickets to see these plays, and you’re a Harry Potter fan, do it. Seriously. You won’t regret it.

This Week I Have Been Mostly….

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Hello! Long time no post, I know.

I got back from Florida, and a few days later got really really sick. It meant I’ve been exhausted and had no time to blog my trip or even upload any of my holiday snaps. Dang!

But I’ve got the posts planned and you’re not going to want to miss them. Not only will I be sharing what we got up to on holiday, but I’m also going to be writing a blog on planning your Walt Disney World trip – how to plan before booking, and then how to plan after you’re booked and in the lead up to your trip. There’s so much to consider and if you’re planning a Disney World trip you definitely want to read them.

Plus I’ll be editing footage from our trip and filming new videos for my YouTube channel. A new video has gone up today, showing you all the fabulous cosmetics I picked up on my trip. Go check it out!

As well as recovering from being ill, I’ve also had to fit in my actual life. So getting back to work, and then we still have loads of things booked into the diary that I have to actually be awake for…. It’s been tricky!

So this week I have had my head focussed in work and getting back to a normal routine. But my Friday night was a little out of the norm as we headed up to Birmingham to the Genting Arena. I’ve always been a classic rock fan and love Free and Bad Company. When we heard Bad Company were touring the UK we knew it was something we didn’t want to miss.

We weren’t disappointed. Paul Rodgers still has the same incredible smooth voice that he did when he was younger and they’re great performers.

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It was a long evening, but I never give up the chance to go on a road trip and it was such and enjoyable and relaxed evening.

Tomorrow we’re off to London for Harry Potter and The Cursed Child plays. We booked the tickets almost a year ago when they first went on sale and it’s come around so fast. I haven’t read the book, deliberately. But I plan to pick it up once I’ve seen the plays – I know nothing of the plot and I’m glad I don’t. I can’t wait to see what happens!

So keep an eye out for Disney-full blogs soon. Sorry it’s taking me a while, but life happens! And I like to keep you all in suspense 😀

Anniversary Weekend in London!

Last weekend we headed off to London for a weekend away to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. It wasn’t a surprise that day, however G Man had surprised me a few months before with the news that we were going.

The weather was really poor when we woke, incredibly humid and heavily raining, but we knew it wouldn’t spoil our weekend.

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We hopped on the train with our overnight bags and hot footed it to The Savoy to drop our bags as this was where we’d be staying overnight. I’d not been to The Savoy before, so when we got in we were surprised to see no check-in desk. Instead a woman took us to an individual desk in a side room, where we were seated and our details for our booking taken. Our bags were taken too, and we were told we would get a phone call when the room was ready and our bags would be waiting for us.

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By this point we were pretty hungry so we headed to Boxpark, Shoreditch, for the best pizza ever at Voodoo Ray’s. I had a Vegan Queen which, as the name suggests, is dairy-free. Perfect for me! And it was so tasty, you don’t even miss the cheese!

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We hung around for a bit there, since the rain was coming down heavily, and then headed to Wardour Street, Soho, and to Yorica where they serve allergy free ice creams. I got caramel and matcha soft serve. I asked for brownie pieces and sprinkles. The guy serving me looked a little confused and instead of explaining that the free sprinkles were behind me at a station once we’d paid, he put chocolate crumbles on top. It was all very good, but I thought it would have been nice to tell me where the sprinkles were. Other than that, it was tasty and nice to have a rest whilst we ate.

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We did a little shopping after that, and then headed back to the hotel. The same woman who checked us in earlier took us to our room and showed us around it, and then about 20 minutes later there was a knock at the door, and they had arranged a slice of cake as an anniversary surprise!

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I had been planning on being dairy free until my dinner, however since Gary doesn’t eat mousse and this cake had a layer of it, I thought what the hell, let’s not let it go to waste. It was very tasty!

We rested a little, had showers, and then got ready to go out.

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Dinner was at The Ivy Market Grill in Covent Garden, only a couple of minute’s walk from the hotel.

It’s a lovely set up in the restaurant and it really reminded me of New York.

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The food was lovely. I got Chicken Milanese and some broccoli and then dairy free panna cotta for pudding. Though with this and the chocolate cake I’d eaten before, I was really rather stuffed and couldn’t eat another bite!

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The next morning the sun was shining and warm and we had brunch reservations at Balthazar, also in Covent Garden.

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Gary had booked this table two months in advance, as it books out really fast. Again, it reminded me of being in New York, which is hardly a surprise as the only other one of these is in Manhattan. The waitress as very attentive and friendly, and as Gary had mentioned when booking that I have lactose intolerance, she told me what parts of my order had dairy and checked that it was okay. Top marks!

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The food was awesome, as were the coffee and orange juice.

From here we hopped the tube to Kensington Gardens as I really wanted to see the Peter Pan statue there. I’d seen in once as a child, but really wanted to see it again. Because the sun was shining the gardens were packed with people enjoying the weather and running through. I really enjoyed the walk, however after we’d visited the statue we decided to head home so we could relax for the rest of the day.

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It had been an awesome weekend. I really enjoy staying in London, even though I visit a lot, when you’re staying overnight, the city feels different! Thanks London for another enjoyable weekend!

I also vlogged this trip for my brand new YouTube channel, so if you’d like to see the moving version of this trip, then head on over, or click and watch below!