Lavish in London: A Short Break

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I’ve just returned from a three day jaunt in the big smoke and thought I might share some of my adventures! June was the first time I visited London since childhood, and my first mini trip on my own. Work has been intense these past few months with lots on so I was glad to have time away to relax, unwind and return to the capital.

Most of my first day on Monday was taken up with travel, arriving in London in the early afternoon. I booked my tickets a few months in advance, so treated myself to a upgrade to first class, which thankfully included a complimentary breakfast. After dropping off my suitcase at the hotel, as I was too early for check in I zipped on the tube, getting off at Embankment.

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My afternoon involved a relaxed stroll, which was a perfect way to slow down the pace and ensure I wasn’t rushing about like the usual mad chicken. I started on the south side of the river down towards the Houses of Parliament, when I arrived I took in the sights, taking fair few pictures with my new camera. Then walking on down to Horse Guards Parade, having stopped at 10 Downing Street and the Cenotaph. St James’ Park was next, hastily avoiding the swarms of pigeons alongside the lake. After the obligatory stop at Buckingham Palace it was back up The Mall, via a few side streets for more photo opportunities, finishing at Trafalgar Square with the National Portrait Gallery.

After a visit to M&Ms world I managed to get a last minute ticket to see War Horse at the New London Theatre, which did cost a pretty penny but was well worth it. I had seen War Horse on the previous visit, but insisted on going again this time as it is due to close on the 12th of March.

The second day, but my first of two full days in the capital, begun with me pounding the pavement on Oxford Street for a spot of shopping and then round to Regent Street, taking in all the staples – Selfridges, Liberty, Hamleys and more, amassing quite the number of shopping bags on the way! I should have gone to Lush Oxford Street as it looked amazing, but I’ll have to leave that one for next time.

On my way back to the hotel I had a pit stop with my many spoils at Herman ze German, for a spot of lunch. After putting my bags in the hotel, adding to the collection I already had it was back out to Covent Garden, doing even more shopping, and then visiting the British Museum.

I spent some of the evening in a pub on Tottenham Court Road with one of my best friends, catching up. I hadn’t seen her what must have been over six months, but we speak almost everyday, often having several conversations going at once, whether by text, Facebook, or Twitter.

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My penultimate day started with me returning to Selfridges food hall. In hindsight the first visit was probably timed wrong as it meant much of what I wanted would not still be fresh when I returned home on Thursday. A good hour was spent perusing counters, I also picked up a Lancome Juicy Shaker, venturing a little outside of my comfort zone to the beauty hall!

After dropping off yet more bags at the hotel it was on the tube down to Kensington, starting at Maitre Choux, a patisserie I discovered back in June on my first visit, and La Pâtisserie des Rêves – a must for me! I then walked the halls of the Victoria and Albert Museum taking in the exhibits. I know I sound like a terrible philistine but it wasn’t all to my taste. I liked seeing some of the sculptures, and paintings and such, but other than that not much. I would probably have been better placed next door looking at dinosaurs and rocks in the Natural History Museum.

IMG_0585.JPGA quick trip to the visually stunning Harrods for some bakery treats ending my time in Kensington, it was back to the hotel again (you guessed it, bag stop!) via picking up lunch at Herman ze German to go. I had a short rest and then headed out to Covent Garden in the early evening walking there from Trafalgar Square and back up towards my hotel for food.

My table for one was at Zizzis, I know you’re probably crying in despair about me going to London and eating at Zizzis, but I wanted to keep it simple it being the last night (and knowing I had a terrible amount of packing to do back at my hotel room). I went for a pretty standard spaghetti carbonara (the philistine in me again), but had some ‘Little Soul’ Bread. This was a number of doughy bread pieces with a heavenly accompaniment of garlic (well it was table for one!) & smoked paprika dip and an even better lemon & aubergine dip which I must try and make at home!

WP_20150611_054.jpgThursday was the last day of my adventure and saw me travel back to Leeds. I set off early as I had to go via Selfridges, unexpectedly, to sort correct a purchase. When I arrived at King’s Cross I had an hour and a half to fill, so popped across to St. Pancras for a spot of shopping, and to pick up a last minute gift. ‘Popping across’ turned out to be a little on the expensive side with a visit to Fortnum & Mason, so I spent the next hour sat in King’s Cross quietly chastising myself, though of course I went to Leon before stepping on the train, to pick up my favourite hot box – we really do need one of these in Leeds!

IMG_0427.JPGAs for my accommodation, I stayed in the Rathbone Hotel, which is just off Tottenham Court Road. It’s the same place as I chose for my last visit. It’s a bit pricey, but I pick it for the fact I can walk to Leicester Square, Covent Garden or Oxford Street quite easily – I’ll post about it in the coming days.

I had a good time in London, it was a bit hectic and action packed with me visiting several places in a day, most days I did about 25,000 steps! It’ll be nice to have 24 hours where I don’t leave the house – and surrounded by all my purchase why would I want to?!

I think for my next adventure, I’ll probably pick Edinburgh, I have never been and it looks like a beautiful city – and it also has a Cambridge Satchel Co shop! One day I’d like to take my Mum to London too, she and I always watch the Chelsea Flower Show on TV and have done for many years so it’d be nice to actually take her there – it’d be an awesome way of saying thank you for putting up with me all these years!

I’ll be posting more in the coming days about what I bought.  I hoped you enjoyed reading – what are your favourite go-to shops, sights or spots in London? Let me know by commenting below! Now to sort out all that shopping…

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