London – Part 5 – The end

Our last full day was Sunday, and time to explore somewhere new. We jumped on the tube and a couple of stops later arrived in a very sunny, busy Camden town.

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We had a walk along the canal and around the market, and I think I found a place I could live in London. I loved the variety of people, shops and food.

A chilled day of wandering and then a stroll back towards the hotel to start packing and get organised for leaving the next day. We ate in our favourite little Italian again for yet another delicious meal.

Monday morning and all packed up we left our bags at the hotel and we had a wander over to the British Library, which was a two minute walk.

Oscar loves libraries, even more than me. We had been past here a few times and he had repeatedly asked to go inside, so with time it spare in we went. As we went inside I noticed and exhibition of old, rare and unusual books, so we went straight in and had a look around. It was really interesting and we both enjoyed seeing some of the hand written books and the very old bibles. As we came out of the exhibition he spotted the information board and desk and went over. As he was looking at it, a man asked him ‘are you looking for something in particular ?’ ‘yes, the children’s section’ and this is where the problem started, ‘we don’t have a children’s section’ was the reply. Without missing a beat, Oscar replied ‘but you have a copy of every book printed and you don’t have children’s books, so you lied’ with that he turned on his heels, and said to me ‘lets go, I want to find a proper library that has children’s books’ then over his shoulder ‘And I’m never coming back here’ Oh dear…. I must say the man’s face was a picture.

After this disappointment, we had a little wander into Kings cross station, to see platform 9 3/4, it was very busy so didn’t bother queuing for photo’s but it was fun to see the trolley in the wall.

No holiday is complete without churros so we ordered some and sat and watched the world pass by, then off to collect our bags and get our own train homeward bound.

 

 

 

 

 

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London – Part 3

Thursday was, once again, a lovely sunny day so we walked to Covent Garden. When we arrived it was very quiet, not something I’ve experienced before, but it was lovely to sit with a coffee and watch the market setting up.

As you may know from previous posts, I love Ballet so I booked us a tour of the Royal Opera house, one of my favourite places. It was the summer break for the National Ballet company but the Russian Ballet were touring and so we were limited with photograph’s. However we did get to see them rehearsing and warming up for the evening performance during our back stage tour we also saw the costume designers and tailors working hard, making a stunning layered red dress, although they wouldn’t tell us what it was for. We had a look in the royal box (which doesn’t have the best view) then went up to the ‘cheap’ seats which have a fantastic view, you get the best view of the stage and into the orchestra pit too.

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From here we had a wander around the market and bought a couple of souvenirs, then went to the London film museum which had a James Bond exhibition with the vehicles and costumes from all the films. Oscar went a little crazy with the camera and we ended up with around 300 photo’s. Here’s just a few.

London – Part 2

Wednesday started with another delicious breakfast and off we went for a day exploring the South Bank. First we went to see Art of the Brick – A Lego Superheroes exhibition. It was pretty impressive, especially the full size figures and Bat-mobile made completely from regular Lego bricks. They had even copied magazine covers.

 

From here we had a stroll along to the South Bank centre, they had created a beach area for the children and many were playing in the fountains, although the British weather was as reliable as ever and within a few minutes we went from …..

 

Yes the rain started, just as we began to queue for the London Eye, thankfully the wonderful weather the day before meant we had seen most of London from above, on the cable cars with beautiful blue skies, not today though. The photo’s were blurred from the rain on the glass on the pod. It was still a good experience and Oscar wasn’t as bothered about the height as it moved very slowly and less noticeable.

 

Very wet and a little cold we decided to make our way back to the hotel early, clean up and then find somewhere to eat. The rain didn’t last long and by early evening had cleared so we decided to have a wander and see where we ended up. Oscar spotted a tiny Italian (his favourite) restaurant, which was a fantastic choice. The food was beautifully cooked, very fresh and tasty.

 

Our London holiday – Part 1

A few years ago I took Oscar to London, he loved it and ever since has been asking to go back. So this is what we did.

We started off on a sunny Monday morning, travelling in style with Virgin trains.

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A lovely, laid-back relaxing journey to a very busy London Euston. Our accommodation was a short walk from the station, in the Garden Halls in the University of London. I was a little unsure about what it would be like, it was much cheaper than most hotels in the same area, but I wasn’t disappointed. The room was clean and comfortable with bed, wardrobe, chest of drawers and a desk/chair area. The Wi-fi was excellent and plenty of plugs in the room. The bathroom was spotless. Down the corridor from our room was a kitchen, which we had full use of, it included a fridge, microwave and kettle plus tables and chairs. The games room has old style arcade games, which Oscar loved. We never got chance to use the tennis courts but these were also included in the price !

The restaurant was lovely and breakfast was everything you could ever ask for, hot, cold, English, continental plus much more.

 

Our first afternoon we just wandered around, got our bearings and sorted out my oyster card for using the tube, (little tip children under 11 travel free on the tube with an adult using an oyster card).

Tuesday we were up and out early, after a hearty breakfast. Onto the tube and a reasonably short journey to Wembley stadium. The weather was beautiful and we arrived with plenty of time to look around the concourse, see the statues and read the plaques before our tour started. The tour took us all around the stadium, from players changing rooms and bathrooms, VIP area, different parts of the stadium seating, including the Royal box, press conference room and the technical area pitch side. We had a little rivalry going on as Oscar wore his Everton top and another family were Manchester United fans, the banter about the Rooney/Lukaku switch was fun and the two boys got to lead ‘their’ team out the players tunnel, after shaking hands like good team captains should.

 

 

 

From here we had a short walk and decided to try a different form of transport, the Emirates cable cars. I didn’t realise how high it went until we were on it but the view was amazing, even if Oscar didn’t appreciate it.

 

We decided to try a third transport option of the day and took the river shuttle back to the city.

As it was a lovely sunny day, so we decided to make to most of the sunshine and spent the afternoon at the Tower of London, it was a little expensive to get in (thankfully Oscar was free with his Blue Peter badge), it was interesting to see the torture devices in the tower, the Crown jewels and trying on some very heavy armour.

 

After a busy day we took a slow stroll back towards the hotel and 27,000 steps later we fell into bed for a much needed sleep.

Reading challenge 2017 – update

I’ve not looked at the Reading Challenge for a few months but I’m always reading plus at the beginning of the year when the challenge started I made a note of books for some of the categories on the list.

  1.  About a place you wished you lived – The leaving of things – Jay Antani (India)
  2. In a genre you usually avoid – The lost city of Z – David Grann
  3. With yellow on the cover – The case of the broken doll – Alison Golden and Grace Dagnell
  4. That is becoming a movie in 2017 – The dinner – Herman Koch
  5. A book with a one word title – Greyhound – Steffan Piper
  6. An Audiobook – The memory box – Eva Lesko Natiello
  7. You can get for free – Most of my books are from the library so are free
  8. You planned to read last year but didn’t – End of watch – Stephen King
  9. You read on a trip – Now you see me – SJ Bolton
  10. Suggested by a friend – State of wonder – Ann Patchett
  11. From a series you started but have yet to finish – Finders Keepers – Stephen King
  12. You finish in a day – Blackout – Emily Barr
  13. Published this year –
  14. With an epic romance –
  15. That takes you somewhere warm – Summer in Tuscany – Elizabeth Adler
  16. Short stories or under 200 pages – Public library and other stories – Ali Smith
  17. Considered a 20th century classic – The magic toy shop – Angela Carter
  18. Set in the future – The Circle – Dave Eggers
  19. You choose for the cover – The watcher – Ross Armstrong
  20. With a reputation of Un-put-down-able –
  21. With a mother/daughter relationship – The taken – Alice Clarke-Platts
  22. Free choice – The descent of man – Grayson Perry

It’s going well, considering there’s still 4 months left and only 3 categories left to complete. The hardest will be epic romance as this is not a genre I usually read/look for I have just completed the Harry Potter series (again) and could possibly use that if nothing else comes along before the end of the year.

Suggestions gratefully received….

 

The missing months

It’s been a little while but I needed to take a bit of a step back from everything and take care of me for a while. The last 12 months caught up a bit plus the lack of routine and a couple of awful jobs knocked me sideways. After a chat with the GP, support of family, a couple of good friends and finding a new job things have improved.

So lets catch-up, first the new job. It arrived just at the right time, it’s close to home, the hours are perfect and the most important thing, the staff are lovely. I actually look forward to going to work, it’s busy but not stressful and we have a giggle. I have routine back again.

At the end of May I went to Belfast for a weekend, a quick surprise visit. I’ve never been before but will return. It was a lovely place, friendly people and tons of history. Too much to see in a weekend. Another tick for 50 things

A few weeks of work and school finished, the end of primary school and the start of a new adventure awaits.

We’ve had a birthday and a week away in London, plus several get-together’s with friends has made it a happy summer.

 

 

Our day out

Oscar went away with school for a week so mum and I decided to have a day of sightseeing in London. Train tickets booked and a few ideas of things we would like to see and off we went.

We left Liverpool, in warm sunshine and arrived in a cold, windy London a little over two hours later.

Our first port of call was the British museum for a brief stop and look at the Egyptian collection and the Rosetta stone.

What an amazing shaped building too. I will be returning to explore more inside here.

Next was the National portrait gallery, a favourite place with stunning art work.

Simply beautiful, then a quick stop for coffee in the crypt at St Martins in the field church. A walk down through Covent Garden and the theatre district, then on to Chinatown for some Dim sum.

Then it was time to start making our way back towards the train station, with tired legs but it was a fun, busy day.

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