Thursday 27 October 2011

London - a brief pictorial glimpse!

Well, we did it, we survived the hustle and bustle of London and returned to the (blissfully) quiet countryside. We had an absolutely fantastic time but it was so good to come home and get a good night sleep. In London we stayed at the Royal National Hotel. Would I recommend it? Um, no, I wouldn't! In terms of convenience the location was brilliant, just off Russell Square and only a minute to walk to the Underground. In terms of ambiance, breakfast, and - most importantly - good double glazing it failed magnificently! We were on the sixth floor and it felt like we were sleeping right on the sidewalk by the traffic the window did so little to block out noise. Nor did I enjoy listening to the young Italian gentleman in the room next door until 2am the second night. Apparently he was not aware that others wished to be sleeping at this time. The night manager took him in hand eventually, thank goodness. (Not my doing, someone else complained.)

That is the only downside to our little jaunt. Everything else was wonderful. We crammed in lots, got great weather and loved everything we did. We arrived about lunch time on Monday and headed over to Kings Cross to collect my mum. After checking in at the hotel we went with Emily's request to go to the Sylvanian Family Shop. As she has been saving her money for this for almost a year it only seemed fair to let her go immediately. The Sylvanian Family Shop is a small trek out to Finsbury Park (yes, odd place to find it, I know) and a short ten minute walk from there.


That was Emily upon arrival. It is worth the trip to the shop just to see their faces when they went inside.

Then we just had to be really patient while they dithered because they only had so much money to spend but they wanted everything. Making a decision was tough!

The detail in these toys is fabulous.

Eventually, another satisfied customer!
That evening began one of my favourite parts of going to London and what I miss so much about living in a city. Food! Choice of restaurants! Monday night we went to Carluccio's. It was scrumptious. Who could argue with a plate full of pasta and seafood, redolent with garlic and chili? Certainly not me! Emily was tired after the main courses so I let the girls choose something from the deli for desert to have back in the hotel room.

A Halloween 'Ghost' meringue and a raspberry meringue.
(No, I did not let Helen eat all that in one go!)
Tuesday we awoke to a clear blue sky and a mother/grandmother telling us that she was treating us to a trip on the London Eye. Yippee! We headed over there right after breakfast to avoid undue crowds and it was the right move. Emily came around the corner from Waterloo Station, and stopped dead when she saw The Eye.

'Wow!' was quickly followed by 'Wow! Wow!!' It was a perfect reaction. Of course Helen was an old hand since I took her when she was four so she tried to be was more cool about it.

With Grandma.
At the top.
I liked this shadow shot.
This is a photo of the photo that we bought after our trip on The Eye.
Personally, I love it because it is a good shot of me!
Our next stop was Trafalgar Square to go to the National Gallery.

We got briefly distracted by a little abseiling entertainment.

And the Olympic countdown clock.

And the ship in a bottle on the fourth plinth.

But we headed in the right direction eventually.

My favourite banner!
I am not sure how many people are aware that some of the most fabulous
museums here in the UK are free.
The National Gallery was a hit with the girls. (Mum and I already knew we loved it.) It was so cool to see their faces when they spotted paintings that they loved, especially the Van Gogh's they so wanted to see. It was all going swimmingly well until Helen viewed The Execution of Lady Jane Grey by Paul Delaroche. That was just a wee bit too realistic for her. It is an amazing painting, and due to this very fact manages to portray the anguish extremely well. It was time to leave the gallery!

We headed for Chinatown.
An absolute must for us whenever we go to London.
I failed to take a photo of the food when it first arrived.
Suffice to say we were the very picture of gluttony.
And it was good! So, so very good!

We needed time out at the hotel after that feast. Later on we had a very light dinner of starters in a Greek restaurant before we headed to the theatre to see Wicked. No photos in the theatre as my camera is not up to that kind of space when a flash is required as well. Suffice to say the musical was absolutely fabulous and the girls loved it as much as mum and I did. It was perfectly summed up by Emily (she seems to be the one to quote from this trip) when it came to the interval and she asked if it was over. When I told her it wasn't she just let out a heart felt 'Phew!' We didn't get back to the hotel until after 11pm so were exhausted, but a happy exhausted.

There was only one more place to visit in London the next morning to make the girls trip complete. A visit to Hamley's - unadulterated joy for the girls and an exercise in patience and the ability to say no repeatedly on my part.

Happy girls.
Emily trying to look brave after I told her there was no way
she was getting this on the Underground, to lunch, back to the hotel,
to the train station and home again - in one piece.
I cruelly made her abandon it in Hamley's.
She cheered up when she found the lady doing the sparkly tattoo demo.
And that was just about that. We went off to Yo! Sushi for lunch. Emily promised to keep herself in check. I should have known better. As soon as her eyes landed on the salmon sushi and the tempura prawns all self control went out the window. But it was a fitting ending to our few days away.

And now we are home. The weather is miserable but that is okay, seeing as how we were so lucky in London. Even yesterday when there were constant short sharp cloud bursts they only ever happened when we were on the Underground, in Hamley's or having lunch. We were very lucky. So the girls are still in their pyjamas though it is almost 2pm. I couldn't care less. It has just taken me forever to write this post what with all the photos and the continued problem of BT supplying an ever worsening Internet connection. It does not matter. Not today. Today we relax!



  1. Ooh, it's years since I was in London, you put me in the mood.
    So glad you had a great, girly week creating lots of good memories.

  2. Looks like fantastic fun!
    Nice to have you home though!

  3. The culinary tour was my favourite as I too miss the choice in London! Good to have you back Susan - seems like you`ve been away ages!

  4. I almost felt like I was with you on your excursion, thanks for taking me along!

  5. Glad you had such a wonderful time in London - you certainly seem to know your way around!

  6. Fab post! And wonderful pics! What an amazing time you all had. So pleased! Jxo

  7. sounds like you had a fantastic time and lots of lovely photos. We did a similar trip last december, just for the day, and it is so much fun. Your girls look as though they had a whale of a time

  8. Glad you enjoyed yourselves and hope the Sylvanians have settled in nicely!

  9. Yay for such a fun time, and so glad you got on the Eye after all :o)

  10. And what a perfect day for rest too...With the rain and all it was a good day for staying in and curling up with a good book.

  11. Nice to have you back sweetie, looks like the girls have had a trip to remember for a LONG time! Pyjama day well justified :-)

  12. Welcome back! Love the idea of a pyjama day...will we get to see the new Sylvanians?!

  13. Wow, I'm exhausted reading all that! No wonder today is a day of rest! Great post Susan, glad you had a fab time and all got home safely too :)

  14. Looks like a lovely trip! Making me reminiscent as well! Although I can't say I went to the sylvanian families shop but that looks fun. Glad you had a fab time (apart from the sleep)

  15. i am so very glad you guys had fun. You deserve it so very much! Enjoy your day of relaxation - reality will strike all too soon. You and your mom look quite a bit alike but then again Helen looks quite a bit like the two of you. It is very obvious in the one picture of all of you in the eye that you paid for.

  16. Looks like you had a wonderful time with your girls - I would love to travel overseas and see all of these day!

  17. good to see you had a good time - it's fabulous being a tourist in london - soo much to see and do - and excellent that you got to ride the eye.

  18. Thank you for letting us tag along on what looks like a wonderous mini holiday.


  19. Looks like a wonderful trip!! this is the first time I have seen photos of the London Eye-- really cool!! And I love that ship in a bottle!! Glad you all had a great time! I was last in London over 20 years ago!!

  20. Looks like a fab trip! Makes me want to head off to London!


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