Friday, 5 September 2014

Our Trip to London

It's been a busy summer and I've not been near a computer very often so not only am I very behind on writing this here blog I'm also missing so many of my friends posts too. Now it's just about school time I'm going to try to get into more of a routine, I want to carry on blogging, I'm really getting so much pleasure from all the new friends I've made this year but sometimes, you know, life just get's in the way. There have been lots of happenings, too numerous to mention all. Suffice to say we had a worrying 10 days in August awaiting A Level results, a GCSE result and the ballet grade 3 results - all went well, but that's another story!

You may remember some time back I asked for advice about hotels for a trip to London I was planning. Well I booked the train tickets when they were cheap, I really wanted to book something for the weekend right next to my birthday, to avoid previous disasters and miserable days! I had planned on booking a Travelodge or similar and the Bethnal Green one was recommended but I kept waiting for one more pay day and the prices seemed to be creeping up! Eventually I tried to book and discovered something you may think is obvious but what hadn't occurred to me - the prices are a lot more for a Saturday night than a Friday! But after some searching and Googling I took a gamble and booked a "secret hotel" on Lastminute.com. I discovered that if you Google around enough you can find out actually which hotel is listed; so I plunged in and booked.

Turns out we did quite well, a hotel called The Grange St Paul's, opposite St Paul's Cathedral. Little Miss was over the moon as it had a swimming pool and our room had robes and slippers! We got about £50 off the hotel's website offer which was discounted from their normal price.

Straight off our train we headed to Ripley's Believe It Or Not, we had pre-paid tickets bought with Tesco vouchers, in fact all our food and two of the trips were courtesy of Tesco. Ripley's was actually better than we'd expected (especially as we weren't paying full price!) The top right of the collage is a knitted Ferrari! I thought of the many knitty/crochet-y bloggers when I saw this.

Centre is the hotel, bottom left is the glass bridge overlooking the lounge and breakfast area (we couldn't afford to eat there) and finally is how I spent the first evening, my new book and fizzy wine - nothing better than that!

On the Saturday morning we were meeting an Aussie friend who has just started a 2 year contract teaching in London, this was her first weekend in the capital, we had met her 4 years ago when her then boyfriend was that years "man in our garage" (overseas cricketer in the self contained flat before anyone calls the police!)We caught up on everyone's news then spent a couple of hours browsing the 5 floors of Hamley's toy shop - top of Little Miss's to-do list.
Bottom right of the collage is Little Miss's nails painted by a Hamley's demonstrator, 
a strawberry and a Minion were her favourites.

Saturday afternoon we made our way over to The Cambridge Theatre to see Matilda, I don't know who was more excited (actually I do, it was me!)
We had front row seats, a bit of a crick in the neck but a wonderful view of everything. The show was amazing but what Little Miss didn't know until the intermission was that Mrs Wormwood (Matilda's Mum) was meeting us after the show to show us around backstage! 
This had been arranged by her ballet teacher who used to work in West End shows.
We also got to the stage door in time to see the cast do their ice-bucket challenge!
I can highly recommend Matilda, it was a superb show, the whole cast were wonderful. 
Mrs Wormwood also kept our programme and posted it on to us signed by the cast, 
I'm still excited by the whole experience, Little Miss is over it already!

Saturday evening we ate out (Thank God for Tesco vouchers) and then had a swim, once back in our room I was sound asleep and Little Miss had to turn off the TV and lights!
On Sunday we had another swim before we checked out, ate a huge breakfast at the restaurant next door and went for a tour of The Tower of London, I think I saw the Crown Jewels once on a school trip but I don't remember ever looking around the Tower. We had exchanged more Tesco vouchers to get in and spent as long as we could before the train home looking around, there was so much more to see than I realised, it helped that we had a lovely sunny day for it.
 The ceramic poppies were an amazing and very moving sight.
 They were still being planted by volunteers.
Our Beefeater was a very good tour guide, as I'm sure they all are. We learnt a lot, he was an ex-army officer and had, at one time, guarded Rudolf Hess when he was brought to England. 
And from the Tower we made our way home, after 2 ice creams for £5 - the most expensive thing we ate all weekend I think! We missed our connecting train from Norwich but a kind Sister-in-Law picked us up (the boys were at cricket and couldn't possibly be disturbed)

So all in all a very jam-packed weekend, lots of giggles and memories made. We will definitely be repeating the experience.

I'll be back soon, enjoy your weekend where ever you are.
x

22 comments:

  1. That sounds brilliant, a great trip for you both. Like you I remember seeing the Crown Jewels on a school trip (must have been mandatory!) but I'd love to go back under my own steam. And backstage at Matilda, marvellous.

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  2. Wow, it sounds like a wonderful trip, so much to see and do.
    Hugs,
    meredith

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  3. It all sounds so lovely - and with sunshine too! Glad for you getting all good results in August!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Beryl, the results were better than expected for the biggest boy - the down side is that he leaves for Uni in 2 weeks time. :-(

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  4. You were in London the same weekend as us and we very nearly booked the Grange as it had been recommended by another blogger (A Guiding Life). A the last minute my hubby spotted another hotel. How funny if we had been in the same place.

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  5. What a cool trip! I am not going to mention this to my nearly 11 year old or else I will never be able to relax until I have taken her..... I can see that we don't shop in Tesco often enough! We usually manage to get a couple of cinema tickets. Cx

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    Replies
    1. It was a brilliant trip Christina, I don't really like Tesco food but the vouchers almost make it worth shopping there! It still cost quite a bit but I'm considering it my birthday present and summer holiday!
      I hope you're all well, I'm very impressed with all those books you've read, and a bit jealous. x

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  6. Sounds like a fab trip Jay and well done on all the vouchers....love the photos.
    Liz x

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  7. Sounds like a fab mother and daughter weekend!

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  8. Sounds like you had a great trip! We sure enjoyed ours and can't wait to go back next year. We also found the poppies at the Tower very moving.

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  9. It sounds as though it was all wonderful and you had a great time judging by your descriptions and photos!!! What an amazing experience at Matilda, that must have been the icing on the cake with a cherry on top!!! xx

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  10. Your trip to London looks such fun! Hamleys has always been a favourite place to visit. Those poppies look amazing! Glad the exam results went well. Sarah x

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  11. Ahhh I do love me some London! I will be in London for the weekend in October because I can't let those poppies pass me by without me seeing them!
    Your daughter seems to have gotten the star treatment!! I'd love to see Matilda, you know though... I've never been to the theater, not ever! Isn't that sad? My daughter wants to take acting lessons, so I'm pretty sure I'll have a date to the theater now! Daughters are the best!
    I hope you have a great upcoming week,
    Much love,
    Tammy

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  12. Wonderful trip - how amazing to go behind the stage of Matilda. Would love to see the poppies & in London next weekend but won't get a chance. Jess has booked our hotel ( but I'm paying ! )

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  13. What a swell trip! And you saw Matilda! Am so jealous--love the pictures, too!

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  14. What a great weekend you had. I saw Matilda last year and thought it was one of the best things I have ever seen! How lovely to meet one of the cast and have a backstage tour. I must go and see the poppies at the Tower - it must be amazing to see 'in the flesh'.

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    Replies
    1. Isn't Matilda a fantastic show?
      We had the best time!

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  15. What a totally fab weekend you both had, The hotel sounds lovely and the theatre trip very special indeed.
    Lisa x

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