I have well and truly fallen in love with London. The way in which you can walk around the city and just stumble across something new and different within a matter of minutes is simply amazing.
A couple of weekends ago me and Ian were lucky enough to spend the weekend in London, exploring like proper tourists. I often travel to London for work purposes, so it was lovely to go there for the sake of adventure and fun times for once.
Sooo, once work was done on the Friday we hopped on a train to London (with me looking like a bag lady – I really need to invest in one of those small roller suitcase things!!). Living in Milton Keynes is great as you can hop on a train and be in London in 40 mins. A tube ride later we arrived at London Bridge in the middle of the hustle and bustle of London. A little walk later and we arrived at our hotel for the weekend…woop!!
We stayed at the Citizen M London Bankside hotel, a rather cool modern hotel with funky pod style rooms……along with an iPad you can control everything in the room with! How bloody awesome is that?! Imagine curtains and blinds moving up and down, the room colours changing like a disco party and music to suit your mood…we were like big kids playing with it! It was great! :D
The rooms at Citizen M have everything you need, a fridge stocked with yummy drinks & treats – all FREE! A lovely shower with two different shower styles, shampoo & body wash, a safe, a huge XL king size bed AND a normal sized hairdryer which isn’t stuck to the wall and actually works properly! Thank you Citizen M for the hairdryer alone!!
Besides our fab room, they also have a really nice chill out area downstairs. Whether you want to hang out and drink cocktails late into the night or use the working area (with Macs provided) during the day, you’ll be catered for. They also have a great little food area where you can pick up breakfast or a snack 24/7 – 3am drunken munchies!? Sorted!
Sooo…that’s the scene set…but what did we do!?
We decided to stay nearby and head to Pizza Express at London Bridge to grab a nice carby dinner to prep ourselves for the weekend ahead. I had a nice classic American pizza and it was pretty damn lush! And of course it was washed down (I hate that phrase!) with a nice ice cold Peroni.
Staying nearby we walked back through the bustling area back to our hotel (can’t get much more nearby than that I guess..! Ha!) and grabbed a couple of cocktails at the bar. It has such a cool vibe, so it was just nice to sit, chill, drink and just “be”.
Hellooo Saturday! This was our proper full day in London, with no stresses about work being the next day or worries about going to grab the weekly food shop or anything…we were free!!
Earlier in the week it was my birthday (yay!!) so Ian had planned a couple of things for us to do to celebrate. He is a lovely one! So first up we headed to the Shard. How impressive is that building!? Just standing there all tall like “hey!” …Ian had booked us a trip up to the top to soak in the views of London. (Those scared of heights need not apply!!) …woweee! What. A. View!!! We couldn’t have picked a better day, the sun was shining, the sky was clear and we could see for miles. Amazing!! I couldn’t recommend it more. People on the streets below looked like tiny little ants, helicopters flew by and all the key London landmarks were there to be seen. I loved it!
Once our viewing time was up we headed across town (I originally wrote “time” there instead of town – now that would be clever!) …and headed to a big shop called Harrods. You may have heard of it!? I’d never actually been in Harrods before, so it was interesting to see what it was all about. After asking for directions a few times we finally ended up where we wanted to be – that place is con-fus-inggg!
Another birthday treat (spoilt right!?) Ian had booked for us, was to have an afternoon tea! Yay! We opted for the amazing champagne afternoon tea which came with some lovely pink champagne. You can choose a tea of your choice, so I went for the classic English Breakfast whilst we pigged out on a yummy selection of sandwiches (which they replenished with another lot as soon as we finished them!). The scones and cakes were simply amazing too and if that wasn’t enough they also bring you a little dessert in a pot at the end – you will not be left feeling hungry! The atmosphere in there was lovely, a man played fab little tunes on the piano whilst we dined and the friendly waiters attended to our every need. A cup left empty of tea? It was filled! A napkin left on a seat whilst you pop to the loo? They’ll pick it up, fold it and place it carefully back on the table for you! Amazing right!? Feeling very full of sandwiches, cakes and tea we rolled ourselves out of Harrods and explored the surrounding streets of London to soak it all up.
Later that evening our thoughts did finally return to the thought of food. We headed over to Canada Water to hunt down a cool little foodie place that Ian had discovered online called Hawker House, which is part of the Street Feast London group.
A 5 minute walk from the tube station we found it, a warehouse-like building filled with a wide variety of street food traders, bars and loads of seating to sit and chill with your yummy treats! Wow! Could this weekend get any better!? This place is sooooo good! There’s a DJ playing tunes to keep the atmosphere fun and upbeat and I also noticed a cheeky dessert place for those with a sweet tooth. Can Milton Keynes have one of these places PLEASE!? We headed to “Prawnography” (ha!) and had some crab meat fries, which were deeelish! If you ever go out for an evening in London, it’s really worth checking out these guys!
Feeling slightly tipsy, it was time to head back to our hotel…
Our last day :( …but we were determined to make the most of it!!
We had a nice chilled start to our day and checked out around 11am. Citizen M have a room you can pop your luggage in during the day, which is super useful!
We decided to go and hunt down Petticoat Lane and check out its famous market. I wasn’t too sure what to expect but it was filled with stands selling ex-highstreet branded fashion items and cheap fashionable items. Imagine typically East-end sounding men shouting “come on ladies! All dresses just £3!!!” and people pushing past you (hold on to your bags!)…and you can imagine what it was like. A real bustling market! I managed to pick up a sleeveless jacket (£8) and a lovely stripey shirt (£3). It was fun walking through but I couldn’t have stayed there too long as it was a little crazy!!
Next up was Spitalfields market after a quick sushi stop at Itsu – I am definitely sushi’s latest no1 fan! The market had a lovely atmosphere and had a fantastic array of stalls, from quirky fashion pieces to different types of yummy food. I’ll definitely have to head back one day to check it out properly!
Whilst there, Not On The Highstreet were holding an “offline” event to promote their funky wares. There were workshops for jewellery making and calligraphy, alongside product displays and fun little wooden shed-like buildings that you could walk through and discover interactive displays. We took a walk through one of them and it had walls covered in animals that you could colour in!! How cool!? So we couldn’t say no to a little bit of colouring in!
After Spitalfields we had another little wonder around, but soon realised it was time to head home. We genuinely had such an amazing weekend, I wish I could relive it! It’s definitely one to treasure.
I’d like to say a huge thank you to ThoughtMix who I won the weekend stay through – lucky me!! And of course to Ian for booking some amazing experiences for us to create a weekend to remember.
Until next time London! :)
View from The Shard
Harrods Afternoon Tea
Street Feast London / Hawker House