With my last few days at work well under-way (I literally have just four days left now!!) I still had some holiday to take from work, and I figured how better to spend it than with a trip to visit my sister in London? It coincided perfectly with a weekend trip I had already planned with my boyfriend and his family for a show, and meant I would get a few extra days away and a chance to visit the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, and to head to the Southbank for the Christmas Market. Obviously in true blogging fashion, I snapped as many moments from the weekend as I could in order to share them with you guys. I know that lots of you have been visiting both of these festive delights, and I wanted to share my favourite parts with you – to help share a bit of Christmas spirit.
My weekend kicked off with an early start and a train ride sound-tracked by the rather delicious Paolo Nutini and the soulful tunes of George Ezra – both albums I am listening to on repeat at the moment. When I arrived in London, me and my sister headed straight out for brunch at The Breakfast Club, a restaurant I have been dying to try after spotting a few pics of the amazing food on Instagram. I wasn’t disappointed – it was absolutely delicious and just what we needed as we were both ravenous by the time we ate. I had the rather tasty Huevos Al Benny (poached eggs, chorizo, roast peppers, avocado and fresh chillies on toasted English Muffins, with home-style fried potatoes – it was just perfect. Laura went for a veggie sausage sandwich and we also shared a portion of mac & cheese. To drink, I couldn’t resist going for a Green Is Good smoothie (spinach, mango, apple and mint) which just so happened to match Laura’s jumper in colour!
After our delicious meal, we went over to Southbank to take a walk along the Thames, see all the beautiful sparkling lights and to check out the Christmas market as the sun set. I really love this part of London, it really is beautiful at any time of year and I was there just a few months ago in blazing sunshine – equally perfect. In the middle of the market, we stumbled across the cutest Christmas tree maze and an adorable Rekorderlig shack where they were selling all the brand’s beverages including some rather delicious hot mulled cider which went down a treat. As it started to get dark, we started making our way to Hyde Park, finding that thankfully as it was still early it wasn’t too busy. We managed to avoid the queues and head straight in to mosey our way round the stalls selling pretty marzipan cubes, fake snow and great big greasy sausages. Unfortunately as we were there a bit early, we didn’t get to see any of the bands playing, which was a shame as I find the atmosphere is much better when they have live music. I didn’t think it was quite as well laid out this year, but I’m not sure if that was perhaps just because I have been a few years in a row now and it is becoming very over-commercialised. I would have liked, if I had time, to check out Winterville which is over at Victoria Park. The rest of the evening was spent at a pub in Shoreditch before we made our way to a food market to pick up some dinner – I had a delicious Patty & Bun Jose Jose burger and it was that good it’s actually making my mouth water now to think of it.
The next morning, I met the boyfriend for a wander round London and a catch-up in a lovely Camden pub, before we headed to a fabulous Indian restaurant to review the food. (Review will be posted on Friday) After a lovely afternoon there, we went to meet his family at Marble Arch, where they had booked us rooms at Victory Services Club, which was really nice. This place had the comfiest beds and, even better complete silence when you closed the door which gave a perfect night’s sleep and was much needed after a busy few days. The staff were so friendly and helpful, we had a great breakfast and the bar was nice and cosy with a roaring fire. Why were we staying there? Well it was a rather lovely Christmas present from boyfriend’s dad and step-mum, who bought the whole family tickets to go and see The War of the Worlds at the O2 Arena on Saturday night. It has officially been almost a whole year since I last saw a show in London, and as a big musicals lover, that was seriously starting to make me twitch. So I was more than excited to be heading there, particularly as this was such a huge show and yet I knew very little about it.
As a literature student, I had read HG Wells’ The Time Machine, but had never read The War of the Worlds, so I had an idea of the type of writing that inspired the performance but that was about it. A friend at work had lent me the programme from when he went to see the show, which I flicked through and it certainly helped fill in a few blanks. He also lent me the CD of the soundtrack, which I listened too very briefly on my 10-minute drive to work – but anyone who knows the music and the show will know that is not enough to really get a feel for it. So I was blown away when I finally saw the full performance live on stage at the O2 – the combination of live actors, a full orchestra, a film and a giant mechanical martian spewing fire and lasers across the audience was more than I ever could have believed. It sounds crazy, but it really worked and crazy is good in a story about invading martians! I won’t give away the storyline, but the music really stole the show, Jeff Wayne has really captured the drama, the emotion and the suspense in every single note. This combined with the special effects, and you have a spectacular show on your hands. It certainly is not a show I would have thought of going to see, but I’m so glad I have seen it now so that I understand what all the hype is about. And I’m also very glad that I have short legs and didn’t have to suffer like the guy sitting behind me with his knees up to his chin.
All in all, it was a pretty good weekend full of Christmas cheer, sparkling lights and plenty of good food – some of my favourite things. I love getting to spend a long weekend in London every now and again – it really gives you much more time to do stuff at a leisurely pace. I can’t stand when you have to rush everywhere and end up missing things. It definitely makes me realise that I could really love living in London in the future.
Have any of you guys been to see The War Of The Worlds? Or Have you been to the Winter Wonderland? What did you think of them? Or are you a big brunch fan and love The Breakfast Club?