Thursday, 19 August 2010

Pussycat, Pussycat where have you been…..

I’ve been to London to visit the queen….but I’m sorry to report that she wasn’t at home!! It’s amazing, but we’ve been back from London for a whole week…& at last I find a moment to sit down to share our adventures with you!

L I must explain that although I HAVE been blog hopping since we’ve been back, I have been using my new toy! My lovely new laptop PC, which was a birthday present from Lee! The only snag so far is that I have yet to install a photo editing programme, so I’ve had to wait until now, when I can escape to my scrap-space & post using my fully established desktop PC!!

As an aside, he also included with my laptop, a Cath Kidston soft sleeve in the red spot design, which I was just as thrilled with as the laptop itself!! The boys added to my present with a new external hard-drive, which has a one whole ‘terrabite’ of storage…apparently room for about a gazillion photo’s!! That’ll do me just fine!!!

So…before I go any further, I would like to say  HUGE Thank You to everyone who took the time to leave such kind words & birthday wishes! Although I feel I have been totally spoiled with wonderful gifts from family & friends, I was totally unprepared for the number of emails, facebook messages & forum messages on the various websites I frequent, not to mention the actual cards that came through the letterbox! I am blessed indeed! Thank You everyone!

Now, back to the actual trip!

Firstly the flat…we were lucky enough to have the use of a friend of Lee’s London flat. They were at Coventry Poly together & unlike Lee, his friend went on to become a Multi Millionaire!!!! The flat is where he lives while he’s in town on business & as he wasn’t there last week, he very kindly offered it to us. It is very conveniently situated in a very salubrious part of town, just off Sloane Street, & occupies the second floor of a beautiful Regency Mews House. I’m sure you’ll understand why I don’t feel it’s right that I give you a complete photographic ‘guided tour’ but here are some highlights!


The entrance hall had under-floor lighting… my boys just loved this!





They also loved that there was a full size pool table in the open-plan living room & spent every moment that we were ‘in’ honing their cue skills!

London2 London4 I was particularly impressed with the en-suite bathrooms…Jacuzzi baths, built in TV screens & these illuminated shower screens…the light filaments are actually sandwiched within the glass of the screens! The showerheads were huge & adjustable from light rainfall to full power!!

Our first day was a damp one, so we headed off for a bit of retail therapy! First stop Covent Garden & Shelton Street…A skateboard shop for Nathan & for me…Cath Kidston! I had had the new magazine through & wanted to get the new ‘Day’ bag (which is the ‘bucket’ bag revamped) in the khaki spot design! 

After lunch & a bit of time watching the street performers (which totally freak Alex out BTW, so hence no photo’s of them to share!) it was off to Harrods & the toy department for Alex’s birthday presents..he has a passion for Lego & the X-Box game ‘Halo’ & Harrods stock the whole range of Lego Halo vehicles, so he picked out two, which took him an age but he enjoyed every moment! 

We stopped by the Food Halls on our way out, to pick up some Lola Cupcakes, in lieu of birthday cakes, for the next day! Alex & Nathan chose Oreo, Lee chose peanut butter & I went for Red Velvet.


I would like to say that they were as delicious as they look, but they were disappointingly dry!

Our actual birthday dawned dry & sunny…Yay!  After a lovely breakfast of fresh croissants & pain au chocolat, we opened the cards that had arrived prior to our leaving home. Then we set off to the South Bank & wandered a bit…until Alex became a bit agitated with the crowds & we found a quiet spot to enjoy an ice cream! Then it was time for the Duck Tour!

I have been wanting to take the boys on this tour for years! It’s a sightseeing tour in a yellow amphibian ‘bus’…after half an hour driving around it takes you down a slipway & into the Thames for another half hour on the water!! I could not wait to see the boys faces as we went into the river!








The vehicles sit VERY low in the water & the sides are open so there was much squealing & merriment as river water splashed in whenever we crossed other boats wakes!


Alex absorbed all the information the guide gave out about how these vehicles were developed to take part in the Normandy Landings &  explained that the sides were low so that the rescued soldiers could climb in easily!

Once back on terra-firma we headed back to Covent Garden, this time to my favourite bit…Neals Yard…






I love this colourful square, hidden away, & in the sunshine it is especially enjoyable! We had some lunch here & just soaked up the sunshine & the ambiance until the boys boredom threshold was breached!!

A bit more retail therapy followed, buying ultra cool ‘skate’ shoes for Alex & then we took a detour past Pineapple Dance Studio…London6

Back in the day, when I worked at Harrods, I used to attend Aerobics classes at Pineapple. Nowadays, I love the TV show & would have loved to have met Louis Spence, but sadly he wasn’t in!! Nathan stopped to watch the dancers for a bit & then it was on to the ‘The Forbidden Planet’ on Shaftsbury Avenue…Mecca for any Sci-Fi buffs, which Lee & Alex are!!  Another Halo vehicle was added to Alex’s collection before we headed off to Piccadilly Circus & the Trocadero!  Here I left my menfolk to amuse themselves on the gaming floor, while I headed off to Regent Street for a bit of window shopping!

 London11We rounded our day off at The Rainforest Cafe…


…yes! This is Lee, sitting at the bar!








We ate our meal, overlooked by this chap, who sporadically burst into life, swinging his arms & screeching…it made me jump every time!


Then it was back to the flat for coffee & cupcakes (yes those dry ones!!) & to watch a little TV on the biggest wall mounted screen I have seen outside of a cinema!! All in all a very enjoyable birthday!

Our final day was another dull & damp one! So pac-a-macs & brollies at the ready, we set off along Brompton Road to the Science Museum, only to discover that the best bit, the interactive experiments floor, was closed for refurbishment! So we ‘did’ the other three floors & then stopped for tea & sticky buns before popping next door to the Natural History Museum.

This was actually a fleeting visit as the queues were enormous, especially for the Dinosaur room & Alex was finding it difficult to cope, so we made our way to trusty ol’ McDonalds for lunch (!!!) & then returned Alex to the flat & the comfort of an X-Box game, while Lee, Nathan & I struck out again to check out Harvey Nichols refurbished Food Hall & a wander around my old haunts!

I love all the cobbled Mews, tucked away, & crossing over into Hyde Park to the serpentine. Strolling along Sloane Street, down to Sloane Square & along the Kings Road!  London7

There is a new sight to see too…Barclays have set up a cycle hire scheme, where banks of bikes, like this one in the Kings Road, are available to hire, very much like coin operated shopping trolleys, & then you return them to another ‘bank’ near your destination! It fascinated me, but I can’t help wondering how long it will be before all those bikes go missing!!! Am I just an old cynic?!!

So, that is just about it!  We returned home on Thursday evening to a mountain of post behind the front door…so many cards for both Alex & I that our sideboard is groaning!!  We ordered a takeaway & set to opening the presents we hadn’t taken with us to London! My good friend Karen had given me a wonderful package of goodies, including a book, entitled ‘Porn for women of a certain age’ which has kept me giggling ever since! I will share some of it’s contents with you in the near future! My M-I-L had sent a lovely cheque for me to book a spa day, so I have been thoroughly spoiled!!!!

I will close there…thank you so much if you’ve hung in thus far!!! You can guess that I will be working on getting my laptop up to speed asap…so it won’t be so long before I post again! I hope everyone is keeping well…I did receive a fabulous parcel yesterday…nothing to do with birthdays!!!…I will share more about that with you next time!!

Bye for now…:)


debs14 said...

Sounds like you had a brilliant time - and what an amazing place to stay - like something out of an interior design magazine. You crammed a lot into your time there and it sounds like everyone came home with a few of their favourite things! London's such a brilliant place isn't it? So many hidden treasures and quirky places. Living so close, we really ought to venture in and do the touristy things more often! Trouble is, my husband drives in every day to just by London Bridge and isn't keen to return at the weekends!

Dawn said...

Fabulous - thank you for sharing your adventures - would love to learn more about the yellow amphibian bus - lived in Londo until I was 29 and never heard of it!! Have a good weekend xx

scrappyjacky said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful weekend....and what a dream place to stay in!!I love Covent Garden and can spend hours just watching and wandering there.
I like the bike idea....but like you, wonder how many bikes will soon 'disappear'.
Look forward to some scrap pages.

Sian said...

Ooh, that sounds like such a fabulous trip _ I've been eating my lunch and drinking in all the details. Loved the bit about the dance classes at Pineapple - did you have the leggings and the sweatband?! (I'm still thinking 80's after your comment about 80's knitting! Those picture jumpers were something)

Best of luck getting used to the new laptop. I love the cover you got!

Jocelyn said...

Oh what a wonderful time was had!!!! Happy Birthday and that lap top and sleeve are Fabulous...LEE gets tons of Kudos for that gift!!!

The pics all turned out so Perfect!!!

Wishing you a wonderful day sweet friend...Thanks for sharing with us...I enjoyed my time with you!!!

Deb said...

What a fabulous bunch of pictures you have...and now a lot of scrapbooking to do! Welcome back, Sandi.

humel said...

Sounds just wonderful :-) How have I never been to Neals Yard? I feel a trip to London coming on... xx

M.L. @ The House of Whimsy said...

Oh my goodness, you had a fabulous time!!! I just loved looking at all the photos. I love everything Cath Kidston!!!
I'm so happy you had a wonderful time, Sandi. : )

Becky said...

What a lovely birthday you both had! Glad you all enjoyed your trip to London - the photos show you all having such fun :)

Denise said...

Looks like you had a fab time,a lovely way to spend your birthday. I love Cath Kidston stuff too xx