Saturday, 15 August 2015

Portobello Market

I'd planned our weekend with meticulous precision, and thought I'd organised everything. That was until the wonderful receptionist (with a wonderful name) Sara mentioned how close we were to Notting Hill, and the famous Portobello Market.

We dropped our plans for a day wandering the shopping centres, and headed on over to W11 early on Saturday morning.

Following signposts and groups of tourists until we started to spot the well known candy coloured houses and the markets started to materialise.

The first few streets of the market are full of antique shops and stalls, selling everything from old world maps, to war memorabilla. Fantastic hats and glittering jewelery at every step, and a smattering of creepy street performers.

I love looking at old, musty original books! There were some beauties to be had here.

We weaved our way in and out of the stalls, but not being able to get a very good look due to the crowds, we headed on down to the main event, food!

The stalls seemed to go on forever, and I don't think we ever did quite make it to the end. They run both sides of a street, that seems to run and flow into other streets like a river, make one long thin market gauntlet!

We discovered the stall above, upon which Mr P insisted that he had to try a 'smore crodough' - the baby of a doughnut and a croissant, apparently.

It was pretty good, I will admit. Flaky croissant pastry, but deep fried to give it that doughnut sturdiness, and of course, lashings of sugar.

However my tastes are a lot more...custardy!

The iddy biddy pastel de nata was a little mouthful of delight! A creamy cold egg tart with just the right amount of sweetness for an elevensy!

We countered this naughtiness with some fruit though, just to be on the safe side...

On and on we plodded, taking in more of the sights and sights of the busy market. It's unbelievably busy on a Saturday morning, but it's definitely worth persevering, and going as early as you can helps.

After a while, our feet got weary and it felt like we'd seen all there was to see, so we headed on into central London to do the typical touristy thing of Oxford Street and Covent Garden.

Not without picking up some lunch first, however. It took me a while strutting up and down to decide what I wanted, but the hot chorizo salad was a definite winner. Look at all that lovely orange oil!

If you're in London on a long weekend, then this one is definitely worth breaking the itinerary for!

Thursday, 6 August 2015

London Calling

It's been a while coming, but I'm finally getting around to posting about our weekend away in the Big City. Having originally booked for that ill fated Foo Fighters concert, with non-refundable train and hotel tickets, we were off for a long weekend regardless!

Tickets, check. Book, check. Chocolate, double check!

Once we landed in London, we made our way to the hotel. We were staying at Park Grand Lancaster Gate, which was a mere five minute walk from Paddington Station, and it was fantastic. Located in a quiet suburb, but within walking distance of all major tube and train lines, it could not have been positioned better.

The hotel looked after us so well all weekend, until the moment we left, and nothing was too much trouble. If you're after a reasonably priced (but glamorous) hotel in London, that is quiet but still accessible, I'd thoroughly recommend this one. Plus, look how pretty it is!

In true Welsh fashion, we dumped our bags and headed off in search of the nearest pub.

However, after nearly falling off our barstools at the fact there was no change out of a £10 note, the sun came out and we headed over the road into the Italian Gardens.

(Regardless of the price, as it's the same everywhere in London, I'd thoroughly recommend this pub on an evening, as it's a proper British boozer and has some amazing live music)

We made friends with a few of the locals too...

Behind the scenes!

Our meandering took us further along to Hyde Park, where we wandered around the lake watching all the revellers on the pedalos and snooping on more wildlife.

With an obligatory 99 along the way, of course!

From there we dawdled around to the other side of the lake, stumbling upon the Diana Memorial Fountain, which is such a fun work of art. It's not so much a fountain as a mini river, with lush grass surroundings.

In what I feel is true Princess Diana, playing in and around the fountain is not only allowed but encouraged. So socks off!

Friday night was the night we were supposed to be seeing the Foos, so instead, the wonderful Mr P managed to get us last minute tickets to see Wicked at the Victoria Apollo. I've never seen a show in London before, and Wizard of Oz is one of my absolute favourite films, so I was extremely excited!

I won't spoil the show in case there's anyone left out there who hasn't seen it, but I loved every single minute of it! Even the husband, who detests musicals, was enthralled, which is high praise indeed! Definitely go check it out if you get the chance!

Day one, was a definite success! I'm a little bit in love with London!