My London Day Trip!

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Hi everyone, so I excitedly posted last week that I had an exciting few days planned which included a snazzy trip to London for the day with one of my best friends and so I thought I’d share it with you all as we had a truly amazing day out! As you may or may not know, we were due to go on a lunch river cruise across the Thames as I had been given this voucher as a Red Letter Days gift from a close friend. We arrived in London at around 11am after catching the Oxford Tube from Gloucester Green bus station in Oxford; the tube took us past various stops including Notting Hill & Shepherd’s Bush, but we departed at Marble Arch as we wanted to work our way around the city from there!

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Marble Arch/Hyde Park is a beautiful area and we started off our trip in typical London fashion by running like wild geese for the next tube at Marble Arch station so as to get to our boat trip on time! We knew the boat departed from The Embankment at 12.15pm so were limited on time but knew we could get there efficiently. After a few stops we arrived at the famous Embankment and eventually (after a few runs across the Hungerford bridge as we were on the wrong side and a stop at the ‘Jubiloo’ toilets – see my selfie below(!!) – we made it to the port of Bateaux London which is where our boat was to depart from.

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We were greeted on board The Symphony by a very handsome captain whom we chatted to afterwards as well (fit or what?!) and we were ushered to our seat by the lovely staff who I have to say were hugely welcoming and friendly thorughout the cruise.

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A three course lunch was included on the cruise (all drinks are separate) and the first course was either a choice of butternut squash with goats cheese or a salmon pate with pickled cucumber. I opted for the vegetarian option whilst my friend chose the salmon; mine was delicious and I was told that my friends was too, so that was a good start! Main was either chicken en-croute with celeriac mash and runner beans or a root vegetable pastry dish with pesto; we both chose the chicken which was lovely although I would’ve liked a bit more pastry and would have swapped the mash for roast potatoes, but you can’t have everything! Dessert was gorgeous and was a vanilla panna cotta with almond biscotti on the base and a raspberry coulis on top – heaven!

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Throughout the 1and a half hour cruise there was a guided audio commentary giving interesting facts about specific landmarks in London that you sailed past on the boat which really added to the atmosphere on board and we both found it fascinating! You could wander up and down the boat and take as many pictures as you liked but we didn’t need to leave our seats much considering the boat was all glass and you could see from virtually any angle which was brilliant. The only thing that would’ve made the viewing a little better was if the blinds on the ceiling were raised as we couldn’t see certain landmarks when we were passing under them; Tower Bridge, London Eye etc… but generally the boat was perfect for viewing all the major hotspots!

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Some of the landmarks that we passed were the famous Houses of Parliament, EDF Energy & the iconic Big Ben, the London Aquarium which houses the new London Dungeons, the historic St Paul’s Cathedral, the buzzing Canary Wharf Docklands business area, the brand new Shard building and of course the beautiful Tower Bridge & Tower of London which is a personal favourite of mine – I’ve loved it ever since I first set eyes on it on one of my first trips to London with my ex boyfriend, we had a magical time and I’ve adored it there ever since!

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After a really lovely cruise down the river we headed back to the Embankment where we departed and made our way to Oxford Street to do some serious shopping! We hurtled up to Temple tube station across to Oxford Circus and started at the flagship Topshop store before zig-zagging our way up the high street and frequenting the likes of Miss Selfridge, Zara, River Island and the ever desirable Primark! After a busy couple of hours our feet were beginning to hurt and our arms were starting to ache from carrying all the heavy bags so we made our way to Tottenham Court Road tube station and ended up where we started at Marble Arch ready to get the Oxford Tube back home.

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We finally arrived home at just after 9pm which, after leaving our doors at 8am, was definitely a very long day and it’s safe to say that we both slept like babies that night! We had a truly wonderful day out in the big city and I can’t wait to go back and do it all again soon! I would love to book an evening cruise with three course dinner to see the city lit up at night as I think that it’d be even more beautiful than it was during the day time! For more information on how to book a river cruise with Bateaux London please visit their website (http://www.bateauxlondon.com/) or check out which offers Red Letter Days (http://www.redletterdays.co.uk/Home) are currently promoting… enjoy!!

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 Love Jess x

Family Sunday at Stow on the Wold

After a quiet Saturday night in snuggled up on the sofa watching a movie I was more that ready to get out and about yesterday to make the most of the sun! We couldn’t decide what to do with our day; we were going to head out to the local zoo but it can be quite expensive so we gave it a miss and headed to the lovely market town of Stow on the Wold instead.

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Stow is a picturesque town not far from Burford and the nearby Moreton in the Marsh & Chipping Norton, which is home to our PM David Cameron. Stow boasts numerous cafés, pubs & shops as well as a beautiful church.

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We decided to wander round the shops and soak up the sun by parking ourselves on a little wooden bench in the middle of the town whilst my dad sank a few pints in the nearby Queens Head pub, which also served mouthwatering Sunday lunches by the way! We opted for an ice cream instead as we didn’t want to spoil the dinner that would be waiting for us back at home!

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We popped inside the pretty church to have a little look inside and  it was eerily quiet for a Sunday afternoon! Very peaceful though all the same.

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That pretty much sums up my day out, it was very quiet but again it was nice to recharge my batteries for abit and just enjoy some quality family time! Stow is also featuring on one of my future posts (Top Ten things to See & Do in The Cotswolds) so be sure to look out for it there!

My next trip is imminent and a bit more exciting so keep your eyes peeled – Im very excited and I’ll be posting info shortly!

Love Jess 🙂 x

 

Cardiff continued..

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Cardiff continued.. and I’m going to now share my experience of the nightlife and shopping in the city centre both of which we found to be brilliant and really made the weekend special! Please read below to find out more..

The daytime:

Cardiff is home to some of the best shops In the country and the two huge shopping malls that are located in the heart of the city certainly offer something for everyone! Capitol and Saint David’s are the names of the two shopping centres and they are host to a range of big name shops from high street favourites to designer havens you can’t go wrong by stopping here!

We spent most of the day shopping and then headed to The Glassworks pub for a lovely lunchtime stop! I would describe this pub as a posh wetherspoons which offered an excellent choice of food at great value for money in a lovely location just round the corner from Saint David’s. I opted for a large chicken and bbq pulled pork double  burger with skinny fries and a salad.. I know, my mouth is watering too just thinking about it!!

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The nighttime:

After we were worn out by all our shopping we headed back to the hotel to start getting ready ahead of our big night out! The three of us were dressing up Disney style for my friends 21st so we spent hours on our hair, make up and outfits and the results are below.. see if you can guess which characters we are meant to be! (I’ll challenge you to guess them all ;))

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After a few cheeky pre drinks in our hotel room we headed to our first stop which was,  yep you guessed it, good old wetherspoons!! The drinks were cheap, the atmosphere was good and it was the perfect place to get the party started!

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Cardiff has such a varied nightlife with loads of fantastic bars, clubs and pubs and we tried out 5 of the venues but wish we had one extra night to visit a few more of them!  We headed to Soda Bar after wetherspoons which was a small club playing the latest chart music and it was only £3 entry but the drinks were quite pricey. From here we wen on to Las Iguanas for a lovely cocktail, again lovely little place but £6.50 per cocktail so try and go when they are offering deals otherwise it can get quite expensive! Our next stop was Retro (my favourite!!) which was a 90s club playing cheesy pop hits all night long-I was in dance floor heaven! Cheap drinks, two floors and tunes you can sing your heart out to.. What more could three girls dressed up as disney characters want from a night out?!

Our final stop, after a couple of bags of chips on the way back (!!), was the well known Walkabout bar which was bigger than we expected and offered a brilliant dance area as well as a more chilled bar area. We didn’t stop for a drink as only stayed for a couple of songs before we headed back to the hotel, but we would definitely have stayed for longer if our feet weren’t so tired!

Overall we had a brilliant night out in cardiff and will definitely be returning ! Here’s a final snapshot of us looking a little worse for wear in the hotel lift on the way up to the room… I think it’s fair to say we needed our beauty sleep after that !

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On that note I shall also bid you goodnight as I’m getting tired re-living my super busy weekend, so goodnight everyone I’ll be back soon with some more posts about my latest adventures!

Love Jess x

My latest trip.. girls weekend in Cardiff!

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So its not quite Barcelona, but I headed to Cardiff last weekend with two girlfriends for a fun filled night away in celebration of a 21st birthday! Please read part one of my trip below and ill do a couple more blog posts about the rest of the weekend to follow shortly!

The hotel:

We chose to stay at the four star Best Western Plus Maldron Hotel in the centre of the city and what a brilliant choice it turned out to be!

 

 

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There weren’t many hotels that offered triple rooms, but this one was a reasonable £150 for the night (breakfast not included) and was perfectly located for us. The train station was behind the hotel, and there was an NCP opposite which was £6 for 24 hours parking so we couldn’t complain at that! We stayed on the third floor and the room was big with a double and single bed as well as a good size bathroom.

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Free wifi was offered throughout the hotel which was useful and I can imagine is essential for customers on business trips! The bar and restaurant looked lovely but we didn’t have chance to try these out as we headed straight out into the city to make the most of the little time we had there! The hotel is situated in front of the train station so inevitably it was quite loud but we’re all deep sleepers so it didn’t keep us awake and the windows were pretty sound proof which helped cut out the noise from passing trains!

 

The beds were a little uncomfortable though, I personally found the mattresses quite hard and the pillows weren’t very fluffy, but I suppose you can’t have everything! The best thing about this hotel though is undoubtedly it’s fantastic location as it’s in a prime place to discover all that the city has to offer – we didn’t get a taxi anywhere as everything is in walking distance! I would rate this hotel 4 out of 5 and would definitely stay again!

Please be sure to look out for my next blog posts which detail information about the nightlife in Cardiff and, most importantly, the shopping experience!

Speak soon!

Jess x