London Day Trip: From Kensington to Westminster to Tower Bridge!

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London blog write up: The day we walked from Westminster to Tower Bridge!

Happy Friday everyone! Today’s post is all about London – my favourite city in the world! It was my birthday last week so me and my best friend caught the train to Paddington station to enjoy a fun filled day out in our wonderful capital city. First of all we headed to South Kensington to check out the Royal Albert Hall & Kensington Gardens as we both hadn’t been to that area of London since we went on a school trip at the tender age of 14! The Royal Albert Hall is such a unique and iconic London landmark, and I’d forgotten how beautiful it was. Opposite was the famous statue of King Albert & Queen Victoria together which presented yet another photo opportunity, greatly complimenting the beautiful Royal Hall.

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Next we took a wander past The Natural History Musuem, but decided against going in at that time as the queue reached almost as far as South Kensington tube station! We headed into the museum on our way back home though, so that will feature in this  post a little later on.

After catching the tube from South Kensington to Westminster we strolled round the area taking in all the well known sights, including Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and The Houses of Parliament.

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Next stop was the Embankment, one of my favourite parts of London, and we marvelled at The London Eye whilst stopping for a quick bite to eat. After passing the Sealife Aquarium, London Dungeons and amusements arcade we headed for a long stroll down The Queens Walk towards Jubilee Gardens and the famous Golden Jubilee bridges.

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Our intention was to end up at Tower Bridge via the underground District Line, but we ended up walking there rather than getting the tube as it was such a lovely day with bright sunshine! Our walk was amazing, and we were able to take in so many famous landmarks on our way including:

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The Gherkin IMG_1948984298575

The Shard IMG_2002311453886

The OXO tower IMG_1877559808032

Shakespeare’s globe theatre IMG_1899527394418

The Millennium & London bridgesIMG_3144097175800

HMS Belfast IMG_1909414154496

All Hallows church IMG_2023129856195

I loved the freedom of exploring the city on foot, rather than by using the underground, and although it took over an hour to reach our final destination, it was totally worth it!

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Tower Bridge is my favourite place on earth, I absolutely love it and for me nothing else compares; it will always hold a special place in my heart for very personal reasons. We took many photos (including selfies!) and made friends with lots of lovely tourists who were seriously impressed with my selfy stick- a must have for any travel blogger! After walking across the monumental bridge and back down past the Tower of London we decided to head over to Tower Hill tube station and make our way back to South Kensington.

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Once there we ventured into The Natural History Museum (I told you it would return!) and explored the premises – I’d not been to the museum since I was ten years old so it was amazing to see how much it had changed, and how little I remembered! It was exciting to re-discover everything though, from the space and geographical areas to the fossils and historical departments which I found the most fascinating.

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After an incredibly tiring but amazing day we headed back to Paddington and onwards home to Oxford station. I had an amazing time celebrating my birthday in my favourite city, but was so ready for my bed that night! I hope you’ve enjoyed my write up of London, if you have any questions please get in touch.. what parts of the capital have you been to and which are your favourites?

Speak soon!

Love Jess x

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Clothes show live: Birmingham NEC Arena

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Hey everyone,

On Friday 5th December I attended the annual Clothes Show Live at Birmingham’s NEC Arena for the first time. I’ve wanted to go to the clothes show for as long as I can remember, so when my friend sent me a link to some cut price tickets on Groupon I just couldn’t say no!

We had tickets to the event for the afternoon slot between 1pm and 6pm which worked perfectly for us as it gave us time to travel up in the morning . Parking at the NEC is great; it costs £10 for the day and there are complimentary shuttle buses to and from the arena.

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On arrival we headed straight to the main event and checked out all the boutique stores in the hair and beauty section. There were so many stalls offering big brand products  including Rimmel, Barry M and Carmex at discounted prices with lots of demo’s being carried out for free if you fancied a mini makeover. I bought lots of the products that were tried out on me but that was purely because I liked them and not because I felt pressured into buying.

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Next up we headed to the clothes stalls where we found loads of bargains including Lipsy dresses for £10 and Topshop heels for the same price! I didn’t realise how discounted the items were and I ended up spending more than I thought I would but I did get my money’s worth! There were also a host of boutique stalls from celebrity owners such as Millie Mckintosh, Amy Childs and the Kardashian sisters.

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Throughout the arena there were celebs from The Only Way is Essex and Made in Chelsea posing for photos and autographs as well as various calendar signings. Peter Andre was there and I had the pleasure of meeting the cutie pie that is Joey Essex and I have to say he was one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met! He’s so funny and down to earth and was really lovely, I thoroughly enjoyed meeting him and my little sister loved her signed calendar.. Thanks Joey!

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Our tickets allowed entry to the Alcatel Catwalk Show which featured a professional show with models and dancers along with special guests and was presented by famous fashion designer Henry Holland. Girl band Neon Jungle opened the show and Henry was joined on stage by Joey Essex before the catwalk began . There was nine different scene changes with dances to well known soundtracks and the models showcased the latest fashion products from big name designers.

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We had a brilliant day at Clothes Show Live and I can’t wait to return next year, I’m booking my tickets as soon as possible!

My next post is a local hotel review so that will be coming up shortly, and I still have my interview with the lovely Char from Taylor Hearts Travel to publish so it’s going to be a busy few days for me! Watch this space!

Love Jess x

Throwback Thursday: Warner Bros Harry Potter Studio Tour

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Hey everyone,

So this a shortened version of my monthly Throwback Thursday feature where I detail adventures that I’ve experienced over the past couple of  years.

January 2013 saw us take a trip to the magical land of the Warner Bros Harry Potter Studio Tour in Hertfordshire, near London . Myself along with my mum and two sisters spent the day at the studios and had an amazing time going behind the scenes and seeing hundreds of props used on the blockbuster films franchise.

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We were taken through different parts of the experience with and without guides and we were able to go at our own pace most of the way round. Everything was of course Harry Potter themed and it really felt like we were at Hogwarts, especially when we entered the famous Great Hall.

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Among the other well known attractions were Gringotts Bank, 4 Privet Drive, The Knight bus and  Dumbledore’s office to name but a few. There was a brilliant replica of the Hogwarts Castle which looked beautiful lit up in all its glory and the gift shop at the end was incredible.

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Our day out to the Studio Tour was truly magical and I would highly recommend a trip to platform 9 and 3 quarters for a wonderful and memorable adventure!

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Love Jess x

Birmingham weekend: Shopping and Disney on Ice!

Hey everyone!

So I’ve not long returned from a brilliant weekend away in the popular city of Birmingham for a shopping and theatre trip with one of my closest friends. We headed to the Copthorne Hotel in central Birmingham which was excellent value for money at just £54 for the night! The hotel was positioned perfectly for exploring everything that the city has to offer, and we loved being able to walk everywhere rather than having to get a taxi!

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On arrival we left the car in the hotel parking lot (£12 for 24 hours) and checked straight in. We were a bit early and unfortunately our room wasn’t quite ready so we left our bags with the reception staff who were super friendly and nothing felt like too much trouble.

We headed for a day of shopping at the well known Bull Ring centre which was home to hundreds of big store names including Debenhams, John Lewis, New Look, Forever 21, The Disney Store, Hollister and many more. We took a particular liking to The Disney Store (obviously!) and were also pleasantly surprised to see a large cuddly Olaf from Frozen waiting to greet customers outside Build a Bear!

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The Bull Ring was great and I’d love to return to do some serious Christmas shopping as you can buy pretty much anything from the diverse range of shops on offer. If however you prefer strolling up and down the traditional high street rather than staying in one mall then Birmingham City centre can give you that too. There are plenty of well known stores from Primark and H&M to Armani & Lipsy so there’s definitely something for everyone. Both offer lots of restaurants and eateries so you can easily stop to recharge your batteries and take some time out from your shopping!

After a good few hours of exploring we headed back to our hotel (5 min walk away) and got changed and ready for the main event, and the reason for our trip, which was the wonderful Disney on Ice show at the NIA arena. We’d had the show booked since the summer and couldn’t wait to get there and watch it; being immersed in the world of Disney sounded like heaven to us! Anyone that knows me will know that I’m a complete Disney fanatic which is why I was so excited about this trip!

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We had bought some Minnie ears outside the arena for just a fiver from market stall sellers as we knew the official merchandise inside the arena would be super expensive! We did however buy a programme (£9) and there was lots of choice for Disney fans inside we just couldn’t afford to buy anything else!

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The show was incredible with the story telling, famous music and the lighting all making it truly stunning and we thoroughly enjoyed the hour and a half long performance. There was something for everyone; from a Disney Princess showcase to scenes from Aladdin, Pinnocchio, The Incredibles  and of course The Lion King with repeat appearances by Mickey and Minnie throughout.

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There was also an amazing finale with all the characters coming back out to a final performance of The Circle of Life and parading round the rink posing for photos- we were so jealous of people with the rink side seats! It was so magical we didn’t want it to end! Starting at 6.30pm, with a 15 min interval, the show finished around 8.30pm and everyone slowly filtered out of the arena and back to reality – shame!

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We wanted to eat out somewhere for dinner and found lots of lovely restaurants dotted around the pretty canal and bridges near the arena. We did however decide to eat at a brilliant Chinese restaurant at the hotel which was amazing, but if I were to return I’d eat near the canal and go for drinks afterwards on the main strip which was just round the corner.

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Overall we had a fantastic weekend in Birmingham and are already planning our next trip back up there in the Spring time when there’s another Disney show on!

This week I’ll be busy packing for my upcoming holiday to Reykjavik which I am so excited about! I’ll be posting details about this trip when I am home on 7th November, but for now I’ll concentrate on getting everything ready and making sure I don’t go over my allocated baggage limit.. wish me luck!

Love Jess x