A very brief trip: 4 hours in London

I've only visited London a handful of times so when I got the opportunity last weekend to go I jumped at it. My parents were working at a trade show in Reading with my Dad's shop so I caught a lift down with them Saturday morning. We left home very early at 4.30am and had a long day running the stall until the late afternoon. We were staying at a lovely hotel in Reading thanks to my discount for working with the hotel brand and we got to access the 'club lounge' for drinks and canapes before we went out for dinner. We've never had this before so we felt very posh!

I had quick walk into Reading town centre before dinner and managed to happen across loads of children teenagers getting pictures with Danny Mac and I *think* Carley Stenson who were there to help switch on the lights.

Tower of London Poppies

Back to get ready for dinner and a quick selfie in the bathroom mirror wearing my ebay leather jacket for the first time. (I actually bought it about 5 months ago but this was it's first outing). We went to a Chinese buffet which was delicious. The duck pancakes were AMAZING but I did overload myself on deserts and my Dad was shaking his head at my Mum and I as we almost had to roll ourselves out of the door!

I recently bought a bargain trio of Origin face masks from Boots and I brought the clay one with me to try that night. I didn't think it would come off that easily as I did leave it on a long time but surprisingly a wet flannel worked wonders.

The next day I left Mum and Dad at the show and I caught a train into London. Wow, the tube confuses me. I swear I always end up spending over £15 on it even though it should cap at the cost of a travelcard. When I have more time i'd love to do more by foot and bus but this was such a short visit I really didn't have the time to spend trying to figure that out.

I headed straight to the Tower of London. I knew they had started to dismantle the poppy exhibition but they had certainly got a move on. This was the view when I came out of the tube station! The front of the tower was still pretty much intact as you can see from my photo's.

Lets not forget the smaller parts of the display.

After working my way around the whole of the outside of the Tower, my next destination was to see Liberty and visit the Pixi store to purchase the famous 'Glow Tonic'. I hadn't seen Liberty before and to be honest, although it was all very upmarket I wasn't that impressed. I didn't however see all of the departments so I shall withhold full judgement!

Liberty London day trip

Look how big the Liberty advent calendar is! 

The Pixi store was located just off this street below. It was actually a very clinical looking shop. I''d expected it to be quite cosy with more products, but the sales assistant was lovely, taking an interest in my visit to London. On the way to the tube station I spotted Topshop so did a very quick lipstick swatch all over my hand and came out with two berry/purple lipsticks.

Carnaby Street Christmas

After that it was time to go back to Paddington via Kensington/Notting Hill. One of the things I wanted to do whilst in London was visit a 'posh' borough. I quickly walked up Kensington high street and had a quick peek in this Jamie Oliver shop below. What you can see is a cookery school/demo area where children and their parents had booked to learn how to cook together. I think they were making a chocolate cake.

Jamie Oliver Kensington London cookery lessons cooking

After that I meandered up some streets, wandering vaguley in the direction of the station. All the houses look like this there, it's all very Love Actually!

Notting Hill Kensington London

I was running out of time so I managed to hop on a bus to the train station. Turns out the buses aren't so hard to figure out. If they are all like that i'll be fine next time.

There were a couple more things on my list such as hiring a bike and visiting Hyde Park but I didn't have time. I had a great day though, even if the train back was rammed and I had to stand next to the door eating my Mcdonalds (classy). Next time must remember to reserve a seat!

Anywhere you think I should visit next time? I've hardly been anywhere in London so all suggestions welcome!

Recommended Recent Reads # 2 - Sealed with a Kiss

Sealed with a Kiss book review Seals on Isle of Bute Rachael Lucas

Since using a kindle, it's not necessary anymore to plan your reading. If I fancy something to read all I have to do is browse Amazon, select, checkout and TA-DA! I have a book to read on my kindle. Actually in reality it's not quite as easy. My kindle won't connect to the internet at home so I have to download onto my computer and transfer via a cable. Still, it takes less than five minutes.

The first book I reviewed in my RRR series was About A Girl by Lindsey Kelk, you can see that here.

Unless I am waiting for a new release by one of my favourite authors I always have a browse of the kindle deals. There is loads of chick-lit available for under £1 but this little gem stood out for me. 

Sealed with a Kiss by Rachael Lucas
Rated: 4.5/5
Cost: 59p (currently 98p)

Amazon description:

'Kate is dumped on her best friend's wedding day by the world's most boring boyfriend, Ian. She's mostly cross because he got in first - until she remembers she's now homeless as well as jobless. Rather than move back home to her ultra-bossy mother, Kate takes a job on the remote Scottish island of Auchenmor as an all-round Girl Friday. Her first day is pretty much a disaster: she falls over, smack bang at the feet of her grouchy new boss, Roddy, Laird of the Island. Unimpressed with her townie ways, he makes it clear she's got a lot to prove.

Island life has no room for secrets, but prickly Roddy's keeping something to himself. When his demanding ex girlfriend appears back on the island, Kate's budding friendship with her new boss comes to an abrupt end. What is Fiona planning - and can she be stopped before it's too late?

This funny, big-hearted novel is the perfect read for fans of Carole Matthews, Trisha Ashley and Katie Fforde.'

I've only read a couple of Katie Fforde's books but I would agree this is perfect for fans of hers.

My opinion

I was reminded very much of the TV show Monarch of the Glen during the first introduction to the island. Though with it being set in Scotland and with a Laird it would be very difficult for me not to associate it!

When Kate is taking her journey up to the Islands of Scotland I very much emphathised with her. Going through the familiar 'what the heck am I doing, am I crazy?!' motions is something I can relate to. I've been off on many adventures living and working abroad and I always get that feeling. Once you've been waved off and it's just you entering a completely unfamiliar environment far from anything you know these thoughts do enter your head making you question your decisions. Of course Kate, like I (90% of the time), had all these qualms squashed once she arrived and was made to feel very welcome by the other dwellers on the estate who would soon become her friends and confidantes. When I say estate I mean the estate in which Duntavie castle resides. Not thinking Monarch of the Glen here at all ;)

Susan, Morag and Jean almost adopt Kate as soon as she steps off the ferry and are essential in helping Kate get used to island life. I love Bruno's, the Scottish-Italian, coffee shop. It is described as very retro with the booth and jukebox, but this being Auchenmor it has actually just been there a long time and the decor has come back into fashion. One character I should mention is Finn. Let's just say he helps Kate let her hair down. Although very much a ladies man he comes across as someone you just want a big hug from.

Sealed with a Kiss review Isle of Bute
From SeaDave

I plan on living in a small village/town when i'm a lot older so I really enjoyed the descriptions of the picturesque Auchenmor and the community. It's an island where everyone knows everyone else's secrets but with that comes a lovely community spirit that supports each other and celebrates together. The island is actually based on the Island of Bute, which is where the photos on this post are from.

Whilst in these types of books it is always obvious as to the outcome, I do love reading the journey they take to get there, the tension between the two that comes with thinking the other's not interested and all the stolen looks and glances. I would say that I would like to have seen a few more Kate/Roddy scenes, just day-to-day stuff and seeing them growing familiar and comfortable with each other and few more of the pointed looks. But that's just me being fussy.

Now you know when you reach the conclusion of a book and you just want to read more? Well aren't I a lucky girl! When I bought this I didn't have a clue when the book was published. Turns out it was earlier this year and the author has been so kind as to produce a mini sequel that came out last week called Sealed with a Christmas Kiss.YAY, happy Amy!!

This was a lovely, cute, heart-warming book to read. I laughed at times and even shed a couple of tears (whilst in the bath wearing a face mask!) Though after reading the book i'm still unsure as to what a Girl Friday is. A 'pitch in with anything' girl perhaps? Either way, does anyone know where I can get such a job? ;) 

PS. Writing this i've just twigged that the title could have a double meaning. 'Sealed' with a Kiss. Get it? Read the book and tell me if i'm right. :) 

PPS. Rachael is a blogger too, support a fellow blogger and give this a read! 

Sealed with a Kiss review seals on Isle of Bute
Seal photos from Kyle Evans 

I wasn't going to include any text but I have to display this from Prince Charles' Twitter account:

Lest we forget those who fought for our freedom.
In war, there are no unwounded soldiers.


A rant about returning home from travelling

So. Travelling. It's great. But it doesn't last forever and eventually you return.

You come home and catch-up for two weeks and everything is amazing, you're amazing and how cool is it to sleep in your own room and use a clean bathroom?! But then everything gets back to normal. No-one cares to listen to you rabbiting on about spending 18 hours on a coach or how deserted outback Australia is.

You've also changed. Slightly or a lot, you will have.

Whether you've just seen how massive the world is or whether you've knocked shyness on the head and have discovered a new go get it trait to your character, something will have changed. The thing is this slowly gets knocked out of you. Or for me anyway. I don't know why. Maybe it's because out there everything was different and I had to be this different person.
For example, previously I didn't like using the phone. Whether it was for a job or inquiring about a uni, if there was an email address then phew! But in Australia whether it was applying for jobs, or trying to find accommodation, if there was no phone number I got annoyed. I was happy enough ringing round every number I could find.
But now five years from returning i'm back to pre-travelling me. Scared to go for things and afraid to pick up a ringing phone in case it scars me.

I can't pinpoint why exactly we revert back. Maybe it's because back home, although things have changed slightly such as relationships or the town you live in, essentially things are the same. You find it hard for the new you to fit in. So you get knocked back down to the person you used to be.

These two articles I came across this evening express points along the same thread, but what led me to write this rant were the opinions expressed in the comment sections.

Why Returning From Travel Is Harder Than Leaving The Comfort Of Home

The Hardest Part Of Traveling No One Talks About

Most of them think the article's writers are looking down on those that haven't traveled. That they are selfish and self-obsessed and very lucky to have had the experiences they have had.

There is no looking down on people.

Maybe a tiny proportion think that people are stupid to not travel. But not the majority and certainly not me.

I think most people I know fall into two categories. They are either envious and wish they could do the same but can't for different reasons such as the circumstances in their life. Or they have no desire to do so. After all why would sleeping in a ten bed dorm appeal to people when they could sleep in their own bed every night and take a luxurious two week holiday every year instead?

We also know we are very lucky to have been able to have had the experiences we have had. I saved from a job I took after uni and then also worked when I was in Australia. Yet I still know I am lucky. I know the hardship in the world. Despite my avoiding the news I am still aware of the desperation and hardship that people endure all over.

But I bet these people commenting still buy the latest Xbox or spend £2000 on their next holiday. Well you know what? £2000 (earned and saved by me) is actually all I went out with. That along with working in Australia is how I afforded my year abroad.

So yes, whilst I was lucky to have no commitments at home and a place to come back to, it's not like I swanned around for a year drinking prosecco every evening from the roof-top garden of my apartment daddy paid for. I worked hard and lived in a 2 bed flat that housed 9 people. I worked 62 hours a week in an orange packing factory in the middle of nowhere whilst sleeping in a 10-bed dorm. That was how I afforded to tour Australia, to do a 3 day boat-trip of the Whitsundays and a sky-dive in Fiji.
These people moaning at the article might work very hard too at their job, but they choose to spend it on rent or a mortgage, their own bedroom and luxuries in life. We all work hard but choose to spend it differently.

Saying that i'm fully aware that some have gap years funded by their parents. But does mean people are not allowed to express their thoughts or even think these things in the first place? No it doesn't.

No matter how we've come about being about to travel we are all entitled to speak about how we feel. I must admit I often feel guilty for moaning about things in life. Yet everyone does it. I'm sure  the people commenting in the comment section whinge about something. Maybe they can't afford to upgrade their phone. Or maybe someone can't afford the latest £500 mascara. Everyone has some little thing that they complain about.

So why can't these people writing the articles express themselves without being belittled?

They are just saying that coming home from travelling can be harder than one might think. That you don't find yourself fitting back into society as easily as you slotted in before. That's okay to think and say is it not?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
© Amy & more

This site uses cookies from Google to deliver its services - Click here for information.

Professional Blog Designs by pipdig