Hello Spring!

Hello Spring, you lovely thing.

Being a fan of all things pretty I decide to spend the last day of my Easter holidays on a hunt for cherry blossom and word on the instagram grapevine indicates the best blossom in all of London town can be found at Greenwich Park.

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Now this place is no hop, skip and a jump away, we’re talking a full on excursion to the heights of East London. Two hours since leaving Clapham by bus we eventually touch down in Greenwich Park. It’s not long until we stumble across the most beautiful path of cotton candy coloured cherry blossom I ever did see. The path is symmetrically dotted with gorgeous trees that have left a coat of pink petals scattered all over the ground. Jackpot! We try to capture the moment but getting those killa shots is off the cards as the path is bursting with Japanese tourists who have come here for exactly the same reason as us. We take a few candid shots and then while away the rest of the afternoon strolling around the many areas of the park, including the completely cute rose garden. A visit to Greenwich Park is totally worth the mammoth journey, and now I feel happy in the knowledge that spring has finally sprung.

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Tourist mode ON. I spend my Saturday catching up with Claire after her travels to the land of Thai and our first port of call is Portobello Market. After battling our way through the crowds of tourists we stop off at ‘The Distillery’ a fine establishment specialising in Gin from all around the globe, you can even make your own gin here! (future birthday present people!)  I don’t know where to start with the gin selection, if only I was a millionaire, I would have a grand time here. But, alas I am not so it’s a softie and a gander at Claire’s holiday snaps before we head out to fill our face with the culinary delights of Portobello Road (I can’t say this without breaking into the song off of Bed knobs and Broomsticks!)

We leave the distillery at the perfect time, the market is closing around 3pm, which means the food stalls are slicing their prices, and we can bag some bargains! One big, fat nutella doughnut later and I’m feeling guilty. It’s time to burn off some calories!

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We spend the rest of the afternoon roaming around Kensington Palace Gardens and Hyde Park on two wheels. It’s a lovely day for a bike ride so we hire Boris bikes and have an afternoon soaking up the sights, trying not to crash into children, lakes etc. etc. Kensington Palace Gardens are so beautiful but Hyde Park is something else, I didn’t realise how huuuuge it is. We scaled the whole place, I can’t wait to come back here for an afternoon on the pedalos this summer!

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With tired tushes and achy pins we head to the pub for a little rehydration. I’ve had my eyes on the ‘Churchill Arms’ for a while now, its flower-covered exterior was pushing all of my love of pretty things buttons and as the sun is shining it’s the perfect time to go and appreciate the petals. It’s not just what’s on the outside that counts as the interior of this place is equally as wonderful. This old watering hole is filled to the brim with Churchill memorabilia. The ceiling is adorned with all kinds of curiosities from yonder years giving it a treasure chest feel. We’ve learnt the tricks of the trade and bag ourselves a beverage on the house. Cheeky!

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I’m a huge fan of the theatre and never had I ever experienced or even heard about immersive theatre until moving to London. The Vaults underneath Waterloo train station are currently the venue for ‘Alice’s adventures underground.’ It’s only running until September and we managed to bag preview tickets which gained us entry for half the price! At full price its around £60 a pop but in my opinion and obviously those of the Olivier awards its worth every penny!

After being thrown into Wonderland we are essentially part of the show playing alongside all of wonderlands usual characters. I don’t want to give too much away and no matter how well I describe it you really do have to experience it for yourself. I love how nonsical it all is, the riddles and rhymes, the ‘half a cup of tea’ cocktail that I forced down myself at the Mad Hatters un-birthday party. No matter how shy you may feel you can’t help but join in with it all! I was worried that at times I may feel awkward but the cast are so talented that I couldn’t refrain from getting carried away and becoming fully ‘immersed’ in it all. At the beginning of the show you are met by a card who offers you a choice of an ‘eat me’ sweet, or a ‘drink me’ tipple. We soon discover our choice will dictate the way our night unfolds and what side of the story we follow. After going through Wonderland border control you are given your suit and depending on this you are led through a story all cleverly pieced together with each suit having a different theatre experience. The rooms are incredible, every inch is expertly designed and all the intricate details make you at times get lost in reality. I’ll leave it there as I don’t want to spoil it for you if you take a visit.

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Upon leaving the theatre experience you enter Wonderland bar, again designed to make you believe you are sitting in the Queen of Hearts’ back garden. You can play a spot of croquet with wooden Flamingos (of course!) or choose to sip one of their delightful themed cocktails. All in all an incredible evening and I recommend it to everybody.

This week I discover one of my new favourite eateries in London town. An incredible combination of my two favourite foods; tapas and Italian. Why of course it’s Cicchetti, in Covent Garden. One word to describe this place is YUM. Ok, its semi swanky so I can’t go animalistic on the small plates of delightfulness and unfortunately I need to display an air of grace as I’ve been taken here on a date but its hard when the Carbonara is THAT good. The menu is extensive and with their recommendation of 2-3 plates per person it’s incredibly hard to narrow it down and decide whats going to make the cut. If you love Pasta you need to get here, pronto!

It’s Poppy’s birthday and a day of fun and frivolities is planned to celebrate her getting one-year more wonderful. We start the day with a boozy brunch at Dishoom. MIND BLOWN. Dishoom is an Indian restaurant so having breakfast all neatly packaged in a naan is something I’ve never tried but I’m already hankering to go back. The food was delicious and their Bollybilinis are so good we just had to have 5…

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Seeing as we’re just around the corner from Vagabond it seems rude to not pop in. I bring down the class as I’m already half cut and spill my first drink everywhere, smashing the glass to pieces and causing a scene. Oops! The pinot grigio is on point so we lose the next hour sipping, giggling, people watching/judging.

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The next point of call on our civilised all dayer is that of Sushi Samba, but we’re not here for the rolls! The sun is out and we’re in need of a rooftop to catch them rays! Sushi Samba is at the top of the Heron Tower and is one of the swankiest bars in town. You are literally rocketed through the sky at what feels like a scene from Charlie and the chocolate factory as you enter the lift to reach the tango-tinted utopia. This is one of the tallest buildings in London and the views of the city are incredible!

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Sushi Samba is fancy, there are many men (many men) and its not only the token tree and décor that has been tango’d; the girls here are very dolled up and clearly fans of St Tropez. I feel rather out of place in my daytime attire and smudged make up are showing evidence of the sophisticated lash. But we’re not here to impress which is an excellent thing as the menu is extortionate. After politely requesting a glass of prosecco to be then told “we only serve champagne” we continue to order the cheapest thing on the menu. Whatever! Sushi Samba is a top place to mingle with the big guns but I couldn’t spend more than a few hours here unless I was happy to declare myself bankrupt.

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Speaking of going bankrupt our day of all things lovely continues at London Grace. It’s time for pink fizz and manicures! Girl heaven.

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Its now 6:30pm. The civilised all dayer has been in full effect for 7 and a half hours and somehow I’m still standing (just!) but it’s at this point in the day we get the munchies. Seeing as this is a special occasion we head to the Ivy in Covent Garden for the worlds biggest portion of fish and chips and one last glass of prosecco. With bellies full of fizz and carbs its time to hit the sack. By 9pm I’m tucked up in bed watching Matilda, what a fabulous day!

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It’s the May Day bank holiday weekend and I dash off home to spend it with my Mum. I missed her birthday last year as I was in Miami so this year I treat her to a spa day at Thorseby Hall to spend some quality time together and zen the hell out. After my merry weekend I cannot think of a better way to spend my Monday than dipping in and out of pools, saunas, steam rooms and being pampered with the most relaxing facial. It’s so nice to spend some one on one time with my Mum; I miss her dearly so it’s a teary journey home! You can take the girl out of Notts, but you can’t take Notts out of the girl. 

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This week I have been incredibly naughty on the food front. Tut tut tut! I feel like I’ve been averaging 5000 calories a day and practically doubled my body weight. Worth it though!

On Tuesday I pay a visit to Inamo in Covent Garden with my friend at first sight, Emma. They currently have a deal on which entitles you to unlimited Asian fusion food for 90 minutes for £28. These kind of deals should never be taken as a challenge but ah well, we’re on a tight time schedule and we have a lot of sushi to get through, so BRING IT!

It’s not only the good food that’s brought us here. I’m curious as Inamo is completely interactive. You order your food via an ipad attached to the table and after a few clicks your food shortly arrives. With a projector sitting above our heads we have a whole range of digital activities at our fingertips. Should you feel the need to change your interactive tablecloth, sure, there’s a button for that. Fancy seeing the chefs cooking up a storm in the kitchen? There’s a button for that too. We go IN, which is never a good idea when you are hungry. The food arrives promptly and there is plenty to share on each plate. The dishes arrive at the table at a first ready, first served order, this adds to the excitement as we’ve ordered so much its a surprise each time to see what arrives next! It’s a constant conveyor belt of Asian delights. We spend the next hour scoffing the food into our mushes at an unladylike rate and we soon peak. I’m feeling ill, my belly is round and i’m slumping in my chair but I’m not satisfied with our poor performance. A quick breather later we fortunately get our second wind and go in on round 2. I leave feeling like a little Buddha and don’t want to even look at another sushi roll for the rest of my days.

This weekly food feast continues with an inset day pit stop at Gail’s on Abbeville Road. This has now become my usual haunt during the midweek lunch break but this time I’m here for brunch. I don’t know what I was thinking when I thought French toast with compote was a ‘healthy option’. It wasn’t.

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It’s official, I have no self-control. On Thursday the plan was to nip out for a cuppa tea post work. Two cocktails and a pizza later I find myself popping my Franco Manca cherry in Balham. We start the evening off in Yardbird by Clapham South Tube. This place reeks of hipsters, and the bar boy is a flirt. I can deal with that though. We miss the happy hour but we flash a few smiles and soon find ourselves with two pornstar martinis for the price of one. Winning. A few cocktails later and I get carried away, I’m chowing down on the most delicious sour dough and pizza will never be the same again.

My favourite night so far in London is hands down our house party! For me this is what moving to London was all about, reliving my younger years and being a social butterfly! After a day of preparation (of course we provided a spread!) and many hours tucked away in our rooms primping we are ready to host! I’m excited! I’ve never hosted a party before and we’ve gone all out!

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Our front room resembles a school disco and I LOVE IT! There is video footage of me ‘slut dropping’ which in turn left me disabled for literally a week. A whole week. I have only just about recovered.

I am in my element as we are pulling all sorts of shapes to my killa playlist, I’m surrounded by my new London friends (obviously still completely missing my Nott’s gyal dem) and in the process of the party making new ones! There is a slight moment of panic as I appear to have invited a few members of the male population who may know each other from university and have more in common with each other than they first thought but PHEW, panic diverted. Fast forward to 4am, I’m now in my cowgirl pyjamas still getting my absolute freak on in the living room. There’s a kerfuffle in the kitchen as it appears the remaining girls all have their eyes on one boy. If only David Attenborough was around to narrate the scene, the females have him surrounded and it’s a stand off. Feeling somewhat intimidated said boy feels its best to just pack his bags and leave, this results in a manhunt as he’s chased down the street. What happened to playing it cool?

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Over the last two weeks I’ve been trying to keep my head down, its T-minus 3 months until I head off to Malaysia for my summer dose of sunshine which means if I want a tight tummy and a perky badonkadonk I have to take this whole healthy lifestyle thing seriously.

Since touching down in London I have found it compulsory to exercise seeing as my calorie intake has definitely doubled thanks to being in foodie heaven. I normally work out 4x a week doing a homemade HITT session but now I’ve had to step up the anti. I’ve signed up to a local hot yoga class and I made my first visit their last week. Hot yoga feels great; you leave feeling 5 stone lighter and completely cleansed as you’ve squeezed every drop of water out of your body. Half way through the class during warrior pose I find myself blinded by my own sweat as it pours down my brow and whilst squinting from my current lack of vision I see little droplets of prosecco infused sweat falling to the mat off the tip of my fingers. Sexy huh?

Another class I’ve really enjoyed is barre concept, a mix of ballet and Pilates that left me with the shakes as muscles I didn’t even know I had are put to the test. Back in the day I would go to ballet classes but since then it appears my posture has gone rather downhill. The teacher is handsy and has no concept of personal space as she pushes my chest and bum into the correct positions; I leave feeling a foot taller and completely stretched out. Boiiiiing!

I’m really going IN on this, so much so that I have recently purchased chai seeds (when did I become that guy?) and Junes issue of ‘Women’s health’ magazine. Each night I find myself prepping my overnight oats and I tuck into a delightful plate of green. What is this London doing to me?

Love from Fee x

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