Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Once Upon A Time In London

On the weekend before last, I took a little day trip to London with my sister, Marie, for a late-birthday treat.

I'm not one for celebrating my birthdays with big parties or nights out, because it's just not my thing (introvert alert!), but I still like to do something fun to mark each one. My options were limited because of my health, but I got it in to my head that I wanted to go to London for the day regardless of the pain, and when I get an idea in my head, it's practically impossible to talk me out of it! So, we made plans for London!

Warning! This post is very pic heavy and a big of a long 'un!

So, how does somebody with chronic pain manage a visit to the big smoke without collapsing in a heap on the city streets? Tour buses! Tour buses and cabs. A great combination that involves very little walking. Genius! Okay, it wasn't my first choice, but it was definitely my best chance of enjoying and surviving a day in the city. We took tour buses around the city, went out for lunch, and took a flying visit to Oxford Street.

We left home bright and early, and arrived in Paddington just after 10am. A perk of living just an hour and a half away! From Paddington, we grabbed a cab, and headed straight for Marble Arch to buy tickets for the tour bus.

We bought tickets with The Original Tour because we've been on their tours a few times, and have always enjoyed ourselves. The tickets are currently £30 for adults, and that gives you a full twenty-four hours to hop on and off their tour buses as much as you want, and even includes a free river cruise. We didn't go on it this time because it was more than I could manage, but we've taken advantage of it a few times and it's always really fun. It's a must for your first time sight-seeing in London.

With our tickets purchased, we stocked up on drinks, and a couple of minutes later we were sitting on an open top tour bus cruising around the city. It was a scorching hot day, easily 30 degrees, and London looked beautiful in the sunshine; there was barely a cloud in the sky. It was so tropical it felt like we were in a completely different country! I couldn't stop taking photos because everything looked so pretty,,, I may have gotten a little carried away and taken over six hundred...

The yellow tour took us around most of the major sites with a live guide. Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, The Tower of London, The London Eye, The Shard, St. Paul's Cathedral, Trafalgar Square... pretty much all of the iconic landmarks London is famous for.

I've visited London many times before, but I never get tired of seeing it all again. I'd never seen The Shard or The Walkie Talkie up close before, though, as it's been five or six years since I last took a tour, and I was surprised by how tall they both are; I thought The Shard was much smaller. I love that London is beginning to get a modern sky line.

In Piccadilly Circus, we decided to get off the bus to go for a bite to eat, and stumbled upon Bubba Gump Shrimp Co right away. I'm not really a fan of seafood, but my sister loves the restaurant, so I played the nice sister card and agreed to eat there. Well, she was paying! I've been to Bubba Gump once before, in New York four years ago, and the one in Piccadilly is very similar. There were menus on ping-pong paddles, 'Run Forrest Run' and 'Stop Forrest Stop' license plates to alert the waiter if you needed service, and waiters quizzing you on Forrest Gump trivia. The sister got crab stuffed shrimp, and I had fried chicken with mash, corn on the cob, and gravy; it was delicious. There are only a few non-seafood options on the menu, but if you love seafood, you're really spoilt for choice. The service was really good, too.

After lunch, we popped in to M&M World, which was just a couple of buildings away. It was fun to look around, but it was insanely busy so we didn't stay long. The chocolate is ridiculously expensive there, but I couldn't resist buying a novelty box of red and black M&Ms in the shape of a red post box. It was £5.99 for 160g! I also came home with a couple of novelty golf balls for my Dad.

Once we'd escaped the chaos, we went to get on the blue tour, otherwise known as The Museum Tour. It was a new one for both of us. It took us past several of the museums like The Natural History and Victoria and Albert museums, and also through some of the wealthier areas of the city. We saw Kensington Palace, Harrods, The Ritz, The Royal Albert Hall, Hyde Park, and a bunch of other stuff. The route doesn't have a live guide, but it has recorded commentaries in several languages. We didn't bother with it; we just enjoyed the views and the sunshine. We finished the full route and got off again in Piccadilly, where we caught another cab to Oxford Street.

I was really worse for wear by this point, but I was desperate to visit the new Lush flagship store to check out their new make up before I went home. Thankfully, I wasn't disappointed. They've launched a bunch of new make up products, including various types of eye make up, blushers, and lippies. (I've forgotten the names of them all in Lush lingo). I was so excited to see all the new products because I used to be obsessed with the make up their old sister company, B Never Too Busy To Be Beautiful sold, and some of Lush's are the same, just in different packaging. I spent most of my birthday money on six of the eye jewel eyeshadows (so expensive at £10 each), and two of the liquid eyeliners. Expect reviews really soon! I didn't browse around all three floors because I couldn't afford to buy much else, but it was amazing! The shop was huge, and there were so many awesome looking products, although it was difficult to move about because it was so busy. I wish I could've afforded more, but I'll definitely be returning once I've saved up enough for a good spree.

By the time I got out of Lush, I was in a bad way. I had sciatica raging in my left leg from hip to toe, and my back was burning up to my neck. I was also struggling with the heat- I never cope well in it- and started feeling really unwell. The sis still wanted to quickly pop to Selfridges, though, so I tried to keep plodding on. We stopped for frozen yoghurt in the food hall, first, so I had a little rest, took some painkillers, and tried to cool myself down with Magicool. It didn't really work, but the yoghurt eventually helped a bit. I had one with fresh strawberries and raspberries and it was so good!

After the pit stop, I could barely move my body, and was limping around the place like a pathetic mess, trying not to cry. God knows what everyone thought of me- especially since my make up had slid off my face, and my sis didn't think to tell me I had panda eyes until we were on the train home! Err, cheers, sis! I sure felt like an idiot. I bought a few Japanese and Irish sweet treats from the food hall for myself and the family, and once the sis got what she wanted in the beauty department, we headed for the train station.

I did begin to feel a little better on the train home, but in hind sight, I probably should've called it quits about six hours earlier... but then I wouldn't have done much! I still think my fun day out was worth the extra pain, though, and it was better than sitting around at home doing nothing and still being in pain, anyway! I can't do these big trips often, but sometimes I need to push myself beyond my limits to have a little fun. I will always be up for a day out in London! It's one of my favourite places in the world! I want to go back at Christmas time and do the tour when all the lights are up, so that's something I'm going to aim for!

Have you been sight-seeing around London? What's your favourite place or thing to do in London? If you haven't been, what would you love to see most?


  1. Glad you had an amazing time ! Your meal looks yummy !! I never went to the restaurant when we went to Florida and I regret it now! Xx

  2. I'm glad you had a good day. That food looks amazing! I'd like to eat there, it sounds fun. xx

  3. Looks like an amazing day. Even though I live in greater London I don't go into central nearly enough, I really love it there. This had made me want to plan a day trip xx


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