I believe

Saturday, 13 December 2014

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Christmas in London is magical. The lights are twinkling from early November and the streets are packed with busy shoppers, laden with bags overflowing with presents. I love getting wrapped up in my cosiest scarf (hand made by Robert) and taking to the streets to soak up the Christmas spirit.

My new favourite Christmas tradition has to be our family trip to meet the BIG man himself. Father Christmas! Mum and my little brother Alex come to stay in London and we excitedly head off to the opulent land of the extravagant…Harrods.


Harrods Christmas

There is honestly nothing better than going to visit Father Christmas at Harrods, unless I suppose you get to meet him at Disneyland. That's the only thing that would top this!
Harrods Christmas

We head straight to the Christmas grotto on the 4th floor and are met by his band of merry Elves / MI5 agents with their headsets and well planned out route to the BIG man. This year the elves really pulled out the stops.

Harrods Christmas

We were greeted by a forest filled with mice all dressed up in their finery and hidden in the glittery snow filled trees. Alex made friends with this Elf who showed us through the forest.


Harrods Christmas

Harrods Christmas

It was time to venture deeper into the forest, Alex crawled through a tree trunk to be met by some snowmen looking for a fight. 


Harrods Christmas

Harrods Christmas

Harrods Christmas

He grabbed his snowballs and gave them a good pounding.


Harrods Christmas

Then it was through the sea of swirly twirly gum drops....oh no I'm getting confused with"Elf" now. Best Christmas film ever by the way!

We chilled out on Santa's sleigh whilst we waited for our turn to meet him.


Harrods Christmas

Harrods Christmas

Harrods Christmas

Then it was our time to go through......
and we were immediately greeted with "Oh Alex, look how much you've grown".

Father Christmas was in high spirits and was as jolly as you'd expect!
We filled him in on the new puppy so he knew to be careful on Christmas Eve and he asked that we leave him out some milk and a mince pie.


Harrods Christmas

Alex appears to be on the nice list so as long as he's good for the next two weeks then he'll hopefully be getting the Captain America Sheild that he asked for.

Harrods Christmas

It was such a great moment and we were all on such a high after our chat! Afterwards we had a wander around the Disney Store (for Alex) and the Christmas shop (for me). 


Harrods Christmas


Harrods Christmas

Harrods Christmas

After all the excitement had died down we realised we were hungry and went for lunch at the Disney Cafe.

Harrods Disney Cafe

Harrods Disney Cafe

Harrods Disney Cafe

Harrods Disney Cafe

As we were so close to Hyde Park we went for a stroll to walk off lunch.


Hyde Park

Hyde Park

We stumbled across some friendly squirrels who were eager for some nuts.


Hyde Park

Hyde Park
We could spot Winter Wonderland in the distance so as we were having a christmassy day of fun, it was only right that we make a stop off on our way home.


Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland

With exhausted feet, full bellies and happy faces, we made our way home.

An amazing family day out. 

Little London Girl x

Day Tripping, Antigua

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Approximately 4,000 miles from London, across the North Atlantic Sea, is the most idyllic little Caribbean island. 

Welcome to Antigua. 

Antigua

Just 14 miles long and 11 miles wide it is populated by around 100,000 of the friendliest people on Earth. DG and I were more than happy to while away our week long holiday swinging on our hammocks, cocktail in hand and enjoying the views but felt it was only right that we spent some time getting to know this beautiful island and its history.

Antigua

We booked a tour from family run business, “Antigua VIP Safari Tours”. We were lucky enough to spend the day with Sean, a true Antiguan gent, who clearly loves his country. Sean is a fountain of Antiguan knowledge and was able to answer any questions we fired at him during our trip. The best thing about the tour is that Sean bases it on what you are interested in, whether you want a tour of the best beaches, or a historical experience; Sean is your man.

We wanted to find out about local life and see some amazing views so with a rum punch in hand and the sun blazing down on us, we set off.

First stop was the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, host to the 2007 Cricket World Cup which prompted lots of sport chat from the boys. Yawn. I kept quiet! 

Antigua

Next was on to our history tour; Betty’s Hope is the oldest and most successful sugar plantation in Antigua which forced many Antiguans and Africans into slavery. Originally established in 1650, it operated in varying capacities all the way through 1944! The plantation is under renovation to develop a site to remember those who worked and lost their lives at Betty's Hope and also to educate locals and visitors about Antigua’s past. It's a place with a powerful history and a must visit for a trip to the island. 

Antigua

Antigua

Antigua

Devil’s Bridge, a picturesque point on the north eastern tip of Antigua with a disturbing history.

Antigua

Antigua

Nelson’s Dockyard is a cultural heritage site and marina regularly used for yachting events with the richest people from around the world showing off in their fancy boats. Jealous! Named after Admiral Nelson, who lived there from 1784 to 1787, the area is steeped in history so we spent our time mooching around, eating ice cream and playing in the museum and shops Then just sat in the sun dreaming about owning a magnificent yacht.

Antigua

Antigua

Antigua

Antigua

Antigua

Next stop; at the Southerly tip of Antigua is Shirley Heights with the most spectacular views and some damn good jerk chicken. The spice blew DG's mind because he's a wimp!

If you want to party whilst in Antigua then the Sunday night sunset parties at Shirley Heights are definitely the place to be. For us, the pull of the all inclusive bar at our hotel was too strong to resist so we stayed put.

Antigua

Throughout the day we saw perfect beaches, ate the freshest pineapple and saw 100’s of the famous black pineapple growing in fields. Very different to the views in London that's for sure. 

Antigua
DG's camera shy so this is all you're getting! 

Final stop for us was a drive through St John’s the bustling capital city.

 Our overwhelming feeling about Antigua was that it’s an island filled with happy, friendly people with the most colourful personalities. You would feel completely safe going out on your own to explore the island which isn't always true of it's Caribbean neighbours. Tourism is very important to Antigua and the locals make you feel like long lost friends.

Big thanks to Sean for teaching us all about his home and what it has to offer. Check out his website to book on your own tour. 

I know we’ll be back.

Antigua

Little London Girl x

London Loving

Thursday, 4 December 2014

I don’t think there is anything that could shake me more frantically from the stupor of my blogging hiatus than the recent damning article for the Telegraph by Bryony Gordon to inform us that “London is over”. Well it’s only right that I dust off my laptop, and leap on my soap box shouting loud and proud to defend my beautiful, bustling, exciting city. I love London.
 
Love London
 
London is the heart of our country, the throbbing metropolis where anything goes. The mix of cultures, religions, crazies and trendies means that anyone can come to London and feel at home in an instant.
 
Bryony quotes Samuel Johnson who coined the phrase "tired of London, tired of life" stating that if our buddy Sam came to London now he’d be completely exhausted by the experience. I beg to differ, there’s a difference between being tired "of" London and tired "in" London. Us Londoners will admit temporary defeat and enjoy an occasional break from our hectic London lifestyles but that’s the consequence of the constant work hard, play hard culture that we live in.
 
There’s never enough hours in the day to enjoy all that London has to offer so we frantically grab that copy of Time Out on a Tuesday morning to hide in during our claustrophobic, sweaty commute and plan our week ahead which will be jam packed with new restaurants, art exhibitions, pop ups and general tom foolery. We can only blame ourselves for our exhaustion with our, to quote the kids FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) attitude. Why else would we pay £600+ a month for a room in a house share; we’re here to take full advantage of all the city has to offer.
 
Let’s be honest here, I’m not saying London is perfect, nowhere is, but I’d put myself out there and say it’s the best city in the world. Yes we know that the tube is a hot box to hell during rush hour, yes people are grumpy and yes, we sure as hell know it’s expensive. But still, isn’t it bloody brilliant!?
 
Bryony’s article states that the number of 30 something’s to wave farewell to our fine city is on the rise, also more concerningly  the numbers of youngsters choosing the yellow brick road to London town after school or university is being diverted to the apparently more appealing bright lights of cheaper cities such as Manchester, or Bristol.
 
 
The influx may be slowing but the masses will still descend on our beautiful city because there’s no denying that London has it all. If you need some convincing then I’ll give you a quick run-down: the best underground system in the world, free museums, Boris bikes, London Eye, pop ups, vast public parks, black cabs, the Thames, Tower Bridge, the Southbank, markets, 1000’s of restaurants to tantalise your taste buds, the Shard, West End Musicals, ice skating at Somerset House, London Marathon, Coffee shops, unlimited shopping, Buckingham Palace, music gigs every night of the week….I could go on.  
 
Now unless you are an old-timer who bought a London home in the 60’s for £30,000 then you know the fun is short lived and it’s inevitable that as soon as you have any plans of settling down, or buying a house bigger than a cupboard, then you’ll be loading up your street van and hot footing it out of London  for a house with a double garage and garden. And after all those years of wasting your money on London rent you’ll be grateful to finally have a home to call your own with neighbours who know your name. But when you are all cosied up on the sofa watching Dr Who by your fire, I’ll challenge you not to have a niggling feeling in the back of your mind that you’ll never again be able to grab a burrito at 11pm or have a free counselling session with your black cab driver.
 
This is the downfall of Bryony’s article; the majority of Londoners will come to a point where we are done with London which our 20 year old selves wouldn’t ever imagine. What I certainly won’t be doing is bad mouthing London on the way out but instead remembering the fun we had and making room for the fresh faced, energised graduates ready to take on the city.  Everyone should live in London once, love it or hate it, it’s certainly an experience.
 
Bryony, I categorically disagree, London is not over. It’s just getting started.
 
Little London Girl x
 
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