I wasn’t planning on writing this post. Mostly because I didn’t bring my camera or my laptop with me to London and y’know it’s kinda not considered all that cool in the blogging world these days to upload a post that features solely iPhone snaps. But HELL to that, I’m posting.
Mostly because my fave posts of other people’s to read is the stories. The personal tales. The nosy tit bits. So I thought that among the gift guides, it might be nice to document one of mine.
So yeah, on that note, let’s get cracking…
If you watched my ‘What I got for my 27th birthday’ video way back in September some time, you’ll know that my main present from Chris was a cute little homemade voucher for a festive weekend in London – including two nights at The Hoxton in Shoreditch.
It’s a hotel I’ve stayed at before and a hotel I love because a) affordable, b) big sexy-ass circle mirror in the bedroom, c) a v good shower and d) the location is a dream for good food, and good transport links to Liverpool Street which is the station my Ipswich train rides directly into.
(It’s also just round the corner from the bar Chris and I met in back in the summer of 2013, so there’s that. Twit twoo).
(Oh and double brackets – we didn’t stay for free, we just genuinely like the hotel…).
So on Friday, we hopped onto the train armed with suitcases (mine full of pleated midi skirts and 8 different make-up brushes obvs), and those gross instant coffees that already have sugar, powdered milk and coffee in the cup and you just have to add water to them. The glam life chose me.
Friday night, to be fair, was pretty glam. Chris had booked a table at Duck & Waffle which is my fave, mostly because the lift is like a ride of death, but also because duck and maple syrup <3. We watched an episode of Teen Mom UK in bed on the iPad before we left (seriously though, if you’re not watching this, you’re doing your life wrong), and then put on our glad rags (quite literally – I dressed a *bit* OTT in some floor length gown of a skirt, but y’know it’s fine because CHRISTMAS) before heading out for pre-dinner cocktails.
We spent the evening trying to work out if the couple in front of us were about to get engaged because he was wearing a full suit (turns out, nope), and discussing whether we’d have time for a quick episode of Gilmore Girls when we got back to the hotel (also nope).
We stayed in bed on Saturday morning and watched E4’s hideously awful (read: amazing) TV line-up whilst eating avocado on toast and drinking coffee and pondering whether we should get a TV in our bedroom. I *might* have used the line ‘Just imagine at like some point in the future just lazing here all day on a Sunday watching films with the cats and our hypothetical children’.
He didn’t even jump out of the third floor window. I’m impressed tbh.
We spent the day doing the kind of tourist things I’ve never really bothered to do before. I guess we treated London the way we treat New York. We spent all day exploring and eating and taking photos. Even though it’s the city I was born in, and a city I’ve lived in as a grown-up, there’s so many obvious places I’ve never walked and properly taken in before.
We moseyed along the Christmas markets on the Southbank, we walked along the river and up to Big Ben, we explored the cobbled streets of Covent Garden (and I *might* have bought a new hat and scarf from H&M because it got super cold out of nowhere), and we stopped for lunch at Tandoor Chop House, which specialises in naan (their keema one is v sexy) and Indian-marinated cuts of meat.
And then we prepared ourselves for the main event – Winter Wonderland.
Busy, tacky, hideous – but also, gimme that mulled cider and a whirl on the waltzers please.
So we tackled Hyde Park Corner tube station which was similar to how I imagine the M25 should look if there was an announcement that the world was about to end and you MUST evacuate. The escalator was broken and there was a jolly TFL man like ‘Come on guys, let’s have a national leg day. Let’s do this, it means you can skip the gym on Monday’. And so I walked up the broken escalator and I nearly had an asthma attack and I couldn’t feel my legs and it was grim.
Anyway yeah, there was half an hour long queues just to get into Winter Wonderland so we sacked it off and walked to Knightsbridge and took photos of Harrods like tourists and heard some of the most divine carol singers that made me feel all emotional and then we found a crepe shop and ordered all the nutella and cream and <3
Sometimes detouring away from your plan turns out to be even better, eh?
We spent Sunday hunting out white walls for me to pose in front of with my super size Columbia Road Flower Market haul, and eating macaroni cheese at HotBox.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say, it was the best macaroni cheese I’ve ever had. Ever. Ever ever. It was so creamy and cheesy and full of all kinds of happiness.
So yeah, festive weekend in London.
I’d like this to become a new tradition. Something we do every year. Because I feel like it’s really set me up for Christmas. I feel jolly and content and grateful and good. I feel full of love and I feel more than satisfied with my lot – with the way my life already is. Like I would be OK if this is as good as it ever got.
So, aside from making pierogi on Christmas Eve, visiting our fave little brunch spot in Orford and each choosing a new tree decoration in John Lewis, I’d like London to become part of our annual Christmas tradition too.
I feel like it’s part of our history, part of what made us as a couple and I feel like it’s important to remember the people and the places that helped give you everything you have.
London, you’re a babe.