Spent a nice relaxing Bank Holiday weekend at home. As much as I like to get out and about, sometimes there’s nothing better than just lounging around and relaxing.
Trying to keep on top of my week this week, as it’s a bank holiday weekend and then the kids will be back to school and I don’t want to get too far behind! This week started off really great! Monday the girls had been overnight at their Grandma’s and then went on to their dad’s so I still didn’t see them. Chris was off work though so it was nice to spend the day together (well sort of). I spent the morning working on orders, to make sure I could get them sent off that day. I then grabbed a shower and Chris and I went out for lunch. Since we ate at NYC Bar and Grill (again), we ended up going for a wander around Bawtry at the same time. It was lovely having a walk around somewhere new and the weather was good too.
On the way back to Gainsborough, Chris’ car started playing up and that was a worry. We came in and I started sewing, but he had to call the garage and get it checked out. Luckily it didn’t seem like it was anything to worry about so I spent the rest of the day sewing, answering emails and working on my orders. Chris and I headed to bed around 11pm though as we were both tired.
Tuesday was another day off for Chris but we had a lot planned. I was out the door at 8.30am as I needed to pop to market before heading over to my mum’s. Chris was coming too but decided he would take his own car and give it a run. Luckily it was fine though we still popped into the garage to make an appointment, just for it to have the once over. We then headed on to my mum’s, where I worked on the Saxilby School website with her and Chris fixed an issue with her computer/printer, while causing one with her internet! However we couldn’t stay and fix it as I needed to get the girls from their dad and then head over to Louth. I picked the girls up and then we all headed over to see my Auntie Pat. She had her grandchildren around so it was sort of a playdate, but it was nice to see Pat and catch up. We had a lovely lunch and the kids played nicely. I almost felt bad that we had to leave. Chris headed back to my mum’s to fix the wifi he’d broken earlier and the girls and I went to Scunthorpe so I could scout out a Fabric Warehouse I’d found online.
The girls and I had a wander around the fabric store and I did buy a few bits. We then went to The Range where we spent a bit more! Finally we headed to Costa and grabbed coffee before we all headed back. Chris was already home by then but we were all pretty worn out so we did our own thing. The girls weren’t hungry (I think from the coffee) and neither was I. We postponed dinner for a while and I worked on Amy’s cosplay outfit. Finally we had dinner and as the girls were finishing I realised it was 9pm! I have no idea how it got that late but after letting them have a few minutes for their food to go down, I soon packed them off to bed – with Megan having a while longer for iPad time. I spent the evening sewing until eventually Chris and I went to bed as well.
On Wednesday Chris was back to work and on an early shift too. This meant that I got a lie in till 9am which was really nice. When I got up, I realised I had quite a bit of blogging to do so caught up on that (and started this). The girls played happily on their computers. I spent the morning working on Amy’s cosplay costume, working out a custom order with a possible customer and browsing the net for ideas/supplies. To be honest I don’t really know where the day disappeared to, but I got quite a lot done!
On Thursday, Nat came around. I spent majority of the time sewing, though we did go out into Gainsborough for a while and treated the girls to Subway while we were out. I bought some things I needed for Amy’s dress and continued to work on that. When I ran out of the things I needed, I stopped to order them online instead. I spent the evening working on yet another custom order idea, now having two in the pipeline!
Friday we were up early and out to take Chris and his car to the garage. Luckily it didn’t need much doing and so we headed into Lincoln and got the girls their school shoes. After this we met up with Nat and her kids, wandering around town, doing various bits of shopping. Chris went off to work and we took the kids to McDonalds for lunch. Afterwards we headed up to Lincoln Castle and had a lovely afternoon there. Finally we dropped Nat and the kids back off at her car and went to grab Starbucks. We then headed home and collapsed. Before bed we needed to pack as we were off to London the next day, but we managed that without too much fuss!
Saturday and Sunday were spent down in London, but I documented them separately and there is no point me doing it again! This was yet another lovely week and I can’t believe the kids are back at school soon!
Last day of hols and while I’m updating this from home, I still wanted to compete the diary for our third and final day in London.
We woke up this morning, got ready and packed. It was raining so this scuppered our plans but we decided to head for the Museums. First we started with the V&A but the girls (and us really) just weren’t interested. Instead we headed for the National History Museum and while this was much better, it was so busy that we only lasted an hour before leaving.
We caught the tube to Kings Cross Station, just to make sure we were there on time, then headed out for lunch. We settled on Subway, with the plan of takeaway for dinner when we got home. After Subway we went back into the station and after some deliberation we queued for the Harry Potter 9 and 3/4 photo shoot. It took the whole hour we had spare and so then we caught our train and traveled back to Newark.
Mum picked us up from the station and it was chucking it down with rain! We got back to her house and then Chris drove us back home. We unpacked, ordered takeaway and settled in for the night. That’s where I am now. We’ve eaten takeaway and the girls are on their computers. I’m making my way through emails and browsing the net! It’s been a good weekend.
Again I’m updating from the Travelodge on our Bank Holiday weekend away! It’s been another lovely day, this time shared with Chris!
The girls and I got up and got ready this morning and went out to meet Chris. By 11am we were all together and after a quick visit to the Platform 9 and 3/4 shop (which is also online), we set off for Leicester Square. We had Five Guys for lunch, then wandered to Forbidden Planet. We were in Forbidden Planet for ages and even when we left, we wandered into two or three other other geeky shops while making our way towards slowly Ripley’s Believe It Or Not. Megan bought a Minecraft book and Lily got a little obsessed with Harley Quinn. I can see this is going to be a craze setting in!
Not far from Ripleys, we still had time to kill and so we went in the M&M shop. I’ve been before but the girls and Chris hadn’t (well not the London one, we went to one in Florida). It actually took us quite a while to walk around all three/four floors and the girls had their picture taken with all the M&M characters. Afterwards we headed to Ripley’s though and while we weren’t really sure what to expect, it was pretty good and took us just over an hour to look around. Afterwards we just sat outside for a while, our feet were hurting and we were trying to decide what to do. However we then went for another wander and ended up at Nandos for dinner. Again, Chris and the girls hadn’t been to a Nandos and I realised it was before Megan was born since I’d last been. We all enjoyed our food though and the service was great.
Finally we headed back to the Travelodge (another long trip on the tube and this time incredibly busy!) and chilled out. That’s where we are now – watching X-Factor! Chris is going for a shower, the girls aregoing to go on their iPads and we’re all just relaxing.
Money is tight for the majority of people these days and so holidays are definitely classed as a luxury! I’m always looking for the odd getaway weekend here and there and with six weeks of summer holidays upon us, what better time to take a break? However I for one can’t afford to book flights anywhere and a staycation is really the only option. So far we’re three weeks through the summer break and sadly we haven’t managed to visit anywhere. I’m working hard on getting my new business up and running and that means we’re all being even more careful with money than we might be otherwise. Not only that but we’re hoping to finish decorating our house soon and get that on the market, which will mean an expense moving house on top of everything else. So when I was asked to share my Dream Staycation, the ideas came fairly easily. There is no place in this country I love to visit more, than London!
Though there are heaps of places in the UK that I’d love to vacation (York and Bath being two that are high up on the list), London owns my heart when it comes to Staycations. Living in Lincolnshire, a very green and very quiet county, even our cities aren’t that big or loud. Lincoln – our nearest (and my dearest) city, it basically an overgrown town rather than a city. Don’t get me wrong, I love that balance of countryside alongside city, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love to experience the real city life whenever possible!
One of my most favourite things to do in London is go to the theatre! Wicked is by far my most watched musical, totaling four visits so far! I’ve also seen Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables, Blood Brothers, Grease, Thriller and many more. Of course there are places other than London to attend the theatre but there’s nothing quite like the feel of theatre district, especially at night!
No trip to London would be complete without some shopping. After all, the staycation is saving you money – you need to treat yourself a little. My favourite shops to visit are definitely Lush and the Disney Store, so Oxford Street is a must. However the plenty more shops to visit and with a Starbucks on almost every corner, you can’t go wrong!
There are so many places to visit in London and I’ve always fancied taking an open top bus ride to see everywhere. There is Buckingham Palace, Big Ben (and the Houses of Parliament), the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar Square… the list goes on and on! There are so many places to see that I don’t think you will ever see them all, but I’d like to go up the London Eye too and try a different point of view!
So London is my dream staycation and these are just a few of the reasons why. However the biggest question is really… who would I take on my dream staycation. Well that’s a no brainer. This wonderful bunch!
Thanks a bunch to ThinkMoney who asked me to enter their competition!
As you probably know, we live in Lincolnshire and sadly not an awful lot goes on up here (especially when it comes to Blogger Meets and Events… but that’s a different story!). However this summer we’re lucky enough to be heading down to London for a weekend and honestly I can’t wait.
Although I’ve visited London several times, both with and without the kids, I still get excited at the prospect of going. Living near a city like Lincoln, is not the same as actual city life and for me there is just nothing quite like London for a day in a “real” city! This particular trip we’re taking down to London is specifically because a US friend is over for the week and we’re tying in seeing him. However we’ve decided to make the most of the Bank Holiday weekend and actually get a few days holiday in!
As I don’t currently work (and we’re trying to get the house ready to sell), we’re having to take the trip on a budget. I’ve bought train tickets and booked a Travelodge already, as those are the things that prices go up on if you leave them too long, but everything else is still open for deciding upon. I had originally hoped to take the kids to the theatre (we’ve seen Wicked twice, Phantom of the Opera, Cats and Starlight Express) but even though its Kids Week (kids go free throughout August), there doesn’t seem to be anything reasonably priced that we’re interested in. Matilda and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory were both options, but these are coming in over £100 for the three of us. The Railway Children is still a possibility though, but even that will be £60.
With that in mind, I took to the internet this morning and decided to find out what exactly there is to do in London, that the kids might enjoy.
Now before everyone shouts museums and art galleries, I want to point out that these things don’t especially interest my kids. We have done the Science Museum before and they loved that, but other than the Museum of Childhood out at Bethnal Green, I really don’t see them enjoying any of the others. This is sad however, as most are free.
I asked the girls what they would like to do and the London Eye was pretty much the only thing they could think of. For the three of us, this would be £47.25, or if we wait for Chris (he’s traveling down on Sunday to join us), then it would be £66.60. However Chris isn’t great with heights so we’d probably do this without him. I did also find a couple of alternatives to the London Eye. They are The View from the Shard – which is actually Western Europe’s Tallest Building. This is actually more expensive than the London Eye, coming in at £131.80/£95.95 (with/without Chris) if we go in the daytime or £91.80/£65.85 if we go at night. The other option would be ArcelorMittal Orbit (better known as London Orbit Tower) which is the UK’s Tallest Sculpture. Prices for this would be £26/£20 depending on whether or not we went with Chris.
The London Orbit Tower is in Stratford, which is also where Beach East is. This is a summer only event, which is free entry and includes Beach bars, paddling pool, funfair and more, all on Stratford Waterfront. If the weather is nice, this is definitely a possibility and it would be great to tie that in with the Tower too (which is also the cheapest of the “tall” sight-seeing options).
Aside from these attractions, I also discovered some others that you may or may not have heard of before.
– Ripley’s Believe It or Not
This is probably high up the list of things to do as Chris and I would enjoy it too. Ripley’s Believe It or Not is a sort of museum, filled with amazing art, unusual artefacts and strange experiences. It’s on 6 floors and though it’s existed for AGES, I have never been before and that makes it quite unique for me. Prices for us with/without Chris would be £59.96/£50.13 though Tesco Clubcard offer discounted tickets, as do places like Groupon from time to time.
– Shrek’s Adventure
This awesome attraction has not long opened in London and personally I think it looks fantastic. Similar to the type of rides and attractions you get in places like Orlando, this is something London is probably lucky to have. A 4D adventure, including ride and walk around, you meet several of the Shrek characters on your adventure. Prices £84.24/£60.84.
– Harry Potter Studio Tour
We’ve been before, but that doesn’t stop me wanting to go again – especially now the Platform 9 3/4 section is open and with it being Summer there is a special Sweet and Treats exhibition on. There is only availability on the Sunday at the moment so that would mean going with Chris too and the family ticket price is £101.
– The Enchanted Mirror, Hidden City
To me, this sounds absolutely amazing and even the kids are a little intrigued. A mystery/clue trail that runs from the V&A Museum and ends a “hidden” location. The trail is set around a fairytale story, loosely based on that of Snow White. The trail is said to be aimed at adults (i.e. the clues are hard) but that kids are welcome. It’s supposed to take 3-4 hours, depending on how easy you solve the clues, if you get lost and how many “taverns” you stop at along the way. Teams should be up to 4 people (though I have no idea if that includes kids or not) and the price is set at £60. I would absolutely love to do something like this but I would be worried the kids wouldn’t actually enjoy the walking and that Chris and I might not be smart enough to solve it all, without other adults in our group!
I’d heard mention of this before but I had no idea what it was until my search today. A 75,000 square foot child-size city has been created, where kids can take on over 60 roleplay roles and experiences. It looks like parts of Eureka Museum but on a greater scale and honestly if I was a kid I would be itching to go. It’s a 4 hour experience and for a change adults are cheaper than kids (I imagine because it’s not really aimed at us). Prices are £89.00/£72.50 with or without Chris.
The weekend we’re visiting London is also Bank Holiday weekend. This means Nottinghill Carnival which is also a free event. Running from 10am till approx 6.30pm on both Sunday and Monday, the Nottinghill Carnival is apparently spectacular. I don’t know whether or not it will fit into our plans but I’d definitely like to catch a glimpse of the parades!
Finally something else I have wanted to do for quite a long time, is visit Harrod’s Disney cafe. Ever since getting back from Florida, there has been a distinct lack of Disney in our lives. While I’m sure it’s nothing like being in WDW itself, its probably the closest we’ll get for several years now. From what I’ve seen the reviews are quite good and the food is reasonably priced. Apparently it’s the drink prices you need to watch out for though!
Sadly most of the really fun sounding stuff carries quite a high price tag, so I’m not exactly sure how many of these things we’ll end up doing. However I’m convinced there is something for everyone and I’m sure that no matter what we end up doing, we’ll have fun!
Does anyone have any “visiting London” tips to share?
Last week was another busy week but not as crazy as the one before. Monday to Friday were school as usual and Chris was working all five too. I don’t really remember what I did for most of Monday but I know it was computer based – blogging, uploading pictures and catching up on stuff. Nat came around in the evening so we had a good catch up. Tuesday was similar too but it started off with McDonalds breakfast and taking Chris to work (after the usual school drop off) and then resulted in watching lots of OUAT (I caught up to the end of season) and having a bath. The kids came home with their dad but pretty much went straight to bed, while Chris and I spent the evening catching up on TV – in our grumpy wear.
On Wednesday it was Lily’s class assembly and I agreed to work in the office too. I spent all morning at school, waited for lunch too as Megan was having a sale (hand made items from school) and then headed off to Mum’s to spend the afternoon there and have a cup of tea. After I picked up the girls and we headed home, monging out and doing silly quizzes on Facebook.
On Thursday I had a day at home and while I had lots of blogging planned, next door being super loud and a pain in the ass meant that I didn’t get a lot done. I headed out early to go shopping and then pick the girls up from school, just to get away from the noise. On the plus side my new dress for my birthday party arrived and I’m super thrilled with it. Now I just hope I can make my face and hair look good for the evening, as usually it never all comes together. On Thursday evening we all packed ready for the weekend, we picked out where we wanted to eat and ordered vouchers from Tesco. The next morning, Friday, the girls and Chris went off to work/school and I finished getting organised. I did some blog work and made sure my camera was charged etc. before heading off to get the girls and then go to my mum’s.
Megan, Lily and I spent the evening at mum’s house, where she made us lasagne and we lounged around. At 8pm we headed out to get Chris from work and then set off to Toddington where we would be staying the night. It was about 10-10.30pm when we got to the Travelodge so we all settled in for the night and got to sleep. In the morning we got ready fairly early and then headed out to North Ealing station, where mum dropped us off and we caught the tube into London. We headed for the Excel, which took quite some time, seeing more cosplayers the nearer we got.
We arrived with near perfect timing for MCM Comic Con as we didn’t have to wait long for the doors to be opened and the “general” tickets to be let in. It did take some time to filter through but it was steady moving and really didn’t matter. We looked around about a third of the stalls/stores before deciding we needed lunch. Food was expensive but there was plenty of room to sit and it even looked like we could have taken our own food with us to save on cost. We then wandered around the rest of the stalls but the kids were pretty bored, my bag was heavy and a lot of this distracted from the fun. I really wanted to get some autographs but the place you bought the autograph passes from had a queue of an hour and a half, even though the people I wanted to meet had no queue. In the end I passed up on meeting Cruella De Vil and Ursula from OUAT and we just continued to wander around. Chris bought a new board game, Lily bought a Honey Lemon plush, Megan bought a Cinderella Pop Funko and I bought three Pop Funkos myself – Belle, Cogsworth and Daryl on his chopper.
We were finished looking around by about 3.30pm which left two hours until our dinner reservation. We decided to head for Oxford Street and the Disney Store, even though I knew we probably wouldn’t buy anything. After a wander around there, where we didn’t buy anything, we headed to Lush instead. I’d read a few blog posts about The Comforter being made into a shower gel and that it was only available in Oxford Street branch. I wanted to get my hands on some and since we were nearby it made sense. Though I had skimmed over the information in a blog post, I hadn’t realised that Oxford Street actually had over 200 new products in there, unavailable anywhere else at present. I couldn’t help myself and before I knew it I was stocked up on loads of new stuff, totaling almost £45! (It is my birthday this coming week though…).
After lunch it was time to head for dinner and we decided it would be nice to walk. It took about 10 minutes from where we were so that wasn’t bad and mum was waiting for us when we got there. We had a lovely meal with amazing service (a rarity for our recent trips to London) and though the bill came to £80 as it was, I left an additional £10 because we’d all enjoyed it so much. Our meal was at Bella Italia on Irving Street, in case anyone wants to give it a go! Finally after dinner we headed for Her Majesty’s Theatre which was only a couple of minutes away and got to our seats. People were sat in them which really peed me off but they moved when we asked them to so…
Phantom of the Opera was great, though not as good as I’d remembered. The music and cast was amazing but it seemed like they’d changed some of the pacing, ordering and certain other bits and I was just left feeling a bit disappointed. That said, it was really fantastic and the kids both loved it so that made me enjoy it even more. When the show finished we all headed off to catch the tube back to the car and then mum drove to a different Travelodge (M4) where we were staying that night. The kids were exhausted and it was late but they fell asleep as soon as their head touched the pillow and before the lights were even out. Chris and I weren’t far behind them as it had been a long day and we hadn’t slept much the night before.
In the morning the girls went to mum’s room for breakfast and I went for a shower. Chris brought us coffee and bacon butties which was really lovely. We then headed off home, fairly late by our standards as we’d all managed a lay-in but it wasn’t long after 1pm by the time we got back to Lincoln. We immediately switched to my car and headed home. We all had a light lunch and then chilled out for the afternoon. We ordered takeaway for dinner and just hung out together as a family. Once the girls were in bed, Chris and I caught up on TV before grabbing a fairly early night since it had been a long weekend.
A little late again this week but what’s new? It’s been another nice quiet week this week and honestly after Florida, I’m glad for it. Last Monday both the girls were back at school and Chris was at work. It felt like a long time since I’d had a day to myself so I was glad to be home alone for once. I spent most of the day relaxing and catching up on TV but I had some other bits and pieces to do around the house. After school I went to pick the kids up and we headed to Asda Living to look for some School Uniform and then to McDonalds to meet Chris and get some dinner. We headed back to the girls school for 5.30pm as they had a school concert. Chris and I stayed to watch and though it did drag on a little, the concert itself was pretty good and as always I was proud of my girls. We got home and the girls went pretty much straight to bed. I spent the evening with Chris, catching up on TV.
Tuesday I was in work for the day (the new job I mentioned last week). I’m working in the school office, helping out with this and that, whenever I’m needed. I went in at 9am when I dropped the kids off and didn’t finish till almost 4.30pm (the kids were with their dad). I was exhausted when I got home so just collapsed onto the sofa and read a book. I spent the whole evening, even once Chris was home, curled up on the sofa reading (I still wasn’t feeling well) and we ordered takeaway for dinner. Chris was up early and I was tired so we headed to bed fairly early.
Wednesday I took the girls to school and then headed to the storage unit we have nearby. I met my mum and we sorted out the containment box, waiting for my brother to arrive. We pulled out all the camping stuff and shoved it into the car, eventually heading down to my mum’s to sort it out. We stopped for a coffee and then cracked on. There were two main tents to sort out and so we took one and made sure all the bits were there and then we took the other and did the same. In the end, Chris (my brother) took one and I took the other. He was going camping that weekend and it really made me want to go too – especially as my partner Chris was off Saturday, Sunday, Monday for a change. Anyway once we were done I sat at my mum’s, reading more of my book and wasting time until school finished. I then picked up the kids and headed home. The girls had dinner and then a bath, while I finished off the book I was reading. Nat was coming around that evening and I needed to pass the book to her. Once the kids were ready for bed, I let them stay up to see Nat and then shuttled them off to bed. Chris got home around 9pm and I had to shove him off upstairs too. Nat and I spent the whole evening chatting and she arranged to come again the next day to help me make a start on all the DIY. Once she left, Chris and I headed to bed.
On Thursday morning I took the kids to school and then came straight back. Chris had a driving lesson before work and so he was already gone when I got back. I waited for Nat though as she was only five minutes behind me and we popped out to the shop before cracking on. Well, when I say cracking on, I mean having a cup of tea and a chat, before eventually deciding what to do. We started on the hallway, getting all the glossing done. It took majority of the day with a brief stop for lunch but then at 3pm we were pretty much done and I had to get the girls from school, but Nat was happy to do more. While I popped out to get the kids, she cleaned all the window area in the dining room, ready for us to do more when I got back. When I did get back, she was hoovering my stairs and she had done my dishwasher too! We decided to gloss under the window and this lead to me doing some of the skirting board and around the door in that room too. We called it a day and Nat went home, the girls getting themselves some dinner and then us all sitting down to relax for a while. I spent the evening on the computer, waiting for Chris to get home from work. We spent a little while watching TV and then headed to bed.
Friday was such a relief when it came around as it was the first day I didn’t have plans. I dropped the girls off at school and then went to get a salad from Morrisons, along with an iced coffee. I then came back and spent the morning watching Gone Girl, for our From Page to Screen feature over on Twice the Mum. I then spent the rest of the day on my computer, getting some blogging done and just generally catching up. During the day my tickets to Phantom of the Opera arrived and that was pretty exciting! Later I headed out to get the girls from school and then we came home and relaxed. It was so nice to know we had nothing to do for the next few days! I honestly don’t remember what I did that evening but I imagine it was nothing exciting.
Saturday was a lovely day where we did nothing! I didn’t get up for ages and Chris brought me a cup of tea in bed. Megan joined us for a while and then Lily turned up too. Eventually we were all four in the bedroom, doing nothing! Lily was supposed to be going to a party in the afternoon but she decided not to go so we didn’t actually leave the house all day. We watched some TV, played on computers and just hung out. It was really nice to just lounge around the house as a family and do nothing! Sunday was even more exciting, with the fact I didn’t even get up till almost midday! We’d originally planned for a DIY day but sadly that didn’t happen. I did manage to convince Chris to go and chop down the tree at the front (he owed me some hard work since Nat and I had a day of it on Thursday) but that didn’t actually take him all that long. Mum called in briefly, just after lunch, to say hi and bye to us all before she headed off on holiday again. After she left, I potted around the house and got some washing done, the dishwasher etc. In the afternoon Megan and I worked on their Florida scrap book but we stopped to have dinner and didn’t end up doing any more. We had another relaxed evening and headed to bed fairly early because despite the fact I didn’t get up till midday, I was exhausted!
So that was my week, though it feels incomplete tying it off there, especially with Bank Holiday Monday feeling like it was connected to that weekend. However you’ll have to wait till next weekend for that one, but I did have a lovely Monday! Already this week is shaping up to feel busy but I have a sneaky feeling it will die down a little I hope so anyway. Till then…!