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One afternoon in London

While on our hectic week of two weddings and a week in Cornwall, which you can read about here and here, it also happened to be Dom’s birthday. When I asked what he might like for a his birthday he replied ‘something tech-y and cool’. I’m afraid my friends, I am neither tech-y nor cool and was a little stumped at what to go for.

I went for an expeirence instead. We had both been meaning to visit The Shard since it had opended so it seemed like the perfect opportunity. The weather was perfect and it sparked this little idea: an afternoon in South London.

Being a south London girl myself, and with the tube not yet reaching us out in the sticks (this is a joke, we’re not out in the sticks, but for some reason we’ve not yet been privaliged with the tube) the South Bank of the Thames is so much more accessible than the North/West/Centre of the city.

Within 15 minutes on the train you are at London Bridge station, the perfect destination for a short and sweet afternoon in London. The Shard is immediatly outside the station and a really great expeirence. So long as you’re not scared of heights! With views accross the whole of London it would also be a great experience at night time.

Find out more and get your tickets here.

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From The Shard we made our way across the street to Borough Market just in time for lunch. Having attempted to visit the market once before, only to find to completely closed, it was lovely to see it in full swing. Visited by local office workers and tourists alike, you can get every kind of cusine, all cooked fresh and for very reasonable prices. Grab whatever takes your fancy and take a seat in the gardens of Southwark Cathedral next door.

Sadly this is where our day had to end due to prior engagments, BUT it doesn’t have to be the end of your day. Follow the South Bank further along until you come to the Tate Modern. It’s free to enter, although some exhibitions are ticketed. They’ve just completed an extension, so there’s so much more to see now.

If you still have time and want a few extra things to do, you can keep walking until you get to the London Eye (just in case you didin’t get a good enough view of the skyline earlier!) and slightly further on from there is the Aquarium. I haven’t been to the Aquarium for years but Bristol’s version is a bit of a let down, where as London’s is pretty snazzy.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed your guided afternoon along the South Bank. Feel free to leave your tour guide a tip (JOKE). I love visiting London whenever I can, espeically for special occasions and on sunny days. There’s no city quite like it.

You can follow me on Instagram for more snaps of my day in the big city and on Bloglovin for all the new content coming up soon!

xx

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There’s something quite refreshing about spending some time on your own. Not on the days when you’re already feeling a bit lonely and then go and spend the rest of the day in your own company. But on days when your full of energy and sass and just wanna get out and get some air, what the hell’s gonna stop you from just going?

This week I found myself in London with a little bit of time on my hands – so I guess this should really be called ‘how to spend a few hours solo in London’. But here’s a list of a few things that are easily accessible and don’t take too long to travel between; a couple of places to stop and chill, a few places to shop and a few cultural highlights just to give a nice balance.

  1. Oxford Circus

I’ve included this because it’s basically where I started from, and really every time I’m in London I end up here a my starting point. From Oxford Circus you can head for a little bit of retail therapy down Oxford Street of Regent Street. The giant Topshop is always a good place to start if you need pointing in the right direction.

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2. & Other Stories

& Other Stories is found just behind Oxford Circus and is always worth a little look around, mainly for the shop decor. The clothes and beauty products are also well worth a look, really beautiful contemporary pieces perfect for anyone trying to create a capsule wardrobe. If that’s not really your kind of thing then you could always pick something small and beautiful.

3. Joe and the Juice

This place holds a little something in my heart, with it being the place my boyfriend and I used to meet for day dates in London back when we were doing the ol’ long distance thing. They’re situated just to the left of Oxford Circus and serve every kind of fresh juice you can think of as well as a cup of well, joe. They have a really fab upstairs seating area, perfect for a little chill if you took my first advice and indulged in some retail therapy.

4. National Gallery

The National Gallery is one of my favourite galleries in London. That’s mainly because it’s so big that I forget what’s actually in there and it’s a bit of a surprise to find out again. But it’s also bang next door to the National Portrait Gallery which always has a new and super interesting exhibition on, including an Audrey Hepburn exhibition that I was just dying to see.

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5. Covent Garden

You could fill your whole afternoon with a visit to Covent Garden. There’s street entertainers, shops, usually on weekends there’s a market and just the general vibe of the place is worth going to soak up for a while. You can get there pretty easily from Oxford Circus on the tube, or you could go the scenic route and take in Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus and tick those off the list too. There’s something about the crowds in Covent Garden that kind of absorb you, so don’t worry about being on your own.

Sadly my day (read: few hours) had to come to end here, but if you have more time then I fully recommend a quick trip across the river to the Southbank. Again there’s plenty to do – there’s the Tate Modern which is such a classic London attraction, but there’s also the aquarium and usually a great book and record market under one of the bridges. So don’t be afraid to spend a solo day in the country’s capital, it’s really not that lonely or scary.

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I’ve titled this post purely because I’m mourning the fact I can no longer legitimately sing Taylor Swift. This day has come around quickly and it’s hard to believe it was just a year ago I was wandering along Weston-Super-Mare pier and getting ready for my first day at work, at my first proper post-uni job. This week marked my twenty-third birthday and I celebrated in just the right way. It started at the weekend, and with the arrival of one of my oldest and closest friends. She and her boyfriend came over for the weekend and we showed them the sights of Bristol. I always feel it’s a good way to remind you of what you draws you to a place, when you show someone new around and almost see it through their eyes.

We shopped around town, had lunch in one of my favourite places, Bagel Boy, which is also one of Bristol’s most loved local chains with a few locations popping up across the city. This was followed by a swift walk up Park Street and onto one of my favourite places in town, Brandon Hill. On a nostalgic note, this is where I often used to come for a bit of fresh air and to clear my mind back in my unemployed days. Ah memories…

As it was also my friends birthday on the Sunday our evening meal out was in joint celebration of us both turning one year older and wiser, and swiftly followed by some drinks and a card game or two. After spending many years at uni going out and partying with big groups of people, followed by waking up feeling more than a little worse for wear, it was so lovely to spend some quality time with loved ones and something a little more low key.

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After brunch prepared by my boyfriend and me (it was cracking, in case you were wondering) Sunday was spent at the Arnolfini, one of Bristol’s biggest art galleries and they are always bound to have something interesting on show. A quick coffee stop at another of my favourite’s, Spicer & Cole – the riverside location as it’s always a bit quieter and there’s less yummy mummy’s than the Clifton branch. Sadly that brought us to the end of the weekend and my friends had to make their way back to the Big Smoke.

That was not the end of the celebrations though! Oh no, you see, as my company is nice enough to give you the day off on your birthday I gratefully took it and spent the day with my boo. It was a gloriously sunny day and we spent it walking in the park, drinking coffee and eating cake and then… Well a surprise was pulled out of the bag as we headed across country to picturesque Bath and the Thermae Bath Spa. I have been before, but I have to admit that visiting the rooftop pool at sunset is my all time favourite visit.

It’ safe to say that I have been throughly spoiled over the last few days, not to mention the upcoming present of a macaron making class in a few months time! Normally around these times of year, birthday’s, new year, season’s change, I can get a little down and out. I reckon it’s something to do with the nostalgia as well as the unknown. It just makes me uneasy. And there might be a tiny bit of that lingering (read here), but actually for the most part I feel really great. There have been a few realisations recently that the people in my life are really really great. I want to see more and more of them and I just have this feeling that 23, I hope, will be the best yet.

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Are you sick of Autumn based posts yet? I know I’ve read my fair share of them, but since this is only my second seasonal post I figured you’d all forgive me, right? I always feel that the weekends in Autumn are slightly different to other seasons of the year, especially now that the clocks have changed. Having a shorter amount of daylight makes me want to get up and run around trying to fit everything in, because once it gets to four o’clock it’s just a race to get home and into the warm before it’s dark once again. So I’ve come up with a few ideas to help make the most of the shorter hours and of course, the colder air and crispy orange leaves.

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  1. Lunchin’ and Brunchin’

Brunch is actually one of my favourite mealtimes, if it even counts as an official mealtime. Man, I just love anything where eggs on toast is a firm favourite. And possibly pancakes too. But soon it wont be getting light until about eight thirty in the morning, which on a weekday is more OH MA GAAD WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME, but on a weekend simply means you’re not allowed to get up until you can see sun in the sky. The next appropriate meal after that is brunch; one to enjoy while catching up with friends and coffee just tastes so much better when you don’t have to throw in back and run back to the office.

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2. Countryside Walks

Lets be clear here – I’m not a hiker. In terms of exercise I like it to be short and sweet and I tend to be in and out of the gym in about 45mins. So a long, drawn out climb up a mountain is not really the one for me. BUT who doesn’t want to run like a child through piles of fallen leaves? Autumn is the perfect time to really enjoy what the countryside has to offer. There’s no high sun turning you into a sweaty mess after the first mile, and the leaves are still around rather than the spindle-y stumps that are left in winter.

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3. Carve a lil Pumpkin

Whether you have embraced Halloween into your life as a full on holiday to celebrate, or you aren’t really that bothered about the scariest day of the year there’s no way to avoid the mountains of pumpkins dotted around every supermarket in the country. It’s the perfect way to dip a toe in the day if your not that bothered, and get a little craft action going on. One year when I was still a student, my friends and I left it too late for a pumpkin and had to resort to carving a face in a melon instead. Has to be said, it was a lot tastier…

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4. Pay a Visit

This is not strictly an Autumn weekend activity but I get excited about day trips at any time of the year. I tend to get a bit restless by the end of the day if I haven’t got out for some air and seen a few things, so day trips are a regular feature for me. My recent one to London included the Ai Weiwei exhibition at the Royal Academy. I would highly recommend a visit and it’s right across the street from Fortnum & Maison, perfect for a little post-exhibition snoop around their pretty displays.

These are just a few ideas of what I like to get up to while it’s not so cold you need five layers on before leaving the house. I’m always up for trying something new though, so let me know if there’s something to add!

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Back at the start of September my boyfriend and I were slightly at a loss for what to do. This is unlike us as there’s pretty much always something one of us has in mind, or needs to pick up, or wants to visit – you get the idea. This weekend though the sun was shining and nothing was springing to mind. The thought of getting out of town for a little bit was too good to ignore, so we hopped on a train and were fast outta here.

To be honest I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to get to Cardiff – it was a very simple and inexpensive train journey to the central station and the journey was nothing but lush green fields to watch as they fly by. I will admit we definitely could have picked a better day considering there was a pretty major Rugby game on and the town was just heaving with people clad in red jerseys and Welsh dragons painted on their faces. Once the match had started though, the town cleared and we saw what was really on offer. I wasn’t expecting such a lovely, traffic free town centre, not to mention the Castle situated so close to everything else.

A few places we visited were Coffee Barker for a bit of lunch, conveniently found in Castle Parade which is also conveniently full of cute, independent shops. There’s the Castle as I already mentioned – we didn’t get a chance to look around as it requires a bit more time that an hour or so. But after just a little bit of wandering we also found the National Museum of Cardiff, which has a fairly decent Natural History section and also a cracking NME Photography exhibition on at the moment.

So what seemed like it was going to be nothing but an undecided chill day, turned into an afternoon exploring a fab city. Cardiff, you were lovely and I’ll be pleased to make a return visit soon!

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