Thursday, 31 March 2016

Travel Photo Diary: A Day Out in London - Wicked, Covent Garden, Big Ben

On the 29th of March my beautiful Mama and I embarked on a journey to central London. For my mum it was an especially exciting time because it was essentially her first time since being pregnant with yours truly that she was able to actually explore London. I loved every single moment of it playing the part of a perfect tourist pretty well. Tourist essentials, the fancy camera (that I still don't know how to completely work out myself), the huge rucksack and the puzzled I-have-no-idea-where-I'm-going look on your face. I had all of these. A Grammy-winning performance.

No, but in all seriousness, I actually put us on the wrong train.

After walking from Charing Cross Station to The Grosvenor Hotel on Victoria Street we managed to stop by Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace. My mum although not entirely appreciating the long, busy, buzzing walk through the hordes of Londoners and tourists appreciated the sights we were able to see on the way there.

I'll admit another thing, Google Maps saved our lives.

Walking along Victoria Street, I came to a halt, suddenly realising that I had my face nose-deep into following my sat-nav that I actually forgot that I didn't set it to our hotel. However, after stopping and lifting my eyes from my device I turned to my left and found that we had unknowingly stopped right outside our destination.

How handy.

The hotel door swivelled, you know, the ones that always become a key area of the hotel where guests and employees get stuck in, on television shows anyway. It was great and terrifying at the same time.

Our room was lush and so was the ability to finally sit down.

After getting dressed for the evening, after much deliberation, (or not, as it was the only additional outfit that I had actually packed) I decided to go for a black, 3/4 sleeve shift dress from Matalan, tights and black, patent, heeled brogues from Tesco’s as my outfit. For a pop of colour I added my red scarf that is also from Tesco’s.

At around 6 o'clock we left to explore Victoria Street before the show.

I also forgot my contact solution and these were a fresh pair of contacts. Rookie error. I was so thankful when I remembered that some shops in London don't close until late, Specsavers was one of these.

We struggled with killing time on this section of Victoria Street we found that Hotel Chocolat and Pret A Manger (they're everywhere) was the best we could do. At 6:36pm we made our way over to the Apollo Victoria Theatre. Roadworks were happening everywhere over the two days that we were in London and I mean crossing the street is just a struggle for me anyway let alone with five hundred roadworks going on!

We turned up just on time to the show and there was a bit of waiting time to kill until the doors opened at 7pm. I used this time to order popcorn in a bucket (a purchase that cost way too much), I then went to the counter to order a drink. A very sophisticated drink mind you.

A mixed slushie.

In a Wicked plastic cup.

I kid you not.

After leaving the counter, adamant that I would not spend any more money, I spotted a lady holding programmes and I just had to. When would I ever get this chance ever again anytime soon?

So as the doors opened, we ran through to the centre of the theatre and sat in the second row from the front with my expensive popcorn, Wicked mug and programme like a true 21 year old. It was my first time seeing a musical theatre production in the West End, what else was I supposed to do?

I remember, as the curtains opened and the first song opened, I thanked the Lord that I was able to experience this. It was a breath-taking performance, reeling me into the storyline from start to finish. I sat in awe of the vocal ability, the band in the pit's skill, the wonderful wardrobe and the mystifying element that the set brought. The combination of all of these was positively electrifying and I left so sad that it was all over and wanting to be in the West End.

After coming back to the hotel, I had a bath and then I crashed. Ready and rejuvenated for the next day. Breakfast and Jesus kept me going in the morning, I had a full English and chose what I thought was a cinnamon roll but was in fact not. We returned to the hotel room where me and mum listened to worship music and she prayed profusely on some thing's I was going through in my life and after feeling peaceful and joyous we finally checked out of the hotel and headed towards Big Ben.

Big Ben is our landmark, if you were given London in a game of Pictionary best believe you'll draw either Big Ben, the London Eye or the Queen. It's a building that even I, as a British citizen living an hour away from London still stand in awe of. It was built so intricately and at such a large scale. But yes, amazement aside, we walked along the Victorian Embankment for so long just talking. I loved spending time with my mum, she's basically a best friend of mine and I can honestly tell her anything. We talked for so long that we actually missed our route to Covent Garden that we had to walk 15 minutes back to get to it.

By this time Ma and I were getting a little weary, I found a Paperchase and surprisingly enough only bought one pen. Anyone who knows me knows that this is a miracle in itself! Covent Garden's Jubilee Market was our next stop and I bought a simple, gorgeous silver ring from a lovely lady's stall for £10.

Charing Cross Station is only a 3 minute walk away from Covent Garden and as we waved our last goodbye to London for treating us so well, it was a bittersweet ending and a London trip that I will not be so soon to forget. 

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