Good fun with visitors

I had 2 sets of visitors in town last week so there was lots of good sightseeing and enjoying London through others’ eyes which is always good fun.


The first visitor was an old friend from America who was here on a flying visit for less than a day, en route to elsewhere, so we needed to pack in as much as we could. The first stop was Spitalfields market which is one of the best in London tho’ I have to love Portobello more as it is my local market and Camden is pretty good too! Spitalfields has great one off clothing, inventive jewellery, yummy food, a covered hall, side shops, and loads more. And just as we were arriving we saw a dance company called La Troupe Delicieux doing trailers for their forthcoming acrobatic show called Deja Vu. The power and grace was amazing to see and all to a thumping Shirley Bassey track. We shopped amidst the crowds and then took a glass of wine at Galvin cafe next to the lovely Galvin La Chapelle – worth checking out their Sunday lunch deal but we were in a rush so went for the curry in a hurry!

Here you can see the Galvin La Chapelle exterior, the Deja Vu pose and the crowds in the market.


After this burst of retail delight we went to Waterloo Station to see the Railway Children which was staged on the platform of the old Eurostar terminal (which moved to St Pancras). It was very close in storyline to the film of the same title and was so imaginatively staged it even treated the audience to a real steam train coming into the middle of the stage! We loved it and so did all the kids there, young and old ! Sadly no photos allowed and the sneaky ones on the phone didn’t work (but don’t tell them I tried….)


Following this we went for a marvellous dinner at the Wolseley restaurant on Picadilly. It’s a grand room, great menu and lots of celeb spotting and our treat was the beautiful Joanna Lumley who joined us in taking the prize for ‘last to leave the restaurant’!


My second visitor was a client of my tour company It’s Your London. A businesswoman on a first trip to London she wanted a couple of half days as an introduction to London seeing the big sights and some Harry Potter! I have to admit to not know much about Harry Potter so did some research and arranged us a visit to Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross, Diagon Alley and the entrance to Leaky Cauldron., both in Leadenhall Market. My favourite is the platform which surprisingly is hidden away in station and has no signs to it so you have to know… We also visited the British Museum, Tower of London and Trafalgar Square with a trip down the Thames thrown in. They even raised Tower Bridge while we were there – how amazing! Here’s a few shots of what we saw:

A second trip to the theatre was a completely different show to the Railway Children as we saw La Bete which was costume piece in rhyming couplets with an amazing cast starring Mark Rylance, David Hyde Pierce and Joanna Lumely (yes her again – twice in one week!). I must say I didn’t warm to it although some of my fellow theatre goers really liked it. But had much more of a laugh at Stewart Francis’s DVD recording on Friday with a show full of one liners and comic timing. Watch out for the release of the DVD later this year and I might even be on it!
That’s enough for this week and I’m packing in loads of stuff to tell you about next Monday.
Bye for now

Happy 2010 – here’s to the new decade

So, that was 2009 but before we let it go, have a look at my list of my 2009 favourites if you scroll down you can see what they were. It was a fun year but it went in a flash and I guess 2010 will speed by too so let’s see just how much we can cram in. You can see how I do by following my blog and hopefully the blog will give you an insight into life in London and what a good time you could be having if you were to visit us here.

As for the closing days of 2009, I spent these in Iceland which was even colder than London but not by much! We had a great time and saw some wonderful sights including the huge Gullfoss waterfall which was almost frozen over and so was I after staying on the viewing platform rather too long taking photos. We bathed in the Blue Lagoon which is a very large outdoor heated thermal pool and was a wonderful experience if a little weird as it was about -5 degrees outside making the dash back inside a major challenge. Although I did hire a robe to save my body freezing as I hurried back to warmth, they were not hiring out flip flops and my feet were so cold that I’m warning everyone to take some! But worth it….


We saw super heated water and steam shoot up into the sky at the original geysir (at Geysir of course!) which gave it’s name to all big spouts across the world. Then we stood in their rift valley where the American and European tectonic plates meet and are pulling apart with nature’s scary force – a treat to see for all geographers.


We ate lots of fish, tasted the lobster which was really langoustine, the hearty soups and had very few vegetables but fruit at breakfast helped balance this a little! Our hotel was trendy and warm but in a sign of their troubled times we only had 3 TV channels as the provider had gone bust. Icelanders seem resigned to the fact that they lived above their means and the crash must be lived through.


The days were short as the sun only rose at 10.50 giving the days an odd pattern but some wonderful light made up for this especially in the views across the harbour to the nearby mountains, a view which was amazing from their modern cathedral which looks like the space shuttle.


Here are a few photos to enjoy in the warmth of your own home…



So, now I’m back in London gearing up for 2010. But first a quick look back at 2009 with my list of some favourites:


Favourite event: Notting Hill carnival and 4th Plinth event in Leicester Square
Favourite restaurant: Wolseley in Picadilly
Favourite show: Matthew Bourne’s ballet of Dorian Gray at Sadlers Wells
Favourite bar: The Oak, Notting Hill
Favourite theatre: Inherit the Wind starring Kevin Spacey at the Old Vic
Favourite thing to do in London: take a Thames Clipper up the Thames on a clear day seeing Tower of London, Tate Modern, Globe Theatre, Houses Parliament, London Eye – can’ t beat that!

Favourite event: being on Centre Court Wimbledon for the first ever match under the roof

Favourite exhibition: Maharjas at the Victoria and Albert Museum
Favourite film; Slumdog Millionaire


Here’s to a wonderful 2010 for all of you!
Bye for now,