Two weeks ago I was in the big smoke, or London as most people know it.
The hubby and I had a rare Friday night away. A stark contrast to the usual feet up on the sofa, glass of Aldi’s finest Sparkling Marlborough (don’t knock it, it’s the best trust me) in hand, PJ’s on, and Gogglebox on the TV, kind of night we’re used to.
On the back of my recent mishap (you know the one, involving the spray tan, baby, and 5 o’clock shadow), I was asked if I’d like to be on a show called Virtually Famous. A comedy panel show on e4 discussing videos/clips etc. from the Internet. Having seen it before and finding it very amusing, I was more than happy to accept a bit of inevitable fun being poked out of me. All in the name of comedy of course, and in exchange for a trip down to London. After all we’ve got to take advantage of these rare offers in life when they come.
The producers were incredibly helpful and sent me a very thorough timetable with train times, and pick up times. Pick up times? You mean we don’t have to spend most of the day underground staring at coloured lines on a map trying to figure out where the hell we’re going? Woo hoo!
When we arrived at Kings Cross I was expecting a regular black cab, but instead there was a black Mercedes with blacked out windows, plush leather seating, and a very smart driver waiting to take us to our hotel.Well bugger me, I could get used to this. I was in my element in the back of that car seeing the sights and people of bustling London. Kudos to anyone who drives round London. My goodness, it’s so busy and the small gaps between cars you sometimes have to get through. I’d definitely be in squeaky bum mode all the time, especially driving a car that probably cost near enough £50,000. I thought I’d done well getting round the city loop in Leeds. It would seem not.
After about 40 minutes of people watching in the bustling city, we arrived at the DoubleTree Hilton in Westminster. We thanked the lovely driver, wished him well then ventured to the reception, to be welcomed by a warm cookie. It doesn’t take a lot to win me over, but Hilton, you had me at ‘Hello Madame, here’s a cookie’. We were issued our room cards and went to our room. The room was lovely, simple, but effective. Not a jumparoo, random toys, potties, nappies, or a baby/toddler in sight. Just a massive bed (undisturbed sleep and a lie in until 9 am, get in), and a chance to have a wee and shower without being stared at. Woo hoo! A bit of time to chill time before showtime.
As we had a couple of hours to kill we decided to go for a bit of a walk and see a few sights, but more importantly to get a bit of grub. The concierge also advised us there was a Co-op up the road if we needed anything. Co-op? In all honesty I was expecting him to say a Waitrose based on the suaveness of the hotel and surrounding area. But hey if they’ve got a decent bottle of plonk and a tub of Pringles, then who gives a damn. Our hotel was literally round the corner from the very impressive Burberry offices. Very Sex and the City (wrong city, granted but the UK version at least). There were even a few very attractive models hanging around too considering it was London Fashion Week. London was truly living up to our expectations.
We found the Co-op and made a purchase of hair gel (for Rich, he forgot his) although they only had the dodgy sort that teenagers tend to start using when they go for that oh so ‘attractive’ hedgehog look, a mini bottle of wine (a bit of Dutch courage of course), a tub of Pringles (night-time nibbles for later), and a cider for Rich (Dutch courage for him too, he’s got an embarrassing wife to handle and to ensure she doesn’t make a tit of herself).
Next on our mind, food! We had considered ordering room service to take full advantage of getting ready in good time in the comfort of our room, but we stumbled upon a lovely little eatery called Saporis. It was an Italian which primarily sold pasta, sandwiches, salads and carvery. It was incredibly reasonable for London prices too (I’m from Yorkshire, were renowned for being tight, or as I put it, I love a good bargain. There’s no crime in that). I had bolognese. It was beautiful, plenty to eat and so tasty, possibly the best I’ve had before. Rich had the carvery, plenty of meat, veg, gravy, and the holy grail, the Yorkshire pudding. The atmosphere was great, we had a family from New Zealand on one side of us there for the rugby, and on the other a cute elderly Spanish couple. If anything it had Rich and I testing our Spanish vocabulary. As a result we discovered we only really knew how to say ‘hello’, ‘goodbye’, ‘please’, and ‘two beers please’, I think we require some practice.
With our stomachs incredibly satisfied, we headed back to the hotel. A chance to get showered, dressed, make up applied and hair styled all without ‘Mummy, where’s my tractor’?, ‘Mummy, what you doing?’, ‘Mummy, what you putting on your face?’ all whilst having my leg tugged upon, snot being wiped over my clothes, and frantically getting two kids, bathed, dressed, and read to before the babysitter arrives.
Dutch courage swallowed, bodies showered, make up applied (just me of course), and dressed (no bogies attached), we were good to go. Cue the obligatory ‘this is how we looked at the start of the night’ selfie.
I’d also like to explain my husband has a tendency to not do ‘serious/normal’ face very often. God love him. Saying that I have my special moments too. There’s plenty of evidence of this. It’s true, we’re definitely made for each other.
Our posh chauffeured car turned up at reception (getting used to this treatment) ready to take us to the well known and prestigious Elstree Studios. This one had the added bonus of Haribo sweets and bottled water too. Amazing stuff. If I get a taxi at home, the best offerings they have is a pre chewed piece of chewing gum, and a sticky seat, nice! On the way we passed Buckingham Palace, so had to do the touristy thing and take photos, mostly done at speed, but still incredibly impressive nevertheless. Not that the hubby saw much, he can’t seem to get into a moving vehicle without nodding off. Whilst driving through London, as daft as it might sound I felt like a little kid in a sweet shop. All those beautiful buildings and houses like the ones I’d seen on Mary Poppins as a little girl, and those sites and place names I’d heard of and wanted to visit. Most of my Australian friends know London like the back of their hands even though they live the other side of the world. I felt like a true tourist, and boy did I love it.
To be continued……..