Donna H.

Category: London

London, July 2013

It’s a whole month since I was in London and I still haven’t blogged it so here goes.

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We flew to Heathrow on the Thursday and I feel like we packed in a hell of a lot between Thursday and Sunday!  I just love how much there is to do in London.  I’ve been 4 times and had a totally different holiday each time.

This is our hotel – The Park Grand.  Don’t be fulled by it’s fancy exterior; it’s basically just a glorified Travelodge!

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We were there in the height of the heat wave so it was around 30 degrees the whole time which was great.  On the first day me and my parents had a Vietnamese lunch near our hotel and then sauntered around central London, had a few drinks in Leicester Square and went to China town for tea.

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imageMam and Dad checking out the cakes and pastries!

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 I managed to catch up with my friend Harry on the Friday.  We wandered around in the sunshine and had lunch al fresco in the park!  It was really nice to see him as we don’t get to see each other very often and he has just turned 21 and graduated from his theatre set & costume design course. 

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That evening, we went to Loch Fyne for our tea which was absolutely delicious but let down by the service.  It was obvious that they were in such a rush to get rid of us!  Our mains came while we were still eating our starters, they took food we weren’t finished eating and thrust the bill at us when we were going to order more drinks.  We the went to a bar across the road for some cocktails which I unfortunately can’t remember the name of!  The staff were lovely in there.  We then went to the theatre to see Fences which was so so good! It was in a small intimate theatre and is about a black family living in America in the 50s and I can’t recommend it enough.

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Saturday was the Rolling Stonesday (!!) then on Sunday we went to Notting Hill and Portobello market before heading to the airport.

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Unbelievably I didn’t buy a single thing  while we were there!! Very disappointed in myself. I did go shopping in Edinburgh though which is where I headed after London to spend a week with my boyfriend before going home again to work.  Blog post coming soon…

Barclaycard Presents BST, Hyde Park: THE ROLLING STONES

The Rolling Stones are my favourite band in the world, EVER.  I got this love from my Dad.  I saw them in Glasgow back in 2002 but can’t say I fully appreciated it at 10.  Fast forward 11 years and I could have peed when I got my tickets!!  I was sat on the o2 presale refreshing and retrying and nothing was happening.  I happened to Google it and find that Barclaycard also had a presale (hardly rocket science since it was a Barclaycard event) and since I was using Dad’s Barclaycard, it was the perfect opportunity – I got the tickets!  5 of them – me, mam, dad, my auntie and my uncle.

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A few months later and here we were!  Hyde Park on an absolutely beautiful day in London.  It was around 29c, and since I’d already got burnt the day before (London trip post to follow), I was clatching on the sun cream.  When we first arrived, we met up with a girl from my year and headed to the wine bar for some shade and a glass or two of white before the music began.

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Elyse & I decided to head into the crowds and find some music while my parents sat in the shade a while longer.  We got the most perfect spot at the main stage and were considering staying there until the Stones came on but it wasn’t long before the sun defeated us and we headed to find a tree to sit under.

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There were lots of yummy food options but if I’m honest, I just grabbed a quick bag of chips in true festival style!  Absolutely loved this coconut stall though – for £4 you got the coconut to drink the water from and then took it back to the stall for them to chop up so you could eat it.  The best bit was, I handed the woman a fiver and got £6 back – they paid me £1 to have it! 🙂

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There were lots of good bands on through the day but with all the shade we were seeking, we didn’t catch that many of them.  The Vaccines were great, loved them anyway but it was Gary Clark Jr who really found a new fan!!  He was FANTASTIC. Check him out here!

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Now, the Rolling Stones themselves… I don’t even know how to describe them.  They were just completely and utterly amazing.  They started with Start Me Up (see what they did there?) before launching into a mixture of revved up tunes, slower ballads and a mix of old and new.

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Gary Clark Jr joined them on stage for a song or two and I think he should join the band!  His guitar skills are incredible.

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The legendary Mick Taylor also joined in on the action and it was great to hear them all on stage together!

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I don’t know if I could pick a favourite song.  I loved Honky Tonk Women and Jumping Jack Flash.  Keith’s songs were also incredible.  (He may not be the front man but he’s a better singer and everyone’s favourite if we’re honest, isn’t he?)

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If another tour goes on sale, I will most definitely be doing my best to snap up tickets right away!   If tickets had gone on sale at 9am the next morning I would have been on it!  Cannot recommend it enough – it may seem expensive at the time but when you are there you will not regret it.  They are unbelievable.  All hail the Rolling Stones.  Legends.

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