So this is a bit of old news, but at the beginning of last month, Joe whisked me away for a weekend in wintery London. Two nights away in the beautiful Montcalm at The Brewery. And it is incredible. If not a bit topsy turvy.
Made from three breweries all joined together, nothing QUITE lines up, so on our adventure from reception to our room, it took two lifts and three flights of stairs. Love it. And once we eventually got there, it was beautiful, everything was modern and green, with a massive bath and rainfall shower and rather generally perfect. BUT we don’t have long to sit and appreciate it, as we had a dinner reservation just 40 minutes away at the Paternoster Chop House, otherwise known as the First Dates restaurant. How COOL IS THAT. A quick change into a New Look green sateen wrap dress with my asos tan thigh highs and I was ready.
And I’m glad we booked because, as a Friday night in December usually is, it was PACKED. The restaurant is a bit dark, but it makes it cosy and quaint and all the decorations make it that extra bit more festive. Not to mention the FOOD. Pumpkin soup and pork belly. Warm, wintery bliss. But, no rest for the wicked.
Straight onto the tube to Brixton o2 Academy for Nothing But Thieves. This was a totally off-the-cuff plan, as I browsed over Spotify a few weeks before and discovered their only London night JUST SO HAPPENED to be while I was there too. So those tickets were snapped up super quickly. And soon enough, we were sat in the circle while I danced to Trip Switch and attempted to not fall over the seats in front of me. And this is why you should never wear heels to a gig. Lesson definitely learned. They were incredible. I honestly didn’t expect them to be as good as they were live, but they surpassed every expectation. That voice though.
Heading back to the hotel, we make our way back through our maze of a hotel and climb into our REALLY TALL BED CONSIDERING I’M SHORT and turned in for the night. Ready for breakfast the next morning.
Waking up, I was totally ready for our really long day ahead. But first stop, breakfast. We did this a bit wrong. We headed through our maze towards the breakfast area where we came across a lounge with food in it that people were helping themselves too. Sounds like the right place, surely? So we help ourselves, a nice lady comes and serves us tea and then another couple come in. They take their room number, which they never did for us, and we realise something WASN’T QUITE RIGHT. Turns out, we were in the club lounge. Oops. BUT, since they didn’t take our room number, we ran. And eventually found the right restaurant and settled down for second breakfast. We also must have turned up at peak time since they told us it was too busy to sit us in the restaurant, and escorted us down to a private dining area, which we had to ourselves, decorated beautifully with fairy lights (and taxidermy, which I’m hoping was fake).
Suitably full, we head out for a Christmassy adventure. First stop, Oxford Street. Second stop, Oxford Street Lush. OHMYGOD that place was incredible. Three floors, a spa, a hair salon, AMAZING. After a quick hand massage, we head up to smell all the bath bombs and pick up a couple before having another walk through Soho, gazing at all the edgy shops and definitely stopping off in Urban Decay for a quick gaze.
Once our feet started aching, we made our way back to our hotel, stopping off at EAT. for a pot of pigs in blankets with cranberry sauce. God I love Christmas. But once we started eating, we couldn’t stop. And I knew just the place. Half an hour later we arrived at Covent Garden, great food and beautiful decorations, two birds one stone. We went to my favourite cafe there, a beautiful little french cafe that do the best hot chocolates ever. But bloody hell it was busy. After struggling through and pushing our way through, looking at all the pretty decorations, we got to the Covent Garden tube station, to be told about the severe delays that’ll likely take up to an hour. Ten minutes later, we’re on the tube and headed to Hyde Park. Not overdramatic at all, London Tube, not at all.
I’d never been to Winter Wonderland so I was SO excited to get there. All the festivity, all the food, all the drinks, all the cold. Seriously, it was freezing. Our first stop was the big wheel. We booked tickets, not that it actually made any difference as we had to cue for just as long, although there was a nice cafe in the cue for us to get hot drinks as we walked past it. 40 minutes queuing and it was our turn. The view was stunning. From the rest of Winter Wonderland below us to the London skyline in the background. My only worry was the wind. Good GOD our little pod was swinging. Luckily, the view gave us a chance to work out where we were and how to get where we wanted to go. We mapped out a little path to our next attraction, the Magical Ice Kingdom. I was already cold, so surely heading into a -9 degree room couldn’t be much worse, surely? Wrong. Narrowly avoiding frostbite, we saw some AMAZING sculptures. How do people do it? I always used to struggle just making snowballs.
The benefit was, however, going from the freezing cold inside to pretty cold outside, I no longer felt which was nice. I’m not good at handling the cold. At all. We spent the rest of the night wandering around. Next time we will definitely need a few more hours to wander around. We hit up a few of the circus stalls, with hook-a-duck games and hoopla games, managing to win two rather disformed and sad-looking pandas that I LOVE.
But soon it got late and it was time for the trek back to our cosy, warm hotel room for our last night. Oooh how I miss it. After another luxury night’s sleep and gorgeous breakfast we checked out, leaving our bags there for a final adventure to Joe’s favourite, Camden Market. With one aim in mind. Bang Bang Chicken. On the high street, we found the singing Bang Bang Chicken man and took our free sample, ready for our main meal in the centre of the market. Not before wandering around the rest of the food market though. I needed a crepe. Such a good place to gain calories. Wandering around, I tried on multiple pairs of sunglasses and head to a bazaar selling all sorts of mad and vintage stuff. Including a coffee table that was a giant tape. I want. Soon, we got to the food area in the Horse Stable Market to find a big hole where the Bang Bang Chicken stall used to be. A literal hole. It was gone and we were devastated. What now?! Sweet and sour chicken from next door, that’s what. Disaster averted. It still wasn’t the same…
And suddenly it was over. We came out to the other side of the market, by Chalk Farm, meaning it was time to get back on the tube and head back to the hotel to grab our stuff, and ultimately, head home. It was a beautiful, festive, lovely weekend with my love and I’m so excited for all the other adventures we have planned for this year.