For my 21st, I went on a mini London city trip with my lovely mother. This was a few weeks ago, so I’m quite late posting about it. How never, I wanted to share our short trip in a diary style posting. We were mainly celebrating as opposed to being tourists, so we didn’t get much done but I don’t mind at all because I cannot wait to get back over! I had been to London three or four times when I was younger, but never at an age where I could go out and enjoy the city properly. I completely get why people want to live in this place!
It was all a surprise for my birthday so I knew nothing about the first day’s agenda. We flew into London City Airport and it was so strange! I have only ever flown into Stansted or Gatwick, but we wanted to fly right into the city to save time. Flying in so close to the skyscrapers and buildings, as well as being on quite a small aircraft where you can hear every single shift and change while descending was scary! But my wise mother reminded me of how many flights go in and out of the airport and then asked me the last time I heard of something bad happening… it was a good point, so I relaxed and enjoyed seeing Tower Bridge and all of the lovely architecture from above.
We decided to get an Über to our hotel and it was only £18 to the South Bank area which was much better compared to the price of a taxi. When we arrive at the hotel I was in shock, it was absolutely gorgeous and my sneaky mother had downplayed how uber cool it was! CitizenM was by far the trendiest looking hotel I had ever stepped foot in. As you walk in, you are greeted by self service check in desks, which are fun and easy to use – even for the less tech savvy types. I had to have a moment in the lobby before we went up to our room, there was simply too much to look at and a lot to fan girl over.
Insta queens would have a field day, the place was filled with treats for the eyes. From the little smoking yard that had hanging letters and trees to the lounge where techies could plug in their devices – it was all just so perfect. To top this off, right beside the winding staircase was a giant version of Matthew Rolston’s book ‘beautyLIGHT’. I had seen these images online before, but never in person so it was such a fantastic bonus.
Since spending time flicking through the pages of the beautiful book, I have been trawling the internet to find out where to buy a print from it. But I can’t find it ANYWHERE! If you know where I can get a quality print from beautyLIGHT, please, please let me know! If I can’t get a print to frame for my room, I think I will be asking for the actual book for Christmas… hint hint fam.
The hotel room was more like a futuristic pod, it was amazing. I had a lovely little gift of prosecco and flutes waiting for us in the room, which was the perfect start to the celebrations (thanks again Mo & Aidan!) The room was completely controlled by the iPad; the lights, the temperature, the TV, the blinds – you name it! Knowing the both of us, we could have stayed there watching movies and drinking for the duration of the trip. But we had to get out so we decided to walk along the Thames and visit Tower Bridge, because we couldn’t miss out on at least one touristy thing.
We were starving on our way back so popped into Vapiano straight across the road from our hotel. I had seen this restaurant chain all over Europe during my interrailing trip, but had never gone in. It’s a self service type of setup and they have lots of lovely Italian dishes, along with a nice bar. We decided to get a large Antipasti Board, Strawberry Bellinis and some olives. We were shocked at the portions, the board came packed with delicious bites like bruschetta, lovely dips and tasty meats. It doesn’t look like much, but the both of us were stuffed – it was amazing! I wouldn’t be surprised if this restaurant made it’s way into Ireland, it was really quick, tasty and good value for money.
That night, another surprise awaited me for dinner and we Ubered ourselves to Covent Garden area. Even the journey there was an experience, seeing London by night was so pretty. Lots of lights, lots of cool buildings and even cooler people walking the streets, I just wish I thought to take more photos. I had never heard of the place we were eating in, which made it all more of a surprise when we got in. As you walk into Circus London, it’s very low key on the outside and you can’t hear or see anything. But as the lovely hostess leads you through the double doors, the music and vibes hit you like a brick wall. We were brought to our table and explained how the evening would go. I will do a full post on our experience there, but long story short it was amazing!
When we were finished we made our way back to the hotel and continued drinking. We had sampled some of their menu earlier in the day but wanted to stick to classic mojitos and they made them extra yummy. Eventually we had to go to bed, but that wasn’t a problem because our pod like bedroom was the cosiest place ever! Even in our condition we could close the blinds, turn off the lights and change the temperature from the comfort of our huge bed.
Needless to say, we were feeling quite fragile from the previous day’s antics. However, being a dedicated fan I woke myself up at 8.45am to try and secure myself a pair of Coldplay tickets. For the first time in ages they are including Dublin in their tour and I was so excited to be able to see them again. I was lucky enough to get a ticket to their Amsterdam show last July, literally a few hours before it started. Although, I wasn’t as lucky this time and I managed to get zero tickets. So in my outrage and protest I rolled over to go back to sleep – and boy did we sleep in.
At something something o’clock, me and my mother rolled out of bed. We made ourselves presentable and met up with her childhood friend Lizane who gave us the life we needed! We decided to cross the road and have lunch at The Refinery Bankside which was a gorgeous place. I had my all time fave cocktail: Espresso Martini to help with The Fear, in a perfect and stylish setting. We enjoyed comfort food like Bangers & Mash and the best Mac n Cheese I’ve ever had. The menu was massive and not too pricey at all. If I lived in London this would definitely be a regular dining option for me!
After our meal, we strolled down to the Tate Modern and enjoyed the different floors of art. My favourite collection was by the Guerilla Girls, a group who have created some brilliant adverts and art works and who stand for feminism in the art industry. I loved their ‘Advantages of Being a Woman Artist’ so much that I bought a print, which is now proudly framed in my room.
We continued our evening with more talking, cocktails and another meal in Milanos (did you guess that my mother and I like to drink and eat when we team up?). I really would just eat and drink my way through a city on holidays if nothing stopped me. Despite the trip being quite short, we had so much fun and it was honestly better than any present I’ve ever received. I love nothing more than travel and food, so what better way to celebrate a birthday?
On the Saturday morning we were up early for my actual birthday and we enjoyed some delicious breakfast in the airport and bought some Benefit goodies before catching our flight out of the city. An absolutely perfect beginning to my 21st! Overall, I can’t wait to go back and explore more of the city, I really felt at home over there!