Friday, 25 November 2011


So, as well as celebrity encounters, we had an amazing time on our long weekend in London last week.  Nik had booked a super early flight to Luton so we arrived at St Pancras around 9.30am and made our way to Samir's flat in Islington to dump our bags and get organised for the day.  I had arranged to meet Anna and Gemma that day for lunch in Victoria so we decided to head straight there as we weren't sure how long it would take and then we could get our bearings.  We arrived about an hour early so went for a wander to the shopping centre where we were planning on going for lunch only to find it had been evacuated due to a 'police incident' with the area all taped off.  As we wandered along the outside instead I was instantly attracted to a sparkling in a window.  Since we had time to kill anyway, I went in to try it on and out I popped with my new Christmas party dress!  (And with 25% off!)

This but in Silver from Monsoon
(for some reason they don't have the silver one online)

We then headed back along to the station to meet the girls, it was a bit of a blind date moment as we tried to figure out if the person hovering by Costa was Anna or not until she gave us a tentative wave (we'd obviously been spotted staring so thank goodness it was her!)  Luckily I had met Gemma before and shouted her as she walked straight past us (she was on the phone sorting out jobs to be fair), lol.

We all headed off to Wagamama since the police were now done with their incident.  I absolutely love their Chicken Raman Noodle Soup with a dash of chilli oil.  We had a great time chatting over lunch and the girls seemed very impressed with Nik  :)  I did quite like his response when Gemma was talking about some studded leggings she'd seen and Nik said...

"Oh yeh, I've seen them!" all excited.
To which they both replied, "Really?!"
He said "No".

Oh dear, he cracks me up that boy.  But he was very patient listening to us talk about wedding food, jobs, parties, etc. and of course blogs!

After lunch we headed towards Covent garden on the recommendation of Anna and hopped on the bus.  On our way there we went past a few interesting places at Piccadilly and when the bus two behind us crashed into the one behind us we stopped to let other passengers on.  We made the impulse decision to get off and just wander around where we were.  We walked back to the Royal Academy of Art building we had admired from the bus and discovered the Degas and the Ballet Exhibition was on so we spent a couple of hours in there admiring the paintings, drawings and sculptures, there were even a few photos towards the end which always interest me more.

After this, we wandered along one of the lovely arcades and I treated myself to a Laduree Macaron, yum!  Poor Nik can't eat them as he's allergic to all nuts, even though the woman in the shop tried to tell him only the praline one had nuts in (Luckily I knew they are made using ground almonds!)  We also marvelled at Fortnum & Mason with their fab burlesque styled windows.  We particularly enjoyed the free tastings although they definitely work as we bought a vintage port for Christmas!  Surprisingly it was delicious not just with cheese but with dark chocolate which my husband and father-in-law are both particularly partial to!

F&M Window

Inside F&M
Down to the cheese & wine floor!

After so much walking all day my feet were starting to ache (despite wearing my comfiest flat boots) so we found a coffee shop to rest for a while before meeting Nik's brother for a pre-theatre dinner.  The coffee from Cilantro was AWFUL, the worst I've ever had it was so weak and I don't even like strong coffee.  While we were sat there, another couple next to us settled down, took one sip and left!  Had my feet not needed the rest, we probably would have done the same!

Dinner was a different matter.  Ishan had booked the pre-theatre deal for us at PJs Bar & Grill which was literally up the road from the theatre.  It was a bargainous £13.95 for 2 courses and a Bellini!  (I do love a Bellini!)  I had the chicken liver parfait which was delicious and we both had the sirloin for main.  Ishan joined us for a quick drink when he finished work before we headed down to the Lyceum Theatre.

Mmmm Bellinis

My Pate and Nik's Thai Fishcakes

So, the highlight of our day (and the whole trip for me, even counting the markets believe it or not) was The Lion King musical.  I absolutely LOVED it!  It's been years since I've seen the film although it is one of my favourites (I have a bit of a thing for kid's films) it's not one I have on DVD.  I loved seeing how they had transferred it to the stage - the costumes and set were simply amazing, especially the giraffes who had stilts on both their feet and hands and the neck and head was on a hat!  I'm so glad the songs were all still the same (had to resist the urge to join in singing - not even the kids in the audience were so I behaved) and they had even made an effort to keep the look of the animals the same as in the film.  I was especially impressed with the heads of the hyenas - just how I remembered them looking along with Zazu and Pumba & Timone!

Image from TicketMaster

Image from Freshly Social

The puppetry involved was also impressive, not only do the cast have lines and stage directions to remember but how to move their costumes and puppets, while simultaneously concentrating on their own facial expressions - I was particularly impressed with Zazu and Timone who seemed to have the most complicated puppets but controlled them so well.  Talk about multi-talented!  I was impressed by all of the characters but my absolute favourite was Rafiki, the baboon.  Her singing was fantastic and she was definitely the funniest which is why I think she got the biggest cheer at the end!

Image from Disney

You can see how amazing the costumes were.  The gazelles in the background were so amazing leaping around the stage with one on each arm and one on the head so they could move them as they jumped making them look so graceful and like a proper herd.

Image from Disney

The Lions were particularly good which you would expect with a show about Lions.  The make up was fantastic and the heads a brilliant design which could 'lunge' forward when they moved in a certain way (i.e. lunging!) and then retracts to sit above their face.

Image from

My own rubbish picture of the sun rising (I was trying to be subtle and just snapped this quick shot at the start)
We had great seats in the middle of the circle.  Thanks Nik!
The bit I liked the most about the set was the watering hole drying up.  At first I thought the water was just lighting onto the stage until it started to move just like water and trickled slowly into the middle as it dried up.  I realised then that it was a large circle of fabric which was being pulled into a hole in the middle.  So effective!

All in all, the show was beautiful to watch, great fun to listen to, funny and and ideal way to spend a couple of hours in London.  I would happily see the same show again!  Highly recommended!

*Spoiler alert if you have never seen it - (where have you been?!)*

And yes, I still cried when Mufasa died.


Prettiest Hobo said...

Gemma then went back to M&S dragging her poor husband and couldn't find said studded leggings... Nik must have bought them all for himself. Also you didn't mention that Nik treated all the ladies to lunch...what a keeper ;)

Glasgow Mummy said...

Sounds like a lovely weekend. Very jealous :-)

Bex said...

Haven't even finished writing about it yet Sarah, just haven't had time! It was a fab weekend, maybe we should have a girly one next time?? ;) x

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