Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Taylor Swift and London

Hey Guys,

So this week me, Paige and Zoe went down to London to see Taylor Swift, and it was amazing!! We were away for 2 days and really made the most of it fitting as much in as possible, and so I thought I'd share!
Sunday
We left really really really early on Sunday morning...as in getting up at 4:15 AM (that's not ideal for me, most definitely not a morning person). However, the early start did mean we got a full day in London to wander and do stuff rather than just an evening.
Our hotel, The Park Grand Paddington was 5 minutes from Paddington Station which meant it was in a really ideal location in terms of tube lines etc.
The hotel itself was lovely, we booked through Expedia which meant we got a really good deal. None of us had stayed there, so we were unsure of what to expect, but from the moment we entered the building I had a good feeling about it. All the staff were very accommodating, from offering to hold our bags to giving advice about the local area, everyone I spoke to was very nice and polite. As we were in so early we couldn't check-in straight away, but we were able to leave our cases at reception so we didn't have to carry them round till later in the afternoon which was a huge bonus! 
As we were a 3, we got a junior suite which was a double bed and a pull-out sofa, the room was lovely it had everything we needed and was really clean and tidy. The bathroom was lovely, and the double bed was pretty comfortable. Zoe was on the pull-out and did mention that it wasn't the comfiest thing she had slept on but I think it was okay for 2 nights. The whole area around the hotel was all white buildings and surprisingly quite for London, as Paige said when we first saw the hotel, it looked like the area that the mother in The Parent Trap lived. 
 The room (double bed)
The room (pull-out and Zo)
View from the room
By the time we had got from the airport to town and then dropped our bags, we were starving (I could have eaten a small child...) so we headed to Bill's in Covent Garden. We had heard reviews about their breakfast, but none of us had ever been, but we were excited to see what it was like. The restaurant was packed when we got there, and we did have to wait about 20 minutes for a table, but we were really happy to do it as from what we could see the food looked amazingly good!
I'm not a huge breakfast fan (don't like eggs or bacon) so if I'm having breakfast at home it's normally just toast or fruit, sometimes I go crazy and have a bagel. But there was even options for fussy little me on the menu. I ended up having blueberry buttermilk pancakes.
My Yummy Blueberry Pancakes
The food was so tasty, Zoe had Egg's Florentine and Paige had the same as I did minus the banana, and I think we all had clear plates, one because we were starving and two because the food was really nice. The restaurant was so relaxed I kinda felt I was just sitting in someones kitchen just by the way the place was decorated and its very relaxed atmosphere.

We then went for a wander round Covent Garden and the surrounding shops, picking up a few things (you know I love to shop). I really like Covent Garden, it is just such a nice wee spot to walk round and take in all that's going on from the market to the street performers. At the moment there is an installation done by The British Heart Foundation, I think inspired from the love lock bridge in Paris, and while we didn't put a lock on ourselves I thought it was a really fun idea.
Covent Garden
After a couple of hours wandering round there we headed back on the tube to get organised for a fun evening plans...The London Eye!!

Paige had never been on the London Eye but always wanted to, so as soon as we started planning this trip she put the request in to go on it, which we were more than happy to agree with. We booked our tickets in advance, as it saves like 20% or something like that, it also meant that we didn't have to worry about queueing for too long as we had a particular spot. The London Eye is so pretty, and going on it at night was stunning, London just looked amazing. Yes at night time its not as easy to see the monuments, but the pods have these cool Samsung Galaxy tablets which allow you to read information about the surrounding landmarks. We actually got on earlier than our time as I think it was quite quiet. 
Zoe, Paige and Me :)
We then walked from the eye to Piccadilly Circus and then up Shaftesbury Avenue to a restaurant called Jackson and Rye. We had seen that the youtuber/blogger Lily Pebbles had been here via Instagram and this resulted in Paige and I looking at hundreds of photo's of dishes from the restaurant the night before we left and wanting all of them. So we booked a table, and I don't think we could have been happier with what we got.
I apologise that there are no photos of our dishes, but I had eaten it all before I realised I hadn't taken a pretty photo (I also had to take a photo of the restaurant the next day, as I had forgotten hence the daylight in the picture). It took us FOREVER to choose what we wanted as everything looked so good. It was a southern restaurant, but not hugely greasy and fatty, just good food. I went for the crab cakes which came with apple slaw, I also ordered a side of the olive oil whipped potatoes, which have to be the best mashed potatoes I've ever had (and I really like mashed potato). Paige and Zoe both had the buttermilk fried chicken sandwich with a side of shoestring fries and we finished everything. We also had the house cocktail of the day which was a Blueberry Bramble, which I think was gin, mint and blueberries (it looked like a smoothie). Although we were pretty full we did also order dessert, Zoe had apple fritters, Paige had blueberry cobbler and I had a frozen souffle, sadly Zoe is the only one who actually managed to finish hers.
After dinner we were not only stuffed, but we were also exhausted as by the time we got back to the hotel room we had been up around 20 hours straight, so as you can imagine bed was our next destination in order to be able to get up and enjoy another full day the next day. 

Monday
Monday morning we didn't have that early a start we just took our timing getting organised and then headed back to the Soho area for breakfast, and how could we not go to The Breakfast Club, with that kind of name its guaranteed to be good.
Yep, I had Pancakes again!
Again there was a wait for a table, but again it was completely worth it. I had more pancakes with vanilla cream and mixed berries and maple syrup (and they were better that Bill's -sorry Bill's), Zoe had a sausage butty and Paige had apple and cinnamon french toast, and again nothing was left. The restaurant itself was again very relaxed, it had a lot of 80's things on the walls and the decor was very quirky, nothing matched, but I liked it. In fairness both of the breakfasts we had over the two days were exceptional, I really wish there were both these restaurants in Edinburgh!!

We then spent the rest of the day, you guessed it shopping! We visited Selfridges, Pull & Bear, Victoria Secret and Topshop on and around Oxford Street. I'm not gonna go into detail with what I got, but I got a lot. Just after Selfridges Zoe nipped off to meet her friend who she met during her year abroad in Greenwich meaning that she went a little less mad in the shops than me and Paige, which is probably a positive thing. During that time me and Paige decided to go to Harrods and the Laduree tea room for a coffee and a cake. It was so pretty and french it was lovely. we each had an iced coffee and I had a St Honore Rose and Raspberry patisserie and Paige had a caramel and apple macaroon. We also picked up some little macaroons to bring home (which I am happy to report did make it back safely in one piece). I felt like we were in Made in Chelsea or something it was so posh and pretty not only in the tea room but in the store in general. We walked past the Harry Winston section in the jewellery hall and couldn't believe how beautiful the things were, I had a proper I wish I was Blair Waldorf moment (oh how the other half live).
 My dessert
Paige's dessert
After that we just headed back to the hotel to drop shopping bags and headed back out for the main event Taylor at the O2!

Taylor Swift
Now, out of the 3 of us only Paige had 1. seen Taylor before and 2. been to a gig at the O2, so this whole thing was very exciting for all of us. The O2 is huge, and that's not just me saying that, its massive, I can't imagine how scary performing to a sold crowd in it must be! We did miss The Vamps who were supporting (although we weren't exactly bothered) due to tube issues, but we were there in plenty time to pick up merchandise and find our seats without a rush. We were in a really good spot in my opinion, we were in the first tier, not on the floor but we were right next to the second stage she uses halfway through the show as well as having a great view of the main stage. 
Taylor Swift seats
I didn't take many photos at the concert because I felt like I just wanted to enjoy it and take it all, I didn't think constantly taking photos would allow me to do that. As I said I had never seen her live and while Paige and said nothing but good things I didn't really know what to expect. The whole think from start to finish was incredible. She put on such a fantastic performance from start to finish! She performed the majority of the Red album as well as some older songs as well including Fearless and Sparks Fly. I was singing from start to finish not to mention pulling out some pretty fabby dance moves. Halfway through she announced a surprise guest was coming on, and after reading reviews I knew this was something she did and previous show had had Ed Sheeran, Danny from the Script and Sam Smith, but we had no idea who it could be, and I was so happy when she announced Emeli Sande was the surprise and sang Next to Me together, their voices actually went really well together and it had the whole crowd on their feet (not that they hadn't already been on them). 
 Taylor and Emeli
I have to say I had goosebumps all the way through the show and really enjoyed every song, but I think my favourite was either All To Well or Fearless. She ended as could be expected with We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together and had the whole crowd singing the song back to her while she was on a platform high up which circled the stage. She was just so good, and I just loved every moment, I really didn't want it to end. 
Taylor doesn't just perform well, she also puts together a brilliant stage show with themed sections and great dancers. The whole thing from start to finish was really enjoyable even during costume changes there was some form of entertainment on stage whether it be a VT introducing the song or her dancers performing into a song, it was great! I was just in awe by the end and had even more love for her than I had previously.

I feel like all I've said is she was great, she was great, but she really was! I honestly don't know how better to put it!

That's pretty much how the trip ended, on an incredible high! Yes, we had to do all that travelling home but that's really dull. I had an amazing trip and it was entirely worth going all that way to see Taylor, I can comfortably say it is one of the best shows I have ever seen!!

Have you guys ever seen Taylor? What did you think? Also if you'd like me to do a London Haul post let me know!
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