A Birthday in London

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Firstly, apologies for the poor photos, I only had my phone – although I did thoroughly regret leaving my DSLR at Uni.

It’s my birthday and I’ll do domestic travelling if I want to

Last weekend I turned the ripe old age of 21 and to celebrate I took a convenient 39 minute train to my favourite city in England; London. Weeks and weeks before my birthday I searched and scanned for cheap holidays but with me starting my final year of Uni as well as doing 9 weeks of placements over the summer (meaning I couldn’t work) meant I was not in any financial state to take a holiday abroad. And with my partner just coming back from 7 Weeks travelling across America the month before, he wasn’t in any position to pay for my birthday weekend abroad. With all possible ideas exhausted, and every Wowcher, Groupon and Secret Escapes site fully investigated I decided to take an adventure in my home land.

Although, I will admit my day of adventure was cut short after exhaustion and an inevitable headache loomed over me thanks to my friends buying me one too many cocktails the night before.

Oxford Street

When ever I go to London, Oxford Circus is the first place I make a long over-due stop off. Even when I’m scraping pennies, I always still seem to enjoy just walking around Oxford Circus, especially Regent Street as I am a sucker for historic buildings oozing great architecture. As interesting as it was to stumble across a huge NFL event being held in Regent Street on Saturday, the huge crowds and metal fencing kind of took the fun out of my Regent Street wonder, but I still managed to pop in to &Otherstories for some nail polish though (I have a horrendous beauty habit). As my boyfriend and I walked through Regent Street – stopping off at Starbucks for a much needed Bacon butty pick-me-up after a more than delicate morning – we found our self in Leicester Square. There are some amazing buildings here too as well as a beautiful fountain with amazing statues of horses in it – and they did not spare on the er, more sensitive areas- as well as being the place where all the Premiers are held. Not bad for a start.

After finishing are less than perfect Starbucks snack – undercooked and overpriced – we found ourselves in China Town, which reaffirmed my belief that discovering a city on foot is definitely the best way to go. The decoration was awesome, lanterns and paifangs and the aroma of some amazing chinese restaurants with all kinds of meat hanging in the window. There were also some great bakeries with classic fondant chinese pandas and chinese puddings.

Camden Town

After walking as far as we could in Oxford Street, we took the tube to a nostalgic destination of mine, Camden. This place is crowded, crazy but filled with some amazing people and great sites. Even though my partner was less than fond of Camden (we didn’t stay as long as I’d planned) I found our short stop-over there great fun. Back in my teenage days of My Chemical Romance, black hair, eye liner and stripy socks, Camden became my second home and it was great to see some of the old sights and stalls still there. Camden is great place to pick up some treasures from their huge market hall – it literally seems to go on for ever, and no trip to Camden would be complete with out stepping in to the wacky world of Cyberdog, an ultraviolet raving shop with cage dancers, yes this is a shop! The original plan was to stop in Camden for lunch at one of the many food stalls of which I loved when I was fourteen, but my efforts to talk an already reluctant partner into eating at one of the stalls was diminished after we saw a rat run across the roof of one of them, and even I’ll admit that it put me off to so we made our way back to the tube station to find somewhere else to eat.

Leadenhall Market

We hopped on one tube and crossed on to another one at Euston station – my summer of commuting has made me a master of the tubes – we found ourselves in Bank where we headed to Leaden Hall Market. Now this is a more upper class market than Camden of course, but as we headed in the direction of our destination we realised how empty Bank was, which was a breath of fresh air after Camden but a bit mysterious -especially for London! It wasn’t until we found ourselves into a deserted, some what post-apocalyptic Leaden Hall Market that we discovered that most of the surrounding area was closed on weekends! The chance to climb up the monument – for only £3 – was still an option but by now I was feeling the pain of the night before’s ‘social’ outing, and I was craving a substantial meal so it was back on the Central Line to Euston to find our way to Covent Garden.

Covent Garden

Another one of my usual stop-overs on my trips to London is Covent Garden. Not only are the amazing buildings, a great atmosphere and over priced restaurants, but this is the hub for street performers in London and it never disappoints with about 3 or 4 different shows going on at any one time.We decided to grab a seat at Maxwell’s Bar and Grill more because we were aching too much to walk any further but it was actually a really nice restaurant. It was a great shame when I was too full after my fish cake starters to eat my whole main but as my partner had treated me to an 8oz Sirloin Steak I forced myself to get it down me and after that it was time for bed! We had one last look around Covent garden, popping into the cute boutique shops – I was in search for some posh macaroons but for £47.50 for a box, I wasn’t that desperate so we made our way home (after I bought two eye shadows from MAC, it was my birthday after all!).

So that was my birthday day in London! I had an amazing time, but next year when I’ve graduated and able to work full time I’m thinking less Cockney and more Les Francais. I wonder how much macaroons are there.

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