Saturday, 16 December 2017

Festive London photo diary

As you can probably guess from the title of this post, I spent the last weekend in London having a jolly old Christmas time. I haven’t really been feeling the festive season this year because as I mentioned in my post about my new job, I’ve been working a lot so I haven't had much time to sit back and listen to
the jingle bells.

This weekend however, that all changed. I’ve currently got Sia’s Christmas album playing, I’m all cosy in bed with my laptop and I’m all ready to tell you about it.

I got to Kings Cross last Thursday evening and made the very simple journey of travelling one tube station to get to Euston... which put my stress level at about 300x its normal level.

No matter how many times I visit London, I will never understand southerners’ impatience with the tube. There is literally another train coming in three minutes, you don’t HAVE to cram yourself into the only tiny remaining space like your life depends on it. We’re lucky if the metros are running every 10 minutes at home!

Anyway, I eventually made it from Euston to Hemel Hempstead where I hung out with Natasha’s parents all evening because when I booked my train tickets she conveniently forgot she had a Christmas work night out (thanks Ntash). I ended up having a lovely evening though because they made a vegan bean casserole AND offered me a whole bottle of wine and I was even treated to a drunk Natasha throwing herself on my bed when she got in around midnight. I couldn’t ask for a much better welcome than that.

For a post labelled ‘photo diary’, so far we have been pretty lacking in photos so prepare yourself for the incoming spam. On Friday, me and Natasha hung out around her beautiful house while she nursed her hangover and then got ready to get the train into London.

Once we got there we decided to walk from Euston, even though it was freezing, so we could admire all the lights and just generally get in the Christmas spirit. We ended up seeing Sheridan Smith doing her soundcheck for The One Show and were treated to a lovely rendition of City of Stars and then walked down Carnaby Street which looked absolutely amazing and well worth braving the cold for!

From there, we made our way to Covent Gardens where one of our friends at uni had arranged a big Christmas meal reunion which was the main reason for my trip down south. There was even a Christmas jumper theme which (nearly) everyone followed and Christmas hats from the crackers which (nearly) everyone wore. It was the perfect festive scene. 

The meal was absolutely lovely and I was so pleasantly surprised by how much I actually liked the pumpkin, chestnut and fig nut roast. I would never have picked that off a normal menu (we had a Christmas set menu) but it was so good! And the veggies among us lucked out because the turkey eaters complained of under cooked veg so I guess they must have been cooked separately because we had no complaints.

Of course drinks have to follow a Christmas meal and I definitely could have done with one less bottle of wine than I had (I’m choosing purposely not to remember most of the things that came out my mouth on Friday) but it was so lovely catching up with everyone, even if we were huddled outside in the cold.

After waking up on Saturday with a surprisingly normal-feeling head and relatively hangover free apart from a very dry mouth (a true Christmas miracle), we got ready to go back into London. When I had first made the plans of coming to stay with Natasha I had one request, I wanted to see Harrods.

I’ve never been before, it was Christmas and the place is iconic. I don’t think I need any more reasons than that.

We decided to stop for food first and since me and Natasha had both been to Mildreds before and the largely gluten free AND vegan menu was very appealing to Laura, we headed to the Soho branch. I talked about how nice the food was at the Kings Cross branch on a previous post and since I last visited I believe they’ve changed the buttermilk chicken recipe to be vegan now so I couldn’t wait to try it.

And then we sat down and the waiter presented us with a Christmas menu where a tofurkey roast with white wine gravy caught my eye and all thoughts of mock chicken flew out the window.

I’ve never had tofurkey before because I haven’t been able to justify the price to myself when I’ve seen it in Holland and Barrett but oh my god, this roast was GOOD. The gravy, roasted veggies and stuffing was just what I needed to cure the mild remnants of a hangover that was lingering and I felt like a new woman when I had finished it.  If you can get yourself to a Mildreds while they’re still serving the Christmas menu then I so recommend it.

I was pretty full after the food but I had really regretted not getting a dessert the last time I was there because their dessert list always looks amazing, especially when I’m so used to only having the option of sorbet.

The peanut butter mousse cake was calling my name and I am pleased to say I absolutely made the right decision. I mean, look at it.

And then finally, we made our way to Harrods. I was worried that dragging Laura and Natasha all the way there just so I could look in a department store was a bit tedious but wow, I did not realise it was so big. You could actually spend a whole day there. At the risk of sounding like a total tourist, I can’t quite believe just how many departments there are. 

In classic Laura style we turned our backs on her for one minute and subsequently lost her in the Roastery and Bake Hall and then had the pleasure of watching her have an internal debate with herself for half an hour as to whether or not she wanted to buy herself a bear. She had a look of true love in her eyes but unfortunately the bear remains on the shelf.

As a side note, I also discovered my absolutely worst ever nightmare job: working any sort of role on the toy floor of Harrods. Yep, no thank you, nope, very much no. I hope they get paid well. 

I decided to go all-out tourist and buy myself a Harrods bauble and even got a matching Harrods bear with Natasha. Yes I’m 22 years old and you know what, I don’t regret it one bit. As Natasha kept telling me, ‘you’re on holiday’ and even if that wasn't quite true, that was more than enough to justify buying overpriced touristy baubles for me.

That was more than enough fun for one day and we decided to get up early the next morning and head into Berkhamsted for brunch.

…And then we woke up and were greeted with this scene.

Plans for driving into Berkhamsted were cancelled and so were a lot of the trains into Euston, where Laura and I both needed to get to later that day in order to get our trains home.

We put off this worry for a few hours and did what any young women would do when faced with such a setting, we went and frolicked in the snow. We even made a snowman. His name was Winfred. Unfortunately Natasha sent me a photo of Winfred’s progress on Monday and he wasn’t looking as sprightly as he is here but let's choose to remember him at his best.

We eventually had to try and get into London for our trains so we wrapped up, borrowed some snow boots, I wrapped a scarf round my hair and we threw my suitcase onto a sledge.

And off we went.

Luckily, by time we got there the delays were minimal and I arrived at Kings Cross with hours to spare for my train. I treated myself to a wonderful Christmas vegan wrap from Leon (when I texted my mum this she replied “who’s Leon?”) and I’m pleased to say the rest of my journey home was pretty uneventful and spent listening to Sia’s Christmas album.

Speaking of which, I really cannot recommend Candy Cane Lane and Puppies are Forever enough. They’re the songs I never knew I needed but will never stop listening to.

So this concludes my photo diary/recap of my weekend and I am in a thoroughly festive mood now. All I need to do now is find a spare minute to finish my Christmas shopping. Every year I plan on getting it done early and it never happens. How prepared are you feeling for Christmas?


  1. Looks like you had such a lovely time and the photos are so nice too!

    1. Thank you! The snow was a lovely end to a fab weekend

  2. these pictures are all so cute! I still can't believe how much snow we got last weekend, there was enough to make a snowman!!

    1. Thank you! I know, I'm so glad I was down south for it because we had barely any where I live

  3. Awwwh I love this post and all your photos! I've never been to London and it looks more magical at this time of year! You look like you had the best time!
    Robyn //

    1. This was my first time there for Christmas and it made such a difference, I can't get enough of Christmas lights and decorations

  4. What a lovely round up of what was clearly a wonderful weekend. I have to say that peanut dessert looks delicious too! And how amazing to have all that snow, literally the icing on the cake ( pun intended 😉) X

    Lisa |

    1. Thank you Lisa! The snow was such a lovely surprise, I don't think I've ever seen that much snow in England before. Definitely felt like a child again building Winfred


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