There’s nothing that can put you in a Christmassy mood than a little trip to the big smoke. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult for me to get weekends off work BUT I had a wonderful excuse to make my annual Christmas trip this year once I found out I’d manage to bag tickets to Food Matters Live! So, wanna know what we did? Well it’s a good job I wrote a little blog post on our trip then isn’t it?
To the non-Londoner in us all, the underground can be an overwhelming and confusing prospect. I’m not gonna lie, I used to be TERRIFIED of the underground, but after my friend moved to London for uni, she managed to teach me the tricks and trades of mastering the underground… well, calming me down anyway. The underground is pretty simple to use once you get your head round it, but I used some simple aids to get me from A to B.
Firstly, I downloaded an app called ‘Tube Map‘ (free on the App Store) to plan my routes for me. Even if you don’t know what tube stop you should be using, you can type in your destination (or location) and it will detect the closest station to you. It also calculates journey times and alternative routes you can take. I liked to screenshot my route once it was calculated, as there is no internet or signal down under ground and I wanted to make sure I could still see the plan for reference.
Second trick I used to make my tube experience easier was Apple Pay! I used to have a Oyster card in the day before contactless cards were out and it could often be a pain topping it up all the time. When I found out you can use contactless cards, this made life a lot easier! The price of travel caps over a 24 hour period, depending on what zones you travel in, but it’s actually not too expensive considering how much you can travel in London. But Apple Pay is here you ask…. LIFE SAVER. If you don’t have it already, set it up for your London trip. It works as my card but without the faff of rummaging around in your purse for your card at each station (and getting very angry local business people bashing into you) – tube hack!
Where We Stayed
The flat where we were stopping over in for the night was located between Knightsbridge and South Kensington, only a five minute walk from Harrods and tube access. It was on this GORGEOUS street pictured above, with the autumn, crisp leaves contrasting to the White House fronts and pillars. We stayed in an AirBnB, where hosts rent out their properties to you for however many nights you need or they offer. Ours was a lovely little flat with two double beds, a shared bathroom and amenities such as hot drink making areas, dressing tables and a tv! It was super spacious too (perfect for a messy bear like myself). The only downfall to our property that was it was VERY HOT so we had to keep our window open, meaning it could be quite noisy during the day. As we were out most of the day, this wasn’t really a concerning issue.
To check out where I stayed, click here!
If you’ve never used AirBnB before, then sign up now! Often so much cheaper and a lot nicer than hotels, you’re supporting independent people AND exploring new cities all at the same time! I’ve used them in London, Manchester, Paris and Budapest and they have all been fantastic! You can use my referral code HERE which gives you £25 off your first stay!
What We Did
The main reason for our little London trip, as I mentioned previously, was to attend ‘Food Matters Live’, as I’d managed to bag myself a ticket! The event is hosted over three days at the ExCel in London, where there is a mix of health professionals, food entrepreneurs and researchers presenting a display of podiums and stalls in order to educate foodies alike. There was also many seminars, lectures and talks hosting throughout the day, which were informative and thought provoking. I was a little gutted because I’d just missed the food allergens talk I wanted to attend, but there was still many others to pick from! Many of the stands were giving away freebies and samples, with plenty of competitions to enter too!
There was also a stand for our very own BDA Dietitians, where they were promoting their new ‘One Blue Dot’ campaign, their new guidelines for eating sustainably for Dietitians – if you can’t tell already, I’m already trying my best to eat and live better for the environment, such as eating less meat and reducing my plastic consumption, but this was great to learn more for me to teach patients, but also insightful with facts and figures on how alarmingly we’re destroying our planet! Was definitely great to have a read and I can’t wait to start working with the guideline!
I also managed to squeeze in a little catch up with a few of my old lecturers from MMU, who had a stand at the event, which was lovely!
My trip wasn’t all educational, of course we had to squeeze in some shopping on Oxford Street in there too, especially as it was Black Friday sales! We were very well behaved! I don’t have much disposable income at the moment so walking away from pieces I loved, had 50% off and then still couldn’t afford was very disheartening to say the least.
However, I couldn’t resist this lil baby from Zara! I only purchased one thing in London and I thought this was a versatile investment piece, great for both dressing up and casual day wear. It’s also super comfy too!
And the most important part of our trip, foooooood! We generally grabbed and go’ed sandwiches for lunches, but we went out for dinner on the evening of FML. We adventured to Covent Garden and ended up going in Cafe Rouge – I opted for the Moules Frites which was gorgeous and momma had Heart of Rump. This was followed by plenty of Chardonnay and french white wines, in a ever so Christmassy but freezing city.
We really wanted to squeeze in time to go to Hyde Parks Winter Wonderland which looked amazing, but it was quite late and very very very cold when we wanted to go… definitely an excuse to visit London again as it looks amazing!!
Let me know your top picks in London and I hope this was a little insight on our Christmassy trip!