Sunday, 11 February 2018

From Draft... to Published | Afternoon Tea :: With the Prime Minister

Looking through  my draft posts, I have realised that there are so many that are in various states of completion. I don't know why I never finished some of these, and so I am aiming in the first part of this year to go through them all, and either finish and publish them, or abandon and delete them. I have decided not to re-word any that were already written, which means some of them may refer to the situation as it was when they were written (where I worked for example) but I want to maintain the post as it was originally intended. So here is the first of my From Draft to Published posts: Afternoon Tea at the Houses of Parliament.

Ok ok, not really with the Prime Minister, but at the House of Commons.

A couple of weeks ago my mum and I went to the Houses of Parliament (or the HoP as I refer to them at work!) for a tour and afternoon tea.

It was really interesting to experience the tour because I book many many guided tours for our student groups and now I know exactly what they get to experience. It's probably not really a revelation to say that they are super interesting. So much history has gone down in those walls! You're not allowed to take photos inside, except in Westminster Hall. This is the first area that you enter, the oldest part of the Palace of Westminster and houses numerous plaques laid into the floor commemorating important events or notable people.

Both House of Commons and House of Lords were much smaller than I had thought they'd be. The TV definitely makes the rooms look larger. The audio commentary was full of little extra stories and facts about the decor and traditions that still take place in the hallowed halls.

After the tour, we gathered with the rest of the diners to be taken down to the cafe. This was down below the commons area and looked out onto the river. Despite the the weather not being great -the water looked pretty choppy - it was still nice to look out over the water. The food was ok, a pretty standard selection of sandwiches, cakes and scones. The tea likewise was fine. It was a fairly cheap options for afternoon tea, and we did have an incident with the waitress pouring the tea out far too early when it clearly wasn't brewed enough.

I think that this is a quite a unique experience, and fairly good value (although you can only get the afternoon tea in combination with the tour). I wouldn't rush back, but I don't regret going.



Friday, 2 February 2018

Wanderings Lately :: January

We made it through the first month of the year! Everyone at work yesterday was saying how long January had felt, but for me it's flown by pretty quickly. And that despite not having that many weekend plans. January had been a month of getting into routines for 2018, I've successfully made it to bootcamp twice a week - Tuesday & Saturdays - continued with netball - Mondays and Thursday - and cycled to work most days. I've also pushed myself to do a few new things - open mic, Jive classes and an alumni talk at UCL. So my wanderings for the first part of 2018 aren't exactly far and wide, but they have felt positive and fruitful and that's definitely a good way to start the year!


Last year, I bought the #cookforsyria cookbook, and I finally cooked something from it this month - making my own flat bread and poaching some figs and nectarines. Yum yum!

Winnie the Pooh

I booked a couple of days off this month, as I had some holiday to take before the start of Feb, and I decided to do something with my time, so booked to go to the Winnie the Pooh exhibition at the V&A. It was really good, and I'm so glad I went. So much original artwork was on show, and I enjoyed seeing the WtP products from around the world! I also ended up going on AA Milne's birthday which is now marked as Winnie the Pooh day, which also gave me a little thrill!

Life without Internet

We started January without internet, as we were changing providers and despite our best efforts, we were let down by the new company. This left us without an internet connection for 2 weeks, and the phone signal in Rotherhithe is particularly bad, so we found other ways to amuse ourselves. Our house became puzzle central, and after we finished the Liverpool puzzle that Siobhan had given me, Carola bought another one - Harry Potter inspired - to give us something to do. It was actually really nice, and I found doing the puzzle to be really satisfying and quite relaxing. 

We back connected to wifi now, but it was certainly nice to have a forced digital detox for a little while.

:: Onwards to February... How did you spend the first month of the year? ::

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Wanderings in 2017

'Not all those who wander are lost.' J.R.R. Tolkein.


Bit sad to look back at this now. I had just got my new bike in January, after upgrading from my first cheap one. I had extra bits added - pannier rack and mud guards. Not quite a year later someone had stolen this from outside the tube station on the night of my Christmas party. Not so merry seasons greetings to that person.


Chinese New Year, my 10k birthday race and a trip up north to Leeds. In February I learnt to make body scrub, got muddy shoes at Bolton Abbey and watched my housemate compete in a cheerleading competition.


Meeting Bea Johnson (Zero Waste Guru), tea tasting with my brother and a sneaky peak inside the Charterhouse. In March I embarked on my first vegan Lent, travelled to Oxford for work and went back in time at Leeds Castle.


Baby Grape was born and I became an aunty. Shout out to Ewan the Dream Sheep who was there through it all! <3 font="">


My brother's gig in The Beehive and a sunny trip to Brighton. In May I got inundated with political flyers urging me to vote Liberal Democrat, I started going to a Saturday cycle club and got to see more of this little area of London, brought home my tomato plants and enjoyed a relaxed but rainy bank holiday. 

Wanderings in April and May (because I managed to miss April again this year!)


A work trip to Stratford-Upon-Avon, visit to Dennis Severe's House, inside Kensington Palace (and the sunken garden where the royal engagement was announced), Terror play where we sat as the jury, cycled to Gallions Hill in Thamesmead and said farewell to Johanna at the Mayflower pub.


First ever visit to Hampton Court Palace, messing around with friends, a cycling adventure with my brother in East London and dragging my housemate to the Prudential Ride London. July was a really fun month!

Also I went to Leeds again for a full day of yoga sessions, but also went out and picked my own strawberries to bring back to the city. The weather in July wasn't the greatest but when you live in England you just have to get on with it rain or shine!


Catch up with University friends in Balham, family holiday in Cornwall, checking out Chiswick House and climbing Scafell Pike. August was another great mont for getting out and about.

Wanderings in August


I attended my graduation ceremony and finally completed my last event in the journey of my masters. I hadn't been too bothered about attending but actually was pretty glad I did in the end as it was a nice way to celebrate all the work I had put in.

I dragged people along with me to open house London ( next year I WILL get my name down for Downing Street!!), had an adrenaline filled day at Go Ape and attended my first away tournament with Netball.

In September I also attended an interview which was change the course of the end of my year and start me on a new path for 2018.


Catch up with Chelsea in the Shard, pointing out my home on the map, trip to Southwold with my mum, finally seeing Harry Potter (with the highest seats in the theatre!), reunion with Johanna in beautiful Geneva.

October was full, full, full. My one and only trip abroad this year was over to Switzerland, the cobwebs were well and truly blown away on the pier at Southwold and a I was really happy to see Chelsea again in London. 

I was so busy that I didn't get to write about it all on the blog, but sometimes you're so busy living life that you don't have time to stop and put it all online.

In October I also got to go to the opening of the new cities exhibition at the Museum of London #workperks, and I went to see my little baby Grape again.


Drinks with the netball girls, fireworks and mulled wine with housemates, the toilets in the Elephant House, evening with a Scottish Piper, Edinburgh Castle, St Andrews, the Duke of Wellington in Glasgow and the Necropolis by Glasgow Cathedral.

I had my first Contiki experience in the Highlands of Scotland, with a mixed experience but brilliant memories. The Southwark Park firework display was a fun experience again and I finished the month with my final day at AIFS.


Weekend Christmas fun in Bath and introducing London friends to Liverpool. 

In December we also celebrated Sinterklass (Dutch festivities), had out housemate Christmas decorating and raclette evening and got well and truly festive at the Christmas Carols with Christchurch London.

Christmas was fun and family filled, and the in-between has been relaxed if very cold as the boiler in our house has decided this would be a good time to die.

:: Characterised by travel around the UK, friends and bike rides in London. 2018 I can't wait for you to begin and adventures to continue. ::