Saturday 2nd July saw me in the big City again, this time for the British Belles annual jaunt, Pin Up Picnic in the Park. Hopping on the train in my Lady Voluptuous Blue Ursula dress, with a suitcase full of Vintage style dresses and accessories, I was ready for the whole weekend of adventure!
This was the second year it had been held, after an amazing first picnic in Hyde Park last year – click here to read more
We had an absolutely scorching day and much fun was had lazing around, drinking Pimms and enjoying the sunshine. The outfits and accessories were extraordinary, and the whole day was a total and utter success.
And so, a second one was planned.
Although the original idea was to hold it again in Hyde Park, sadly the weather was to be a factor and at the last minute the wonderful British Belles went to Plan B and opted to hold it in an amazing club called Kanaloa, off of Fleet Street.
Now, due to the last minute change it meant that quite a few people had to cancel or alter their plans. This was a total shame as I had been looking forward to catching up with some of the plus size vintage loving ladies. However, I soldiered on with my plans and off to London I went.
I had booked a hotel for two nights in the Docklands area, close to the O2. Whilst the hotel was a regular Ibis, it was a really lovely hotel with amazing views.
I booked into my lovely double room, which had it’s own wet-room and unpacked the vast array of things I had taken with me for the weekend. After such a long journey, I decided to have a little nap, and ended up sleeping half the afternoon away!
I decided that I needed to get out, so having showered and changed outfits, this time into my purple and green Malibu Tiki dress I headed back into the city centre. The hotel was right next door to the Emirates Air-Line cable car over the river, so of course I had to give it a go, ignoring the fact that I don’t like heights very much!
There were so many sights to see on the cable car, and I thoroughly recommend giving it a go, if you are in that area. It really was a great trip across the river, and I loved the challenge of giving it a go. The best part is you can use your oyster card instead of queuing up for tickets – Bonus!
After getting off the cable car, I walked around by the O2, where there was lots of street artists and entertainment going on. It was so lively and fun, that I could have spent all evening there. Sadly, I had a destination in mind, and so jumped on the tube and headed back into Central London.
I needed to pop to Fortnum and Mason to get some Tea (yes I am a tea snob) so decided to grab some food whilst out. Regular readers will possibly remember a post where we went on a mystery hunt around London (read the post here) During the course of the day, we had ended up in a lovely small pub just off of Oxford Street.
The Iron Duke is a Fullers pub, located in the heart of Mayfair, and is a little gem of a pub! From the outside it looks like an old fashioned establishment. Hanging baskets full of flowers welcome you in, although there was a huge gathering of people drinking outside in the sun.
Deciding on a vodka and coke, I sat at a little table to peruse the menu. My eye was immediately caught by the Chip Shop Platter at the bargain price of £15.95. Cod goujons, Wholetail scampi, Battered sausage bites, Fried whitebait with homemade chips and mushy peas. It was right up my street.
The food came in around 15 minutes, which I was really impressed with as it was a very busy evening in the pub, and looked gorgeous. I dived in and literally was in food heaven. Every single bite was delicious, and the portion size was very generous.
In fact, I simply couldn’t finish it. I had to admit defeat, sadly leaving some of the whitebait and the chips. It was a fantastic meal for a really decent price, especially given the location of the pub. I thoroughly recommend it, if you happen to be in the area – especially if you have worked up an appetite!
After such a fabulous meal, I headed down to Fortnums for my tea, and then decided to head back to the hotel for a nightcap and an early night.
Saturday dawned bright and early, and I got up to get ready for the Pin-Up in the Pub event.
Deciding to wear my favourite blue and red Pin Up girl clothing Malibu Tiki Dress, topped with a genuine vintage velvet hat. Little blue leather pumps and a blue vintage handbag finished it all off, and I went to catch the tube to Fleet Street.
Perversely, the British weather forecast had got it wrong again and it was in fact an extremely hot day! The sun was blistering, and by the time I arrived at the club, I was sweltering, and my fringe was going curly!
The bar, Kanaloa was a fabulous Tiki Bar, full of tropical decorations and a cocktail menu that any bar would envy.
Joining the queue for drinks, which was about 15 deep, I perused the menu and decided on a Zombie to start with. This drink sounded like something I would enjoy – 7 different rums, splashes of absinthe, Wray & Nephew, spiced liqueurs, maraschino cherry liqueur, pomegranate, passion and grapefruits.
Well, given how busy the bar was, I decided to hope for the best and order two! Thankfully, I loved the drink and was more than happy on my choice.
Sitting down with a group of lovely Marvelettes (a vintage facebook group I am part of) it was wonderful to sit and natter to people that I have had interactions with online, but not met in person.
Of course, we had to congregate outside for a photo op. Vintage beauties at their best.
Returning back to the bar, still bathed in glorious sunshine, I decided to brave the queues again for another round of cocktails. This time opting for the Blue Mountain, a blend of Jamaican Appleton white rum & grapefruit soda. Served blue yet changing colours. Accompanied by the tiki gods’ favourite rum grilled marshmallow.
Now, this cocktail went down really well. The perfect summer drink, in my opinion. It also featured two plastic ice cubes that glowed neon blue. Fabulous!
I spent the afternoon chatting and chilling and drinking fabulous concoctions, before it was finally time to leave. Initially I was planning on staying in the City, and so before leaving, changed into my Teal Monica Dress for the evening.
However, at the last minute my plans had changed and I had some time to kill, so decided to go back to the Hotel.
One of the lovely gentleman I had met last year, Phillip Russell had been photographing the event and we had sat chatting. He was leaving around the same time, and fortuitously lived in the same direction as I was going.
Now, Phillip is a true londoner, and is a wealth of facts and information. We strolled along to the tube station, whilst he pointed out sights and buildings and told me little anecdotes about them.
Once we were on the DLR, it was even better as he told me lots of stories about all the different areas you could see from the train. A wonderful 40 minutes spent travelling. Finally I left Phillip on the train and disembarked at Royal Victoria.
Now it was time for the British weathermen to get their predictions right. The heavens opened, and I was without a coat or an umbrella. By the time I got to my hotel I was absolutely soaked to the skin!
Putting the kettle on, I jumped into the shower to warm back up.
Now, it was very tempting to jump into bed, watch some Saturday night TV, before getting an early night. However, I decided not to waste my last evening in London. Changing into my Turquoise Harley Dress, I headed downstairs.
At the hotel restaurant I was greeted so very warmly by the lovely Carla, a lady originally from Brazil, who was an absolute sweetheart! The restaurant was close to closing, and I was the only person in there. Whilst this was lovely, as it wasn’t noisy, it also felt very lonely.
Opting to have a Dutch tosti, (a ham and emmental toasted sandwich) along with a vodka and coke, I spent a very pleasant hour chatting with both Carla and the chef, a lovely young Spanish man (who’s name I didn’t get, but who made a fab sandwich) in between them cleaning up and re-laying tables for the next day.
Carla was the most wonderful of hostesses. Warm, happy, chatty and very welcoming. Nothing was too much trouble and she went out of her way to make me feel almost a part of the hotel. She could see I was alone and wanted to make the experience as pleasant as she could.
My meal was lovely, and the company of the staff was excellent.
Whilst the hotel was a little further out than I would normally have chosen, I am glad I did as it was a great experience. I would certainly stay there again, and this would be because of Carla, who really was a credit to the hotel!
Getting up early, as I needed to pack all my final belongings, I headed back to the DLR, as my train from St Pancras was leaving at 1200.
I hit St Pancras with an hour to spare (I am early for everything!!) So I sat down with my newspaper and a drink and waited for my train to arrive.
By the time I got home, I was absolutely shattered! It was an amazing weekend, and I loved every second of it. I just felt like I needed another hotel stay to get over the weekend I had just had!
Finally, I would like to thank The British Belles again for an amazing event and I can’t wait to go to the next one!
Can we put in an advance order for the sun next time though?
Till next time,