A few months back my Mum asked if I would take her down to London. Now, she is not one for the big City. The hustle and bustle is just a bit too much, so she has never spent much time down there at all.
So, what was behind this change of heart? She really wanted to go and see the musical “The Bodyguard” at the theatre.
Of course I was more than happy to accompany her down to London and spend a pleasant few hours at the afternoon matinee before doing a little light shopping and sightseeing. The question was, would she be up for it too?
I organised the tickets for near to her birthday with the plan on having a spot of lunch as a birthday treat. The tickets actually arrived at home within 48 hours which I was extremely impressed with, especially as it was only June and we weren’t going until October.
Making sure to put the tickets somewhere safe, we then waited for the day to arrive for our trip.
Booking train tickets in advance meant I got us quite a good deal and we duly set off in the morning, heading for London Town….
Now as Mum hadn’t ever visited as a tourist, I was determined to show her some of the sights and places that I like to visit in London. With this in mind we set off on the train at 850am. Just over an hour later we arrived at Euston and Mum was in awe already. I topped up a couple of Oyster Cards I own, and we hit the underground to head to Tottenham Court Road.
Whilst on the train we had chatted about what we wanted to do, and one thing I needed to do was pop into Simply Be and look at their winter coats. I have a vintage faux fur coat that I wear, but it is too hot and bulky for those autumnal days, and I melt if ever I go up to London in it.
We got out of Tottenham Court Road Tube, and directly opposite was The Dominion theatre where The Bodyguard was showing. At least I now knew where it was!
We walked the relatively short distance at quite a slow pace a Mum struggles with her breathing, but I kept checking on her repeatedly and making sure she was alright. We got to Simply Be and as always, there was some amazing clothing in store. I immediately fell in love with this Military style coat, and at £69 I thought it was pretty good value, so within 5 minutes I had done what I needed to do.
We the crossed over to the Lush Store. Even though I didn’t need anything, there were a couple of things I wanted; the fabulous Santa’s Belly Shower Jelly and the lovely Star Dust Bath Bomb. I had missed these off my recent Lush Haul and needed to rectify it.
We wandered down Oxford Street and Mum was absolutely astounded when people kept coming up to me and complimenting my style. I think she was even more baffled when I had 11 requests to have my picture taken! I had tried to tell her what normally happened, but I honestly don’t think she believed me!
We carried on walking, stopping to look at the various shops as we went. Eventually we stopped at Selfridges. Mum visited here last as a schoolgirl over 65 years ago! I took her in and we browsed in Tiffany and Co, and Chanel. Mum was struggling a little so we headed downstairs to Dolly’s Tearoom where we managed to get a table for two.
Dolly’s do the most amazing patisserie and tea, and we sat down to enjoy a cup of Earl Grey and a pastry. I had a wonderful Strawberry and cream dessert, with a little chocolate curl on top. Mum had a Raspberry Macaron, which came with a pipette filled with fruit coulis that you squeezed inside. The tea alone was amazing, the cakes even better.
After another browse around, we headed back to Bond Street to get on the tube again. Mum had pre-booked lunch at VQ, which was somewhere I had never visited before. Based in Great Russell Street, it was literally was 1 minute away from the Theatre.
When we arrived the restaurant was nearly empty, which had me a little concerned. VQ is a restaurant that NEVER closes. 24 hours a day, you can go there to eat. However, my worries were unfounded. As we sat down, it was as if the floodgates had been opened; the whole restaurant fulled up!
The menu was really comprehensive and I had a hard job decided on Eggs Benedict, a Burger or their Ribeye Steak. I eventually went for the rare rib-eye with chunky chips and a green peppercorn sauce. Mum had breaded prawns with a chili sauce and garlic and cheese bread.
I have to say the steak was possibly the best steak I have ever had. It was absolutely spot on, both in taste and the way it had been cooked. I also snuck a piece of Mum’s garlic bread and cheese. It was topped with a strong cheddar, which is unusual and was so good.
We shared a small carafe of Rose Pinot Grigio, and the bill came to around £ 50 all in, which was pretty good for the quality of the food we had.
We left the restaurant and walked to the theatre. We hit it just right and didn’t have to queue. We went straight to our seats which were 10 rows from the front, right in the centre of the theatre. Mum had a programme to look at, so I snuck out to the souvenir station and bought Mum a copy of the CD from the show as a birthday present.
Eventually we settled down and waited for the show to start. Now, I will be honest. It wasn’t a show I was desperate to go and see. I would certainly have never chosen it, if I had the option. However it was what Mum wanted to see, and so that was why we were there.
I honestly didn’t think it would be something I would like. Whilst I quite liked the film, I didn’t know how it would translate to the stage. I was pretty apprehensive.
I am happy to say that I was wrong.
The show was out of this World. The cast were amazing, headlined by Beverley Knight and Ben Richards, I got sucked into the plot within five minutes.
I am not ashamed to say I cried during a couple of the songs (Run to you and I Have Nothing) Beverley Knight sang them amazingly well. They say you should never try and sing a Whitney Houston song, as you will never be as good. But Beverley managed to pull it off. She was extraordinary.
I have to say, I actually really enjoyed the performance of her “sister, Nikki” I felt she had a fantastic voice, and my heart warmed to her even more than the Rachel Marron character.
The show ended with an amazing finale, and when we left the theatre it was nearly three hours later!
We hopped back on the train and headed to Waterloo. I planned to take Mum down to the river, with a potential river cruise or a trip on the London Eye. Unfortunately we had missed the last cruise, so the London Eye it was!
When Mum saw it, she got so excited and said she had always wanted to go on it. We walked down to the ticket booth but the queue was absolutely ridiculous! I reckon there were at least 200 people in the queue and I honestly didn’t think that we would manage to get on there before our train was due.
Mum was a little disappointed but totally understood. We wandered along the South Bank for awhile, looking at the buskers and dancers before heading to the Embankment to get the tube to Euston.
We had an hour or so to kill whilst we waited for our train, so I took Mum to The Doric Arch pub, where we found two massive wing-back chairs to sequester ourselves in.
Enjoying a quiet drink, we passed our remaining time in London, before heading in to catch our train. Sitting in a relatively quiet carriage, we talked about our day inbetween dozing off. We finally arrived in Northampton around 1030pm, tired but very happy.
Oh and Mum has decided she wants to go and see “The Phantom of the Opera” next. She really has caught the theatre bug.
I will just make sure I pre-book the London Eye next time!!!