Saturday, 28 March 2009

Debra's Visit

Debra had planned a visit to London for 5 nights so I organised a super fun weekend for her.

Friday 27 March 2009
Tonight I had booked Debra and myself tickets to see the Lion King sneak peaks - Lion King Sneak Peak. It was excellent! The costumes and props were amazing. I would totally recommend it to everyone and anyone. Our tickets were around £35.00 I think, and they weren’t too bad.

28 March 2009

As you will all no doubt remember - TNT Picture, I won free tickets for two to Stonehenge and Bath and as Debra was my camera woman, she got invited (invited herself) along.
We headed down to Baker Street and headed on down to Stonehenge.
Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument located in the English county of Wiltshire. One of the most famous sites in the world, Stonehenge is composed of earthworks surrounding a circular setting of large standing stones and sits at the centre of the densest complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments in England, including several hundred burial mounds.

Archaeologists had believed that the iconic stone monument was erected around 2500 BC. However one recent theory has suggested that the first stones were not erected until 2400-2200 BC, whilst another suggests that bluestones may have been erected at the site as early as 3000 BC.

Free entry was included with the prize so we got our audio guide and headed on in. Unfortunately for us though the audio guide was so BORING and full of “I thinks” or “the theory is”, etc, etc. So we decided to do our own thing ...

…. It was pretty cool to see Stonehenge, mainly though to tell people “Oh yeah, I been there”, but otherwise its kinda disappointing… just some rocks in a field …

From Stonehenge it was a short ride to Bath.

Bath is a city in the ceremonial county of Somerset in the south west of England. The city was founded, among surrounding hills, in the valley of the River Avon around naturally occurring hot springs (the only ones in the United Kingdom, using the common definition of a spring with water above average human body temperature) where the Romans built baths and a temple.

Bath is a really beautiful city, unfortunately it was a bit cold and rainy and we didn't really have much time, but its definitely a city that I want to come back and visit.

29 March 2009
Debra was going home on Monday especially so that she could go to the Church on Sunday.

So I recruited some girls for a girls only Church session!

We had a great time and me and Debra partied the night away until getting booted out when the pub closed.
Me and Debra have also made a pact what happens at the Church ... stays at the Church.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Nicola's Green Tea Party

In the spirit of St Patrick's day, Nicola decided to have a green tea party at her house. Us girls thought it was a good chance to catch up and headed on down to Clapham.
Nicola pulled out all the stops and we had green scones, mint kit kats and green drinks.
Later on in the night, we raided her dress up chest! Can you guess who has the minnie mouse ears on?

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

St Patrick's Day

Today was St Patrick's Day so after a long hard 8 hour day at work I headed down to an Irish bar in Southwark (unfortunately, my green pieces didn't arrive from mum - and I note they still haven't arrived) so I didn't have anything green on, but by the looks of it, I wasn't the only one. It seems that Londoners don't really celebrate St Patrick's day here. Hardly anyone was dressed in Green, not many party goers and we headed up to the Finchley Road Walkie, an antipodean hideout, there wasn't even that many people in there. It was a little disappointing and if I was here again would def make sure I head to Ireland.

We still had a good time though, and by the time I got home at 12pm my biggest worry was how I was going to get the green shamrock tattoo off my face before work tomorrow!!

I love Beer!!

Joe (flatmate), me and Beth!

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

New Job

Hey All

Just thought I would let you know that I have a new job, yah!!!

I am working as a Personal Assistant to a partner in a small employment and commercial law firm, with get this, no dictation!!!!!! Yah!!! . We all sit in one big room!! The partner, the associate, the accounts lady and me.

It is an ongoing temping position which is so good am so loving having the money. They want to offer me a more longer term position, but my agent is just going through my "working" in London with a fine tooth comb to see how much I have worked and what I have left to work.

Damm, this crappy one year, totally ambiguous, working visa.

Anyway, am stoked to have a job, although 40 hours a week is a bit much ...

Monday, 16 March 2009

Oxford and Wantage

My flatmate has recently just purchased a car and we thought that we would take it for a spin. We decided to head out to Oxford to have a look around.

Oxford is a city, in the county town of Oxfordshire, in South East England. It has a population of 151,000. The rivers Cherwell and Thames run through Oxford and meet south of the city centre. For a distance of some 10 miles (16 km) along the river, in the vicinity of Oxford, the Thames is known as The Isis. Oxford is home to the University of Oxford, the oldest university in the English-speaking world.
Me and Amanda by the bridge
My friend Amanda lives in Oxford so we meet up with her so she could take us for a look around.
The bridge is often referred to as the Bridge of Sighs because of its supposed similarity to the famous Bridge of Sighs in Venice. However, Hertford Bridge was never intended to be a replica of the Venetian bridge, and indeed it bears a closer resemblance to the Rialto Bridge in the same city.
There is a false legend saying that many decades ago, a survey of the health of students was taken, and as Hertford College's students were the heaviest, the college closed off the bridge to force them to take the stairs, giving them extra exercise. However, if the bridge is not used, the students actually climb fewer stairs than if they do use the bridge

This is a picture of the University of Oxford - Christ Church, I believe. We had a stroll around the university gardens. I decided not to go in, as had been to lots of churches, etc. But Zac did and there are some pictures here . They filmed the Great Hall scene from Harry Potter here.

After our stroll around the gardens we headed to the Oldest Pub in Oxford for some drinks and some lunch.

Me and my flatmate, Melanie.

After Oxford we decided there was still enough light in the day for us to head to Wantage.
Wantage is a town and civil parish in the Vale of the White Horse, near the Thames Valley, in the English county of Oxfordshire (historically in Berkshire), and approximately 17 miles (27 km) south-southwest of Oxford. It is famous for being the birthplace of King Alfred the Great.
Wantage is also famous for the White Horse.
The Uffington White Horse is a highly stylised prehistoric hill figure, 374 feet (110 m) long, cut into the turf to reveal the underlying white chalk. The figure occurs on the upper slopes of White Horse Hill. The figure has been shown to date back some 3,000 years, to the Bronze Age. It has long been debated whether the chalk figure is intended to represent a horse or some other animal. However, it has been called a horse since the eleventh century at least.

My picture of the White Horse

Picture of the horse taken from above. We had a lovely hot air balloon ride and I took this picture ... :)

Sunday, 15 March 2009

London Icons

Today instead of twiddling my thumbs at home I decided to soak up some of the sunshine and go for a walk down by the Thames. Its so great to live in such an exciting city when at any time I can go and see some of the world's most famous icons.

Here are some pictures that I took.

Big Ben is the nickname for the great bell of the clock at the north-eastern end of the Palace of Westminster in London. The nickname is often also used to refer to the clock and the clock tower. This is the world's largest four-faced, chiming clock and the third largest free-standing clock tower in the world. It celebrates its 150th birthday in 2009.

The London Eye (also known as the Millennium Wheel), at a height of 135 metres (443 ft), is the biggest Ferris wheel in Europe, and has become the most popular paid tourist attraction in the United Kingdom, visited by over three million people in one year.

St Paul's Cathedral is the Anglican cathedral on Ludgate Hill, in the City of London, and the seat of the Bishop of London. The present building dates from the 17th century and is generally reckoned to be London's fifth St Paul's Cathedral, although the number is higher if every major medieval reconstruction is counted as a new cathedral. The cathedral sits on the edge of London's oldest region, the City, which originated as a Roman trading post along the edge of the River Thames. The cathedral is one of London's most visited sites. The Royal Family holds most of their important marriages, christenings and funerals at Westminster Abbey, but St Paul's was used for the marriage of Charles, Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer. The religious service for Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee was also celebrated there.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Michael's Leaving Party

My flatmate, Michael (Mick), who just arrived back from Egypt looking all tanned (that will be me in a few weeks!) was leaving London and heading back to oz. We all decided to head down to the Finchley Road Walkie (our local, ever more so since our other flatmate started working there) for a few (hmm) drinks before he had to leave at 6am the next morning to catch his flight.

The whole flat made the effort to come down and have a few drinks and dinner.

It was a Thursday night so there were a few people there and we were all having a good time, drinking, listening to awful karaoke and posing for fotos!

Dallas (flatmate), Michael (flatmate), Me and Beth

When the bar closed we ended up staying for the lock out and by the time we rolled in at 4am (glad I didn't have to work or go to the airport in the morning!) we were all very jolly and totally ready to go to bed. I put in the earplugs as I knew at 6am when the cab arrived the boys would not be ready!!

Needless to say Mick and Mike (who was going to Amsterdam) had little sleep, leapt out of bed to get into the taxi, got half way down the road and had to come back for a forgotten passport, made the way to the airport, fell asleep at breakfast and for Mike (who had packed at 4am that morning) had the worst one hour flight to Amsterdam ever!! Hmmm, boys will be boys hey!

Mick and Mike

They weren't this cheery on the way to the airport at 6am!! (hehe)

Thursday, 5 March 2009

All lit up

I have started playing in a new league for netball in Waterloo as my Camden league was just a nightmare. After the game I caught a bus to Westminster station and this is when I came across these. As I don’t frequent this part of the city often I forget that these amazing monuments are here and I hadn't seen them all lit up at night before. I had my camera with me (I am such a tourist) so I took some pictures.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Star spotting – Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson

I read that there was a film premiere in Leicester Square on Monday night for Marley & Me so I sneaked out of work early to go have a squiz.

The website I saw said it started at 5pm but recommended you get there at around 12pm for a good possie. Since I am a working woman now (ok well last three weeks, and fingers crossed for some more work after Friday) I had to go after work so go there around 5pm. I managed to secure myself a goodish possie, about 3 rows back from the main part of the red carpet which I was happy about, the guy in the front row was a professional star spotter I think (he had a book full to autographs). He said he had been there since 11.30am!

So after standing for about an hour and a half (next time will wear more comfy shoes) the stars finally started to rock up. First up was a kiwi singer, Hayley Westerna and after posing for a million photos with the press came over to the fans to sign some autographs and get in some pictures. Then came a few more stars, I assume they were British soap stars, I try to avoid British soaps like I do exercise, so I didn’t really know any of them and then they arrived … Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson in the flesh and blood and that was about the time that I got squashed like a sardine in the crowd as everyone clambered for a peak and photo. Because they were moving so quickly and didn’t stick around for long I took pictures with my quick succession setting so I would be sure to get them, so they aren’t the best quality but you can defiantly tell who they are. They were so close I could off touched them (if I was into that, for the record I’m not!) unfortunately though I wasn’t close enough for a photo with them or autograph. They were super nice, chatting to the fans, signing photos, smiling for photos with the fans and trying to please everyone before being ushered away.

Am loving the London free events and, next time I don’t have work (hopefully that won’t happen) will pop back down to Leicester Square to see who else I can spot.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

A little bit of India

On Saturday after Louisa and my DIY hair dye jobs (oh how I miss having the money to get it done at the hairdressers) I took Louisa on a surprise trip to India for the day. Ok well maybe not real India but I took her to a little slice of India in London as after googling “Free London Attractions” something caught my eye and since it was in Neasden, one tube stop up from me, we decided to walk (Louisa is training for a marathon and I am totally encouraging and supporting of this …).

After about half an hour of walking (and navigating over a big over, under, through, by pass) we stumbled across this …

Shri Swaminarayan Mandir (Hindu Temple)

Located in an unexpected and fairly barren area on the edge of north-west London, this amazingly spiritual and architectural gem is free to visit and well worth the trip out to the suburbs - in fact the bleak location makes the beauty and symbolism of the temple all the most spectacular. The first traditional Hindu Mandir in Europe, every one of the 26,300 individually carved pieces that make up its entirety were carved in India and shipped over to London. All of these pieces were then fitted together in just three years, between 1992 and 1995. Inside and outside this place is absolutely stunning. The stark white exterior, riddled with intricate detail and carvings, belies an opulent, colourful interior. Highly-fashioned pillars, domes, columns, carpets and ceilings provide the setting for some spectacular murtis rich with lavish thrones and royal attire. Please note: this is a place of worship so shoes should be removed and no shorts or skirts shorter than knee length should be worn.

Louisa was totally surprised and luckily she wasn’t wearing her slapper skirt (I think she only saves them for dressing up!! Love ya Lou) we were allowed to go inside and take a peak.

Once inside we had to take off our shoes and then we were allowed to walk around. Unfortunately the free audio guides were all gone so we just strolled at our own pace.

Inside was all beautifully carved. Some places in wood and others in, I think, marble. The temple has a large worshipping room with lots of, gods/idols? (not sure what they were but lots of statute things people were praying in front of and giving money and fruit to). We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside but have found some on the internet to give you a look at what it looked like inside.

It was nice to get out and about and see some more of London on foot. London is great for having free attractions, sometimes you just got to know where to look to find the hidden gems!