Secrets

So, we wanted to share some of our favourite secret things we have learn on our travels.  In no particular order:

 

Amsterdam – Vondel Park

If you want something low key and easy on the wallet whilst you are in Amsterdam, we thoroughly recommend a Picnic in Vondel park.  Lots of the supermarkets sell little BBQs that are disposable, grab one and join the locals.  Really is wonderful.

 

Porto – BBs Bar 

For the best view and money saving beer.  Head under the bridge on the Porto side of the river and grab a cheep beer from BBs, then grab a bit of wall.  Perfect.  Simple as that.

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Ouse Valley Viaduct

A short train trip from London and a walk will bring you to this wonderful location.  This Viaduct was built in 1841 and it something to behold.

 

Esposende (Northern Portugal) – De Lili & Ca

For the best pastry you can imagine…only you can’t imagine a pastry with pumpkin that would taste like this.  Really Pasteis de Lili are something else!  Covered in icing sugar and crisp pastry, perfect with coffee.

 

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Mowgli’s Favorite Parks

We love our walks, its a great way to get some exercise together, bond and enjoy London in a different way.  So, in honor of International Dogs Day, here are three of Mowgli’s favorite parks for walkies in London.

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Regents Park

Regent’s Park is one of the loveliest parks in central London.  We love to wander around and enjoy the beautiful gardens.  Though of course no dogs are allowed in the rose gardens.  But aside from that it is a dog friendly park with lots to explore together.

Clapham Common

Our local favorite and a very, very doggy park.  The common has both long wild grass areas and short grass for little legs.  There are lots of dogs to play with and lots of ponds as well.  We love the common.

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Finsbury Park

If you want something different, head to Finsbury Park and enjoy the old railway track walk.  there are lots of paths and places to explore. Great on a summer’s day and there is a lovely cafe in the middle of the Park which is dog friendly and does some yummy cakes and sandwiches.

 

Happy Walking!

Finals Elf

We’ve been there before, we’ve blogged about it before, but this time its different…this time its the finals.

Yes, the finals.  Men’s Wimbledon Finals.

We have tickets, mother and I. Tickets!!!

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So we’re off to Wimbledon.  We’ve packed the picnic, got our tickets and we arrive early to Wimbledon station.  There is a shuttle bus that will take you to the front gate and back for £5 return.  Or, you can do the half an hour walk to the gates.  It is nice whether so we head off.

It is electric inside.  The atmosphere is wonderful and we stumble across Federer warming up.  Next we head over to the men’s invitation doubles which is great fun.  Brilliant tennis is being played but no one is taking it seriously, the players laugh and banter with the crowd and it is more of a show than a match.  But so worth watching.

We find a bench for our picnics and enjoy the sun before heading to the Pimms tent.  Pimms in hand we make for the main event.

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The Center Court at Wimbledon is massive.  We seem to spend an age walking around the edges to our entrance. Eventually we make it to our seats and it begins.  The tennis is brutal, the clapping loud, tension intense, what an experience.  And yes, on this occasion it would have been nice for the match to have lasted longer, been closer…but still.  What an experience.

I’ve already got my ballot ready for next year!

Mowgli’s first adventure

This is it.  Adventure time with Mowgli.

We catch the train to Winchester.

There is a lot of snuggling and loving of a polite dog loving man we’ve not met before.  (Don’t worry Mr Elf, Mowgli did the snuggling and loving not me).  This seems to be the biggest issue we encounter with a pup on transport…his affection for complete strangers is inexhaustible.

received_10155108356117655Transport in London is pretty pet friendly.  No dogs on the seats and they must be “under control”.  So tubes, buses and trains are all open as long as you have these two rules sorted.

The train to Winchester is about 50-60 minutes long and do able in puppy bladder terms.  although we do ensure he is empty before we get on and he gets a change to go as soon as we get off.

Pubs and cafes are also for the most part dog friendly in the UK although, do respect the signs that say otherwise when you see them.

We spend the weekend tearing around the garden and avoiding the cat.  Said cat…not too keen on this usurper of affection and steal-er of unattended food.

The train ride back is easy…Mowgli is happy to all asleep on a lap and wake up back in London.

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Potter Prelude

Just a little bit of indulgence, here are two of my favorite quotes from J.K. Rowling.

 

 

“We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.”

J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

 

 

 

“You fail to recognize that it matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be!”

J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

 

Touring with tourists

We have guests, which is wonderful for so many reasons.  We get to hang out with our
fun friends, we get to eat awesome food and most of all we get to do touristy things!  Hurrah!

IMAG2641We catch the bus into Kensington, there is no traffic because everyone has headed out of London for the bank holiday so we wiz through town.

Its Easter so first of all its time for a treat. We head down to the Hummingbird bakery to tick of a “must do” for Phill.  We each choose something different and wonder over to Kensington Gardens with our treats.  Sitting in the sunshine near the Prince Albert memorial with views of the Royal Albert Hall we dig into our cakes…yum!  Definitely worth it.  Next we walk though the gardens and head over to the ponds and up towards the Palace before heading into Hyde Park and make our way to the Serpentine Gallery.IMAG2642

The Serpentine Gallery houses modern art exhibitions.  These change on a regular basis and on this occasion we went in to see “A World View: John Latham”.  I’m not going to say that I 100% understood what was happening, but this was interesting and worth having a look at, its free to get in.

Next we walk to a very beautiful pub called the Victoria, its old and stunning.  The food looks good, but the real gem is its old world feel.

A bit of something for everyone.

 

 

Mersea Island

Mersea Island is a large estuary island in Essex, close to Colchester.  You can grab a train to Colchester or the easiest option is to head out in a car.  It’s about an hour and half in the car and the scenery is lovely especially with the sun shining away.

I love London but sometimes you have to get out of the city and into the green or onto the sand.

Driving through the countryside laughing the time passes easily and we arrive via Colchester, which is quiet a pretty old Roman town.  Colchester is one of the UKs oldest towns and is steeped in history, and was once the capital of Roman Britain before being destroyed during Boadicea’s time.  There is a castle, museum and Roman walls, but we’re on a mission to the seaside!

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A little bit longer in the car and we head into Mersea and follow the signs to the seaside.

There are lots of families and everyone has their dog!  It’s great, we walk along the beach and follow the coast around and then along the coastal path.  There are swans in the water and one side and sail boats the other, we wonder and enjoy the sun and the fresh air.  You will need to keep your shoes on and don’t expect sand between the toes or palm trees.  Its brisk and the sand is full of oyster shells and muscle shells.  Its rugged and stark but wonderful.

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We’re hungry and we’ve a hankering for fish and chips.  My favourite.  We jump back into the car and head back towards West Mersea’s famous oyster bar.  It looks little more than a harbour shed with a pungent fish smell, but inside its full to bursting we are lucky and manage to get a seat.  The girls order oysters…the devil’s snot, not for me.  But, we also have haddock and chips with mushy peas and homemade tartare sauce…and it is amazing, seriously the best fish and chips I think I have ever had (and I eat a lot of fish and chips…it’s my favourite, my go to in pubs across the world).

Such a good day out.  Really everyone should go. Get out in the sun and enjoy.

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