Autumn

“No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace as I have seen in one autumnal face.”

John Donne

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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!

Elf at the Tate

The Tate Britain is an overlooked art gallery that really does deserve more attention. The Tate Britain is home to a whole range of art through time. My favourite section is the School of London, which houses beautiful portraits.

The Tate Britain is a short walk from Pimlico station, although also a lovely walk across the river from Vauxhall. It’s a beautiful building and impressive to behold.

The galleries are laid out in time periods. Follow them around its worth it.

We stopped to spend time enjoying Ophelia by John Everett Millais and Carnation Lily, Lily, Rose by John Singer Sargent. Two of my absolute favourite paintings.

The Tate Britain is free to get into and also has seasonal exhibitions that cost to get into. It is much quieter that some of the art galleries in London and has a much calmer feel to it. It is a great afternoon out and the cake from the cafeteria looked amazing.

 

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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Elf on the bus

We love an afternoon tea at house Elf, and this one is a little special…its on a bus.  That’s right afternoon tea on a Routemaster bus.

IMAG3143.jpgThe bus takes you around the big sites of London starting at Victoria Coach Station.  Heading past Big Ben, Harrods, The Royal Albert Hall, around the park and back through Piccadilly to Victoria station.

Elf tip: Make sure you book in advance, you can select the seats and table that you would prefer.  We recommend paying the slightly higher price to sit on the upper deck, it is worth it.

We opt for the 5pm slot and climb on at Victoria Coach Station.  We’re on the upper deck and settle in with the amazing spread in front of us.  The team introduce themselves and take drink orders.  Cold and hot options are available and are served in lid-ed cups which fit into sunken cup holders on the table to prevent spillages.

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And we are off.

It is, slow.  Delicious but slow.

We munch our way though sandwiches of all different kinds.  Yum!

We make it to the Royal Albert Hall and the traffic gets the best of us so the bus makes a u-turn.  Meanwhile we are on to the cake section.  There are mini lemon tarts, mini chocolate muffins and little raspberry topped tarts.  Everything is superb.

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The whole thing is a great experience but:

Elf tip number 2:  Don’t book during peak time, go for the 12:30 slot instead.

The whole afternoon tea is wonderful in any case.  Cake, beautiful London, tea and the sights!

If you fancy booking in click here and always this is not a sponsored article.

Potter Elf

A confession…I love Harry Potter.  I’m a Potter Nerd.

In a wonderful and brilliant IMAG3106.jpgsurprise birthday treat my lovely sister took me to the Warner Brother’s Happy Potter Studios.

I nearly vomited with excitement when I found out.  Once I calmed down this is what we experienced.

Firstly, you need to book ahead.  There are specific time slots and if you don’t book you will not get in.  Also if you miss your time…you don’t get in!  So we headed over to Watford in good time and caught the transfer bus from just outside the station.  It is easy to find and only costs £2.50 return.

Once we arrive and collect our tickets, we are early so head in to the gift shop.  Everything that you can imagine from the Potter world can be found in here.  There are time-turners, Hogwarts uniforms (in all the house colours), chocolate frogs and wands!

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Our time comes and we line up for the tour, I won’t give away any spoilers but the start of the tour is great! We the wander in the Great Hall (epp!!) and then out into the heart of the studios.  There are costumes, sets, props, make up and interactive segments.  At the moment the Forbidden Forrest is the new attraction and the explanations of how the creepy woods were created is really great.

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Next we head into the food hall area and get our butter beer…I’m not IMAG3103.jpgsure about it to be honest…but butter beer ice cream! Yes, just yes!

Then we see some of the outdoor sets before heading back inside to the Hogwarts’ Express.  It is worth the line to head in to the train and have a look, each of the carriages are dresses for the films that they appear in.  On to the special effects area, so cool, real artistic genius.

And the end….well that is a surprise.  Go see it.

Even if you are not a Harry Potter fan you should go, the information that is available about the ways in which the world is created is really interesting.

My little nerd heart is perfectly buzzing at the end of the experience and I can’t wait to go back.

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