Everyday Is A Miracle

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Everything Is Awesome in Legoland Hotel Malaysia

A warning sign in the children bedroom in Legoland Hotel

Finally, one of the boy’s bucket list was checked! He really wanted to stay in one of the Legoland’s Hotel, and after we decided not to stay in Legoland Hotel on our trip to Windsor (and we were glad that we had made that decision), he aimed for Legoland Hotel Malaysia and he stated clearly that he wanted this for his birthday present. So here we were on one Friday morning trying to do an early check in but failed……………….hahaha…………….well, at least we had tickets to the theme park and could enter the park earlier before the crowd came rushing in (well, there was no crowd anyway on weekday morning). For the story of our Legoland Theme Park experience can be read here.

Parking was free for hotel guest, so please ask for free parking once you arrive and before you check out. We didn’t take many pictures outside and inside the hotel lobby area as we did there before, but the lobby area was just the same as I remembered it used to be (with lots of Legos to play with and Lego stores). It was a large playground with thousands of colorful Legos which came in many different sizes too, but don’t expect to find slides or swings inside the hotel………………oh, and no gym facilities either, so go ahead and have fun with your children building Legos all night long as it will be the only activities for parents outside the room. 

It was still the same lobby area as I remembered (even all the decorations were the same)………………it proved that I still had good memories……………

 

The lobby area was just as crowded as it used to be, even though it was weekday

I made the booking online through the hotel website. There were 2 room choices and with 3 different themes. Since we were only 4 people, I chose the Premiere room (Suite room could accommodate up to 8 people which clearly was too big for us), and the boy said he wanted to stay in the Kingdom Theme room. The other options were Pirate room and Adventure Room.

When I finally made my way to the hotel receptionist at 5 pm, the reception said the rooms were still full and so we were upgraded to the Suite Room…………….yippiee………………what a luck………….

We got the room in the 7th floor (the highest floor) and we had both Legoland Theme Park and Water Park as the view from our room. So nice! The Premiere rooms which located just opposite the Suite rooms faced the street (weren’t we so lucky to get upgraded to a Suite Room with direct view to the theme park?) And we were also stayed on the highest floor, so we could see almost the whole area of the park in a very good angle.

Going up with an elevator full of music and dancing lights. It was quite fun to guess what song would we be hearing once we stepped in into the elevator

 

A huge waiting area in front of the elevator in 7th floor, which I don’t think necessary because once we pushed the button, the elevator would come within seconds……………so there was no need to sit, right? Well, unless you want to just chill out and have a nice conversation with friends just like what we saw some of the guests did

 

Every floor had different pattern on the carpet based on the room theme and it was very interesting to see. Since we were staying in the Kingdom Theme Floor, the pattern on the carpet was all about kingdom, although I had no idea why there were brooms (kinda reminded me of Cinderella story, hahaha…………)

 

Finally, our room was at the end of the alley………….

 

A room with a view to the theme park, and we loved to see the park at night and in the morning when it was so quiet

 

The view to the water park made us wanted to jump right away into the water

We were wowed when we finally entered the room. It was huge as it had the capacity of 8 people with 1 master bedroom and 2 bunk beds plus 1 extra mattress which we later found inside the cupboard. So actually, 9 people could sleep there. There were 2 bathrooms (while the standard room only had 1 bathroom), and there was even a bathtub inside the children’s bathroom. Oh, and the master bathroom (which was not inside the master bedroom) was also so big……………….

So now, let me take you around the room

Big corridor, extra pillows, baby cot, extra mattress, slippers (and the hotel even gave 3 pairs of small slippers for young children which were oh so cute), safe deposit box, and…………..2 big boxes of Legos to play with (just remember not to bring the boxes home…………..). On the left side of the door was the kids bathroom with a bathtub

Bathroom for children with lower sink and mirror and full amenities. Ouch, there was a spider on the wall………….

 

Dining room with free fruits

 

The kids bedroom with 3 storeys bunk bed. Adults were not supposed to be here, hahaha…………there was even a TV for the kids so they didn’t disturb the parents who watched their own TV show

 

He marked where he wanted to sleep. These bunk beds were also served as playground for the children (because jumping up and down was so fun for the kids, yet I had to figure out for few minutes of how to get down safely from above)

 

Living room with big TV and huge windows overlooking the theme park

 

Huge master bathroom and I super loved the colorful cups. The Legoland puzzles on the bottom right picture were actually consisted of soap, comb, toothbrush, etc

 

The bedroom for king and the queen……………….don’t you just love the decoration and the color?

 

It’s a treasure chest……………..solve the mystery, open the lock, and bring home the prize

 

Working together to answer questions to open the combination of the lock

Let’s play with these Legos

 

Let’s build a super tall tower

By the way, we really liked that the hotel brought the kingdom theme to life in the room. I mean, look at all the details and decorations around the room:

A knight was hiding behind the fruits

 

A princess stood behind the coffee table. By the way, we got all these things in the minibar for free (the food and beverages, but not the mugs and the coffee machine…………..). The hazelnut cookies were so yummy, and was tempted to bring the mugs and the spoons home……………

 

Far far away kingdom from hundreds of years ago

 

The master bedroom’s decoration

This has nothing to do with the decoration, but I just wanted to show you that this was the first time I saw the hotel gave these kinds of fruit tea (from mango, coconut, strawberry, to pineapple).

They look good, don’t they?

Since it was a child friendly hotel, basically the children could play all day and all night long with thousand of Legos in the first floor. So, this was what we did (along with other children who stayed up late) at night time.

Well, first, let’s took picture in front of the restaurant since it was going to be crowded in the morning. So this was the best time to take pictures with almost no one around

 

This looked big at night, but not in the morning where hundreds of people stormed out to have breakfast at the same time

 

Ice cream man

 

The waiting room before our room number was called for breakfast in the morning, and it would be so full the next morning

 

Let’s build a fortress at night

The next morning before breakfast, we already planned to check the pool in the third floor. We already saw the pictures of the pool from the website, so we didn’t expect much. It wasn’t crowded either since most of the guests preferred to spend their time in the water park instead (that was my guess………………..)

 

Different carpet pattern on the way to the swimming pool

 

Deep pool (1.2 M) for adults, but as you can see, there were no adults here because they chose to spend time here:

 

In the kids pool while building Legos………………This was out of expectation since we were not aware of this pool from the pictures in the website, but this was so much fun for the parents and the children

 

Working together to build a raft

 

This pool was suitable for all ages

For the breakfast, like I said before, it was very crowded although we went down after at almost 9.30 am. We had to give our room number to the staff and then she would call us when the seats were ready. Although it was very crowded, but the staff kept replenishing the food so we didn’t see any empty trays during our breakfast time. Unfortunately, the ice cream factory for kids was no longer available during breakfast.

We loved the hashbrowns as they were so crispy and not oily

Besides the hashbrowns, fried chicken, and fresh fruits choices, we didn’t find other kinds of food were good enough. The salad was not so fresh, I didn’t like the salad dressing, we tried the bread, cakes, mantou, and pao but we agreed that none of them tasted good. Even the vegetarian yong tau foo didn’t taste good.

The boy filled his plate with potatoes and fried chicken only, then had orange juice and milk

Good thing was, there were 4 kinds of milk including chocolate milk (and Milo near the juice bar), so this must had been heaven for the kids. There were so many choices of food but I didn’t think most of them tasted good.

Nasi lemak and its condiments, salad bar, milk, and egg tart

 

The not so crowded restaurant after 10 am when most of the people already went to the theme park

 

After breakfast activity: building gate

Aside from the breakfast quality, we had such a wonderful time at Legoland Hotel where everything was so awesome especially for the children.

It was a hard time to ask him to go home…………………because he still wanted to play and enjoy the hotel

 

This huge painting was actually made of Legos………………..

Goodbye Legoland Hotel, hopefully we will came back again one day.

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Back To Legoland Malaysia

I actually didn’t expect to be back again to Legoland this soon (especially after our Legoland Windsor trip), but for his birthday this year, my not so little boy asked to stay in Legoland Hotel and visit Legoland Theme Park as his present. Well, since staying in Legoland Hotel was not cheap at all, it took time for us to finally said yes to his proposal……………..so we would be staying for one night in Legoland Hotel and playing in the theme park on the first day of our visit. Since he knew that Legoland Hotel was very expensive, the boy offered to pay for the Theme Park tickets for the four of us (including my mother) from his angpow (money he received on Chinese New Year), hahaha…………and asked me to go to the bank to withdraw his money to pay for the tickets. I said yes, but actually I didn’t do it. Well, he’s going to be a teenager soon, and I don’t think he’ll be enjoying Legoland as much as he did before, so I think all the money that we’ve spent for this trip it was worth the investment (memories, happiness, smiles, laughter, togetherness).

I chose to visit the theme park on weekdays on the last day of Singapore school holiday although I heard lots of protests from him of why couldn’t we go earlier, hahaha………..but it was a very good choice since there was almost no queue anywhere except for the newest Ninjago ride in the afternoon. Based on what I know, Malaysia school holiday hadn’t started yet so I predicted the queue would be manageable. I’ve blogged about Legoland before, so for a complete review and tips on what to bring to Legoland and how to beat the queue, you can read it in my post here.

We went to Johor, Malaysia early in the morning and was so happy to see almost no queue at both Singapore Tuas and Malaysia immigration clearance. Singapore cars now have to pay RM 20 at the immigration counter using Tap and Go card before entering Malaysia (one time only and no need to pay when leaving Malaysia).

We parked at the hotel parking area (free parking for hotel guests), and although we couldn’t do an early check in, but we were able to store our luggage in the concierge, got the free WiFi password, and were allowed to enter the theme park 30 minutes earlier before opening time as hotel guests (double happiness…………….)

We were rushed to the theme park and didn’t even remember to take pictures in front of Legoland Theme Park or even in front of the hotel………………..we completely forgot……………..but never mind, we did it before so it wasn’t a big deal anyway.

Only very few rides were already opened at that early time. There were some dancing and singing from the staff who asked the children to join too, but the boy wasn’t showing any interest at all (big boy didn’t do singing and dancing with little children, hahaha…………..)

No queue at the boating school ride

That early morning, only boating school, driving school, Lego City Airport, and Legoland Express at the Lego City were opened. We only rode Boating School attraction and Legoland Express as the others didn’t seem to interest the boy at all.

One of the ride with longest queue in the park once it was opened could be seen here. Luckily, we were here first

Since there was no other option and we didn’t know what else to do, we decided to board the train to see Miniland from far far away……………..

All Aboard……………..

 

A glimpse of Miniland from the train

And nope, we didn’t come back to see Miniland in the afternoon as no one even remembered that this place even existed…………..besides, we were too exhausted and all wet because of the rain and to be honest, a bit boring too for us……….

The park was not crowded at all and some of the rides were not even opened yet even after 1 hour after the park’s opening time. For the whole day, the only ride that we needed to queue was only Ninjago (the newest and favorite ride in Legoland). Since the boy loved it, he rode this twice and he had to queue twice (but this one was not my kinda thing to do, I was so sleepy in the middle of the ride………………hey, I needed some adrenaline rush………………so yeah, bring me that roller coaster rides…………….)

I loved this ride because it had air con (it was very hot outside………………). We were not allowed to take pictures inside

 

There are the reason why my pictures were almost everywhere in almost every ride. It was because daddy decided that he would not try any rides which was going to take him higher than his height……………….so yeah, mommy was on duty again……………..

 

Hey, this wasn’t even scary at all………………

We then saw the Ninjago Ride and was so excited to try this new ride, but then were very disappointed when we saw “Under Maintenance” sign at the door. The ride was not going to open until few hours later. Well, we thought that the reason the staff put the words under maintenance was because we were the only ones there, so it would be a great loss for them if we were the only ones playing because that meant that they had to run the whole rides. It would be a waste of electricity, so yeah……….we got it……………..

Matching costumes with the background

 

Ice and water Ninjago Lego ( or so I thought……………I don’t even know any of the characters from Ninjago)

 

This one definitely was Fire…………….

 

On the way to the Land of Imagination

 

It was so hot……………

The first ride that we saw was this Observation Tower. Well, we saw Lego Studio but the movie was not about to start until 30 minutes later, so we decided to ride this first. The moment we walked to the entrance gate, the staff immediately put Under Maintenance sign when he saw us……………..hahahaha…………………ok, we got it………..we were the only four people who were going to ride this huge tube, so he decided that it was not worth to operate it just for us, but it was opened 30 minutes later and again, no queue because there were very few people showed up at that time.

Relaxing ride……………….daddy was brave enough to ride this because this big thing moved so slow that we didn’t feel the movements at all

So, while waiting for the ride to open and the movie to start, the best way to do was to go inside this Build and Test Building and had a nice seat in a super cold environment (I love air con because once again, it was so hot outside).

Building Legos

 

They had fun trying to build cars

After we were done with the movie and saw the whole Legoland from the Tower, the boy and I head straight to the Kids Power Tower which I really wanted to try to prove that I was strong enough to bring us to the very top………………

Let’s begin………………

 

Yes, we were strong enough to go the the top several time…………………and dropping down was the best part of it all………………

 

This Merlin’s Challenge ride in Lego Kingdom was not as fun as the one in Windsor. I got dizzy after riding this ride in Windsor because it moved so fast, but not in here……………..

 

Next stop, was one of our favorite ride, and it was The Dragon Roller Coaster. Seriously, I really thought that my bravery level had gone up to at least 5 steps above since I could ride The Dragon without closing my eyes, ride Project X more than once, and was happily asked my son so ride Dino Island for the second time and would have absolutely gone up for the third time if we were not too wet and too cold and just wanted to go to to our hotel room in the afternoon.

With very short queue, we managed to ride The Dragon 3 times before lunch time…………..wow…………..what a record……………

 

Our favorite roller coaster: The Dragon. I love this picture because I looked slimmer in this photo, hahaha…………..but pictures can be deceiving………………..

Even the family who queued in front of us said that last time when they went to Legoland, they had to queue for 1.5 hours, so they were happy to see no crowd in their favorite ride.

Lunch time……………we were back to PizzaMania just like last time. By the way, since it was weekday, not all restaurants were open, so there were not many choices either

 

Nom Nom Nom…………..2 pizzas, spaghetti, chicken wings, and salad…………….and not to forget: cold drinks…………

After our tummies were so full, we needed some time to digest the food before going to another roller coaster ride. So let’s head to the Star Wars Miniland (daddy’s favorite).

On the way to Star Wars Miniland, which luckily was indoor with air con………….yippie………………

 

The display inside was actually very good, but since I knew nothing about Star Wars, it was boring for me

 

If you like Star Wars, then you would like this a lot because the details were amazing

By the way, my grown up boy didn’t want to play in the playground which were many inside the theme park. Well, in a good side, it saved time too…………..hahaha……………

He rode this 5 times…………………..which would not have happened when if we went on weekends

 

Spray……….spray………………

 

It was fun…………….

 

The only picture with Legoland Hotel in the background since we completely forgot to take picture in front of the hotel

 

Are you ready for Project X? It was amazing to see little kids showed no scary faces when riding this (compared to me who had to scream so loud every time we slide down)

 

3 times in Project X…………………absolutely broke my record since I promised to myself not to ride this more than one

 

Why did this Technic Twister move so slowly…………..? I expected to feel a bit dizzy but not at all

The last ride for us was Dino Island……………yes, we saved the best for last……………….and we loved it since we got all wet and we also rode it under the rain (it was drizzling so it was safe enough to open the ride).

Going once………….

 

Going twice…………..

The boy and daddy still went for another performance of Ninjago while my mom and I went straight to the hotel to get the room key. Overall, it was a very enjoyable day at Legoland and we hope there will be more thrilling rides when we come again……………..


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London Trip 2016: The Plan, The Flight, and The Hotel

Do you still remember my post about my dream to visit the place of Hercule Poirot’s filming location from Agatha Christie’s mysteries books? The post title was My Travel Wish. I shared the dream with my boy. Since the filming location for Agatha Christie’s books was England where it was also the filming location and the background story for Enid Blyton’s children books, my boy showed very high interest and we had been talking about visiting England one day (at that time we still didn’t know yet and thought that it might be somewhere in the future when he’s in high school).

Well, then the boy was more interested in visiting Legoland and Harry Potter Studio and castle ruins than the villages where Miss Marple and The Famous Five might had been lived once in a blue moon………….

So anyway, we shared the same wish and dream of visiting England and we also had the same mission to persuade daddy to agree with our holiday proposal…………….and after calculated the budget several times (more than ten times), he finally agreed with us to go to UK in the boy’s year end school holiday. Were we happy? Of course we were very happy, but followed by very stressful days of applying UK visa, hahaha…………… There were many documents to prepare and forms to fill in. Plus, we had to wait for another 3 weeks before we saw on our passports that we had been granted UK visas, hooray……………

To apply for UK Visa from Singapore (for Indonesian Passports), you have to apply online via the website: www.vfsglobal.co.uk/singapore

You will have to fill in the online documents and make online appointment before submitting your applications by yourself  to VSF Global Singapore in Cecil Street. No need to buy flight tickets and book hotels before your visa is approved. Also, no need to submit printed photos as the staff will be taking your photos and finger prints in VSF office. Just read in the website and follow all the guidance in the website to know more about applying for UK Visa. All are clearly stated in the website. There was no interview when we applied for UK Visa.

VSF notified us by email when our passports were ready for collection, but they didn’t tell us whether we got our visa or not. On the collection day, we went to VSF Office again and the staff gave us sealed envelope for each passport, and we were very happy to find out that our visas were approved…………….

Power plugs in London is the same as in Singapore

I also did some research and found out that power plugs in London is the same as in Singapore

I also decided to buy Oyster Cards at the VSF Office (the counter was just next to passport collection counter). Oyster Card was basically an electronic card that we would use to ride tube (tube is like MRT in Singapore) and bus around London. I just had to buy 2 Oyster Cards for 2 adults because our son which was not 11 years old by then, could travel for free around London. Yes for that………….

2 Oyster Card (cost about SGD 84). Whatever amount was left in the card could be refund at the end of our trip

2 Oyster Card (cost about SGD 86 and we got GBP 20 in each card). We could refund whatever amount was left in the card at the end of our trip, whether in stations in London or in VSF Office in Singapore. We didn’t need to activate the cards and could just use it right away on our first train ride from airport to the nearest tube station from our hotel. Very easy………..

The cost of our trip was quite predictable since we had to buy most of the tour package online either to get cheaper price or because it was requested to do so. For example, Harry Potter Studio Tour and Legoland tickets must be bought online. Southeastern train tickets to Leeds Castle was also a must to buy online in order to guarantee lower price. We also bought Leeds Castle entry tickets and Chelsea Stadium Tour tickets online because it was cheaper by 10%. For Tower of London entry tickets, we bought them on the spot since we were not so sure if we were going to enter the old palace or not. Of course, our hotels had to be booked and paid before. Note: all the ticket prices can be checked in their websites.

The boy excitedly helped me making our itineraries

The boy excitedly helped me making our itineraries. Yes, it was handwritten by me and the boy. Although, at the end we didn’t really follow the schedule, but the list helped us a lot in quickly deciding where to go everyday

For food and transport (our daily live while in London) and to buy small souvenirs, the total cost for the 3 of us was around GBP 750.

After comparing the price, time of departure and arrival, and also passengers review, we finally chose red-eye flight from Singapore to Heathrow London by Singapore Airlines (direct flight for 14 hours). We departed just after midnight and arrived in London very early in London (Singapore time is 7 hours ahead of London). The options for direct flight were British Airways or Singapore Airlines, but since we will not be using BA very often, we chose to stick to SQ to earn the miles. The price was almost the same (it depends on flight time).

Changi Airport midnight time............we were ready to go and brought 2 neck pillows from home

Changi Airport midnight time…………we were ready to go and brought 2 neck pillows from home

Surprisingly, it was very a very pleasant flight although I was very worried of the long hours flight that we had to take (so worried that I was very nervous even weeks before, I hate long hours flight and the feeling like a I was trapped in a small cubicle for more than 10 hours somehow scared me…………. ). Thankfully, flying with Singapore Airlines was very convenient and it didn’t feel like we were in a long journey, and we did actually enjoyed the flight and just like that………….we arrived safely in London. I somehow didn’t feel like I was trapped in a small space for hours like I was afraid of. Maybe because I was also distracted by the boy who was constantly hungry and thirsty and asked for food and drink, hahaha……………and then slept on my lap for hours (after 2 hours, I gave up and either sat on the armchair or just stood up in the corridor because my half body just felt numb). That was how I ended up sleeping for only 2 hours on the plane.

The boy got Finding Dory Memory Game Kit and special earphones for kids

The boy got Finding Dory Memory Game Kit and special earphones for kids on the flight from Singapore to London, but not when we returned from London to Singapore

 

Selfie on the plane

Selfie on the plane. He was very excited and kept asking us to order a taxi and go to airport early, and kept shouting “UK, UK, UK, UK” on the taxi ride, hahaha………

 

Spacious legroom (spacious enough for me)

Spacious legroom (spacious enough for me) with touch screen entertainment system

When we flew with SQ in a long haul flight, we didn’t have to worry about getting hungry or thirsty. There was food and drink all the time every time we felt hungry (and we did feel hungry so many times, hahaha……………). Even the boy liked his child’s meal and he kept on snacking whenever he woke up.

Before dinner, the stewardess gave us each a menu book so we could choose what food and drink that we wanted for supper, snacks, and breakfast. For beverages, there were so many choices from wine, beer, cocktails, mocktails, spirits, liqueurs to non alcoholic drink such as soft drinks, fruit juices, coffee, and tea. Since we didn’t drink alcoholic beverages, the choices were mainly just fruit juices, soft drink, or just plain water. By the way, here is all the food that we had during the flight

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Supper: Quinoa Salad with Baby Shrimp; Deep Fried Pork with hot bean sauce, Chinese vegetables, and and fried egg noodle; Chocolate Banana Cake; Bread Roll and Spread; Choice of beverages (mine was apple juice and water). As a big fan of noodle, I thought the taste of the main dish was good, but I didn’t like the taste of quinoa no matter how healthy it was according to many people.

 

Kids' meal for supper: fried fish fillet,

Kids’ meal for supper: fried fish fillet, bread, fruit, crackers, raisin, chocolate bar, crackers, and biscuits plus a small paperback underneath the white cup

 

Feeling hungry after dinner?

And when we felt hungry after dinner, we could go to the snack bar near the restroom for chips, cold sandwiches, assorted nuts, Hershey chocolate bar, fresh fruits, and dried fruits. The boy ate all of the potato chips in one go (thankfully he didn’t have a sore throat after that). Since we were in holiday mood, I let him ate whatever he wanted. Plus, I didn’t know how many times he went to the “kitchen” to get water and orange juice from the stewardess

 

Look who still continued eating while other passangers were sleeping................

Look who still continued eating while other passengers were sleeping…………….well, since he was already hungry and breakfast was still 2 hours from being served, the stewardess offered him cup noodles, which he gladly received

 

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As usual, kids meal was served first and he got sausages and pancakes, cereal, bread, biscuits, yogurt, and orange juice

 

breakfast

Adult’s breakfast: the choice of braised egg noodles with soya chicken and Chinese greens or baked eggs with bacon, bake beans, sauted mushrooms and roasted potatoes. Of course my choice was the first one……………I would never be able to eat sunny side up eggs like those ones. The bread was also very nice by the way

 

Someone certainly had a good time during the flight.............

Someone certainly had a good time during the flight………….

After 14 hours, we finally arrived in Heathrow Airport Terminal 2 (I read that it was the newest terminal). We the continued to proceed to the immigration clearance (it was a long walk from by the way to the immigration clearance). We queued for more than 1 hour (unless we had an SQ pass that allowed us to skip the line and went straight to the VIP line with shorter and sometimes no queue at all, but too bad we weren’t SQ Gold Members, so we waited in the super long line). The staff at the immigration counter asked several questions after checking our passports, such as why we went to London, how long would we stay, where would we stay, and even asked the boy how long his school holiday would be………………..and finally we were cleared we were so happy to finally go out from the airport.

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Very tired face and we really needed to bathe and sleep, but it was still early in the morning so we couldn’t check in to our hotel. We just dropped the baggage in the hotel concierge and went to National History Museum

It was warm inside the airport and getting cooler once we ere inside, and even though everybody was tired and sleepy, but we were so happy and excited to start our holiday journey in London.

Since we already bought Oyster Cards in Singapore and didn’t need to activate them anymore, we went straight to the tube station in T2 (just follow clear signs of how to go to the tube station). There were many ways to the city from the airport, but taking the tube was absolutely the cheapest (it only cost us less than GBP 4 for the three of us – because the boy was still free). We could take taxi or chartered car (which was cheaper than taxi) but it would cost us at least GBP 35 one way. There was also express train to the city but it was also more expensive.

Tube Station Heathrow T2

Tube Station Heathrow T2

Look inside the train………………..it was very different than Singapore MRT (the seats I mean). The seats were soft and comfortable (more like a sofa than a train seat to me, hahaha………….)

On the way to Hammersmith station

On the way to Hammersmith station

 

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Some trains even had backward seats

 

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Not to worry that you will miss your stop, because every upcoming station is announced clearly

During our trip, we commuted mostly by train (and sometimes bus). When we needed to take taxi, it was cheaper to take Uber Taxi (daddy installed the application on the phone).

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No gates between the platform and the railway. There was also a small indoor waiting room in the platform to warm yourself in winter time

Our hotel in London was Holiday Inn Express Hammersmith. I decided which hotel to stay after a long search comparing the prices, the locations, the facilities, and mostly people’s review, and it didn’t disappoint us at all.

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Lyric Square in Hammersmith near Holiday Inn Hotel

 

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Lyric Square,Hammersmith

Some of the reasons why I finally chose this hotel were because:

  • Location. This hotel was near the train station, and from Hammersmith there were direct trains to most of the tourist attractions that we visited. The hotel was also closed to supermarket, mall, drugstore, convenience stores, restaurants, and shops who sold shoes, bags, and clothes.
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    Hammersmith station in the morning

     

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    The tube became extremely crowded during weekdays morning and afternoon, but extremely convenient on weekends

     

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    My favorite place to shop: Superdrug and Boots where all items seemed to be extremely cheaper than in my hometown, and this was one of my favorite brand: Loreal. They were not just drugstore basically, but they also had everything from branded perfume, soap, cosmetics, skin care, shampoo, etc

     

    There were a restaurant that served breakfast, lunch, and dinner and also Subway

    Subway was nearby the hotel…………….and also other restaurant that served all day dining

     

    We also went to the supermarket to find different kind of snacks that we didn't find in our home town, and this was one of our favorite: potato chips with

    We also went to the supermarket to find different kind of snacks that we didn’t find in our home town, and this was one of our favorite: potato chips with smoky bacon flavor

  • Price. This was definitely cheaper than staying very close to the city.
  • Very good reviews
  • Daddy was a member of Holiday Inn Group, so we got additional 10% discount and some points too. I didn’t book from Agoda.com or booking.com, because after we got the member discount, it was cheaper to book directly to the hotel.
  • Our boy got to stay and eat for free
  • The price was included breakfast
  • Free unlimited WiFi (very important, hahaha………….)
This was the waiting room, and at the back was the breakfast room

This was the waiting room, and at the back was the breakfast room

The downside was that the room was very small………………so small that we were quite shocked, hahaha……………well, actually, I have read in reviews that hotels in London had very small rooms (expect maybe if we stayed in 4 or 5 star hotels it would be a different story), so we should have been prepared, rite? The rooms also looked smaller because the hotel added one free extra bed for us (it might be a  common practice to add extra bed for kids for free?), so we only had very little space to put all our belongings.

The bathroom

The bathroom…………….small but clean

 

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The queen bed was soft and comfortable. There was very little space for our luggage, so our room was so messy during our stay…………..but somehow the cleaner managed to tidy it up everyday, hahaha…………….kudos to them for doing that!

 

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Almost no space between the bed

 

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It took time for us to figure out what was the function of the three wooden knobs, hahaha…………we were not familiar with those things in our hometown. Well, thankfully I realized that they were used to hang clothes or towels

 

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It was very lucky that I brought my own clothes hangers (which I never did before), if not there would not be enough hangers for our winter coats, sweaters, and other clothes

There were air con and also heater inside the room, and then there were also coffee, tea, sugar, and milk in small packets, a kettle to boil water, and also toiletries like soap, shampoo, toothbrush, and toothpaste. Other things that we needed but were not in the room, we could always ask to the receptionist. Hair drier was also provided in the room. Extra coffee, tea, sugar, and milk were also provided near the reception area. I always took some because I always had to put at least 4 packets of sugar in my tea (I always liked very sweet tea, but now I’m reducing my sugar consumption because it’s not healthy). There was also microwave, plate, spoons, forks, and bread knives that we could use for free (just remember to return them back………….), and those things were also placed near the reception area.

Extra tea, coffee, sugar, and milk if we ever needed any

Extra tea, coffee, sugar, and milk if we ever needed any

It was a nice stay for us because although the room was small, but it was clean. All the staff was also very friendly and helpful. Most of all, we loved the breakfast. There was not a big selection of food like in the hotel in my hometown, but everything taste good and all food was in good quality. Fresh bread, fresh fruit, fresh milk were served everyday. The breakfast selection was the same everyday during our stay, but we still liked it and no we miss the super yummy plain croissant.

It was absolutely the best croissant ever

It was absolutely the best croissant that we ever tasted. It was plain but so yummy, soft and crunchy. It really tasted different that what we usually had.  We even discussed if the chef used different milk or butter of flour than the ones that we knew. Even daddy and I who never really liked eating bread (especially me), ate this everyday and we never got bored. We were not worried about the boy as he was bread lover. And now we all miss this croissant so much

Besides the croissant, we also loved the muffins (chocolate and banana muffins) which was in the picture above. I didn’t like muffins and I didn’t eat muffins because I always hated the texture, but these ones were different, they were just delicious. I don’t know what’s the name of the fruit, but I loved it and I ate that at least 1 bowls everyday. I liked the sourness of the fruits which went well with the muffins (only I liked the fruits by the way, the others even refused to try, hahaha…………….). There were other fruits too like berries, but I didn’t like berries.

Someone was enjoying breakfast so much, hahaha...........he even read newspaper

Someone was enjoying breakfast so much, hahaha………..he even read newspaper while having breakfast (something that he never did)

When we arrived at the first day, it was still early in the morning and we couldn’t do the check in process yet. So after we gave the our luggage to the reception to be kept temporarily, the staff offered us to have breakfast because it was still breakfast time (yes for the three of us without extra charge).My husband didn’t believe me when I said we were offered breakfast for free so he checked with the reception again, hahaha…………..(maybe it was a common practise since my friend was also had the same experience when staying in other hotel), but it was a nice welcoming gesture from them, especially because we were so hungry, hahaha…………..

Which one do you like?

Which one do you like?

 

No matter how much we ate in the morning (and we always ate a lot), wealways felt hungry not long after that, hahahaha................

No matter how much we ate in the morning (and we always ate a lot), we always felt hungry not long after that, hahahaha…………….let’s blame the cold weather…………….

Although the breakfast was a simple one compared to other Holiday Inn hotels that we’ve stayed before in Asia, but the quality was good. The English breakfast like croissant, sausages (very yummy sausages), scrambled eggs (I don’t like scramble eggs so I never ate that dish), beans (perfect to be eaten with sausages), bread and cheese and jams, choices of cereals, fruits like apples and bananas and berries, and cold yogurt. Drink choices were varied from coffee, tea (and there were some selections of tea that I never knew before but very nice), milk, hot chocolate, and fruit juices.

My other favorite: croissant with sausages and beans and salt and pepper (no chili, so I had to use lots of pepper)

My other favorite: croissant with sausages and beans and salt and pepper (no chili, so I had to use lots of pepper)

 

I am not a big fan of tea (and coffee too), so it's very rare that I drink tea, but these tea selection was so good

I am not a big fan of tea (and coffee too), so it’s very rare that I drink tea, but these tea selections was so good, especially the fruity ones.

After 8 days exploring London and Windsor, it was time to go home. We were so sad because we still wanted to see and do more, but we had to go back. We really loved London and Windsor because those cities were just beautiful and the people were friendly and polite (even the boy recognize this and said to me that it was very impressive to see the people were so polite). Anyway, it was an amazing experience to finally see the city of our dream and also, we were so lucky that the weather was so great (no rain) during the days that we were there. One different thing that we recognized immediately was that when we rode an escalator, we had to stay in the right lane not in the left like like in Singapore (and we forgot a lot of times, hahaha………………).

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Not all toilets were free. Sometimes, we had to pay and insert some coins to open the turnstile to the toilet. If we had no coins, we could exchange in this machine. All public toilets were clean and convenient to use

Well, finally, it was time to go to the airport. We had to do a self service online checking in the machines in the airport, printed the boarding pass and baggage tag, then dropped the baggage in the counter where the staff would check our passport. We then continued queuing for the GST refund, and just entered the airport for bag check……………and then we realized that there wasn’t any immigration clearance counter at all. Afraid that we might missed one step, we actually tried to look for the immigration clearance but didn’t find any, so we guessed we were settled. Just like that, we were inside this super big airport and decided to have dinner with fish and chips before we boarded the airplane.

Blue Christmas tree inside Heathrow Airport

Blue Christmas tree inside Heathrow Airport

 

We just randomly picked this restaurant

We just randomly picked this restaurant

 

Fish and Chips and tea with my favorite sugar cubes

Fish and Chips and tea with my favorite sugar cubes

 

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Busy with tea………..although he didn’t drink tea, but he loved adding the sugar cubes to the tea

 

The fish and chips was so delicious and the fish was fresh because I felt fine after eating this (there was no fishy taste in my throat after that so I gave this 2 thumbs up) and the fries and the sauce and the mash peas were also good. The waiter even offered to give the boy free ice cream which he gladly accepted (but why only him………….?).

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Free ice cream

 

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Cozy interior with comfortable chairs and books in the lounge

We made a big mistake by going to the gate so late because we thought the gate was not far away (like in Changi Airport, although it was big but still manageable if we walked very fast). Well, the case was different in Heathrow because it was a very long distance from the shopping area to the gate. We literally had to run  (going down and up again for I don’t know how many times and we had what it seemed like an unending walk that we were so tired and when we finally arrived at the gate, we only saw some passengers left waiting to get on the plane). So spare some time if you plan to take a leisure walk to the gate (apparently, many passengers made the same mistake as us, so we run together to our gates, hahaha……..)

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We even spent more than 30 minutes inside this souvenir store before started walking to the gate

 

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Last minute souvenir shopping

The journey back home was faster than when we went from Singapore to London. The boy spent most of the time sleeping (after eating of course) because he was dizzy (too tired I guess). Thankfully, he was well again the next day at home.

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Brunch menu: braised soya sauce chicken with mixed vegetable and egg noodles. I love noodles, so this suit my taste

 

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Kids meal for brunch: fish and chips

 

Late night snack after dinner................why we were always hungry during the flight remained a mistery

Late night snack after dinner…………….why we were always hungry during the flight remained a mystery

 

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Before touch down menu: egg noodles………..again………………I like noodles better than rice, so this was fine with me

 

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Kids meal breakfast: smiley face hash brown, scramble eggs, and baked beans

 

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Enjoying kids meal

Finally, home sweet home………………well, not really, because I was sick but I still had to wash all the dirty laundry, then hang inside the house or outside (it was rainy season to make it worse so I had to juggle where to hang the laundry because one day I could do 3 to 4 batches of laundry). Then, I had to iron and fold the fresh clothes and kept all the winter clothes in the storage. Daddy was back to work the next day so he couldn’t help at all. I had to finish cleaning the house too because we were going back to my parents house for another holiday session just 3 days after we got back from London, how awesome was that………??? But it was fun and I wanted to do it all over again (the holiday of course, not the laundry……………….).

So, this is my last post about our London Trip, and big thank you to the boy who keep pushing me (encouraging me I mean) to keep writing and to finish all the posts and he was also the one who proofread all my posts (maybe he wants to be an editor one day?).

 


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Diagon Alley Comes To Life In Windsor and Beautiful Eton Riverside

It was almost the end of our London trip and we would spend the last day of our holiday in Legoland, and after that we would went straight to the airport and returned to Singapore. Since Legoland was located in Windsor which would take at least 1 hour from our hotel in Hammersmith and it would be very troublesome if we left the luggage  in Hammersmith and then came back to get our luggage back and went to the airport, I decided to book a hotel in Windsor instead of staying in London. 

It would also be very difficult for us to bring our 2 big suitcases and 2 small suitcases and a backpack to Windsor and then to Legoland and then to the airport, so we did a research before we went to London and finally make a decision to use left baggage storage service in Heathrow Airport.  

Left baggage office locations were in Terminal 2 to 5 in Hatehrow Airport, and since our SQ flight would be departing from T2, it would be easier for us to store the luggage in T2. For more information about left baggage, the location, opening hour, and the price you can check in this website:  

http://www.heathrow.com/airport-guide/terminal-facilities-and-services/left-baggage

Remember that no food is allowed in the luggage for storage, so bring all the food that you have with you. No payment was needed when we store the luggage, we would only have to pay when we were getting back our luggage.

After we were done with this process, we went straight to Windsor by local bus. There were 2 ways to go to Windsor from London, one was by train (from Central London) or by local bus from Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 which was way cheaper than by train.

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A connecting train from from T2 to T5 Heathrow Airport (free but we had to tap our Oyster Card) which was almost empty

Since we were already in the airport, it was easier to take bus. So we went to T5 and followed the signs to local buses (and it was quite a long walk). Although going to Windsor was cheaper by bus, but it took longer time than by train. We boarded bus number 8 in bus stop number 8 in T5.

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Waiting for the bus to Windsor. The waiting area had no chair or aircon, so it was rather hot here

 

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We paid the fair directly to the bus driver

It took us an hour from the airport to the bus stop in Windsor. We enjoyed the view during the ride as we could see the riverside, pubs, village houses, and village people along the way.

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What an enjoyable ride……………..

 

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Every car had to stop at the railway crossing and waited for the signal

 

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Pubs and houses

If you are going to Windsor Castle, then the nearest stop will be the opposite Windsor Parish Church. Our hotel was also located very near to the Windsor Castle, so this was also our stop. Windsor Castle was only 5 minutes walk from this stop.

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Windsor Parish Church

Since it was already lunch time and we were all very hungry, we went to the nearest restaurant that we saw that could fit the boy’s taste, and we found Freddy’s Fish and Chips just across the street from the bus stop.

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Freddy’s fish and chips was next to the shop in blue color

Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my chili sauce, so I didn’t really enjoy the food (I put it in the other luggage that we left at the airport). Although the two boys said it was so yummy and delicious, but somehow I didn’t like it very much as it left fishy taste in my throat (probably the fish wasn’t fresh?).

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Definitely super huge portion. The fish was sooo…………..big and there were lots of fries that I couldn’t finish both of them, but daddy came to the rescue and cleaned my plate, hahaha……………..but somehow the boy finished everything on his plate…………

 

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See how big it was? Each portion cost us GBP 10. We ate in the second floor by the way

After we were full, it was time to go to our hotel, which was Travelodge Hotel. Why we chose this hotel? Despite of some bad reviews about this hotel, this was the closest to the bus stop that would take us to Legoland, very near to supermarkets, restaurants, shopping places, and also Windsor Castle (although we didn’t plan to go inside the castle, but we would like to at least see and take pictures there).

Fortunately, we all loved the hotel. Some of the bad comments about the noise from the bar, the room, the breakfast………..they all didn’t happen. I will highly recommend for you to stay in this hotel if you plan to visit Windsor, but more about the hotel later in this post.

How did we go to Travelodge Hotel in Windsor? From the bus stop (and in front of Windsor Castle), we turned left into a street that looked like a very long alley. When I turned to this alley, I was amazed because it looked a lot like The Diagon Alley from Harry Potter, and seriously………….that was the first thing that crossed my mind when I saw the various shops in the left and right sides of the streets, the crowded people walk along the streets, kids were running around in the middle of the busy street, colorful Christmas decorations, and the street performer……………………it was like Diagon Alley came to life……………….and I loved it, I really liked it a lot. I enjoyed walking in the long street and seeing what was inside each shop and taking pictures here and there. From that time, I knew I would love this city so much.

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We were in front of the alley with our small luggage in tow. The crown above our head would shine bright at night and it was a very big one

 

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I took this picture early in the morning when there were less people, and as you can see, Windsor Castle was just across the street

 

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Shops……………everywhere we looked………………..restaurants, cafes, drugstore, supermarket, and not to forget the shops that sold clothes

 

I accidentally left our toothbrushes and toothpaste in our big suitcase and

I accidentally left our toothbrushes and toothpaste in our big suitcase (the one that we stored in the airport, ouch………….), so Boots (a pharmacy and beauty store) came to the rescue………………

 

I always loved to see the flower seller on the street

I always loved to see the flower seller on the street

 

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Giant pumpkin decoration in a department store

 

The street was less crowded as we walked further

The street was less crowded as we walked further

 

I loved the window on the second floor

I loved the window on the second floor

 

The boy in front of a shop which was already full with Christmas decorations

The boy in front of a shop which was already full with Christmas decorations

Our hotel was just at the end of the street. So the hotel was actually facing the alley which was awesome because it looked like we found a hidden gem at the end of our journey. The hotel was also very close to the train station (less then 5 minutes walk). More about the hotel later……………..After we checked in, we did some explorations around the area and this time everyone wanted to see Windsor Castle closely. So we walked again, but instead of going back to the alley, we went to the castle through a different route. There was another street in front of the hotel that led to the train station and Windsor Shopping Mall

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Taking picture in front of the train station

 

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Since no one wanted to take picture with this replica of an old train, I volunteered myself to do so, hahaha………..

 

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The back side of Windsor Shopping Mall

 

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Don’t you just love the concept of this outdoor mall?

 

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It was getting dark………….so lights on !

 

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The front side of Windsor Shopping Mall

Just across from this shopping mall was the huge and majestic Windsor Castle. It was so big and probably it was 5 times bigger than Leeds Castle (the building and not the area). Too bad we didn’t have time to see the inside of the castle (we had to pay to enter the castle) because we didn’t have enough time. If you see in the internet, this castle also has beautiful gardens and I am a big fan of beautiful gardens, so I was so sad that we didn’t have time to go inside.

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The cars lined up in front of the castle were Windsor taxi

 

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The other side of the castle

 

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Very few people sat here because it was so cold…………….

 

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Finally, the boy’s picture………………he was busy taking pictures of the castle, so it was a very rare occasion that he agreed to pose for me

 

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The street in front of Windsor Castle. The red building was also a hotel. Can you spot “Diagon Alley” with its purple crown?

 

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Big Christmas tree in the middle of the street

 

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My “Diagon Alley” in the background

This was the view of the castle after we turned left:

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The main entrance

 

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The left side of the castle…………………

 

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The almost empty street in front of the castle (the left side of the castle). If we walked straight from here, there was a private entrance to the castle (probably for the Queen and her family) and it was a dead end

 

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The not so busy street in the afternoon

Since it was a dead end, we walked back to the front side of the castle and followed the street until we reached Eton Riverside. It was a long walk so we were very tired, but the view was amazing.

 

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Mommy and the boy

 

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From here, we crossed the street and we found an all you can eat Thai restaurant. The nice lady brought a small plate of spring rolls outside for us to try when she spotted us looking at the food from the window

 

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A small theater at the back. Can you see Windsor Castle across the street? Yes, the castle was that big………………..

 

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We were so close to Eaton Riverside from this point

 

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We were waiting for the traffic light to cross the street

 

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Yes, finally……………..after what it seemed like an unending walk, we arrived at Eton Riverside

 

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Beautiful Eton Riverside in the evening……………….so calm and peaceful…………………..

 

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White swans………………..we all loved to see white swans

 

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Windsor Bridge was designed by Charles Hollis and opened in 1824. Freed from tolls by the action of Joseph Taylor 1898. Closed to vehicles in 1970

 

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I would love to just stand here and admire the view for hours

 

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Look at the houses by the riverside! Even the boy said he would love to have a house by the riverside……………………

 

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This bridge was free from vehicles, so this area was very calm and peaceful

 

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Benches in the middle of the bridge

 

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If we walked straight ahead, we probably would have found Eton College (and wasn’t Prince William and Eddie Redmayne graduated from Eton?)

 

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The view from the bridge, all the cars must turn right and couldn’t pass the bridge

 

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Windsor Bridge at night and it was one of my favorite picture. This was taken by the boy with my IPhone 6 camera. He was very proud with this picture

Since were were very tired and it was dark already (although it was just around 5 pm), we decided to go back through the same road again (and it was another long walk to go back to the hotel………………….), but we made few stops in the souvenir shops and book store.

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Windsor Castle became like this when night came

 

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We stopped at the souvenir store to find fridge magnets for our friends, but the quality wasn’t good enough for us. The best place to buy fridge magnets were in the airport, tourist attraction places such as inside the castles or football stadium souvenir stores. They were more expensive but the quality was much better

 

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Look at his happy face when he found lots of good books and when mommy said those books were way cheaper than in Singapore (and they were all new books). We also found a book that had not been released yet in Singapore (and of course we bought it). Even though he was tired, but he spent a lot of time inside this bookshop. We were only got out from here when the shopkeepers turned out the lights as they were closing down the shop. We were the last one to pay and leave this shop

 

 Since we were so tired, we just had a takeaway dinner from Wagamama (yakisoba, ramen, gyoza, and rice)


Since we were so tired, we just had a takeaway dinner from Wagamama (yakisoba, ramen, gyoza, and rice)

 

From the book shop, we walked back to the hotel which was Travelodge Hotel. This was one of the cheapest hotel compared to other hotels near Windsor Castle. By the way, you can not store your luggage in the reception area as they do not have luggage storage room.

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Travelodge Hotel. For security reason, we had to tap our room key to open the door to the elevator that would take us to our room

Our hotel in Windsor was bigger than the one in Hammersmith which was Holiday Inn Hotel. Even the room was so much bigger than Holiday Inn Express Hammersmith London. That was why my husband loved it so much and said that it was too bad we could only stay there for one night. The bathroom came with a tub, and even then, there was still much space left for us.

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We felt that this room was so spacious after staying for 6 days in a budget hotel in London (this was also a budget hotel). There was even enough room for our luggage next to the main bed. I will write about the comparison later in my next post about our hotel in London

 

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Tea and coffee for free, but no drinking water

 

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Clean bathroom with a tub

When we booked our hotels (either in London or Windsor), we always stated that we would bring a child with us, and in both hotels they surprised us by giving extra bed (without us even asking and without extra charge). In both of the hotels that we booked, there was no extra charge for kids (free stay and free breakfast for the boy).

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We all could sleep in peace at night thanks to the extra bed

On the not so good side, even though it was winter and very cold outside, we felt hot and stuffy in the middle of the night even though we didn’t turn on the heater. The windows were locked and couldn’t be opened, so imagine how it would be at summer. The hotel didn’t provide aircon, only a fan during summer time. This was the opposite of what happened when we stayed in Holiday Inn London, the room was very cold at night even though the windows were closed and heater on.

Street view from the room

Street view from the room

 

We also loved the morning breakfast, a simple English breakfast with butter croissant (the staff would always offer to warm the croissant every time she saw us near the plate, white bread with selection of jams, sausages, scrambled eggs, baked beans, fresh tomatoes and mushrooms, pork bacon, and the boy’s favorite food: hashbrowns…………………..The hotel even served 2 kinds of sausages: pork and vegetarian. The boy and I of of course chose pork sausages while daddy tried the healthier ones: vegetarian sausages (and he said it was good). There were also fruit salad, yoghurts, cereals, and Quaker Oat Granola. For the drinks, there were selection of tea and coffee, milk, chocolate milk, and fruit juice.

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Choice of food for our breakfast

 

He was happy because he could drink as much milk

He was happy because he could drink as much milk as he wanted (at least 2 glasses, but sometimes could be 3 to 4 glasses, plus sausages, at least 2 croissant, bread  and cheese……………….he was really a big eater, hahaha……………)

 

The view from the window at breakfast time...............I think they were going to Windsor Castle

The view from the window at breakfast time……………I think they were going to Windsor Castle

 

And............he wasn't going to finish yet...............choices of cereals and bars

And…………he wasn’t going to finish yet……………choices of cereals and bars

 

Next to the breakfast table was already the reception table (the one with Travelodge sign on the wall)

Next to the breakfast table was already the reception table (the one with Travelodge sign on the wall)

When our tummies were full, we were ready for our next adventure in Legoland. Our Legoland Windsor trip can be read in this post.

A quiet street in the morning

A quiet street in the morning

 

A walk to the bus stop

A walk to the bus stop

 

The view from the bus stop.............and empty street in the morning

The view from the bus stop………….and empty street in the morning. We were waiting for the bus to Legoland.

From Legoland, we went straight to the airport to catch the last flight back to Singapore.

Nativity set in the building near the bus stop

Nativity set in the building near the bus stop

 

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While waiting for the bus, the boy and I walked around the area near the bus stop and took pictures. We found a bar full with people in a small alley

 

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Parish Church bus stop

 

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Waiting for bus number 8 that would take us back to Heathrow

That was our last day of the holiday, and we said goodbye to Windsor and London as we boarded the plane back to Singapore.

 


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London Trip 2016: Tower of London and Wagamama Japanese Restaurant

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Tower of London in the afternoon

The Tower of London is a historic castle located in central London and very close to other tourist attraction which was Tower Bridge.  It was founded towards the end of 1066. The castle was used as a prison from 1100 until 1952 although that was not its primary purpose. A grand palace early in its history, it served as a royal residence. The Tower of London consists of several buildings set. The area is huge and to explore everything inside the area, you will need at least 3 hours.

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Tower of London with an outdoor ice skating rink in front of it which was opened to celebrate Christmas and New Year

The Tower of London has played a prominent role in English history. It was besieged several times, and controlling it has been important to controlling the country. The Tower has served variously as an armory, a treasury, a menagerie, the home of the Royal Mint, a public record office, and the home of the Crown Jewels of England.

The castle was used as a prison for many famous people , such as Henry Laurens (President of the US Congress in 1777 during the American War of Independence), Rudolf Hess (Hitler’s Deputy), including Anne Boleyn who was beheaded here. Today, Tower of London is cared for by the charity Historic Royal Palaces and is protected as a World Heritage Site.

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The majestic Tower of London

We arrived in the Tower of London less then 2 hours before closing time (nearest tube station was Tower Hill). The lady in the ticketing counter did warn us before we purchased the tickets that it was almost closing time and suggested to come back again tomorrow morning so we would have more time to explore. Since it was our last day in London, we politely refused her advice and still bought the tickets. She said that we should hurry and suggested that we see the Crown Jewels first.

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Entrance door to the Tower of London

Only the boy and I went inside and we literally had to run from one tower to the other because we intended to see everything in such a short time. I still wanted to spend more time actually and looked carefully and read every information in every exhibit because it was very interesting, but there was no time, so I just took photos of most of the information and read that at home.

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The first thing that we saw when we entered the tower was this catapult

If you’re not familiar with the Crown Jewels, then you should watch Minions the movie. In the movie, the Minions wanted to steal the Crown Jewels for Scarlett Overkill (the world’s most evil villain) to prove their worth. So, we were going to see the real Crown Jewels that was shown in that cartoon movie. We followed the lady in the ticketing counter advice and run (and yes, we literally run) to see the Crown Jewels first.

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The big building behind me was where we saw the Crown Jewels and other things such as crowns, swords, clothes that were used during the inauguration of the new kings and queens.

 

Entrance to the Crown Jewels

The guard in front of the tower. Photography was not allowed inside this tower.

Everything was very beautiful, but as I said, no photography inside the building, so I have no documentation at all.

One of the reason why you should visit Tower of London is because this castle is so different than the others. It had a long history and some of them were very dark, like betrayal, murders, tortures and deaths. We had different feelings when we were inside the tower than when we were in the Leeds Castle. We had this gloomy feeling and it was quite creepy especially when night came. Even the boy said it was scary and he could feel there were ghosts inside the tower. Well, okay, ignore that last part since I don’t believe in ghosts………………

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Castle ruins……………..our favorite part was to see real castle ruins

 

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The White Tower, which gives the entire castle its name, was built by William the Conqueror in 1078, and was a resented symbol of oppression, inflicted upon London by the new ruling elite

 

Where should we go next?

Where should we go next?

Tower of London was so huge and it consists of some big and tall towers. Every tower had its purpose, for example: for torturing prisoners in the Tower of Torture. The boy refused to enter at first, but I told him it was okay and since we were there, we should go inside and see what was inside. Of course, we only spent little time in here because it was quite depressing actually to see the real equipment to torture people.

The Rack was The Tower of London most infamous torture instrument. The iron frame containing three wooden rollers would keep the victims stretched.

The Rack (right picture) was The Tower of London most infamous torture instrument. The iron frame containing three wooden rollers would keep the victims stretched.

Torture was very rare in England. Torture was ordered for at least 81 prisoners, and 48 of them were held in the Tower of London. In several cases, they were brought from other prisons to be tortured here. These documented cases happened between 1540 and 1640 for prisoners who were being investigated in serious crimes such as robbery or murder. Particularly in the late 16th and 17th centuries, torture was used on political prisoners, accused of treason. Torture was never officially a part of English Law.

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A very small window at the Tower of Torture (does this mean that there was no hope for the prisoner to survive?

There was also another inhuman torture worse than The Rack, and it was called “The Scavenger Daughter” which was the complete opposite of The Rack. The torture could crush the prisoner’s body with a hellish compression while the body was folded into three. Okay, enough said about the torture and let’s move on to the next exhibit in the next tower.

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Medieval Palace and Wall Walk

Wall Walks consists of: Prisoners of the Tower, Fortress, and Crowns & Diamonds Exhibition (no photography was allowed in the Crowns and Diamond Exhibition)

Medieval Palace consists of: Royal Beasts and Martin Tower (also, no photography was allowed in the Martin Tower)

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Entrance to the Medieval Palace and Wall Walks

 

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We could see Tower Bridge clearly from the entrance to The Medieval Palace and Wall Walks

 

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Suit of armor

What we really loved about The Tower of London was that we could really felt and imagined how it was in the olden days, and how life was in the past centuries ago. I watched The Other Boleyn Girl and somehow this place reminded me of that movie again. My son who loved to read stories about Medieval Period, also felt that it was like his imaginations became real inside the tower.

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Old fireplace

 

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The steep stairs

 

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Imagine walking here at night hundreds of years ago with an oil lamp or candles in one hand (I don’t think there was electricity back then)

 

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Imagine what life was centuries ago inside the tower……………..

 

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We imagined the soldiers were guarding this tower from the enemies from here. They could see if the enemies were coming from this security post and warned the other soldiers

 

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View from the top

 

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I loved that everything and everywhere was so beautiful that I couldn’t stop taking pictures

I thought that in such a short time I couldn’t take many pictures, but I was wrong. There were so many pictures and it was very difficult to choose which ones I would keep and post in this blog.

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Monkeys………………and that meant we were very near to the next exhibit: Royal Beasts

 

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Entrance to The Royal Beasts

What do you give someone who has everything? How about strange and valuable animals! For a long time, powerful rulers tried to impress each other by exchanging living gifts. From 1210 England’s royal beasts lived and died here in the tower.

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One of the royal beast inside the cage, hahaha………….

Back then, visitors were allowed very close to the animals, sometimes with terrible consequences. They were attacked by lions, snakes, wolves, leopards, and monkeys. One victim was Mary Jenkinson in 1686. She was stroking a lion’s paw when it suddenly caught her arm with his claws and mouth and tore her flesh from the bones. Surgeons amputated her arm but she died soon after. The last keeper, Mr Cops, was almost killed by a large snake. He was saved when the other keepers broke the snake’s teeth.

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At the tower, people were able to visit animals they would never see in the wild

 

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A lion’s skull from Africa

 

At the tower, a tiger cub was fed soup instead of raw meat and his keeper felt this way he was particularly tame.

At the tower, a tiger cub was fed soup instead of raw meat and his keeper felt this way he was particularly tame

Although it was still incredibly popular attraction, the Royal Menagerie was closed to public in 1832 and most of the animals were transferred to the new London Zoo. The King and The Duke of Wellington, who was Constable at the tower, decided the animals had to go after a series of attacks on visitors and staff. Today, the ravens are the only wild animals kept at the tower.

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The Raven’s Lodge

 

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Outside The Royal Beasts Exhibition was another tower. Seriously, how big was this place?

 

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Keyholes in the olden days

 

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I just loved the glass windows, but the boy said it would be scary if somehow we could see someone’s face starring behind one of the window, hahaha……………

 

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Old and modern buildings mixed into one

 

Next, we went to the other side of the area and we saw The Bloody Tower, and of course, from its name only, you can imagine what you will find inside this tower…………..

Important prisoners were held in this towerincluding two Archbishops of Canterbury

Important prisoners were held in this tower,including two Archbishops of Canterbury

 

The very famous one was the story of the two Princesses

The very famous one was the story of the “Two Little Princes” who were said to have been murdered here

In 1483, after the death of Kind Edward IV in April, his brother Richard, Duke of Gloucester, brought Edward’s two sons to the tower of London. No one had ever seen them again until 2 centuries later. While the workers were demolishing the stairs of the tower, they found an old wooden chest and discovered the broken bones of the two children inside the chest. The bones were re-buried in the Westminster Abbey.

From the Bloody Tower, we entered the Beauchamp Tower which was a prison back then for many famous people such as this lady:

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Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII was sent to the tower in 1536

Anne Boleyn was accused of adultery and for the 16th century queen, this was considered treason and was punished death. By a cruel twist of faith, Anne was imprisoned in the same room that had been lavishly refurbished by order of the King, prior to her coronation in 1533. A few day later, Anne was beheaded by a french swordsman.

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Fire place in the Beauchamp Tower

 

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Some prisoners tried to escape from the tower, some were succeed while some also failed and felt to death

 

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The stairs to the second floor

 

It was almost dark although it was just 4 pm

It was almost dark although it was just 4 pm

As it was getting dark, we decided to end our exploration inside the tower and went out. By luck, we actually managed to see everything although it was very tiring as we had to run from one place to another. Surprisingly, we also still had some time before closing time so we decided to take pictures in the big yards.

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Behind the boy was the place for the Crown Jewels

 

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The big house that was closed for public viewing

 

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Tower Bridge in the background

 

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My turn now…………..the boy took my picture with Tower Bridge in the background

 

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The White Tower in the evening

 

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We loved Tower Bridge

 

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Tower Bridge and the castle ruins, so pretty………………

It was already very dark when we finally ended our tour around the towers. We were among the last people who left the area (the exit gate near the Tower Bridge was already closed by the time we left, so we had to take another exit gate). The boy said it was even scarier at night, although I told him that I would like to try spending the night here to really feel what was life in the past………………..

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People were leaving as we still stayed to enjoyed the last minutes of our visit

 

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The last picture with the cannons before we finally left the towers…………

We were so tired and hungry when we left Tower of London (but not cold because we were running from one place to another in the towers). Thankfully, we found a Japanese restaurant near the souvenir store. How did we know it was a Japanese restaurant?

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This was the only sign: Wagamama

Well, I’ve read in a blog post about London Trip and this blogger (which was also a mother) recommended this restaurant and she said this was very good. She reviewed about the one in Windsor, so I was very happy to finally see this restaurant just across Tower of London when we were so hungry.

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Inside Wagamama Restaurant

There were also other eating places near Tower of London, but they only served bread and sandwich, while we wanted something hot like soup or noodle. Actually, we already decided to go back to the hotel and eat in the restaurant near the hotel, so we were very happy when we saw Wagamama just right when we were going to walk back to the tube station.

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Ahungry faces

The inside of the restaurant was big and we didn’t see many people that night as it wasn’t dinner time yet. Service was good and fast, and the staff were friendly and helpful.

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2 types of soy sauce, chili oil, and salt just like what you usually see in a Japanese restaurant

 

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Free ocha drink

The boy was so hungry that he started eating as soon as a plate of gyoza and ebi katsu was served on the table. I loved that the restaurant had a proper chili sauce which surprisingly tasted good (which was very important to me, hahaha…………).

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Chicken Steamed Gyoza

 

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Ebi Katsu

 

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Look who already started to eat because he was so hungry………………….

I ordered ramen because this special Wagamama Ramen was highly recommended in the blog. I am not a big fan of ramen, and to be honest………………I never really like ramen even until now. I’ve tried so many ramen restaurants in Jakarta and Singapore and they were highly recommended by a lot of people, but I never really liked it. One time, my friends and I went to a very famous ramen restaurant and while everyone praised how good it was, I was the only one who didn’t even have a clue of what was so delicious about the dish. I didn’t like the soup, the noodles, the meat, the chili, and even the egg as I didn’t like eating egg (soft boil, hard boil, omelette, half cooked, or whatever it is……………..I am not a big fan of egg). So, I purely ordered this ramen just because I was curious about the taste and whether I would finally like ramen after I tasted the dish.

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My order was Wagamama Ramen: grilled chicken, barbecue pork, prawns, chikuwa and mussels on top of noodles in a miso, ginger and chicken broth. topped with pea shoots, wakame, menma and half a tea-stained egg

To my surprise………….I loved it! I really did like it! The soup was different. It was very light to my taste which was why I loved it so much. Even the boy liked it (he still doesn’t like ramen except for this one. The meat, the noodles, the egg, and even the chili sauce (from gyoza dish) were suitable for my taste. This was actually the first time that I liked ramen. It was hot and so refreshing.

Daddy's order was Teriyaki chicken donburi: chicken in teriyaki sauce with sticky white rice, shredded carrots, pea shoots and onions. garnished with sesame seeds and served with a side of kimchee

Daddy’s order was Teriyaki chicken donburi: chicken in teriyaki sauce with sticky white rice, shredded carrots, pea shoots and onions. garnished with sesame seeds and served with a side of kimchee. He said it was also good

 

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Let’s mix the donburi

 

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The boy’s dish of the night: A bowl of rice, a bowl of noodle, one plate of gyoza, and one plate of ebi katsu. Growing up certainly needs a lot of energy……………and food………………hahaha…………..

From where we sat, we had a good view to The Tower Bridge which was very bright at night time. Overall, it was really a good meal for all of us and we were very full when we left the restaurant. It was such an exhausting day.We were relieved when we finally able to rest in the hotel.

 


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London Food Trip 2016: From Afternoon Tea In The Palace to Street Food Market

Usually, when we traveled, we didn’t bother of what to eat and where to eat. As long as our lil boy seemed to like it, then we just ate at the first place that we saw whenever we felt hungry. Did we read reviews? Nope. Did we search for recommendations? Never. And we never wanted to queue…………….we would just go to the next one with the shortest queue or no queue at all because lil boy because our lil boy would be very cranky if we had to queue for a long time. Did we even bother how the food would taste? Hmmm……………not really. Like I said before, as long as the lil boy approved of the choice of food and agreed to eat in one specific place, we just popped in to the restaurant immediately before he changed his mind. Yes, back then he was such a picky and fussy eater and didn’t like to sit down and eat during our travel. Meal time was quite stressful for us whenever we traveled.

As he grew older and bigger, the pattern started to change when we traveled to Sydney. I wrote in my post that I was amazed that he finally wanted to try and like certain food that he never even wanted to try before, and he ate a lot which made me very happy. The point is, he started to like food and enjoy eating……………..and that made traveling a lot easier for us since then.

Before we went to London, I briefed him that he probably wouldn’t be able to eat the food that he usually eats daily at at his hometown. Most of the time we would eat bread and not rice, do not expect to find fries, nuggets and crispy fish easily like in Australia (I told him this also because I wanted him to eat different kind of food instead of just looking for nuggets or fish and chips, and so that we would have healthier choice of food). He said he was okay and looked excited. I was surprised.

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Although we planned to eat healthy food during the trip, but we couldn’t resist the temptation of the pizza which was sold just outside the tube station, hahaha……………. and the pizza was so huge (big, thick, but crispy). Well, basically we could just buy and eat anything that we found when we were hungry

 

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We loved pepperoni pizza in oval shape and it was different than what we usually had

One of the thing that I wanted to visit during our London trip was Borough Market, which basically was a food market. There would only be food and food everywhere we looked around. Many people recommended this place and it had very good reviews. When I told him about this, he was very excited and said that he wanted to go there. Wow…………….was this really serious? Would I finally be able to embark on a culinary journey  during one of our trip. Okay, this was too much and too exaggerating, hahaha……….., but it was something that I would never have imagined before to do with this boy remembering how hard we struggled everytime meal time came. So yes, I was very happy and excited, especially as he was the one who always remind me to put our visit to Borough Market to our itineraries. He also read reviews, recommendations, and also watched videos about this food market and decided what he wanted to eat). So checked, Borough Market was on list.

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Must have item in Borough Market: bread stick with cheese and olive. In fact, this was one of the main reason why the boy wanted to visit this market: because he loved cheese bread stick so much………….

Besides visiting Borough Market, one other thing that we wanted to do was to have a proper English Afternoon Tea like in the story books or in the movies. Although the plan was cancelled several times because of time limitation, we finally determined to do it before we went to Windsor the following day.

A real English afternoon tea

One of our bucket list: enjoying a real English afternoon tea

An afternoon tea in a restaurant wasn’t going to be cheap, so I wanted something different than to just picked any restaurants or places that served afternoon tea. After some considerations, my choice was The Orangery which located in the Kensington Palace gardens. I though it would be nice to finally experience an afternoon tea in such a beautiful place surrounded by pretty garden, and not in the middle of the busy city.

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A lonely Christmas tree in Kensington Palace Garden

The Orangery

The nearest tube station was High Street Kensington, but expect to walk at least 30 minutes from the tube station, but the walk itself was so much fun and I enjoyed looking around busy streets with crowded shops and restaurants everywhere and also people who were busy doing their Christmas shopping, and then suddenly, we crossed the street and came into a quiet and beautiful palace and gardens.

Kensington Palace was the place where Prince George lived. Since I adored this cute little boy so much, it was so excited to catch a glimpse of the place where he lived, hahaha…………

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Kensington Garden

The restaurant was at the very back of Kensington Garden, so we had to walk through secret gardens and the palace itself. You will need to pay to see what’s inside of the palace, and we would love too, but unfortunately we had very little time for our lunch and afternoon tea because we still had other places to go.

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There was another eating place inside the palace. The nearest toilets were also inside here.

According to its website, The Orangery is a relaxed and elegant setting for breakfast or lunch and the only royal palace in London where you can enjoy a traditional afternoon tea. It is surrounded by beautiful formal gardens in the grounds of Kensington Palace. The Orangery was once the setting for Queen Anne’s sophisticated court entertainment and its soaring ceilings and classical 18th century architecture are a magnificent backdrop
for the restaurant’s simple and honest menu of delicious English dishes.

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The secret garden behind big trees, and nope…………..we were not allowed to the garden, we could only see it from outside, but it was beautiful and the squirrel was also tamed

 

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The Orangery

We were greeted by one of the staff, and that particular staff would be the one serving and helping us throughout during our lunch or afternoon tea (but we could always ask help from another staff and they were all polite, friendly, and helpful). I assumed that we were the only tourist in the restaurant because everyone else enjoyed their food quietly and didn’t bother to even take pictures, so I was the only one who didn’t stop to take pictures that afternoon, hahaha…………….and then the staff offered help to take our pictures together (and she did it twice because she said the first one was not good enough).

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It was a very formal seating and everyone was very quiet, so my husband said even though the food was good, but it was too formal and quiet for him, hahaha……………….

Daddy ordered lunch while the boy and I, we both wanted to try the afternoon tea. By the way, this restaurant also had smaller set of afternoon tea for kids, we ordered the kids’ version one for the boy. The lunch set came with bread and butter in a small plate, and we loved the bread so much. Daddy and I are not bread lovers (it’s very rare that we will have bread, only once every few months, so you can see that we both don’t really like to eat bread), but we just loved all the bread and croissant that we had in London. They tasted different and so much better than what we usually had. Our favorite were the plain ones: plain bread and plain croissant. They were so delicious and the best ones that we ever had.

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Bread and butter, and the bread was soooo…………….good

 

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Lunch menu: Crispy Gressingham duck leg confit, potato puree, sautéed greens and port jus for £15.00

 

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The duck was crispy on the outside but soft and juicy (not dry) in the inside. Daddy said everything was perfect and balance, although I didn’t really like the gravy because it was too sweet for me

Then came our afternoon tea set: normal set for me and kids set for the boy. I chose earl grey tea while the boy chose…………………………………….orange juice……………….hahahaha…………………he didn’t really like tea but thankfully the kids set came with choices of juice.

A happy boy with his orange juice

A happy boy with his orange juice

By the way, I just loved the plates and the teacups  that they used to serve bread and tea because they were just so beautiful. Look at the pattern in the above picture, even I would like to have the same plates and cups at home.

A pot of tea was served with rock sugar

A pot of tea was served with rock sugar. In restaurants, tea was served with small brown and white rock sugar, and they were my favorite. It tasted different that the one that I usually bought. Unfortunately, I really forgot to at least buy one to bring home

An afternoon tea in the palace………………drink like a royal family, hahaha……………

 

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Our drinks: a cup of tea, orange juice, and ice lemon tea

 

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Our afternoon tea came in 3 tier cake stand

 

Afternoon tea children set

Afternoon tea children set

 

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Normal set vs children set: with a selection of sweet cake, savory sandwich, and scones

 

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The sweet selection: it was too sweet for me

The actual reason why we were here was because the boy had been wanted to try scones with cream and strawberry jam. Not just any scones, but English scones, just like the children in Enid Blyton’s book had for their afternoon tea. He was curious of how it would taste, because scones were the Five Find Outers, The Secret Seven, and other kids favorite in the Enid Blyton’s mysteries books, so he had been craving for this cake for so long…………..and finally, here are the scones complete with English cream and English strawberry jam:

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Orange-scented and currant scones served with Cornish clotted cream and English strawberry jam

 

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This is how you eat it: cut the cake in two, then spread cream in one side and strawberry jam in the other side

 

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Voila…………..

How did the boy like it? Well, it turned out that he didn’t like it that much, hahaha…………..although he could finish 2 scones, but I loved the strawberry jam so much, it was very different that what I had known before. If I were a bread lover, I would certainly buy one jar and brought it home with me.

From the last plate, here are the selection of sandwich:

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A selection of afternoon tea sandwiches: Egg mayonnaise and cress, smoked salmon and cream cheese; Coronation chicken, roast ham and English mustard sandwich; cucumber and fresh mint

The afternoon tea was £27.50 per person and cheaper for the kids afternoon tea, but I don’t remember how much the price was. Overall, it was a very nice experience and hopefully won’t be one in a lifetime, hahaha…………because we really want to come back again to London one day.

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The Orangery Restaurant in the background

There are many restaurants, hotels and cafes that serve afternoon tea in London, so you can choose the one that suits your budget. By the way, we didn’t have to make reservations, and that was a plus point for us since we didn’t know where we would have available time to visit the restaurant.

Saved by “Wasabi”

 

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During our trip, we usually left the hotel very early in the morning and came back late at night. So, as you can imagine, we were very tired at the end of the day. Most of the time, we preferred to buy take away food and ate at the hotel. The boy was the one who always refused to have dinner outside and he always said to bring the dinner back to the hotel. He would take a bath, changed into his pajamas, and enjoyed his dinner on the bed (the hotel room was so small that there wasn’t enough space for one person to sit on the floor) in front of the TV. It was so relaxing to finally sit or lay down on the bed.

There was one restaurant near the hotel that we liked because it served rice and noodles, hahaha……………..very simple reason but it was also the main reason.  The name of the restaurant was Wasabi and it served Japanese food. Wasabi could easily be found in many places around London too. The restaurant already packaged the food so it was very easy for us to take away.

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Choices of food

We just had to choose the food from the shelves and brought it to the cashier. We could either ate there or takeaway the food, which was very convenient and also very fast. At least, we didn’t have to wait for the food to be cooked and packaged which could take a long time.

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Wasabi served rice, noodles, sushi, salad, and even soup

We liked it also because the food was also hot and  fresh, but also sold out very quickly. If we came late, some of the items were already gone, especially this one:

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One of the best noodle soup in a cup. When we bought it, the staff would put it in the microwave for few minutes and it was still piping hot when we ate 15 minutes later

Although we liked the noodle soup so much, we could only buy the soup 1 time, while the rest of the nights, it was always sold out every time we came. So, this restaurant really saved our nights when we were too tired to eat outside. It was so easy and fast to pick whatever we wanted and bring it back to the hotel immediately. There were many varieties of the food so we didn’t have to have the same dinner everytime.

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2 types of kakiage

There were also side dishes too like gyoza or chicken karaage which the boy loved so much (but these two were also sold out very quickly).

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Dinner on the bed as the table

 

On the sixth day of our trip, daddy accidentally found a Chinese Food Restaurant (it was still walking distance from the hotel but it was located on the other side, so we never would never see it unless we walked on the different direction). Of course, we were so happy……………………….and so we had this for 2 days in row. The fried rice was good (it contained pork I guess so that was why it was so good). Unfortunately, it didn’t sell white steam rice, so it was very weird to not eat kungpao chicken with white rice. The corn soup was too sweet in my liking but the boy finished one whole bowl by himself.

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Sanbao Chinese Restaurant Hammersmith. Right picture: kungpao chicken (which was also too sweet according to us) and fried rice were not good combinations

 

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Corn Soup with seafood, pork, and chicken fried rice

 

Fast Food, Anyone…………….?

Although we tried to avoid fast food, but sometimes it was inevitable that sometimes (only two times actually), we had to end up in one of the famous fast food chain restaurants like KFC or McDonald’s. Most restaurants closed early on Saturday night, so on the first day of out trip where we slept until 9 pm, it was very difficult to find dinner although we were very hungry, until we saw KFC as one of the restaurant that was still opened that night……………..and so we ended up in KFC

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KFC Hammersmith……………….we didn’t really like it, KFC in Indonesia and Singapore were better in taste

Other time, when we were exploring around Big Ben and London Eye at night, as far as we could see, we could only find McDonald’s, and it was very crowded with very long queue. I guess everyone was hungry because it was already past dinner time and it was very cold. So, we followed the crowd and queued for chicken and fries.

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McDonald’s in front of London Eye

 

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The chicken was surprisingly good

 

Oh Cakes, The Delicious Cakes……………..

While we were there, the boy also said several times that he wanted to try macaroons. Thankfully, we found it in a patisserie near our hotel. So one night, we stopped there to buy some snacks for the boy and we ended up buying macaroons and cheesecake.

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Patisserie Valerie Hammersmith

For the cakes, it was cheaper to takeaway the cakes than eating them at the restaurant.

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Yummmm……………..delicious cakes…………..

Everyday during our trip, we we wanted to go to the tube station, we always passed by this patisserie and we loved to see all the beautiful cakes in the display shelves. Very often we stopped for a while just to see all the pretty cakes, although we didn’t buy them (daddy was not allowed to eat sweet things and thankfully, I could still manage my diet although I loved cakes so much). So, we finally only bought macaroons (twice) and cheesecake for the boy.

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Chocolate cakes, cheese cakes, tiramisu, fruit cakes, fruit scones………………….yes, I would love to try everything but fortunately I still remembered that I had to loose some kilos of my weight, hahaha……………..

 

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The colorful macaroons

 

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Love at first taste……………..

 

Speaking of sweet treats, it was also the first time for the boy to try Spanish Churros in Hyde Park Winter Wonderland food market and he liked it so much that now he’s craving for this again in Singapore, hahaha………….

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Spanish Churros and Belgian Waffle

I don’t know since when that he starts to like eating sweet food like this (we had the churros with melted chocolate and it was too sweet for me but the boy said he loved it). He didn’t like anything sweet back then when he was younger, so it’s always surprising to see new things that he likes nowadays.

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Churros with chocolate

 

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Yummy hot churros in a freezing cold night

 

Borough Market

While we were in London, we also didn’t miss the opportunity to visit Borough Market, as one of the famous street food market in London. There were other markets too, but we only chose the one which only sell food and not other things. The nearest tube station from Borough Market was London Bridge, and it was a  walking distance from the station to the market.

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Borough Market was across the street. It was actually the back side and not the front side

We definitely loved Borough Market, and we even planned to come back here the next day after our first visit, but unfortunately we didn’t have enough time. For opening times, you can check in Borough Market Website. When we came, it wasn’t full market day, so some of the food stalls were closed, but on the positive side, it wasn’t very crowded either.

Besides ready to eat food and beverages like bread, sausages, sweets, pasta, cheese, ice cream, and fruit juice, this market also sold fresh food like fruits, vegetables, and seafood. Here are some of the things that i captured with my camera:

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Fresh seafood: fish, crabs, lobsters, oysters………………

 

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Fresh fruit juice

 

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Fruits and vegetables

 

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The boy was going to smell truffles

 

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And……………..the smell was terrible according to him, hahaha…………

Since we were so hungry but wanted to try several things, we decided to order small portions and shared the food. The first one that caught our attention was the long queue at a Chinese food restaurant, so we decided to also try the food here (because long queue means good food, right?).

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Wok It Restaurant…………………the queue was getting longer after we ordered our food

 

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What combination do you want?

 

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We chose one portion with noodles and another one with rice

 

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Free hot tea……………

 

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Fried rice with and fried noodle, one with teriyaki sauce and the other with hoisin sauce

 

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Look who were so hungry……………..

After that, the boy asked for ice cream……………..like seriously??? who would eat ice cream in such a cold day like that except him? And indeed, he was the only customer in the ice cream shop, hahaha…………….

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He ordered his favorite vanilla ice cream

 

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The seller also sold cheese

 

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Vanilla ice cream

While daddy was queuing to order our next food, I looked around to take some pictures of the market (and as usual, I was the only one who were busy taking pictures inside the market……………..until I found one gentleman who did the same thing as me and it was like having a new friend, hahaha………..)

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Turkish delight

 

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ATM booth inside a telephone booth

 

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Argentinian food

 

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Fresh oysters and there were many people who were waiting to be served, although I didn’t know what was so good about eating oysters alive……….

 

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Anyone needs a reference of how to cook your pasta?

So, what did we have next? Well, we saw people queuing for this, and so we did the same……………

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Now, this is what I call real street food…………..

 

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One Cajun Fish please……………..

 

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And……………….the boy didn’t like it. If we knew he wasn’t gonna like it, we would have ordered it spicy

 

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It was more like kebab to me

Last stop was the Fish Kitchen which served fish and chips, and since we were quite dull at that time, we just ordered the fries, and we got 1 box full of fries (really big portion)for only £2.5. Even one portion of fish and chips only cost £10.5 and we would get 2 big fried fish and a lot of fries.

 

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Recommended to try……………….the items that you’ll get is worth the price

 

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Hot fried crispy fish

 

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Wow……………there was a lot of fries

 

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Let’s share…………………behind them were Indian Food and German Food

 

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We loved the fries, they really taste good (big and thick but crispy)

Well, that was our adventure in Borough Market, and to close the post about one of our favorite places, this is the picture of Christmas decorations inside  Borough Market:

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The market was ready to celebrate Christmas

That will be the end of my post about our food trip in London. Well, there are still other things too, like our (the boy and I) favorite Japanese ramen and we loved it so much that we ate it twice, and then we also finally ate fish and chips (twice and in different places), but I will only write about them all in my future posts.


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Chelsea Football Stadium Tour

If the boy’s wishes was to visit Legoland and Harry Potter Studio in London, and while my wish was to see the beautiful castles in any parts of the UK, then daddy’s wish was to visit one of the football stadium in UK since he is a big fan of football. He finally chose Chelsea Football Stadium simply because it was the closest to our hotel.

His first choice was to visit MU base camp, until this happened:

Daddy: What is the easiest and shortest way to go to Manchester United Football Stadium?

The boy: (searching in his tab for a few minutes, then answer calmly) It will take one hour and ten minutes from London……………………………………….by British Airways………………….

Daddy: What…………..????!!!????? Ok, just cancel it then. We’ll just go to the nearest one from where we will stay………

And that was it.

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Stamford Bridge in the morning, where Chelsea Stadium was located. We would love to explore the area if only we had more time

His options were Arsenal or Chelsea being the two nearest from our hotel. I preferred Arsenal just because I loved red color better than blue (red for Arsenal and blue for Chelsea), although I knew nothing about both teams. For practical reason, we finally decided to visit Chelsea Stadium because it was so close to our hotel. Besides, daddy said that Chelsea was a better team than Arsenal (I don’t if that is true or not, since, once again, I knew nothing about both teams and didn’t bother to find out either…………..).

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A short walk from tube station to Chelsea Football Stadium

Apparently, being the closest one from the hotel was also the reason for other participants who joined the tour. Well, I assumed actually because when the tour guide asked who was each tour participant’s favorite football team, no one answered Chelsea. When he asked who was their favorite football player, none of the answers were one of the Chelsea’s team member, hahaha………………oh that poor man, he looked a bit discouraged…………..but the show must go on……………..

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Yes…………Chelsea Football Club

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It was like a dream come true for this man

For information about tickets and tour time, you can open this website: http://www.chelseafc.com/the-club/stadium-tours-and-museum.html

We bought the ticket online one day before the tour because it was cheaper by 10%. We just had to show our e-tickets to the staff and we didn’t have to print them.

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Our future football player

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Chelsea FC players with daddy

All of the pictures above were taken outside the stadium. Before we could enter the stadium, there were security guards who checked our bags, but they didn’t ask why we wanted to go inside. Here are some pictures outside the stadium and in the souvenir stores: (although the sun was shining brightly, but it was very cold…………..)

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The front side of the stadium. There were two souvenir stores, the big one was in the left side of this building, and the other one was at the very back of this stadium (in different building)

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Outside the souvenir store

Since we came too early, we spent our time wandering around in the big souvenir store, and we felt that we wanted to buy everything if we could. I especially loved the all blue Christmas decorations because they were so classic and would look beautiful in our “future” Christmas tree………….since we didn’t have a Christmas tree yet

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Stamford Bridge in the old time

The nearest tube station from Chelsea Football Stadium was Fulham Broadway, and there were clear signs of where to go from the tube station (it was the shortest walk ever to our destination from the tube station).

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We Are Chelsea

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This way please………………..

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Chelsea Football Stadium which was very quiet that day since there was no game

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Blue color dominated the area

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We still had time before tour started at 10 am (which was the earliest tour time that day), so we looked around the souvenir shop

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So cute…………..I just loved these blue Christmas decorations

Tour started from the smaller souvenir store and inside the museum building. We showed our e-tickets to the staff, then she gave us each a neck lanyard custom printed with the name “Chelsea Football Club” which we had to use as our ID during the tour. Later on, we could bring home all the lanyards.

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We were so excited to start the tour

The tour started on time with one tour guide for every tour session, and lasted for about 1 hour. The tour guide took us outside the museum building and entered the stadium through one of the stadium door.

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Chelsea fans also bring their little ones to the game, the stadium has special area for family with little children

Our tour guide started the tour by asking us to introduce ourselves and where we came from, and well…………….all of us were tourists since none of us came from UK, but to our surprise, there was one family who also came from Singapore. Oh what a small world, hahaha……………..I mean, that family also chose the same date and time with us for their stadium tour was quite amazing to me.

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A happy face…………………to finally be able to stand inside a football stadium in London was like a dream come true……………….

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Anyway, he was kind of hoping to see Eden Hazard that day…………….hahaha………..which he knew was impossible of course………………

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Special seats with heater (seriously…………….), but only for VVIP

By the way, the field is also heated during winter time, so the players can still play during winter time.

 

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My favorite picture of the day…………

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He especially wore Chelsea shirt that day

The tour guide then brought us to the press room which could accommodate hundreds of journalists from all around the world. The press room facilities were included free internet and hot and cold food and beverages for the journalists. The team manager, coach, and one of the football player will answer questions after the games end. Sometimes, new players also sign their contracts here in front of the press

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Acting as football coach…………..

Next stop was the players room, complete with a kitchen, shower room, lockers, and massage facility. Although the tour was short, but we still had plenty of times taking pictures (and sometimes the last ones in the group because mamarazzi was busy taking photos here and there, hahaha……………). By the way, do you know that players have to take ice cold bath to ease their muscles after the games?

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What a life for the football players………………….but after a 90 minutes game, who doesn’t need a massage?

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Can you spot Hazard’s shirt?

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John Terry’s locker

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Some of the players that used to play against Chelsea

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Even the boy enjoyed the tour

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The long sleeve shirt belonged to Chelsea goalkeeper Asmir Begovic

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Picture taken while the tour guide was busy explaining about the room and the players………

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What’s inside the locker?

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Another picture inside the player’s room

After one hour, the tour ended in the souvenir store……………hahaha, so smart of the tour organizer to bring us to the souvenir store at the end……………where we could purchase our pictures (which we didn’t do) and buy some souvenirs to take home.

After some shopping, we headed back to the museum because we hadn’t seen what was inside the museum. It was not big, but there were many interesting things to see. Oh, and we could choose and watch some of the games that the teams had played for years in the big screen.

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When we were at the museums, the boy busied himself by taking pictures of almost all things that he saw.

There was also a small room which allowed us to play football (but all the pictures were blur, so I don’t attach any of them in this post)

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The sponsors of the club

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Trophies………………….

You will need at least 1 hour in the museum and 1 hour in the souvenir shop, so prepare at least 3 hours to tour around this stadium.

That was the end of our memorable tour in one of the Football Stadium in London.