Oh London, how I’ve missed you!

It was a good flight, despite not sleeping at all. I didn’t have anyone sitting beside me – nothing like having a whole row to yourself. My driver was waiting for me just past the gates and promptly took my suitcase from me. Traffic was busy for a Thursday – lots of stop and go on the M4. It was almost like a homecoming. The Fuller’s brewery on the right, rows upon rows of housing on the left. There is nothing I love more than the curve around the Marble Arch, up beside Buckingham Palace and down The Mall. There is something so special about driving down The Mall. I remember my first time in London, making the exact same drive and being in awe. Finally we pulled up beside my “London Home” The Strand Palace Hotel.

Now the plan was to check in and then go walk around a bit, do some shopping at Fortumn and Mason before heading to the theatre for a show. I made it as far as the Pret down the street. The woman behind the counter didn’t understand what I was asking when I asked if they have a ‘light roast’ coffee instead of a ‘dark roast’. I left with nothing and went to the Costa Coffee next door. The coffee didn’t help at all…between the jet lag and lack of sleep on the plane I was exhausted! I begrudgingly headed back to the hotel for a nap. That didn’t quite go as planned thanks to the construction in the hotel. I paid a little less for my room knowing that my view would be of scaffolding but I wasn’t expecting the construction zone in the hallway! It was SO noisy! I was able to drift in and out for a little while, just enough of a rest before I headed to the Piccadilly Theatre.

Despite staying the West End before, this was the first time I’d gone to a show. Of all things I go to see? Viva Forever! Yes, the Spice Girls musical. Please understand that I’m of the age where the Spice Girls were my heroes and this was a must do as it was the second last performance of the show. I was a bit early so I popped around next door to The Queens Head pub – ahh my first Pimm’s of the trip! Just what I needed. The pub soon got busy with other theatre goers so I slipped back into the theatre and into their bar. I ended up having a glass of champagne to celebrate my first night back in London.

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The theatre was smaller than I expected but I had a great seat only a few rows up. The show was very high energy and a lot of fun, some superb acting and singing from the entire cast. It was a lot of fun to see the songs I grew up with in a new context. The two hours flew right by and before I knew it we were all standing out of our seats singing and dancing along with the cast. It was a great way to spend my first night in London.

It was cold outside the theatre and had started to drizzle a bit. Not really knowing where I was, I followed the large stream of people – hoping I’d end up along a major road to find a taxi. Much to my surprise as I rounded the corner, I was smack dab in the middle of Piccadilly Circus. I had never been there at night before to see al the signs lit up, it was exhilarating. I stood there for a few minutes taking in the atmosphere before I simply got too cold and to wet! A short cab ride later and I was warm and dry in my hotel room once again, happy to get to go back to sleep and get some energy for day two!

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