So here we are, day two. Didn’t have a very good sleep. Between the general noise outside (I swear the windows in this hotel are original and are the thinnest glass ever!) and not being able to get warm, it was a rough night. I was up pretty early because of my still screwed up internal clock. The good news about the hotel, a great carvery that serves a full English every morning. Much to my happiness, I was seated in ‘my spot’. It’s the first table one the left side when you come in. For whatever reason I’m always seated there. Anyway, grabbed myself a pot of tea and made my way through the buffet. There was so much to pick from! I was stuffed on cheese, croissants and fruit before I even made it to the hot food. But don’t worry, I managed to shove down some eggs, beans, sausages and the most delicious potato cakes in the whole wide world.

I then waddled back upstairs to get ready to start my day. I headed down The Strand – not much changed since the last time I was there expect a few new restaurants. It was a great feeling, the usual morning bustle of people getting to work, coffee in hand and paper tucked under their arm. One of the best parts about staying on The Strand is its location to Charing Cross station, both a train station and a tube station. I love taking the tube, it’s just so easy and convenient. I just wish some of the escalators weren’t as steep … they kinda scare me! Anyway, took the tube town to Tower Hill station. The walk around the Tower of London is beautiful, it’s such an outstanding monument. I toured it the first time I was in London – it’s something I’d like to do again. This time though we were headed to Tower Bridge. I have obviously seen it before but never walked across it. It was really neat to see the big, blue beams up close.

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Walking across Tower Bridge

I’d never really spent any time on the South Bank before so this was going to be an adventure. The plan was to hit up The Shard and Borough Market and then slowly make my way down to the Waterloo Bridge, which would take me back home. I could see The Shard, it’s hard to miss being the tallest building in Europe – but it’s not as easy to get to as I thought. It sounds silly but it was kind of like a mirage. I could see it but it seems I couldn’t actually find it.

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The Shard – aka my Mirage

By this time it started to rain and I was getting very wet (big shout out to the weather man on BBC that morning that said we weren’t going to see any rain in London – therefore I left my umbrella at the hotel). So I ended up saying screw it and headed to the market. Another first for me, I’d never been to Borough Market before. It was very cool! If I lived in London I don’t think I’d ever go to the grocery store. They have everything you could possibly need. There was so much food and it all looked so good! I ended up buying myself a small container of raspberries and cherries, only £1 each! I stopped at a little cafe inside the market for a quick cup of tea to warm myself up. I wandered around the market a bit longer – I could have bought tons of food, everything looked so good!

By the time I left, it was really starting to pour but I kept telling myself ‘a day walking around in the rain in London beats pretty much any other day so I just needed to keep going.’ I briefly popped in to The Globe Theatre just to take a quick look around. I thought about doing a tour, simply to stay out of the rain for a bit but there appeared to be a few school groups and I didn’t really feel like dealing with them either. I’d take my chances with the rain.

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The Globe Theatre

I continued on down the South Bank until I got to the Tate Museum. I figured I was there, I might as well go in. The last time I was in England I surprisingly didn’t do many of the museums,so this trip was going to be different. It was quite packed. I suppose when it rains, people to pick the indoor actives. I have to admit though, it was not my taste in art. Don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate it because Lord knows I’m not that talented but most of it was simply not my thing. I count myself lucky to have visited it though . and to have seen a Picasso with my very own eyes.

The rain had slowed down, at least it seemed that way. There were quite a few more people walking along the bank at this point. I stopped by the OXO Tower, something I enjoyed seeing as I used to be a big fan of the show ‘Secret Diary of a Call Girl’. It was also fun for me to see the ITV building simply because I work in television. Before I knew it I had made it all the way down to the Waterloo Bridge. Yay! The view down the Thames in both directions was great, there is something so special about the London skyline. On one side you have the tops of the Gherkin, St. Paul’s and the Tower. On the other the Eye, Parliament and Big Ben.

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The view from Waterloo

Back at the hotel, it was nice to put on some dry clothes and sit down for a bit! My poor feet were so sore and it was only halfway through day two. I will say though, that’s one of the best parts of travelling alone … travelling at your own speed. Can do things as quickly or as slowly as you want!

After a brief nap and some chilling out in front of the TV, it was time to get ready for Kate! My friend moved to England several years ago and it’s always wonderful to see her. She lives in Kent but was taking the train up after work so we could spend the weekend together. After taking a hot shower I realized the converter I brought was the wrong one. I had lent it out to a friend’s son to take on his trip to Europe. I didn’t even notice it when I packed it, I just assumed that he had returned the one I lent him. Nope. So there I was … with some pretty fizzy hair. Luckily there is a Boots across the street. By this point Kate had arrived and we started to get ready together. And then… my hair straightener blew up. Things were really going my way. After a quick fix we headed down to the hotel restaurant for dinner. I asked for the Caesar salad but I didn’t want any of the anchovies they put on the side. I hate fishy fish like that, especially the smell. They said no problem, no anchovies on the side. What they failed to say was there was anchovies chopped up and put in to the dressing. It was awful! I couldn’t eat it – I tried but just couldn’t get past the smell. My dinner ended up being plain lettuce and a bun with some butter.

It was definitely time to hit the town by this point! We headed to my favourite hot spot in London – Mahiki. Mahiki is one of THOSE places in London, often frequented by celebrities and once a popular hang out for Prince Harry and Prince William. Kate and I went the last time I visited and had fun but we left pretty early. This was going to be different. The vibe when you walk in gets you going right away. The posh kids at their tables, the fancy drinks with their flowers and sparklers and the tiki men dancing in sarongs.

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Tiki boy!

We sat down at a small table in the corner. We were ignored for about 15 minutes by every waitress that walked by so I finally went up to the bar to order my drink – The Mahiki. The bartender was hilarious! Fun guy who ended up giving Kate and I a free round of shots as an apology for us being ignored. We soon befriended two pretty, English girls who were sitting beside us. They wanted a picture taken together and I happily obliged. After we chatted for a bit, we became a group. Lucky for us we managed to snag a much coveted booth but were told that when the people who reserved the table showed up, we’d have to leave. Things got fun from there. We soon pooled our money and ordered one of Mahiki’s famous treasure chests! Might I just add – I’ve wanted to do that ever since I knew what Mahiki was and knew I wanted to go there. It was delicious!

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Treasure Chest – yum!!!

By this time, the four of us four were feeling pretty good and it was time to hit the dance floor downstairs. The DJ was fabulous, not that you’d expect anything less. We danced and danced and danced! One of our new friends befriended a gent at the bar. We ended up sitting at his table for a little bit – and drinking his Dom Perignon. The men at this table seemed to have more money then sense, so I’m sure in the end they didn’t mind. Hell, they probably didn’t even remember we were there. Then we got word some local TV stars from a popular reality show – The Only Way is Essex – had arrived. We went back upstairs to see – and wouldn’t you know it – they were the ones who had reserved the table we were sitting at earlier!

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Mario Falcone

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Billie Faiers

The rest of the night was fabulous! A few more drinks and a lot more dancing, some mingling and just an all-round good time. It will be one of those nights that I will look back on when I’m older and be like ‘wow, remember that night…?’ But before we knew it, it was time to go. Kate and I made sure our new friends got in to a cab ok and we set off to find our own. We tracked one down in Piccadilly Circus (again) and went back to the hotel. We changed and walked to the McDonald’s down the road. The perfect way to end a night at the bar, hey? I’ve never seen a McDonald’s so busy in my entire life!! It was insane. On our walk back we watched the sunrise over London. It was going to be a very long day three.

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