A Day In London With My Mum

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Monday 19th March

Only had a little day out in London today but still had a great day. I went up with my mum so she could go to her 6 monthly hospital appointment and then the rest of our day was ours.

We had snow over the weekend so we were worried that our train would be cancelled but it all turned out fine.

When we got to London Victoria on the side where the trains come and go to places in Sussex. We took the first left to go towards the coach station and like magic, a taxi pulled up. We got straight in and went to the hospital.

Once mum was done in her appointment, we took a little wonder down Fulham Road trying to get a taxi, they seemed to be few and few between until the best taxi driver I have ever had pulled up. He had a lovely big taxi like a minibus but the seats were behind him facing back and the back seats facing forward so there was a big space in the middle. We had a lovely chat and we asked him if he knew any pubs near the Imperial War Museum that we could get something to eat before we go in. He said he wasn’t sure about a pub with good food as a lot of the streets near the museums was just residential but he did know a brilliant little café that did a decent English breakfast. So he too us there and gave us directions to the Imperial War Museum which was a 2 minute walk down the road.

The café was called The Corner Cafe and it was brilliant. There is loads of food to pick from, 3 pages worth to be exact. It took us a little while to pick what we wanted but my mum settled on steak and kidney pie with chips and peas while I had a chicken burger with chips. The food came out quite quickly, I think that is because it is a pub mainly for workers and taxi drivers and don’t always have a long break so the food has to be cooked and out to them as quickly as possible. The staff were all really nice, there was one lady that didn’t speak much English but she was still smiling.

Once we had finished eating, we walked up the road a little to find the Imperial War Museum and ended up having a quick walk through the Tibetan Peace garden and Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park where there is a huge sun dial that tells the correct time.

 

The Imperial War Museum was amazing, so much to see, videos to watch and some interaction bits. We were there for about 3 hours in total and had a brilliant time. I will have a separate blog post with my full review of the museum.

We were quite lucky that there was a bus stop just outside the museum so we jumped on the 148 to London Victoria train station. We drove over Westminster Bridge and saw Big Ben, Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey.

We got off a few stops before the station so that we could get a coffee and a look in the shops before going to Wasabi in the station for sweet chilli chicken and noodles to take home for dinner.

It was only a short visit but I had loads of fun. If you check out my Twitter and Facebook pages, you will find live feeds.

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Getting around London

Getting around London can seem quite confusing but here are some of my favourite ways of getting around that may help you.

I always use Google Maps when I am trying to get somewhere in London, it’s brilliant because it has all the times and routes for public transport so I can see if it’s easier to walk, get a taxi, get on the tub or bus it.

Tube

Although this is one of the fastest ways of getting around, it can also be one of the most confusing ways, especially if you have to change lines during your journey but if you get one of the tube journey apps or Google Maps, it will tell you everything you need to know.

Paying has got a lot simpler as well, if you have a debit or credit card which is contactless, you can use it like a Oyster card. Just touch it to the blue pad as you are going in and out of stations, then at the end of the day, the cheapest fare will be worked out and that is the amount that will come off of your card. No need for buying tickets from ticket booths or ticket machines, you just go straight through. You can still use Oyster cards if you have one or would feel better not having to use your bank card.

Bus

There are some major pros and cons with getting the bus. Cons are that you could get stuck in traffic or the buses aren’t running on time but the pros are that you get to see so much more of London during your journey and you can still use your contactless card or Oyster card.

Open Top Bus

This is one of my absolute favourite way of getting around London, especially if I am having a sightseeing trip. You get to see everything that London has to offer and if you see something you like, you can just get off and then get back on once you have finished having a look around. There are stops by all major landmarks and depending on the company you use, you could get discounts on entrance tickets to attractions and sometimes a river boat tour as well.

The best company I have used if Big Bus Tours, they are more reliable, cleaner buses, better drivers and better offers. They have 1, 2 and 3 day passes which includes a one way boat trip that is a lot of fun as well.

Taxi

This is a great way of getting around but you need to be careful of taxi drivers who take advantage of people from out of town and take you on the longer route so you end up paying more. I have had it a few times and have refused to pay the whole fare, I go to London a lot and know some of the routes that a taxi would take. For example, my husband and I went to a signing convention but got a taxi to the hotel so we could drop off our bags. The taxi driver took us on a longer route, he didn’t like it when I asked him what way he was taking us, he must of realised I knew where we needed to go. He tried to take us to the wrong place even though I had been very clear on where we needed to go, I even told him the tube station the hotel was next to. Normally the route was £14 but this time it was £25 and I refused to give him all the money. I wasn’t going to pay extra when he had tried to con us out of money and taken us to the wrong place so that our journey had been made longer.

The best thing that I can suggest doing is to use MiniCabIt, you can book taxis in advance and they can be quite cheap. I’ve used them quite a few times and had no complaints at all.

Walking

If you don’t mind walking, this is a great way of seeing the city. A lot of major attractions are within walking distance of each other and you get to see a lot more sights that you may not see on public transport.

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Posted on Categories Tips

My beautiful Welsh Cottage, Sulfur Cottage in Snowdonia

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This cottage is absolutely amazing. It’s 3 bedrooms (2 doubles and 1 twin), a living room, huge kitchen/dining room and bathroom. We couldn’t believe how nice it was when we were walking through to have a good look when we first arrived.

I found it through Booking.com and couldn’t believe my eyes when I could book it for £228 to 4 nights! You get an email to a website to pay the deposit through and then you are given a date that you need to pay off the rest of the money. If you book well enough in advance, you will have loads of time to pay off the full amount. Here is the link for you to have a good look.

A few days before we turned up, I spoke to Mrs Vaughan who owns the cottage, she was such a lovely lady. We spoke about when we were expecting to arrive, what is in the house for us, where to get the key, etc. It was really nice speaking to her, it’s a shame we didn’t get to meet her.

The Kitchen

I’m not joking about how big this kitchen is, there is a big round table to have meals on that can have 6 people sitting at it and there is still loads of room to move around.

There’s a big arger, over, grill, hob, microwave, toaster, kettle, sandwich toaster and a big kettle to be used on the arger. When we looked through the cupboards we found loads of plates, bowls, cutlery, different glasses, pots, pans, frying pans, baking trays, kitchen utensils and cleaning products. There is even baby plates and cutlery which I thought was a nice touch. They really have thought of everything that you would need and it is nice because you don’t need to worry about taking them yourself. There is an oven with a separate grill and 4 hobs on top, all in perfect working order.

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The Bathroom

This is on the ground floor at the end of a tiny hallway that connects the kitchen, living room and airing cupboard. It doesn’t have a radiator but it does have underfloor heating which makes such a difference when it is on as the bathroom can get very cold.

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It has a lovely big deep bath/shower, sick and toilet. The shower is very easy to use but make sure that you turn it on by the switch in the airing cupboard so that it works.

The only thing I would say that it needs is an extractor fan as the condensation built up quite quickly and we had to open the window because we had water running down the walls and we were worried that it would start effecting the plaster.

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The Living Room

This room is a long room with 2 comfy chairs and then a 2 seater and single seater chair set.

There is a fire place that you can use coal or wood on but there is also an electric fire if you aren’t sure on how to make and maintain a fire. There is a TV that’s connected to a Sky box and a DVD player. There are some books, DVDs and games in the big sideboard as well.

It’s very warm and cosy when you have the electric fire is on, it really warms up the room quickly.

Bedroom 1 – Double

This is on the ground floor, you go out of the living room, the front door is on your left and the bedroom is on the right.

 

This was mine and my husband’s room, it was very comfy, I really liked the bed and how spacious the whole room was.

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Bedroom 2 – Double

This room is up the stairs and to the right. There is a double bed, wardrobe and bedside table all made of wood, there is also a built in cupboard.

It’s a lovely size room with a double bed, check of drawers, bedside table, wardrobe and a vanity table all made of wood.

The bed was very comfy, my husband and I are a bit fussy about beds but this one was great. It can get very hot in there though so what we did was put the little heater on in the bedroom about an hour before we went to bed so that it was nice and warm, then switched it off when we went to bed.

Make sure you close the curtains when you go to bed because if you don’t, you will get woken up by the sun in the morning.

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Bedroom 3 – Twin

This one is to the left at the top of the stairs. There are twin single beds, a cot, built-in wardrobe and cupboard.

We didn’t use this room during our visit but its perfect if you have kids, especially with the cot.

I loved my view from the kitchen when I was doing the washing up, you can see for miles and sometimes the sheep come up the garden fence.

You’ll find the wifi router on the kitchen side, you get a signal all around the house but it is strongest in the kitchen. There is no phone signal or land line in the house so at least there is the wifi.

The nearest town is Pwllheli which about 12 miles away and there is a little seaside town 35 miles away called Aberdaron. Other than that, it really is just a few houses and fields around you so it is very quiet at night making it the perfect place to go if you just want to chill out and be away from the world for a little while.

There is a little walled in area next to the house with a gate that is big enough for 1 car.

I would gladly stay there again as it was so nice and peaceful, really felt like I recharged my batteries.

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Posted on Categories Wales

My Stay At The Rosen Inn on International Drive

We had such a great stay here, we stayed here for 2 weeks over Christmas and New Year and had no problems at all as the staff were all brilliant, the facilities were all in working order, absolutely nothing to complaint about.

We arrived late in the evening but we were checked in and up to our room in no time.We were the only ones checking in so I think they were waiting for us to make sure that everything was done quickly for us.

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RI pool side

As we are from the UK, the time different was 5 hours behind what we are used to so tried to stay up as late as possible so we were lucky as the bar was still open and doing food. It was nice to have somewhere to eat and chill out for a little while before heading up to bed.

There are 2 parts of the hotel, you have the main building which is the hotel side and then the West Wing that looks like a motel. We were in the main building on the 6th floor with our window facing down International Drive so we were quite high up and had a brilliant view. We saw Volcano Bay being built just across the high way as well.

The room is huge, we didn’t realise it was going to be as big as it was. There was a massive bed, it was so big that I had to do 3 full rolls to get across the bed haha. The bedside tables on both sides of the bed had laps, one had an alarm clock which also had USB points in the top and the other had the safe. There was a round table with 2 chairs, a wardrobe that also kept the ironing board and iron in it and a big side unit that had the TV on top, a microwave, a coffee machine, some drawers and the fridge in it. There is aircon in the room but don’t leave it on too much as it can really dry out the air in the room and there is no way of getting fresh air other than opening the main door as the windows don’t open in the room.

The bathroom was a nice big size as well with a lovely big bath/shower, toilet, a mirror with a sink under it and a bin

The room and bathroom was cleaned everyday in the early afternoon unless we put the “do not disturb” sign on the door. We put it up every other day as we were hardly in the room so didn’t make a lot of mess and it would of just wasted the house keeping staffs time.

There is a little shop where you can get food, drinks, snacks, merchandise, etc but to be honest, it is a bit on the pricey side. We would only go in there if we couldn’t be bothered to go to the Walgreens that is a 5 minute walk from the hotel.

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The swimming pool is great, it’s not very big but to he fair, when we were using in the afternoons, there wasn’t many people in or around the pool so a lot of the time we had it to ourselves. We had one day of the holiday which everyone was saying was a cold day but being from the UK, we were still really hot haha. We were the only ones in the pool for about 2 hours and got some funny looks from people who were walking round in fleece jumpers haha. They even turned on the heating in the pool which basically turned it into a lovely huge warm bath. There is a fence all around the pool and you will need your room key to open the gate to get in. Towels are provided in a storage container next to the fence by the pool so that you don’t bring down your room towels. You don’t need to pay a deposit for the towels either.

There is a little gym but we didn’t use it during our stay, the equipment looked well looked after and clean.

There is a small arcade with a few games in it if you need a little bit of time to waste or just something to do while waiting to go out.

The hotel has a breakfast room which serves all-you-can-eat breakfast of sausages, bacon, eggs, grits, pancakes that you make yourself, cereal, fruit, etc. It’s meant to be about $7 dollars but there was an offer on with a little vouchers so it was only $4 or $5 each. The food was great, plenty to choose from to start you on your way each morning. There are staff that walk around topping up your coffee, we loved them as they would always have a chat and give us good tips on what to do and where to go.

The wifi is free throughout the hotel and no matter where we were, we had great service, even by the pool. You are given a little slip of paper with the password when you check in so that you can connect to the wifi.

They have a launderettes on the 3rd, 5th and 7th floor in the main building and the 2nd floor in the West Wing. You need tokens to use the machines which you can get from the machine in the launderettes or from reception if the machine isn’t working. Make sure you have lots of $1 coins as it works out as $3 for a wash, $3 for drying and £1 for the soup. We used the launderette about half way through our stay one evening when we weren’t planning on going out and didn’t see anyone but the other machines were being used. It takes about 30 minutes for the clothes to be washed and then another about an hour for them to dry in the tumble dryer so we just set an alarm on our phones to go down every 30 minutes to swap the clothes from the washing machine to the tumble dryer and then an hour alarm to go take them out and back to our room

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3 of the pictures on this page are from the Rosen Inn Facebook page, they are not my own

There is a counter in the lobby where you can book days out, get park tickets and transport to attractions or taxis. We spoke to a few people on the counter over our stay and they gave us so much great advice on places to go and things to do. They have a free shuttle to Universal, Sea World and Aquatica from 7am to 11:45am every day. There is a return journey at times in the afternoon so make sure you check with the driver of the times. It’s first come first serviced so make sure you book transport the day before or get up early to see if you can get on one of the shuttles for that day, you can’t book a few days in advance. The shuttle only takes about 20-30 minutes to get to Universal as it stops at a few other hotels. Or you can walk to Universal, it’s less than a mile away and it’s a very straightforward route. It took my husband and I about half an hour to walk it. If you are going to Disney, you can book a taxi from the counter, a return journey is $20. We also booked a taxi to the local Walmart which was $35 for a return journey.

If you get a pass for the iTrolly, there is a stop directly outside the hotel so getting around isn’t a problem.

There is a restaurant called Shogun Japanese Restaurant, we didn’t eat there as we thought it was a bit pricey but other guests that we spoke to about it said it was lots of fun and the food was really nice

I would gladly stay here again and again

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Posted on Categories Florida

I love the iTrolly in Orlando

itrolly

If you are staying on International Drive, the best way for you to get around will be the iTrolly.

The passes that you can get are 1 day, 3 day, 5 day, 7 day or 14 day.

The prices are:-

1 day  $5

3 day  $7

5 day  $9

7 day  $12

14 day  $18

You must book online through the website and then print off the confirmation that was sent to you as the bus driver needs that and will keep it. The bus drivers do not sell passes on the buses so make sure you get it all booked in advance.

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The first time you get on the bus, you just give the driver your printed confirmation and he will give you the pass(es) that you have purchased. After your first ride, all you have to do is swipe your pass through the little machine next to the driver as you get on the bus and that is it.

There are 3 lines that you can go on and they are green, red and transfers.

The red line has 38 stops and goes from the Orlando International Premium Outlet at the top of International Drive to the Orlando Vineland Premium Outlet at the bottom of International Drive. This means that it has stops at Sea World, Aquatica, Pointe Orlando, iDrive 360, Wonderworks and so much more, please see the picture that I have included from the iTrolly website.

The green line starts off a bit further north of the Orlando International Premium Outlet and ends at the Orlando Vineland Premium Outlet but goes a slightly different route. There are 16 stops but then it joins the red line to finish the route.

When we used the iTrolly, we were staying in a hotel on International Drive and thought it was absolutely amazing because we didn’t have to worry about getting taxis or getting stranded after going out for a meal. I would highly recommend it as it saves you money on travel because it goes to so many places that you will want to go.

The buses start at 8am and run until 10:30pm so you have nothing to worry about when it comes to getting to and from somewhere.

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Posted on Categories Florida