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London Calling

Towards the end of last week I hopped on an early train and made my way down to the big smoke with my parents and Matty. We had a full on two days planned. 

We arrived just after lunch and all pretty hungry. We dropped our bags off at our hotel, Park Grand Lancaster Gate. The room was pretty compact to say the least. So I was glad we weren't hanging around there too long and we headed straight out for a little stroll around Hyde park, making our way indirectly to Harrods. But not before my Dad made a friend. 

The squirrels are extremely tame in Hyde Park and my Dad (who is a bigger animal lover than me) decided to feed some of the squirrels a banana. If you ever wondered if squirrels like banana or not, apparently they do. 

Anyway...we carried on walking in the direction of Harrods to meet Matty's friend. 

Conveniently we arrived at Harrods the same time as Phil so my dream of having a wonder around the designer handbag section was cut rather short and we headed to The Nags head in Covent Garden leaving my parents to do their own thing and went for a pre dinner pint, which is becoming our local in London as we always seem to find ourselves there. 

While we were in the pub we discussed where to go for dinner and unanimously settled on having pizza. Which of course is my favourite food. So we made our way to Franco Manco and it was absolutely delicious.

Matty and I needed an early meal as we were heading to the theatre to watch The Book of Mormon  I have been wanting to see it for years but never been able to get tickets. 

The show was absolutely excellent and 100% worth the wait. It was very tongue in cheek but I didn't stop laughing. It's not a show where I would have took my parents however. 

We made our way back to the hotel and had a nightcap with my parents before heading to bed preparing ourselves for the next day which was planned to be another long day. 

The next morning Matty and I went to Craven cafe for breakfast. This was just around the corner from the hotel which suited me as it was chucking it down with rain. 

As you can see there was enough toast to feet half the British army! We filled up and made our way to Selfridges on Oxford street which is my favourite place to shop. I made a rather exciting Louis Vuitton purchase which you will have seen on my Instagram stories (@katiejaneonline).

Meeting up again with my parents, Dad had the bright idea that we head to One London also known as Apsley house which was home to the Duke of Wellington. This seemed like an excellent idea as I haven't been since I was a child. 

^^^One London is the house you can see over my right shoulder behind the trees. 

However when we got there we found it was closed until April. We all had a good laugh and then Mam decided we should head to Harrods as it was a bit damp and miserable, seemed like a better idea than getting wet and it meant I got to have a strawberry milkshake from the ice cream parlour and Matty had a coke float which I learnt, I really don't like. 

As the evening came, I had something planned. Last mother's day I bought my Mam and I a ticket to go to The Ginstitute which was held underground at The Portobello road Gin palace. 

We were seated and with a Tom Collins and given a brief history of gin along with a Portobello road gin and tonic or two. There was a group of 20 of us and the room was made to feel like an old school gin palace.  

After our history lesson of the good old mothers ruin we were taken into a stillroom in the small distillery and the room we were seated in can only be described as an old school chemistry room. This is when the exciting part happened. We were going to make our own gin. 

We were given a quick lesson on all the botanicals that go inside a gin and make it unique. 

Inside mine I went for, gentian root, nutmeg, cassia bark, bitter orange and fennel seed. 

I had a little sip and it tasted perfect. 

I named my gin after my nickname - Duchess Katie. 

As we left we were also given a bottle of Portobello gin to take home along with our very own. And if we want to order our own recipe again all we have to do is recite our unique number and for £35 + p&p your own gin will be making it's way to you. 

The boys were waiting for us in the bar upstairs where of course I ordered a gin and tonic - I was in a gin palace after all. 

I ordered mine with lemon rather than the Portobello Road traditional grapefruit and it was so refreshing. Just what I needed as I was starting to flag. 

For supper we made our way to Poggi's. 

For starters Matty and I shared the meat and cheese plate. Can you believe Matty ate all this meat? 

As for the main course - the less said the better. We all had a good night enjoyed each others company and had a nice bottle of wine. 

Of course we went for another nightcap in the hotel before retiring to bed as Matty and I had an early start back to Durham the following morning. 

As much as I love being in the Capital it doesn't half tire me out. I fell asleep pretty much as soon as we pulled out of Kings Cross and woke up somewhere south of York. 

London Calling 

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