Tag Archives: London

#10 Wimbledon!

9 Jul

The world famous tennis tournament right on our doorstep! This is our second year living in Wimbledon and we missed out on tickets last year. The ballot process is complex and there is no favouritism for residents of SW19. Boo.

BUT, this year we managed to get two Centre Court tickets! Six rows from the front and next to the Royal Box! I called Nick with the amazing news, only to be told that he was in Paris that weekend because his friend got four tickets for the Euros. So my friend Sarah inherited the second ticket and we were excited!

Wimbledon is much more sophisticated than I thought it would be. I’ve been to the US Open and it was a great day out, but this was something different. Staff in pristine uniform, immaculate grounds, and it just had a feel of grandness and history.

And the proof we were there? Check out the lady in the black hat… yours truly! Sarah is sitting in white to the left. Yep, that is Roger Federer! ­čÖé

We also got to see Novak Djokovic, see if you can spot him in photos below!

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#28 Photo with a Celebrity

23 Jun

Last year England hosted the Rugby World Cup, and I found myself wanting to get tickets, ┬ábecause why not! But┬átickets were allocated┬áby ballot and tickets on StubHub were extortionate. I couldn’t justify spending a week’s wages because I’m not enough of a fan.

So, when I saw a Facebook post from MasterCard with a chance to win tickets to Australia vs England I rushed home to enter straight away. I work in social media and run competitions regularly so I know what the judges are looking for in an entry. Long story short, I won and of course Nick was the recipient of the other ticket.

What is funny about this situation is that we thought it was two tickets to the match and it advertised that accommodation was included for three nights. We thought maybe the Holiday Inn Express in Twickenham? Maybe a small B&B walking distance to the ground. It would be cool to check out Twickenham’s local town and pubs or the weekend! When we were told it would be a five star hotel in central London, this prize suddenly got interesting. Ok, what cool things could we do in central London? Let’s be tourists in our own city for a weekend! A bus tour, sightseeing and nice restaurants! YAY! I was informed that I would shortly receive an email with more details. Refresh. Refresh. Refresh. Ping. “RSVP: Your Invitation to Join MasterCard at 2015 Rugby World CupÔÇĆ”

The prize absolutely blew us away. I remember logging into the microsite that they sent me a link to and needing to sit down. Royal Horseguards in Embankment for three nights! WOW! What country do you support? What is your shirt size or your country’s jersey which we’ll leave in your room? ┬áWhat train station can the limousine pick you up from? Here is your itinerary for the next three days. Itinerary?!┬á

Day 1: Check in. Champagne on arrival. Dinner at the Royal Horseguards.

Day 2: Breakfast at hotel, bus tour of London, lunch at a 5 star restaurant, dinner at a 5 star restaurant.

Day 3 : Breakfast at hotel, London Eye – TWICE around with champagne and canapes, lunch at a 5 star hotel, private coach to Twickenham stadium, access to Mastercard hospitality suite, dinner served, free flowing champagne.

The below photo is us in the Mastercard hospitality suite, where we got to meet Martin Johnson and get a photo with the Rugby World Cup.

(For those of you who don’t know who the giant below is, he was the England captain when they won the RWC in 2003. His comment to me when we asked for a photo – “Only if you take off that Australia jersey” *feels two feet tall*)

#28 well and truly checked off in style!

MJ

#27 Get Upgraded on a Flight… (again! YAY!)

23 Jun

After an extremely busy 10 days in the US (Atlanta for a friends wedding and Miami to visit friends) it was a lovely surprise to be upgraded to premium economy for our red-eye from Atlanta to London.

Premium economy was actually better than I thought it would be. With seats reclining much further than economy and extra leg room it was much easier to get some rest. Sometimes I think that Nick could sleep standing up, but I never do well on planes without about five of those mini bottles of white wine. Only one glass needed with premium economy! British Airways, our jet lag and my liver thank you!

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#7 Buy a house in London

26 Sep

So we’ve been in our house almost a year now, and we’re ALMOST finished repainting (not that it really needed it) and the only thing left to really improve is the garden but that can wait until Spring 2016. The previous owners left a very sad looking Christmas tree planted and a pathetic raspberry vine that produced 3.5 raspberries this season.

Anyway, sometimes we rent our place out on AirBnB when we go on holiday and I noticed that they were offering free verified photos. I booked them in and they were┬áhere within a week! So, this should give you an update on #7 on our list. Let us know what you think of our place ­čÖé

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#7 Buy a house in London

5 Apr

We are SO happy to be where we are, but I almost don’t want to reminisce on what it was like to buy a house in London. To sum it up, we put our first offer in on a flat in December 2013 and finally moved in to our place we bought in November 2014.

– 12 months
– 100+ inspections
– 15 offers
– 13 outbids
– 2 accepted properties
– 2 properties falling through
– 1 success (after falling through once)

I don’t even know where to begin to explain the frustration of buying property in the UK! In Australia the majority of properties go to auction and when that hammer falls you have to pay 10% of the sale price and you move in four weeks later. If you can’t get a loan (unless you’re paying cash) you lose your 10% deposit. In the UK, you put your offer in, then you can be out bid, gazumped, caught in a bidding war, and you’re not safe until you are at the very end of the process… after inspections and surveys, and the bank approving the property. But you’re not done yet. WHAT THE? It is so back-to-front. Either party at any time can pull out until you exchange, which should take five weeks, usually longer. You can be at the day of exchange and the vendor can change their mind. Or you could get cold feet and pull out. The only thing you lose are your survey fees. This then affects ‘the chain’. Everyone caught in this selling chain must exchange on the same day. If anyone pulls out, the whole chain is ruined for anyone that is relying on the funding for the place that pulled out. We were luckily only in a chain of three, but I’ve heard of one being 20 properties. Imagine trying to get 20 properties all coordinated. Ridiculous.

UGH! Besides the crazy process here we FINALLY found our home and fought tooth and nail for it. A lovely two bedroom ground floor terrace with a garden in Wimbledon (Which will hopefully cover off #9 Wimbledon tennis because we live 5 minutes away).

HUGE thanks to our friends Jon and Rosie for putting us up for about 8 weeks while it fell through TWICE… xx

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We’ve started putting out own touch on the place (see above) and will post the final results of the place later. Its already been five months… but these things take time!

I also got my first taste of London snow. It was brief but exciting because I’ve never woken up and gone to work in the snow – glad it only lasted two days!

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The last thanks goes to my wonderful friend, Jem and her BF Rupert – what an amazing housewarming gift send all the way from Sydney! This cookie lasted long enough to keep us going with an empty fridge… x

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#12 Road trip through Italy

26 Aug

SIGH! This feels like two lifetimes ago now. Since we travelled to Italy for a friend’s wedding in July 2013 we have also been to Barcelona, Tenerife, Amsterdam, Athens, and traveled around some Greek Islands and Italy still is a strong contender for our favourite holiday ever (Except for you, Naples! Your pizza may be amazing but that doesn’t make up for the nightmare that you were!).

We found out that Nick was going to have to move back to the UK and he left Australia within weeks meaning that we hadn’t seen each other for five weeks when we were reunited in Rome.

Ah, Roma! 35+ degree days never ending history and amazing architecture.

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We spend three days eating gelato and just generally getting lost. It was the best three days seeing each other after five weeks!

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So a few days in Rome and we were off to Naples! Lets not dwell on the negative… but in a nutshell we left an iPad, a watch, some sunglasses (see watch and sunglasses in above pictures on Nick) and cologne poorer… thanks to the hotel cleaner! Anyway, the usual to say about Naples. It was exactly the same as I remember when I was 15. Dirty, rough, but strangely fascinating. Both times I’ve been there have been concerning situations with cab drivers but both times the pizza was very good. Basically, couldn’t wait to leave.

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We even paid for a taxi outta there! A 100 euro taxi! When we got to the train station there were no working ATMs to get money out for the train tickets, there were little gypsy kids begging for money, putting their hands into your pockets and eying off your luggage. We finally got tickets and got to the train platform to find more gypsy kids walking the platforms and squeezing onto packed trains and standing next to tourists with open pockets who were distracted with all their suitcases… GET US OUTTA HERE! (Obviously we just had a bad experience and are a little bitter about it! I’m sure Naples can be fantastic! Let me know your experiences and where would have made it a great place to visit!)

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Ah! Cruising the Amalfi Coast in our air-conditioned taxi! We were FINALLY on holiday. Positano, ti amo!

Positano is just the most romantic and beautiful place. The food is stunning and the views even more so. It’s quiet enough to relax, but there is enough to do to keep you busy. There are a few (albeit pebbles as hot as my straightening iron) beaches to relax on, lots of restaurants and bars and plenty of shops to max out your credit card in. You can also take day trips to surrounding island like Carpi (this was a particular highlight for us and Capri was just as I remembered it 15 years ago!). Have I already mentioned the food? Well, who cares because I’m mentioning it again. WOW!

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Nick tore me away from Positano kicking and screaming and we were off to our friends wedding in the small but beautiful town of Arpino. This town isn’t a tourist destination and most of the locals don’t speak English.

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Proseccos all round and we are celebrating in the local town square. The poor bar didn’t know what hit them with 100 tourists piling in drinking them dry. We probably made them their rent for the whole year that night! One thing that I have to say about Arpino – the best pasta dish of my life was eaten here. We watched the pasta made fresh in front of our eyes and the ingredients were so simple. Don’t laugh, but I still think of that lunch to this day. As my Dad would say “I would walk over hot coals for that”!

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Post wedding hangovers didn’t help our mini bus journey back to Rome the next afternoon and the idea that our holiday was over in a couple of days made it even worse ­čśŽ

#27 Get upgraded on a flight

4 Aug

To be honest, this is one that I never thought would happen, but it is probably one of the ones that I wanted the most. Nick doesn’t really understand what the big deal is, but us Australians are so passionate about our travel and go such long distances to get there that it is like winning the lottery. The travel lottery. You see, a business class return ticket from Sydney to London will cost you about USD 10,000 (Damn Australia’s thriving economy and high salaries).

Nick and I are in the process of moving to London. He has already made the move and I still have a few weeks in Sydney to tie up a few loose ends. Following our recent Italian holiday in July, we had to part at Rome Fiumicino airport. On top of an emotional goodbye, I had a long 26 hours in transit. In economy. The farewell was difficult, but I’m sure a few of those tears were in sympathy for the pain my neck and back would endure in a chair more uncomfortable than a concrete bench.

By the time I walked back to my check-in gate (after saying goodbye) my face must have looked like a thousand bees had stung it. Puffy and red-eyed I was still sniffling a little bit. The lady behind the counter obviously took pity on me because she lent forward and whispered those magic words “Miss Davies, Emirates would be privileged to upgrade you to business class for your journey”.

I’ve flown business class once before, so I knew what a brilliant result this was.

Priority boarding! Glass of Veuve Clicquot upon arrival! A flat bed to sleep in! For 26 hours!

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Emirates offers a full menu with celebrity chef created meals. A fantastic wine and liquor selection and a full cocktail menu. Feel like a mojito 35,000ft in the air? Not a problem. Another glass of Veuve? Don’t mind if I do!

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Who wants to balance their head on a blow-up travel pillow when you get to rest your head, horizontally, on a plush full size cloud!

Even though this wasn’t something that happened together, Nick told me that his flight from London to Rome was up the front of the plane in a larger chair than usual… so I’m counting that as an upgrade to business class also ­čśë

Moral of the story is, if you aren’t going with the honeymoon story for an upgrade… just shed a few tears, and you never know!

#9 Walk Over Tower Bridge

14 Jan

ImageThis post doesn’t really need much of a description (but I do want to point out that we were in London and its WASN’T raining!). We just thought it would be an interesting challenge to walk over different iconic bridges in different cities. Not because its difficult to walk over them… because its not easy to get to all of┬áthese┬áplaces in such a short amount of time. So far we’ve crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, Brooklyn Bridge, Sydney Harbour Bridge and now Tower Bridge. Having this blog is great because it makes us commit to activities that we may otherwise skip over!Image

17 December 2012

#21 Ride Together on the London Eye

9 Jan

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We had both been to London a few times independently but neither of us had been on the London Eye, so it was nice to experience this with each other during our first trip to London together.

It takes 30 minutes for the London Eye to make the full circle, giving you plenty of time to take in the fantastic views and admire the great span of the city from above. Typically, it was raining, but visibility was still quite clear.

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The capsules are equipped with interactive screens which are extremely useful for information on what buildings you are looking at and their history as you move around the journey.

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Like any tourist attraction, there is an opportunity for a┬ásouvenir┬áphoto at the end of the journey. You are told to stand in a marked area and pose for the photo. Would you believe that when this photo was taken (below) we thought it had been taken about a minute beforehand. This wasn’t our intended pose for the photo!

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An absolutely amazing souvenir photo! Even the sales assistants in the shop were laughing at it. Probably the best £10 we have ever spent!

20 December 2012