Gardening Week hits London: 15-21 April

Posted on April 15th, 2013 in Alternative Things To Do,Places To Visit by Stephanie

Gardening Week London

Blooms and butterflies… spring is at our door and so is National Gardening Week. London will be buzzing with gardening events. Get your green fingers in the pie!

Window box gardening: Chances are your gardening canvas is limited to a square of patio, balcony or rooftop. Don’t worry, that’s plenty of space for flowers and a herbs garden. Pick a spot with lots of sun and use deep pots.
Serious about salad: Wild rocket, butterhead, radicchio, cherry tomatoes and squash blossom… if you’re serious about salad, the Masterclass in salad growing at King Henrys Walk Garden is a must. Email your name and phone number to rsvp@khwgarden.org.uk or call 07901 931018 to book places for 16 April. £5 per person.
Watering hole: Famous for the wealth of hanging baskets with beautiful flowers decorating its exterior, the Churchill Arms is a blooming good pub. And not just for the flowers! In the dreamy butterfly-themed conservatory, they serve authentic Thai food.
Compost Clinic: Chelsea Physic Garden will run a workshop on the secrets of the black gold. Whether you’re trying to create compost from a heap, bin or wormery, Lynn Scrivener can help you improve the quality of your soil. The compost clinic will be held on 18 April at 10am and costs £30 per person including entry to the Garden (normally £9pp) and 10% discount in the café and shop.
Urban Oasis: With the turn of the seasons, Tower Hamlets is getting in the mood for a change. Providence Row will need as many pairs of hands as possible bring EC1 to life with flowers, veg, ladybugs and wildlife this summer. No experience is needed, you’ll pick up the skills on the day. Just head to Providence Row, 82 Wentworth Street, to help out on 20 April at 2pm.
Church lunch: The ancient church of St. Mary-at-Lambeth is a tribute to forgotten plant-hunters such as the legendary Captain Bligh from Mutiny on the Bounty. Broaden your horticultural horizon at the exhibition of the Garden Museum or sit down for a delightful vegetarian lunch. The menu depends on what is ready from their veg patch.
Green as grass: You don’t have to be an expert in clearing ground, building raised beds or sowing sunflower seeds. Head to Dalston for an introduction day and get gardening for wildlife at the Dalston Eastern Curve Garden. Free, just turn up on 20 April at 2pm.

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Best Parks To Run Around In London

Posted on November 9th, 2012 in Alternative Things To Do,Cheap Days Out In London,Places To Visit by Stephanie

Best Parks To Run Around In London

Running is a great way to keep fit, it’s an easy sport which anyone can do and best of all it’s free! London marathon is happening in just over 5 months time so those of you who were lucky enough to have won the ballot will probably be starting to train around now. Even if you didn’t manage to get a place, there are still charity places going as well as other races you can enter in various locations around London.

London has a lot of good parks that you can you train in and cover the distances you need to complete before the big day. Even if you’re just a recreational jogger there are a lot of nice routes with some great scenery which you can enjoy whilst running. There are 8 Royal Parks (land that was originally owned by the monarchy) in London with Richmond Park being the largest. There is a man-made trail called the Tamsin Trail around the edge of the park which is about 11km long so it is a great place to run laps and build up those miles. The route is fairly hilly too so you can get in some hill training at the same time.

Bushy Park is the 2nd largest of the Royal Parks and it is roughly 10.8km around it’s perimeter. The route is generally flat and easy to run and the park is attached to Hampton Court Palace so you could always pop by for a visit if you’ve never been! Greenwich Park is another Royal Park that you can run around and it has a 6.6km loop around it’s perimeter. It is also where the London marathon starts so it would be a good place to train in if you’re running the marathon so that you can get used to the track.

Regent’s Park is a good central London park to run in and it is 4.3km around it’s Outer Circle route. It has showers and changing rooms as well as lockers, so you don’t have to carry anything when you run. The other remaining Royal Parks (Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, Green Park and St James’s Park) all link to one another and if you follow the outer perimeter of them you will cover approximately 11.6km. The route is practically traffic-free (except for when you have to cross Hyde Park Corner to get from Hyde Park to Green Park) and it covers an impressive list of London’s famous landmarks, including Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, 10 Downing Street, Horse Guards, The Mall, Hyde Park Corner, Marble Arch, Speakers’ Corner, The Royal Albert Hall, St James’s Palace and Kensington Palace. So if you’re just visiting London and want to get some exercise in at the same time then you could always give yourself a self-guided running tour!

Besides the Royal Parks there are many other parks in the different boroughs around London that you can run in such as Battersea Park, Victoria Park, Finsbury Park to name but a few. Make sure you check out the opening times of the parks though because some are closed at night. Also don’t forget to have a good meal at least 2 hours before you run. I usually have a bowl of muesli with banana or if I’m pushed for time I’ll grab a granola or cereal bar :)

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Book Cheap And Alternative Things To Do In London With Expedia

Posted on August 13th, 2012 in Alternative Things To Do,Cheap Days Out In London,Places To Visit by Stephanie

Expedia London Attractions
If you’re in London at the moment for the Olympics and you’re looking for things to do, be it a trip to the new Warner Brothers Harry Potter Studio Tour, a night at the theatre, a tour of Buckingham palace or afternoon tea at Fortnum &  Mason (see my
Afternoon Tea At Fortnum And Mason post for further details), Expedia have tickets for every London attraction that you can possibly think of with freebies and discounts thrown in! They also have alternative things to do such as Food and Cocktail Safaris where you are taken to four different restaurants or cocktail bars in central London to sample what they have on offer, Party Bus Nightclub Tours where you can hop aboard the London Party Bus and hit the dance floor in four different nightspots or you can opt for going back in time and attending a Medieval Banquet. Booking attraction tickets through Expedia is cheaper than buying them at the door and they also allow you to skip the queues in some places saving you precious holiday time!

Expedia regularly run deals and discounts on top of their already discounted prices so I will be posting them on this blog as and when. They are currently offering up to 20% off hotels in London plus an additional 5% discount on selected hotels using the discount code WELLDONEGB. The offer is valid for stays throughout August and the discount code is valid until the 24th. To take avantage of this offer or to book tickets to London attractions you can visit the Expedia website here.



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Skydiving In Byron Bay

Posted on February 16th, 2012 in Alternative Things To Do,Random Thoughts by Stephanie

Skydiving In Byron Bay

Being an adrenaline junkie, skydiving is something I’ve always wanted to do so on a recent trip to the Gold Coast I finally decided to take the leap, so to speak. It was a kind of spur of the moment decision so I didn’t get the chance to tell any of my family and friends, I didn’t have any sort of life insurance and I hadn’t even packed appropriate shoes or clothing with me on the trip but luckily the skydiving company I jumped with provided all the necessary equipment. I chose to skydive with the company Skydive Byron Bay because they offered the longest freefall in the area of 14,000 feet which is a 70 second freefall!

We were picked up by the free shuttle bus from our holiday apartment in the Gold Coast early in the morning and taken to the drop zone in Byron Bay which was about 2 hours away. After registering our details and filling in all the required forms, we were given skydiving pants to wear and trainers. We were then fitted with a tandem harness which is what hooks you to your tandem skydiving instructor before the jump. After a 5 minute training session on what positions to adopt before jumping and whilst in the air in order to safely complete the tandem skydive, we were now ready to get in the airplane!

The airplane was small and the one that I jumped from fitted around 17 people. It was a little nerve-wracking sitting in the plane because the door was just a flimsy bit of plastic pulled down and I kept feeling like I was going to fall out especially because I was sat just near the door! The view over Byron Bay was spectacular and in no time at all everything was tiny and we had reached 14,000 feet!

The jump wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. I think it just didn’t really dawn on me that I was jumping out of a plane! The scenery was truly breathtaking and before you know it the tandem instructor has opened the parachute and is navigating you back to the drop zone. I opted to have dedicated photos and a video which means that I had my own dedicated camera guy who jumped out just after I did and was opposite me filming the whole time during the freefall.

Back on solid ground I felt like I had dreamed the whole experience. It goes so quickly that I would definitely recommend jumping from at least 14,000 feet so that you get a decent time freefalling. It wasn’t a life changing experience but is something I think everyone should have on their bucket list and was an experience that I really enjoyed and would definitely do again. Activity Superstore have skydiving packages in the UK so I think I may try that next time! :)

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London Theatre Tickets And Breaks

Posted on February 8th, 2012 in Alternative Things To Do,Money Saving Tips by Stephanie

Wicked Musical London

London is home to all the world’s best theatre productions including long running musicals such as The Phantom Of The Opera to contemporary productions. It is also home to master musical composer Andrew Lloyd Webber who not only created The Phantom Of The Opera but West End hits such as Cats, Evita and Joseph And The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat to name a few.

Seeing a theatre production in the West End is a definite must do if you’re visiting or even if you’re a Londoner, catching a show is a great way to spend an evening. I highly recommend seeing “We Will Rock You” which is a musical made up entirely of Queen songs. It is definitely the best musical I’ve seen so far and even if you’re not a Queen fan I guarantee you’ll love it!

Theatre tickets can be bought directly from the box offices in the theatres or over the internet. Tickets tend to be cheaper if you can make it to a matinee performance or go on a weekday evening (except for Friday). There is a good discount ticket booth in the Clocktower Building in the middle of Leicester Square called “TKTS” where you can get half-price tickets on the day of performance for musicals, plays, opera and dance. There are also a lot of theatre breaks London websites that offer weekend breaks in London inclusive of theatre tickets to your chosen show. A good website for theatre breaks in London is TheatreBreaks.co.uk. The website allows you to easily book your hotel, train or flight and your theatre tickets all for a discounted price. They also offer city breaks in London with attractions included in the package as well as pre-theatre meal deals. With Valentines coming up it may be an idea to take your loved one away for a romantic getaway or staycation in London! :)

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