I’ve had a tiny-wee break from my blog over the past week, simply in order for me to fully enjoy my birthday.I am a total brat on my birthday and wanted to relax and to not have a care in the world. You will all be happy to hear that my time away was successful. I have come back with so many exciting ideas; they’re practically falling out of me! Before I get ahead of myself: in today’s post I basically want to brag about my amazing 22nd birthday and the WONDERFUL birthday trip to London, completely planned by my incredibly wonderful boyfriend (so many adjectives!!!) So let’s get this show on the road… I’m dying to tell you all about it.
The Big Surprise
If you know me in person, or you follow me on Twitter, you will have seen how absolutely clueless I was about Dan’s plans. Up until the day before we left he kept me completely in the dark – which is so unlike him. As soppy as it sounds, Dan and I have a genuine problem with keeping secrets from each other, I mean usually that isn’t a problem, obviously, but it makes planning surprises an absolute nightmare! One of us always ends up spilling the beans sooner or later. This time was different though. He was giving me cryptic clues and I just couldn’t imagine what on earth he was planning.
The clues were:
- We’re going away overnight.
- I have planned a few things we could do – but once we get there we can do ANYTHING you want.
- It’s roughly two hours drive away.
- I don’t know whether to drive or take the train, as traffic might be bad.
- You’ll need to be wearing some comfy casual clothes and to pack a REALLY nice outfit for a nice meal.
- You’re going to get some really amazing photos.
- I’ve sorted it all out, so money isn’t an issue.
As you can imagine, I had a million ideas racing around in my head. What could it be?!?! He had me guessing for over a month, until the night before we left. He was sitting on his phone and he casually mumbled “oh, well the weather looks good for London tomorrow!” HA-HA-HA!! What a numpty! Oh I do love him for his honesty though, he was so gutted that he’d told me. I’d guessed a few days before when he said “we’ll be eating on the 32nd floor” because I only know of one single restaurant which is that high in the UK. Yep, you guessed it… THE SHARD!! EEEEEP!!! As is probably obvious, I was absolutely over the moon – I haven’t been more excited for anything in all my life. I’m truly very lucky to have such a thoughtful partner.
As I said, the night before Dan blurted out that we were going to London, but I had not prepared myself for the hotel. Oh My Lord, it was GORGEOUS. We were staying at the Park Plaza in the heart of Westminster. With views of the Thames, Big Ben and the London Eye – my breath was totally taken out of me as we pulled up.
The staff were so kind and courteous: literally the best customer service I have ever received. I felt like a superstar upon arrival! Due to it’s location there were no car park facilities, but the Park Plaza offer a valet service, whereby they drive your car to another location and park it for you – and they can bring it back and forth as often as you’d like throughout your stay – what luxury!
When I stepped into the lobby my knees went wobbly – it honestly is just as grand and gorgeous as you’d expect, and more! I found out that Dan had booked us a room on the top floor (eeep!) meaning we even had our own VIP elevator – I didn’t even know that was a thing!!!
When we stepped into the room, I felt another wave of ecstasy. This was honestly the nicest room I’ve ever stayed in! To top it all off: they had left me a little cake and a birthday card!!! Isn’t that the cutest thing you’ve ever heard of? It goes without saying, that was the best cheesecake ever, and I got to try my very first macaroon – DELICIOUS!!!
I’m not going to lie, something I was looking forward to the most was the bath. I absolutely love staying in hotels because we don’t have a bath at home, and there’s just nothing like it is there?! So naturally I just HAD to treat myself to a cheeky lush bath bomb. It didn’t disappoint. Luxuryyyyyyyy!!!
The London Eye
The one thing on the top of my to-do list when I discovered that we were going to London was of course the London Eye. I vaguely remember going when I was very little and I loved every second of it back then, and again almost 20 years later. The only thing I was DEFINITELY not looking forward to was the queue. Nobody likes to queue, especially not Dan and me.
As we walked down the steps and saw the long line of impatient faces, I suggested to Dan that he have a look at booking it online on his phone, as this would at least save some time from queuing for a ticket. I was taking in the sights and quite oblivious to what Dan was doing on his phone until I heard a mischievous giggle, the kind that means “I’ve done something nice and over the top for you – Muahaha”… Dan laughs like that a lot. Peaking over at his phone screen and saw in big bold letters THE CHAMPAGNE EXPERIENCE. I felt myself breaking out in a cold sweat – not more money, nooooo!
So how much was it?
It turns out I was massively over-reacting (hard to believe I know). The tickets were only an extra £10 each – and we saved 20% by booking online – score! So instead of paying £24.95 each for standard tickets and queuing for several hours, we paid £31.95 each with free champagne and no wait. Oh I do love a bargain.
What was it like?
So we went inside and printed out our tickets and had a nice little walk until it was time to enter the Pommery Brut Royal Champagne waiting lounge. Ooooh posh. Once inside, we sat down and enjoyed our free champagne, took lots of photos and generally relaxed – something I was definitely not expecting to be able to do in London!
By the time we had to go, there was roughly 10 people in our party: not too little, not too much. We sailed right past the tired looking folk in the standard queue and boarded almost immediately!!
I can’t describe just how quickly that 30 minutes flew by! The champagne was flowing, we were having a good natter and a giggle with our personal London Eye Host, who was SO attentive and wonderful, recommending all the best places to visit to suit all our needs. He even went as far as to recommend what time to catch our taxi to arrive at The Shard in the evening. He was as bubbly as the champagne (which went down far too easily – YUM). Once we reached the “best angle” he told us all to get into our groups and he would take a photo of us all one after the other. This part was absolutely fantastic – it definitely beat the usual blurry photo you get through the smudged glass of the pod.
To anyone considering going on The London Eye I would 100% recommend The Champagne Experience – in fact, I’d even go as far as to say that you’d be silly if you didn’t book it! It’s such great value for money, and you really can’t beat the amazing service. Go and have a look for yourself if you don’t believe me; click here to see the champagne experience for yourself.
After our amazing London Eye experience I was just a teensy bit tipsy and indescribably hungry. On our earlier walk we’d spotted a nice little pop-up burger place on The Queen’s Walk called Bleecker St. so we decided we’d give it a try. At this point it was roughly 2pm and it was heaving full of people, but we were still able to place our order in a fair amount of time (thankfully). On ordering my double cheese burger, the lady behind the counter said “we make all our burgers medium rare – is that okay?” I could have cried in that moment. YES. YES. IT’S MORE THAN OKAY!!!
They gave us a little device which would flash when our food was ready and we were able to nab a picnic table and sit down. Within about 10 minutes Dan was walking over with the food and hooooly moly. Words can’t describe it. It was HONESTLY the best burger I’ve ever had in all my life (and I’ve tried many a burger). It was cooked to perfection and simply tasted like real food – none of that cheap stuff we find in most fast food places.
Unfortunately due to my hunger and how amazing it smelt, I failed you all and didn’t snap a photo of the glorious burger. You will just have to take my word for it. For all you meat eaters: next time you’re in London and you can’t decide where to eat… Bleeker St!! You won’t be disappointed! In the meantime, you can check out their site here – they have places dotted all over London.
Having looked forward to it all day, Dan and I got suited and booted in our own leisurely time. We were actually ready early (a huge first for the both of us) and were ready to go by 8.50pm. Our dinner reservations were for 10.30pm. We were more than happy to leave early because if you are 20 minutes late, they will give away your table. So we decided to set off and see where the night took us.
We were showered in compliments by the hotel staff as we stepped into the taxi, but I found myself shaking like a leaf. Maybe it was all the excitement from the day and the anticipation for the night ahead, but it suddenly dawned on me that we were on our way to eat a meal at THE SHARD!!!
Upon arrival, we were pointed in the direction of the correct door and my bag was checked. We were then shown to the elevator. WOW that really did not feel like 32 floors – it felt like we were flying! I was literally clinging onto Dan throughout the 10 seconds it took for us to reach our floor.
We decided to visit the Oblix Bar and to kill our time in there. We were shown to a some bar stools with an AMAZING view of London right before our very eyes. One thing I will say is that if you are hoping to save your pennies – have a dry night. The alcohol prices absolutely rinsed us. Dan assured me that it was my birthday and I deserved it but £40 something for a bottle of prosecco?! It was the best prosecco I’d ever had… but still!!
We drank, talked and giggled the hour away and before we knew it we were being shown into the main Oblix restaurant and to our table – once again right by the window!! I was so thrilled and I could tell Dan was too, as he wasn’t able to request a window view in his booking (it’s against their policy).
The decor was absolutely breathtaking. I wanted to take it all home with me and construct my own little Oblix kitchen! You had to walk right through the chefs in order to get to the table as the walkway was bordered by their cooking stations. Joints of raw meat hung from hooks in glass cabinets (maybe not the best place for a veggie). The room was gorgeously dim lit, which made the view that much more wonderful.
We had a three course meal which I could eat a million times over. We had a gorgeous little appetiser to begin with: Sausage, croutons, rosemary (YUM). I savoured every single last bite of this dish.
As a starter, Dan and I both had Crispy squid, chilli & lime, which you may otherwise know as Calamari – but this was the single best calamari I’d had in all my life. The balance between the chilli and the lime was perfect and my mouth is watering simply at the thought of it right now.
For mains Dan had a 250g Sirloin steak with a side of mashed potato whilst I was treated to the Whole lobster, lemon verbena & garlic butter with a side of broccoli. Although I had a guilty conscience with my lobster (it was one of the most expensive dishes on the menu) both Dan and I knew that it was worth it. The meat was so tender and full of flavour – it literally melted in my mouth and sent me to food heaven! I also tried a bit of Dan’s steak as I’m a greedy pig, and I can confidently say that I’ve never had a steak so good in all my life.
I would THOROUGHLY recommend Oblix to absolutely anyone who would listen. It’s an amazing experience, and really isn’t too pricey for what you get (maybe just avoid the bar if you want a cheap one). If you want to salivate over their fantastic menu you can find it here – I’m already planning my next trip.
My Birthday Trip overall
Was a massive success! I dread to think how much money it cost him – but what really matters to me is the thought he put into it.
So I reigned in my 22nd birthday kissing my handsome man in the back of the taxi on the way back to the Park Plaza in Westminster. I definitely was NOT expecting that. Is there a better way to spend a birthday??
Have you got any birthday trips lined up? Do you have any other amazing places to recommend? Have you visited any of these places in London? Please comment below and let me know what you think!
Are you hungry for more? Check out my post about the Summer Ball. What I wore, what went on and why I had such a … ball. Sorry, I can’t help myself!
Thank you so much for reading! Don’t forget to follow me on my other social media accounts, and feel free to comment below or message me for a chat. I’d love to talk to you.