Last weekend was a celebration of birthdays as my best friend Clare turned thirty in the midst of February and yesterday I turned twenty-seven, so I decided that the two of us deserved a girly weekend away. Normally we stay out in the Greenwich area but this time I decided we needed something a little bit more upmarket so booked us a four star hotel on the edge of Hyde Park and snagged us some tickets to see Phantom of the Opera in the evening. On top of that I surprised Clare with afternoon tea at The Swan Restaurant which is the pub attached to the front of The Globe Theatre on Embankment.
Afternoon Tea was a novelty to the both of us and something we’d never done before, that in itself was an exciting prospect to jump into! We had the most beautiful view of St Paul’s Cathedral across the river and sipped prosecco, tea and diet coke whilst munching on sandwiches, cakes and fresh warm blueberry scones; the autumn berry jam was to die for. After stuffing our faces we decided a good walk was best and went for a meander down the riverside to Southwark and London Bridge where we caught the tube to go find our hotel.
We had reservations with the Corus Hotel in a small twin room which is about a ten minute walk from Paddington Station. Thankfully we had a spare moment to kick off our boots, munch on some chips and get glammed up for the theatre. I’d seen Phantom many years ago but this was Clare’s first visit and needless to say I was blown away by the cast, they were superb! Musicals aren’t my favourite past time but I adore the gothic vibe mixed with opera in Phantom plus the effects and stage set up always blows my mind. We were up in the rafters but thankfully front row where we could lean over and look down with a perfect view of the full stage.
Sunday called for a more chilled affair after a day on our feet, after a full breakfast we wandered around Hyde Park through to Harrods where we worked our way through the floors. We indulged in pastries, chocolate and tea whilst fantasing in Elie Saab, Valentino, McQueen and most importantly Ralph & Russo before picking out some loose leaf teas to bring home. Before we knew it, afternoon had rushed by and we had to make way to catch our buses home, though there is always time to sneak a few books into your shopping basket!
And just like that, the weekend was over. Gone in a flash but filled with so many brilliant and wonderful memories to take away. I’ve known Clare since I was fifteen years old and all this time she has remained one of the only constants in my life. To grow up and to have these opportunities to hang out in person and create new laughter is a special thing and something I’ll always cherish in day to day life. If I had a sister, there’d be no better sister than if it were to be Clare. She’s kind, thoughtful, funny, loving and recognises the simplicity in life instead of becoming wound up by the negatives. Not to mention the flood of Trent Reznor gifs I was treated to yesterday on my Twitter feed in celebration of my birthday (she knows me well!).
Later on this year we’re planning our dream holiday and that is to return to Helsinki in the Winter to see the snow and the icy ocean but here’s to creating many more brilliant memories in between. Maybe one day we can afford something from Harrods but until then we’ll live in our dreams and fantasies of gorgeous gowns, stunning shoes and delicate dresses…
Happy happy birthday my dear bestie and to here’s thirty-plus years more of adventures, laughter and good times!
P.S. I must take some pictures of the gorgeous bouquet of flowers she sent me. They have the biggest lilies that are yet to bloom and a stunning set of peach pastel roses. You might catch some photos in the coming weeks…