Despite finishing his Masters degree back in September, Connor’s graduation wasn’t until this week, so once we had a date we decided it was the perfect excuse for a London Mini Break! It’s now been almost a year since we waved goodbye to our little London flat, but London still feels like home, so the excuse for a three day trip to our city was not to be missed!
We ended up using Lastminute.com’s Secret Hotels feature to book two different hotels for our two night stay – not entirely practical but there we go. Secret Hotels is a great way to stay in gorgeous hotels at a lower price – it’s basically a way for higher end hotels to fill up their empty rooms at the last minute. Our first night we stayed at the Grange Tower Bridge Hotel, a five star – fairly business oriented hotel – in Tower Hill. It was a really convenient location to get to Connor’s graduation at the Southbank Centre on Tuesday morning, and the rooms were really spacious and luxurious!
After checking in we had a quick dip in the pool to cool off from the heat (and navigating the central line with suitcases) before getting ready to go out! We popped a bottle of champagne in Connor’s parent’s room, before heading to Dirty Martini in St Paul’s for a quick pre dinner cocktail! Dirty Martini is a favourite of ours (buy one get one free cocktails between 3pm and 10pm on weeknights) and I tried the Spring Peach and Hibiscus Martini and it was bloody lovely.
By this point I was fairly drunk, so I completely forgot to take photos of our dinner – but we had the most incredible meal in Harry’s Bar in St Pauls. I had the Asparagus and Parmesan soup to start, which was one of the best soups I’ve ever had (not the booze talking I promise) and the amazing waitress kindly brought me out a plate of sea salt and rosemary focaccia to help try and sober me up without me asking – so that was a nice touch! We all had the steak for mains and my god I think it’s the best steak I’ve ever had. A giant fillet perfectly cooked, served with chips, bearnaise sauce, a mushroom and tomato. Two bottles of wine for the table and I went to bed with more than a touch of room spin!
Feeling a little worse for wear the next morning I certainly made use of having the giant bed to myself whilst Connor left to go off to get his robes sorted. I made myself a cup of mint tea, slapped on some Sephora Green Tea eye masks and downed a big bottle of water – the perfect hangover fighting triple threat!
Getting ready in this room was such a treat, they’ve got everything you need – a giant mirror, good makeup lighting and an iron! Then it was into an Uber and off to the ceremony!
The graduation itself was a short and sweet affair, an hour long ceremony with no falls on the stage, followed by a drinks reception after. We sipped champagne on the balcony of the Royal Festival Hall, before darting into Wahaca for tacos! I love Wahaca so much and by this point I was so hungry (and champagne tipsy) I could barely think straight!
From there we picked up our bags from the hotel, said goodbye to Connor’s parents and headed over to The Athenaeum in Green Park to check in for our second night!
The Athenaeum is truly one of the most beautiful hotels I’ve ever stayed in, I honestly didn’t want to leave! The staff here were so attentive and friendly, and it really felt like a home from home. I loved the little touches, the teddy bear on the table and the menu of bath bombs to have delivered to your room – they’ve really thought of everything!
After we checked in we ended up crashing out in bed for a couple of hours, catching up on the sleep we missed the night before! The beds were so incredibly comfortable, and I considered stealing the pillows more than once!
Out and about again, we ended up meeting up with Connor’s friends from his course, it had been a while since they were all in London, so we got together in a local pub for drinks! It was nice to meet some of Con’s uni friends (and their girlfriends who understand the troubles of living with a computer geek!). Hanging out in a real London boozer with good company (and good alcohol) made Connor and I really miss living in London!
Wednesday was our most hectic day, after a quick Pret breakfast picnic in Green Park with Connor I headed off to Covent Garden to meet the gorgeous Lauren. We are both doing some work with a local London optician this month so we had a meeting there, and then headed off for juice and a little wander round the shops after! I love hanging out with Lauren, not only is she an incredibly talented photographer (I can’t wait for you to see the photos she took for me for this project) she’s also an absolute babe, and a pure joy to spend time with!
We took some outfit photos and then I ended up darting into Monki to pick up a dress to change into – the heat had crept up to 27 degrees and it was certainly too hot for jeans! We had a meander of the beauty halls in Debenhams and Selfridges, and ended up parting ways around lunchtime!
I dipped into the Oliver Bonas Christmas in July Press Day before meeting back up with Connor! No matter how busy I am I always try to nip into the OB press days, they’re always some of the best! I’m so in love with the Christmas collection, they’ve really upped their gifting collection game this year, and I can tell December is going to be an expensive month for me!
I then found Connor and we hopped on the Tube up to Angel!
My wonderful friend Annie is visiting from Taiwan this week, so we met up at Saint Espresso for catch ups, cuddles and iced coffee! Saint Espresso is such a cute coffee store, very industrial, open and instagrammable! I had an almond milk chai latte and it was delicious, and the iced lattes got a big thumbs up from Connor. If you’re looking for a good coffee spot in Angel I’d definitely recommend checking them out!
Just enough time for a quick feast at Dishoom at Kings Cross before it was time to pick up our bags from the hotel and head home!
We had such a lovely few days in London, and it made me really want to prioritise my time so I can be back there more!
Getting back to normality wasn’t easy, but we had such a great time I’m excited to get a few more mini breaks in this year!
What have you been up to this week?