Lux Life's Return to London - July 2017.

My London visit last month was pretty intense, but absolutely amazing! Instead of doing loads of posts I thought I'd just do a big wrap-up one, and then I'll do a couple of individual posts of some really special places and events I went to. I was just back for 3 weeks, and after ten months away living in Sydney it was wonderful to see all my family and friends, and eat ALL the Pret dark chocolate!! So, let me tell you more about what I got up to...

I landed on Thursday afternoon, and after getting home to my parents house and unpacking, I met Mimi, one of my oldest friends, for dinner. We just went for dinner at Pizza Express in Guildford, but the familiarity of somewhere I used to go all the time when I was a poor uni student was just what I needed. 

The next day I did all of my 'chores', things like getting my hair cut, manicure, eye test, go to the dentist pick up prescriptions, eat a Gregg's sausage roll, etc etc. I then had a night out with the girls, so got ready and drove over to Mimi's to pick her up.

Mimi and I have been friends since we were in secondary school, when we used to cause chaos in all the lessons we had together (most of them), and our school reports would always say how we were a distraction to each other. Every term the teacher would try and split us up and move us over different sides of the classroom, but neither of us were very good at following rules, so we would always end up next to each other again.

Anyway, so I drove us up to London and we met Amy, Jemima, and CMK in Bart's for some cocktails! It was SO lovely to be reunited with my girls again, and it was super weird feeling like I'd never even been away. After drinks at Bart's, Jemima headed home while the rest of us continued over to Soho for a night out at Archer Street! As you all know, Archer Street is a fave of mine, especially when DJ Daza is on the decks. We danced out little socks off to 90s pop tunes and Beyonce, and Amy and I even managed to do our usual 'One For Sorrow' Steps dance on the table with Daza, lolz.

The next day I drove up to London again for Arleen & Chris's wedding. You may remember them from the blog a coupla years ago. Alex and I pushed them together, and whaddya know, a few years later they're married!! The day was so beautiful, and it was great to catch up with a bunch of friends. The day was in two parts; the ceremony (dress code traditional), and the reception which was black tie.

My friends and I got a taxi from the ceremony venue over to the Oxford & Cambridge Club for lunch, but there was a huge protest happening against austerity, so we had to jump out at Trafalgar Square and walk the rest of the way. So. Imagine this. Five of us in full morning dress/Ascot dresses and hats, walking through Trafalgar Square, tourists taking photos of us.

Then we bumped into the austerity protest and people with signs saying not very nice things about the Tories...well, Simon in his top hat used to work for the Conservative Party, so we all decided to run for it. It was pretty funny the five of us running past this protest towards the club on Pall Mall, haha! The police also thought it was hilarious and were chuckling at us all.

After a long and tiring day and night of celebrations, the following day I drove up to North Wales for just 24 hours to see my Grandma. One of my best friend's, and her hubby and daughter (my god-daughter) live 10mins from my Grandma, so I got to see them too! It was a blissful 24 hours of strawberry picking, eating my Grandma's homemade burgers, and going to Llangollen and the Horseshoe Pass for a wander. 

Monday evening I drove home, and arrived back to my parents and Dylan! They'd been on holiday when I first arrived, so it was the first time I'd seen them since I got back. It was SO great to see them all in person, and hug them, and just chat face-to-face instead of over the phone.

Unfortunately the next day I had to go to work. I was working in our London office while I was there to save my holiday days and meet the UK client and agency teams. Luckily the office is in Farringdon so it's super close to heaps of good restaurants, but it felt really weird getting my old train and doing the exact same commute to Farringdon I did five years ago when I first started working in London! 

On the Wednesday I went for dinner with the 'old old' work girls at The Big Easy in Covent Garden. These girls you guys. The three of them make me so happy, and Shev is pregnant so we're all really REALLY excited about Baby Vinny coming into the world in November (just in time for my next visit in December)! After dinner we walked into a random pub for a drink, and BAM, an ex of mine is sat there and waves across at me. FML. What are the chances!

Anyway, the following evening I went for drinks with my 'old' work colleagues, and then after a quick couple of drinks with them I did a quick change and headed over to The Savile for dinner with Peter, James, Caroline, and Alex. Pete and I got there earlier than the others, and we got way too drunk and then I basically stole all of Pete's food right off his plate because he got my favourite starter that I didn't order because 'it's too unhealthy' (it was squid ink risotto with octopus). Like he said to the others as they all watched me remove the food from his plate, we're just far too comfortable with each other. 

Friday night was CMKs birthday at Bunga Bunga. A group of us ate far too much pizza and drank some delish cocktails, did some Karaoke, and then danced the night away upstairs in the club! I do love Bunga Bunga, it's always a fun night out. 

I had a quiet one with the family the next day, we went up to Newland's Corner for a bacon and egg butty, and then went for a stroll around Shere. That evening was the Inter-Club Summer Ball at the RAC Woodcote Park, and the theme was Wimbledon. After not fitting into my epic green dress, I had to put on my plain ole black one. It was still a super fun night though, and I'll be telling you more about it soon! 

After the ball I drove up to London to see Adam (you may remember him as that one who planned my entire 25th birthday party for me, the one I visited in Geneva, and from this post). I parked my car at my old spot on Savile Row, and he walked up to meet me so he could help me walk to the club in my heels. Seeing him again literally felt like I'd only seen him a week before, but oh my GOSH had I missed his hugs! We walked from my car over to Piccadilly, and then down to Tramp just behind Fortnum & Mason.

The night was pretty perfect, we spent the rest of the night dancing like the old times, and then moved to the restaurant and sat side-by-side in a booth giggling and catching up and making up for lost time. We ate some delish food, and then it was time to go. We said our goodbyes and 'see you next week's!', and unknowingly that was the last time I would see him. If I knew that was the last time I would see him, I would have said goodbye so differently. But it's always the way, right?

The next day my parents and I drove down to Worthing to visit my Nan, and my Grandad and step-grandma. We went for our usual fish and chip lunch at Bluebird cafe, then walked along the beach to give Dylan a run. It was a beautifully sunny and warm day, which is rare for Worthing - I feel like every time I go there it's cloudy and miserable haha!

Monday lunchtime I had lunch at Foxlow in Farringdon with some of my fave bloggers, two of which had been to Sydney to visit! Jasiminne, Emma, Aftab, Angie I've known for years, but Reena I'd never met before so it was lovely to finally meet her!! That evening I went to my friend Claire's for dinner with her and Ciara, and we heard all about what Ciara's been up to with her new obsession with cooking, baking, and basically acting like she's in the WI! She really does make the most incredible cheese scones though!! 

The rest of the week I went to the Evarae summer party with two of my oldest friends, Emma and Beth, and then after the party we went to Meatliquor for ALL the burgers and onion rings! And then there was also the Lansdowne Club Hog Roast, where CMK and Sarah and I ate ALL the pork and all the Oreo cheesecakes!

On the Friday I worked from my client's London office which is located right on The Strand so super handy for me coming from Waterloo. We had a delish lunch from a cute little place in Covent Garden, had some *amazing* wine later in the afternoon, and I told everyone back in Sydney how awesome the London team were haha. That evening I went back home, got changed, picked Mimi up and we drove up to London again! We picked up Jemima enroute, and the three of us went for a girlie dinner at Nobu. After Nobu we headed to our old favourite, Cuckoo Club.

The funniest thing happened at the end of the night, Mimi and I were driving home and while I was 100% sober, Mimi was not. She suddenly decided she needed the bathroom when we'd just got onto the A3, so I pulled into the 24 hour ASDA and she ran out. She was AGES and I was panicking that she was more drunk than I thought and had collapsed or was vomming or something. 

Turns out she was just hungry, and she walked out of the doors in fits of giggles carrying a huge carrier bag filled with food! I couldn't stop laughing, and we sat in my car for about half an hour and ate Dairylea Lunchables and crisps and chocolate and sweets. I love that a few hours previously we'd been in Nobu...and now we were in an ASDA car park eating Dairylea Lunchables. Too funny! 

Saturday evening I had drinks with friends at The Jam Tree in Chelsea, and then a few of us went to Charlie's on Berkeley St for dancing. Imma tell you all about this soon, because I LOVE this club so so much. It's awesome! Adam was supposed to come too, but things didn't exactly go to plan. (also can we please just take a moment to appreciate the ugly unimpressed face I'm pulling below as James decides to wear my hair?! hahaha).

I got home and had my classic cuddles after a night out with Dylan! It's like a tradition, I've always had cuddles with Dylan whenever I've returned home after a night out. Even if he's fast asleep he'll wake up and sleepily stretch as I fling the lights on, and then his tail will start wagging and he'll just lay there while I give him a cuddle lol!

Anyway, Sunday meant family time, and a walk and pub roast! It was bliss.

Monday evening was awesome, we went to Smith & Western at Box Hill with my Aunty, Uncle, and cousin. We've been going since we were kids, and they honestly do such amazing American comfort food and incredible frozen Margaritas! Tuesday evening we saw Dreamgirls at The Savoy Theatre, oh my gosh it was amazing.

Wednesday was the day I was finally reunited with Edd! He was away my first couple of weeks back in England, so we had a pretty epic couple of evenings planned. I had a quick lemonade and ice-cream in the garden at ROSL, then walked next door to St James' Hotel & Club for a really cute event to launch their new Wind In The Willows afternoon tea.

After the event I met Edd at Polpo in Soho, and it was like we'd never been apart! We spent the entire time at dinner laughing while we regaled each other with stories and caught up, and after dinner we took our classic mirror selfie under the mirrored ceiling/walkway in Soho.

The following evening was our big night out. I checked into Shangri-La At The Shard, and we had an incredible dinner at Ting Restaurant. After dinner we got the tube over to Green Park, and had the craziest night. We started at Trader Vic's for a quick cocktail (or 'quicktail', as they're apparently called these days) and then headed to Drama. We ended up staying in Drama until the lights came on at 3am...we were dancing non-stop for 3 hours! I got a taxi back to Shangri-La and spread-eagled in the bed until I *had* to get up and go to work.

Friday night I went out and did it all over again. I was sensible though and only stayed out until midnight. We went to Archer Street again and it was fun, but DJ Daza wasn't there so the music wasn't as good as it is usually. Saturday I took the parents to the RAC Woodcote Park for coffee and lunch (but lol, I only paid for coffees and Dad paid for lunch coz I'm poor after my return economy flights cost me £1500), and we went to Wisley Garden Centre as well for a wander around the gardens. 

Saturday night I went for dinner at the very trendy MNKY HSE with Dan #1 and Jasiminne. We had a really fun time, and the food was ah-mazing, so I'll be telling you all about it in more detail soon! Like the previous Saturday I was supposed to see Adam, but things weren't great after an argument the week before. Instead of meeting in person and talking about it we stupidly did it all over message and it didn't really end well, so I didn't get to see him before I left for Sydney.

As always, Pete was there to bombard me with messages and make me feel better, and when Dan #2 called me to find out where I was and why wasn't I meeting them to go clubbing and I just cried down the phone at him, he told me to pull the car over and talk to him. I pulled over and Dan talked with me for so long I started freezing up inside my car from the lack of heat, but he made me laugh when I didn't think I could (literally by telling me 'babe, don't worry, you have the best white girl ass I've ever seen' haha).

These guys are truly amazing and I honestly don't know what I'd do without them! So here's a pic below of us looking fly AF at the 2015 Christmas Ball (Dan #2 is in the red velvet jacket, Pete is the one in the blue velvet jacket).

I got home and had cuddles with Dylan, it was like he knew I was upset - he put his paw on my chest when I laid down next to him and that made me sob even more haha! Luckily though Dylan cuddles combined with what Pete and Dan had said to me made me feel loads better. I sorted myself out and pulled myself together so I could enjoy my last day at home. Friends are so important to me, so when I argue with them, I really REALLY feel it and get a bit over-emotional.

My last day in England I spent with the family. We had a lazy day and Mum cooked a roast dinner which was amaze! I finished packing, and panicked about my luggage being overweight, but it actually ended up being 4kg under - score!!! 

I landed back in Sydney after a very long journey (I had about 7 hours in Singapore airport, but luckily went to one of the transit hotels and got some sleep), and went straight into the office. I actually felt really good about being back in Sydney. I loved my three weeks back home, but after everything that happened at the end, being back in Sydney has given me the space I desperately needed. Somewhere where there are no memories and I can just recharge and do my thing. 

My first week back was spent catching up with friends and work, with a big night out on the Friday night (standard), lunch on Saturday at Manly Pavilion, and then a rooftop BBQ Saturday night and a few drinks out in Newtown. I slept in until midday on the Sunday (it was bliss), and then I ended July with a cold, which I still have now - boo. 

So, London, you were epic. I love you, and I will see you again in December for Christmas. To all my family and friends, you were also epic, and I love you, and I will see you again in December for Christmas. Sydney, if you can hurry up with the warmer weather now, that'd be perf. 

Oh, and I also managed to get to Paris for a day while I was in London too, but I'll tell you all about that very soon ;)

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