I’d only touched on our London experience in our Scotch and Soda review and our IceBar experience in previous articles but we had such an amazing, manic, but amazing time in London I want to fill you in on what we got up to over the course of an entire weekend.
This past weekend (24th- 26th July 2015) saw the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games, held in the Olympic Park in London. Even three years on this event remains as popular as ever, and whilst this sort of sporting event isn’t necessarily my sort of thing, I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to experience the spirit of the games in this celebration of what was an engaging and captivating month of sport in the summer of 2012.
The first thing apparent is the regeneration of the area which is still clear to see as they develop around the Westfield shopping centre in Stratford and continue to attract established businesses and sponsors. Like millions of other Briton, I strived to get tickets to the ceremonies and events of the 2012 Olympics but was not successful in my application. I was therefore only too pleased to get to view the park in its current guise, before it becomes the new home of West Ham football club in 2016/17, where it is unknown what the fate of the beautiful stadium and surrounding area will be.
The Olympic village was a little disappointing, offering little more than an opportunity to be pitched to by sponsors, however getting into the stadium the atmosphere of 2012 quickly became apparent, with so many people excited to be there and see the heroes of London’s Olympic Summer (Jessica Ennis-Hill, Greg Rutherford and David Rudisha) competing against the stars of the future such as Katarina Johnson-Thompson, Dina Asher-Smith and Shara Proctor.
After watching Asher-Smith and Proctor set a new British record, the crowd remained electric, and for anyone who hasn’t experienced an event like this, even if you’re like me, not the biggest fan, there is so much to watch, you’ll inevitably get swept up in one event or another, cheering your favourite Olympian of the moment (I loved Bristol based Jazmin Sawyer!) and having a great time.
I’ve been to London more times than I can count but not once, on any previous trip have I ever seen a West End musical. It’s not for a lack of wanting either. There just hadn’t been time. It’s also not like I’ve not seen major productions before- thankfully we have the Bristol Hippodrome which is an incredible theatre which welcomes huge productions and stars and have been fortunate enough to see Samantha Barks in Oliver, Maxwell Caulfield in Singing in the Rain, The Lion King, Wicked and many, many other amazing productions. This time though, I was adamant I could not go to London and not see a West End Musical, especially as it would be the last chance I’d have to get to the city before my 30th birthday and I couldn’t face going into my 30s with this sad fact. So after the Olympic games, we raced from Stratford to Covent Garden in an attempt to grab something to eat before enjoying an evening at Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at Theatre Royal Drury Lane.
Directed by Sam Mendes (yes, who also did James Bond), the production is definitely on the darker side of the film spectrum if you’re looking for a comparison between the two films (Depp and Wilde) of the well-known Roald Dahl story. The original story is still very much portrayed, with key adaptations to encompass the issues we as adults, our children and society face today. With original music, choreography and an outstanding cast, you’re sure to have a delicious time as did I.
You may not frequent Mayfair much, not unless you’re feeling flush. It’s known as the most affluent area of London after all, though this shouldn’t disconcert you. You’ll likely be missing a hidden gem, like the Mayfair Pizza Co. I first came across the Mayfair Pizza Co as I am an Elle subscriber, as such, I am also known as an Elle Insider meaning I get discounts off products and services and invited to exclusive events- at Mayfair Pizza Co, they’re currently offering a 50% discount on all food. We of course thought we’d take full advantage of this on our recent trip before heading off to our IceBar experience (which you can read all about here). Speaking on behalf of the four of us that went, we’re so glad we did. For a Sunday lunchtime (we went bang on 12pm) it was quite quiet, though that was only to our advantage as it meant we got to really enjoy our meals and ensured very prompt service. It’s a glorious first floor restaurant where the pizzas are made in the bar just behind before being put into the stone oven on display; it has the feel subtle opulence, as you’d expect for a restaurant in Mayfair without being ostentatious which made for a really relaxing and warming atmosphere. The food was also divine. I am never too adventurous with my food choices, settling for a traditional margherita with buffalo mozzarella but with it’s fresh ingredients homemade sauces it was very fulfilling. My boyfriend settled on the surf and turf salad- he was like a child in a candy shop, if he could, he’d of had absolutely everything- whilst our friends could not determine what they’d like most got two different pizzas and split it amongst them; all of them equally satisfied with their meals. Although it was initially the discount that attracted us to this fine establishment, having had the opportunity to enjoy a meal, I can safely say that we’d return with or without discounts, as although it is Mayfair, their prices are extremely competitive for London in general. I strongly recommend checking them out when you’re next in the city.