love

Lazy Sunday | Things I’m Loving At the Moment

It’s Valentine’s Day weekend and as such I have decided to write a Things I’m Loving post. Here’s a list of the little things I am obsessing over at the moment….

ACCESSORIES | Olivia Burton Winter Garden Leather Watch

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I have been absolutely head over heels in love with Olivia Burton watches ever since I wrote my Top High Street Watches post, back in god knows when. Her designs are simple and delicate, and I always planned one day to invest in a really beautiful watch. I’ve had some really horrible news this week, which I’ve really been struggling with, and my mum and my boyfriend have been really amazing supports on the phone in reassuring me that things are actually ‘going to be ok’. Anyway, I came home on Friday to a parcel from John Lewis and my wonderful mum had sent me this lovely surprise with the note “Just a little something to cheer you up, Love Mum”. I nearly started crying right there, because it was so sweet and thoughtful and the watch itself is so chic and elegant. I am absolutely in love, I can’t stop looking at it. I would definitely recommend having a look at her collection on John Lewis or ASOS, as she does a really great range of watches, some at pretty reasonable prices.

EATS | Hot-Cross Buns

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It’s that time of year again where there are hot cross buns all over the supermarkets, and although I have never liked them before, I am becoming a bit obsessed. Get me a hot cross bun, a cup of tea and a book at the weekend and I will be happy. They’re so yummy and so cheap to buy! I’m very excited to do a little Waitrose shop soon and see if I can pick up a few different flavours – cinnamon and raisin here I come!

FACE:  No7 Makeup Goodies

IMG_0127I’ve had a pretty hectic couple of weeks, with lots of Uni work to do, and as a result my makeup situation has gotten pretty dire. I ran out of foundation completely on the day I planned to go into town to restock my makeup bag, and ended up covering my face in the last smidgen of concealer I could find – not a good look. It was rather embarrassing, when the lady at the makeup counter asked me what base I had used that morning: “Ermm…”.  On the search for both foundation and concealer, I was hoping there might be a good deal in Boots. It was the Buy One Get One Half Price deal at No7, which caught my attention, and of course the added luxury of finding a lady to help me find my perfect shade without too much effort, was too good to pass up.  I ended up walking away with the Beautifully Matte Foundation and the Instant Radiance Under Eye Concealer, both of which match together beautifully. And it only came to £20, a little bit more than I might usually spend, but so far I’m really happy with both products so that’s good news, and of course having proper makeup doing its actual job is always nice.

HAIR: Schwarzkopf Essence Ultime Crystal Shine Shampoo and Conditioner

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On this journey to get myself back to some kind of normality (just trying to make myself feel more like myself really) I have also had my hair done – as the roots of my blonde highlighted hair where almost covering the whole top of my head, making it look more like I’d just dip-dyed the ends blonde, as opposed not having enough time/money to sort my barnet out. I did, however, read a comforting snippet in Fabulous Magazine, which was talking about how roots are in, so that was nice for a week or so. But I am happily blonde again, the split ends have been trimmed away and my mother (again the wonder that she is) has found me the best shampoo and conditioner set. I’ve actually had this set since Christmas, but I sadly forgot to take it back with me to Uni and as a result we have only just been reunited. It’s the Schwarzkopf Essence Ultime Crystal Shine Shampoo and Conditioner developed with Claudia Schiffer and it is absolutely divine. The scent is a bit hard to put my finger on, it smells quite like coconut and vanilla, and completely like you’ve just had your hair professionally washed in the salon. And it feels like that too, really sleek and soft and light – I am completely in love. The shampoo and conditioner set themselves, do come in at about £10 together, fully priced (fingers crossed for some deals soon), which is expensive when I consider that I usually try and stick to more around the £3-£5 mark, but for a little treat or if you’re got a bit of cash to spare I was totally recommend these products – they literally make me feel like Claudia Schiffer after I’ve blow dried my hair, hair swishing adverts here I come!

WEAR: BDG Mom Jeans 

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I’ve been on the search for a pair of light denim Mom Jeans for a while now, so with Urban Outfitter’s tempting me with £10 off offer, I had to try a pair on. Then of course I had to buy them, just to see if they would potentially go with any of my tops at home – I can always take them back after all…. Although not quite as soft as my faithful black Topshop pair, these jeans are super comfy, and not too tough around the tummy area, which is nice. They’re a great colour for spring and are currently making me feel summery already, even if they do still have the labels in…

That’s my list of things I’m loving at the moment, what are you loving right now? 

Harriette

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Birthday Celebrations in London

For my birthday last week, Lewis took me to London for a surprise meal out. I’d just got back from University so it was really lovely to get a spend a bit of time just the two of us and it was easy enough to hop on the train and stay over at Lewis’ student accommodation for the night. It was a nice day so we went to Covent Garden for a wander round. I love Covent Garden because there’s always something going on, whether it’s the decorations in shop windows or street entertainment.

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Here’s Lewis proving that he’s a 6ft 5″ big kid….

He wouldn’t tell me where we were going for dinner so I found it a bit difficult to decide what to wear. He just told me it was a sort of casual, cool place as opposed to a posh restaurant. In the end I decided to wear my new skirt (that he bought me as a birthday present) from Topshop and an Urban Outfitters top.

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Top – Urban Outfitters

Skirt – Topshop

Leather Jacket – H&M

Bag – River Island

Necklace – Republic

Shoes – Topshop

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I was so excited when I turned round a corner and saw Jamie’s Italien and Lewis told me that that was where we were going. I’ve been going out with this boy for two years now and he definitely knows how to impress. I was tempted to ask to sit outside as the little chairs and tables and lovely flower beds looked really inviting, however it was a little bit chilly so we decided to stay inside. The interior had a really cool warehouse feel – a bit like an old wine cellar – and cosy lighting. They had really cool copper taps in the bathrooms swell, which probably impressed me more than it should have.

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Of course I was very excited to get my hands on the menu. I’d purposely skipped lunch so I could enjoy every mouthful – knowing that Lewis would pick a good place to visit. There was certainly a lot of choice available, so I was pleased that I didn’t have to decide right away. Lewis went for a “Jamie’s Own” Liberta Beer, which he said was very nice. I was tempted to go for a cocktail but settled for an non-alcoholic Refresher, [fresh lemon, elderflower cordial & cranberry juice, topped with lemonade] which tasted amazing.

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After scouring the menu for a while, we both went for The Jamie’s Italian Burger [prime British chuck & flank steak with smoked mozzarella, mortadella, balsamic onions] and Funky Chips with fresh garlic and parsley. When the food turned up it was huge – of course Jamie Oliver isn’t know for making delicate little dishes and so I should have expected a good healthy plate of food. It tasted SO GOOD. The chips in particular were my favourite.

I said to Lewis if I could go back in time like the guy in About Time I’d go back and eat that meal a couple more times. I didn’t understand why in the film, he didn’t use his power to re-eat anything. We all have those moments where we eat something amazing and then feel sad when it’s all gone don’t we?

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I have no idea how I had room for dessert, but I couldn’t pass up trying this Raspberry & Chocolate Rippled Pavlova. My nan makes the BEST pavlova in the world, but sadly I haven’t had one in ages so I thought I’d give Jamie’s version a try. It was pretty nice and I especially liked the raspberry sauce, however I think my nan’s is still my favourite. Lewis opted for the Epic Homemade Brownie which was really rich and yummy.

After dinner we were both pretty full so went for a wander around The Strand to stretch our legs. Then we walked back across the Waterloo Bridge. I have been jealous all year of the fact that Lewis has this amazing view that he gets to see everyday on his walk to University.

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We were both quite tired after dinner so we ended the evening watching the last couple of episodes of Breaking Bad together in bed, a great end to the night as far as I was concerned.

The next morning I was eager to get up and out as we had to get the train back home at two, so Lewis and I decided we’d go back to Chelsea.

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We’d been to Chelsea previously and really enjoyed it. There’s a great range of shops and cafes on the Kings Road, and loads of pretty parks and fountains. Sloane Square in particular is wonderful to explore, and it was lovely to just sit and relax in the sunshine and people watch – there’s certainly a lot of people to be watching in Chelsea.

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Dress – Topshop

Leather Jacket – H&M

 Floppy Hat + Shoes – Topshop

After we’d wandered around the shops for a bit, we took a walk slightly off the main road and had a look at all of the beautiful rows of houses. I was particularly impressed with all of the well kept flower boxes.

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We stopped for a bite to eat at My Old Dutch, a really cool pancake place that I’d been to once before with my best friend and her family when I was 11 and really wanted to take Lewis too. The pancakes are pretty big (although admittedly they looked considerably bigger aged 11) and you can pick from the menu or customise your own. Lewis went for the simple, sweet ice cream and maple syrup choice and I chose a savoury pancake.

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It was sad to get the train home as I love London and I’d had such a wonderful couple of days with Lewis, but I felt like we’d managed to fit quite a bit into our day and a half and I was grateful to him for organising it all. Now I’ve just got to get my plans together for his birthday….

Harriette

Photo Credits: Lewis Foster 

Cycling to Dedham…

Yesterday, because the weather was so nice, Lewis and I decided to cycle to a sweet little nearby village called Dedham and spend the afternoon there. I really love cycling and I’m very lucky to have a really nice bike, so I was great to get out and away for a bit.

A couple of years ago I had a bit of a thing for vintage bikes, I really wanted an old-fashioned bike with a basket, and a ladylike frame just like the ones that people cycle around in Cambridge.  My Dad and I scoured eBay for weeks looking for the perfect old-fashioned, second-hand bike that we could buy and do up. After losing out in a fair few bidding wars we came across my bike, which we managed to purchase for a pretty cheap price, although it did need alot of work. When we picked it up it was pretty rusty, with a burgundy frame and in desperate need of some new tires. We took it to my Granddad, who’s pretty handy at this type of thing, and he spent a few weeks sanding it down, spray painting it this Royal Blue colour and replaced the tires and the saddle. He even bought me a navy blue ribbon to weave around the basket. I was so happy and overwhelmed to see what a great job he’d done and I still love to ride my vintage bike [I’m pretty sure it’s older than me]. As I’ve been away at Uni and the weather hasn’t been great, it was the perfect time to dust the old girl off. [I’m forever debating whether to take my bike to Uni, but there is a lot of hills in Exeter, and being such an old bike it only has three gears.]

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We left my house at about 1 o clock and had a really lovely bike ride in the sunshine, cycling down all the little country lanes, checking out all the beautiful scenery, and passing all the massive houses and barn conversions on our way.

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It takes between about half and hour and 45 minutes to get to Dedham by bike. By the time we got there Lewis was starving. We rode down the final hill into the middle of the village,locked up our bikes and walked down this little road in search of  lunch. There are a number of good places to eat in Dedham: the Essex Rose is a lovely little tea room, selling cream teas, homemade cakes and handmade sweets; although I’ve never been The Sun Inn apparently has been visited by Prince Charles; but mine and Lewis’ favourite place, and one of the poshest in Dedham, is The Boathouse.

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This lovely restaurant and boathouse, sits right on the edge of the river bank. Lewis generously treated us both to a very reasonably priced 3 course meal and we sat outside in the sunshine by the river, and ate and chatted happily, watching people going up and down in the hired rowing boats. For lunch we both had Chicken + Chorizo Toastadas for our starter with Sweet Chilli Dip and a Rocket Salad, for main we both had Award-Winning Pork Sausages with Herb Mash and Sweet Red Cabbage, then for dessert I had the Apple Strudel and Lewis had the Chocolate and Coffee Mousse. It was all absolutely delicious and a really lovely Easter treat!

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After lunch, we were planning to get a little rowing boat for ourselves, but by the time we’d finished it was getting pretty shady over the river and we didn’t want to get cold, so we decided to go and sit on the grass on the other side of the bank, with my picnic blanket, in the sunshine for a little while.  It was really nice to just sit and relax, chatting and soaking up the sun whilst watching all of the people in their rowing boats. There is little that is funnier than people watching, and we had a great time watching all of these dads and boyfriends trying their best to row and steer these little rowing boats without hitting anything. Much to our amusement, just infront of us in the river there was a duck and her ducklings taking a swim. This proved a major obstacle for the majority of male rowers who didn’t seem sure whether to slow down or try and go around them, trying to avoid hitting them with either the boat or the oars. In the gentlemen’s defence, [unfortunately it was mainly gentlemen rowing and the one lady we did see looked rather peculiar] however, it is a pretty tough task to take a rowing boat out at Dedham. You can either row around for an hour or two, up and down the river or [if you’re a bit of a pro] you can take a boat down the river about a mile to Flatford, stop there for a piece of cake and then row back. Whatever you do, getting the boat back on time is the biggest struggle and there’s a pretty hefty fine if you don’t make it. So me and Lewis decided to avoid all the hassle and lie around on the river band instead.

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Overall, it was a really nice relaxed day, just sitting in the sunshine. I’ve been going to Dedham since I was a child – walking to Flatford, going out in the rowing boats, buying sugar mice from The Essex Rose -and so it’s lovely to visit every once in a while for a lovely calm day. It’s also nice to get a bit of time with Lewis, where we don’t have anywhere to be and we can just enjoy each others company.

I hope you enjoyed this post, do you have any favourite spots near you that you love to visit? 

 

Harriette

 

Visting Camden Town

I’m a very happy place at the moment. I had two pretty big essays in at the end of term, which was rather stressful and involved a lot of late nights. But yesterday I packed up my stuff and went London bound to stay with Lewis for the weekend before his parents drive us home and it’s been so lovely to just relax and do what I feel like doing for a while. Now I’m very much looking forward to a whole month off ( lucky me) at home, where I can just relax and revise for my exams in May.

Today me and Lewis decided to go to Camden for a wander around, as neither of us have ever been, and the weather was quite nice. Coming out of the tube station, the high street was pretty packed with people everywhere going into shops, buying food, taking pictures, buying London novelty gifts etc. We went a had a look round a few of the shops we knew: Vans, Urban Outfitters, America Apparel. I spent most of my time walking down the high street looking up at all the artwork and graffiti on the front of the shops, and turning around to look at what people were wearing – getting a little bit of outfit envy at how effortlessly cool everyone looked.

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We had a look around the market and I was very tempted by all the t-shirts and vest tops with the Starbucks Logo and Celine on the front of them, particularly as most of them were being sold 3 for £10. Then we went for a walk around the river – here there were loads of different food stalls: sushi, jerk chicken, flatbreads, camel burgers, falafel, paella, crepes, doughtnuts, churros, fresh smoothies, fresh orange juice. You name it there was a stall for it and it all smelt uh-mazing. Lewis and I were particularly tempted by the crepes, but decided not to get anything.

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In one of the sitting areas the side of a building had been painted with a chalkboard bucket list, where visitors could leave their  own goals. Although one was “Before I die I want to kill my husband” and another one was “Before I die I want to assault David Cameron”, with the most aspirational one being to “see all the wonders of the world”.

 

 

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Around the river as well, there were a few cute little shops including a really nice little bookshop. I spent so much time in the Classics section looking for books that I have on my list for the summer, that Lewis had to drag me out. There were also a few sweet little trinket shops that I was very tempted by but sadly I didn’t take any cash with me – note to anyone who does go to Camden, cash is a bit of an essential if you want anything, because obviously a lot of these places don’t take card.

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Despite how busy it was, the atmosphere around the river was really relaxed with most people just enjoying sitting in the sunshine with a cold drink in their hand. It was certainly easy to forget that we were in the centre of London.

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After a bit more of exploring, we came across a Byron Burgers on a little backstreet, and decided to stop their for lunch as neither of us have ever been. I really loved the retro feel in the restaurant, with the quirky wallpaper, and school-like chairs. The staff were all really friendly. The girl that served us spent a while looking for her pen before finding she’d put it in her hair and sat on the table next to us to take our order. The burgers came pretty quickly and they were so GOOD. The only thing I regret is not choosing to have a milkshake, as everyone in there seemed to have picked to have one, which I reckon means that they’re pretty good. But the food was really nice and it was nice to have a little break.

 

 

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We had a really nice little trip. I reckon we’ll probably go back to Camden again next term when I visit as I’d love to do a bit of shopping (funds permitting) and try out some of that great looking street food. How did you spend your Saturday? 

 

Harriette

Coffee and Cake in Exeter

Lewis managed to get down here [Exeter] on the train for Valentine’s day yesterday and he’s staying with me over the weekend which is lovely.  We had a really nice dinner last night at Cote Brassierre on the Cathedral Green and today we braved the weather to wander into town. After a bit of shopping we stopped at The Exploding Bakery, which I had read really good reviews about from Tripadvisor.

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The Exploding Bakery is basically a really quaint little cafe with only few tables because the majority of space is taken up by a large kitchen where during the week you can watch the baristas bake the cakes fresh in store.  The Bakery’s website says “We saw a gap in the market for the type of cakes we liked to make, no nonsense, full on flavour, high quality tray bakes using the ingredients you would use at home. No added junk, no margarine, no cocoa powder, just local natural butter, belgian chocolate, vanilla extract and local free range eggs”

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I had a hot chocolate, Lewis had a latte and we both chose the Belgian Chocolate Brownies to try . The brownies were deliciously rich, in fact I couldn’t quite manage all of mine and brought a little piece home in a cute little doggy bag.

exploding bakery 3  Aside from cakes, the bakery also served homemade soup with homemade bread, focaccia, tortilla wraps and frittata as part of a lunch menu. I would recommend checking this place out if like me you like little independent business (especially ones that serve good cake).

I hope you liked this post, I can’t take credit for the photos Lewis took them all. How did you spend your Valentines weekend?

Harriette

Last Minute Valentines Gifts…

I’ve actually been pretty speedy this year, and planned and bought my boyfriend’s Valentines Day present and card [ yes, that’s right we do presents after setting the bar pretty high last year (our first Valentines Day) long before we were both living on student budgets], but incase you haven’t thought about it yet and whilst you still have time to order online. Here’s my top lists of presents to get your boyfriend/ girlfriend…

For Her 

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1) Polaroid Love Notes – £10.99 : These cute little love notes from Urban Outfitters come with their own individual envelopes – this would be a great present for a girlfriend away at Uni as you could send her one for every month.

2) Emma Bridgewater Pink Hearts Mug – £17.95: I really have a thing about cute mugs at the moment and this one is really nice. Again, another present perhaps for a girlfriend who you don’t see very often, or just one that appreciates a good cup of tea. A nice present to go with this might be some fancy hot chocolate. Available at John Lewis.

3) MAC “Please Me” Lipstick – £15.00: Personally, I think that MOST girls would be impressed with a MAC lipstick as a present, which one depends on you, but I thought this “Please Me” shade is pretty and not too bold, perfect for a Valentines pukka-up. You can buy this online at the MAC website.

4) Olivia Burton Black Applied Butterfly Watch – £82.00: Now I know that I have shown you this watch before in my Top Highstreet Wrist Watches post, however I do think this watch is simply exquisite. It is so pretty and sophisticated and if I wasn’t so in love with my own Marc Jacobs watch I would be out the door to buy it, because I think it is beautiful. Any girl would be lucky to receive this gift for Valentines. This watch is currently available on ASOS.

5) Soap & Glory “Soaper Heros” Gift Set – £13.50: I am always preaching to my males friends that if they don’t know what to get a girl, they can’t go wrong with some nice bath and shower products and with Soap & Glory there’s certainly no going wrong. This giftset in particular, available at Boots, contains some of my favourite Soap & Glory products – so let your girlfriend pamper herself with a very special giftset.

6) And finally, last but not least, for the big spender on Valentines day you can’t go wrong with these beautiful Alex Monroe Classic Daisy Stud Earrings, Silver which retail for £114.00 at John Lewis. These would make a really lovely gift for that someone special.

For Him

1) GPO Stylo Retro Turntable Record Player in Piano Black – £39.99. Alot of my friends are really getting into vinyls at the moment and they do sound and look pretty cool. For mine and Lewis’ first Christmas I bought him the Foo Fighters Greatest Hits Vinyl, which he frequently plays and he has framed the sleeves in special vinyl frames in  his bedroom. This one from Argos is a pretty good price, however you can buy vintage ones from Urban Outfitters from about £115.00.

2) Bull Dog Original After Shave Balm – £2.74. At the very cheap end of the scale, alot of men are really getting into skincare products at the moment, with companies like BullDog proving to be some of the most popular. This is just the After Shave Balm they make, but you can buy a variety of different moisturisers and other male products by BullDog online or in store at Boots.

3) Hollister First Point Shirt – £44.00. For the fashionable man, this Hollister Shirt is very smart but can also be worn casually. The navy colour is really nice and may make your man look a bit like one of those Abercrombie and Fitch models – I don’t see a down side girls!

4) Following the theme of clothing, these Jack Wills Gosworth Slim Sweatpants retailing at £49.50 are an ideal gift for the Uni Boyfriend/ General Couch Potato who can lounge around in comfortable style in a pair of these from Jack Wills.

5) Phone Links/ RC Remote Control Ferrari F50 Red Motion Car iPhone – £22.99. Well they say that boys love toys, and they especially love gadgets, so if your boyfriend is into cars and his iPhone this might be a great gift. The remote control car is controlled by an App on your iPhone/ Andriod so it’s easy to use and fun to play with. Find this product at Play.com.

6) Diesel Fuel For Life He Eau de Toilette – £25.00. Finally, you can’t go wrong with a really nice-smelling cologne to keep your man smelling fresh. This Eau de Toilette from Diesel is available in John Lewis and is made from a magic potion of mysterious star anise, vintage raspberry and authentic heliotropine.

Well that’s all I’ve got for last minute Valentine’s ideas. I hope you enjoyed the post. Would love to hear what presents people are giving on Valentine’s Day – particularly to boys [I always find them tricky to shop for!]

Harriette

Christmas Trip to London

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Fortunately for me, my boyfriend goes to University in London and so is currently living in the centre of one of the greatest cities in the world. As a result, I could hardly wait to hand in my last essay of a first and rather hectic -but enjoyable- term and visit him at the start of the Christmas holidays….

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Covent Garden

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Christmas Market on the Strand

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Ice-Skating at Somerset House

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Regent Street

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Leicester Square 

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Piccadilly Circus

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Dinner + Dessert at Bill’s

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Somerset House at Night 

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Hope you enjoyed the photos, I had a really wonderful weekend.

signed