Ivan woke up early on November 21, 2011. He was waiting for the fiancé visa to arrive by courier. It arrived in the late morning.
Ivan, Lil Dave and I packed everything up.
We said good-bye to Denise and Ken. We took a taxi to the airport at 3 pm and arrived at 4:30 pm.
Ivan checked us in to the Yotel at Gatwick Airport. It’s a capsule hotel. We used the free internet in the room.
It’s a really tiny room. There’s no privacy in the room since the shower is totally clear.
Dinner was bought at Marks and Spencer. Lil Dave had a few bananas. I had a crayfish and mango salad and a cous cous salad while Ivan got salmon with beans and a fish with cous cous.
We watched tv while we used the internet. I also worked on the blog.
We went to sleep early since we were headed to Mexico in the early morning.
Source: Yotel picture
Ivan, Lil Dave and I had lunch at the house on November 20, 2011. Ivan and I shared pizza and soup.
Ivan, Lil Dave, Neal, Denise and I headed to the seafront. It was such a lovely day out.
The tide was out. We walked along the sea and took a few pictures. I like the beach houses with all their different colors.
Denise had to use the toilet and ran ahead to try to find one. We thought we had lost her. We caught up with Denise later driving the car.
Everybody had dinner together. Ivan and I had gnocchi and vegetables.
Later on, we played Cranium Wow again. It was Ivan and me versus Denise, Ken and Neal.
It was lots of fun, but we didn’t win again.
It was an easy, relaxing day in Southend on November 19, 2011.
We had lunch at the house.
Ivan, Lil Dave and I chilled out and used the internet.
Neal came to stay the weekend. We had a big dinner and cake for dessert. Denise always spoils us with lots of food.
Later on, we played the board game Cranium Wow. We made two teams: Denise, Ken and Neal against Ivan and me.
The game has many activities like guessing a song by a person humming, sculpting with Play-Doh, charades and drawing with your eyes closed. It’s lots of fun! Unfortunately, Ivan and I lost the game.
I had my first Christmas pudding on November 18, 2011. Christmas pudding is usually served on Christmas day. It’s dark in appearance and filled with fruit and sometimes alcohol like brandy. It’s so very tasty!! I wish this was a tradition in the USA.
Ivan, Lil Dave and I headed up to London by train. We checked out one Vans store. I wanted to buy pink Hello Kitty shoes that I saw listed in a magazine. Unfortunately, they didn’t have the shoes – but an employee told us that the Covent Garden location has it in stock.
We walked to the Vans in Covent Garden. We met up with Ivan’s brother Neal there. I found my pink shoes in size UK 2. I have really small feet. The shoes are soo cute!!
We walked to Hyde Park for Winter Wonderland.
It’s a big area filled with food and retail stalls, carnival rides and an ice skating rink.
We had a tradlnik and a cup of hot honey mead. It definitely warmed us up!
I was still hungry and bought some french fries. Lil Dave couldn’t find any hot banana mead, so he was a bit bummed. Ivan signed us up earlier for a time slot for ice skating. Ivan, Neal and I each had a cup of mulled wine while we waited.
We waited in line at the ice skating building. We got our ice skates and headed to the rink. There weren’t any monkey sized ice skates, so Lil Dave rode on Ivan’s back. Good thing Ivan didn’t fall!
There was a band playing in the middle of the rink. It was fun skating around the rink. I was really getting into it. It hurts my ankles after awhile though.
We all walked to Nando’s for dinner. Ivan and I each had a delicious beanie pita while Lil Dave got a banana burger.
I woke up at 1 pm on November 17, 2011 – for some reason I couldn’t wake up. Ivan was already awake.
Ivan, Lil Dave and I had lunch and got ready to head out. We headed to London by train at 3 pm.
We went to the Ideal Home Show at Christmas at Earls Court.
There was lots of things there like fashion, health and beauty, jewelry, home stuff, furniture, food and beverages and hot tubs. We walked around the big exhibition venue sampling food and drinks. We bought curry sauce, jam and bamboo socks for Ivan. Lil Dave bought some tasty banana jam. Our feet were so tired from walking around so much. We left around 8 pm.
We went to the city. We walked to the Mexican restaurant Wahaca. It was really busy inside the restaurant. A guy told us that there was a 30 minute wait. Ivan put his name down and told him we’d be back in 30 minutes.
We walked around and came back 30 minutes later. We told a lady that we were waiting for a table. She said the wait wasn’t that long, but she didn’t give us a buzzer. The guy from earlier was calling people and setting off the buzzers. I was sat down while Ivan was standing. Ivan noticed that the guy was calling people ahead of us. He told the guy we needed a buzzer and that we were waiting for awhile now. He finally called us and said that he thought the party wasn’t ready since he only saw Ivan and not me.
We sat down and checked out the menu. A manager came over and asked us what happened. Ivan told him. He apologized for the misunderstanding. He gave us two free mojitos. The mojitos were lovely. Our waiter was very friendly.
The food was delicious as usual. It’s always great food and service at Wahaca. I really wish we had a unique Mexican restaurant that was cheap in Las Vegas.
Ivan, Lil Dave and I met up with Ivan’s parents in London on November 16, 2011. We bought tickets for the musical Backbeat. Ivan and I got closer seats in the front row this time.
We went to eat at the organic vegetarian restaurant Vitao. It’s buffet style. The food was good. Denise didn’t think it was that good though.
Ivan and I stopped at a store to buy an inflatable booster seat for me. We walked to the Duke of York Theatre to see Backbeat. Ivan’s parents were sitting in the royal circle seats while Ivan and I were sitting in the front row. The musical is about the early days of The Beatles. It was our second time seeing it which was even better in the front row since it was really loud. Ivan and I agree that you feel so attached when you’re sitting in the royal circle.
We walked to Princi to get dessert. Ivan wished that he thought of this restaurant earlier for lunch. Ivan’s mum really liked the selection.
The restaurant has pasta, pizza, breads, cakes, tea and wine. Denise and Ken shared dessert with tea. Ivan and I shared a pear tart and a chocolate cake with some tea.
It was so very tasty.
We said goodbye to Ivan’s parents. They were headed back home.
Ivan and I went to see if there was any tickets for the play The Lion in Winter. There wasn’t any available, so we walked to Leicester Square Theatre.
Ivan bought tickets for Stewart Lee – Carpet Remnant World. Stewart Lee is a comedian. The show was rather boring. Stewart Lee even admitted that he didn’t have good material since he doesn’t do much anymore since he has children now. There were two people sat next to Ivan who thought it was the funniest thing ever. It wasn’t funny at all.
On November 15, 2011, I woke up at 12:05 pm.
We used the internet. I also worked on the blog.
We got the train into London. It was really icy cold and windy.
It was time for some cheese and alcohol. We went to Gordon’s Wine Bar. Ivan and I had port with cheddar and gouda cheese with jam and bread. It was tasty!
We met up with Neal at the Indian restaurant Dishoom. Ivan and I shared bhel, salmon tikka and lentil soup. Lil Dave got banana soup and banana masala. The food was great.
Ivan, Lil Dave and I went to The Comedy Store to see The Cutting Edge. It’s a comedy night where the comedians talk about current events. It was really funny.
The best two were Paul Thorne and Ian Stone. Ivan picked a topic of Occupy and the comedian who got it won. So, Ivan got two free tickets for The Cutting Edge.
Source: Paul Thorne picture
Ivan and I decided to relax in Southend on November 14, 2011.
Ivan used the internet while I was looking up things online for our upcoming wedding. We will have lots to do when we get back to Las Vegas. I worked on the blog.
We walked to ASDA to pick up something for dinner.
Ivan and I had tortellini and baked beans for dinner.
I continued to work on the blog.
Later that evening, we watched the shows Pete Versus Life, The Office and Parks and Recreation.
Source: Pete Versus Life photo
On November 13, 2011, Ivan and I had lunch at the house.
We got the train into London late.
We went to Gordon’s Wine Cellar, but it was packed as usual.
We walked around Covent Garden and got a mulled wine.
We waited in line to get tickets for the comedy tonight. We saved seats in the front row for The Comedy Store Players.
Ivan and I walked down the street to Busaba Eathai. Ivan and I shared tofu and spinach.
Ivan got tilapia curry while I got a tasty soup with chicken. Lil Dave got a fried banana dish with a spicy sauce.
We walked back to The Comedy Store. The Comedy Store Players were hilarious tonight. We love good improv!!
Ivan sent a text to Neal to see if he wanted to meet up. Ivan and I went Spuntino.
We ordered soldiers and eggs, fennel salad and a mackerel slider. Lil Dave got two banana sliders. Neal arrived and we chatted. The food was great.
We all walked to the train station. We said good-bye to Neal and headed to our train.
Ivan and I woke up at 10 am on November 12, 2011. Jo was already up since 6 am since he’s so used to getting up early for work. I don’t understand why he doesn’t just sleep in during the weekends.
Ivan arranged to meet up with his brother Neal at the Westfield Mall. Neal lives in Stratford where the mall is located. Jo needed to buy a power lead for a monitor, so he said he would drive us there.
We drove to the Westfield Mall which is the largest mall in Europe. We walked around. This time Ivan and I got to walk around. There were ots of people in the mall. We said thanks and good bye to Jo. He walked into a computer shop while we walked to Wahaca.
Neal arrived a few minutes later. We all had lots of tasty Mexican food at Wahaca. I wish they had a restaurant in Las Vegas. The food is always good at very reasonable prices.
We said bye to Neal. Ivan and I shopped awhile at Primark. This huge store has clothes, accessories and shoes for very cheap.
We got a train back to Southend.
Ivan and I used the internet.
Later on, we had dinner with Denise and Ken at the house.
Ivan and I took it easy the rest of the evening – we watched the tv show Life’s Too Short on the laptop.
Source: Life’s Too Short picture