I've been saving this post for a while because although it's about birthday celebrations, the birthday in question wasn't actually happening until today...
My little sis turns 30! Happy B-day, B!
A few years ago we all met up in London to celebrate my mum's birthday so plans were made to do the same again this year.
First up was to get everyone in the same country - mum flew in from the States, B from Finland and me...well, I didn't have much of a journey because they were both coming to me! Naturally pizza was involved in the reunion...
nstead of travelling into central London from my house each day, we rented an Air BnB. Not something any of us had done before so were a little unsure of what to expect but it was the cutest little house/flat (who could resist a pretty pink door?!) and being within spitting distance from Barbican it was really convenient.
With base camp set up, we set off to Covent Garden to see the sights. Covent Garden is definitely one of my favourite places so far in London with so much to see and do (and buy)...
Then it was time for B's birthday surprise from me...afternoon tea at BB Bakery!
I don't look too happy about being there but I think I was just concentrating reeeeeeally hard on what to try first!
Feeling completely stuffed after all of the sweet and savoury treats we headed back to the Air BnB to recover and recharge for our bus tour the following day.
If you ever find yourself as a tourist in London or already live in London and want to try something fun, I highly recommend one of the open top bus tours. Most of them are hop on/hop off so it's not only a great way to see the sights but they cover a lot of the central part of London so are great for getting around. We booked with the Original Tour and hopped on just outside St Paul's Cathedral. Looking good, St Paul's!
I plugged headphones into the audio guide (child version is miles better than the grown up one, by the way!) and off we went! We weren't on the bus for long when it was time for our first "hop off" - Borough Market. It's been on my London "to do" list since I moved here and wasn't disappointed! From baked goods to spices to cakes to drinks to noodles to veg, it really had it all! It was absolutely packed even though it was a weekday so hate to think what weekends are like! Lunchtime Pimms is ok when your little sister has never tried it before, right?!
If you are going to Borough Market, it's worth taking a quick walk around the corner to the "Old Operating Theatre Museum". Tucked up in the roof of a church, they have on display some gruesome looking old surgical tools, herbs that were used to treat illnesses as well as the original operating theatre. Sounds gory but it was really interesting!
A lot of the tour bus companies also offer a boat ride down the Thames as part of the package. Definitely give this a go - it's a great way to see the classic landmarks without having to deal with crowds and traffic. We made our way to the Tower of London and took the tour from there to Embankment.
Back on the bus and to Parliament we headed! You're not a proper tourist if you don't take an obligatory selfie with Big Ben...I think we just about got it - note the windswept look. If you sit on top of the tour bus, it gets a little windy!
You're also not allowed to visit London and not go to Liberty. I'm not sure I could afford much there but it's a stunning building and was looking particularly "Ab Fab" when we visited.
Back to the Air BnB again for some proper birthday celebrations. As with mum's birthday, I made some party bags because why should kiddies have all the fun?! Contents: birthday balloons, face masks, curly straws, special edition Peter Rabbit coins, union jack scarves, nail buffers, little notebooks, wooden fans (in case we needed to stay cool on the tube)...
And no birthday is complete without cake. Not just any cake. Rainbow chip cake. Betty Crocker seriously needs to get her arse in gear and start selling this stuff in England so my mum doesn't have to bring cake mix AND frosting in her suitcase!
Good birthday cakes also need candles. I think it's safe to say mum outdid herself on this one...turn up the volume to hear my sister's reaction...