London Dec 2018.

Our last overseas trip for 2018 commenced with Flo and I going to London via Dubai.

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It wasn’t the most fantastic flight but we reached London Gatwick where we were picked up by Dad and Uncle D. We arrived at around 6am in the morning so by the time we were out of the airport, we were met by a cold blast of 7am air to wake us right up!

We were also welcomed home by this little one.

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Daisy!!

Flo and I spent Saturday settling in. We were put up at Uncle D’s next door where we were grateful for floor heating and an en-suite bathroom.

Sunday

We had a pretty awesome afternoon tea with Kor and Ceci. Ceci was in London for the weekend so we made plans to indulge at The Royal Lancaster Hotel..

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We could choose from a list of teas and they were unlimited. We were also told that we could change our choice of tea after each pot was finished, if we wanted to try something else.

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The portions there are pretty generous so come with an empty-ish stomach and you’re also likely to give dinner a miss after. We were first served our savouries consisting of five finger sandwiches. We were told that we could have more of our favourites if we liked.

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Beginning from the right of our plate, we had the Prawn Cocktail with Baby Gem Salad, Hot Smoked Salmon with Horseradish and Dill, Truffle Duck Egg and Wild Cress, Honey Roast Ham and Apple with Crackling, and a Roast Turkey, Sage and Onion Stuffing, with Cranberry Jam.

My favourite was the prawn and the truffle egg. In fact, I think the egg sandwich was a unanimous favourite with Kor asking for another serving. They gladly obliged – with another two pieces!

Thereafter, our sweets arrived along with warm scones.

I enjoyed the crisp shell of the Clementine and Ginger Tart, but the best was probably the Roasted Chestnut Choux – a beautiful choux puff filled with a smooth chestnut filling.

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There was also a traditional mini Christmas Pudding, a Cranberry White Chocolate Dome, and a rich Dark Chocolate and Cherry Yule Log.

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Both the Plain and Cranberry Scones were well made with a fluffy, light interior that crumbled just enough. I enjoyed the plain scone over the cranberry with a good smattering of clotted cream and cranberry clementine jam.

Obviously, we were all stuffed by the time we walked away from tea. We did have some drinks at The Volunteer, a pub around Baker Street, before we split ways with Ceci.

Monday

A couple days later, Flo and I spent the afternoon with Mum and Dad, going into the city once again. It was a pretty cold day as you can see from Mum and Dad’s OOTD. Dad’s beanie especially was really cute. It looked like a little condom on his head.

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After much research, it appeared that Poppie’s was one of the best Fish and Chips shop in London. There are three outlets of Poppie’s if I’m not wrong. I made a reservation just in case but it wasn’t too busy when we reached about 1pm. It did start filling up quickly soon after.

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Flo and I drew up a food list for foods we wanted to eat in both London and Hamburg. To be honest, London’s list was mainly taken up by my desire for Grandma’s home-cooked food. Florian was only hankering after a good Fish and Chips, since first trying it when we were there last summer at Borough Market.

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He was very happy satisfying his craving here. The batter was light and crisp, encasing the thick fillet of cod like a pig in a blanket.

I had my fish grilled, and on the side, we all shared some fresh peas, gherkins and mushy peas.

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The mushy peas were glorious! Bang on the seasoning and perfectly mushy with just enough unmushed peas to give some texture. Some fish, some mushy peas, some fresh peas and you have a mouthful of yum!

We walked all around the city after lunch, visiting Fortnum & Mason where it was incredibly crowded and extremely pricey, but still nice to have a look around. Then, we walked further over to Harrod’s where we did some more window shopping, mainly of food obviously because that’s really the most interesting area to salivate over.

Wednesday,

the Rennetans bundles ourselves into the car and made for Stonehenge. This was more a request by Flo because he wanted to tick it off his bucket list while Kor and I have been there multiple times when we were children and when going right up to the stones and touching them was still permitted. Ah times have changed. It now costs about 17-18 pounds for a single adult ticket and you can only gaze at the stones from afar as the area has now been cordoned off. So we ended up driving to the Stonehenge carpark for a simple sandwich lunch, before we turned back around, with Flo and Dad armed with their cameras, making sure to snap away as Kor drove past the historical site once more. Flo used burst mode and got himself 100 over pictures, and Dad, snapped just the one.

We made our way over to our now annual pilgrimage, or whenever we visit London at least, to Windsor Castle.

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Where we took our mandatory family photo in front of the castle.

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And a not-so-traditional photo by the huge Christmas tree in the middle of the road.

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We had coffee and a doughnut (for Flo) before we drove home to Grandma’s dinner.

Thursday evening

We met with Sam and finally had a look at Winter Wonderland within Hyde Park.

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It was massive! Of course, there were hoards of people waiting to get in but the queue moved swiftly and the grounds was spacious so it didn’t feel too congested. It was cold though! So my nose decided to warm up by running non-stop. They had lots of little wooden cabins selling Christmassy knick-knacks and a whole area with fair rides.

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Needless to say, there were lots of food being sold – German sausages, hot smoked salmon, mulled wine, and there were beer tents set up as well. There was even a naughty couple getting it off in front of the toilets. I wonder if Santa gave them presents this year…

We sat down for a drink – beer for the Brit and mulled wine for Florian. I tried some of the wine and mmmnope! Not my thing. It was really nice catching up with Sam though. He’s still same old same old. I like that even after not seeing him about two years, meeting up felt like no time had passed. It was Sam’s and Flo’s first time meeting each other but I think they got along pretty well.

We moved on from the Wonderland to Tibits for dinner. One of my girlfriends recommended this place to try. They serve vegan/vegetarian food canteen style. So they have a bar with all their dishes, and you take what you want onto your plate. Then the plate gets weighed and you pretty much pay for what you eat.

For regulars who have been there multiple times, it’s probably easier to zero in on what they like. For newbies like it, it was also nice to go around picking a little bit of this and a little bit of that.

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I really liked their pumpkin quiche, butternut squash wellington and the veggie wellington. I know you can’t see much on my plate and it doesn’t look all that pretty but trust me, this is one of those cases where pretty is overrated. I washed it all down with a golden turmeric latte. One thing I love about the tea lattes in London (and in Hamburg) is that they’re generally a lot less sweet than the pre-mixed concoctions mostly found here in Singapore.

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Bellies filled and bodies warmed, we said toodles to Sambo. Until we meet again!

Friday evening

Flo and I were treated to a full Christmas dinner since we were going to be in Hamburg on the day itself. We had most of the family round as well as some family friends.

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We had yorkshire pudding, roast turkey, roast ham, bacon wrapped cocktail sausages, stuffing (in patty form), roast potatoes, balsamic roasted vegetables, and brussel sprouts. 

Round 1:

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Over the years, I’ve come to enjoy brussel sprouts and parsnips. In fact, I think I really love parsnips. Parsnips over carrots any day! I’m not so much a carrot fan ever since I overloaded on them when I was little. Yeah, I had this thing where I was like “I’m born in the year of the rabbit so I should chomp on carrots”. So I did. Until I got incredibly sick of them. I mean, I eat them now but I’d never crunch on them raw or consider them my first choice.

And just like that, our week in London went by and we found ourselves sitting in Heathrow airport waiting to board the plane to Hamburg.

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It was awesome being able to catch up with family and friends while we were there although as Flo and I have come to realise, holidays to London and Hamburg are never really holidays. Rather, they can be quite hectic running around trying to fit everybody into our schedule, especially in Germany. This trip to London was spent mostly scurrying into the city in order to find a good coat for me that was actually in my size. It wasn’t easy but we found a pretty one with a hefty price tag that fit me perfectly at size double xs. #petitegirlproblems. 

That being said, I had my fill of grandma’s jook (rice porridge), spinach curry, braised chicken with chestnuts, and lotus root soup! Flo and I also treated ourselves to a delicious meal at Helene Darroze (post coming up).

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