Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sunday Sesh

One thing that I have missed while I have been away is having a good old fashioned Sunday Session. An afternoon out drinking on a Sunday while you nurse last nights hangover and get some good food. Chat to your mates about the previous nights shenanigans and try and prolong the Sunday blues. It isn't really a usual occurrence in London however the day after Ascot we thought we would give it a go.

Since there were a few people in town visiting for Ness's birthday and the fact most of us had taken the Monday off work due in attempt to go to Wimbledon (more on that later) we decided it was about time that we hit up London's most notorious Sunday Session - The Church.

Infamous for the amount of Aussies and Kiwi's that bombard this event dressed up in extravagant costumes in the middle of a Sunday, The Church is well known for its absolute absurdity. Founded in the 1970's The Church used to be held literally in an old church before it was moved along several times to different locations. As far as we know the main goal of the day is the same - get trashed, sing power ballads, dress up like moron, laugh at the dodgy comedians, whistle at the strippers and basically just be a right ol' bogan. Yes even in the depths of London you can find yourselves surrounded by bogans.

I can imagine a few of you are thinking 'How on earth can this be fun?' and to be honest I was kind of thinking the same thing. I mean I didn't come here to necessarily hang out at the Walkabout (an aussie chain of pubs) every weekend but sometimes you just have to go with the masses! The church is probably only something I would do once so I figured I would go with the rest of my crew.

For dressing up for The Church there really aren't many rules and you see people in all sorts of get up from Where's Wally's to animal suits to gladiators to superheroes. The weekend we decided to go there was a Toga party which made our costumes really easy. A cheap sheet cut to shreds and leaves picked off a bush - 5 mins later we had our costumes and a couple of drinks down us before heading off.

We got straight in there and went to the bar where we found out that £10 gets you 3 pints. Bargain. The best part is they just pull the pints out of big crates with ice, put them in a plastic bag for you to carry around and send you on your way. Classy!

The place was chaotic - was completely dark and completely packed with some pretty good music being belted out (of the speakers and all the drunk peoples voices singing along) and we were just drinking and chatting and dancing to the side before we got entertained by a stripper. Crazy! That they actually put a stripper on the stage for a couple of hundred pissed people both female and male to watch. They also put on a comedian and a magician (who had performed on 'Britain's Got Talent') but mostly the entertainment was watching everyone else.

The bags of beer went down pretty smoothly and it wasn't long before we were all on the dance floor creating havoc with the rest of them. Togas were coming off left right and centre (thankfully mine had stayed on!) and a whole bunch of other shenanigans like dancing on the stage (yes I am guilty!) and getting into dance battles with Smurfs. The shenanigans continued until closing time at 4pm where we were all sent outside into the broad daylight which stung our eyes and quickly sobered us up!

The official after party is over at the Shepherds Bush walkabout however we decided to give that a miss as we were already pretty far gone and most of us had to attempt the early morning queuing for Wimbledon the next day. We grabbed some food, sobered up and went back to Azza's place for a few more casual drinks. Where about four of us (yes, me included) fell asleep on his couch.

What can I say - it certainly wasn't the classiest or clean event I have been to this summer but I have to tell you it was a lot of fun. Sometimes you just want to sing a power ballad with a can of beer in your hand ok? And if you can't revert to being an Aussie bogan in a city of foreigners occasionally then when can you?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Hanging Out With Lizzie

One thing I had been looking forward to all year (because we booked the tickets in February!) was the Royal Ascot Races. Not only was I looking forward to it because yet again it is a great summer event in London but because 1. My friend Sophie from Australia had arrived for her visit and we could go together and 2. It was my friend I met travelling Vanessa's (Ness) birthday. These three things coinciding meant it was bound to be an awesome day.

The races were on the Saturday and the preparation for it started on the Friday including - fake tans, last minute shopping for fascinators, bobby pins, stockings and food and booze. There was also an afternoon of watching girlie movies while we painted our nails and baked muffins. It may not have been the most exciting first day in London for Sophie but gave us a good chance to catch up.

After sleeping in my rollers to make my hair curly we were up bright and early to head over to Shea and Vanessa's flat (a.k.a K10)for a Champagne breakfast for Ness's birthday and more time for all the girls to put their finishing touches on their outfits, hair etc. A friend of mine Laura is a Mac make up artist so she came round a few of the girls got their make up done. I arrived feeling pretty average as I was wearing track pants and curlers in my hair but when the door was opened by Jen in her shorts and t-shirt and the lounge roomed filled with girls with their hair in rags I felt much much better.

We drank champagne and Malibu punch while we all put our finishing touches on. The rest of the Topdeck crew joined us a bit later in the day and we all tucked into a champagne breakfast with savoury muffins, pancakes and fruit before packing our picnics and heading off to the train. The queues for tickets were horrendous and the train was packed but we got there in the end. Right into the middle of a torrential rainfall.

As we got off the train we had to high-tail undercover because it was bucketing down - good ol' English weather. We waited for about 10 minutes before deciding we were going to power on - put up our brollies and make our way into the racecourse. Luckily for us the sun came out just as we were walking into the venue.

The best thing about English events is they usually let you take in some food and alcohol. With Ascot the rule was that you could take 4 cans of cider or 1 bottle of wine each as long as you had a substantial picnic. Which means all of your food and drinks for the day are taken care of! Once we got in we found a spot on the hill and sat down for our picnic. As most of us didn't have picnic rugs we ended up sitting on plastic garbage bags - still that is all you need to keep your bum dry! We soon got down to what we do best - eat, drink and chat!

The crowd behind us started making a lot of noise and we were wondering why and as we got up someone told us it was the Queen! So we ran up the hill and stood on our tippy toes and saw the Queen in her Carriage as she rode past and did her special little wave. It is the first time I had seen Royalty up close so I was super excited!

The rest of the day was spent hanging out on the hill and just drinking and hanging out. I put a bet on the Australian horse that was running but didn't have much luck. My friend Emily put a £4 bet on a random horse with the number 13 and ended up winning £90! Lucky girl! Half way through the day the rain bucketed down and we had to run for cover under our umbrellas or down near the bar. I created a make-shift poncho out of one of the rubbish bags.

We survived the second downpour relatively unscarred (hair and make up wise of course) so we continued on drinking! There was a band playing in an undercover marquee so after we headed down there for a bit of a dance before heading back to the train at the end of the day.

Very fun day out and a great first event to take Sophie to. It was also a fun way to celebrate Vanessa's birthday as she was away from the Topdeck crew last year so we had to have a big one to make her feel special!

Perfect Summer Evening

I feel like this blog should be retitled 'Awesome Things To Do In London During Summer' because I recently went to yet another awesome event (and have heaps more to tell you all about in upcoming posts). This time it was the Open Air Theatre at Regents Park.

I had been going on for ages about how I would love to go to see a play at Shakespeare's Globe which is an open air theatre that is a replica of the original (just moved a few hundreds yards across). But a friend of a friend said that we should check out the open air theatre in Regents Park because they enjoyed it more so we got tickets to see 'Lord of The Flies' and headed there on a sunny evening after work.

We were lucky with the weather and it was a gorgeous summer evening and we had a really nice stroll through Regents Park which is perfect in the summer because all the flowers are out and the trees are all green and everyone is out enjoying the summer sun. Once we arrived at the theatre we picked up our BBQ that we had bought with our ticket which was a yummy beef burger and sat on one of the picnic tables in the sun while we ate our meals and had a cider.

At around 7.30 we headed into our seats for the show and were amazed at the set. They had placed a crashed plane and all the debris amongst the dirt and the trees which so suited the story (as it is based on an Island). The actors who played all the boys from the book played their part so well and the way the show was directed was great. I am no theatre connoisseur by any means but even I know when something is done well and this show certainly was.

By half time the sun had mostly gone down and when we went out to the bar for our half time drinks we had champagne while we wandered through all the fairy lights in the garden that had been turned on. It was hard to believe that this awesome night out was tucked away out of sight in one of London's biggest and busiest parks. We could have been in the middle of nowhere!

The second half of the show was even better than the first (its when all the action happens) and as it had been so long since I had read the book I had slightly forgotten the ending. It was such a fun night out (and a pretty cheap one when you think about what we got for the ticket price) and once again - another awesome thing to do in the London summertime!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Too Much Alcohol, Too Much Chocolate, Rollercoasters

Things that make you puke.

Hahaha gross I know but that was how the invite started for my friend Danielle's birthday event invite. She had decided that instead of the usual dinner and drinks kind of shenanigans that usually ensue around birthdays that she would have a day out at London's closest theme park - Thorpe Park.

A group of seven of us made our way out to Thorpe Park on a sunny day all excited and ready to re-live our childhood by going on rollercoasters, eating thousands of lollies and basically causing havoc.

For those at home in Australia Thorpe Park is similar to Dreamworld where it has no particular theme (like Seaworld) but has just a whole bunch of rides. We decided that our first stop for a ride we would 'take it easy' and no go on anything too crazy yet so we went on a ride that we were swung from one side to the other at great force. Hmmm probably not the 'easiest' ride to go on but it certainly got us in the mood for more rides.

As it was a Saturday the lines were pretty hectic so sometimes there was an hour wait or more. For some of the rides you could buy express passes for £3 or £4. We were wanting to go on the Colossus which was the worlds only 10 loop rollercoaster but not keen on waiting an hour and a half. That £3 was probably the best investment I had ever made because those 10 loops made it the best rollercoaster I have ever been on. It was so much fun and actually a nice long ride - there is nothing worse then waiting for an hour for a 30 second ride.

Well actually that was exactly what we did for the next one. It was called the stealth and it went from 0 - 80 kph in 2.5 seconds and it was hiiiiiiiiiiigh! We waited in the sun for about an hour continuously watching this thing go up and down and hearing hundreds of people scream at the top of their lungs. I love rides and rollercoaster but even this one made me slightly nervous. Eventually when it came to our time I was happy to get out of the sun and have a sit down - even if it was only for 30 seconds. The ride was fun and you felt like you had left your stomach back at the starting point. I also did a lot of screaming! I think poor James and Danielle (the only other two who braved it) were deaf after sitting next to me.

I won't go on and tell you about every ride we went on (even though most of them were pretty good) because that would be pretty boring. What I will tell you was that we really did go crazy like kids - having macca's for lunch, a whole bucket of pick and mix lollies, followed by a sugar high and then a sugar crash and just basic shenanigans around the theme park. It was fun to get out of London (even only slightly) and do something that I wouldn't normally do on a weekend in London as most birthdays include copious amounts of alcohol. I would totally recommend it for a day out to any Londoners if they are wanting to be a kid again and looking for something fun to do.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Being Posh At The Polo

After a busy weekend at Zoo Lates followed by the Blitz Party its is hard to believe that we all backed it up again and hit up our third London Summer event in a weekend. This time is was the Mint Polo In The Park.

The Polo had been organised as a fun international competition that tried to generate more interest in the game as previously it has only been something watched or played by the exclusively rich posh toffs (or so I am told). We were lucky enough to snag half price tickets so there was a group of 12 of us that went. I hosted a champagne breakfast at my place to get us in the mood with champers, croissants and fruit as we all got dolled up and ready to go. Most of us were nursing hangovers, blisters from our heels and overall general tiredness to really make a go of drinking in the morning on a Sunday but we gave it our best shot.

About five seconds after we left my house to get the bus up to the Polo it started POURING down with rain. Fantastic. So our nicely curled hair and make up got ruined, it instantly became cold in our dresses and the mood of the day immediately deflated. Still we soldiered on and got to the polo where we picked up some drinks and some more food (crazy really since we just scoffed breakfast) while we waiting around for the polo to start.

The event was pretty cool with heaps of different little market stalls and a Harrods Food Hall and even a few pop up bars including a Vervue Clique private posh area. Most of the fun was the people watching with many of the posh people in their jackets and suits and also many of the chavs in their short dresses, chunky heels and hair extensions. There were also lots of people looking great in between.

About 20 minutes before the first Polo match the rain started to pour down again so we took cover in the closest bar (how convenient) which had a tropical theme so we helped ourselves to a Pina Colada that was served in a pineapple. After standing around huddles in the bar chatting for a few minutes we braved the elements to go and watch the first polo match. Unfortunately we couldn't see very much due to most people in front of us standing under umbrellas. After a few minutes of this someone casually suggested maybe going back to my local pub for a drink and a roast. The idea of standing in the rain while our heels sunk into the mud while we can't see the polo versus the idea of sitting in a cosy pub eating a warm yummy roast was too good of an idea to refuse so we gave up against the rain and decided to head off.

Just as we were heading off they made an announcement that we could all go onto the field to put in the divots back in as was the tradition at polo matches. We had been talking about in the bar how we would love to do it like they do in 'Pretty Woman' so we ran out onto the pitch to find some divots to pop back in like ladies. We pretty much just started stamping on the ground as we couldn't really find any that weren't already done but it was fun to do all the same.

With that little bit of excitement over we headed back to my local pub where we settled in for the afternoon with a warm yummy roast, couple of drinks and a few rounds of rummikub (or however it is spelt). Sadly the weather put a fast end to us being posh at the polo but it was still a fun day out overall. Maybe next yeah I will go again with the hopes that it will be sunny and I can actually see a whole Polo game!

1940's Blitz Night

A few post's ago I wrote about the 1920's Prohibition night - well the same company who organises those also organises a 1940's Blitz Night so me and a few friends went along to check it out.

After raving about the last one She and I recruited a few more people - including some guy friends into dressing up 1940's wartime era and going along to the event. When we got there we saw that the place had been set up to match the era - sandbags up the walls, cocktail bars made out of rationing materials and of course several jazz bands on stage. Everyone looked amazing and I spent the night pretty much telling everyone they looked fabulous because everyone scrubbed up so well.

There isn't much I could write about to describe how amazing the atmosphere was at the party and how much fun I had dancing, chatting and waving my British flags. So like the 1920's night I've put together a slide show so the photos can speak for themselves.

Like Animals

As soon as summer hits it seems like London throws some amazing events to try and coax its residents out of hibernation. One of them is Zoo Lates at the London Zoo. During a couple of months in summer they open the Zoo hours up until ten at night and put on some more food and entertainment.

A big group of us booked tickets (and even dressed in animal print)so we met there one Friday night to tick something off the London to-do list as well as having a fun night out. We were lucky that the weather was in our favour and we had a nice warm sunny evening to sit around in the gardens and drink some Pimms before heading off around the exhibits. To be honest I was a bit surprised we got to see as many as the exhibits as we did but we had a good chance to walk all the way around the zoo and see heaps of the animals.

After about an hour we gave up on watching the animals and headed back to the main area where we sat for a while and grab some food before heading into the silent disco. I had never silent discoed before but I am telling you it is my new favourite thing. For those of you who haven't done it - go find one!

They give you some headphones that have two different music channels so you put them on and start dancing to whatever song you chose. Everyone else around you is dancing too but you don't know what they are dancing too. Half way through a song someone will tap you and be like 'listen to this song' so you would change and start dancing to that one. Or you could be jamming out to some new Rihanna song and and turn around to see half of the people doing the YMCA. The best part was when you would take your headphones off and hear everyone singing out loud.

Sadly the night ended too quickly and as the sun set we danced away to the last song before having to hang back our headsets and make our way home. It was such a great chance to see one of London's attractions in a different way. Will definitely be heading back there next year1