Squirrels, pretty parks and friendly faces in London

After a very long day of travelling, I’d hoped that we’d manage a sleep in. Unfortunately, that was not to be the case and we all woke up early.

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We were also on central European time which was an hour later than London, until the next day when summer time started and it would be the same as we were used to. Anyway, breakfast started downstairs at 7.30am, and we were down there as soon as it began!

It was a buffet style breakfast, but with Starbucks coffees on the side. Craig was very happy to see real bacon and eggs and opted for a full English style breakfast. He has been rather deprived since we left New Zealand with only croissants and coffee. Thea was also very happy and tried to take a bit of everything. As it was all you can eat we also grabbed some fruit and pre-packed muffins to eat later in the day.

Craig’s friend Sach had told us to install an app called City Mapper to help us transit around London. The app is absolutely fantastic as it not only shows you what trains to take but actually walks you through your journey step-by-step on screen. It was particularly useful to us for saving money on tickets. When we got to the ticketing machine at the station outside our hotel it tried to charge us 24 pounds for two-day tickets whilst the app told us it should only be 6 pounds for the journey in. We were pretty confused until a lovely American couple suggested we get an Oyster Card (the equivalent of a HOP card in NZ) to use which was much cheaper from the ticket office. Later we also found out that we could have just used our paywave credit cards to do much the same.

Thea loves taking the train and she was equally excited to take the high speed underground in London. We were heading for Soho to a little cafe called The Good Egg, where we were catching up with Sach and her boyfriend Fabio for brunch. Our front pack won out again for Evie who slept on our way there.

I would highly recommend going to Kingly Court where The Good Egg is located if you are in London and looking for a meal. It was a cute three-story collection of eateries with some divine looking bakeries, delicious smelling coffee and healthy smoothies for those so inclined. The prices were also some of the more reasonable we’ve paid on this trip so far.

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We had a lovely breakfast with Turkish style dukkah eggs, smoked salmon bagels, and strong coffee. It was lovely to catch up with Sach and meet her partner Fabio. Fabio had to disappear off to play a game of rugby after brunch so we parted ways with him before heading towards Buckingham Palace.

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The day was gloriously sunny and all of the daffodils were out in Green Park.

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Thea loved racing through them and even picking a few.

Thea was super excited to visit Buckingham Palace after reading about it in Peppa Pig.

She didn’t quite understand why we weren’t going to knock on the door and ask the queen to drive us around in her double-decker bus though.

We hung out around Green Park eating ice cream and enjoying the sun while we waited for another friend (John) to join us.

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He arrived, and hugs were exchanged all around. John is a bit of an expert on feeding squirrels, he’d found pistachio nuts were the best for getting squirrels to come and eat out of his hand. He’d also managed to be bitten by one at some stage so was keen to warn us of the perils. Thea was entranced as he threw pistachios out and we watched the squirrels hungrily grab and knaw at them. We attracted quite a crowd in St James park as we stood for half an hour and fed the squirrels.

It was so nice to wander around in the sunshine and enjoy chatting with old friends. We eventually ended up at a Bubble Tea cafe near Piccadilly Circus. A rose, almond, and jasmine milk tea later we farewelled both John and Sach sadly and headed for the bus.

Thea was very keen to ride a red double-decker bus in London just like Peppa Pig. So we finished our time in central London riding a bus two stops to the Underground station at Piccadilly Circus. She was so cute and so excited.

It had been another long, but fun day as we headed home on the tube. The girls were really tired so I put Evie down while Thea and Craig had dinner downstairs at the hotel restaurant. I was fairly starving by the time they got back and relieved me for my dinner. But the wine and dinner alone were so worth the wait!

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Tomorrow we head out for our long flight home, so after a quick final packing effort, we fell into bed ready for an early start in the morning.

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