Happy Roald Dahl Day!

Today is Roald Dahl Day, as you might have gathered from the well-wish above, and since I absolutely love Roald Dahl books I had to blog about him. But, I can't mention Roald Dahl in isolation. If you think of Roald Dahl, you will probably think of the marvellous Quentin Blake who illustrated his books.

Roald Dahl died when I was five and I can remember my utter disappointment at being told this because it meant that I couldn't write him a letter (ditto for Enid Blyton, my other great childhood author) but his books spanned my childhood and have a fond place in my heart.

If I could have wrote him a letter though it would have been gushing and full of praise for his wonderful books: Fantastic Mr Fox. George's Marvellous Medicine. The Minpins. Danny, the Champion of the World. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Matilda. The BFG. I could go on.

Dahl knew the power of the word and he knew how to use it, and even though the themes of his books were somewhat bleak with their abusive aunts and law-breaking dads, to name a few, they were always (and still are) magical worlds that he took you which would make you smile, make you laugh, and make you love reading.

Here's to the wonderful Roald Dahl! Are you a fan? What is your favourite Roald Dahl book?

"Don't gobblefunk around with words" 
~ The BFG.

The last few weeks of a British Summer

My British summer is coming to an end - the air is already starting to feel a wee bit chilly and nights are drawing in sooner. I am still going to be making the most of the next few weekends though and squeezing in a few more tourist trips and outdoorsy events whilst I can, but my attention is turning to what's impending and the need to buy chunky knits, boots and a winter coat before all the lovely ones get snapped up! 

I've already made a start on my chunky knits and I know which boots I want, but I always find picking a coat is the tricky one to do - any shop suggestions or is it still a bit too early to be looking? I've also bought some cute jewellery recently from Temporary Secretary to cheer myself up. I took a chance and went for their Lucky Dip. For £10 I got 5 random items - an absolute bargain - two of the items I received were these necklaces. So cute!

Back to my British summer though whilst it's still here. From my original post there are a few things that I've not done that I won't get time to do this year but there are things I've done this summer that I didn't know I would be doing, like going to the Olympic Beach Volleyball, the Paralympic Athletics and V Fest. Swings and roundabouts, I suppose! Over the next few weeks I'm hoping I will be able to re-visit Windsor Castle, go to Buckingham Palace and make a trip to London Zoo to see my adopted giraffe, Ellish. What are your final summer plans? x

London 2012 Paralympics: Athletics

If you're playing tourist in London at the moment, then it's likely a trip to the Olympic Park is on your to-do list. Last Sunday we headed over there as we had tickets to the evening session of the Athletics. I thought it was exciting going to the Beach Volleyball at the Olympics but the Athletics was *even* better!

Queues to get into the Olympic Park and Olympic Stadium were pretty much non-existent, and we had a great view from our seats. We could only get the mid-price tickets (£35) but we had no complaints with the seats - we had a cracking view of the Athletics.

Dad lucked out as he's over 60 which meant that his ticket was only £5. Considering that you get a Zone 1 - 9 travelcard with each ticket - which costs £20.20 - it's sort of like he got paid to go there, if you think about it!

On your marks, get set... go!

Great Britain won one gold medal that evening: David Weir's 5000m T54 win. The atmosphere and noise in the Stadium when he won was absolutely electrifying and somewhat deafening - I've never experienced anything like it before. David has three golds now; here's hoping that he can make it four!

Team GB also picked up two silver medals that evening and we got to see the Discus F42 medal presentation by Kate Middleton - the final had taken place in a previous Athletics session and it was her only medal presentation ceremony of the Paralympics, so far. Gold for the Discus F42 happily went to British Paralympian Aled Davies.

It was wonderful to be asked to stand for the National Anthem and hear "God Save The Queen" sung loud and proud on home turf. As David Weir's win was the last win of the evening, we didn't see his medal ceremony - that takes place at the next Athletics session.

It was quite unsportsmanlike that some people left the Olympic Stadium after Oscar Pistorius didn't win the T44 200m, as expected - Alan Oliveira got the gold, whilst Pistorius claimed silver. Alan is pictured below left, celebrating his much-deserved win.

The centre picture above shows the super cute Mini cars that take back the thrown javelins and other field equipment - I want one of these! The right-hand side photo is the Long Jump final - we saw that final,  as well as the Discus and Javelin finals, plus all the track events were finals, apart from one 400m heat.

We had an incredible time at the Athletics and I'm so glad that I got to go. Team GB is currently second in the medal standings so here's hoping that we stay there!

Have you been to any of the Paralympic events? x

Playing tourist in London

My Dad visited at the weekend which meant playing tourist in London! I won't tell you about the visit to the Imperial War Museum on Friday afternoon as I've mentioned there before but I will tell you about Le Sacre Coeur where we went for dinner on Friday night. We ate there on my birthday but I never mentioned it and it was as delightful as always. If you want reasonably priced French food with generous portions and you're in the Islington area, drop in! I had their French onion soup to start, followed by a delicious grilled scallops and monkfish main which was a special of the day. 

On Saturday morning it was time for more food so we went for brunch at Wahaca to try out their new breakfast offering at their Charlotte Street restaurant. This is the second Wahaca opening I've been fortunate enough to get to try out for free - the other was their Southbank Experiment - and they didn't disappoint.

I had Mexixan eggs on sourdough bread with bacon and refried beans and Olly tried their chorizo-filled Breakfast Burrito. It's rich food so whereas I couldn't see myself having an early breakfast of Wahaca, it is perfect for a weekend brunch. Yummy! Menu here.

After brunch, we headed to The O2 for the British Music Experience - an interactive museum that explores the British music industry from the 1940s onwards. It's £12 to get in, but we used a 2 for 1 offer - it's definitely worth going though if you have to pay full price. It's not just memorabilia and what not, but we got to learn to play the piano, drums and keyboard as well as record our vocal talents - we didn't, we have no talent - and learn some dance moves.

You get a "smart ticket" for your experience which lets you store information that you've liked as well as your musical efforts to look at when you get home (have yet to try this out). As well as the exhibitions separated more-or-less into decades of music, there was also a Bob Marley exhibition. Basically, there's too much for me to go into but it was a really enjoyable few hours spent there and I'd highly recommend it!

After that it was back to Central London for the Churchill War Rooms - it's part of the Imperial War Museums but unlike the Imperial War Museum which is free, entry is £16.50. Again, we used a 2 for 1 but the price is quite steep I'd say if you didn't have a discounted offer to use.

The Churchill War Rooms were the secret underground HQ for the Government during World War II and you can now see those Cabinet Rooms as well as find out about Sir Winston Churchill who was in office for the majority of the Second World War. All interesting stuff and Churchill was a great Prime Minister who definitely deserves recognition and his own museum celebrating his achievements.

Dinner on Saturday night was in Chinatown at Joy King Lau - unfortunately Chuen Cheng Ku was only accepting cash and I never have any on me - followed by Chariots of Fire. I wasn't sure what to expect as I've never seen the film version of Chariots of Fire and my knowledge is limited to knowing that they used West Sands in St Andrews to film the famous beach run scene and Vangelis' score - lampooned by Mr Bean at the Opening Ceremony at the Olympics - and that it was about two British runners going for gold at the 1924 Paris Olympics.

I have to say though, Chariots of Fire was an utter delight. The clever use of the stage and it's figure of eight running track really added to the somewhat twee production making it a thoroughly charming affair. The story of Harold Abrahams and Eric Liddell is one worth knowing and I'd definitely recommend you catch it on the West End if you can!

I'm not going to go into what we did on Sunday in this post but it was very apt that we saw Chariots of Fire because on Sunday we went to the Olympic Park to see the Athletics, an amazing experience. What have you all been up to? x


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