I was lucky enough to be given a ticket to see Elton John play a charity gig for Sports Aid at the amazing Stoke Park Golf Club over the weekend.
Having grown up listening to Elton John, I had always wanted to see him live, but never really thought I would have the opportunity. However my partner surprised me with a ticket to a charity gig at a spectacular venue only 15 minutes from our house, how could I say no.
On the day of the gig, after a glorious week of baking hot weather, we had a day of thunder and lightening, and constant down pours. I wasn’t so much looking forward to standing in the rain, but it was Elton John so i wasn’t prepared to give up my ticket.
The event started at 5pm, we arrived at 6pm, just as the sun comes out and all the clouds disappear. The venue was breathtaking, when walking past the ticket office it dawned on me, this was a small but prestige event. There could of been no more than 3000 guests (if that!), with a couple of (what i can only describe as) luxury food and drink stalls, serving Stone baked pizza, paella, fish and chips with Heineken, Pimms and Champagne.
I was gobsmacked when I saw how small the audience would be, even standing at the back of the seats you would have a clear view of Sir Elton John.
We made a beeline for the bar, and ordered a Pimms and Heineken, and it went down far to well. We indulged in fresh fish and chips with homemade tartar sauce, it was DIVINE. The fish fell apart! This was not your ordinary gig food. We found a spot on the grass and basked in the summers evening. However 30 minutes before the gig was due to start, the clouds came in, and our sun was no longer, we threw on our macs / ponchos and headed for cover before the music started.
Sir Elton John kicked off on time, and we took our seats in the rain, prepared with waterproofs, and ponchos, we sat for the first initial songs. It was just him and his piano, and was superb. He sang ‘Your Song’, i had goosbumps and it took me back to the days of watching Moulin Rouge with my sister (its her favourite film – or one of). About 4 songs in, I was drenched, not even two ponchos could keep me dry, so we decided to head for the trees at the back of the seating area. Surprisingly, it was completely dry under these bad boys , and the view was better than our seats.
We stayed under the trees for the rest of the gig, danced, sang, and adored this talented genius! He gave us Still Standing, Rocket Man, Daniel, and of course The Circle of Life. He had no band, just him and his piano! Outstanding! He played for 90 minutes and it seemed like 9. I was devastated when it finished, but it had been an experience I will never forget. What makes it even better, is he did this for free, and all the ticket sales go to Sports Aid.
We were lucky enough to meet two of the sports men being supported by Sports Aid, and they told us a little about the charity. It is fairly unknown, and had been running for 4 years, and last year the Duchess of Cambridge became patron. Sports Aid helps young athletes to make their dreams a reality, from funding travel to competitions to new equipment. You can find out more about this charity and how you can get involved, or support by attending an event at http://www.sportsaid.org.uk/
This was an experience i cant wait to tell Harry about.
Living in London, I don’t think I will ever run out of new things to do or places to see. My downfall is I always think I am too busy to go do new things. My other half works in the drinks industry, and his patch is the city and Shoreditch, so he is constantly telling about cool new bars opening, or events happening. Before Harry, I would meet up with him after work, and check out a couple of his bars, or we would spend Saturdays trying out new places. Since Harry has arrived, I haven’t been able to make as many of these nights as I would like, in fact I think only once, but sometimes an opportunity comes along that you just can’t turn down. We were lucky enough to be offered a night in the most exclusive, and sought after room in London. Has anyone ever noticed there is a boat sitting on top of the Southbank centre, as i hadn’t and i have been there enough times! A room for London is a ‘boat’ perched on the edge of the Queen Elizabeth Hall at the Southbank Centre.
The boat is in fact a one bedroomed self catering space, where visitors are treated to an incredible view of London. With a two tiered deck, you have this fabulous panoramic view from Big Ben, to St Paul, to the more recently built Shard. We were offered a nights stay at very short notice, so we were desperate for an overnight babysitter. Thankfully my sister came to our rescue, and so we got ourselves ready for a night away from the little man, and prepared to embark on an adventure watching over London. On arrival, you sign a contract that you won’t breach any of the rules, such as taking guests back, no parties etc. You are then taken to a secret lift, that takes you up to the boat!! Unfortunately on our visit it was pouring with rain, I prayed for it to dry up so we could spend some time on the deck, but ultimately it poured even more.
I brought the champagne, and we decided to order takeaway from my favourite place, Wagamamas. This was just below the Royal Festival Hall, so just a short trip down the secret lift to collect our dinner. We opted to eat in, as we can eat out anytime in London, but we will never get our time back in this exclusive room. We sat down at the table, (which we never do at home), and had our meal. No TV, no iPads, just our own company and our food. It was slightly surreal, but great to just chat about our experience, and how lucky we were to be there.
The room comes with dishes, cutlery, glasses, tea, coffee, milk etc, the usual you would find in a self-catering room. The bedroom looked over the River Thames, you are provided binoculars to spy on the city, we had fun trying to guess all of the buildings, seeing if we could see inside the rooms of The Savoy opposite, and seeing what bars we could spot. The rain continued, and we made an attempt to go outside and get some photos, but it was too wet to risk taking our SLR camera outside. It seemed a real shame to spend all of our time inside looking out, but even after a last minute umbrella purchase, the rain finally beat us. I had assumed it would be freezing, so had packed jumpers and joggers, but the heating was quick, and within 20 minutes of whacking the radiator on, it was like a sauna!
We stayed up drinking, admiring the view, reading the books provided (there was a library of books about London’s history), and reading the log book, which all guests were recommended to detail their stay and sign (some people giving a little too much detail of their bedroom antics). We wanted to stay up, to not waste any of our time sleeping, but having been up with the little man at 6am, by the time midnight came, I couldn’t stay awake anymore, and gave in to my tired eyes.
Rich was awake at 6am like a kid at christmas, wanting to watch the morning hustle and bustle of London in our final hours. Due to work commitments, and our babysitters, we had to leave at 8am (you have the room till 11am), we quickly got showered (whilst admiring the The Shard from the porthole in the bathroom!), dressed, and wrote our notes in the log book, we stood at the doorway for ages, trying to hold on to our last moments of this amazing experience. It was over, and we were so sad to be leaving.
Living Architecture is the company behind ‘A room for London’. You have to enter a ballot to be in with a chance of staying in the room, and it is £300 for the night – but worth every penny. You are limited to one night, and can only stay there once, and the boat may possibly move location in the future. Living Architecture also have a number of other properties around the UK, and some more opening during the next 18 months. If you get the chance to stay, or even enter the ballot, then go for it!
This is one event I really wanted to capture on my blog,and share our experience with everyone. The pictures do most of the work!
This is something I hope to be able to tell my children, and grandchildren about.
As many men are, my other half (Rich) is a James Bond fan, and they’ve recently opened an exhibition in London of all the cars used in the films.
Before it even opened he was asking if we could go. As I am still on maternity leave, and I didn’t fancy pushing Harry around a London museum on a Saturday, I suggested rich take a days holiday and we go mid-week.
The exhibition is £14 a ticket and for an extra £5 each you get a small device that narrates each exhibit. Of course Rich booked both, but the other plus for going mid-week is the extra device was on buy one get one free.
Having only watched maybe 3 Bond films in my life , I wasn’t sure what to expect, but thought it would be a nice family day out!
I was pleasantly surprised! On entering you are able to look at some of the original storyboards for some of the action scenes. I found this really interesting, as when I first started in the world of advertising we would use storyboards, mainly collated using a Mac, but I would of loved to have worked in the industry when they had no technology, and they would spend weeks working up storyboards by hand to present at a pitch! This reminded me of MadMen (I am a huge fan and will be posting about this in the near future).
We then went on to look at the cars, this I thought could of been quite dull, but actually listening to our narrator tell us about how they shot the action scenes was really interesting, and seeing how damaged the vehicles actually get, watching short videos of each scene was great. They had clearly lit up each vehicle so it was perfect for photographing, I took on role of photographer whilst rich looked in detail at all the cards.
It took us about 1-2 hours to do it all, it was really quiet so really easy to push Harry around, and you could get your photo done to look like Bond. We thought this was a bit cheesy, but great for kids!
One thing I have realised being on maternity leave, is I really don’t make the most of living so close to central London. I have been here for 8 years and actually not seen a great deal in that time. This was one of the reasons I wanted to do this blog, so I would make more time for experiences and days out in London and generally around the UK with Harry and Rich and capture as much as I could of our trips to publish here.
Now to plan our next day family out!