London’s Top Cycling Spots

Cycling is a great way to see places. It’s also great for keeping fit.

If you’re living in the city, you may think that cycling is not the greatest way to get around. In fact, in London with the excellent transport network, you may think twice before getting on a cycle. Although, with Santander Cycles, you can easily hire a cycle within the city and play tourist or just cycle around. There are convenient docking stations where you can pick up you cycle and return it. The system is really handy as you don’t need to lug around your bike on the trains into London.

Here are some recommendations for places to cycle in and around London all the while taking in gorgeous views.

  1. Thames Path – If you’re in London, you’ll want to be near the Thames as it affords breathtaking views of historical buildings that imbibe the culture and history of London. The Thames Path is a great cycling route. Follow the path from London Bridge all the way to Greenwich for an unforgettable ride.
  2. Richmond Park – Ride uphill and take in beautiful views in Richmond Park. If you’re lucky and time it well, you’ll even be able to catch the sunset. If you’re really lucky, you’ll catch a glimpse of the deer that run freely in the park. The route is about 7.5 miles so it’s not a difficult route. You can hire a cycle within the park itself.
  3. Hyde Park – Hire a cycle if you don’t own one and take a ride round Hyde Park. You’ll be sure to see a whole lot of tourists as well as beautiful parts of London.
  4. Regent’s Canal – The route from Little Venice to Camden Lock offers views of cheerful canal boats and a visit to Camden’s famous market.
  5. If you want to play tourist, you can hire a bike and cycle around central London taking in all the famous sights. Don’t forget to catch the changing of the guards and a visit to the museums. You can even join cycle tour and ride with others if you don’t want to cycle alone.

If you do decide to cycle, make sure you have a cycle that is suitable. There are a number of road bikes for sale and you will always find one that caters to your needs. Remember to always wear a helmet and be watchful of traffic especially in central London.

Riding a cycle is perfectly safe as there are cycle lanes in most parts of the city and most motorists are mindful of cyclists.

I think getting on a cycle is the best way to take in the sights in a city. You can take the routes you like as well as see places of interest at your own pace. You don’t have to wait for public transport or be caught in traffic. AND you also get all that exercise over and done with. Besides, there’s something quite dreamy about a cycle I think. I’m thinking of a vintage cycle here.

Do you like to cycle? What are your favourite cycling routes?

 

Best places for family gatherings around London

It’s becoming increasingly popular to host celebrations in restaurants. I’m not talking about birthday bashes in a bar. I’m talking about treating the family for special occasion. In fact, in our family, we have had the last few occasions like baptisms and birthdays in restaurants. It saves you all the hassle of catering and washing up later as well as getting the house ship-shape before the big day.

It’s also great as each one can order as they like. I find this especially suitable for fussy eaters and for children too. And dessert is sorted too. Every one can have their own personal favourite.

Recently, for my son’s First Holy Communion celebration, we headed off to a steak restaurant with family and friends and we had a lovely time. We ordered our favourites and every one was happy. And, of course, there wasn’t the hassle of cleaning up.

London is full of lovely family friendly restaurants with a wide variety of cuisines. Besides they also serve child meals and have delicious desserts. Lets face it, that is always the best part of the meal.

Here are my 5 best restaurants for family gatherings –

Babylon at The Roof Gardens – A restaurant with a spectacular view and a kids’ menu? You’re looking at it. The Gardens are open to public free of charge but you wouldn’t want to visit without tasting the delights of the restaurant. There’s an extensive menu for adults and one for young diners too. A perfect place to celebrate an occasion.

Arlos – If you’re looking for a good steak restaurant in London, look no further than Arlos. Their beef is sourced from native British breeds and their goal is to serve the highest quality steak. For the little ones, there’s the Little Arlo’s menu serving up freshly prepared healthy food they’ll love.

Planet Hollywood – For a celebration that’s a little less formal, take the family to Planet Hollywood. The food’s great, the ambience is very cinematic and their milkshakes are to die for. There are handprints of famous stars as well as memorabilia. There’s a cool screen where you can Tweet out and receive a message back.

Savoy Grill – A special occasion requires a special treat and you need look no further than the Savoy on The Strand. The restaurant has a smart casual dress code and children are welcome. This is a Gordon Ramsay restaurant so prepared to be delighted by an amazing menu serving up dishes like Beluga caviar, Beef Wellington and Day Boat Fish. There’s also a children’s menu.

HIX Mayfair – There are a number of HIX restaurants but the HIX Mayfair has to stand out from the rest. The menu may be similar but the stunning artwork makes it a popular choice for special family get togethers. They serve a weekend bottomless brunch and a delicious children’s menu.

The next time you are looking to celebrate with the family, don’t forget to consider the restaurants above.

Have you got any other restaurants to add to the list? Leave me a suggestion in the comments below.

 

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Winter’s Approaching: How to get the most out of your garden.

The garden is our go-to place in summer. Flowers are in bloom and since the weather is warm and sunny it’s nice to be out and about. But come the winter, and we tend to let the garden go to waste. It’s cold and it’s wet and very often not very comfortable spending time outdoors.

I mean, no one really wants to sit out in the garden in a thick winter coat.

Nowadays, I have seen that there are several ways by which you can still enjoy the garden in the cold season. If you buy a house with a garden, it’s really no point using it only six months of the year.

Here are my  top tips for entertaining and making the most of your garden in winter.

  1. Lighting – This is really what MAKES the garden. There is such a wide choice of lighting available that you’ll definitely be spoilt for choice. Garden lights are available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. They can be solar powered or mains powered. You can have patio lights or bollard lights down the garden path. String lights on trees are also big this season. And then of course, we mustn’t forget the Christmas lights that adorn the garden.
  2. Fire pit – If you do decide to spend time in the garden, you will need to keep warm. Investing in a fire pit or Chimenea is a great idea. Fire pits are more social as people gather round and you can also toast marshmallows on it. How lovely to be able to do that. Chimeneas are perfect for warming chilly spots but are more suited to a corner area as a feature. They certainly add character to the garden.
  3. Invest in awning – A pergola or framed awning can add space to you home and can be used as and when required. It shields from light winds and rain too and they look lovely too. Besides, most of them can be rolled up so you can choose to have them out of the way if required.
  4. Garden tidy – If you want to entertain outdoors, you’ll still need to have your garden in ship-shape. Clear up the leaves and if required invest in a leaf blower. You may not need to mow the lawn but ensure you have a winter garden in bloom. You may also want to look at getting a bird feeder. It’s beautiful to see a robin or a finch in your garden.
  5. Get the food right – Warm soups and roasted chestnuts, mulled wine and toasted marshmallows. If you are looking to get something more substantial, you can always get some spicy, grilled food served up.
  6. Woollen blankets – Theses are perfect for this time of the year. I love the look of brightly coloured blankets thrown over furniture. Rattan furniture looks so cosy with blankets on it. And what could beat wrapping yourself in a blanket and sitting around a fire to enjoy the winter chill.

Do you like getting out in your garden during winter? What are your top tips for getting your garden winter ready?

Buster Bathroom Plughole Unblocker Review

I despair with the bathroom plughole getting blocked. With a family of 5 using the bathroom, this is easy. I ensure that I remove any bits of hair from the plughole as soon as I notice it (which is every time I bathe) but it still tends to get clogged.

My hair tends to fall quite a bit and with two girls with long hair – one can’t expect an unclogged plughole after bath time.

I hate having slow movement of water as a result of this. You know what I’m talking about – you’re standing in the shower and you have soapy water around your feet. Isn’t it annoying? I also hate having to clean out the plughole and pulling out grimy long hair out of it. Yuck! But someone’s got to do it. Luckily, those days are over.

I was recently sent some Buster Bathroom Plughole Unblocker to try and this has definitely improved the situation. In fact with just one use, I have free flowing water in the bathroom drain.

Buster HQ, being passionate about plugholes conducted a study with the University of East Anglia and found the following –

  • Everyday plughole blockages typically caused by hair and soap are in-fact a damp, dark, nutrient rich breeding ground for bacteria to grow on
  • If left untreated, bacteria laced blockages can cause really harmful pathogens such as E.coli and Salmonella to form, become airborne and pass up through the plughole into the home, landing on people and nearby objects (toothbrushes, towels, toys etc…).

Obviously after reading the above, I hit the panic button on plugholes. I will be using Buster Bathroom Plughole Unblocker more frequently.

I really didn’t think of soap adding to problems in a big way but come to think of it now, it certainly does. My son uses emollients for a bath as he suffers from eczema so I do find more sludge around the plughole after his bath time.

Another thing I never thought of is toothpaste. I recently read that the fluoride in toothpaste is insoluble and can cause blockages.

On hindsight, with the above x 5, it’s no wonder we have slow flowing water.

How Buster Bathroom Plughole Unblocker worked for us –

I used the Buster Bathroom Plughole Unblocker and followed instructions by leaving overnight. I was pleased to find that the next morning the plughole was clear and the water was moving as it should be. It flowed easily and there was no chemical smell which I liked. The best thing about the product is that the next day there was no hair around the plughole. Definitely saves me the trouble cleaning it out and pulling grime out of it.

In fact, Buster Bathroom Plughole Unblocker’ is the only product on the market with a unique anti-bacterial formulation able to dissolve the protein ‘Keratin’ which is what hair is made from as well as tackling soap, oil and toothpaste. It is priced at £3.40 and is worth every penny.