Thursday, 22 August 2013

London Fun For Free Or For Less Blog

Welcome to our London fun blog where we share the London fun budget tips we picked up on latest family trip to London including best days out in london, best London magazines, best London budget accommodation, good london walks, eating in London and best London theatre ticket resources and links.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

No Fun For London's Bus Passengers

No fun for many of London's bus passengers this morning, but they may be interested to know how other Olympic cities managed the visitor transportation issue. Certain parties will not be surprised to know however that in Athens 'palms were crossed with silver' in order to get drivers to work at Olympic time according to Mayor of London Boris Johnston on LBC radio in London this morning.

Get the latest London LBC podcast here:

Unite London bus drivers seem to have a fair point :

'Virtually every single London transport worker will receive recognition for their extra contribution to help London run smoothly. Workers at London Underground, London Overground, Docklands Light Railways (DLR), Network Rail and Virgin Rail will all receive a payment of at least £500. Yet the workers who operate London’s iconic red buses are being given nothing. Despite repeated requests, London’s bus operators have refused to even meet with Unite the union to discuss plans for the Games.' 


Friday, 30 November 2012

London Westminster To Croydon Middlesborough And ... Totnes?

London Politics Is Even More Fun When It Starts To Rankle The Conservatives In The Regions - Thanks Nigel - We're Making Plans For You In Totnes!

Dear Mr Farage, please could you fix it for us to invite you to Totnes? We want you to turn 'Foster' to 'Costa.' You looked so fetching, marching about the count last night in your greatcoat and winding up the Tories - we'd like you to do an encore in Totnes where you have a far greater chance of even winning the seat from the Tories!

After all, we only want what's best for Nigel and even if we don't want UKIP, anything's better than the Tories so here's the cunning plan from London Croydon to Totnes;

First you make out like you were behind the successful Anti-Costa coffee shop campaign in Totnes (find a disgruntled Tory 'UKIP considerer' who agitated successfully in the campaign) then invent/beef up a local Totnes story around the issue, stomp about a bit in your greatcoat and invite the press! Hopefully  the Conservative vote will splinter and you might even win! Make a massive fuss about train fares/times too and be filmed travelling down from London  in a a Virgin Cross Country Train in your greatcoat complaining about the West Coast Mainline omnishambles.But if you're going First Class then make sure to hide when the guard comes along! either that or have a mate (er sorry an 'aide') take a pic of you poring over your supporters problems on your laptop ready to post on Twitter. Job Done! And it was fun! Your first seat at London Westminster!

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Fun Days Out From London

Fun days out from London have to include trips to the beach and whilst the first choice for many is Brighton by train, there are many unspoilt delights to be found by getting up a bit earlier and heading further afield. An advance train ticket to an area of outstanding natural beauty like the Devon can be quite reasonable and there is a special Devon Express at 7 am from Waterloo which arrives at Teignmouth (shown) at about 9 45 am. Lush green country views are to be found, sapphire seas, salty air,terns and other seabirds and passengers will arrive in time for a nice frothy latte on the seafront and theres a plethora of fish and chip restaurants. Those with a little more funds can extend the stay by booking a night in one of the many Bed and Breakfasts or in a more up market hotel before returning to London ,work and the double dip recession.

Friday, 22 June 2012

London To Belfast - The Real Story Behind Queens Handshake With Sinn Fein

London's Buckingham Palace to Belfast City, and even a handshake thrown in for good measure - it's a big ask alright! Rightly many are welcoming the courtesy and humility offered by Martin McGuinness in giving his big answer - an agreement to shake the hand of the Queen of England but some would say why not? She is after all, in the eyes of many in North Eastern Ireland and the South just a visiting monarch of another land, entitled to the same hospitality and welcome as any other V.I.P. A kindly old lady needing to be treated with respect and consideration, albeit an old lady with much establishment and political baggage.

But many are also curious about Sinn Fein's sudden mood of benevolence. Doesn't this outreach often come from those with gravitas, with sway, with the confident flair of winners? These commentators would be bang on target for there is another story bubbling up beneath the Queen's handshake story today and it is bigger and potentially more powerful than a mere monarch handshake. The other story involves the Euro, the rise of the socialist left in Europe, Tsipras, Hollande and Merkel. The mood music is changing in the underbelly of Europe and Sinn Fein have the measure of it and are in tune with a 'painful cry of the dispossessed ' that is so familiar to them, They are on home ground with this one. What is more, their people are increasingly with them.

So we hear that there is to be a potential carve-up of some of the constituencies in Ireland. In circumstances not unlike those of Greece, successive Irish governments are struggling to keep the allegiance of an exhausted and embittered austerity electorate looking with new eyes on a party who is singing the same tune, unheard previously in all the fracas of frenetic Celtic Tiger Ireland. Sinn Fein, with their 'working class hero' message are gaining ground, making headway, biting the heels of the established jaded parties and increasing their Tds and vote share exponentially. Is it any co-incidence that those potential reformed constituency areas  are those closest to the old so-called 'border?' Sligo/Leitrim and Cavan.

In shaking the hand of the Queen, Martin McGuinness is making a warm but shrewd and politically astute move, proffering an olive branch to both Unionists and Southerners. 'Don't be afraid, Sinn Fein is coming to save you from the vultures of Europe.' I wonder has he shaken the hand of #SexyAlexi Tsipras yet?

Update - View From London - Spectator Blog - Not Much Fun For Queen?

Update #McGuinnessQueenHandshakeDay Stunningly Beautiful Golden Green Colour Brands Bright Moment Into The Memory - See The Moment Here
London To Belfast-Handshake And Gallery Looked Fun For All

Friday, 30 October 2009

Good Italian Restaurants For A Fun Party Meal In London

Good Italian restaurants in London.
Good Italian restaurants for a fun party meal in London don't get much better than Bella Italia in Covent Garden. We have had experience of birthday parties at various Bella Italia Italian restaurants around the country with different ages and all those special meals were memorable for the right reasons. This Italian restaurant review is aimed at those looking for a warm ambience, traditional Italian menu and value for money

On my student daughter's recommendation following her successful graduation fun party at Bella Italia's Italian restaurant in Henrietta Street Covent Garden London, we also tried the restaurant chain in a modern city setting in the south of the UK. We weren't disappointed.

Following a tip from my daughter, we popped in early to the restaurant to enquire about space and booking for a son's tenth birthday party. This turned out to be a wise move as she had advised us that she had a really fun time at her Italian theme party by introducing herself to the restaurant staff first. Sure enough, after booking us an appropriately-sized spacious table, our waiter took down some details - the child's age, name and where he would like to be placed at the table.

When we returned, it seemed that the same waiter had been assigned to us and had arranged to decorate the table in festive party mood! The restaurant was already very atmospheric with its dim lights, baroque ornate Italian effect furnishings, mirrors and decor - and had a cosy ambience. Added to this was a bunch of Helium balloons, a crayon activity pack and a surprise for later.

The waiter (I was assured by my well-travelled daughters that he was genuine North Italian!) was very attentive and took our order quickly and accurately. There is a £7.99 two-course option Italian menu at lunchtimes and although the choices are obviously going to be limited, we all found something we liked. Both the pasta dishes (penne and linguine) however had a tomato-based sauce - a cream based sauce would have offered a little more variety. The other choice was pizza, so the birthday person chose from' a different menu and had Lasagne. The Bruschetta with roast vegetables starter was just the right size portion and had an authentic olive oil and basil flavour. The Caesar chicken salad was fresh and crisp and ample for a starter.

The drinks arrived pretty smartly, as did the starters, but the mains were a little slower. However, we were in party mode and the wait didn't affect our enjoyment of the Italian restaurant experience. One of the restaurants has an open kitchen which added a jolly air of bustle with the added advantage of being able to see how clean the kitchen was. We were impressed. The toilets also were spotless, well-appointed, with historical decor touches.

My daughter had recommended the Tiramisu from the dessert menu but the older members of our little party were already full-up, though the younger members enjoyed the basic but tasty chocolate ice-cream. This arrived with a brandy snap, three waiters, a sparkly candle and a rendition of Happy Birthday with the child's name pronounced right and lots of smiles!

For an economy recession-beating meal out, the Italian restaurant Bella Italia was fun for kids and older people alike - which may have accounted for the healthy bookings here compared with other restaurants in the same area. The restaurant was about half-full with a clientele from theatre-goers to parents with buggies on a Friday - all presumably,like us,looking for value for money in these difficult financial times.

Would we go there for a fun time again? The crucial test. Yes, definitely. If all you want is a good value Italian menu, a mediterranean ambience and a package where you know what to expect and how much it's going to cost, then Bella Italia is a good choice whether in London or the provinces. This restaurant review has concentrated mainly on those requirements and we weren't disappointed.

image credit: spjwebster flickr

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Fun London Christmas Shopping Already? In August? Buying Cyber Puzzles In Hamleys

Fun London Christmas Shopping for us has to be Hamleys in Regents Street where we love to browse for all the latest puzzles games like this one, crazes,gadgets and gizmos for Christmas Stocking fillers and unusual gifts before everyone else gets to hear about them and they sell out, or the lines are so long we can't face the thought of queuing up to get them. That's why we are talking about Christmas Shopping in London in August!
If you want to plan a Christmas Shopping in London trip for October or November, you really do have to start thinking about it in August. Firstly, if you want train or plane tickets and cheap hotel accommodation you can actually afford then you need to book them now! Also, if its not too early for the stores to start their Christmas gift buying, then it's not too early for us either - and stores like Hamley's are already organising their Christmas in-store demonstrations of new products like puzzles games,cyber puzzles, gadgets, gizmos and other top ten Christmas gifts for kids. I've at least made a start with this first purchase of a totally more-ish shiny, heavy silvery addictive executive puzzle for my son - it will look great on the desk with its chic contemporary looks and he loves a challenge - particularly magnetic puzzles.We're always on the look out for the latest puzzles and magnets for kids.