Anne C here. We all love to receive presents, but I think at 65 I've got to the age where there really is nothing I need, although there's nothing stopping us coveting a fabulous pair of shoes now and then!

So when Anne H asked me if there was anything I would like for my birthday, I really couldn't think of anything.

Instead Anne offered to take me to London for a couple of days where we could wander round the shops, eat delicious food and call in to see her lovely daughter (my God-daughter).

Travelling first class was a treat I haven't had for many years, since my corporate days when I was up and down to London several times a month, so to have breakfast on the way down and afternoon tea on the way back was fabulous.

We stayed in the Portobello Hotel with its quirky interior, which was a few streets from the main shopping area and bars/restaurants in Notting Hill. The room was lovely, though it did have the smallest bathroom we have ever seen. And keeping things up to date, Stanley Gardens was the area cordoned off by police during the Notting Hill carnival to be used as police cells!

Obviously there is lots to do an see in London as a tourist, but to be honest, over the years we have done just about everything we wanted to.Tours around Buckingham Palace, The Tower of London with the Crown Jewels, the Planetarium, Madam Tussards Waxworks, museums, riverboat trips, the London Eye (eew hated that because I'm so scared of heights!), shopping in Harrods and Oxford Street. I have even been fortunate enough to go up the BT Tower as I worked for the company for many years, and have also been lucky enough to attend a private reception at St James' Palace.

You will no doubt have read about Notting Hill - and even seen the film with Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant.  It is a fabulous area with beautiful homes within amazing buildings - worth staggering amounts of money too!  But the area is home to wonderful independent shops, bars and restaurants.  We spent a very pleasant afternoon browsing around bookshops, antique shops, cafes and the more up-market stores, before heading out to dinner in a fabulous little Italian restaurant.

My travelling outfit was from Madeleine, with my favourite pink jeans (now in the sale) and lovely pink sweater edged in lace.  The pink suede pumps are from George at Asda some time ago. Anne H wears a simple T shirt from Cos which is current season stock, and only £15, teamed with jeans from Levis and shoes from Geox that she bought in the sales.  The jacket she was wearing on the train was from the Reiss sale in John Lewis and featured on a previous post here.  Her glasses are the ones she finally decided upon and are MiuMiu purchased from OptiFashion - the online frames supplier - and really nice they are too!

For our night out I teamed my favourite summer purchase - a pleated bardot top from Zara (sold out), with trusty white linen trousers from Marks & Spencer.  The bag was from Zara and although I do like it, the chain handle rips everything to shreds if I wear over my shoulder! They have now done one very similar in black, but if you value your woven fabric clothes - avoid!!! 

Anne H teamed a silk top that she purchased in the White Company  with classic MaxMara tailored trousers both of which were purchased in the sale, and courts from Dune a style they do so well with a walkable heel height which is a godsend for city walking.  

We did manage to head up west though and wander round Covent Garden, which is always worth seeing if only for the street entertainment and the photo opps, even though it is a bit touristy!

Then it was back to Notting Hill and a quick look around the fabulous Portobello Road Market.

My other friends have taken a leaf out of Anne's book and this year my presents were mostly experiences to enjoy with people I love to spend time with - so I've also had a birthday tea party and a spa visit, with a lunch and afternoon tea lined up for later! Oh, but hubby did buy me the shoes!!!!

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