Alphabet Dating - K is for Kids for the day

Alphabet Dating – K is for Kids for the day

Well we finally got round to our ‘K’ date! We decided to go to London and be kids for the day – something that anyone can do anywhere and is pretty much open to interpretation, in fact I reckon we could be kids for the day for several more dates and still not run out of things to do!

Our date began at the Natural History Museum, somewhere that neither of us have been since we were school children and my husband had told me that he was particularly fond of dinosaurs as a child. The other thing about the Natural History Museum is that its free! Perfect!

I enjoyed the animal exhibitions such as learning about toothless mammals and mammals with pouches. We also got to see some ginormous antlers, as well as a Moeritherium – one of the earliest known relatives to the elephant. And a Kirk’s Dik Dik because I was disappointed I didn’t see them at Chester Zoo (even though this was just a taxidermy one in a glass display).

Moeritherium - relative of the elephant
Moeritherium – relative of the elephant
Kirk's Dik Dik - Natural History Museum
So cute

Of course, I’m not gonna lie, the friggin great big animatronic T-Rex they had in the dinosaur bit was pretty awesome!  Yep dinosaurs in general are pretty amazing when you think about it.

T-Rex at the Natural History Museum in London

After lunch (which should have been a McDonalds Happy Meal but wasn’t because neither of us fancied it) we headed to our next stop – Alice’s Adventures Underground. Now you may remember that I already had a Wonderland experience 2 years ago with some friends, well it’s back and because I banged on about it so much first time around my husband decided he wanted to go. This of course represents a huge part of my childhood as I watched this Disney classic more times than I can tell you.

Alice Underground London

This time I chose the ‘eat me’ route and became a diamond. We met the frog, Cheshire Cat and Humpty Dumpty. We inspected the jam tarts that were being made (I was forced to hold the baby pig… not real, sadly) and we also heard the Mock Turtle sing.

Instead of eating the jams tarts (like I did last time), as a diamond we were spying on one of the other suits who were eating the jam tarts!

The ‘falling down the rabbit hole’ part as well as meeting Tweedledee and Tweedledum, plus the tea party scene, were all the same as last time around. The court scene, however, felt slightly different and I’m pretty certain that the guilty suit who ate the tarts was different to last time around too.

If you haven’t a clue what I am on about (we’re all mad here) then begin at the beginning and read about the last time I fell down the rabbit hole in Alice’s Adventures Underground.

Alice Underground

Play some flamingo croquet

After a brief pitstop in Skinny Dip to buy myself a fabulous new purse, our day of fun ended with freakshakes at Maxwell’s in Covent Garden. We ordered the Salted Caramel Donut Freakshake and the Unicorn Freakshake – you can guess which one mine was. The Unicorn Freakshake looks beautiful but the bubblegum flavour was a bit too much for me and I think I would have enjoyed it more if it had been strawberry flavoured. Ah well!

Freakshakes at Maxwell's in Covent Garden

And there ends our day of being kids, let’s not dwell too much on me accidentally using the men’s toilets at Alice in Wonderland and hubby ordering himself a beer to go with his freakshake haha.

We did want to go to a Lego exhibition and Ballie Ballerson (the ball pit bar) but we were tired and ended up just going home. There are so many possibilities with the ‘Kids for the day’ date idea ranging from spending the day at a theme park (Disneyland please!) to a movie marathon of all your favourite childhood films!

What would be your perfect ‘Kids for the day’ date? If you need some suggestions then why not have a quick read of my 10 ways to embrace your inner child.

Alphabet Dating - ideas for the letter 'A'

Alphabet Dating – A is for Alice and the Aquarium

Alice in Wonderland Exhibition and Sea Life Aquarium London

Alphabet dating is, quite simply, the idea where you go through each letter of the alphabet and plan a date around that letter. So rather than the usual “what do you wanna do this weekend?” “I dunno, what do you wanna do?” routine, my hubby and I have decided it would be fun for us to do this! So now once a month, we will plan a fun date based on whatever letter of the alphabet is next in the sequence.

As March was the beginning of our Alphabet dating, we obviously started with ‘A’ and between us decided to visit London for the day, or more specifically, the Alice in Wonderland exhibition at the British Library and the Sea Life Aquarium on the Southbank.

Alice in Wonderland exhibition at the British Library in London - celebrating 150 years of Lewis Carroll's publication

Anyone who has been reading this blog for a little while now knows that I totally love Alice in Wonderland so when I heard that the British Library had a free exhibition on to celebrate 150 years of the publication of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, I knew that I had to go visit.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - an exhibition at The British Library in London

The exhibition features drawings of Alice’s adventures by various artists such as Ralph Steadman, Salvador Dali and of course the original illustrator to the stories, John Tenniel. You can also see Lewis Carroll’s original manuscript as well as other books and artifacts for everything Alice. I adored the Alice in Wonderland pop-up book and would have loved to look through that but sadly all of the items on display were kept safely in glass display cases. Obviously.

A Ralph Steadman illustration of Alice in Wonderland
Illustration by Ralph Steadman
An illustration by Leonard Weisgard - Alice in Wonderland
Illustration by Leonard Weisgard
Alice in Wonderland quote
For the typography geeks

Photography is only permitted at the beginning where there is a mix of illustrations telling the story, so I have no ancient artifacts to show you here so you’ll have to go see for yourself!

There is also a pop-up shop in the library, which is beautifully decorated and features an assortment of books, accessories and other merchandise. Unfortunately copies of the pop-up book weren’t for sale in the shop as I had hoped but I did spot some cute jewellery I recognised as being by the same company that designed the panda necklace I bought at Hyper Japan last year.

John Tenniel's illustrations for Alice in Wonderland. Cardboard figures part of the exhibit at the British Library.
John Tenniel’s Alices – cardboard figures outside the pop-up shop

The exhibition is fairly small, so we were there for less than an hour, but if you’re a fan of Alice’s adventures and you’re in London then I would definitely recommend, but hurry – it ends on 17th April!

After our brief visit to Wonderland, we hopped on the tube from Euston to Waterloo and made our way to the Southbank, where after a quick bite to eat we visited the Sea Life Aquarium.

Beautiful sea creatures that can be found at the Sea Life Centre on the Southbank in London
Beautiful!

I love an aquarium. I find them so fascinating and relaxing. Actually I would love to have my own aquarium one day… I’d give all the fish awesome old people names like Doris and Percy!

Colourful fish at the aquarium in London

Anyway…

Sea Life London do a good job of educating the public about marine life, rather than just “oh look at the pretty fish!” and they also raise awareness about the work they do for conservation. I found it very interesting and I feel like I learnt something.

90% of big fish including tuna, sharks, swordfish, cod and halibut are already gone!

I mean, I knew sharks were in danger of becoming extinct due to shark finning (killing the shark for its fin in order to make shark fin soup) but I had no idea that shark fin soup was something that was available in some chinese restaurants in London! You can sign the petition to help protect sharks around the world and also find out more here. Actually I think the huge shark tank was probably my favourite bit of the aquarium as it made me feel so small, I could have stood there for hours just watching these fascinating creatures just swimming around.

Shark tank at Sea Life London
My rubbish photo of the sharks swimming around
Piranha at the aquarium
Can you see the piranha’s teeth?

Unfortunately, the aquarium wasn’t quite as peaceful and relaxing as I had hoped (and have experienced in aquariums elsewhere). Perhaps it was our fault visiting on a Saturday afternoon, but the number of people visiting the aquarium made for quite a noisy and overcrowded experience, so much so that our visit was quite rushed. It would be better if visitor numbers could be controlled and staggered a little as it made me quite tetchy and claustrophobic.

Rays and fish gliding about at the Sea Life Centre

Finding Nemo at the Sea Life Aquarium in London
Finding Nemo
It's Squishy from Finding Nemo!
“I shall call him Squishy and he shall be mine”
Celebs ain't got nothing on this fish with the perfect pout
Give us a kiss!

After the aquarium we were pretty tired so decided to head home. Bring on date ‘B’!

Aquarium selfie!
The only half decent photo of us both on our date!

Have you ever tried alphabet dating? What would you do for your ‘A’ date? Leave me a comment below.

Alice’s Adventures Underground

Alice's Adventures Underground London

Last weekend I went to wonderland.

Now you know I’m a fan of Alice in Wonderland, what with the snowglobe, the theme restaurant and meeting the White Rabbit, so when I heard about this interactive show in London, I hopped, skipped and jumped to book tickets.

Accompanied by eight curious friends, dressed (as required) in red and/or black, we made our way to Waterloo Station, where our underground adventure down the rabbit hole was to take place. I wore black leggings covered in playing card suits underneath a simple red dress. I also accessorized with a playing card suit necklace as well as my Alice in Wonderland bag which I purchased in Tokyo – so I definitely looked the part! Comfy shoes are also a must as you are standing and walking for the majority of the event.

alice in wonderland bag
My Alice in Wonderland bag from Tokyo

Our experience began in a dimly lit room filled with books, old photographs, mirrors and other vintage curios where we were soon surprised by the White Rabbit and, just like Alice did, we followed him through a passageway filled with torn pages from books as we ‘tumbled’ down the rabbit hole and began our 90 minute adventure underground.

I referred to this as a show but really it’s more of an immersive theatre experience, as the White Rabbit led us to a room where we were to make the decision that would set the course for the rest of our adventure…..

Do you pick EAT ME or DRINK ME?

As one of the world’s most indecisive people, I asked what some of my friends were planning on doing. Most of them chose EAT ME, so I decided I would be contrary and pick the DRINK ME route. I walked up to the little table in the middle of the room, picked up a small bottle of the drink (which tasted like sweet lemon) and proceeded through the large door on the left. As it turned out, three of my friends also chose this route too.

The decision making was over but we were then each handed a random playing card, half of those who chose the DRINK ME door became clubs, the other half became spades. I was given the 3 of clubs. Funnily enough, 3 is one of my lucky numbers.

After an encounter with the Cheshire Cat, we bid farewell to the Spades and were taken on our mission as Clubs to deliver the jam tarts to the Queen of Hearts. After being taken into the kitchen and then on to see Tweedledum and Tweedledee spin around on harnesses above us, we met the Knave of Hearts who had the jam tarts and encouraged us all to eat them so the Queen didn’t get an incomplete batch. Naughty. Little did we know, our friends in the Diamonds were spying on us at this point!

Without giving too much more away, we met some other wonderful characters including Alice in the looking-glass, as well as Mr Caterpillar and Bill the Lizard, the latter even gave each of us Clubs a badge for his Anti-Queen movement W.U.R.M. (Wonderland Underground Resistance Movement, if I remember rightly?) when he found out that it was us who stole the Queen’s tarts.

Alice's Adventures Underground card and badge
My 3 of Clubs card and W.U.R.M badge

Soon we were reunited with all of the other suits for the tea party with the Mad Hatter, March Hare and Dormouse. We could have paid extra for tea but decided to just enjoy the spectacle. We were all sat around a huge grimy table decorated with broken crockery, while the performers paraded along the table like a catwalk, the March Hare in her slinky black dress was certainly catwalk ready – she looked awesome!

After the tea party, we skipped (we literally skipped) to the Queen of Hearts courtroom where we finally got to meet the fearsome Queen herself who had called court to find out who had stolen all her jam tarts. Gulp. The Diamonds pointed the finger at the Clubs, the Clubs claimed innocence, while the Hearts hailed the Queen. The Spades didn’t do alot but I hear they had been painting the roses red…

Fortunately, we were spared losing our heads as Alice appeared and saved the day! Unfortunately I don’t have much in the way of pictures as photography is not permitted in Wonderland… but that would ruin the magic of it all anyway!

Alice’s Adventures Underground has now ended for this year but the good news is – they are back next year! And I would love to go again and see where the EAT ME route takes me! Callooh Callay!

 

Alice in Wonderland Restaurant – Quirky dining in Tokyo

When we were planning our trip to Japan there was one place in particular I was desperate to dine at and that was the Alice in Wonderland restaurant. I am a big fan of Alice in Wonderland, and the Disney animation was always my favourite film as a child and is still one of my all-time favourites now, so I couldn’t miss this opportunity – especially as Japan is well-known for its theme restaurants.

When I was researching into it I found that there were a few Alice restaurants in Tokyo, but we chose to go to the one in Ginza which was called Alice in a Labyrinth. As we flew to Japan on my birthday, we decided that the restaurant would be the perfect place to celebrate a belated birthday meal… or my very merry unbirthday if you prefer!

My Alice in a Labyrinth Rules:

1. Make a reservation. The restaurant is small. Ask your hotel concierge if they wouldn’t mind making dinner reservations for you, thus avoiding any disappointment of being turned away when you get there.

2. Allow extra time to get there. You don’t want to be late for this very important date! This place is difficult to find. We caught the train to Ginza and were planning on walking to it from the train station but after going round in circles, we hailed a taxi and asked the driver to take us there (we even had a printed map). I think the driver struggled a bit to find it too!

3. Look up! The restaurant is on the 5th floor of a rather generic looking building. We were all puzzled when the taxi driver pulled up until I spotted the distinctly Alice logo when I looked up.

alice-in-a-labyrinth-ginza-tokyo

alice-in-a-labyrinth-restaurant

The restaurant is decorated beautifully in a wonderland design, complete with storybook corridors leading into the main restaurant which even had a giant teacup booth for larger parties. The lighting is low and despite the colour and quirkiness, the atmosphere was quite intimate.

After being shown to our table, our waitress who was dressed up as Alice presented us with the menu. It wasn’t just any old menu though, this was presented to us in a diorama type box. She did explain it to us but sadly we didn’t understand what she was saying due to us knowing very very little Japanese, still it looked pretty cute.

Menu at Alice in Wonderland restaurant

Pop up cocktail menu at Alice in a Labyrinth, Tokyo

The menus themselves were tucked away at the back of the box and were pretty much like normal printed menus, although the cocktail menu was pop-up, so I’m not really sure what the box was all about but I liked it all the same.

Of course I had a cocktail! We also learnt that the little bell on our table was to be used for if we needed the attention of the waitress, a rather novel idea!

alice-in-wonderland-cocktail

We were brought over some bread and butter to nibble on while we waited for our main meals. I loved the little touches like the butter being in playing card suit shaped bowls and the little ‘eat me’ card that was sat on the plate.

For my main meal I ordered the Cheshire Cat pizza and my husband ordered some sort of beef dish although neither of us can remember what it was called. The food was tasty but I was a little disappointed that the dishes didn’t have much of a wonderland touch to them. They also weren’t very big – and that’s coming from someone who isn’t a big eater anyway!

Bread at Alice in a Labyrinth

Cheshire Cat Pizza

Meal at Alice in Wonderland restaurant

The desserts, on the other hand, were much more impressive – both in size and presentation. Not sure what the dishes were called but my husband’s dessert involved something chocolatey, fresh fruit, a flaming alcoholic concoction and a cute biscuit shaped like Alice’s silhouette. My dessert was ice cream (my favourite dessert is ALWAYS ice cream!) and by coincidence, like my dinner, this too was Cheshire Cat related – complete with a dusting of kitty footprints in cocoa powder and a cat face made from pastry, cream and fruit.

alice-in-a-labyrinth-waitress

alice-dessert

alice-in-a-labyrinth-sundae

I loved all the decor within the restaurant and how you felt like you were walking into a storybook. Even the toilet doors had a nod to the King and Queen (of Hearts) on them!

Alice in a Labyrinth restaurant, Ginza

Toilets for the King and Queen

I enjoyed my evening at Alice in a Labyrinth, mainly for the whimsy of it all. If you’re a hardcore foodie then you probably won’t be satisfied, but if you love everything Alice then you won’t be disappointed!


If you liked this post then why not show me some love and like me on my new Facebook page.