Monday, 21 July 2014

London Day 9: Final Shopping & My Reflections

I can't believe it has been 9 days already! We've been having such a blast here, eating all the croissants that we can eat! *laughs*

As the airport transfer will only arrive at 5pm to take us to the airport, we had plenty of time to shop around in Hammersmith.

H&M at Kings Mall

We thoroughly enjoyed shopping for clothes and other knick knacks at H&M (which was having sale! I bought so many bags of stuff it's crazy!), Marks and Spencer, Boots and of course my mum's favourite Primark. We had leftover pounds to spend and we were going to use them! *laughs*

Time flew by so quickly when you're shopping your ass off! It was time to head off to the airport.

The driver from BA Transfers gave me a call to inform me that he had arrived. We brought our luggages out and he helped us load them into the boot.

Baby Boy got his own car seat as requested

We arrived rather quickly at the London Heathrow Airport. As advised by the colleagues, the first thing I did was to complete my tax refund on my purchases. The queue at the VAT Refund Counters can be very long so do try to arrive at the airport at least 4 hours before your flight.

Look out for this red signboard for VAT Refund Counter

We were lucky that there was not a lot of people in the queue today. I only waited for like 5 minutes (*whew*). The officer asked me if I would like the refund in cash or to my credit card, to which I replied, "credit card please."

"Credit cards will take about 6 weeks to process alright. If there are any problems you'll have to call them. Are you sure you don't want to get cash instead?" he said.

"Why would I need so much British Pounds?" I thought to myself, and promptly told him, "no thanks." He nodded and quickly processed my receipts without a second glance. Seasoned pro this guy.

On hindsight, maybe I should have taken the cash because true to his word, I've yet to see the money in my credit card.

Anyway, we proceeded to check in at the counters. I didn't know the procedures and went straight to the counters to check in as we always do at most airports.

However things work a little differently here at Heathrow Airport. I was told by the lady at the counter that I was supposed to check in at the Self-Service Stations before approaching the counters to deposit our luggage. She kindly decided to help us to check in though, as there wasn't many people around.

DIY Check-in using the Self-Service Stations
Queue here for manual check-in (i.e. Check-in Assistance) if there is a problem checking in at the self-service stations

We went on to clear immigration and had dinner at Wagamama (we wanted to try it again since we loved it so much the last time we tried it at Windsor Castle). Baby Boy kept staring at me eating so I offered him a small piece of my noodles. To my surprise, he loved it so much he kept whining for more! I couldn't even eat in peace as he kept crying whenever the chopsticks went into my mouth instead of his.. -_-

I was hoping that Baby Boy would be able to do as well on the flight back as he did on the way to London. Unfortunately, for some reason (probably air in his stomach), Baby Boy screamed incessantly for 30 minutes non-stop and no matter what I did, he refused to stop. I can feel the evil glares of all the passengers as I tried my hardest to get him to stop. It's times like this when you've got to toughen your skin and refused to look at the crowd, even though you can sense them slicing through your body with their intense stares (unless you're Cyclops, probably not gonna happen my friend).

Thankfully he stopped after what seemed like forever and we could all sleep a little on the flight back. The flight back does always seem so much longer! I'd never thought I'd be so happy to see Changi Airport.

There's no place like home! =)

My Reflections
Personally I love London, especially the beautiful distinctive architecture that is also found in ex-British colony Singapore. The Big Ben and Palace of Westminster were also just as beautiful as the photos and I thoroughly enjoyed visiting real castles and palaces for the first time.

The British people were also really friendly and offered their help to my mum and I whenever they saw that we looked rather lost. A few guys even stopped to ask if I need help carrying our stroller up and down the stairs =)

People also really loved my baby! I definitely got at least one "oh your baby is absolutely gorgeous" a day! Was great =)

I'm a tiny palace guard!

We were, however, less impressed by the tube system. Most of the tube stations are not stroller/wheelchair friendly. There are no air conditioning in the tiny tube trains so we often felt like we couldn't breathe in the tube during peak hours. Added that it was really hot during the summer, Mum especially hated travelling by tube (although we had no choice as it's the easiest mode of transport).

Pushing Baby Boy's stroller onto the tube

As with most cities, people also seemed to throw their rubbish everywhere even though there were rubbish bins everywhere. Definitely not as clean as Japan or even Singapore.

I did like the bicycle rental stations that allow you to rent a bike for GBP 1 for 1 hour. According to my colleague, as long as you keep returning the bike before the hour is up and then renting another right after, you still pay only GBP 1 for the whole day.

Bicycle rental system

Wish they would bring this to Singapore! I would totally pay for something like this.

Hopefully I'll get to visit London again, as well as other parts of England and Scotland.

Till we meet again! =)


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Download our London Itinerary 2014 Printable
Read my London Train Travel Tips if it's your first time travelling by train in London,
OR
Visit MADPSYCHMUM TRAVELS for the rest of my posts on London, UK 
as well as other travel itinerariesMany thanks to my friends, who had contributed many of the recommendations included in our London Itinerary 2014.


You can also follow my travel adventures on Instagram via the hashtag #madpsychmumtravels! =)
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