An Empty China Town (during Coronavirus Lockdown) ~~~

Are you all at home? You better be! Keep washing those hands too!

It was my birthday a few days ago and since I’ve been working my butt off (in a stressful sector), I haven’t been able to go out as much. Thankfully I booked some leave a long time ago. So I needed to go to a Chinese bank and buy some essentials from the Chinese supermarkets… So this happened in less than two hours. Essential Travel!!!

Traveled to China Town by bus. It was completely empty with very few people walking about in Leicester Square.

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I bet those pigeons felt lonely…
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Shaftesbury Avenue was deeply quiet.
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Just walking up and down China Town felt lonely…..
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At least one restaurant was opened for takeaways…
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Poor Trafalgar Square was completely empty…
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Well, let’s keep Central London empty and quiet for a tiny bit longer.

My neighbourhood has never been so quiet for so many years! No planes flying across. No motorcyclists zooming through. And simply no arguments can be heard from anywhere – apart from inside the dreaded supermarkets!

How many more weeks of emptiness we’re going to have in the UK is unknown…

Make sure to keep your distance, wash your hands and stay at home (unless you’re going to work or in desperate needs to go to the supermarket).

The Gang of Four goes to Paris – Days 1-4

Before I start, let’s fight together and beat the new strain of Coronavirus! Wash your hands with soap and water. Use hand gel (if you have any). Stay hygienic and eat healthily. My March and May time holiday has now been suspended/cancelled so staying at home for the time being. 😭😭😭

The Gang of Four includes myself, The Geek, Miss Money, Mr Games and Mr Sensible. Our last trip was in Wales a few years back and we haven’t been away together since then. After our Christmas meal last year, we had planned our small getaway. So before the news of Covid-19 we had already booked everything… It was actually too late to cancel (and the tickets were non-refundable anyway).

Friday 14th February 2020

Yep. We went to Paris on Valentine’s Day. It was the start of the Spring half-term, and it was the only time Mr Sensible could take off (as he’s a teacher). Covid-19 was still in its early stages before it became a pandemic, so we weren’t too worried, but we was cautious at the time (we’re still are)!

We entered Calais, our French journey has begun!

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We reached the station before 6pm, and immediately went to the place we were going to stay in. We passed a lot of wedding shops before we reached our Airbnb flat. It was a cheap small flat that seemed to have been split into two.

We weren’t going to sit and rest, we had to do some exercise before dinner (Mr Sensible’s idea)!! 😦 The mini cakes below was my motivation!

Our exercise included a walk up a hill. A large hill! The Montmarte has a Roman Catholic church on top, the Sacré-Cœur Basilica. It’s free to go in but there is a security guard. The area was quite full of people with many tourists and lovers.

We had dinner at Le Panorama after a bit of searching around the town. I had my usual snails which was drenched in a herb dressing plus steak and fat chips. Mr Sensible had salmon and pasta. Mr Games had a round pizza. And Miss Money decided to have a fat pizza, which had loads of ham and egg inside. Very ham-my. Mr Sensible had cheese for dessert (it looked disappointing) and I had a pie. I wished it came with ice cream! The white wine was good though…

Address: 20 Rue Gérando, 75009 Paris, France

Time to sleep… zzzzzzzz

Saturday 15th February 2020

After a restless night, couldn’t sleep well… grateful I didn’t choose the living room or the room with the window. I would have been grouchy. It was time to walk, be tourists and find breakfast.

France have a wide range of macarons!

We had breakfast at Le Studio Cafe. Unfortunately they served me the wrong coffee. Wanted something without cream. Breakfast was not great. Thumbs down!

Address: 15 Place Saint-Pierre, 75018 Paris, France

Time to tour around Paris…

And now up the Eiffel Tower – when I went there last with Miss Pinky in 2014, there wasn’t much security, but now there is! I decided not to walk up. I think I would have died half way up the staircase. So I waited in the queue… for almost an hour or so… The others went up the stairs. It was incredibly cold up at the top, so I wrapped up with my scarf and gloves. People would have probably thought I had Covid-19, but to be honest it was so cold, I really had to wrap up! It reminded me of going up the Empire State Building in New York. 

I decided to walk down the stairs with the gang… might as well carry on with some more exercise. 😦 Because we didn’t have lunch I think I was feeling grouchy… Sorry guys!!

That night we scoffed down a kebab dinner, and Mr Sensible had a Burger King. Hungry!!

Dinner was followed by some tourist videos of Alice in Paris.

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Exhausted! Goodnight!

Sunday 16th February 2020

Along a different street, we had breakfast at Odette and Aimé. Quality was better! Thumbs up!

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Address: 46 Rue de Maubeuge, 75009 Paris, France

After breakfast it was time to walk through some Paris arcades. They reminded me of some of the ones in London. Very beautiful! We ended up in the Royal Palace at the end of one of the arcades.

Then onto the place I’ve wanted to visit since reading Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code! The Louvre. Woohoo!! It was spectacular to see the glass pyramid after passing through the museum’s entrance.

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Next was another long walk to a famous Steakhouse! Le Relais de l’Entrecote. There’s no menu at this restaurant apart from the dessert menu. My god, we spent €148.30 between the four of us. Wow. It was salad with two servings of your steak and fries. That’s all they served. Well, we didn’t have to wait long, which was a good thing. Miss Money, Mr Sensible and I were quite drunk from the red wine… worth every penny!

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Address: 20 Rue Saint-Benoît, 75006 Paris, France

As drunk as we were (apart from Mr Games) we went walking around. Found desserts (Miss Money and I got one free macaron each! Hahahahahahahah!!!). We saw how bad Notré Dame became – it’s still under construcion… Then it was shopping time… I don’t think I could walk anymore. Maybe it was because we were walking too slowly.

Had a microwave dinner that night… Cheap night!

February 17th 2020

It was our final day in Paris. Three days in Paris is enough if you don’t have much to do. 

Garé de Nord has luggage lockers, so we placed our stuff inside a large locker – make sure you have some coins!!

We then found a really nice place for breakfast which wasn’t too far from the station. Unfortunately it was near 11am, and I think they just ran out of breakfast items… It was the best out the three places we went to!

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Then another long walk around…

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Tea break at Cafés Richard…

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And then an American lunch… service was incredibly slow…

Finally home time! SNCF offer short stories at a touch of a button in English and French… Mr Sensible, for some reason had the longest story ever! And I got two traditional stories. ¬_¬”

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We separated at different stops on the London underground… tired!!

End of our Paris trip – until next time!! (Hopefully they’ll forget about having to climb up a mountain if we ever go on another trip together… LOL)!

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Unfortunately, I won’t be travelling for a while, hopefully Covid-19 will end sometime in the middle of the year!

Keep safe as always!! Remember to wash your hands!!!!!!!!!!!!

Moxie’s Fish Bar – London, West Hampstead

Last week I met up with Mr YellowCloak and Ms LüFù and another friend who I haven’t named, but will call him Mr Czech as he’s from the Czech Republic. We were supposed to have a lovely dinner at The Czech Club in West Hampstead, but unfortunately a new owner took over and changed the extensive menu to a new smaller menu and also changed the name to Bohemia House and so that ingredients were fresher. How unfortunate. I was looking forward to having the battered cauliflower. 😣 Ms LüFù who’s dined there for 25 years was the most disappointed… Hopefully the menu will be changed again to our favourites.

So in the end we took a walk up the other end of the high street to find food, but we ended going backwards to Moxie’s Fish Bar which is a few doors away from The Czech Club.

It took us a while to decide and order our food. A pie or fish? What sides? A restaurant I’ve not been to kills me coz I haven’t looked at the menu beforehand. 😆

Ms LüFù ordered a beetroot salad and chips.

Mr Czech had a grilled fish bap (sandwich).

Mr YellowCloak ordered the “Mothership” with the Moo pie.

And I had the Moo and Blue pie with coleslaw and chips, and a ginger beer. My dinner cost £12 something with the drink. Not a disappointing meal. Lots of chips. The pie tasted of mixed stilton cheese and beef. I think I love stilton cheese too much. There was a lot of coleslaw but I mixed that with the remaining chips.

A worthy place to eat if you’re disappointed to see the change in the old Czech Club’s menu. All my friends seemed to enjoy their meals… we even sat and talked a lot about Brexit. Again! The British Government better give us a mighty deal, otherwise I’ll kick their f****** backsides!!

My geeky rating: 4.7/5

Good points: 

  • Cheap and cheerful

Bad points:

  • No toilet

Address: 96 West End Ln, West Hampstead, London NW6 9LU

Website: https://www.moxiesfishbar.com/

Doughnut Time – London, Borough High Street

Happy New Year, Happy Lunar New Year too!

I’ve been trying to find a better way of blogging, as in blogging on the go, but I also needed to find a way of bulk watermarking photos on the go too. Thankfully I found an Android app called “Add Watermark”, and so far it looks good!

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Have you had a very expensive doughnut (donut for the Americans and Canadians) before? Nope neither have I, until a week ago when I was sent to a workshop/meeting during lunchtime around the Borough/London Bridge area.

After the workshop/meeting, I needed a bit of lunch, so I had chicken katsu curry in Wasabi… Afterwards I started heading back to the offices of where my colleagues sit, but ended entering Doughnut Time. 🤣

The first doughnut 🍩 I chose was the Hans Rolo (named after Hans Solo from Star Wars – haven’t watched the last film yet, so shush). It’s a massive doughnut. It will take you a lot of bites to get through this. The Rolos were a bit hard, so I think these were refrigerated beforehand. I wished there had been a custard filling inside. It would’ve tasted better.Next up is the PB and J-Lo (peanut butter and jello). Typical American style. This doughnut was supposed to be for Mr Bear or myself if he didn’t accept it. Well, unfortunately, Mr Bear is on another diet AND his (and mine) colleagues banned him from eating sugary foods (although he ate a load of cupcakes and chocolate pretzels 🤣). The peanut butter was smooth and the jam was sweet, but it felt like a rough ride between the two flavours that was separate by the bread doughnut. Such a shame.

Total price came to £9.00. That’s right, 9 frigging pounds! It was worth trying out and this place would definitely break my bank balance if I went there daily. So only try the doughnuts one at a time peeps!

My geeky rating: 4/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Good points:

  • Big massive doughnuts!

Bad points:

  • Expensive

Address: 55 Borough High St, London SE1 1NE

Website: doughnuttime.co.uk

Abeno – Christmas Special 2019

Sorry peeps. One more Christmas post just before the year ends. I actually haven’t had the time this year to view any Christmas adverts.

This year as you know has been a bit wild and hectic, continuous Brexit fears, a pointless General Election, people go on protests and riots around the world, and me just being all over the place (I really needed all those breaks). Anyway, due to all those hectic things in life, I didn’t have a chance to go to any work parties this year. (More like I wasn’t invited to most of them, and there were a couple I just couldn’t go to but one of them got cancelled anyway). Boohoo.

So this year, I’ve ended up having my X’mas Dinner with the old gang of four. Miss Money, Mr Games and Mr Sensible. It was actually being with these three people than my gossipy work colleagues. Hahahahah!

I decided to have the Christmas-yaki since I wouldn’t be eating any other Christmas dinners. The Christmas-yaki consisted of turkey, stilton cheese, topped with brussel sprouts, cranberries and chestnuts. Interesting combo. I was quite hungry, as I kept eyeing it being made in front of me… Mr Games was probably smirking at me in the background because I wasn’t listening to him. Hah!

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It had quite a savoury taste. Not sure about adding the cranberry sauce was going to make it great. But the okonomiyaki sauce sauce did it’s job to make it taste good.

Here’s all four of our okonomiyakis! Mr Sensible had his cooked elsewhere due to prawn allergies. Silly Miss Money ordered an okonomyaki with prawns…
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Here’s again to another year of surprises, travelling and Brexit. Boooooo!!

Happy New Year Geeks!!! ^_^

Monga 艋舺雞排 – Taiwanese Fried Chicken – London, China Town

It’s been a while since I’ve posted about a new restaurant in China Town. I feel as if I’m making a new comeback after starting my new new job. ✌️

Monga 艋舺雞排 is a chain brand, not sure where the original store came from, but from searching online there’s a store in Canada and another in Malaysia. 艋舺雞排 (Canto: maang gap gai pai; Mando: měng iá jī pái) literally means “small boat chicken breast/ribs”. Monga, according the website is also a place in Taiwan. Interesting. Honestly, not sure how they came up with the name.

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As you enter, it actually feels like a takeaway store. I think they have an upstairs seating (I hadn’t asked) because you can eat in.DSC_4088DSC_4089DSC_4090

Anyway, it took a little long for my order and the queue already started building up as I was waiting. Wow!

I ordered the Chee-Z Signature, which is a chicken breast, (not flattened) topped with mozzarella cheese and ketchup or a spicy sauce. I chose the spicy sauce, but it didn’t taste spicy enough to me. Basically it wasn’t mega, spicy hot. As I started eating it, I realised how big this piece of chicken breast is! It felt like it was never-ending. The crispiness of the chicken was still there, and the cheese was overwhelming. Wow. Until I got to the end where I was met with a piece of bone. Just eating one of these will fill you up for the rest of the evening. DSC_4091DSC_4094DSC_4095

On top of the above I also ordered the Taiwanese Style Popcorn Chicken. Gosh. I think they were marinate in some sweet soy sauce. The coating was incredibly crunchy. I had o save some of these for later… Too full!
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And finally the last item were the Sweet Potato Chips… Woooow! I could eat these forever. The batter just made it hold all the flavourings of the sweet potato.

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Fully stuffed. I think I need to go again and try something else. I think any fried chicken lovers need to try this place out.

My geeky rating (haven’t done this for a while!): 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Good points:

  • The chicken keeps warm and the crunchiness is still there even when you buy take out
  • Polite service

Bad points:

  • A bit of a long wait
  • A tiny bit on the expensive side (but well worth it)

Address: 12 Macclesfield St, London W1D 5BP

Tel: 0208 617 1870

Website: https://mongauk.com/

A Eurostar Journey

Did you all have a nice Christmas?! I had a very simple relaxing time, watching films, K-dramas, finishing up things… and the one thing I haven’t done yet is tidying up!

November 14th – 18th 2019

Recently I went on a trip to Marseille, not by plane this time. But by train. Wow. I spent almost 12 hours travelling from London to Port-de-Bouc, Marseille… It was so long, but it was such a relaxing experience.

I had booked an Uber to take me to St Pancras Station, my suitcase was fairly heavy (I’m sure you all know who I was going to be visiting).  As I had arrived a bit too early, I went and sat near the gates and saw this pretty version of the Eiffel Tower. A lot of people were taking pictures at the time.DSC_4024

I was half asleep at the station because I arrived too early and I couldn’t sleep much that night panicking that I would miss all the trains…

There was a little delay (and thankfully I didn’t book the earlier train as they were waiting for a long time!) but it didn’t matter. When I got on the train, I placed my luggage at the bottom. Make sure you yourself get on first before pulling your luggage into the carriage as the steps are really narrow.

I sat in a four-seater area as I kept checking if people were going to sit next to me, so I kept moving my seat on the Eurostar App. 😱 After two hours and a bit, we arrived in Paris!! Woohoo!!

I maneuvered to the next stage. Metro to Train 2, where I had to get from Garé de Nord to Garé de Lyon. Luckily I found a YouTube video that tells you how to get there. Pretty easy to follow the signs… I purchased two Metro single tickets, took the Metro (only two stops), then walked all the way to Hall 3 in Garé de Lyon (here you might get lost trying to find the correct exit).DSC_4026

I arrived at Garé de Lyon in good time, but I forgot to purchase some food for the next long journey! A French gentleman was going to sit next to me, but as I had my luggage there he spoke to me in English as said he would sit elsewhere unless someone came and sat there. Luckily no one came to sit in the seat he was sitting in… Couldn’t trust the luggage system as I read on the Internet that people steal luggage on the train.

It was going to be a 3.5 hour journey, however… I got delayed by a sudden gust of snow that came in through the east of France. Amazing! I never expected an early Christmas.DSC_4029DSC_4032

Apparently it had been raining in Marseille, but when I arrived it was all clouds and sunshine. Lucky me!DSC_4033

Well, my last train was from Marseille to Port-de-Bouc. Again this was delayed by about 15 minutes because of the sudden weather conditions… But it rained heavily when I arrived at my final destinatin!!! 😦

The main reason I went to Port-de-Bouc at this time of the year was to celebrate Mrs Travels’s birthday! It’s been a long time since I’ve celebrated with her. DSC_4035

The next day, I avoided the school run with the Missy I, Missy S and Mr Travels. Heheheh. I was so tired from the train trip. But I did take Missy A to her pre-school with Mrs Travels.

Afterwards we did our shopping. France has one of the cheapest transport systems (and I don’t blame the public services for striking as their pension will be minimal when compared to current living costs – tell the rich to pay more taxes!!!!).DSC_4038

Missy I finished school, so we picked her up, and then looked at this 3D looking street art at a beach. Amazing!DSC_4039

The girls like drawing a lot… I drew this one evening thinking of the rain, sea and animé.

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I have to mention, Mrs Travels made a lot of food during my stay! Wow!! Her lasagne, pizza and lamb chops were all so tasty (I liked the pizza the most!)!!

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On my last day, I missed out on the school run again, but again took Missy A to the pre-school…

Then it was time to relax for a bit and head off to the station with Mrs Travels.

It felt like a long trip to Marseille from Port-de-Bouc, but I arrived in time before the next train. I even got searched by the station police as I was sitting among people who look like they were not French citizens. The policeman probably didn’t realise I’m British until I took my passport out. Heheheh.

Before boarding the next train, I had my early lunch of McDonald’s, then walked around the train station… I think Missy A started missing me, so she started sending me voice messages and funny pictures. Hahahahah. I think Mrs Travels wasn’t impressed!! Heheheh.

So I went on another 3 hour journey from Marseille to Garé de Lyon. There’s a small rack in between the seats of each carriage, and I was lucky to be sitting opposite it on my way back… There were a lot of Chinese tourists when I got off the train! Wow. Lots of Chinese people.
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I think I may have sat in the wrong seat on the train, but the lady sitting next to me didn’t say anything…DSC_4058

There were still remnants of snow…
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And then it was quite chilly and foggy in Paris…
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When I got to Garé de Lyon, I had to take the same route going back to Garé de Nord – So I was going back on myself, and I’m grateful I purchased my single Metro ticket beforehand. Yay!

The check in system in Paris is quite quick and fast… although I had to look after my luggage a lot.

Arrived in London around 7.30pm, then it was like everyone was walking fast to get out of the station… So tired!!!

In France I bought some chocolate truffles, and they were wrapped with some French quotes… My colleagues seem to love these. Heheheh.
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Thanks to the Travels Family! You have all been great hosts – apart from getting my toothbrush (from Japan) being used as part of an art project! 😉 It was a bit black and dusty, so I didn’t use it.

p.s. I have a few trips coming up in the new year. Yay! ✌️🤪 Can’t really say how many trips there will be – because I really don’t know! 🙂

Japanese Kit Kat Varieties

😁✌️ It’s taken me a while to reach to this post. Sorry for the melted Kit Kat pictures. I started eating them on a very hot day during the summer. LOL!

I won’t describe each of them, I will leave that to your imagination…

The Mint Yogurt Kit Kat was bought in a Don Quixote store in Kyoto, and the rest were bought last minute in Osaka Airport…

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Mint Yogurt flavour – not the best. But I gave the rest to the Travels Family to try out.
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Kyoto Grape flavour… Hmmmm…
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Hokkaido Melon and Mascarpone Cheese – this one I liked.
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Peach flavour was so-so.
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And one more flavour I forgot to add to the main picture – Uji Match flavour. A soft matcha flavoured Kit Kat!
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I hope you enjoyed the pictures as much I enjoyed eating most of them. 😉

Purin Mix – Daiso

Well, it seems it’s about time I blogged about food. I’m hoping to eat out more next year. I think I had lost my mo-jo this year (and last year). My spending habits have slightly changed. Seem to be buying my lunches from M&S more – when I shouldn’t be!!

Here’s something I bought from Daiso, Japan in April. Purin (pudding) Mix. I tried to follow the instructions…DSC_0377

The instructions are in Japanese…
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First, mix the main powder mix with a bit of hot water (I think I added a bit too much). Stir, then add a bit of cold water.
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Refrigerate for about an hour or so.
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In the mean time, there’s another packet of powdered syrup. Add water and again refrigerate.
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Pour the syrup on top. And voila.
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Hmmm. It was a little disappointing because I love purin!! Oh well. There must be another way or place to eat purin in London. Right?

Baby B’s Summer Break

Baby B wanted a holiday before she went back to pre-school. She wasn’t feeling the love from her parents much – Why? Miss Pinky had another baby this year. It’s a boy – Baby Bro, and I’m not the godmother! Yay! But I’ve just become Mummy Number 2. 😱😱😱

Baby B wanted alone time with Miss Pinky with no Baby Bro in the picture. But that wasn’t going to happen. Uh oh. She was three at the time and almost four… growing up too quick and thinking too much! It’s time for her to learn to share. Heheheheheh.

Not going to spend too much time on this post, but here’s a few pictures on our trip to St Leonard-on-Sea and Hastings.

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We met Deadpool at Hastings Pier… We also spoke to its owner. Wow!!
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Baby B is awesome in the arcades! We all won lots of tickets and exchanged a few things here and there. Miss Pinky was a bit obsessed but it was so much fun!!!
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During our weekend, we had some expensive African food. They didn’t really give us a menu, and so we didn’t know the prices until our bill came. Scandalous!

It was a nice weekend with a few tantrums here and there, but that was expected. Guess we need to spend more time with Baby B to make her less jealous of Baby Bro. LOL!! 😰😰😰