The London Stadium

img_2138Football is considered a language of the world for many people and with over three billion fans worldwide it’s no wonder. The Premier League is considered the greatest league for countless fans across the globe and West Ham’s London Stadium has become its latest addition.

 

The Olympic Park was one of the most iconic features of the London 2012 Olympics with the stadium being the centre of attention. Seating 55,000, it’s a far cry from West Ham’s former stadium in Upton Park. The greasy burger vans and over crowded pubs have been replaced by gourmet burgers and cafe football… It’s had mixed reviews in its early days but after attending two games in different competitions we must be honest the review is the same here… mixed!

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The Premier League

The stadium is a wonderful venue and the views within are good although you are further from the pitch than you’d like to be. Being right on the doorstep of Stratford station means you are well connected no matter where you’re coming from and there is plenty to do in and around the area with Westfield Shopping Centre a stone’s throw away.

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However, being so close to one of the UK’s largest and busiest shopping centres isn’t as idyllic as you might think. Getting to the stadium is easy enough but unless you are willing to leave the match 20 minutes early you will need to give yourself over an hour to get onto your platform, a walk that usually takes minutes.

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That’s ok though because there are plenty of bars and restaurants nearby to kill some time at while the 50,000+ fans disperse though right? No. All fans are directed on a never-ending walk around the shopping centre while being policed by officers on horses and riot gear while being refused entry into the shopping centre.

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Enough about transport though and back to the football. After all said and done and the Premier League is the pinnacle competition in the world. Whether you’re a West Ham fan or not you can’t help but smile as you take in the view from your seat and listen to the crowd singing I’m forever blowing bubbles, the passion on the faces of all those decked out in claret and blue is there for all to see. If you can handle the everlasting queues after the game then it is well worth visiting the stadium for a match, especially if you’re treated to a Payet wonder goal.

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Under the lights

img_2365A weekend game is a nice day out but a game under the lights is a different kettle of fish. K returned to the London Stadium to see West Ham vs Chelsea for a real London derby with both teams vying for a spot in the quarterfinals of the League Cup.

 

There’s something special about evening cup games that can never be replicated in a league match. The excitement between fans has been building all day and for derby games like this one it there’s an expectancy that something special is going to happen.

  

img_2367The game itself finished 2-1 to the Hammers and it was great to be involved in. The fans were singing in full voice throughout although there is still an air of hollowness to this stadium. It might be the circular shape or the distance to the pitch but it does miss that real ferocious atmosphere that some of England’s more traditional stadiums offer.

 

As we approached the last 10 minutes there seemed to be a swarming of yellow jackets in a pocket of fans in the stadium. Seats were seen flying as were drinks and you could see both sets of fans attempting to rile each other. Rivalries are what make football great and it would not be even half as entertaining without them but there is a line that shouldn’t be crossed.

  

Football is one of the few things in the world that can bring thousands of people together from different backgrounds through a mutual love of the game. The London Stadium is a great venue but it’s still having its teething problems. It could become a great addition to English football but only time will tell.

 

You can visit the London stadium by buying tickets from the official West Ham website, prices will vary depending on the fixture.

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Yo Bitch, let’s cook!

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Being huge fans of Breaking Bad, when we heard about ABQ London we just had to go. It’s a bar inside a replica RV that Mr. White and Jessie cooked in, set in east London. With the theme tune playing on arrival all bitches are greeted with your first cocktail; a trademark Heisenberg blue mojito in a laboratory flask!

The bar features an array of things you will recognise from the hit TV series, although we won’t go into too much detail and ruin it for you! You’re given yellow suits to put on and get into character then seated at small tables with all sorts of cool equipment. With a menu of 6 cocktails to choose from including Walt Junior’s breakfast, you are shown how to make the cocktails briefly and then left to your own devices to play around. The cocktails we made were all delicious as well as being fun to construct, think along the lines of bars like The Alchemist but even better!

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The cost for this awesome event is £30 per person and this includes the welcome cocktail and two which you cook yourself! If you think the average price for a cocktail in London is normally more than £10 then you’re bagging yourself a bargain whilst experiencing something so unique! You can book your tickets here. Unfortunately, “all bad things must come to an end!” but this is certainly a date night to remember!

We’ve got 99 problems but travelling isn’t one!

Que sera sera, we’re going to Wembley

Wem 1With the dust settling from one of English football’s most unpredictable seasons football fans are in a state of limbo. It’s that time of the year when the season ends and there is nothing left to do but listen out for Guillem Balagué to tell you something that he knew about before it happened or pretend you like another sport. Thankfully, Euro 2016 takes place this summer and in anticipation for the tournament we are talking about a trip to the home of football. Wembley.

Opened in 2007, the now iconic arch replaced the twin towers which were pivotal to the quintessential experience of going to Wembley and has become a real stand-out feature of the 90,000 seater stadium. Grab yourself a burger, a beer and a match-day scarf and you’re on your way. Whether you’re lucky enough to pick up tickets to a Champions League final or there to soak on the pre-tournament atmosphere with a World Cup qualifier, there are seldom places as emotionally charged as Wembley on a cold winters night under the lights.

wem 2Some of footballs greatest ever moments were presented in front of thousands who walked through the famed twin towers and now it is time for new memories to be made and stories to be told from beneath the arch. Whether you’re pitch-side and within touching distance of Wayne Rooney and co or up in the gods with your binoculars, you’re guaranteed to witness a side of London you’ve never seen before.

Wembley football matches are hot property so if you are in London and want to watch a match, make sure you keep on top of fixtures and ticket release dates by visiting the official Wembley stadium website for information. Pele once labelled Wembley as “the cathedral of football” so if you’re after a different type of British theatre then you can always head north of the West End for a once in a lifetime experience.

 

Nottingham

tuk tukSince returning home from our travels, we thought we would make the most of exploring more within our home country, the UK. Having been to Wales, Newcastle, Brighton and a few more, our next stop was Nottingham and it was an extra special trip for us because of the people we were meeting.

Having met in exceptional circumstances, snorkelling with giant sea turtles through the coral reefs of Bali’s coast, we were excited to one again meet up with one of the best friends we made from our adventure. Rebecca was exceptionally helpful and friendly to a couple she spent half a day with snorkelling and a few hours drinking with on Gili Trawangan. After getting to know each other some more, she told us she was a teacher in Vietnam and offered us a place to stay once reaching Hanoi. We would like to think we have made a friend for life that day and when returning to the UK we took the time out to travel north from London to meet her and her partner in Nottingham.

12963350_10156849205000341_8452808045683626132_nNow, we always travel to places with the best intentions of capturing our travels through our blog, taking exciting pictures and seeing the sites. But, sometimes, you just have to let your hair down. After an extended drive due to the wonderfully efficient British motorway system, which is never undergoing road works, we decided to kick back with a beer on arrival as opposed to touring the sites. That could wait till later.

The evening started harmlessly, old and new stories ebbing to and from, before heading out to dinner at Zaap, a fantastically authentic Thai restaurant, complete with tuk tuks and Thai staff! If you have ever been to South East Asia and tried the morning glory, then you will understand our cravings for it. The morning glory, essentially spinach in chilli and garlic, was exceptional, alongside the rest of the food and after a few more Changs we headed out to town with that enormous confidence only beer goggles can give you.

11202107_10156849204865341_447880776368100460_nWe hit a few bars, made friends with an Indian cab driver and took it upon ourselves to commandeer a tea pot cocktail server as a souvenir. To be frank, that is about all we remember from our night. Nottingham was a lovely city with a number of sites that we wanted to see, but let’s be real, we didn’t quite make it! We journeyed back to Essex with the most horrendous hangovers – a definite sign of a successful night, parting with Rebecca and David on a promise that next time will be more civilised… Yeah right! Thank you Nottingham.

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