Monday, March 30, 2015

Journey down memory lane (Day 4 - 14 March 2015)

Day 4

Today is the highlight of our trip and the main reason why we planned this vacation :) We are finally back in Nottingham after graduating for 8 years (9 years for hubby) ! Nottingham may not be a popular town to visit for those coming from holiday overseas (except probably for the Robin Hood Pageant which is held each year in October) but it does hold significant meaning to hubby and me and probably those who had studied here before. 

As we had slept pretty early yesterday, we woke up at 6 plus and by 7am, we are ready to explore!

We walked to Beeston as it is quite near to Willoughby Hall where we stayed. On our way to Beeston, we passed by Broadgate Park where I stayed during my final 2 years in Nottingham. Nothing much has changed from the outside which brings back familiar memories.

Outside of Willougby Hall
Broadgate Park entrance which I exit every weekend to go to Beeston
This is where hubby used to stay... the most right window on second floor....
Hubby and his brother's accommodation flat
Unfortunately we couldn't go in to have a closer look at the gate is closed during weekend and require access card.
Gate to access the flat hubby used to stay.. 

As it is still early, most of the shops are still closed though we could see some grocers started to set up their stalls. This is one of our favourite grocers stall which only opens on Saturday. We patronise them almost every week to stock up our weekly supply of vegetables and fruits. They do go at a really cheap price which is great for us as students.
Grocers on Saturday next to the butcher
Chinese grocers we used to patronise
It was really windy that day and temperature only about (3-5 degree celsius), so we seek shelter at Greggs which opens early and got ourselves a set deal (a pastry and a cappuccino for 2 pounds). We ordered a chicken bake and it tasted as good as before, especially in the cold weather. Love it as it was served piping hot!
Greggs Promotion
Another place with pretty good deals which opens daily.. got ourselves a box of strawberries :) They are really sweet!
Strawberries on sale!
We continued to walk until the end of Beeston where we usually go in the last (the Argos area). One of the cheap chocolate stores that we like is now closed down already...

We are really not too used to the cold weather as we just got to UK few days ago from Singapore so after strolling for an hour or so, we decided to walk back to Willoughby Hall where we stayed to take our car keys plus a quick toilet break...

Back to room to get car keys and a quick toilet break
Pick up our car key and we are on our way to continue exploring :)

Our drive in UK
Our drive in UK

Now it is nice and warm in the car with the heater... Our next stop is Rutland Hall where I stayed during the first year of my university life. I could still remember the first day we arrived and it was already dark... picking up our keys and lugging our luggage up to second storey where we stayed as there is no escalator. I was lucky to get the same hall as one of my college mates so we do help out and look after one another during our first few months in a foreign country. 

Entrance to the block that I used to stay. Block  K.
Main Hall Block which houses other Blocks and Dining Room
Our mini square in the main block. Below the pointed area is our hall mini library. 
At Rutland Hall
Entrance to dining hall

Dining tables in our dining room seems to have changed. Used to be long and more ancient looking.

Block F, where one of my other good friend stay... Got to know  her during our stay in Rutland and  manage to stay in touch even until now. 
Our locked keypad to enter the respective blocks which changes code every now and then. 
Downs... the road we used to walk to our classes each day

Outer side of our Rutland Hall
Next stop is to Trent Building and Portland Building.

Trent Building
We parked at Trent Building and went to Portland Building. Pass by notice board and saw this "type" of study which we used to participate in the past. It is some psychological test which we gets to earn some cash or some chocolates. We used to love going for this for extra cash and to help up with the study...

Psychology study!
Hubby miss his grilled chicken drumstick leg at Portland Canteen but it is closed today as it is Saturday so won't be able to eat it... We will be leaving Nottingham on Monday so no chance to taste it... One of our little regrets... but this does give us a reason to come back, isn't it? :)
Portland Cuisine
Entrance to NatWest, the first time i opened bank account on my own...
Interior of the bank
Most of the shops in Portland Building is not opened as it is weekend. The student union shop however is opened, thus we went and get ourselves some T-shirts as souvenir :)

We were famished as it was already 11am and we only shared a chicken pie and a drink earlier, so we went back to Willoughby Hall for our complimentary brunch.

Students started to flood in already once brunch is served
Brunch Menu which is rather extensive
This is where brunch is served
We get to choose from selection of fruits, yogurts, some cooked food and toast...

This is what i had....
tadaa... our brunch cum lunch :)
We were quite full after our brunch, thus we skip our lunch :) save money on one meal.. hehe!

After brunch, we went back to our room for another toilet break then it is time to explore Nottingham City Centre! On our way there, we passed by the slope that we used to walk from Raleigh Park to city centre...It is about 20-30 minutes walk and we walk to city centre almost every week for our groceries to save on bus fare... Those were the days...

City Centre
The quaint building which houses Hard Rock Cafe has changed to another restaurant now

Old Market Square
Broadmarsh Shopping Mall now has this new Chargebox for Free.... for those who needed to charge their phone halfway while shopping!

Free Charge Box
Bus station where we took National Express Bus to London, to Heathrow Airport and to various town nearby to explore. We used to buy our tickets in advance especially when we get the 1 pound deal... really good deal to go London for just 1 pounds from Nottingham (about 3-4 hours bus journey)
Broadmarsh Bus Station...
National Express!
Almost done with city centre so next up is our favourite groceries shop at Aldi... they do sell really cheap and quality biscuits and chocolate and some other yummy food. Though the location is pretty far from where we stayed (30-45 mins walk probably), we do make the effort to walk there every few months to stock up our supply... 

After which, we visited Jubilee Campus which held much memories for hubby as he used to work in the kitchen here. It is still the same setting as before according to hubby...

Kitchen where hubby used to work
The pretty library at Jubilee! You don't need stairs to reach the top as you could walk round and round until the top of the building :)
Jubilee Library
Close up of the library!
Spend a while exploring Jubilee as I could see hubby has lots of memories of this place.. I was really freezing so I just find somewhere to hide....

Next stop is lakeside... which is one of the landmark of University of Nottingham. Really pretty and comes with lots of swan too! 

Lake side
Famous lake with pretty swans
Next is Pharmacy Building where I studied for 4 years... Still could remember the prescription test that we had, the practical classes making tablets, creams at the lab etc...
Hubby waiting while I go down and snap photos of Pharmacy Building where I studied for 4 years!
Yay! School of Pharmacy Building...
Interior had definitely changed....
View standing from front door of Pharmacy Building overlooking the area around the lake

Little walkway to access to Coates Building or Queens Medical Centre where we have some of our classes as well

Coates Building
We went back to Beeston as the last stop of our day... 

Iceland is open so went in and see see look look.. Warburton bread... used to wait for it to become reduced to clear... can be reduced until 20 pence... kept it inside freezer and slowly eat....

Warburtons Bread
Had some Thorntons ice cream too.. even nicer to eat in this weather.. hehe!

Lastly, dinner time at Lucky Restaurant. We had two person set meal... Food was ok, we are mainly eating for memories which is great!
Dinner time
Back to room and rest to refuel for tomorrow!

Tomorrow, we will be attending Sunday Service at Cornerstone Church where we used to worship while studying in Nottingham. I was baptised there as well!

We then will be travelling down to London and I can't wait for dinner tomorrow at Burger and Lobster, the much raved 20 pounds lobster!

Read about our day 5 here.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Journey down memory lane (Day 3 - 13 March 2015)

Day 3

Today we woke up at 3.30am again, but we decided to went back to sleep so sleep again from 5am to 7.30am. Looks like we are beginning to adapt to the time zone in UK.

Today is going to be a travel on the road day as we will be travelling to London for a fine dining experience at Gordon Ramsey Restaurant in Chelsea and after that we will be returning to Nottingham to our university which is the highlight of the trip (for us of course since Nottingham is not one of the tourist first few choices of town to visit but it does hold significant meaning to both of us and those who had studied there before). 

So, we had a hearty breakfast ( i ate quite a fair bit of toast plus some home cooked eggs, bacon and my favourite mushrooms by our host), we showered and we enjoyed the scenery from our window once again before departing at about 10.15am.
Having breakfast, reading magazine with a view!
Today i ordered egg, bacon and my favourite mushrooms!
Getting ready for my first dining experience at Three Michelin Star Restaurant!
After 2 hours drive (including horrendous traffic in London), we reached Gordon Ramsey!
We reached!
We were first greeted with a warm welcome by the waiter at the reception area and our coat were taken for safe keeping. We were lucky that we manage to get a reservation for this restaurant. Initially, reservations are full when we tried to book it online via their online reservation system. Thus, I emailed the restaurant to request to be put on waiting list and few days later, we manage to secure a table! 

For those who wanted to dine here, do book your tables early once your holiday plan is firmed. Do note that the restaurant would require a credit card to secure the booking and in the event of no show, a particular amount would be deducted, do check out their website for more information. Oh ya, and they are quite particular about dress code, thus no sneakers, T-shirt, jeans are allowed. If you are travelling and would love to dine here, do bring an extra sets of formal clothes :)

After our coats were taken, we were brought to a cosy small dining area with about 10-15 tables. All tables are well set with white and silver tableware and we were seated at the side of the restaurant, facing the middle of the restaurant. We do note that all the chairs are placed in such a manner that the diners faced the middle of the restaurant, probably so that the waiter could easily explained the courses for us which they did for all the food that we ordered and served. 

Nice plating that greets us at the table
For detailed review of this wonderful lunch:

A picture before we tucked in our starter
Nice environment while we fine dine our starter!
Me and my rabbit meat dish
All in all, I think Gordon Ramsey Restaurant does give it's diner the whole package-from the quality of the food, the presentation of the food and the wonderful service rendered. For a £55 per person for lunch (which includes 2 specials), I think it is pretty worth it to experience at least once in a lifetime this perfect dining experience at this Three Michelin Star Establishment in London. No wonder they have hold tight to their Michelin Star since 2001. Am really glad to have enjoyed this wonderful perfect lunch! We did spend almost 2.5 hours for our lunch which is the longest lunch we had I must say, worth every seconds :)

We left for Nottingham at about 3pm and we only manage to reach at 6.30pm due to the congestion as there are road works being done. First entrance into University of Nottingham via the entrance near Pharmacy Building. Driving pass the Trent Building, the lakeside, Portland Building and so much memories just came flooded back. All the routes that we take on our way to school years back that we took for granted, and now we travelled 10,000 km just to have a peek at our university, walk on its pathway and grass. Indeed, studying abroad is a once in a lifetime experiences, away from our family and learning the road to independence. Am really glad to be able to experience that :)

We manage to book a room in one of the catering halls in the university (not the one that I stayed before though) just to experience our stay in university in the past. For a double bed en-suite room, it costs £55 pounds per night which includes a breakfast on weekday/brunch on weekend. For more information, check out the university website.

Timing for check in is very flexible as there is Hall Manager, Porter and Security on-site 24 hours (on rotation basis) so we manage to check in with the porter when we arrived. Paid the accommodation fees in cash and we were shown to our room with access card for key and for breakfast. 

Parking is additional charges but we did arrived on Friday after 5pm and will be leaving before 8am on Monday morning so complimentary parking for us :)

Our room 
Private shower
Wash basin and heater

Table with portable kettle, and complimentary tea/coffee and biscuit
Complimentary tea/coffee and snacks
Had a quick shower and changed into something more comfy, we drove to Beeston to have our dinner at Yod Siam , one of the Thai Restaurant we dine before when studying. I must say that either their standard had dropped from the last i dine in probably 10 years ago or my taste bud had become more picky, the Pad Thai definitely taste so much nicer in the past. Tom yam soup that we had is still nice and warm our stomach especially in the cold weather in Nottingham (3-7 degrees) with winds...brrr....

Familiar places
Pad Thai
Went to Sainsbury to do mini groceries shopping but mainly just to reminiscence our memories of groceries shopping there almost every weekend to enjoy the "reduced to clear" item...I still remembering us walking out in the cold so that we can get the "reduced to clear" doughnut... great memories!

Finishing the day but having a Muller, one of our favourite yogurt when studying and it still tastes as great as ever!

Got this off the shelf at Sainsbury as well for our dear daughter who is a super Elsa fans!
Next up- best day of the trip as we savour memories from our university days... also the main reason of our trip! 

Read it here.