This weekend my best friend and my god-daughter Rosie came to visit me. It was Rosie's first time in London, so we took her to the Harrods Christmas Grotto. We were supposed to go two years ago, but I came down with Norovirus so we had to cancel. The Harrods Christmas Grotto is known for being the best Grotto in the UK, so I was desperate to get the chance to take Rosie this year. Thankfully I managed to get a slot as soon as the pre-booking opened back in September for the date we wanted!
I adore London in winter. Every building is bedecked with fairy lights and everything feels so festive. I was so excited to show Rosie, and she loved it! She's four next month, so I think she's the right age for it all, although she did get a little nervous when faced with the bearded man in the big red suit.
After an exciting train journey and dragging her through the underground (we soon discovered that the bus is a much more sensible option when travelling with a little person with little legs), we finally got to Harrods. The grotto was on the fourth floor in the Disney section. You enter through some white sparkly trees just like Narnia, and all of a sudden you're in another world. A world of fantasy and elves, of mice on swings and glitter in trees and lights twinkling on the walls.
Forget the kids - we had just as much fun as she did! The winter wonderland is essentially a very-well disguised queue. You 'queue' for around 20 minutes, however it isn't much of a queue as you enjoy every second. The elves kept the children entertained with questions and excitement, and there was even a log tunnel for them to climb through, and a snowman game where they could throw 'snowballs' through the 'snowmen's' tummies.
Then it was the Sleigh ride. You climb in to the big silver sleigh and fly up up and away while a camera clicks away!
Then before you know it you're there, walking down a long corridor of trees with whimsical mice hiding amongst them dressed all in elf outfits, until finally you reach Santa's house. You knock on the big wooden door, and an elf opens it with a great pull to greet you into the warm cosy room.
Father Christmas sits on a large wooden bench, and his elf stands by the fireplace with gifts littered all over the floor. If your child is brave, they can sit next to Santa, however Rosie got a little nervous being so little compared to the big man in front of her, so I sat next to him (secretly happy that I could feel like a child again), and then Rosie sat inbetween Anna and I.
Santa Claus was very good with her, he wasn't forceful and spoke very softly so as not to scare her. He then brought out his big book full of names. He flicked through hundreds and hundreds of huge browning pages covered in penciled-in names, and finally got to the last page. There was Rosie's name, 'Rosie, age 3'. On hearing her name she peeked round from behind me, and her little face dropped at the sight of her name and age. Santa asked 'is that you, Rosie?' and she nodded, dumbfounded.
After telling Father Christmas what she wanted for Christmas, he then gave her a canvas bag filled with a huge chocolate coin and a cute Christmas book. She was delighted! After a few photographs were taken, the man himself gave Rosie a carrot to drop into a bucket outside - she could choose which Reindeer she wanted the carrot to go to.
Anna and I each bought one of the photographs for £13.50 each, and then after stopping Rosie from shoplifting a toy that looked like Dylan, we headed downstairs and out into the real world. On our way out through the handbag section Rosie walked over to a pink Balenciaga handbag and shouted at us "Is this mine?!" - I was a very proud god-mother, but sadly the handbag had to stay put.
We then got the bus to the Rainforest Cafe for lunch. I was pleasantly surprised by this experience, the food was much better than I was expecting. I was ready for plastic food, but actually my ribs were flavoursome and incredibly meaty, and the chips were crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside - yum! Also who doesn't like having lunch amongst Elephants!?
After a couple of hours in Rainforest Cafe (little people eat quite slowly...) we got the bus back to Waterloo Station and Rosie gazed at the lights around Trafalgar Square through the top-deck window. Back at home we chilled out in-front of the TV, and had some cuddles with Dylan before heading to bed after our busy and exciting day.
Dylan has a friend for life. Rosie absolutely adored him, and although he wasn't entirely sure what to make of her as she chased him around the house pretending to be a cat, he was very gentle with her and kept snuffling around her and 'tickling' her. Bless them, seeing a dog and child strike up a friendship really is special. I think my favourite moment was when she hugged him and said 'I love Dylan!'
I think it's safe to say we all enjoyed our weekend together and our Christmas Grotto experience, and it definitely got me in the Christmas spirit! If you haven't been, you should, these things are fun, and fun is good ;)
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