I never would’ve imagined a mediocre flick like New Year’s Eve would inspire me and a couple of friends to put together a list of things we’ve always want to do (based on a character in the movie who had a bucket list of her own) – but last Saturday, we set about running around London ticking off versions of things we always wanted to do and experience before the year was out.
Now in the film, this particular character had tasked someone else to make all her dreams come true, and from the looks of things, money didn’t seem to be an object. In my case, I gave myself a budget of £70, 12 hours (7am to 7pm) while pals and I agreed that where a wish seemed impossible, we’d be creative instead. So here’s what we did and how we made it happen:
See something beautiful in London i.e. a sunrise
At 7am, pals and I met at Camden to make our way towards Primose Hill, which offers one of the most awesome views of the city. We took the Bus 274 to London Zoo (North Gate), then crossed to the park on the right and made the 15min trek up to the mount of the hill. It was freezing, yes, and cloudy, but just after 8:15am, the sun managed to give a quick good morning. Brilliant start to the day. Total cost: FREE
Live in New York
My friend L has always wanted to do this, so the closest thing I could of think of that reminded me of New York was the city’s many diners, so we did headed to The Diner (18 Ganton Street) for a pretty authentic NY-style breakfast. We didn’t eat again until 7pm! Total cost: £12 www.goodlifediner.com
Feel absolutely beautiful
Nothing says gorgeous more than makeover, so a quick visit to the Mac Pro Store (Foubert’s Place, off Carnaby Street) gave us a chance to try on make-up and leave with a little something lovely. Total cost: £14 (for blush) www.maccosmetics.co.uk
Visit Japan and experience the culture
This was pretty tricky as I didn’t want to go to a Japanese restaurant. However, after randomly stumbling upon a comic book store and asking the manager where we could find Japanese culture beyond “Manga” he sent us off to the Japan Centre (14-16 Regent Street). My. Gawsh. They had everything in there – food, books, magazines, homeware, and the prices were surprisingly reasonable. I bought a miso soup bowl and a recipe card and on our way to Old Bond Street we can across Minamoto Kitchoan (44 Piccadilly), a beautiful, zen-like Japanese confectionery shop. I happily left with a red-bean jelly for later. Total cost of experience: £6 japancentre.com/about_us and www.kitchoan.com
Do something luxurious (pictured above)
We ticked this off by doing a quick walk around Tiffany’s (25 Old Bond Street) and pretending we had the sort of budget to leave with a diamond or two. Instead, we had a quick squirt of perfume, and kept it moving. Total cost: FREE www.tiffany.co.uk
Go skiing in the Alps
Skiing wasn’t gonna happen, but an Alps-like experience could, thanks to the Ice Bar (31-33 Heddon Street). You’re stuck in a fridge-like bar for 40 minutes in a cloak and gloves, sipping cocktails from ice cubes and trying not to freeze your socks off while nodding your head to a soundtrack of techno and house beats. Mental. Total cost: £16 www.belowzerolondon.com/icebar-london
Do something adventurous
We headed to the Science Museum in South Kensington in search of something that would get us out of our comfort zone. We planned to do the flight simulator (£12 for 2 people), but as we were a group of 3, we opted for the Red Arrows 3-D flight, which gives you the experience of flying in the cockpit of a Red Arrows jet in a simulation theatre. To be COMPLETELY honest, it wasn’t the most adventurous experience (a few jiggles here and there), but we did it. Tick. Total cost: £5 www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/visitmuseum/galleries/red_arrows.aspx
Ride a motorcycle
Finally, we made our way to Queen’s Ice and Bowl and straight to the arcade to play Nirin – a fairly high-octane motorbiking arcade game. Close enough to the real thing ;-) Total cost: £1. www.queensiceandbowl.co.uk
How to have a wishlist day in London
- Have a rough plan of what you want to do beforehand, and call ahead to see find out prices/opening hours, etc. There’s a few things we weren’t able to tick off our list (we planned ours in just 3 days!), so it’s always worth having a few plan Bs, just in case. But it doesn’t hurt to be spontaneous!
- Have a budget – it’ll force you to be more creative
- Wear comfortable shoes and comfortable clothes
- Keep an eye on the clock. The day will go quicker than you think!
- Pat yourself on the back when it’s all said and done. It’ll be exhausting, but worth it!