We bought our first Volvo XC90 when my eldest was 2 and we were on temporary assignment in California. We wanted a 7-seater that would accommodate our growing family (I was pregnant with number 3) and the ever-present grandparents and out-of-town visitors. We were planning to put the car to the test and drive all around California in varied conditions so extra safety features, like the anti-skid system, were key. My other criteria? Don’t laugh: heated seats and reverse sensors!
When we took it home we loved the flexibility of the 3rd row of seats and how easily they convert from seats to extra cargo space. I have a tricky back and the lumbar support really works. And I’ll admit it, I liked the look of the car. It’s not “mumsy” like a people carrier, but makes us feels a bit stylish.
That was back in 2004. Since then we’ve moved back to the UK. We loved our XC90 so much, instead of selling it, we left it at my parent’s house so we can get around in comfort while we visit in the Summer.
The first purchase when we came back to the UK? Another XC90! It’s worth the peace of mind we know the car very well.
But we’ve never had anyone chauffeur us in one, so when Volvo offered to whisk us around London to do some last-minute Christmas shopping and a few activities designed around my family, we said yes please.
We started our London #volvoconcierge day with an ice-skating session at the Natural History Museum, then we had lunch, saw a show and did some, OK lots, of shopping. We ended up in Chinatown for dinner and then took in the Regent Street lights.
Here’s our story, in pictures…
If you go:
The Landmark London Hotel 222 Marylebone Rd, London NW1 6JQ +44 020 7631 8000 www.landmarklondon.co.uk A nice five-star hotel near Marleybone Station. The best feature is the indoor courtyard and atrium . There’s also a fabulous indoor swimming pool in the basement.
Natural History Museum Ice Rink Cromwell Rd, London SW7 5BD www.nhm.ac.uk Open 31 October – 6 January, one of the best places in London to glide on the ice.
Wicked the Musical at Apollo Victoria Theatre 17 Wilton Road, Westminster, London SW1V 1LG The story of the Wizard of Oz, from the witches point of view. It’s absolutely fabulous, with all kinds of themes such as bullying, friendship and human nature weaved in.
bbar 43 Buckingham Palace Rd, London SW1W 0PP +44 020 7958 7000 Burgers, hot dogs, Cobb salads in a south African atmosphere.
Tao Tao Ju Chinatown 15 Lisle St, London WC2H 7BE +44 020 7734 8822. www.taotaoju.co.uk Chinatown can be hit and miss, but I’ll definitely go back to this one. Mixed clientele (there was a large family reunion next to a couple that looked like they were on a first date). We had Crispy Duck, Chow Mein, Egg Fried Rice, Pork Cooked Three Ways (I made that up) and Orange Beef. Yum.
Hamleys 188-196 Regent St, Soho, London W1B 5BT +44 0871 704 1977 www.hamleys.com The world’s oldest and largest toy store. It’s worth a visit, but hard to do real shopping with so many people.
M & M World 1 Swiss Ct, London W1D 6AP +44 020 7025 7171 www.mmsworld.com I don’t get this place, but unfortuantley my 9-year-old does. M & M’s every way you want them, and more.
Daunt Books 83 Marylebone High St London +44 020 7224 2295 www.dauntbooks.co.uk A fabulous indy bookshop with all the bells, whistles and character. You could spend hours in here.
Note: Our Volvo experience was provided free of charge. All opinions are mine and my families’.