Birthday Ideas... help!!!

Old May 1st, 2005, 11:33 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 40
Birthday Ideas... help!!!

Hello everyone
i was just wondering if you guys can help me with my friend's birthday. It will be her 19th birthday in early June. We will have only been in London for 2 days before her birthday so i was thinking something touristy could be fun. We are going to study abroad for 3 weeks! Anyways, i need some ideas on what to do for her birthday... here is what i was thinking:

-picnic in the park and a hot air balloon ride
-dinner cruise
-dinner (around $100 for 2) maybe a little more... ideas?
-anyone know where i can find some balloons?

... i need help!!! i am looking to spend about $200 in total, including gift. I also need some ideas for a gift. Should the hot air balloon ride be the gift or should i get her some london/travel related gift? Any fun-nice dining option suggestions? Any help is much appriciated!

Also maybe any suggestions for a fun club.

thank you all!
venice_is_my_fav is offline  
Old May 2nd, 2005, 12:28 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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You will have fun planning a B'day surprise for your friend. But I do think you'll need to scale back some of your ideas. London is expensive!

$200 is only a little over £100 and that is not very much for things like balloon rides or dinner cruises. For example, a hot air balloon ride will cost more than £200 ( $380+ ) if you want to go with her. Maybe £150 if she flies alone - but that wouldn't be much fun.

Dinner cruises will run around £60+ per person plus tips, beverages.

Why not take a ride on the London Eye and then go to a musical. You can get 1/2 price theatre tickets at TKTS in Leicester Square - count on about £20 per ticket for a musical, a little less for a straight play.

The Eye and a play would set you back about £65 (approx $125), leaving enough money for a light supper in a pub or cafe, or a nice picnic and small gift, or something like that.
janis is offline  
Old May 2nd, 2005, 04:53 AM
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I see that you are new here - - how did I know that? click on your own name (this is one of the numerous useful tips that Fodors fails to tell you when they send you that first e-mail confirming your registration) - - we'll assume that you have also not taken the time to read the "HELP" (little tiny red letters in the upper lefthand corner) - - another oversight that Fodors fails to recommend to you to do.

Anyhow, you owe it to yourself to take a look there: - - especially - - which I have listed below, in excerpt form, for you (my own emphasis added):


Finally, create a title - make sure it is concise and clearly describes your message (and destination, if applicable -- and write your message in the space provided


Nothing about "Birthday Ideas" gives anyone any clue what info it is that you are seeking.

Thus, when you re-post - - and you really should do that - - be sure and mention London in your message header.

Best wishes,

rex is offline  
Old May 2nd, 2005, 06:11 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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What a great friend! My daughter, who is your age, enjoyed the London Eye and the theater, so I like Janis's ideas. Dinner in Chinatown, near the theater, might be fun and would keep you within your budget. And after the theater the area nearby in Soho seemed to be teeming with kids your age, I would look for clubs there. I would make the day out the gift so you would have enough money to really do it right. A token remembrance might be nice if you want a tangible gift to hand to her.
Nikki is online now  
Old May 2nd, 2005, 08:56 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 264
why do you repeatedly read these messages if they anger you so much? People don't post on these boards to be berated, they post for travel advice. If you don't like the heading, don't click on it.
kjenn is offline  
Old May 2nd, 2005, 09:14 AM
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There's helpful and there's helpful. Janis and Nikki's posts were helpful. Rex's was not (and yet he can be helpful when he wants to be).
Old May 2nd, 2005, 09:17 AM
Posts: n/a
There's helpful and there's helpful. Janis and Nikki's posts were helpful. Rex's was not (and yet he can be helpful when he wants to be).

London is an expensive city, as others have pointed out. But being in wonderful places around the city is more or less free. Balloons, flowers, and a pretty setting that says: "here we finally are, in LONDON!" -- near Big Ben? The Eye?

If a balloon ride is something special to her, why not get a helium-filled normal-sized balloon, attach a small hanging box with a doll or stuffed animal in it, and say it's a promise for "someday."
Old May 2nd, 2005, 09:23 AM
Posts: n/a
Woops, double-post, inadvertent...

..but since I'm back:

Rex -- your annoyance with newbies makes me think about how exasperated I can get with the 20th student who makes the same mistake the 1st 19 did, until I remind myself that this is the first time Student #20 has encountered that particular problem, not the 20th time Student #1 has made the mistake.

Since this really isn't a classroom, the best way to deal with your exasperation is maybe to go to another post.

And not irrelevantly: the title of her post got you to look at it, didn't it? And she's gotten some answers.
Old May 2nd, 2005, 11:28 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,194
I'm annoyed with Fodors that they set up every newcomer to have to discover this by happenstance. And I try very hard to make this kind of post useful, so that the far more common occurrence does not befall THIS newbie...

...the far more common occurrence is that their (ill-titled) question gets few useful responses - - or they cannot find their own posts again - - and they give up on this treasure trove of information and never come back again.

"We" send messages back "up to the top" to help newbies, and explain how they can find them again and ask their questions in a way that will get them useful replies... but the truth is, the "bottom" is littered full of questions asked - - and never answered, or never found by the person who asked them - - and they never came back again.
rex is offline  
Old May 2nd, 2005, 11:37 AM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 251
Right now, the London Eye is doing a £30 deal for a ride on the eye and then a meal in a fancy-ish restaurant. Go ot the London Eye sort for more. Otherwise, check out or for good deals at 'fine dining' (an expression we don't use here, but I know what it means so use it to help you understand the kind of place I mean) restaurants.
Picnic in the park is a cheap option. Grab a few nice sandwiches from Marks and Spencer, likewise fancy cakes, a chilled bottle of Chardonnay etc. and hey presto, you have a cheap but memorable lunch. Green Park is a good choice, as is Hyde Park or Lincoln Inn's Fields, near to Holborn. Balloons will be found at any card/gift shop. For clubs of your choice, consult Time Out when you get here. There are too many to mention.
Nigello is offline  
Old May 2nd, 2005, 11:57 AM
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Posts: 40
thank you guys for your advice. next time i will try to follow the correct way of posting. Yes i am new to posting messages here, but thank you for informing me. Also thank you to the people who defended us newcomers, we need your guys' support!

- and thank you to those of you who helped me with the ideas-

-i was also wondering if you can take alcohol on the london eye.

venice_is_my_fav is offline  
Old May 2nd, 2005, 02:11 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 118

Hi we talked about this before on another post that wasn't titled to your satisfaction. People, whether they are new or not can title their posts any which way they would like. Maybe a person thinks their title may be more appealing than the one you would suggest.

Why not start a thread of your own and top it every day explaining the Fodor rules? Wouldn't it reach more people that way?

Finally, who cares? "venice is my fav" got some responses didn't she. I clicked on it. Her question was on birthday ideas for her friend, not...Have I posted this question correctly?

Hi Venice,

Why not send for "Free" tickets and take your friend to the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London. You can send for the tickets, but you will have to do it right away.

I've been 3 times, taking our 16 year once and my sister another time. It starts at 9:00 at night and is quite an experience, plus a little spooky. Only about 30 people are allowed each night.

I think the London Eye would be great too. How about lunch at Covent Gardens at an outdoor cafe?

Whatever you decide London is great and you will have lots of fun.


Marlie is offline  
Old May 2nd, 2005, 02:37 PM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 2,198
Venice, For something a little out of the ordinary why don't you take your friend on a segue tour. I think they are in your price range and might just make a touristy, fun and funny memory. Then go ethnic restaurant hopping through the area around Covent Garden for different courses of the b-day meal.
AisleSeat is offline  
Old May 2nd, 2005, 03:51 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,194

I do it to help.

I believe tht the OP understood it as help.

I continue to believe that some other newbie will read this thread and have a better chance of finding useful answers here, finding their own posts, and continuing to come back.
rex is offline  
Old May 2nd, 2005, 04:24 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,631
I think that rex's efforts to instruct newbies can be just as helpful as the specific information that is asked for by the OP. A poor heading is not maximizing the chances of catching the attention of people who might otherwise respond with useful info. And if the newbie doesn't want rex's help, or anyone's, they have only to skip on to the next posting if there is one.

Anyway, dear venice is my fav:
What does your friend like to do?
Would she have any interest in a more formal afternoon tea in one of the hotels? That could be a surprise.

How about tickets to a play or musical?
elaine is offline  
Old May 3rd, 2005, 08:46 AM
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I appreciate the kind and supportive remarks, elaine. The second post from this person did give more specific info (but still didn't mention London in the header!)

rex is offline  
Old May 3rd, 2005, 11:45 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 1,550
Firstly I want to say what a lovely friend you are!
My daughter is 18 and her idea of bliss would be the Top Shop Experience. VIP treatment at the trendiest store in London. Have a look at and then under Body and Soul. Then she can go to the theatre/clubbing in the evening with her new outfit on!
Morgana is offline  
Old May 4th, 2005, 01:38 AM
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Posts: 40
my friend likes luxury, so tea might be nice. where would you suggest? I don't think i would mind paying extra for a really nice setting.

if i take her to dinner and the theatre, i need suggestions on the show. i was thinking phantom of the opera because we loved the movie,but any other suggestions.

my frind eats kosher, but if we go to a normal restaraunt then she will eat vegetarian, but i was thinking that since it is her b-day and she loves meat, then i should take her to a kosher place. i was thinking Kaifeng. has anyone heard of it or been there? Or do you think we should skip on the kosher for something more fun?
venice_is_my_fav is offline  
Old May 4th, 2005, 02:37 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,085
Rex...Why are you so damn patronising?
The poster offered a perfectly reasonable question under a perfectly reasonable heading.

Iam not quite sure who the hell you think you are.

Mucky is offline  
Old May 4th, 2005, 08:47 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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dear venice etc
previous threads on afternoon tea


and, a little older

one strategy is to have a late afternoon tea, go to the theatre, then have a late dessert or light dinner afterward has information on what's on
elaine is offline  
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