Hooray hooray, I made it! One month in London and what a month it has been! The grace period is over and its time to settle down. Naaaaht! There’s always something going on, places to go, places to be, people to see, I can’t imagine me ever getting bored here so long may the fun continue! I wanted to make sure this week was a good one, I’m sentimental about stuff like this. I want to look back and think what a bloody good time I had when my northern tush first landed here. (FYI, on the northern front, I VERY nearly said the word class the other day pronounced Cl-ars, luckily I managed to rein it in) In the last four weeks I’ve discovered there’s a world out there past 5pm and what a wonderful world it is!
Never have I ever celebrated the Scottish holiday Burns night, however I feel being a lover of tartan scarves and shortbread is a good enough reason to celebrate the life of Robert Burns. This is what I love about London… no matter what day of the week, what occasion, what far-flung cultural day of significance it is there is always someone who’s already thought of it as an excuse to have a good time and there’s an event being organised.
My time so far here has been predominantly SW based so when stepping out of the tube at Old Street I could sense I wasn’t in my yummy mummy, friendly faced Clapham. I’m entering hipster territory. I’m talking twiddly moustaches, ankle biting trousers and girls with the ‘just out of bed’ look hair. I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather spend this freezing cold evening other than on a rooftop, I’ll rephrase, a roof top bar with a teepee. Once I heard this is what the Queen of Hoxton was offering I was SOLD.
The teepee was huge and appropriately decorated with tartan bunting, shields and animal hides. The land of Scots was celebrated by whiskey tasting, a Scottish themed menu such as haggis and deep fried Mars bars (which was D-lish-us!) and alcoholic beverages of all varieties using only the finest Scottish ingredients such as nettle love elixir, grog blood of Loki, Thors courage and the option that I chose, Bjork’s wild brambles hot wine. I particularly enjoyed how you had the option of having your drink in a Viking horn. The fire pits are blazing and theres a man playing highland tunes on an instrument of some sort. I LOVE IT. I spot the most hipster looking fellow I can find, the usual suspect, over-sized round glasses, a bushy beard and the top button done up. Turns out he’s been hired by the venue to address the haggis. This is actually a thing. A poem wrote by Robert Burns to show appreciation to the haggis. We can’t understand a word the man is saying due to his thick Scottish accent and also it appears not to be written in English. The poem ends with a theatrical stabbing of the haggis and cheers! We drive home over the Tower of London and my mind is set back to the Spice girls movie where Posh Spice is flooring it over the bridge as the two sides separate. What a movie.
This weekend was one of my most favourite weekends in a very long time. I loved how spontaneity took over and very fun things just happened. Just like that…
Friday night was hashtag date night and it’s going to be a hard one to top. I wear the trousers (I still can’t just let someone look after me! Ah!) Luckily my favourite museum had its monthly late night event on and I’m excited, I’ve been looking forward to going to one of these for a long time. The night begins at the Natural History museum. It’s great, there’s no crowds, no children and probably the biggest benefit of all is that they now have little pop up stalls serving alcoholic treats (to brush off any dating nerves!) and nibbles. We spend the next few hours nerding it up strolling around the exhibitions, sipping the good stuff and laughing non stop, mainly at his terrible jokes. I overload him with facts about animals of all kinds and he actually impresses me with his
lucky guesses knowledge about natural phenomena. I’m in geek heaven. I’d definitely recommend a night at the museum lates, its fun, educational and best of all free!
I’ve booked us a table at Apero, a mediterranean bistro bar connected to the very swanky Ampersand Hotel on Harrington Road in South Kensington. I read about this place on Pinterest and from the pictures alone it landed itself with a spot on my bucket list.
Tonight is officially my one month in London anniversary so I was always going to make it into a big deal. Apero’s interiors are cellar chic, with splashes of jade from their twirly bar stools, shiny white tiles and hanging edison bulbs. The decor is spot on and without even looking at the menu before hand I knew I would love it here. The cocktail menu is on point and after perusing I pick ‘Gypsy’ the combination of blood orange and prosecco is ticking all of my boxes. It arrives decorated with a slice of dried orange and a pretty little pansy floating on top. Lush!
Apero is tapas of the finest and after careful consideration we agree to go with the sharing menu, at £32 each it’s a bargain for the amount of food you get taking into account its location. The food is plentiful and so, so tasty. By the main course the zip on my skirt is involuntarily unzipping itself in response to my tummy growing in size. We can’t even finish the cheese course, with eyes bigger than our bellies and just the perfect amount of alcohol sipped its time to hit the road!
Saturday was a great day! It kicked off with a roomie morning out at London Grace which later turned into an impromptu all dayer sesh. I was so excited about introducing her to my most favourite of pamper spots and my lovely Liverpudlian didn’t let us down with her wise words and funny stories. One pink fizz down and it’s got us in the mood… We therefore think it’s a wonderful idea to carry on drinking. Next stop is Northcote road for afternoon cocktails and meat. One drink leads to another and next thing we know we’re in Soho at the Arts Theatre Club pouring apple strudel flavoured juice out of a tea pot. This is another place I had read about during my many hours of Pinterest scrolling and we just happened to stumble (literally) across it. Well I say stumble, by this point in the day I have the shakes and the munchies but as its Chinese New year and China town is booming the likelihood of scoffing noodles right now is low.
The Arts theatre club has a certain ambience. It’s dimly lit room, over-sized, red velvet lamp shades and its carpeted walls remind me of old Hollywood glamour, with what sounds like the soundtrack to Peaky Blinders quietly playing in the background I’m certain any moment the mafia are going to stroll in.
The crawl (again, literally) finds us knock knock knocking on the Experimental Cocktail clubs door. I’ve been here before years ago and remember it being a super secretive black door which resembles a fire exit. The only clue we have to its existence is the shifty looking man standing outside of said door. I approach him and gingerly ask if this is the experimental cocktail club. With no words leaving his mouth he opens the door and shuffles us in. On second thought, I’ve just let a shady character take me into a hidden door and he’s now leading me up a flight of stairs to an unknown location. On third thought, always trust your instinct. We’re led into some secret cocktail haven where the bar men wear bowler hats and waistcoats and the waitress is wearing shiny gold mini shorts. The cocktails are pricey but what do you expect for such a show.
Finally, by this point in the evening the queues in China Town have diminished and it’s time to soak up the booze with a chinese. Today has been a great day and with a lesson learnt, sometimes plan, sometimes wing it.
Sunday was a ‘Me day’ a day of much needed R&R, doing things that make me happy, going at a slow and steady pace watching the world go by. From a tourist point of view I’ve always been a fan of North London, in particular Notting Hill. I decided to spend my day really exploring Notting Hill and not just sticking solely to Portobello Road. For those that know me know that I love houses, buildings, general varieties of construction! Pick up your chin and look around, every once in a while set your eye line high and appreciate the goodness above. With this in mind I feel like it’s the perfect day for a stroll around Notting Hill to admire the colourful houses on such a drab and dingy, rainy Sunday.
I let myself get lost, strolling, meandering through the endless rows of rainbow coloured houses. I see colours that catch my eye and I change route. There’s no plan here, it’s all about doing what takes my fancy. How will I ever live in a place like this? Surely if I put my mind to it I can do it? I’m not sure what I prefer either the elegance of the tall, whitewashed Victorian town houses or the cute, completely dreamy pastel shaded terraces. I’ll take both.
After wandering the back streets for a few hours I just so happen to stumble across a #cakeclub establishment off my list! It’s a sign. As CEO/founder of cake club I immediately make up the rule that all cake club establishments that you just so happen to cross by chance must at that very moment be sampled. Biscuiteers is cuteness overload. For real. With prettiness in abundance and copious amounts of biscuits of all shapes and sizes neatly packaged and displayed it’s sending my girlyness levels into overdrive. All of the biscuits here are baked on site and hand decorated, they look too good to eat. After spending probably too much time strategically trying to work out the size to icing ratio on the biscuits I go for a little tea pot, and to accompany my treat, a real life teapot filled with the finest brew of English breakfast. I spend the next half an hour nibbling, sipping, whiling away the afternoon and it’s simply wonderful. ZEN.
Wasting time doing nothing is not wasted if said time was enjoyed. Something like that. I love nothing more than wasting time in bookshops. I could spend hours snooping through books imagining how nicely they’d look in my imaginary library, in my imaginary house. I visit Notting Hill Bookshop, you know the one from the famous scene in the film ‘Notting Hill’ when Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts lock eyes for the first time. Once inside I hang around a while in a bid to either a) Be whisked off my feet by Hugh Grant b) Be whisked off my feet by a Hugh Grant lookalike, but no luck. I give it another minute, you know, just incase.
And that’s it, just like that, one month down and London has well and truly got me.
Love from a very happy (about bloody time!)