It’s another rainy Sunday evening and although Monday is looming in the distance, there’s nothing better than being all cosy indoors, content after a lazy day and a gorgeous veggie roast. After a quiet night in on Friday, we had a night out at the good ol’ Queen of Hoxton last night for Session’s 4th Birthday but as promised, here’s part deux of Living La Vida Loca…
So speaking of Shoreditch bars, we headed to the B@1 cocktail Bar in Old Street for my friend Kevin’s birthday a couple of weekends back and it’s definitely among my top nights out on the town. Happy Hour is from 5-8 there and although I sadly missed it by minutes arriving just after 8, the early birds amongst my friends who got there just after 5 were very happy indeed. Who wouldn’t be after half a dozen Long Island Teas and a few Woo Woos?! There are absolutely hundreds of cocktails to choose from and of course the staff (who are super-friendly but nuts!) show off their skills by throwing the shakers up to the air, setting fire to the orange peel before putting it into your Cosmo and handing you your drink with a cheeky
cheesy wink. The bar gets filled up pretty quick and once it gets going, it gets really going! The music in there is an eclectic mix, with the staff choosing their own favourites from their iTunes playlists so one minute you may be dancing to Swedish House Mafia, Tina Turner the next before all warbling in unison to Bon Jovi’s “Living on a Prayer.” Random but it works! If you don’t have to clock-watch through the evening to get the last train, it’s a place that is worth staying in until the very end, purely because the staff are so up for joining in between serving up cocktails. Like an all male version of Coyote Ugly, they were all dancing on the bar with shirts (and drinks) strewn everywhere. A few of us made an impromptu decision to stay out until the bar closed at 2am and although my bank account probably wasn’t happy with the cab fare home, it was absolutely worth it. You only live once afterall…
One of the things on my bucket list this year is to see more of the UK, as well as the rest of the world. While I’m content with to-ing and fro-ing from Essex to London most of the time, it’s always nice to venture around somewhere new. So last weekend I sang along to Heart Classics (sad, very sad) to stop myself from freaking out so much during my fog and rain soaked journey up the dark M11 to Cambridge and was convinced upon arrival that my sat nav had directed me to Lego Land instead. I was successful in conquering the lanes, the numerous roundabouts, the one-way system and the tiny roads though, but sadly my parking still remains shoddy. I digress…
The town was absolutely brimming with tourists (moi included) despite the cold weather and we spent the day getting ‘lost’ through the old part of it, while I cooed and squealed at every boutique, patisserie and bookshop we walked past. For shopaholics, there is a real need for restraint! While we passed on the walking tours of the cathedrals and the university campus, you can’t help but be amazed at the architecture and the old-worldiness of it all. Cambridge is possibly half Hogwarts and half Belgium. And if you do wander down to the river and want to spectate the punting from cosy surroundings, I would recommend the charming Mill pub which offers fresh, hearty food as well as local cask ales. It was unfortunately a little bit too cold for me to even consider punting (and I would probably lump it in with ice-skating, skiing and rock climbing as activities that someone as clumsy as me should never be allowed to partake in) but you can imagine how beautiful everything is in the summer. Also literally EVERYONE in Cambridge cycles and by the end of our day out, I’d lost count of how many times I’d nearly run over by a bicycle with a floral basket.
For fashionistas, there is of course the Grand Arcade in the heart of town which has everything from Topshop and Kurt Geiger to LK Bennett, Laura Ashley and John Lewis. There’s also an array of brands dotted around the lanes and Market Hill, including a massive Cath Kidston (I resisted temptation!) and hundreds of independent boutiques like Chattertons and Lilac Rose. And if you’re feeling a bit peckish in the afternoon, there’s nothing better than a spot of afternoon tea. Patisserie Valerie is probably one of the busiest tearooms in the town but with mouth-watering cakes placed strategically in their windows, it’s one thing you can’t resist and of course, it’s worth the wait.
There’s literally so much to do in the town that it was impossible to fit everything in a weekend and of course, weather permitting but it definitely will be one of our summer jaunts this year!
After waking up to slight blizzard on Sunday morning, I made my way back to Essex without so much of a flap in time for my mother to open her Mother’s Day presents. A very chic blush Dorothy Perkins cropped faux-leather jacket and a scarf if you’re interested! Greenwich Market is my Mum’s favourite place in London so we decided to have a day out there for Mother’s Day.
Located just across the road from Cutty Sark station, if you love food, vintage knick-knacks, cupcakes and foooood, then Greenwich Market is perfect for a Sunday. Although it’s not as vast as Spitalfields, it’s a little bit more quaint and manageable for an afternoon, especially if you’ve been out the night before.
Stalls sell everything from landscape canvases, hand-printed t-shirts, organic soaps and intricate jewellery. There are boutiques and shops dotted around the square including the most amazing vintage shop 360 Degrees with clothing and accessories dating back to the 1940s. I’m slightly obsessed with the 40s and 50s at the moment after Call The Midwife finished its first series on BBC One last week.
As for the food, whether you love Indian, Italian, Chinese, Thai or if you’re vegan, veggie, eat gluten-free or just love freshly baked goods, you will be in your absolute element. I had a spinach, potato and mozzarella mini calzone from one of the Italian traders followed by this too-good-to-eat red velvet cupcake.
After we had gorged ourselves silly, it was time for a refreshing beverage at the nearest pub. The Gipsy Moth next to the Cutty Sark is one of the cutest pubs in South East London and has amazing views of the ship itself and overlooking the Thames. Seeing as it was Mother’s Day, the place was full to the brim with families tucking into their Sunday Roast so we ended up all huddling outside in the beer garden (amazing in the summer!) under the very small patio heater nursing pints of London Pride and Elderflower and Lime cider.
It seemed I brought the sleet and the snow back with me from Cambridge and when we could no longer feel our fingers and toes, we took a few tourist shots from the harbour and jumped on the train home. Of course, the weather didn’t dampen our spirits and it was lovely to spend time all together. Greenwich is absolutely beautiful and has so much history with the university, the Naval College and of course is home to the Meridian Clock. The views from the top of that clock are absolutely amazing and on a clear day, you can see most of the City. Again, it’s another thing for the Summer 2013 To Do list.
I’ve had a few awesome weekends and I hope my Mum had as much fun as we did last weekend. I also have to mention a Happy 70th Birthday to my Grandad Norman and Happy 21st to my cousin Nicole for this weekend…looking forward to another family get-together next weekend!
May your Monday be swift and let’s pray to the Sun God for some warmer weather for the end of the month. À bientôt.