my london week in numbers

Painted in Waterlogue

In the vein of Rosie and Freya, I thought I would share my week in London through numbers. So here you go.

2 | Celebrities spotted. I was in London all of 20 minutes when I walked past Bill Nighy in Soho. Then on Sunday I headed to The Wolseley for brunch (seriously love The Wolseley) and Samuel L Jackson was having some eggs.

20+ | Hours spent on buses, trains and tube. I stayed at a friend just past Hackney after I got into London got back to using the bus a lot. Definitely the best way to get around London if you aren’t in too much of a hurry. Plus a train from my Mom into London, to Cambridge and back and to the airport, plus the occasional zip on the tube. I have to say it was a little exhausting all the moving around though – I only take the bus once a week to go to one of my little tutoring jobs. And occasionally to the beach.

3 | Nights slept in my styled hair. Four days and it still looked decent! Very impressed

12 | Charity shops visited. I was looking for some bits for the wedding and was fairly successful. This was split between one near my mum in Bracknell, Crouch End and Cambridge.

At least 10 | Number of jugs in said charity shops that I eyed up longingly. I have a thing for them.

18 | Friends caught up with. Not everyone but glad that I got to spend some quality time with a bunch of my special friends.

1 | Photo shoot. Had to some work (although always so fun).

2 | Pairs of shoes bought. A smart move with the Tom’s but got massive blisters from the cheapo high street purchase. Oops.

gazillion | Calories consumed. In case you are interested this included meals from the following: The Vintage Tea House with my mum (great cake!), a late dinner at Maeve’s Kitchen (a simple menu but lovely cosy feeling), Tibits (a great central vegetarian restaurant which is great for a bite with a friend for lunch), Rosa’s (to get some Thai food fix), Beam (still thinking about their salad), Franco Manca, a little caf’ in Cambridge where I had a full veggie English (yum), The Wolseley (always brilliant), an amazing Turkish falafel wrap from Dom’s Place (a hipster kebab joint basically. It has been there since the 1970s but recently refurbished. Super good wrap too). So many new places had popped up in favourite neighbourhoods and exploring new areas meant I was keen to try 10,000 more but afraid my stomach and wallet could not handle that. Time for a detox now!

pizza loving

pizza pilgrim food van pizza franca manco pizzaI have been having a lot of pizza of late.  This poster seemed appropriate.  I do love pizza. I wouldn’t say I am a connoisseur but don’t tell me Pizza Hut or Dominos are good.

I generally prefer the Roman style crust (think and flakey) but the Neapolitan (slightly more doughy and chewy) seems to be rising in popularity.

I’ve tried a few new places recently:

Pizza Pilgrim. I tried this at a Google event and was incredibly impressed by the street van which made a pizza in about 2 minutes with a super hot oven. I was then happy to find when wondering around Soho shortly after that they have just opened a restaurant on Dean Street.  I went with Freya a couple weeks ago and wasn’t disappointed.  This is good Neapolitan pizza! Plus I love how the menu has instructions on eating pizza Italian style – hands and folding required.

Franco Manca. This has been on my to try list for ages and with a day off the other day Tim and I headed down. We each had a very generous sized pizza at a very reasonable price. I can’t remember exactly what mine was but it had a lot of cheese which was delicious. If you are in Brixton I would definitely suggest you try it out, although I might try one of their other locations before I head off.

Home Slice. I headed to this new Covent Garden pizzeria on the recommendation of Jo. It is a great option for meeting a small group of friends as they do giant pizzas for £20 with a half and half option. Or head out for a lunch date and just have a slice.  There is a board with the pizza options for the day with a good selection of vegetarian options. Definitely There is nothing else on the menu (no dessert even) and the drinks are beer or prosecco on top (and I assume some juices maybe?).

Piccolo Forno. If you try to go to Pizza Pilgrim and the queue is just to long head around the corner to this less trendy option. The pizzas are well sized, tasty and reasonably priced. The service is friendly and you are likely to get a seat!

Also recommended:

If you find yourself in Wimbledon I highly recommend Al Forno which serves massive pizzas (you really only need to order a small! Do not go for the medium unless you plan on sharing! Perhaps not the best pizza in the world but the atmosphere is always interesting.

I visited Pizza East a while ago and really enjoyed it but it was a bit on the pricier side. Worth a visit if you find yourself in the vicinity of one.

eat out | afternoon tea at fortnum and mason

fortnum and mason tea | mycreative Fortnum & Mason is a symbol of everything British.  The first store in Britain to stock baked beans and the provider of ‘basics’ such as tea and jam to the gentry as well as the provider of luxurious picnic baskets.  Can it get more English?

On Friday I took my Mum to Fortnums for afternoon tea for her birthday.  We arrived a little early and wondered around the “tea and jam” floor before heading up to the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon.  We were shortly seated at a spacious table with rather comfy chairs and made ourselves comfortable for the next two hours with the sounds of a gentleman playing on a piano.  The decor is suitably ‘tea room’ with accents of Tiffany blue (which appear to be F&M blue too) and several pictures of Audrey Hepburn hanging around.  They know their clientele (which appeared to be 95% women and a high number of elder ladies and tourists).

There is a massive selection of teas (I think around 85), Mum went for the standard breakfast and I had the black tea with peach which was delicious.  Having advised when booking that we were vegetarian we were provided with the vegetarian menu on seating and went ahead with it.  There was a good selection of sandwiches; along with the standard egg cress and cucumber there was also one with artichoke, a sort of Mediterranean sandwich with pesto and sundried tomatoes and an open cheese and chutney one.  All the breads were different which I thought was a nice touch.

We then had two scone each – plain and raisin.  We opted for the lemon curd instead of jam which was absolutely delicious and I think I might go back and just buy a tub of their lemon curd. The clotted cream was also amazingly thick (I could feel my arteries as I ate it).

The top tier of the cake-stand was full of a selection of little cakes, some twists on classics (like a bakewell tart).  There was also a cake stand with ‘cakes of the day’ although I didn’t try any of those.

fortnum and mason afternoon tea

Throughout the tea we were asked if we wanted more.  We really should have taken them up on the offer as it was a very pricey £40 a head (plus they charged 12.5% service on top of that which I do think was rather cheeky) but it was pretty filling.  This is certainly a special occasion sort of outing but for a rare visit to sit in a piece of London history I would say it is worth the expense.  Not sure I would make a return visit (what with Claridges and the Ritz on the list) but definitely happy I went.

Where is the best afternoon tea you have been?  I’d love to know where I should head next.

(bottom pictures from camera phone)

over the weekend

 i like you gelupo sorbetti anthropologie tiles

I didn’t do much of what I had planned on the weekend.  I never actually seem to do! C’est la vie.  On Saturday we ended up brunching with our housemate and heading to Les Mis.  I was pretty impressed with the singing but can’t say that I totally loved it.  I suppose it was a bit too musical and (not having seen it on stage) it seemed still very ‘stagey’.

Sunday the Mr was busy so I took myself on a date around the Taylor Wessing Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery.  As always I was very impressed with the quality and interested to see the emergence of both older camera technology and one iPhone shot – though to be honest it is hard to see that as the same standard when I have seen better in my instagram feed.

I then enjoyed some soup at Wholefoods, wondered around Anthropologie (which I find is like an inspiration museum) and then grabbed some sorbetti (blood orange and bitter chocolate) on the way back to the station.

Rather quite pleasant having a day on your own sometimes.  Although didn’t get any practice on my film camera at all!  Hoping for some more blue skies next weekend for a bit of practice.

{all images from instagram}

grateful for weekend trainline closures

Well it must be a first that I am actually grateful for weekend trainline closures, but it did mean that I discovered something new.  By now you must know that I make regular visits to the Capital carboot sale in Pimlico (exhibit A, B) but one complaint I have is that after a good rummage I am normally hungry and in my travel from Vauxhall to the carboot there weren’t many decent eateries.

On Sunday the rail works on the south west train line meant I had to take the tube to Victoria.  I hadn’t realised how close it was and as my friend and I wandered down we passed several delis and pubs which looked quite good.  After a good session at the boot (more on that later) we decided to go to Khallouk & Taylor.  It is a small deli with several tables inside and out, a selection of food and Moroccan bowls as well as leather goods available for purchase.  We had the mozarella and tomato sandwhich, which was simple but delicious, and mint tea with a sneaky carrot and fig cake afterwards.

The sunshine streaming through the big glass windows made you almost think it was summer.  All in all a really pleasant place.

tuscanic

Okay, have been an utter failure with my no eating out challenge this weekend (although haven’t bought lunch which is good).  I’ll start fresh today.  In the meantime you should go to Tuscanic on Old Compton Street.

It is pretty much how I imagine my kitchen will look like when I move to Italy – dark honey coloured wood, copper fixtures, white walls and full of delicious food*.  Half of the patrons seemed to be Italian which is a good sign to me that it must be “authentic”.  It serves a selection of mezze type food – crostinis, small pizzas and platters of cured meat and cheeses – which actually makes it a reasonable option for a light dinner.  Great pre-theatre option too I thought.

more Italian home inspiration on pinterest