We all know the Craig David’s smash hit, 7 Days…right?
Took her for a pint on Tuesday,
We were having pints on Wednesday,
And on Thursday and Friday and Saturday,
We had a afternoon sesh at the Chatty on Sunday.
Well I am pretty sure how it goes. It certainly feels like it. Every day of the week has brand new adventures with the same ol’ end; we spent a bit too much, and now we have a bit of headache.
Being back into teaching means I am back into having the half term breaks, but due to a tightening of the budget (what is money anyway?), we decided to stay in London. This of course is an excellent chance to remind ourselves why we live in this fabulous city. So here is what we managed to get up to, my advice on activities you could do, or if not, just enjoy reading for the sake of it (or don’t enjoy it…you have a mind of your own).
Our weekend actually started a few days earlier on Thursday. A friend’s birthday saw us head to Dalston; an interesting part of London where the impoverished and hipsters collide. We headed to Ballie Ballerson, originally a pop-up, but now a full time adult ball pit. Think back to the younger days at McD’s; you have had your Happy Meal and Mum said you can have fifteen minutes in the playground. Well, it is exactly the same but instead of a Happy Meal, you have alcohol and there is a bouncer, not your mother, insuring you don’t overshoot your 2 hour time slot. It was absolutely brilliant.
And so the stay-cation begins…
Saturday – This was my day to sort out my life but instead I babysat for 11 hours so let’s just move on. Got to make that money. No pints for me today.
Sunday – A London staple, especially on a Bank Holiday weekend, is to have a Bottomless Brunch. Five ladies embarked on a journey of brunch and endless prosecco at the The Schoolhouse, near Battersea. As you would imagine, we walked in with the ambition of finishing as much as we could (and the food was good – my Mrs Brunch meal was incredible). So due to this ambition, it was not surprise that this evening spiraled into a mixture of memories of Uber rides, house parties, supermarket stops, ordering pizza, and finally the UV party at The Slug in Fulham. Many pints for me.
Monday – was suppose to be my quiet day to commit to life admin…given the activities the night before…this was not successful. Shall we just continue? No pints for me – not even a Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger beer could save me here.
Tuesday – After a successful gym session, we were ready for the first officially planned staycation activity. We were off to Hampton Court, so the Tudor geek (me) could finally walk the grounds, remember what I have learned and get ready to learn some more. We caught the train to Richmond and on route decided to pick up picnic snacks from Marks & Spencer Food Hall. Richmond also has many takeaway places and supermarkets on the way to the river where you can stop and pick up a variety of delicious food. We took our food to the riverside, where once more a pint was consumed at the White Cross, while we waited for the boat to arrive. The 11am boat to Hampton Court, traveled upstream through the Teddington Lock, through Kingston and an hour and 45 minutes later, we arrived at Hampton Court. The company we used is called Turks, which was £9 one way. The boat had a fully kitted bar, but I was happy with the huge amount of cheesy delights I purchased from M&S. The Thames is rather beautiful along this route. Impressive large houses, expansive green spaces, and what I believe was fresh air. Hampton Court was indeed impressive. We enjoyed the many apartments, gardens, stories, and the maze. I can’t choose a part that I liked the most, but if I had to, I would have to say the dinning hall where King Henry the VIII dined, wined, and flirted was pretty incredible. The tapestries, the beams, the stain glassed windows, the wood paneling. Absolutely stunning. You can easily spend a whole day here and even tag on activities in Richmond on the way or on the way home. After a pint at the Mute Swan, directly across from Hampton Court, we caught the bus home.
Wednesday – Tourists all over the world flock on London and head to Harrods. I just haven’t really been all that interested but seeing some photos, and the constant stream of tourists getting on at Knightsbridge with their green bags, I thought…why not? Everything is as expensive as you have been told. We knew we needed to buy something, so a birthday present for my nephew, and a cute Harrods tin of tea suited us just fine. There was so much to look at. Check out Toy Kingdom…there are things for big kids in there! Then we were off to the Imperial War Museum, near Lambeth North Station. We started at The Stationmaster for a pint (surprise, surprise) and a burger, and boy they were exceptional burgers. Tummies full, we were off to the museum. We stayed for just over three hours, and we managed to see everything. I had been to the one in Manchester, so I didn’t think it would vary too much, so this surpassed by expectations well and truly. All the museums I have been to so far have impressed me, they are worth doing, especially if you live in London (those dark, cold weekends don’t have to be miserable). Then The Three Stags for a pint before heading home – this pub is directly across from the Museum. The Museum also has a Tibetan Peace Garden, opened by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. This area had plenty of people sharing picnics, and I thought that perhaps I need to do this next time, would save a bit of money and it is always nice to get outside whenever and where ever you can.
Thursday – Another big gym session and we were off on another day adventuring, this time…The London Wetlands. It was amazing to see all the birds, and wild life the exists here despite being very close to Central London. The wetlands are about a 10 minute bus from Hammersmith Station. Once again, an excellent idea for a picnic, we just got ice cream! I definitely recommend as a good day out…lots of walking, fresh air, and I learned a lot. They have some vulnerable and endangered birds here, including eiders, red breasted geese, and sand martins. We caught the bus and were off to Chiswick, where we visited a few charity shops in hope to find some outfits for Royal Ascot in June. We then went to Bayley and Sage for cheese, and scotch eggs. We ate our scotch eggs in the sun on the grass of Turnham Green. Then we did our odd jobs of adulting…hair appointments etc. We rushed home to complete our washing and then off to Putney, to have dinner and drinks with a friend back home on the banks of The Thames. Fair to say, a few pints here.
Friday – #shoplocal…today was a day of once more adulting. All those things you need to do in the background to ensure you can maximise the free time with all the fun stuff. So inbetween adulting, we went for a walk along Churchfield Street, as you head to Acton Central. This street is a trove of shops: hairdressers, beauty therapists, wine shops, butchers, fish mongers, cafes (heaps of them), pubs, bakeries, gift shops, and restaurants. Many of these locally owned. It is a little out of the way for us, so we don’t get to go down here as often as we would like (or should). We managed to get to Limpopo, who some incredibly tasty biltong, as recommended to us by South Africans named Moose and Floppy. Then down the road to the Station Master for a pint (we had to, it was raining and we needed shelter). I was stoked to find The Kernel on tap as this was a pub we missed on the Bermondsey Pub Crawl, and I was so keen to try it. It did not disappoint. Then we were off to Laveli Bakery next door for some fresh (and very tasty) sourdough bread. Our next stop was an important one for us. Steak over here is okay…it can be expensive and the quality varies. We were incredibly excited to go into an actual butcher. Walking past an amazing trinket store called The Village Trading Store, I was impressed with the range of gift ideas that I was to afraid to walk in due to fear my credit card would never recover. We arrived at The English Butcher Shop, run by an Aussie with a very thick accent who cut us two very thick, aged sirloin steaks at a reasonable price (far cheaper than the supermarkets). Now, steak cries out for accompaniments, and with Park & Bridge, a beautiful wine shop up the road, we got a stunning bottle of Spanish Rioja. Then we were off to the a shop across from our local gym on Uxbridge Road. It has a butchery, bakery, shop, and grocers all in one. We got some plump red vine cherry tomatoes, some fresh green beans to go with our steak, and we found some stuffed vine leaves which would go well with a platter, so bought them too. Then off home to enjoy our spoils. I am usually pretty terrible at getting my groceries delivered, so it felt fantastic to get among the locals.
Saturday – Unfortunately, the evening of the Borough St Market attack will be what is remembered, but I will try to remember my morning of the bliss of smelling cheeses, trying the best mushroom pate ever, and eating fresh strawberries we bought from a jolly man for £1.50. The market is London’s oldest fruit and vegetable market, but it has expanded into a place where you can buy everything; from cheeses, to wine, to boutique craft beers, to seafood, to flowers, to freshly pressed juice, to exotic meats (Zebra steak anyone?) and obviously plenty of fruit and vegetables. After we walked around, we were off to enjoy the unique opportunity of having yet another pint in some glorious sunshine. We were off the The Anchor, which on the banks of the river, has views of St. Paul’s and The Shard. We decided then to go to Eat. (not so local anymore), but they have brilliant salads which we ate on a seat alongside the river. Then we walked to The Swan from a pre-show pint in the sun to watch Twelfth Night at the Globe. Standing tickets are from £5. It was by far the best show (this is our third) we have seen yet, masterfully directed by Emma Rice. It was hilarious, the actors incredibly talented, and I got a prosecco and peach popsicle! Afterwards, we walked along Millennium Bridge towards St. Paul’s, where we had another pint at Ye Olde London, then a short walk to Blackfriars Pub (very cool pub) for another pint. As Blackfriars station was out of action due to engineering works, we walked to Southwark station, where unfortunately we both felt the need to use the bathroom but were also quite thirsty, so we ended up at The Prince William Henry…for you guessed it, another pint. Then home where we stopped at our locally owned Italian place, Casereccio, where we ate too much pasta and had some very tasty Italian red wine.
Sunday – Well if you know the song Victoria, by The Exponents, you will know that Sunday’s are for washing and doing the hoovering…unless you go down the The Chatty…(which I will not…school prep to commence…head back in the game).
We have been in here over a year, but there is still so much we are yet to do in this very exciting city.
Ka kite ano.
*This was written after a very sleepless night and undoubtedly plagued with grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors. I apologise for any inconvenience. I am sure I will frustratingly notice a few as soon as I post this…