29/08/12 - London Calling! Part One

[WARNING: This is the first part of two or more very long and rambling posts.  I hope this isn't too off-putting for anyone!]

I have just got back from spending the most glorious long weekend in this country's dear capital city.  I don't get to go down there as often as I would like, not with my hectic schedule and the price of train tickets what they are.  But this weekend, I decided I deserved a treat.  I also had a meeting in preparation for something very exciting which is happening next weekend, so I was going to be down South anyway.  While I was there, I arranged to meet up with some of the girls from Performing Arts Society as a good half of our number are emigrating for years abroad/doing work placements/graduating.  So we're trying to make the most of seeing each other while we still can.

I travelled down on Wednesday evening, arriving at the very nice house of my very lovely friend Megan (her blog can be found here) at about seven o'clock.  There was a lot of very fast talking and squealing as we caught up on the events of the summer and reminisced on the past year.  We ate pizza, watched Friends and generally had a lovely chilled time before an early night as Megs had work in the morning and I my meeting.

The meeting went well and now I'm really pumped up for next weekend when I will be down in London again for a very exciting task.  More on that after the fact, as I'm not at liberty to share details just yet.  When I was finished there, I travelled to Covent Garden to have lunch with Simon, a very good friend from university.  We wandered around for a while as the weather was gorgeous, and then went to All Bar One for lunch.  Lovely atmosphere and I was really surprised by how reasonably everything was priced - I'm always shocked by the prices central London restaurants try to charge for food.  After lunch, we went for a wander down towards Westminster and carried on talking to catch up on the almost three months we hadn't seen each other.  We tried not to look like tourists in Trafalgar Square, gawped at Downing Street hoping someone important would come out whilst debating how far up the street we could get before the armed guards took us out, and ended up sitting on some steps looking up at Big Ben.  It was pretty idyllic in all honesty.

After I waved him off, I scurried to King's Cross to meet Anna (whose blog can be found here), albeit twenty minutes late - sorry Anna!  From there, we headed back to Megan's and had a lovely evening which consisted of watching Bridget Jones (a must for all girly nights in!) and eating Quorn chilli that Anna and I made.  It was pretty tasty, if I do say so myself...even if it didn't look as though it would be for a while, due to the obscene size of the onion we used - it was practically a small football, I swear!  

Friday featured another fairly early start - impressively, Anna and I were up and out of the house by half past nine.  We got food from Gregg's (true Northerners will never pass up the opportunity of a cheesy baton and a doughnut for breakfast) and hopped on a train into central London.  After alighting at King's Cross, we decided walking to Covent Garden, where we were meeting everyone else at 2 o'clock, via Oxford Street would be a brilliant idea for two girls with very little sense of where things are in London.  I have no idea how we got there - we seemed to walk up and down the same stretch of a random street about three times - but we eventually ended up in Forever 21 on Oxford Street which I found very exciting.  Then we scooted off to Covent Garden to meet the other girls, again about twenty minutes late; I see a pattern developing here whenever I am involved in getting somewhere!

We found ourselves in Bloomsbury
Square Gardens on our way to Oxford Street
and it was lovely.  Please ignore my roots.
Once we found everyone; namely Rosie, Jemma (whose blog you can go and read here - last blog link, I promise!) and Molly, we went for some lunch at Belushi's which is one of my favourite places around Covent Garden - the decor is fascinating, the walls completely plastered in bright posters and there's always something to look at.  The food is great too - I had nachos (which sparked a debate over whether or not a 'plate of crisps' could be counted as a balanced lunch) and the portion was huge!  After sitting Belushi's for ages and talking so much that the waitress who was trying to take our order couldn't get a word in edge ways, we ventured into Covent Garden to go to Candy Cakes, another of my favourite haunts.  After my lunch of crisps, I treated myself to a peanut butter cupcake and it was delicious - anything that comes topped with glittery peanuts is alright by me!

Then we hopped on a Tube and went for a wander around Spitalfields Market where I bought a turquoise scarf decorated with zebras - you will learn that I am the world's biggest scarf person - and along Brick Lane to the mother of all vintage clothes shops (more on that later).  The wandering was cut unfortunately short by the realisation that Megan, who had been at work all day and couldn't be with us, had arrived home to find that we still had the key to her room and she was locked out.  Furthermore, she'd been trying to ring all of us for ages and none of us were answering our phones, too entranced were we by market stall magic.  Cue a lot of guilty faces and a mad dash to get back on the train.  After the hour's train journey and a quick trip to Tesco, we were fully stocked up for what intended to be a big night out in London - we drank vodka cranberries and ate olives and flatbread like the classy students we are.  This was accompanied by the craziness which is created by five girls all getting ready for a night out in one small room whilst singing their hearts out to musical theatre songs.  Megan's housemate had some friends over and they must have thought we were absolutely insane!

L to R: Rosie, Jemma, me gegging at the back, and Anna.
Right, I'm cutting this rambling mess here in order to save everyone's sanity!  I hope this hasn't put you off too much and you'll read my next post...it includes a few more food and shopping recommendations that I hope people will like.

Comments always welcomed!