I’ve been itching to write a little about life and London and general frolics lately, so in no particular order or with any cohesive theme, here’s a little bit on what I’ve been up to in my free time… //
Spending Time In Marylebone / In the general area and, more specifically, in Daunt’s, La Fromagerie and Providores. From Daunt’s, I’ve recently acquired enough books to see me well into summer. The cheese compartment of my fridge will equally require some diligence to empty after my shop at La Fromagerie. Providores has left the shorter legacy of a little extra fat (I can never resist that sodding pudding list). I strongly suggest you check out all three if you’re in the ‘Bone with time to spare.
Watching Splash / Yes, the 80s film. I recently revisited it to find that: a) it’s quite masterfully made, especially when considering that it was pre-CGI; b) Eugene Levy steals the show and, c) I now have a hankering for crimping hair to come back. If it does, I will grow mine to mermaid lengths and embrace the trend in all it’s glory.
Having Manis with Mum in Urban Retreat in Harrods / Let’s be frank: Harrods went through a really bad stage in the early millennium. As my mum has always considered clothes shopping to be a form of catharsis, I spent a good deal of my youth being dragged from Prada to Pucci to Philip Lim in the big four (Harvey Nics, Harrods, Liberty London and Selfridges). They were not born equal, the four, with Harrods languishing at the bottom of our affections. It’s sprung right to the top of our list after a recent visit to Urban Retreat. Inside the emporium of beauty there are rows of manicurists, warrens in which to be waxed and massaged and cleansed and oiled, and hairdressers galore. It’s also perfect for a treat for two – we headed to the cafe after for some tea and scones with a side of gossip.
Eating At Ida’s / This little Italian eatery on Kilburn Lane in Queen’s Park reminds me a lot of my Dad’s – very much a family affair, very relaxed, very inviting, minimal pretentiousness. I like such places an awful lot.
Reading Short Stories / There’s something hugely satisfying about being able to start and finish a story in one sitting, isn’t there? I’ve recently been trying to read a whole short story before bed to wind down at the end of the day and find it very helpful in sending me to sleep (too much so sometimes – I have been waking on occasion at 3am with the pages stuck to my face!)… Two worth picking up in my opinion are Hilary Mantel The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher (great writing, of course, and very absorbing, though the stories are a touch bleak), and Rachel Joyce’s The Snow Garden and Other Stories (it’s the wrong season for it but I found these so heart-warming and written with Joyce’s characteristic piercing insight and beautiful turns of phrase).
Exploring East London / Though a West Londoner through and through, I really carry a torch for the East End. I used to live in the little grotty nook tucked behind Middlesex Street on the road where Jack the Ripper left his graffito after murdering Catharine Eddowes, and the tour would pass by my window each afternoon and evening. I now have encyclopaedic knowledge of that particularly gruesome evening in 1888. I recently had a chance to wander the old streets that still remain gloriously shabby (though, thankfully, gore-free) and found them to still be very worthy of an hour or five…