London Baby!

Evening all! I know it's late, but I feel now is the time to post about my wonderful trip to London. It already seems like forever ago, but I'm sure I'll remember everything.

The actual reason for our visit was to see the closing night of american magic duo Penn and Teller's short run of shows (If you've no idea who I'm talking about, Penn used to play Drell, in 'Sabrina the Teenage Witch', or if you don't remember that, he briefly appeared in Friends as an encyclopedia salesman.) They have toured all over the world, but are usually resident in Vegas.  Apparently they haven't been to the UK for over 15 years, so being able to get tickets was pretty special, and a lovely graduation present for my boyfriend from his parents. They also got us a room at the Strand Palace Hotel, which was very very nice (and I got fairly excited about the doorman and the concierge...lets just say I'm used to Travelodge!)

The hotel is in Covent Garden, and we had time before the show to get lunch and do a bit of shopping. We found the Primrose Bakery, but as it was Sunday they were just setting up, so we missed out on some gorgeous looking cakes! We did however go to Jamie's Italian for lunch, where I had the most amazing Ricotta Ravioli, with Lemon and Mint Butter (I said my Jamie obsession would slowly become apparent!) The restaurant is very different in atmosphere to Leeds, with a much more family friendly, lunchtime sort of feel, and generally more casual décor, but the food and service are just as perfect. 

Another love of mine which will become obvious in due course is Harry Potter, and in a sweet shop I came across actual Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans! If you're not a Potter fan, these are jelly bean sweets eaten by the characters in Rowling's novels, and which come in every flavour! If you are a fan, you'll understand why, amazed as I was, I put them back - earwax and boogie flavoured foodstuffs just shouldn't be! 

Harry Potter leads me nicely onto the topic of magic, and I swear Penn and Teller must have actually attended Hogwarts! I couldn't describe the tricks well enough to do them justice, but a quick search on youtube should give you some idea of the kind of things these two can do - I actually witnessed a tank of goldfish appear from nowhere, and a pair of reading glasses teleported into a solid block of polystyrene! To add to the slightly unreal atmosphere, during the interval, my boyfriend bumped into none other than Derren Brown, someone he has admired and read about for a long while, and while it totally made his day (and probably year) to shake his hand, he sat down wondering if he had been hypnotised in those few seconds! We returned to out hotel room sleepy and confused, but having had a thoroughly good night.

We woke to blazing sunshine, and went outside to find a fruit stall just outside the hotel, so it was coffee, croissants and strawberries in the sun for breakfast.

We then had a look round the Covent Garden antique market where I found the most utterly perfect engagement ring, set with 3 pale blue sapphires. Such a shame we're not quite there yet, and I doubt if financially we'll ever be there, but I did comment on how romantic it would have been to be proposed to right there in the marketplace...maybe the stall holder would've given us a discount!

We decided as it was such a nice day to walk down through Leicester Square, past Piccadilly Circus and along Regent Street. We had a look in Hamleys Toy Shop, where we found a lovely Steiff Pudsey Bear. I was amazed to find that they did other animals too, just look how adorable this little frog is!

I also discovered a shop I had only read about until then: Anthropologie. This gorgeous shop deserves its own post, so check back soon, but here's a few of my favourite bits and pieces:


Shell Measuring Spoons: £10.00 - Ring Leader Top: £29.95 (sale) - Urchin Terrarium: £49.95 (sale)

After a good hour browsing Anthropologie we decided it must be cupcake time, so we headed down to Wardour Street, and the Hummingbird Bakery. It really is worth going if you're in London, the bakery is very small and friendly (and extremely pink and sparkly!)and the cakes are to die for... Black Bottom Cupcake...

...and one chocolate Whoopie Pie later...

...we were very full! However, I managed to find a bit more room when we went into Selfridges and I saw this:


Pierre Hermé Macarons!

I was just so excited! I decided my budget would only stretch to two, so I very carefully chose 'Fragola' - Strawberry and Balsamic Vinegar, and 'Mosaïc - Pistachio, Griottines and Cinnamon, 

The Fragola is possibly the most delicious thing I have ever eaten...what a shame they're so small! I decided that I needed Balsamic vinegar. Good Balsamic vinegar. Selfridges of course sell everything, and just around the corner from the Macarons, was the Vom Fass concession. This little corner of the shop might just be my favourite place in the world, barrels of oil, vinegar and liqueur, with a vast array of bottles to have it decanted into. I went for chilli oil, and a 15 year old Balsamic vinegar which if I had my way I would drink it's so amazing! They will even personalise your bottle for you and gift wrap it if you're giving it as a present...I'm in love!

We then decided to walk through Hyde Park to Harrods, the world famous department shop, which I had never been in. We had a lovely walk through Hyde Park, and had a little rest under a huge old tree in the shade, where we also met a very tame squirrel, and a baby more hen: 

Now, I like nice things, and I don't mind paying a reasonable amount for them, but some of the things we saw for sale in Harrods were totally extortionate - 22 carat gold tea at £200 for 100grams and this cake...

...a mere £4999!

We didn't leave empty handed though, my boyfriend left with a bottle of his absolute favourite blueberry cordial, which he is currently carefully rationing! Here's a few delicious looking things that were also slightly more affordable:

Some very inventive pastries
Blueberry Eclair anyone?
Whoopie Pies
Lola's Cupcakes - Love that Coconut!

I think that just about ends our trip - hopefully it wasn't completely boring to read about and you didn't have to be there to appreciate it (though I admit cake is generally better in person!) It really was a lovely relaxing, sunny couple of days, and a perfect way to celebrate graduating. I'll leave you with a photo of myself and one of my very favourite things to do, enjoy:


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