The hustle and bustle of London is something that I’ve always loved. It was a bit of a no-brainer when I received the email from Virgin Trains that there were to be many cheap tickets on sale between London and Leeds!
I was straight on it.. with Mum’s birthday being on the 3rd of March and her love of the city being the same as mine, I bought us tickets for this weekend and we started planning straight away!
How else would I want to spend my chill week, with less training, no uni work and lots of cafe hopping!
Saturday morning started in Sheffield, home, with a quick tram journey to the station. The London train seemed quicker than ever with only a couple of hours rail time and a good natter and book! Soon we were arriving into Kings Cross and I have to admit I was probably feeling just as excited as the little boy who had stood up on his seat shouting ‘we’re in London!!‘ (repeatedly).
After dropping the overnight bag at left luggage, we headed straight for the Underground to buy our Oysters! (Not the seafood type).
First on the agenda was to find somewhere for lunch, before we headed to the Victoria Theatre for the matinee performance of WICKED!
Thanks to Mum’s superb planning, and Instagram stalking, we found her suggested stop-offs with ease! First up was Peggy Porschen Cakes (see below)…the most pink, cute and girly cake shop I have ever known! However, with nothing savoury on the menu, we decided to hop across the road to the Tomtom Coffee House first, where we enjoyed eggs on toast with ginger beers in a chilled and quirky environment.
Booking tickets for Wicked was quite a last-minute thing and so we were prepared for our seats at the back of the theatre. Even with a bit of leaning to either side of the french man’s head in front of me, I had a clear view and the performance was superb! With both of us admitting we didn’t really have a clear idea of the storyline beforehand, it was easy to follow this prequel of The Wizard of Oz and learn where the Tin Man comes into the story! The singing was fantastic.
Following the show, we jumped back on the underground and made our way to Embankment, where the sun was just setting behind the London Eye and Big Ben. Above right: Couldn’t help being typical tourists and having a selfie on the Golden Jubilee Bridge.
As darkness was suddenly upon us, we escaped back to the underground.. ready for dinner! Us rookies didn’t pre-book at our chosen restaurant and so settled for an Italian in Kings Cross Station where there was more room. Very hungry after so much walking and tubing about, we managed our pizza and pasta and some yummy cheesecakes to follow! (and a couple of cocktails to follow that!).
With heavy rain forecast for the morning, we decided to eliminate our plans of watching sunrise in the morning and have a little lie in instead (ha ha). Just kidding… my body clock woke me in time to do a good 6 miles around Regent’s Park and back before we left the hotel and dropped our things at left luggage again.
We headed straight to the wonderful Portobello Road and walked straight to Farm Girl Cafe for some breakfast. As soon as our rose lattes and acai bowls arrived, I was super glad I hadn’t booked a boring hotel breakfast with our stay! The Australian style health cafe had a great vibe on the rainy Sunday morning (we just escaped the rain) and I enjoyed trying to explain to mum what all the seeds and berries were in her coconut shell bowl.
The rain stopped right on que, allowing us to have a wander around the pretty, colourful houses of Notting Hill (see top photo). We sauntered on, feeling like real ladies with no males slating us for stopping to take photos of ‘pointless’ things or for nosying in cute shop windows. After walking the full stretch of shops and turning off now and again to look further, we headed towards our next planned visit… Biscuiteers Boutique and Icing Cafe.
We have a running family joke, that whenever we go sightseeing, the thing we go to see is usually under renovation and is covered in scaffolding. When we arrived at the biscuit shop we were gutted to see bright red barriers all around the shop front where the pavement was being re-done. Mum wouldn’t allow me to move them aside for my photo and this is the reason behind a chopped photo of the shop front: still pretty though.
Of course it wasn’t any old biscuit shop…all the biscuits were hand iced with the most amazing skill and there was pretty much any shape going! We spent a good 20mins gawping at the shelves of biscuits.
Realising that we couldn’t just have biscuits for lunch.. we carried on to mum’s next planned eatery, the Tin Shed (artisan bakery and cafe). Most of the downstairs area is used as a bakery and is all glass windowed, so you can watch the bakers at work. I had a wonderful cream cheese and salmon bagel. The layer of cream cheese was just as thick as the bread. Yum Yum.
We both agreed we could stay a lot longer in some of the cafes.. drinking cup after cup of tea, but with so much to cram in, we were off on our way!
Next stop: Oxford Circus.
Even with quite a few trips to London over the years, neither of us had ever visited Liberty. I was expecting a very big department store like Harrods or Selfridges, but it is obviously quite different. Much smaller in size than the others previously mentioned and in its Tudor revival style, with winding staircases and open centre, it was like a piece of art itself. My favourite departments were the fabric and craft area and the homeware section.
Left: I found the matching Liberty fabric used to make my Cornish Bluebelle bracelet.
I think I’ll be putting some of these fabrics on my Christmas list!
After climbing up and down five floors of Liberty, we decided we were ready for another brew and a cafe stop! Why not?
Both of us have followed Deliciously Ella on Instagram for quite a while (and tried some of her recipes!) so we walked along for 5 minutes and found a spare table in her wonderful cafe.
All her bakes are plant-based, gluten free and dairy free.. so I didn’t really know what to expect after not trying too many raw bakes in my time! We chose to go halfsies with our coffee cake and banana-apple muffin. Two teas (with brown rice milk) were exactly what we needed and the cakes were delicious.
Catching sight of the huge bowls of vegetables, curries and pulses on the front counter made me wish we had time for dinner in London. However, me and mum just say that it’s a good excuse to come back again!
After a few more trips to clothes shops, we made our way back to Kings Cross to pick up our luggage. We collected a little M&S picnic for the train and set off on our way, promising we will have more weekends away soon!
Bye bye London.