Fighting my way through the sweaty masses on the underground of our capital city on a hot August day to meet my sister for a whirlwind of lunch, cocktails, coffee, cake, shopping and selfies all crammed into a few hours; Not everyone’s idea of a perfect day but, for me, this comes pretty close.
We’ve established I’m a city girl at heart, though the odd dabble with wellies and horses doesn’t fill me with too much dread, so any time at all spent down in London is better than none. Add to that the joy of seeing my little sis again after a few sad months of no sightings and we’re for sure onto a winner.
I wake early Friday morning, trot down to Central and board a London-bound train. Upon arriving at Kings Cross at midday, the first notable point is that it’s HOT. Plenty hotter than Newcastle was when I left it. Disappointingly I’m not dressed in an optimum summer outfit. I shed layers and set about the task of finding my sister in the city’s throng of people. No mean feat when you consider that she’s only brought her Dubai mobile with her and when that’s out of wifi range it’s effectively a pretty brick.
Once reunited we make our way (I’ve found my old Oyster card after all!) to Chelsea for a leisurely lunch at iconic hotspot, The Bluebird. This was originally her choice but it nicely sets the tone of the afternoon and I’m more than happy to oblige and while a few hours away in the sun, chatting, picking at our DELICIOUS food and tasting half the cocktail menu. We both opt for the salmon fish cake served topped with a poached egg and hollandaise, on a bed of wild garlic and a radish and pea salad. We share a side order of broccoli. The cocktails pictured are a Cucumber Garden Martini, an English Garden, a Watermelon Martini and the Bluebird Brûlée. I’d particularly recommend that first martini. Consisting of cucumber infused vodka, St Germain elderflower liqueur, muddled fresh cucumber, ginger, lemongrass, mint and topped with ginger beer, it was absolutely my idea of a perfect mid-summers day cocktail.
Full from lunch and all caught up on life we set off for dessert. We aim for the Hummingbird Bakery in South Kensington but when we get there it’s closed for a refurb, and the one on Portobello Rd has no seating but we wander around the market and Notting Hill for a while anyway. We finally sit down outside Gail’s Artisan Bakery, requiring coffee, baked goods and a moment or several to rest our poor feet. It’s still hot and the tube is crazy so we’ve swapped our heels for flats, thankfully.
Refreshed (sort of) we head back underground to emerge again at Bond Street. Selfridges is the first stop. We stay a while. Obviously. Then head down Oxford Street hitting up Zara and eventually the big flagship Topshop. It’s way hotter in Topshop than is entirely reasonable so we don’t get much shopping done. Rather we spend some time dicking around in the Topshop photo booth. Because we’re just that mature and cool. And because sometimes it’s nice to have a daft souvenir from a brief and last minute meet up.
We discuss sushi for an early dinner but never quite make it. Instead I’m on my way back along the Victoria Line to catch my train north before it’s really had a chance to sink in.
Now I’m missing my sister, hungry, hot and writing this waffle on the train to Newcastle. It’s 10pm, my feet are throbbing and I won’t get home for another hour at least.
Was it worth it? Of course it bloody was.
Til next time London, you beast.