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Monday, 17 June 2013

Life: London living and being very greedy (again!)

amazing poem
I really love living in London, but there are certain things about it that I could definitely do without. 

Namely, the fact that everyone is generally so unfriendly and in such a rush all the time. I would sooner walk round in circles for hours hunting for somewhere than stop someone and ask. I think I must have a 'friendly' face though, because I get stopped and asked for directions at least twice a week without fail. I remember one particular time when there was this sweet old woman staring at everyone walking past her. She eventually stopped Martin and me and asked for help ordering a taxi. We were so happy to help her, but we couldn't help feeling sad at how long it had taken her to pluck up the courage to ask for help from someone.

There are also other things - like tube etiquette or no etiquette as the case may be - such as never catching the eye of someone and staring directly at the wall or into space and bulldozing through everyone/anyone for a seat on the tube.

Finally, I've learnt to never treat a zebra crossing like a zebra crossing. 9 times out of 10, cars plough on through regardless of if you're waiting to cross.

It's a weird thing, really. It's a vicious circle, I think. I generally think of myself as being a very friendly person, but I can feel myself turning more and more into a typical 'Londoner' the longer I live here. This makes me think that yes, there are some pretty unfriendly people in London, but there are also lots more that turn that way just to cope with day to day living/travelling around London.

Gosh, I'm sounding very negative! Putting all this to one side, believe it or not, I actually love living here. I love how dynamic and varied it is and that there are so many pockets of London which I still need to discover. For example, last Saturday. Martin and I hadn't got anything in particular planned, which sometimes means a bit of a blah day, but in actual fact it gave us the opportunity to explore and we ended up having a very successful day.

We started with having a wander around the shops near Covent Garden. I don't really enjoy Convent Garden generally, as it's always packed with tourists and hard to move through the crowds.

apple market, covent garden
Instead we went back to Neal's Yard where I'd been a few weeks before with Frankie to visit Wild Food Cafe.

Neal's Yard
On the way we passed an incredible tea shop - how amazing is its front?

The Tea House, Neal's Street
I think I'm in desperate need of a hair cut
We also spotted another recommendation of Frankie's: 'Food for Thought' - a vegetarian restaurant. We couldn't resist popping in for lunch and I'm so glad we did. It has such a relaxed vibe - very higgledly piggedly with people cramming onto tables or sitting on the floor around a cofffee table in a little nook. The portions sizes are huge. I chose an incredibly tasty quiche filled with red onion, courgette and red onion. It was £8.20 with three helpings of salad. It was so big that Martin shared it with me. He chose a really well flavoured African spicy squash and peanut stew and brown rice. I've really been enjoying vegetarian food lately. I think Food For Thought is my favourite vegetarian restaurant in London. Check out the menu here

Humungous portion of quiche and salad (the quiche is hiding at the top of the shot)
red onion, potato and courgette quiche
African stew
We then wandered down a few passages and ended up in China Town where I finally managed to buy some well priced edamame.

For dinner, I cooked one of my staples: pea and mint soup (I'll add the recipe soon). Which we ate with some wholemeal pitta and edamame and maldon sea salt.

Martin had mentioned a cocktail bar he has been wanting to try for ages called Seven in Brixton so we got the bus there later in the evening and discovered Brixton Village. Seven itself was amazing - really lively and more importantly, cocktails which were £5 each. That might sound pretty expensive, but in London it's amazingly good value. The menu is really cool.

Brixton Village is amazing. Apparently, it was getting a bit run down a few years ago, so in 2009 they reinvented as a cheap, niche food and drinks place. Its alleyways are full of unpretentious eateries. The place was heaving, so it's clearly very popular with locals. It was so laid back and full of places I'm dying to return to and eat at. I've got my eye on Honest Burger and Cornercopia in particular.

Brixton Village

Honest Burgers' Menu
We were feeling a bit peckish so we stopped for a charcuterie and cheese board at Cannon&Cannon. The house red wine that was served with it was actually really good for a house wine and we loved the selection of meats and cheeses. My particular favourite was the venison and we loved the ginger pears that was served with it so much, that we brought home a jar with us. 

We shared a communal table with some very friendly strangers (finally!) and really enjoyed sharing somewhat drunken opinions on the latest Game of Thrones episode.

Feeling very happy and full, we kept walking around and, despite being so full, couldn't resist popping into the frozen yoghurt place and ordering the oreo special for £3.75. I tend to think that frozen yoghurt is hideously overpriced - so few flavours, such stingy toppings and £5 is supposed to be an acceptable price for it? Especially when you compare it to ice cream parlours, where they make a huge number of flavours and sell it for approx. £2 a scoop. Anyhow, Chillbox sold me a huge tub complete with praline, chocolate sauce and oreos for £3.75 so I was pretty pleased with that.

oreo frozen yoghurt

We eventually got home tired, feeling very full and fat but very pleased with ourselves.

What did you do this weekend? How do you find London as a place to visit/live? Have you ever visited Brixton Village?


  1. I love Food For Thought - I used to go there loads when I was studying in university - I love how cosy it is and everyone just gets stuck in/sits on the same tables etc. I must admit I struggle a lot with London sometimes too, though I readily admit that it gets to me way more when I'm stressed (and my morning commute turns into some sort of frustrating hate-fest which I really hate feeling!)... I've had to stop people for directions before - turns out the people I always pick are foreigners i.e. they don't have the 'Londoner's frown' on their faces... They're not so great with directions though ;) Love the blog by the way, my first visit!

    1. Thanks for stopping by! I used to cycle to work to avoid the stress of the tube, but cycling's pretty stressful in its own right. Do you have any particular favourite healthy eateries that you'd recommend? I just checked out your last post, and I'm so keen for the battersea run! I've registered my interest :)

  2. Ooh that's a difficult one, as I normally go out more to eat as a treat, and try to stay (more) healthy at home ;) In terms of healthy eats - if you like sushi, I love the Kulu Kulu in Covent Garden (and it's not too expensive for sushi), and for (cheap but authentic) vietnamese food which has healthy options I would recommend Mien Tay in Shoreditch (they also have a branch in Battersea but I've never been!)... Ottolenghi is tasty and fresh but so flippin' expensive I doubt I'll go again, maybe in about 10 years time ;) Do you have any favourites?

    Oh and yes the gloanna run will be great! I'm definitely going to go again if I'm not busy that weekend - such good fun and lovely people!

    1. Thanks for the recommendations! I don't eat fish unfortunately, terrible I know! But the Vietnamese place sounds perfect. I've only ever eaten cakes at Ottolenghi but always lusted over the salads. My boyfriend bought me the cookbook recently, so I've been enjoying recreating them cheaply at home! We don't tend to eat very healthily when we have dinner out - far too many burgers, but if we want a quick dinner/lunch then itsu and pod are our favourites.