As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, one of my BFFS from across the pond, Lydia, was visiting the UK and so this obviously called for a trip to London to relive old times with my best W&M girls. So on Friday morning, I jumped on a train and three and a half long, long hours later, I was making my way to Exmouth Market to meet Lydia.
I may have shoved a Pret brownie and half a sandwich in my face while waiting for the bus (I’d somehow managed to miss breakfast and I was dying, okay), but a sunny reunion called for lunch and our top choice was Morito, which I have eyed up everytime I’ve visited. Incidentally, Exmouth Market has become one of my favourite sports in London over the last year. It’s so laidback and friendly-feeling, but it is literally minutes away from the bustle of the City – completely ideal for a good old catch up.
Keeping things light, we ordered patatas bravas, scallops (with samphire & fennel) and chicken (with tahini yoghurt and red cabbage). These were great choices all round – the sauce on the potatoes had a lot more to it than most and the portions were perfectly sized for a light sharing lunch. The scallops came with fried lemons, which Lydia wasn’t so sure about but which I really enjoyed – they were like lemon-y crisps!
Lunch done, we ended up spontaneously jumping on a bus to Oxford Street with hopes of checking out the John Lewis roof garden. That was shut (bad planning girls), but we wandered around for a bit longer and then went to meet the other girls after they’d finished work. A quick change back at Emily’s, and we headed out Shoreditch way to find somewhere for dinner with a couple more Americans in tow: Jackie and her sister Valencia. We ended up at the Red Dog Saloon on Hoxton Square, where we ordered pulled pork, frozen margaritas for the Americans, and a massive jug of beer for us Brits. I didn’t take many pictures but safe to say spirits were very high.
After dinner – and a brief detour to watch the end of the Spain/Netherlands match – we crossed the street to the Hoxton Square Bar & Grill to meet a couple of Emily’s friends. The night descended into a blur of G&Ts, catching ups and introductions and eventually some dancing, and we were definitely all feeling the love.
Saturday saw us a little bit worse for wear and definitely exhausted, and after a rejuvenating breakfast at my fave spot Brill (I promise I did more than eat this weekend) we headed East to check out Boxpark and Beyond Retro. Already in need of a sugar hit, we swung by Dum Dum Donutterie and Sophie and I split a banoffee doughnut which was delicious. We finished our afternoon of touring with a trip to Spitalfields. I can never resist photographing the City – it’s just so impressive.
Saturday evening, of course, was arguably the highlight of the trip as Lydia & Jackie’s visit had coincided with England’s first World Cup game. The sun had come out just in time, so after a few glasses of Pimms on Emily’s balcony, we headed to the White Hart in Stoke Newington and settled ourselves for a couple of hours in their gorgeous beer garden before the sun went down and the football started.
The game itself was an experience and a half. We ended up with front row seats of the big screen and got thoroughly involved in the chanting and the screaming – the Americans definitely got the full English football fan experience! (Although it was obviously a shame the England boys couldn’t pull out a win…)
I was definitely in need of a bit of excess and time with my favourites and despite feeling a litttttle worse for wear on Sunday I returned to Exeter feeling revived and rejuvenated. I’m in the final stretch of my time here and frankly cannot wait to hit London for myself – only a couple of months to go!