Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Maybe It's Because I'm A Londoner....

Wow, the days have gone by so fast since my last post!  The High now seems like a distant memory, and my tan is fading as quickly as the leaves on the trees around London are turning from green to orange...

So what have I been up to in the past few weeks, since my return to London?

The hubs and I went along to the Harvest festival in Guildhall Yard to watch some traditional English entertainment.  Unfortunately, by the time we got there, it was hard to see exactly what was going on, as the crowd was pretty big, but we did catch some Maypole dancing (snooze) and some Morris dancing (double snooze).  At the risk of offending anyone, whilst it is probably great fun to take part in these dances...it is pretty dull to watch.  To those unfamiliar with these styles of folk dance, you essentially watch a group of girls skipping, whilst holding onto strands of ribbon that get tied around a pole which they circle around.  Morris dancing, on the other hand, involves hopping and skipping around, whilst holding sticks that they knock together in time to the music.  Ok, there is more historical significance to these dances, but I'm just saying what I see....

The best part of the festival, was the Pearly Kings and Queens!  The pearlies are part of an organised charity and can be distinguished by their suits adorned with pearl buttons that are sewn into intricate designs.  Now a London institution, the tradition began in 1875, when Henry Croft, a costermonger (fruit seller) embellished a whole suit with buttons to help his fund-raising activities.  Costermongers tended to wear trousers that featured pearl buttons along the seams, but Croft took things one step further so that he could stand out in his efforts to raise money for charity.  The original Pearly King died in 1930, but there are several organised pearly groups who continue to raise money for London charities and keep the tradition alive.

Finally after being a Londoner for 29 years, I got to meet a Pearly King!  Check out this cheeky chappie...

Alas, we didn't stay for the parade, so after getting snapped with pearly royalty, we hot footed it over to another London institution, faster than you could say 'Knees Up Mother Brown' - the Bagel Shop on Brick Lane.  We split a salt beef bagel (yummers) and a slice of baked cheese cake, and we washed it down with this...

A good coffee, and more appetizing than it sounds.  Talking of coffee, I have found my new favourite coffee and brunch spot in London, and it is local!  The Wet Fish Cafe in West Hampstead makes hands down the best latte, served in a glass and full of smooth caffeiney deliciousness.

Super cute, with a vintage 1920s feel, the Wet Fish Cafe cooks up a seriously yummy brunch (in their teeny tiny kitchen) on the weekend.  From fruit-topped French toast, to eggs benny, this is my idea of the perfect place to start off your Sunday.  When I visited with a couple of friends recently, I had the 'Bubbly Mary', which was bubble & squeak with poached eggs, crispy pancetta, chipolatas and hollandaise, served with a bloody Mary and coffee.  I felt so full, but my tummy thanked me.

My tummy didn't thank me, however, for our highly anticipated meal at Red Dog Saloon.  Loveryboy and I ate all manner of wings, ribs and patties, but with the exception of the chicken wings and margaritas, I was underwhelmed by the food and overwhelmed by the bill at the end of it all!  It's overpriced for what it is, and not as tasty as other London-based American bbq and burger establishments such as Pitt Cue, Meat Liquor and Bodean's.

Despite drooling over the online photo of the Devastator burger for months, we were pretty glad that we didn't actually order it, when we saw the waitresses carry it over to another table.  At £18 a pop (no sides included) that is one expensive burger - and it doesn't even look as good as the photo.  Despite my disappointment, we left feeling stuffed, and if you plan on going, then you will no doubt also leave feeling uncomfortably full too, so....

I noticed this mural on the building opposite my workplace near London Bridge last week.  It's only taken me 8 months to notice it....and now I notice it every day.

Also next to my work are these brollies, but I noticed them as soon as they went up....

Pretty apt, given the change in weather, and funnily enough, even when it's raining, catching a glimpse of these colourful umbrellas brightens my day.


  1. Great post! I love the pictures of the umbrellas! I was so glad to see the pics of the pearly kings too. That's what I was going to be for Halloween but I didn't have enough time to gather all the pearl buttons, let alone sew them all on to a suit! Looks like you guys are having so much fun! I can't wait to get to London - hopefully next year some time.

    1. Thanks Mr Tiny! Oh my goodness, you should totally be a Pearly King for Halloween next year (because let's face it - it will probably take around a year to sew all of those buttons!) that would be awesome! Would people in the USA get it? Yes please, come to London - we will be your tour guides!!! :)

  2. Love the umbrella photos as well.

    You'll just have to come back to the states to get your bbq fix... no?

    1. Thanks HRF! Well there are some great places for bbq here in London....but I'll take any excuse to go back to the states and eat bbq! In fact, I will be visiting next March....bring on the bbq!!!