Oh woe is us having to struggle back into work this week after a jammy little 4-day bank holiday weekend. Sucks to be employed eh?
Wouldn’t it be nice to still be at home eating chocolate eggs and wondering what the fuck Channel 5 thought they were doing by showing Watership Down on Easter Sunday – oh look kids, here’s a film where the Easter bunny is an evil old rabbit who rips other rabbits to shreds. ENJOY!
I swear I still have nightmares about that film.
Anyway – I had a properly chilled few days and took a load of photos with no real fore-thought about how I’d blog them so I thought I’d trot this old ‘snippets from the weekend’ format out and share all the pics in one post for you, you lucky bastards!
Spoiler: the majority of the pictures are of food coz whaddyknow all I seem to do in my spare time is eat.
So I started off the bank holiday by heading West. I caught the central line to Holland Park without realising that the station is actually closed until August. FML.
This meant I had to jump off a stop early and walk down from Notting Hill Gate – it’s about a 15minute walk and in the sunshine it was insanely pleasant. I had my spotify playlist pumping in my headphones and I actually thought I was going to do a happy little jig as I walked down the road because ain’t this Spring weather just swell!
For me, West London is a whole different world to my usual stomping ground of East London. When I’m over that way I always feel like a proper tourist which can be a pretty nice feeling – you sort of feel like your on holiday without any of that ‘oh shit what if I get lost’ anxiety because, hello mobile data and understanding the street signs.
My main reason for heading all the way west was to visit the Japanese Gardens at Holland Park. It’s something that’s been on my ‘Things I must do & see in London’ spreadsheet for a while so it felt good to finally be ticking it off AND I thought I might even be able to pretend I was in Japan for their blooming marvellous Cherry Blossom season.
(No idea what Cherry Blossom season is? head over to pinterest, here and see what I mean. Just dreamy.)
Holland Park on it’s own is a pretty special space but the Kyoto Gardens are a particular delight.
You’ve got a pond full of Coy Carp, a running waterfall, a PEACOCK!!!! and all manner of beautiful plants, trees and flowers and a teeeny weeeny bit of that blossom I was talking about.
I was thoroughly impressed with it and very pleased it lived up to expectation.
My only criticism would be that the gardens were too damn busy. I arrived around 2pm and it was packed. So much so that to cross the cutesy stone bridge by the waterfall you basically had to queue and don’t even get me started on the annoying kids sitting(!!) on the bridge trying to poke the fish. Can you just NOT. Also the crowd of amateur wildlife photographers clamouring around the Peacock was annoying AF.
Oh and you, small Asian women, over there I’m almost certain you’re not meant to feed the peacock.
Vowing to come back again soon but a lot earlier in the day (maybe when the park first opens so there’s literally no-one there?!) I left the gardens and headed back towards Notting Hill Gate.
As I’m not often this far West I decided I had to have a stroll down the Portobello Road…no matter how busy & touristy it may be on Good Friday.
And it turned out to be a good decision, it was lively but not over-crowded. There were a few less stalls than on a Saturday but I got to snap a pic of the beautiful multicoloured houses which made me very haps.
I walked the full length of Portobello and just before the end I found myself outside Boom Burger. And coincidentally it was at this point my boyfriend, who was driving around London in his taxi, called to ask if I fancied a late lunch. It’s like he’d read my mind and knew that Boom Burger was calling my name and that’s why he’s my babe.
Ten minutes later (he’s pretty nifty in that black cab of his) we were ordering two signature cheeseburgers with bacon jam <<<< or is that beer-can jam? Either way, Jamaican me crazy!! It’s so good! If it wasn’t a Good Friday before, it was now.
Two burgers, to eat ‘in’ came to £21.25 which I guess is a little bit of a piss take but then we were in West London and they were really good so it’s a bit like, whatevs – I’d probably pay that again.
My boyfriend then had to get back to work – them burgers won’t pay for themselves! And I headed off towards Maida Vale to meet a friend for a bevvie…bevie? Bevy? Bevvie. Bev….you know what I mean.
The walk over was about 20-25minutes and it took me down streets I’d never been along before. That’s what I love about London – you can live here for seven years and still there are bits of it you’ve never seen! And I also fully champion using your two feet to explore, you end up seeing things and finding places you never would in a cab or on a bus.
Maida Vale itself is very pretty if a bit quiet. It’s mainly a residential area so it was good I had a local guide, my friend Thierry, to show me around. He took me for a pint at the Warrington which has a lovely grand entrance and a proper English pub interior. Plus it’s a hotel so you can stay there too!
We then walked back up to the canal and past some INSANE houses. I literally can’t even fathom the sort of people who can afford these mansions but it’s always fun (or is that depressing?) to wander past them and pick out which one you’d like to live in.
We also tried to go to the Clifton Nurseries but sadly they’d closed by the time we’d got there. This is another place on my London spreadsheet, that I’ve been wanting to visit for ages so looks like I’ll be heading back to West in the future to tick this place off….wanna come?
I finally headed back East around 7pm and was absolutely knackered from racking up a casual 21,183 steps on my Samsung health app. Don’t mind me, I’ll be doing that London Marathon next *sassy girl emoji*.
My evening was spent curled up on the sofa watching the final Hunger Games film. I thought it was properly scary even though I knew what was going to happen (totally one of those annoying OH THE BOOK IS BETTER people). It just has such a sinister plot line that my heart was in my throat pretty much the whole way through. I would really recommend giving it a watch and also because everyone tells me I look like Katniss so that’s a nice ego boost for me coz, guuuurrrl looks great in the film. Mockingjay slay!
The next day was pretty vile in terms of weather so to lighten the mood, I kicked things off with very decent breakfast featuring BAE – that’s bacon, avocado and egg.
When my sister came over a little later I made her one too bcoz BAE for BAE obviously and I’m a proper nice like that. We then hopped on the bus to Whitechapel in search of a Creme Egg Cronut from the Rinkoff Bakery.
Sensing a bit of a theme for the day here?
No, all YOU think about is food.
The Rinkoff Bakery isn’t exactly easy to find, it’s hidden between a square of high-rise blocks at the end of Jubilee street. It’s not much of a looker either. In my head it was a very cutesy bakery cum cafe but in reality it’s a bit depressing and you defo feel like you might get mugged – soz if any of you live in Whitechapel but gentrification still has a way to go there.
It’s still worth a trip because ohmyghad HIYA tray-loads of cronuts and rainbow cakes and cupcakes and all the best sweetest treats.
Sadly, If you can bloody believe it, they’d run out of Creme egg cronuts by the time we arrived! I know, HOW VERY DARE THEY! So we had to settle for a nutella & marshmallow one and a pistachio & salted caramel cronut. Ugh. I honestly don’t know how I make it through the day sometimes.
I also picked up a rainbow bagel because erm, HELLO it’s a rainbow coloured bagel…
…alright so not your conventional rainbow but colourful for sure!
There are no seats inside the Rinkoff Bakery so we perched on a table outside admiring the erm, lovely view of the high rise in front of us and enjoyed the sound of the wind threatening to rip the awning off above our heads. #thatglambloggerlife.
The cronuts were like mainlining sugar which was nice in a – I definitely have diabetes now, don’t I? – kinda way. I would suggest sharing one because, otherwise Jamie Oliver will appear like some weird voodoo-anti-sugar-health-devil and he’ll douse you in olive oil before branding you with the word pukka and demanding you pay a sugar tax. Seriously.
When we were finally done with pretending that ‘oh, this isn’t actually all that bad, sitting out here in a concrete jungle with a storm brewing above. lol‘ we escaped the wind and rain and headed over to Foxcroft & Ginger which is pretty much the only nice thing about Whitechapel road. Cool, industrial, hipster and most importantly for us, warm & dry.
We sat down and ordered a bottle of sparkling wine (it had been a stressful morning), some olives and caught up with our friend who’d just arrived back from travelling around India, Sri Lanka & Bali. Summary: I need to visit all three immediately. Hurry up September.
Foxcroft & Ginger is an all day kind of place and they totally nail their own ethos of being somewhere you can sit back and relax without being rushed on or forced into spending a fortune. Well done F&G. They also do Cruffins (croissant / muffins) because apparently everything needs to be croissant hybrid these days.
Later, after a little power nap at home I headed out for dinner in Angel. Five of us went to Mem & Laz which is a Mediterranean restaurant just off Upper Street. Sadly for you (yes sadly!) I didn’t take any pictures because I just wanted to relax and not worry about oh god will this angle make the halloumi look extra tasty or nah?
I would however, highly recommend Mem & Laz as nice casual dining spot. It’s a place that’ll suit everyone and with it not really being a current London hot-spot, booking a table last minute should be pretty easy. The menu is also really good despite being pretty extensive (big menus worry me) – I mean they do a ‘deep fried trio of cheese’ for the love of everything great and good in the world.
It’s not crazy expensive nor is it too loud, nor too cool, nor too anything. It’s just a nice, easy place for dinner so pop it on your list as somewhere to go when you can’t be bothered to put too much thought into things.
Sunday was more of the same in terms of focusing all my activities around eating…
…with the Rainbow Bagel obviously taking centre stage in the AM – I filled it with cream-cheese, unsmoked bacon and a couple of cherry tomatoes. AKA, my personal fave bagel filling.
And despite what I assume most of you are thinking, it tasted just like a normal bagel…rather than a cronut.
My boyfriend then managed to drag me off the sofa and out for a early morning trip to Columbia Road Flower Market before Storm Katie showed up and fucked things up for everyone.
I dunno if it’s this time of year but I felt like the flowers were extra good on Sunday. There were so many varieties and so many bursts of colour, it was hard not to buy them all. I eventually settled on a small, simple bunch of orange Gerberas.
We also got another pot of the Moroccan Chermoula from the Borough Olives stall to replace the one we’d inhaled a week before. This dip is without doubt one of the tastiest things I’ve ever eaten in my life. It also goes with pretty much everything – bread, meat, fajitas (I know right!) and you should go and buy a pot immediately from their website: here.
I realise it doesn’t look particularly appetising in a picture but if the internet could just hurry up and invent scratch & sniff you would be feeling this fo sure. It’s a spicy, sort of Indian flavour that is just dreamy – coriander, lemon, paprika, chilies. All the good stuff. Dollop it on some warm bread and prepare to hit new heights in oral pleasure.
Thanks to the hideous weather the rest of the day was spent inside (after a quick visit to my boyfriend’s family across the road – an Easter egg for me?? Awww you shouldn’t have) eating all the chocolate, napping on the sofa and eating yet more chocolate.
In the evening I lit ALL the candles in the house to stave off the cold (FFS England it’s almost April will you turn the heating on or summit?) poured myself a glass of red and scoffed a sirloin steak covered in that dreamy Borough Olives dip before passing out whilst watching House of Cards…shhhhh I’m only on season one!!!
Oh hey there bunny fweeends! How much do you love my Thumper slippers? They were £8 from Primark – bargain!
BANK HOLIDAY MONDAY
Monday’s breakfast was a pretty big letdown compared to the previous two days – I had a piece of brown toast topped with peanut butter and then nearly threw it up when I attempted to do THIS workout three times in a row. In my very experienced beginners opinion this is NOT a beginners workout. Those fucking burpees were very nearly the death of me.
To make up for the disappointing brekkie and reward myself for basically being an Iron-woman in the exercise stakes I headed into central London to meet my friend for a late lunch.
We had intended to go to Hoppers (a new Sri Lankan gaff that’s owned by the same guys who own Gymkhana – another place on my never-ending list of places I want to go) but the wee scoundrels close between 2.45pm and 5.30pm and of course we arrived at 2.46pm. I know, what even is my life.
Absolutely ravenous we ended up going to Shackfuyu instead which turned out to be a bloody amazing, serendipitous alternative.
Shackfuyu is a kind of sister venue to Japanese restaurant, Bone Daddies ‘cept they don’t do ramen they do Asian twists on Western food – think ribs, chicken wings and chips positively dripping in delectable asian sauces.
We ordered almost everything on the menu and every single dish was met with a chorus of satisfied groans – we really loved it ALL but particular shoutouts go to the Flat Iron bun and the Rabbit Curry doughnut. By the looks of things I think I’ll be visiting Japan very soon and for more than just the Cherry Blossom Season.
We sat in the window and watched Soho swing by in the sunshine until big black rain clouds appeared once more. Oh and hail-stones too.
We paid up at Shakfuyu before deciding that we needed to go somewhere else for dessert – apparently not content with being absolutely stuffed we wanted to be so full we felt sick so we ended up running through soho in the rain to the Ham Yard Hotel for tea and cake.
And by cake I mean ^^^^^ THIS epic lemon profiterbombe – yes profiterbombe not profiterole. So good but so decadent – much like the cronut you could definitely share this with a pal. Or maybe it was just because we’d already consumed 548953 calories at Shackfuyu? Hmmm, yeah maybe that’s why I couldn’t finish it.
Anyway The Ham Yard Hotel is beauuuutiful – really cool, quirky interior. Gorgeous conservatory where you can enjoy afternoon tea (for only £19.50!!! WTAF that’s such good value!) and they have a cinema & bowling alley…fun with a capital F! (<<< such a dork.)
I’m already planning a second visit.
I finally dragged my butt home at 7pm ish where I cooked my feller some fajitas (with added Borough Olives Moroccan dip – trust me bruv, it really does go with everything!), watched the People vs OJ…whilst scrolling through my phone obvs and then did my best to swallow that horrible pre-work feeling and the on-set of post bank holiday blues. Sob.
And that was it….my bank holiday weekend done & dusted. I realise now, truly what a good weekend it was – very sociable, lots of amazing food, lots of seeing people I like and generally enjoying that little thing called life….despite the weather being a right old miserable cow.
Here’s to the next bank holiday weekend…let’s hope England sorts it’s shit out by then so we can all sit in pub gardens drinking cold ciders and whoops accidentally burn our see-through shoulders.
Oh and if you wanna know a bit more about any of the places I went too (or whether I wanna come with you for another Boom Burger this weekend?)…you can always ask me on twitter or send me a message on Facebook.
Thanks for reading!