Leeds&me on tour: London

A couple of weekends ago I finally made it down to London to see my bestie Amy who’s at medical school there. It’s been a while since I saw her, and even longer since I’ve been to the Big Smoke, so we had a lot to do in two short days! We lazed on Clapham Common, ate great food at Bodean’s, avoided Wimbledon which was just down the road, gobbled crepes, walked along the Thames and even got a quick glimpse of Big Ben.

Ever since I saw this post on For Books’ Sake I’ve been dying to visit the Persephone bookshop in London. Persephone publish unloved, forgotten titles of the twentieth century, mainly written by women, and they sell them almost exclusively in their own shop. Each book has a matte silvery blue cover, lined with a different vintage print for each title, and you get a matching bookmark, too. Seriously, this place is like my spiritual home!

The books are £12 each and we’d just narrowed our selections down to 2 each when we spotted a small sign saying they were 3 for £30. Another book for half the price…rude not to! Then we’d finally picked a third one when the sales lady told us because we’d bought two or more books we could have a free cookbook! I picked one called Plats du Jour, which claimed to offer simple French and Italian dishes, and it’s already provided us with much hilarity. About the section on fungi: “This chapter has been written for people who combine an experimental approach to cooking with an interest in natural history.” For a salsa verde recipe: “Reduce the following ingredients to a molecular state using a heavy chopping knife or mezzaluna.” On poultry: “It should not be forgotten that a platter of oysters is the best prelude to roast goose.”

Next up was Covent Garden for crepes and gelato (from the amazing Venchi, which we fell in love with in Italy last year), a short break in St James’ Park then off to the Tate Modern, where I remembered how much I like Magritte and Picasso, and how much fun it is to flick my eyes across a row of masterpieces and instantly dismiss three of them because I don’t like the colours. You can do things like that in a place like the Tate Modern: there are so many incredible paintings, you can pretend they’re ten a penny and look down your nose at a few!

The gallery shop is always a bump back to earth, though, when I realise I can’t even afford the reproductions 🙂

Looking at the pictures I took, I was really drawn to steampunky cogs and wheels and interlocking geometrics.  Perhaps this means I like a sense of order and tidiness? (If this is true, it’s in my mind only, and definitely not in my house!)

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This lady is an opera singer who was performing in the lower courtyard at Covent Garden when we were there. She was amazing, and the acoustics were surprisingly good! The only downside was the man collecting donations for her – I assume he was on some kind of commission because he was very pushy and quite rude to some people who were just walking past and really not listening to her at all! I understand that the lady was there to make a living but as someone who also gets by thanks to tips, I accept that not everyone can afford to tip or feels comfortable doing so. Anyway the music was gorgeous, have a look at the singer’s website here.

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