An amazing upside-down day in London

Samuel Johnson once famously said:

‘When you are tired of London, you are tired of life’.


 

How true is that not?  I love London.  I’ve lived here for 9 years, 6 months and 12 days; I’m still not tired of London.  Every time I venture out into the city I stumble across a new little find.  Each one as precious as the other.  Take yesterday for example:

The hubby and I wanted to finish my six-week holiday on a high note so we booked tickets to see American Made in the Electric Cinema.  Since the film only started at 3:30 we decided to go slightly earlier and walk around Notting Hill for a bit.

Hubby is half-Portuguese so we’re always on the lookout for some great Portuguese Nata as he loves it so.  We found it.  The perfect Nata.  In a little patisserie called Lisboa off the beaten track near Westbourne Park Underground station.  We bought six Pastel de Nata and two Castanhas de Ovo after queuing for about 6 or so minutes.  We took our precious treasure and headed towards Portobello Road as I wanted to pop into the Spanish Deli nearby.  En route we stumbled across the Acklam Village World Street Food Market.  WOW!

A blanket of warm spice envelopes you as you enter the market.  The smells play chameleon with my nostrils as I take one delicious breath after another.  Souvlaki, paella, bratwurst, jerk chicken to name but a few.  As we make our way through the little village market a massive space unfolds in front of us.  And, as if it was meant to be, a little table stands empty; waiting for us to occupy it and dress it with glasses of Pimms and Peroni, pastel de nata and castanhas de ovo.  So, we obeyed.  And gladly so!  The atmosphere is like that of an old-fashioned barn dance.  A live band is playing some unfamiliar country songs, people are feasting around long picnic tables and the décor is a mishmash of carefully selected recyclables; all somehow in an unexpected perfect harmony.

 

Once the Pimms, peroni and Portuguese tarlets had been consumed and the atmosphere had been soaked up, we make our way through Portobello market towards the cinema.  My eye catches many a beautiful object, the most memorable little stall was that of a lady that sells Ghanaian recycled glass bracelets.  They were truly stunning. Each bead is painstakingly crafted by hand using recycled glass materials.  A true work of art.

The 1920’s cinema is just out of this world.  Every time we come here it takes my breath away.  My husband surprised me by having booked a bed right in the centre of the old cinema.  Slightly different to the sofa we normally get, but this was great!  I’m transported into a fantasy world as I’m treated to a delicious hotdog and a glass of prosecco.  For the next two hours we forget about the rest of the world and allow ourselves to be consumed by the magic that this cinema holds.

Once the great movie came to a very sad end, we reminisce over the ‘what if’s’ and ‘why nots’ that could’ve changed Barry Seal’s fate, all whilst walking down the now calming Portobello Road.  We didn’t walk for long before we came across The Hummingbird Bakery (@hummingbbakery).  We couldn’t resist.  We just had to go in.  One Black Bottom and one Nutella cupcake later and we’re on our way to the Underground station.  But where next?

We found ourselves going towards Covent Garden.  Things are always happening in Covent Garden and today is no exception.  We walked past a Lush open air store (complete with decorative baths and all!) and came across Magnum Ice Cream’s pop-up store (#Magnumldn).  What a delicious experience!  We were greeted like we were the most important people in London.  With our order taken and toppings chosen, we’re introduced to Sarah who was going to create this extravagant experience for us.  She kindly agreed that I can film it and she really went out of her way to explain each step of the creation.  Every bite into that ice cream made me feel like a princess: the sour cherries danced it’s tango on my tongue whilst the chocolate pearls adorned my taste buds with luxury.  The little corn flower petals scattered the inside of my mouth with their delicate papery texture.  Like a celebratory sea of confetti after a great ceremonial mouthful of sensual dairy delight.  As I bit into my second or so mouthful, I opened my eyes just to see someone on the outside of the shop staring shamelessly at our decadent desserts as theirs melt unknowingly in their hand and I thought cheekily by myself: ‘you’re regretting buying that 99 Flake now, aren’t ya?!’

Magnum Ice Cream with cherries, chocolate pearls and corn flower petals
Magnum Ice Cream with cherries, chocolate pearls and corn flower petals

After this sweet, sweet day we decide to go on a hunt for something savoury.  We didn’t walk very far before the hubby’s eyes lit up at the sight of a Korean BBQ restaurant.  Now I have issues, allergy issues that is, and therefore I have to be very careful as to what I eat to avoid a massive anaphylactic scene.  I was a bit dubious as we were showed to our seats, but when we saw the table, I was instantly put at ease.  At our table was a built-in grill where we can cook our own food.  Having never been here were we were in awe at the tables around us; the smoky yet savoury smell lingers all around us in a mouth-watering way.  We chose beef, chicken, spicy pork, sticky rice and courgettes to grill on our little BBQ.  Every sizzle, every char mark and every mouthful was sensational.  We kept planning and dreaming throughout the meal who we would like to bring here upon our return.  We couldn’t choose between our many friends so it looks like we will have to return quite a few times.

Our wonderful upside-down day sadly came to an end.  Upside down as we first went to the movies, then had dessert and then the main meal…

We savour experiences like these.  Days where we can be together and for a moment or two just forget about the struggles of life.  We prefer this much more over presents and materialistic gifts.  To us, days like this are priceless.

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