When Friends Visit

I have a love-hate relationship with having friends come visit London. I love pretty much everything about it: reuniting my friends, showing them my favorite places in London, traveling, etc. But it really stresses me out. I think it’s all part of the wanting everyone to be having a good time always thing. Working from home, I can be around my friends, but can’t really go and do anything with them, so I kind of have to send them off on their own during the day and then meet up with them in the evening.

We also have a very, very small flat. This means that air mattress is a way to go, and I must say…it isn’t a comfy air mattress.

However, despite all of this, I am always inviting friends to come stay. We’ve developed a bit of a routine for when friends/family visit that guarantees they see more than just the touristy stuff. As I mentioned, I ship my friends off into London during the day with decent directions on how to get places and my personal recommendations. Then, when everyone is free, we go for the following:

  • Fish & Chips – We used to pick up fish and chips from Moxie’s in Clapham South and bring it home to our friends. Now that we’ve moved, our go to is Kerbisher & Malt on Abbeville Road. Craft beers + delicious fish (& scampi!) + an overload of chips = heaven on earth.IMG_0001.JPG

 

  • Our Local Pub – Sunday roast, Wednesday burger night, any day drinks – it’s the perfect opportunity to show our friends a *real* London pub.  

 

  • A Swanky Bar – There are so many that I want to try! Rooftops, sky high bars, pop ups. I usually drag my friends to something I’ve never even been to, but sometimes I go for a repeat.  

 

  • Cook at Home – Save money. Eat in pajamas. Show off our new cooking skills. Drink wine. Play Cards Against Humanity. Everyone wins on the nights when we just can’t be bothered to do anything.IMG_5193

 

  • Afternoon Tea – If we have a free weekend day, this is probably my favorite thing to do with visiting friends. It’s extremely British and so good for a girls day out!IMG_4001.JPG

 

  • Ticketed Event – There is ALWAYS something going on in London. From Cocktail Week (Marisa’s visit) to pop up experiences to musicals and plays, there are endless things to do that provide a great London experience without all of the tourist queues.IMG_0020

 

  • Weekend Away – I try to travel with every friend who visits. After all, they’re coming all the way across the ocean, so it’s worth seeing more than just London! This started when Sara visited last year after I first moved here and we went to Nice. Then, Marisa visited and we hit Marseille. We choose a cheap and relatively quick place so we can make the most of it and just go!IMG_1568

This list has changed a bit, but after Sara’s (second) visit this past week, I think this is the best of the combinations. It’s nice to have a little routine that we can tailor to each friend who visits. Next I need to figure out the perfect three day itinerary for sending my friends off to explore London on their own.

Who wants to be my next visitor?

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Culinary Delights

I’m finally starting to fall in love with cooking. Sean and I recently signed up for Gousto and now have three easy meals delivered to us each week. We tried it for the first time last week, as well as made some of our go to meals, and it was so nice to spend that time cooking at home…and to save money! Our Vitamix also just arrived, and there will be plenty more where that came from!

I’m thinking about starting a weekly post about the food we make at home, but until we really get into the groove, wanted to share some of my recent favorites:

I made these garlic parmesan wings in the crockpot and they were to. die. for. They will definitely become a frequent dinner for us (not to mention the house smelled amazing).

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With meats left over from our full English the day before, we made kale, gruyere, and bacon omelet with some bacon and sausage on the side…delish!

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These are the Gousto meals. Sticky chicken and honey glazed ham. Honestly, both were mouthwatering and required such little effort. I’m so looking forward to the others we have on the way!

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Marisa Visits London

To say I am behind on blog posts would be a major understatement. There has been so much I have wanted to share, but I have been so busy, and THANKFULLY did not open my laptop once on holiday last week. I had taken it with me hoping to get some posts drafted, but in hindsight am so happy the laptop went untouched (I needed that!). Also, I have been suffering from major Wi-Fi issues meaning I cannot post at home.

Back when I did my posts on Marseille (and this), Marisa was in town visiting. She is the first visitor to the new house (!) which is both a great thing and a terrible thing. Great because I missed her and was so happy to have a visitor; terrible because the house was in a dreadful state of Ikea parts lingering in every corner and unpacked bags/suitcases everywhere. Plus, we don’t have a sofa bed, which is a separate problem in itself.

Marisa went up to Edinburgh for a couple of days, so thankfully she was not stuck on the camping mattress every night of the visit. Between her being gone and me having work, we really only had one full day to spend with each other in London. And we definitely made the most out of it!

A Perfect Day in London:

  • Shopping
  • Afternoon Tea (with free flowing prosecco!)
  • A scenic walk (to walk off the tea, of course)
  • A London night out

I would like to mention that we did all of the above without even an outfit change or a nap. I was still recovering from being sick so super #proud of that fact.

We started our day shopping on Brick Lane. I’m quite over the high streets, and Marisa wanted to do some vintage shopping, so it was a nice change of pace that pleased us both. We also had a (very) late breakfast at a café on Brick Lane called Fika – it is so adorable and cozy inside!

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In the afternoon, we met Hope for afternoon tea. I love trying new places for tea, but struggled to find something with availability on such short notice (I was booking on Thursday…oops). I was able to get a reservation at Conrad St. James London Hotel for their autumn-themed tea. I was skeptical, but they advertised free flowing champagne, so I was sold.

I’m so happy we went with the Conrad, because the tea was beautifully presented, they refilled our prosecco after pretty much every sip, and it was a lovely atmosphere for the three of us to catch up. The autumn-themed desserts were also to die for! My favorite thing is that it put us in the perfect position to go for a nice scenic walk afterward, to show Marisa some of the sights she did not have a chance to see during her visit.

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[I was so into the autumn themed dessert cake…the pumpkin cheesecake was to die for!]

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We walked through St. James Park all the way to Buckingham Palace, and then back through the park to Westminster so she could see Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. We then walked along Embankment to evening views of the London Eye before settling into Tattershall Castle for a couple of drinks. It’s a boat turned bar in front of the London Eye that we honestly couldn’t pass up!

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[She’s a really good tourist, isn’t she?]

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We finished the night with a couple of drinks at Mabel’s in Covent Garden and then I opened up the girls to the Roadhouse experience. It’s such a funny place – not classy whatsoever – but when they have a live band on and you are with good friends there is little that is better.

I still feel bad about being such a miserable (and sick) host for Marisa’s visit, but am beyond happy she came. Now, as soon as the house is ready, I expect everyone else to visit as well!

p.s. When I say we only had one full day, I mean one full day but two nights. On Friday night, we took Marisa to our favorite fish & chips place and then showed her a (calm) night out in Clapham. Hope showed up as well and we were matching, as usual.

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[The whole matching issue – I swear we didn’t plan it!]

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[We struggle to get good photos]

Weekly Recap

I am trying to start a weekly recap because I feel like I always do small things here and there that don’t necessarily deserve their own post, but also don’t deserve to be forgotten. So here it is – I just have to force myself to actually do it weekly!

 
On a very rainy Sunday last week, we did some furniture testing at John Lewis before visiting some family I have in London. While we still do not have a sofa, it was lovely catching up with my family over tea and cakes! We’ve also decided to use their house as inspiration for if we end up wanting to expand in a couple of years. I didn’t snap pictures, but the kitchen and basement they’ve designed are amazing!

  
I had a nice hump day meal with two of my flatmates. We are trying to start a trend of treating ourselves every other week – it gives us the opportunity to actually hang out with each other and catch up properly, and will be incredible valued time once I move out. We went to Banana Tree and I had the BEST sweet & sour crispy chicken. I actually devoured the entire plate and cannot wait to go back and do it all again!

  
Yesterday was one of my colleagues last day at work. I’ve worked directly with Justine since coming back to Thriev this year and could not have asked for a better colleague/friend. For her last lunch, we went to Pizza Union which is INCREDIBLE and SO CHEAP! Definitely a place I will be returning to. 

  
We finished the night at The Gable, a bar/club which is part of Late Night London. We were finally able to gather the majority of the team (and former team members) for a nice night out and it was lovely seeing everyone under one roof again. However, I am left with no voice today as a result of screaming over the music to try to have a conversation. 

Lastly, this video. Every time I have sneezed today, I’ve asked Sean “am I as cute as the Pomeranian?” Not sure how to interpret his lack of response….