Following our mini-break to Paris, we spent the rest of the week in the Big Smoke, catching up with friends and family.
We picnicked one sunny day in Hyde Park with my brother, Stephen and nephew, Milo, played football and rented a paddleboat on the Serpentine. That was a rip off and a half! I forgot about the ‘Central London Tax’. Still, it was definitely worth it. The last day spent with them both, for a while, was perfect.
I had a girls afternoon in Covent Garden with my sister, friend and cousin Hayley, otherwise known as Big C, while Tim had some well deserved time off from meeting and greeting.
I have to divulge a little on Big C, who got a bit offended in another post when I referred to her as simply “my cousin Hayley”. So, here you are Big C, a paragraph all to yourself.
Before you ask, Big C stands for ‘Big Cousin’. Lauren and I are ‘Little Cs’ to Big C. Like I said, we’re fond of nicknames.
Jokes aside, she’s like a sister to me. Huge hearted, with a bountiful supply of energy and the most infectious personality, you’d think she was still 21. Don’t worry Big C, I won’t reveal your true age! Any surprises Uncle Bob is her Dad?
She introduced me to ‘Friends’, ’24’, card making and shandies (at the age of 12). Mum should probably thank Big C; her hangovers were so awful I swore I was never going to drink alcohol, ever. Obviously that didn’t stick.
Big C often likes to tell the story of how, when I was about 7 years old, I had to write about who I admire most in the world and I chose my coolest cousin Hayley. Honestly, time hasn’t changed much.
Will that do Big C?
Back to London…On the Saturday, we went to Field Day Festival at Victoria Park. Despite not knowing many of the artists on the lineup, it was a great day! By the end of it we’d discovered some new music to add to our Spotify playlists. Favourites were Chicago band, ‘Whitney’, Brooklyn band ‘Sinkane’ and ‘DJ Machinedrum’.
Other highlights of the week were a night at Pizza Express Jazz Cafe in Soho. 50 years on since The Beatles released the album ‘Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band’, there was a Beatles themed jazz performance on. It was incredible and very moving, listening to such well known songs sung in a completely different style.
We also went to see ‘The Book of Mormon’ at the Prince of Wales Theatre. Tim is a big South Park fan so it was a no brainer, we had to go. It’s awkwardly, laugh-out-loud funny, that’s a must see if you haven’t already.
Thinking back now, we incorporated a lot into our week in London. We also ventured to Camden markets, to the British Museum, hopped on a boat tour from Greenwich to Westminster, rock climbed in Bermondsey and entered a pub quiz in Forest Hill. We came third.
A quick, huge thank you here for Shani and Josh. They kindly let us housesit for them in Forest Hill while they were in Bali. It was a pleasure to look after their sweet cat Minnie. It saved us stress and a lot of money!
Sadly, in the five weeks that we’ve been in the U.K., four big events have occurred. One terrorist attack in Manchester, one at London Bridge, a hung parliament election result and a devastatingly huge fire at an apartment block in London. Conversations have been fraught with politics, anger, fear and condolence so it’s an interesting time for us, and particularly Tim, to be in the U.K. It’s frightening and heartbreaking what has happened but thankfully, it hasn’t cast a shadow on our experience here. If anything, we’ve witnessed the ever resilient British way of life. People are carrying on as they would any other day.
In my family, we’ve adopted Churchill’s quote ‘KBO’ (Keep B*ggering On). This was certainly the case for many in the days after the attacks.
To end on a lighter note, we have two more days left in London at the end of our U.K. trip which we’re looking forward to. There’s a few things we still want to tick off the London bucket list. Until then, there’s a week in Cornwall to get packing for.
More photos from London here.