A year ago today I moved to London. And the best way to celebrate feeling like I truly belong here is by going back to the very beginning – being those all important, slow walking, picture-taking tourists on their holidays, enjoying this wonderful city.
This weekend Jack and I took it upon ourselves to do a variety of ‘touristy’ activities. It was probably the most productive weekend we’ve had to date and most definitely the earliest we’ve got up together on a Sunday morning.
We started Saturday by getting up at 9AM (unheard of) and going to our local cafe, Bread by Bike. It’s a super cute bakery around the corner from my flat that prides itself on its sourdough bread – it’s a real hidden treasure and I would definitely recommend going if you’re ever in North London. We got take out, took it home and sat in bed watching Friends.
Jack napped whilst I put my glam on and we headed to Notting Hill. When we first got together, Jack was desperate for me to watch the film Notting Hill; I had never seen it and never intended to because of my hostility towards rom-coms. Of course, I eventually gave in and I can now begrudgingly say I quite like it. We walked the length of Portobello Road Market, got milkshake and found pretty coloured houses to take pictures with.
Next, we got the tube to Westminster and walked along the bridge to the Southbank. Our next choice of tourist attraction was either the London Eye or the London Dungeons. Because I knew how happy it would make my mother – she’s wanted me to go for the past year – we went to the dungeons. I was slightly terrified of people jumping out and any talk about blood or gore is abhorrent to me, but nevertheless, I had a wonderful time. It was also super interesting to learn about London before artsy vegan restaurants, boozy mini golf and pretentious cafe’s.
Our next stop was Wagamamas before we decided we had spent far too much time out of bed. I introduced Jack to the wonder of yasai kastu curry, then we went back to Camden in time to have a Saturday night in, complete with snacks and a film.
Sunday was a bright and early start as well. We woke up, got ready and went straight to Camden market. I usually do my best to avoid Camden on a weekend because of how busy it gets, but it was only right to do the tourist thing and have a browse. There is a ridiculous amount of food choice round there and I had to make the decision as to where we went for breakfast. We found a cute little Mexican cafe and settled there. Jack had breakfast tacos and I had a blueberry cinnamon loaf. After food, we were raring to go for day 2 of our tourist staycation. Jack wanted some posters so we searched the maze that is the market for some cute vintage movie posters.
Next, we went to Brick Lane market. We had a look at the vintage stalls, strolled the street and Jack played chess with the man who ‘plays chess for fun for free’ every Sunday. Next, we went to Old Spitalfields market. All the browsing was absolutely exhausting so we did the true British thing and stopped for tea. After we gained a bit of energy, we grabbed a doughnut – obviously a photogenic one for the pics – and I made Jack take a million photos of me. Honestly, that man is a saint. If he doesn’t complain when taking outfit pictures, he’s a keeper.
We stopped at our third and final market of the day – Petticoat Lane Market. To Jack this probably seemed like a horrifying, typical dirty London street selling fake Gucci and what claims to be vintage (really just dirty and used) clothing. But to me, it’s an absolute wonderland. If you look hard enough, there are some real bargains, including brand new things from Mango and Topshop. I spotted a dress for £10 that is still full price at £42 in Topshop. I would definitely recommend going there every now and again to see what they have. Whether you are a tourist or not, if you can get past the slightly scary Londoners and dingy streets, it’s a really great shopping destination when you are on a budget.
To bring the weekend to a close, we went back to my flat and began watching Harry Potter; our plan was to watch all 7 this week then go to the Warner Bros studio. Jack however, fell asleep whilst I edited the hundreds of pictures I got (I will be posting them for the foreseeable ever). He woke up with a new lease of life and we decided the weekend was not quite finished after all. We got ready and went to Pizza Union at King’s Cross. We then got the tube over to Tower Hill to take a Jack the Ripper tour around Whitechapel. It was so much fun and super interesting whilst being a slightly morbid way to spend your Sunday night. It made us feel like real life tourists, following a man around with an umbrella in the air with a bunch of people from around the world.
I have had the most incredible weekend. It’s so easy to get caught up in work and general daily life that you forget where you are. I’m lucky enough to live in one of the most amazing cities in the world. If you are too, I would highly recommend taking a day off from the ‘rat race’ lifestyle and really try to appreciate your surroundings.
I just want to say a big thank you to Jack for making me the best possible version of myself. You make me laugh, cry, smile and love like never before. This time one year ago, I could never have imagined myself being as happy as I am now.
Hugs and wishes,
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