This Weekend…

Just a few days until I head to NYC to see my parents, eat too much food and wander around one of my favourite cities – I can’t wait. This weekend for me will be relaxed with some packing but also lots of yummy food with a sushi party at a friend’s house plus a trip to the awesome Street Feast up in my old neighbourhood Dalston. Whatever you do, stay gold.

imageOther cool stuff…

* LOVE this article on the difference between the US and the UK (and I agree – you order wine by the BOTTLE, America)

* Wardrobe organisation by fashion editors. Genius

* Borderline obsessed with the kitchen in Nicole’s house (from Making It Lovely)

* You know how I really want a drinks trolley? Well this amazing do-up makes me want it more.

* Have you signed up for iTunes festival tickets ballot? Fingers crossed for Chic, Lady Gaga and Elton.

* The most gorgeous brogues

* If you’re after a great read, I really can’t recommend Where’d You Go Bernadette? enough.

Image from my Instagram feed @rachaelgormley

Time for tea: Brumus at the Haymarket Hotel

This Sunday was one of the nicest Sundays in a while. My girls went for a gorgeous afternoon tea baby shower at Brumus at the Haymarket Hotel in the West End to celebrate the coming (soon!) of a new lovely baby. The tea set is Wedgewood Wild Strawberry bone china (I looked underneath the cup) and I would seriously consider getting married simply to get this.

brumus - teaset

The setting is beautiful and the service is wonderful. Between the six of us we had three traditional teas and three specials to mix it up. This is the traditional one with scones, finger sandwiches and little eclairs.

brumus - traditional

This tier was overflowing with salmon blinis, blueberry cheesecake and chocolate coated strawberries and marshmallows. So good.

Brumus - special

Sometimes I think this country is insane but then I remember that we have afternoon tea, freedom and Clare Balding and all is well with the world again.

Queen of the Night Bus xx

LondonLove: Frank’s Cafe, Peckham

I think we can all agree on this – there is always time for some rooftop drinking. If you’re in sarf laandaan, get yourself to Frank’s Cafe in Peckham. Perched on top of the multi-storey car park, it has awesome panoramic views of the city skyline.

Franks - views

There are also art installations from Bold Tendencies – including this glittery number.

Franks - me

There is a wide range of yummy Greenwich Meantime ales and I had a lush cider to wash down a pot of olives and the most tasty barbecued plantain with super hot pepper sauce.

Franks

This is just the first visit of many this summer for us. If nothing else, I need more BBQ plantain!

Queen of the Night Bus xxxx

LondonLove: Climbing The Monument

This summer me and Al have decided to do lots of “London things” that we haven’t done – the kind of thing every Italian student on an exchange trip has seen in London but the average resident walks past daily.

Today we did one of those things, and climbed all the way to the top of the Monument. It was so cool but hard bloody work. 311 steps of hard work!

Monument stairs

Monument was built between 1671 and 1677 to commemorate the Great Fire of London fact fans, and to celebrate the rebuilding of the City of London. The pillar with its distinctive copper top (bit like me, har har) is built near where the fire began. Fantastic fact people – the pillar is 61 metres high, which is the exact distance between the pillar and the site in Pudding Lane where the fire began.

Monument st pauls

When you get up top, your hard work is rewarded with brilliant views of the city. St Pauls, Battersea Power Station, Tower Bridge, Houses of Parliament. It’s all here. And guess what – it is only £3 (!!!) to go to the top (and only a bargainous £2 if you are a student!!)

Monument us

As we left the lovely man gave us both a certificate to prove we had climbed to the top of the Monument.

Monument certs

Whether you’re a tourist or a long-time resident, the Monument is so worth a visit. Plus, you’re not to far from one of my favourite streets (and old stomping ground) Fleet Street where a pint at the Tipperary, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese or the Crown and Sugarloaf is pretty necessary after 311 steps.

Queen of the Night Bus xxxx

Books for little people – and an exciting event

It’s a very special little person’s birthday this weekend – she is three – and me and Al have got her this adorable book.

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It is beautifully illustrated. We picked it up in this gorgeous little independent bookstore that is worth a gander if you’re in St Ives (you lucky devil).

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When I was little, I loved nothing more than getting books as gifts. A family friend gave me Roald Dahl’s Matilda when I was about six or seven and I read it cover to cover several times. It really opened up independent reading to me in a big way. Back in Wigan there was a mobile library which I could have lived in, with all its Babysitter Club books and Sweet Valley Highs and Famous Fives.

What books did you love as a child? If you’re looking for a great children’s bookstore in London, I can highly recommend the lovely specialist children’s bookstore Tales On Moon Lane in Herne Hill, southeast London. AND OMG JUDITH KERR –  AKA THE AUTHOR OF “THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA” – IS GOING TO BE THERE ON JULY 4TH!!

Maybe I’ll see you there. I’ll be the ginger 27-year old pushing little ones out of the way.

The Mousehole Mice by Michelle Cartlidge is also on Amazon (and probably the websites of some companies that pay a fair amount of tax too)

LondonLove: Walking the Regent’s Canal from Little Venice to Camden

A few weeks ago me and Al decided to make the most of a break in the rain and go for a big ole walk but breaking news people – WE WENT TO WEST LONDON. I know right?! Previous to this day out, this was my personal map of London.

Here be Dragons

Even though I have lived here nearly six years, I’m very much an East/South London kind of girl. Of course, I’ve been to the museums and the occasional house party and what not but I find anything past Marble Arch pretty baffling.

However I was super keen to go to Little Venice, a beautiful area in the south of Maida Vale. Wowsa. The streets really are paved with gold! We were not in Kansas anymore, Toto.

Little Venice 2

The houseboats are so pretty – it’s a dream of mine to live on a houseboat thanks to a combination of the TV show Rosie and Jim and growing in canal-riddled Wigan. The moorings are really pretty and well maintained here.

Little Venice 1

We then pottered up the canal side and eventually came across this incredible community of house boats – how beautiful! There were herbs growing along the path way and pretty bunting and decorations (and a few adorable dogs mooching aboard deck). It was like paradise.

Little Venice 3

The sun had come out by this time so we decided to pop off the canal path and head into St Johns Wood for a snack. Al was keen to show me Lords Cricket Ground and then we saw the Abbey Road crossing made famous, of course, by the Beatles’ album cover. We didn’t try to recreate this but a lot of people did  – a few got properly told off by moody drivers too. (How amazing are the houses around here?)

Abbey Road

After a sneaky pint, we got back on the canal on our way to Camden. We considered going alllllll the way back to east London but by this point rain clouds were on the horizon. This part of the walk is especially exciting because you go past the London Zoo – we didn’t see any wild animals, alas – and the canal becomes very peaceful and serene. This probably isn’t an image most people think of when they think of central London.

regents canal

me at canal

We continued our amble – and this is when the house envy monster inside me really came out. The houses are like palaces! This one reminds me so much of the house that Duchess and her kittens live in in The Aristocats.

big house canal

And bravo to the owners of this gorgeous home – a surprise cow on the balcony! Love it.

 

cow house canal

Eventually we made it to Camden before the rain started to pour and treated ourselves to a well earned burger and cheeky wine at the Hawley Arms.

If you have a spare afternoon and the weather is fine, it’s a beautiful walk and takes in so many great sights. We’ve now got a target of walking the whole 8.6 miles of the Regent’s Canal from Little Venice to the Thames at Limehouse basin (via Islington, Dalston and Mile End) at some point this summer. I’m thinking there will need to be quite a few pint stops on that one.

Queen of the Night Bus xxxx

All photographs courtesy of my Instagram feed @rachaelgormley. London tube map from Transport for London, and destroyed by myself.

This Weekend…

It’s been a bit quiet on here for a while due to a manic few weeks of work. And the next few weeks look to be much of the same with an exam and two assignments due in as my midwifery training reaches the end, at last!!

But there are so many great things to look forward to as well. Hope you all have a lovely Bank Holiday weekend and get to relaaaaxxxxxx….

London tea

In the meantime, here are some bits that have caught my beady eye of late.

* Two of my super cool friends are having babies this year, and I’m already thinking of ideas for cute unique gifts like this – am I being too adventurous?

* My friend Hannah’s awesome DIY wedding invites – mine is proudly displayed on the fridge! Proof that style and good design need not cost the earth

* This Sunday me and my adorable friend Steven are hitting Vicky Park for As One In The Park, a fun and poppy LGBT festival which includes my true love and guilty pleasure – RYLAN!  (did someone say Prosecco?)

* And tonight it’s the final of our little DIY Come Dine With Me. It’s sure to be full of yummy Colombian food, like this. Noms.

* Talking of food, I made a deeelish Vietnamese salad this week and became addicted to this blog in the process

* And finally, in a week that has involved some truly horrible events, remember there is a lot of good out there – and here’s the proof

Queen of the Night Bus xxx

A springtime facelift

Ok, so spring hasn’t exactly sprung (not in my little corner of south-east London anyway) but there are signs, however fragile, that it’s not too far away.

ImageAn inspired springtime display at Liberty recently

Inspired by the new season, I’ve decided to give the blog a bit of a makeover and a clean up. I’m planning to add new posts regularly as I have gone off the radar too long.

Spring was definitely on the way at Kew Gardens in West London when we visited recently (although it rained constantly!). I’d never been before but I’ve always been keen to go. Even in the rain it didn’t disappoint.

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There was a special display of orchids, which are some of my favourite flowers. Who knew there were so many varieties? I’d never manage to keep them alive in my house though.

ImageThe colours were incredible! There’s a real element of faded Victorian grandeur in the glasshouses. We climbed up the rusting spiral staircase to view the palms from up high.

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Everything was so lush and green. Such a nice change after this relentless winter!

If you have time to pop over to Kew and visit their beautiful gardens, I really recommend it. It certainly put a spring in our step and was a great date.

Do you know any other great green spaces in London? Any hidden gardens? xx