17 November 2012

Adventuring in the Big Smoke

I spent today exploring London with my Mum and my Aunt, getting confused by tube maps and talking lots of photos like a total tourist- and I loved every minute!

We spent our morning in the Tate Britain having a look around the pre-Raphaelite exhibition. The tickets were quite expensive, but because we went into London Town by train I managed to find a 2-for-1 offer through National Rail. I printed off two vouchers and we offered one to a little old lady who was in the queue behind us so we managed to get all 3 tickets for half price! Thrifty :)

Pre- pre-Raphaelites fuel; cultural exposure burns calories, right?

There were several pieces that really stood out at me in the exhibition, and my Aunt very sweetly bought me a print of one of the pieces and postcards of two of the others from the gallery shop as a surprise! These pieces were some of my favourites;

Lady Lilith by Dante Gabriel Rossetti
The Doom Fulfilled, by Edward Burne Jones. Kudos to the man wrestling the snake- it must have been impossible to concentrate properly on killing it- just LOOK at that girl's BUM! 

After we'd finished at the Tate, my Aunt took us to an INCREDIBLE place for lunch- the Whole Foods Market on Kensington High Street. The first floor contains a restaurant with dedicated areas for different foods from around the world- all cooked from scratch, and most of the meals give you the chance to choose your own combination of ingredients. To be honest, I felt overwhelmed with choice at first (and I was really hungry!) so I opted for a monster plate of approximately seventy billion kinds of salad, for a pretty reasonable £5.90. I'm not talking your average Pizza Hut salad bar here- there was roasted veg, unusual grains, and raspberry and sweet basil salad dressing! Needless to say, I piled that plate as high as I could get it without my arms giving out from the weight!


Whilst we ate I had the chance to properly take in all of the options available and, delicious as the salad was, I felt like I'd failed at food- because I could see people eating some sort of curry out of BOWLS MADE OF POPPADOMS. I made a pact with myself then and there that I will return to that restaurant and order whatever it was they were serving in those crispy and edible bowls of wonder. 

THEN my Aunt informed us that the ground floor and basement were filled with fresh produce, a cheese room (that's right my friends - a whole room! Just for cheese!) and some of the fanciest cakes she had ever seen. Needless to say, the remains of our salads were wolfed down faster than you can say "A CHEESE ROOM?!" and we set off to have a good snoop around. I'm sure everyone thought I was a right weirdo taking pictures of barrels of grain and bowls of curry powder, but I thought they were just beautiful. And don't get me started on the cakes!! My Aunt bought Tom and I a cupcake each :) Tom wasn't with us, but I couldn't have gushed about cupcakes to him for half an hour without presenting him with accompanying sugary goodness now could I?

Gourdgeous (sorry- I couldn't help it!)
Fancy bean/pulse/grain dispensers

Prettiest cupcakes I ever did see

And just LOOK at their freakin' festive window display!!!

After feasting our eyes (and bellies!) on the wonders offered by the Whole Food Market we (st)rolled up to Portobello Road, having a good snoop at some of the fancy-pantsiest houses Kensington has to offer along the way. My Mum and I hadn't been to Portobello before, and were very excited to see what it had to offer. When we first arrived, my Mum was a little disappointed in how few stalls there were; but I think that was mainly because we'd come in at the "wrong" end, didn't turn up until 3pm, and Dick Van Dyke was nowhere to be seen. We did, however, see these things during the day;

From far away, the front of these houses looked like a row of candy canes! 
A concrete zoo facade on an ex-supermarket near Victoria Station

Underground mural

Still, I managed to find a lovely woollen picnic rug to double-up as a booster for the broken seat of our old-but-loved living room armchair (and my lovely Mum even put some money towards it!). The blanket was already in the sale, but I decided to try asking for an additional cheeky discount. The salesman wasn't having any of it, but did offer to let me pretend the Rod Stewart song that had just started on the shop radio was a private serenade just for me! Haha :p 

The day ended in the same way that all my London adventures seem to end- legging it through Victoria station trying to make our train, and (normally) leaping aboard with seconds to spare. Unfortunately, this time we missed our train (due to ordering a round of for-the-road hot chocolates with 30 seconds to spare. Doh!). However, we managed to catch one a few minutes later and not get found out (we'd pre-booked bargain tickets with the train line for a specific time). Us - 1, System - 0. Sadly, my Crazy Train RunTM butchered the turkey cupcake* my Aunt had bought for Tom; it was inside a special plastic box, but the end result still resembled a gore-filled horror movie scene set on a turkey farm. Oops! 

Katie xxx

P.S In case you hadn't noticed, I'm feeling a little hyperactive this evening. Probably because I just devoured one of these(!)-

I'm pretty sure my blood has now turned into rainbow-coloured syrup
* Iced to look like a turkey, not turkey flavoured- that would be weird!


  1. Lovely shots! I could use a cheese room in my house =) x

    1. I think I do to! Might turn the dining room into the cheese room- we mainly eat cheese in their anyway :p x

  2. Awhh what a nice time! MY london adventures always end the same way too! Cant believe you managed to escape on a different train, how did u do that?! I tried that before (as I had mistakenly booked the wrong train to my boyfriend's) and the mean ticket man wouldnt let me through, I was evidently having an emotional day because im pretty sure I cried. And no, that didnt help my cause! xxx

    1. Oh no :( I think train ticket people sometimes go a bit power-crazy- we were lucky because there wasn't a ticket checking person on the London - Brighton, and the lady on the train to Lewes was clearly at the end of a very long shift and didn't bother to check our tickets properly. I was very glad we managed to get away with it this time! :) xxx

  3. Hee hee, you make me laugh! Yay, you came to London! Mmmm, I must visit that place in Kensington High Street- it sounds MARVELLOUS!!!!!!
    Turkey cupcake-????? Hee he!

  4. Oh and to familiarise yourself with the London tube map, you must purchase 'The London game' one of the most brilliant yet most annoying board games in the world!

    1. Thanks for the tip! Perhaps I'll get ask for it for Christmas- it sounds intriguing :) You definitely need to go there- I think they have two other stores in London too, one of which might be closer to you! xx

  5. Looks like you had a great time! I hope I get to see that cheese room someday!

    1. It was pretty fancy! And the fruit & veg section has everything stacked in perfectly symmetrical pyramids. Quite glad I don't live in London; I think I'd spend all my money in the cheese room! :p

  6. Lovely photos! I really want to go to the Pre-Raph exhibit but was put off by the £14 price, so thanks for the tip about 2 for 1 with train tickets! I just know I'm going to come home with millions of postcards and prints for the house, lol.

    1. There are loads of 2-for-1 offers on the website I linked to above, so you might be able to find some for other exhibitions too :) The pricing in the Tate shop wasn't actually too expensive- the A4 print I was given only cost £6. x

  7. Cupcakes with macaroons on top?!?! Yes please!