This past week the Watts made a visit and man, oh man, what a dream come true! Ben and I love visitors and were excited to finally be reunited with Liz and Ashton! Looking back on the week I am realizing we covered quite some ground in this city of ours.
Ben met up with Liz and Ashton when they landed and did a little sightseeing around Westminster while I was at work until we all met in the park! We made some dinner, introduced them to Pimms, and had the best of conversation. Saturday morning, Liz and I went out on a run through St. James’s, Green, and Hyde Park. Throughout college Liz was my workout person. I’m talking every day, rain or shine. Funny how one of the main things we were looking forward to is to be able to go on our runs and work out again together. God love ya, Liz. After our run, we met back up with the boys and made our way to Russell Square for the start of The Great Contiki Challenge around London. (AKA one big massive scavenger hunt all around the city.) We really threw the Watts head first with this one. We took just about every form of transportation, even the bikes, and made our way to Shoreditch, Haggerston, Tower of London, Westminster, Green Park, Hyde Park, Notting Hill, and Portobello Road. A whirlwind of a day, a lot of sight seeing, and a lot of sweating. Ashton and Liz were champs all day and to celebrate we had an Indian dinner in Notting Hill (Ashton’s first taste of Indian). After a much deserved dinner, our tired legs hopped back on our bikes and cruised through Hyde Park back towards Trafalgar and ended with La Gelateria’s ice cream sitting atop the lions in Trafalgar. What a day!
Sunday morning Liz and I were determined to wander about the Columbia Road Flower Market, rain or shine. The rain held out and it was a perfect morning. We swooned over all the flowers, walked up and down the market, and popped in and out of the shops finding the perfect little flower pot. Liz, you get me when it comes to flowers.
She is an absolute beaut and I could not think of a better way to spend our morning.
Before heading out to church we stopped by Lily Vanilli, which I highly recommend, for some coffee and a sweet treat. This little bakery is well known for its cakes, pastries, and coffee. The lemon blueberry pastry was practically screaming our name, and rightly so.
Lemon blueberry anything is a win in my book. We enjoyed every last bite and lick of the spoon.
We caught the bus back to church and met up with they guys. (They were less into the whole flower thing, and more into a big breakfast thing.) I love having visitors from home come to give them a glimpse of what the Radford’s day to day lives look like. Having Liz and Ashton come to church was another way to give them a little look into our London lives. After church, we took the scenic route back by St. Paul’s Cathedral across Millennium Bridge (where Ben somehow successfully avoided buying us the roasted nuts that all the Mr. Roasted Nut guys sell), and down along the south bank of the river.
As we got hungrier and hungrier we quickened our step to Southbank Market. As you know, this is a favorite. Lunch was a success. We made sure to teach Ashton and Liz the art of sampling.
After resting a bit and leaving the boys to do some school work, Liz and I walked over to Seven Dials for some shopping. Zara treated us nicely. I then made sure to give Liz a little preview of Neal’s Yard, my favorite little colorful corner!
We shared a dinner in, with more long talks, and then strummed the strings (aka go to Ben’s favorite pub, the Harp. See what he did there?) Now we know you can actually get a table if you go on a Sunday evening!
I had to work on Monday, and Ben did some school work, so we left our little visitors to explore about! They had some coffee at Notes, a quick trip to the National Gallery, then the Churchill War Rooms, and ended at the Imperial War Museum. As soon as I got off from work we indulged in some wine and a cheeseboard at Gordon’s Wine Board with some friends as a starter to our dinner. I have a deep appreciation for Gordon’s and loved getting to share that with the Watts. The guys wanted a real meal (I think that means meat needs to be involved) so we ventured to Covent Garden area to Mabels. After dinner we gave the grand tour of Covent Garden Market and then decided to grab a drink around Soho in Kingly Court. I heard about Cahoots when it first opened a few months ago and have been dying to go ever since. It has definitely had a top spot on our bucket list. You generally need a booking to get in, but somehow they were able to squeeze us in this evening! Designed like a 1940s Tube Station and located in a WW2 air raid shelter, Cahoots truly feels like you are walking back in time. The bartenders and staff are all completely in character, the decor is amazing and it really does feel as if you are on an old tube. The menu looked like a newspaper, the booths had the tube fabric, and there was even a ticket station. Three cheers for Cahoots!
Tuesday morning we woke up bright and early for breakfast at Sky Garden! Ben and I went a few months back at night with some friends and knew we wanted to return. This time, for breakfast. The vibe was completely different and equally has great. We all ordered flat whites and lattes accompanied by muesli, fruit, and muffins and sat on the trendy little benches.
God love them.
Since our last visit they added these high definition binocular things that made for a very cool way to see the city.
This place is so beautiful with all the natural light. Even on a grey London day, the views were lovely.
Being married friends is quite fun.
Ben jetted out after to get some work done and I went with Liz and Ashton for the grand London walk. We started at Tower Bridge and crossed to the south side to Bermondsey.
I was extra excited to show them Borough Market. All the fresh food and vendors are a dream.
Liz and I found the most delicious curry and Ashton fancied the chorizo roll. Nom nom. We even picked up fresh berries for dinner.
We continued along the river, pit stopping at the Tate Modern for the top view and continued along stopping whenever we found something interesting, and took our time making it back home. Liz and I fit another workout in before making a meal that unintentionally represented a little taste of the world. A little Greek tzatziki here, Chinese peppers and steak there, Mediterranean couscous on the side, and all American sweet potato fries. Hey, you work with what you’ve got.
Wednesday morning Liz, Ashton, and I caught the tube to Shoreditch to Brick Lane for them to give Cereal Killer a try. I was overjoyed to make a return. I’m still pondering over whether or not there is anything better than a bowl of cereal. It never gets old.
Liz had a little Peanut Butter Captain Crunch, Dark Chocolate Cheerios, bananas, and almond milk. I had Peanut Butter Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Coco Pebbles, banana, and almond milk. Ashton went for the Chocopottomus, which was Cocopups, Krave, Kinder Happy Hippo, and chocolate milk. Overall we had very well rounded, nutritious, breakfasts.
Same seat as last time. Just as good.
Then we channeled our inner Shoreditch, checked out Box Park, and even made our way back to Liverpool to check out Old Spitalfields Market. Like I said, we covered some ground.
Cereal can only fill you up so much. By three we were dying for some Homeslice Pizza which is not pictured due to how quickly we consumed it. Ben and I split the chorizo, corn, and coriander as well as the goat shoulder with savoy cabbage and sumac yogurt. Liz and Ashton also went for the chorizo, corn and coriander and also the celeriac, asparagus, cows curd and hazelnuts. We were drooling over the pizzas. They somehow manage to season the bottom of the crust and it is to die for. Keeping doing your thing Homeslice. We will return again I am sure.
Goodness, I could not have been more happy to be reunited with sweet Liz and Ashton. Its one thing to Facetime and text, and a whole different thing to just lay on the coach or go for a run and catch up. Also such a joy to show them our lives here from little to big things such as showing them our flat, pointing out our favorite coffee shops and picnic spots, and exploring new areas. I loved our long dinners and coffee mornings and everything in between. Ben and I are so incredibly thankful for their friendship and are looking forward to making the trip to Atlanta next time!