Should we get him a Newcastle hooker?
This morning we met at Monmouth Coffee in Soho so we could take it to-go and drink it out back in Neal's Yard. Monmouth Coffee is a London institution and there's nearly always a line, sometimes well out the door. Kris got the best machiatto of his life and Elizabeth and I had perfect flat whites.
After coffee we ducked into a cheese shop and sampled a bunch of stuff before buying a little chunk of brie to eat later. Then we stumbled into a french cafe chain called Paul's and got really amazing lunch food to go. Kris and my dad had ham, cheese and mustard on baguettes and I had a really great salad with loads of goat cheese and a yummy citrus dressing. We also got a Millefeuille and a Frasier - both pastries we had seen made on the Great British Bake Off and they did not disappoint.
We enjoyed that all while lounging in St. James Park and we were entertained by this really cute boy who had a pocket full of bird seed and had birds landing all over him. It was the best. He was so cute.
After lunch we went into the National Gallery, sort of scared after our crap experience at the over hyped British Museum, but it was so amazing in there! The building was beautiful, it was decked out with exquisite wall paper and beautiful moulding and ornate light fixtures. We walked through a room that had a collection of paintings by dutch artists that were incredibly detailed floral arrangements - from the fallen dead leaves to the tiny bugs to the vases they were housed in. It was really beautiful and that ended up being our favorite part.
Once we were tapped out on art we headed over to the Imperial War Museum for a change of pace. Also free, and very accessible and easy to navigate. We walked through the World War I floor together and then Elizabeth and I headed to the cafe while the guys walked through the Holocaust floor.
The museum closed at six so once we were kicked out we walked up the south bank and got dinner food at Pret and then went back to the grassy patch by the London Eye to eat. Once we were done it was still early so I convinced everyone to walk to this pub I had read about called The Morpeth Arms. It took us on a nice walk farther down the south bank and ended up being set right on the river directly across from the MI5 building, so it was pretty cool. And just a classic pub on the inside.
We ended up sitting there for a while talking about how we lost our virginity, among other things.
Going home we walked up the north bank all the way around Westminster Abbey and it was so pretty at night.
The Monocle Cafe was our start today. The internet said it was on a street right out of a movie and they weren't lyin'. It was completely adorable. We ordered flat whites and a cardamom bun and inserted ourselves into the scene out front - several small tables and lots of bright yellow stools positioned in front of the window. Our coffee was brought out to us on trays with tiny spoons, slender packets of sugar and squares of chocolate. So adorable. We ended up getting a second cardamom bun because it was so delicious.
Then it was onto the Potato Project for lunch - a cafe in soho that only does jacket potatoes. I got one loaded with tuna and sweet corn and they accidentally put a load of shredded cheese on it, which was so good. Elizabeth had one with beans and cheese, and Kris accidentally got a sweet potato, which he hates, but it had shredded lamb on it so it was palatable.
After lunch we tried to go to the Bugatti store, but they were closed so we headed back to the Imperial War Museum because Kris was so taken with the Holocaust exhibit. I walked through it too and it was so well done. Elizabeth and I were done long before Kris was because we could only take so much of it in before we just wanted to ball up in the corner and die. We sat on the grass outside and ate our leftover jacket potatoes, and then moved to a bench where we ended up having a really funny conversation with this hip old grandma from Arlington, Texas who was also waiting out front for her man friend.
Kris came out eventually and we decided to take a bus to Shoreditch - an area some girl at Elizabeth's hostel had told her about. It ended up being kind of a shit show and so not cool at all that we basically just turned right around and left. We razzed Elizabeth that her one contribution to that trip so far had been that shit hole.
We went back to soho and ate at a Mexican chain everyone seems to love called Wahaca. Kris had a great burrito, Elizabeth had tostadas, but they forgot about mine and since I wasn't actually that hungry I opted to just skip it instead of waiting for them to make it.
After dinner we slowly made our way through Trafalgar Square and back to the Waterloo bridge to check for the magic band - they weren't there. We continued walking down the south bank and ended up at The Swan - the pub attached the Shakespeare's Globe. It was really beautiful inside - dark, lots of candles, giant leather booths, a beautiful bar. We got drinks and sat outside overlooking the river until it got too cold. We moved inside to a booth and ended up ordering a piece of lime cheesecake and a cheese plate, so that ended up being my dinner.
After Elizabeth did her laundry and had a real shower, we headed to Borough Market to load up on produce since we all decided we needed a fruit and veggies day. We took our haul over to the giant grass lawn in front of the Tate. We got fat juicy cherries, magic dates, and a pomegranate the size of my face.
We went inside the museum to use the bathroom, check out the gift shop, and go to the 6th floor cafe for the view. Then we took the bus to the Wellcome Collection - another fantastic small, free museum.
It was so well set up and they had free audio guides that were really great. It was essentially a collection of old medical equipment. There was a huge row of different kinds of amputee saws and the audio guide described how they would strap people down to wooden slabs, dump liquor in their mouths, and just saw off their limb(s). Fuck.
Then there were a shit load of old forceps used during birth. So weird to see. Did you know that doctors started draping women's legs during labor not for modesty, but to protect their "trade secrets"? They didn't want the midwives or the women to know what they were doing, only that they were "saving the baby". They did this to guarantee their place in birth because they saw a huge financial opportunity since they knew women were always having babies.
The museum cafe was cute and had a couple of all veggie options so we ate lunch there and then lounged in their gigantic library room. It was like an over sized study with loads of overstuffed floor pillows, tables, chairs, and study spaces.
We stopped at an M&S after the museum to get a few things for dinner and then headed home to stir fry up a shit ton of veggies. That was a nice change to our usual crazy, out late pace.
This morning we went to the greatest coffee shop we've been to yet. It was called Timberyard, and it is back in our favorite soho neighborhood. You order from the sexy hipsters at the counter and then find a seat and are served. They bring you your shit on a tiny pallet tray and everything is so thought out and beautiful. Kris had a brilliant machiatto, I had a flat white and we shared a great piece of peanut butter chocolate banana cake.
Elizabeth joined us eventually and then we moved on to Cafe Cote for brunch. The front windows were open and the atmosphere was upscale, but we all had meals, hot drinks and juice for ten pounds. Kris had the eggs benedict royale, Elizabeth had a great looking egg, bacon and gruyere crepe, and I had the veggie platter breakfast: eggs, nutty veggie sausages, grilled tomatoes, sourdough toast, avocado, and a dish of hollandaise. It was so great.
Right across the street was Paul's Chocolate and we each got a few for the road. We walked along St. Jame's Park and then Hyde Park for a bit before veering off to go into Harrod's - another destination department store and that it was. It was basically like a mall for rich people, but it's technically just one giant store. They have 10+ restaurants, a ridiculous gourmet food floor, hallways upon hallways full of high end designer clothes, shoes, and bags, furniture, lighting, and a giant technology floor with everything from ipads to $10,000 gaming chairs. It was crazy.
Then we went to the Victoria & Albert museum only to realize we were all kind of tired and over it. It was hot and the city was so busy and crowded and we were just sort of overloaded so we decided to go back to Greenwich and go to Bill's - an adorable cozy chain restaurant that has great food. We sat in the giant window and Elizabeth had a meat burger, while Kris had a bun stuffed with roasted red peppers, fried halumi and a yummy spicy sauce.
I just had a smoothie since I decided I wanted to get food at M&S and sneak it into the movie we had decided to see. That was super fun. This particular movie theater is called a picture house and you get a reserved seat and sit on super plush comfy couches. It was so cute. We saw the new Bourne movie, which wasn't like the greatest thing ever, but is sure fun to watch in a theater, especially if you've seen the previous ones.
Today we planned a much slower day. We had Elizabeth over for breakfast and then walked a few minutes down the road to the Moca Cafe for coffees. Then we mistakenly went to Borough Market at lunch time. It was a fuckin mad house, but they were able to weed their way thru the crowd to get the individually sized meat pies they were craving.
We got the fuck out of there and walked around the corner to a small green space to picnic.
Afterwards we headed back to Timberyard to sit and write for a while. Kris had another amazing machiatto and I had the best mango smoothie I've ever had in my life. It was so perfect and I'm still thinking about it.
We gt M&S food for dinner and ate it on the grass in Soho square. It was packed with loads of people eating and drinking and generally having a great time after work.
Today was a travel day so we woke up and started cleaning and packing before heading to Green Cafe for breakfast. Important things were discussed and googled, including "butterfly butthole tattoo". We walked home through Greenwich park and stopped at a little coffee kiosk for drinks. Then we just lounged at home until it was time to catch our train.
It was a super nice virgin train and we had three of the four seats around a table. In the fourth seat was this total ogre of a dude. As we're getting set up and unpacking our sushi and fruit, he's getting set up with two giant beers and two greasy cornish pasties. Ha.
The train ride was uneventful and a beautiful ride through the English countryside. We took a cab to our friend Clair's house and she greeted us with alcohol and snacks. Then she let me and Elizabeth borrow her cute shoes so that we could get dressed up and go to a bar in town. It was such a fun bar and they were playing really fun music - first it was lots of Diana Ross, then a bunch of 70s disco, and then great 80s music. We sat in a cozy booth, Clair couldn't believe how little we all drank, and we had a lot of fun watching all of the people dancing.
Today we all slept until after 11. It was so great. Clair made us coffee and we drank it out back in her little garden space. Then Kris found a place a mile down the road where we had the most ridiculous breakfast yet.
The cafe was called Spark Kitchen and it was run by the most adorable, stylish older couple. Kris had their version of the full english and I had a thick slice of toasted banana bread topped with mascarpone cream, fresh berries and a pistachio crumble.
Clair took us on a great walk around downtown Newcastle and then we took the metro back to her neighborhood. Whilst on board, Elizabeth cry-laughed again as we were discussing getting Kris a Newcastle hooker for his birthday tomorrow. Possibly one with a butterfly butthole tattoo. Figuring that'd be especially hard to come by, we discussed waxing my asshole and applying a temporary design. Then we headed home to nap. It was a super lazy day. After napping Kris and I lounged in the backyard and looked up all the different ways to legally pay for sex in Amsterdam and then we made a yummy stir fry for dinner.