Sunday, October 3, 2010

Get ready for's a BIG ONE!!!!!! From high tea and tagliatelli to mobiles and migraines

A lot has happened since I last wrote - as it usually does.  The daughter of the family I am living with moved to Disneyland Paris last Friday  =(  I will really miss hanging out with her and seeing her all the time. The son has some MAJOR interest in his band, and had a lot going on this weekend.  So a ton of good things going on here!!  
I’ll walk you through my week:

Packed up a suitcase and headed into London to meet my aunt who had just arrived in town for a business trip.  While at the train station, I heard someone shout out my name from a distance, “MARla....” As the voice trailed off, I was certain it was just my imagination...but in fact someone knew me in ENGLAND!!!!!  It was soo cool and I felt ‘posh’ as they say here.  I was like ‘yes’ turned around slowly (with my hair swinging perfectly in the wind) and sure enough, I truly did know this person.  She was a girl who is friends with the girl I am living with!!!  There were like 5 people with her (all of whom who I had previously met) so I was talking to them like I knew them well, like we had been friends forever, like I had actually lived here for a long time and we had had a million encounters ENGLAND!!!!!  Maybe I am totally blowing this out of proportion, but in a city where I know like 20 out of like 6 kaGILLION was pretty sweet!!!  One of the guys was going ‘bridge jumping’ a more literal way of saying ‘bungee jumping’, and a bunch of them went to show their support.  
My aunt and I met at her hotel, chatted for a minute and then got on to the most important task at hand....EATING!!!  We ate at a place called SKETCH....and let me tell you my friends, it was out of this world!!!  The deliciousness that I put into my was delish!!!!!!  The menus were sooo cool too and came tucked inside random old books...soo clever!!  We had tea that was served in the cutest tea pots with ‘proper‘ (they say that a lot), ‘proper‘ tea cups.  THEN, on a 2 tier platter, out came our lunch.  On the bottom tier there were mini sandwiches and on the second tier there were mini desserts.  On the side, there were raisin scone, served with crushed raspberries and clotted cream (which is to DIE for and I will probably have heart failure soon because I ate ALL of my share).  

It was just perfect and yummy and PROPER!!!!!!  And not only was the name of the restaurant SKETCH, but it was kind of sketchy too.  When we first arrived we had to wait and we were told to go look around the building, both up and down.  So of course we looked.  We went upstairs first and we saw these amazing bathrooms with all of these crystal finishes, then we went down - and this is where it got interesting.  First, we came upon this huge room.  This room was the size of most restaurants, definitely a large amount of space.  The room had no lights, only panoramic screens than spanned along and across the whole room.  When our eyes finished adjusting to the darkness, I noticed there were lots of low, white, modern couches in the middle, where many people were seated.  I still am not too sure of what the heck that was all about...but the oddest thing was how bizarre the projected videos were.  My aunt told me she heard one of the actors say ‘I like you as much and I like the bottom of my ice cold feet’....and the images looked like a scene out of The Ring.  Second super weird thing was that the washrooms in this part of the building were supposed to be the coolest in London....but what did that mean????  Each stall was a stand alone unit in the shape of capsules/pods/eggs...not really sure what to call them.  It was soooo strange, only the pictures I post will give you an idea of what I am talking about.  The music playing in each pod was sooo weird too - it sounded like you were smack dab in the middle of a farm - cows mooing, lambs baaing, birds chirping...YA!!!!!!!!!!  You will have to go there if you ever come to London!!!

The rest of the day was equally as cool.  We went to Topshop after lunch (see previous blog posts) where I ran into a girl I went to high school with!!!!!  She lives here now and we will be trying to arrange a time to meet up soon.  It was soooooo random!!!!  It was a day of my feeling like I really do live here!!!  LOL
I bought a straightener too that day (only 11 quid - a.k.a. about 20 bucks), best part it works!!!!!!!
Dinner was also an adventure.  
We went to a place in Notting Hill that had been recommended to us, but we waited - outside in the freezing cold - for an hour because we didn’t have reservations.  But it was TOTALLY worth it!!!  The bread.,,,,O.M.G. the BREAD!!!!!  SOOOOO goooooooood!!!!! They had amazing olive oil too for dipping which was amazing!!!!  YUM!!  A nice bottle of wine, and tagliatelli pasta with truffle oil...was practically in heaven!!!  The funniest part was sitting by, who my aunt thought were Italians, but were really Greeks.  Since my boyfriend is Greek, I was pulling out some of the really great vocabulary that I have picked up to demonstrate my Greek knowledge.  I started with PANDOFELE (sandal) then CARPUZI (watermelon) then GALLA (milk).  I may have also thrown in there OREO VISIA...I know, traveling to the Dominican with my boyfriends brother was very informative!!!  I had the Greeks in hysterics...they couldn’t figure out how I knew such random words!!!
So Saturday was JAMMED.  When we got back to my aunts hotel, we crashed.
Met up with my mom’s cousin (who was in London from Italy to visit her daughter who also joined us).  It was sooo amazing turning the corner when we were exiting the tube, and seeing my mom’s cousins face!!!!  She is such an amazing woman, cute, gentle, had the cutest her!!  And I didn’t think I would see her for a long time.  I had only met her once when I went for a trip to Italy 3 years ago, it was great to see that time melt away the minute we saw each other again!  We went for a walk along the River Thames.  BUT IT WAS SOOOOOOO COLD!!!!!  We popped into a restaurant for lunch to warm up.  

These are some really random pics I took along the way!!

After parting ways, I had time to get a cell...FINALLY!!!! It’s soo sweet, it’s a Blackberry Bold - but in white.  We did some shopping (I did window shopping) then we went for an incredible meal at the Wollsley.  We both had a great chicken dish then tea following dinner.  Jet lag was hitting my aunt pretty hard at that point, so again, we went back to the hotel and crashed.

I started off the day (well week for that matter) on a great foot, because I got a pain au raisin from a bakery and a London Fog from Starbucks before I headed into work.  It was really weird when I ordered at Starbucks, they don’t know what a London Fog is when their is a drink named after this city!!!!!!!!!!
I stayed with my aunt again, but went to dinner by myself because she had to work late.  I was CRAVING Indian, and by suggestion from one of my coworkers, I went to this place in was sooooo good!!!  The problem....I got TOTALLY lost on the way home.  I was soooo ‘gutted’ totally felt like crying, felt soooo frustrated because EVERY person I asked didn’t know where the heck we were or where the tube station was.  I talked to this one girl who was jogging by (how could SHE not know where we were) and for like 5 minutes she was trying to search the internet on her phone and couldn’t figure out where we were.  My stupid new phone wasn’t working - no signal - nothing.  I couldn’t even call 999 if I wanted to (the emergency number)....soooooo sucky.  So I tried to hail a cab....and nothing.  I was feeling defeated.  I was walking down dark cold streets.  There were hardly any people.  It was starting to feel scary.  I found some buses, but even after going on 3 and asking the bus drivers how to get to a certain station - they have no is that possible???  N e ways...I walked long enough and found a tube station.  Was sooooo stressed that night.  It was really nice making it back to the hotel and just chilling for a bit before bed.  
Met my aunt after work at a really great restaurant called Olivomare.  We had such a great meal!!!  I had spaghetti with crab and fresh parsley....sooo yummy!!!  It was such a great night but I was soooooo tired!!!!  I was really happy to get to bed after we got back to the hotel.  I did have to pack up my stuff though because my aunt had to leave super early in the morning for Lisbon 
My aunt had to wake up early to be out of the hotel at 4:15am AHHHHHHHHHH.  I was able to check out later, not to worry!!!!  LOL
At work, the owner of the hotel stopped by was soooo nerve wracking to get prepared for his visit.  But it didn’t even matter because he just had to meet by boss outside, no need for a freak out session at all!!!!!!  
Since it was a rather hectic day, I treated myself to an episode of Jersey Shore!!!
Not a good day.
It started off on the wrong foot.  The shirt I had prepared to wear for the day had a string that cinches at the waist with a bow.  WELLLL...I cinched too hard and the string that was once attached to the shirt was no longer.  The sweet sweet mom I am living with sewed it back up for me later that day, such an amazing nice person!!!
I was really excited because I was scheduled to meet up with a realtor from Foxtons (a big realty company here).  We were supposed to see around 4 places, but the stupid guy didn’t end up calling me.  Our meeting was at 5pm.  I got permission from my boss that I could leave early too.  It was sooo rude that this guy didn’t even have the courtesy to call or email me...and to this day I STILL haven’t hear from him HOW RUDE!!!!!  And that wasn’t even the bad part of the day....
I got a migraine.
And I didn’t have any meds on me.
It was HORRIBLE.  
All afternoon I was on the verge of barfing.  Life head between your knees vomishness.  It was horrrrrible.  I took 2 paracetamols (comparable to tylenol) and 2 pills of nurofen.  They didn’t work at ALL for my nausea. Just made it a bad afternoon for me.  I haven’t been that sick in a long time  =S  I could not wait to get home.  Maybe it was a good thing that my appointment was cancelled!!!
My aunt arrived back in town and I was ever so fortunate to stay with her at an amazing hotel in Canary Wharf.  If was really beautiful and it had many great amenities that made me feel like I was wrapped up in a hug!!!  I lugged my overnight  bag to work again (they must be thinking that I am moving around every night)!! 
After work I met my aunt again and we went to another AMAZING restaurant called Bob Bob was BRILLIANT!!!  Can you believe this, it had a button that said ‘Press for champagne’ (which of course my aunt had to press)!!!!  It was soooo fun!!!!  The food was scrumptious and the atmosphere was warm and very friendly.  The wait staff were great, soo on the ball, so seamless, like little dancers serving food!!!  There were 4 of us at dinner and we each got 3 things off the menu a starter, the main and a side and then we just shared everything!!!  As a starter I got wafer thin slices of beetroot with goat cheese salad and mint, for the side I had truffled mashed potatoes that were amazing!!!  They served us some ‘Bobcorn’ which was delish too!!!  I think we ate till our stomachs almost exploded, but we had to eat the main course too and I ordered an incredibly yummy grilled filet of seabass with olive oil and lemon...YUMMY!!!!  Between the champaign and the food I was exhausted!!!  We still had to take the tube to the hotel (and I was tugging my little luggage along).  What a great treat to arrive at such a beautiful hotel at the end of the night!!  The general manager was really kind and even gave me my own room which was super lovely.  The little personal touches made my stay amazing.  I went to bed really late (around 2:30am) though because I was trying to Skype with my fam but they didn’t end up going online  =(

In my hotel room

View from my room in the AM

Woke up really early to get ready, packed my stuff up again before going to Borough Market with my aunt before she left for the airport.
We had to take the tube to get there and it was swarming with people!!!  The smells of food were making my nostrils very happy and my stomach sooooooooooooooooo jealous!!!  It wanted to eat it ALL, but I had to keep telling it to hold it’s horses, I was waiting until I looked at every single thing before settling on a perfect meal.  I HAD to have some ‘drinking chocolate’ (hot chocolate) from this chocolate store that we stumbled upon first.  It was chili chocolate...spicy and good!!!   Next, I bought a small bag of cherry tomatoes that were sooo red and perfect to eat.  I was desperately in search of the perfect sandwich vendor.  I wanted nothing more than a really crusty baguette with prosciutto and whatever other good things were included.  Then I found it....hidden amongst the crown of ravenous people.  Served by people called ‘Cheese Therapists’ could I resist??  To my mouths delight, it was amazing.  I was happy, I got some more cheese from another vendor...a perfect day.  It really could have ended right there and I would have been fine with it!!!

Chocolate shop

Poor turkeys  =(

Melting cheese....mmmm

There was a big drawback to the market though.  There were many vendors under a covered space a bit away from the main area that were situated on the location of what must have been a homeless gathering spot.  I cannot, in any sort of way, describe how utterly horrid it smelled in there.  Not of feces as you might expect, but of human dirtiness like I have never even come close to smelling before.  It was soo overwhelming that even using my sleeve to cover my nose wasn’t blocking all of the was bad.  Needless to say, we didn’t stay in that section very long!  Can you image what it must smell like in the summer when the warmth exacerbates any smell that exists. (Holding back barf as I write this....blahhhh)
Before leaving the market, I grabbed an amazing freshly made organic drink which had apple, ginger, a shot of wheatgrass with lime - what a ZING!!!!!!!!

We took the tube back to the hotel where I then saw my aunt off.  Over the past week I was able to reconnect with her, experience great food, great hotels, longer sleep periods, and just the pleasure of her company, it was sooo nice!!!  
I went back up to the room (my aunt left at noon and I had until 2pm before I had to leave).  I was able to take about an hour long nap that was sooo nice!!!  I was feeling soo tired from the packed day on Friday and the early morning and fun festivities at the market!!!
I traveled back to Twyford where I had a really great dinner with the family - spinach and orange soup, bacon - utter yumminess!!!  I was able to Skype with my family, friends and boyfriend which made it the perfect Saturday night!!!
Woke up after a much needed long sleep session.  Got ready and traveled into London - Chelsea specifically - to meet some friends for a bite to eat at a place called The Trafalgar.  I was soooooooooo late because the tube lines were severely delayed, and some out of service for maintenance so it took me about 2 1/2 hours to get there, just brutal.  It was bad since there were what felt like a zillion people crammed into the tube which became really hot and gross.  
We didn’t end up eating since they were waiting for me to eat and the wait for food was around 1 hour.  I was starved!!  It was after 3pm and I hardly ate all day.  It was super fun though.  Both girls that I met had each brought a friend so there were 5 of us and we had a great time!!  We all exchanged numbers by the end of our time together and all said we had to meet up again.  I walked back to the tube station with one of the girls and was noticing how cute it was there!!!  I loved it!!  The road we walked along was called King’s street, and it totally reminded me of Queen’s street in Toronto.  And you’ll never guess what 2 stores they had that I was DYING when I walked by - Anthropology (my favourite store) and Paul’s (a patisserie that my family and I frequented when we were in Paris)!!!!!!!!!!  I loved it there...I would really love to live in this area...super cute!!!!  
I was sooo faint by the time I got home I nearly cried tears of joy when I saw some food was out on the counter that were leftovers.  It was 8:30pm and I had some bangers and mash...yum!!!!!!!!!  
Now I’m sooooo tired from what has turned out to be a 7 page blog post.  I write my posts in a Word document first before putting them it into my blog.  
K going to bed now.  Tomorrow will be crazy because the transit commissions will be going on strike on the tube lines - union cutbacks or something - so my commute for the next 2 days will be brutal.  I will take the overground train line to Paddington station, then will have to take a bus to Green Park station.  People will be going crazy...blahhhhhhhh...not looking forward to that....ESPECIALLY on a Monday.
Well have a lovely evening my dears, I’m happy I finally got that all off my chest!!!!!!!
Post your comments and if you are reading this thing that takes me soo long to write - FOLLOW ME!!!!!!!!!!
Ciao for now  =)


  1. Okay, where do I begin to comment. When you said it was a big one I guess you weren't kidding. You may want to convert this blog to a book at the rate you are going! I marvel at all that you are experiencing given that you have been there for only 3 1/2 weeks. Please travel safe and thank you for filling in the gaps for me. I love you and miss you every day. Mom

  2. Hi Mar! It was SOOOO much fun to share your latest adventures with you! And I'm really glad you finally have that darn phone, and that there is an Anthropologie store for your shopping fix :-) I hope the week ahead isn't too bad with the tube strike. Good luck with your flat search.

    Looking forward to seeing you soon...

    A.L. xxx

  3. This sounds so intense!
    I love reading this, its like I am right there with you!

    Next time you go on a job bring your new phone, the GPS will guide you back because clearly people can't!

  4. I LOVED your L--O--N--G posting ----- what fun you're having! Sounds like you and Aunt Elizabeth had a "food fest" and what better place than in London. I am so excited to hear more about your flat search and what's going to happen next. Still waiting for some pics...PLEASE!

    Love and Hugs xo A LA

  5. Thank you so much for the pics. You know how much I love them. Your posts are now much more vivid. Oh how I wish I could share some of these experiences with you. Keep on blogging... All my love. Mom