I think we’ve unconsciously developed a cunning plan to avoid theft in London. Use our unavoidably base Australian accents, excitable volume levels, innuendo, cloying cliche, laughter and non-PC dialogue to attract the attention of everyone around us. Nobody’s going to dare stick their maw in my handbag whilst everyone is looking at us, wondering what god-forsaken planet we came from.
I’ve just hit London with my best expat friend, Lulu.
We’ve left the kids with their fathers.
We’re both terrible soaks.
It’s going to be the Devil’s own hangover. Might last until August.
We’ve decided we need to take you on the journey as it happens, and so have developed a hash tag #SassyAndLuluHitLondon, which we are using on Instagram (She’s @MissusStylish by the way) and, have decided we will post daily until next Thursday, when the UK will probably be thoroughly glad to stick the boot firmly in our behinds as we jet back to Dubai. But we’re both characters of high promise and low deliverance, so this might be the last you hear of us.
So, yesterday, Day 1.
Premium Economy with Qantas was a hit. Lulu is an ex-Qantas (she pronounces it cuntass) trolley-dolly, and managed to befriend pretty purser Peter, and get us some Duval Leroy when we were only supposed to have Katnook fizz. She got 5 hours of sleep and I drank 5 glasses of Champagne, and fell asleep on descent watching the abs of John Snow, who has somehow managed to find himself in sandals and the arms of Emily Browning.
It’s a bloody long walk from the plane to the train, especially on 5 glasses of champagne and 5 minutes sleep. But we managed to find our way to the tube, run over the foot of a toddler with our 40kg suitcase, swear in front of a nun, get lost on the 20m walk from the tube to the hotel, make friends with a barrow man, and check into our hotel at 10am. It’s bleeding marvelous by the way – costs a small fortune, but much better than we thought it would be. We have two valets called Fabio and Sergio….Classy!
We had another champagne for good measure and walked out to nearby Covent Garden, hungry enough to eat the bum out of a low-flying duck. Luckily we found it in it’s local, organic, free range, slow roasted form at the Real Food market, sandwiched in sourdough with “mother” as old as Methuselah. Bit of that, and some scrumptiously gelatinous pulled pork, sustainable, artisinal, biodynamic, and other feel-good adjectives thrown in a slab of ciabatta, and a seat for queens on the steps at the market entrance made for our first meal out. Luckily there was a bar upstairs, so after gorging, we toddled up for a toddy, and sipped Pimms cups at Bar Blanc while looking down on a bunch of pathetic tourists eating duck in sourdough and pulled pork in ciabatta.
We then did our best to support the British economy by purchasing a bunch of clothes we can buy in Dubai, and looking at a range of fashion that was too small, bright, young or quite frankly weird for us. Did you know skorts are back in fashion? We did find some Barack and Michelle Obama paper dolls though, which was a bit of a highlight. Lulu introduced me to Moomin – a white blobby children’s book character from Finland with vitamin D deficiency and a disrespectful best friend. I held her back from buying a Mooman shaped, spatula, ornamental tea-towel and Mooman confetti.
We stumbled onto Oxford street at some point, hoping for some more retail therapy, but instead found it in complete de-construction, as there is some almighty tube station being developed in the underthing. It’s also a shambolic excuse for a retail strip, being strung together by the polyester palace that is Primark, culinary gems like ‘Sajway’ and the lowest of the low souvenir shops, one of which thought a reasonable post card to send from London might be decorated with a portrait of chips with curry sauce and dubious white balance.
We sought refuge in the artsy haven of Lambs Conduit, a strip more suited to our refined tastes. We chatted up a gallery owner selling skulls in muted tones on plywood, bought husbandly bribes (we need to reward them with one-off London fashions so they will let us do this all over again next year), gazed enviously at boutique beverages being consumed roadside by the hip post-work London set, knowing that if we sat, after a midnight flight and a 7-hour shop-and-walk, we might never get back to the hotel.
Dinner was a liquid one, consumed at the hotel bar, Scarfes, which turns out to be the most singularly awesome hotel bar I’ve ever found. It seems all of London also knows this, and we had to fight for our velvet-covered stools and comfortable old-man chairs. It seems the 20-something head bartender was immune to our middle-aged-housewifely charms, and this took longer than expected. With two floral champagne cocktails, a “Pith Helmet” and a “Chancelor’s” under our belt, we finally found a table. Snacks were salubrious. Lobster momos with cumin aioli, brick-sized, thrice-cooked chippies with a spicy tomato sauce that Lulu ate like soup, and some more pulled pork (because we just don’t get enough of that in Dubai).
We went to bed as the sun shined at 9:30pm, and are now awake with tummies grumbling, but I’m sitting here typing a bloody blog post, whilst Lulu is pacing and commanding we go out and find some pulled pork for breakfast, after all it must have been 8 hours since our last porcine purchase.
Summary of activities:
Rosewood Hotel – review to follow. Expensive but singularly wonderful hotel with great bar 9/10
Real Food market– Small market with lovely street food. Go hungry and stuff yourself. 9/10
Scarfes – incredible bar. Great cocktails, live (cocktail) music, decadent, with great bar snacks 9.5/10
Brasserie Blanc (Bar Blanc) – good place to drink and people watch above Covent Garden Market 7/10