It feels like I have been sick pretty much continuously since we moved. Not proper sick, just one stupid bug or virus after another. 'Winter', in other words.
I'm deeply frustrated that I'm not a) exploring, b) fixing my new house, which isn't exactly broken but it is biscuit coloured and desperately lacking in storage, c) spending time with my London friends, d) taking W&P out to do stuff. Instead I'm mostly inside, shivering and blowing my nose.
I was looking back through my instagram* feed this morning and realised that we've actually left the house more than twice in the last 6 weeks and thought maybe I should celebrate that, just to remind myself that it's not that bad. (Because I'm prone to thinking that it's really that bad quite a lot of the time.) So I bring you:
London Things What We Have Done Since Moving To London.
Farmers markets. London gives good farmers market. So far we've tried three: Balham, Brixton and Wimbledon, and I stopped at South Kensington on my way to the V&A a couple of weeks ago. Wimbledon has the best stuff and it's next to a playpark, but it takes the longest to get to. South Kensington is the most amusing, consisting almost entirely of olives and croissants (No Mud Please.) The farmers who sell fruit and veg at Wimbledon call you 'duck'. I like that in a farmer.
Morden Hall Park. This place is excellent. There's a garden centre which has a huge selection of trees and plants, an aquarium shop which has a huge selection of aquarium stuff ('ISHIES!') and a beautiful park with a lovely playground constructed entirely of natural materials. I don't kid myself that W&P give a damn whether their playpark is made from sustainable wood or bright red plastic, but it's pleasing on the adult eye. There's also a cafe, a second hand book shop and an educational allotment thingie. And at the other end of the park is a free children's farm, but we haven't made it that far yet because we get tired and cold and have to go home.
The Horniman museum, home of the sad walrus mentioned at the end of this post. We went here with Sophie when she came to visit and had an absolute blast. It's got a little aquarium in the basement (MORE ISHIES!) and a wonderful collection of pretty squiffy-looking stuffed animals. I think there are probably also collections of things that weren't once alive but we got tired and grumpy and had to go home (theme?). There is also what looked like a beautiful garden, but we couldn't really see it because it was under snow. OH OH OH! And we saw the dude from The IT Crowd in the cafe: bonus! (The coffee sucks, we didn't try the food.)
Gardening. Technically, probably not a London Thing, but it is for us. We've never had a garden before and now we have 50 glorious feet that are all ours. Nye is in his element and has been digging, pruning, moving trees, building a greenhouse and demolishing a shed. I have mostly been gardening in a consultation and shopping capacity.
Battersea Park. Our favourite park in London (I haven't had a lot of London Park Experience, but from what I do know, this is the best.) It's been too cold to fully enjoy it, we're saving the zoo for when the weather warms up and the playground for when the council have stopped fucking with it.
Captain Corelli, Battersea. This is one of those places that I want to tell everyone about because it's incredible but also want to keep to myself because IT'S MINE AND YOU CAN'T HAVE IT. Corelli's is an Italian cafe in Battersea that looks like a nondescript takeaway but is actually a cornucopia of home cooked delights and more Italian than Italy. Nye and his brother have been going here since they lived in Battersea about 11 years ago. The food is incredible, huge plates of pasta and meatballs and fish and vegetables for about 7 quid, the best coffee I've ever tasted (real cappuccinos not just milky coffee with chocolate sprinkled scum on top), homemade tiramisu that prompts obscene noises of appreciation and homemade icecream that had Ella shouting 'Shank you Ooman!' (thank you woman) at the waitress every time she passed. (Aside: Ella can't say 'tiramisu' but after thinking about it for a while she came up with 'mama's misu', which is better. 'Corelli's' was also beyond her but we're getting by just fine knowing it as 'For Bellies'.)
We had our first ever trip to East London (Hipsterville.) We really wanted to hate it but we kind of didn't. In fact we found ourselves saying 'if we didn't have kids and we did have loads of money, I'd quite like to live here.' Whoops. It reminded us of the lower east side in New York. Don't tell the hipsters.
Brixton! We didn't do anything in Brixton, just walked back from the farmer's market. I wanted to explore but we (Ammie) got cold and tired and grumpy (theme.) I'm going to go back either by myself or with Ella, Ella loved Brixton; 'look at all the peoples!'
Kew Gardens. Definitely one of my very favourite London places. They had 12 free days over Christmas and we had a lovely morning out there. I love the grass garden. Unfortunately you have to endure both the ridiculously constant air traffic and West Londoners, but aside from that, it's heaven. (That was a joke (sort of), West Londoners aren't all bad, I've even met some that I like.)
We hadn't been in London a week before we had a trip to the South Bank to meet our new local wedding photographer friends. The Christmas market was in full swing and we ate potato fritters with apple sauce while drinking mulled wine and looking out across the Thames from underneath the London Eye. Then we walked across the Harry Potter bridge, passed Westminster to the train station home. It was London, it was the best. I <3 london.="" nbsp="" p="">
* I know I said I wouldn't subject you to my crappy instagram pictures here and that if you wanted to see them you could follow me there, but I haven't taken my camera out of its bag since our last wedding. So unless I start drawing pictures to illustrate my posts, this is all I've got.)