We’ve had a busy, but fun-filled weekend. We’ve been to several lovely places in London over the last few days, but most importantly we found (and devoured) some pretty decent bagels.
Saturday was Record Shop Day apparently, and husband thought it was a good excuse to check out Rough Trade East. I was quite keen to see Brick Lane so away we went. And at Brick Lane, there is not one but TWO 24 hour bagel places. These people have no idea how good they have it. We bought two bagels to share between the three of us, and then a dozen to bring home. Seeing as how fast those bagels disappeared we should have sprung for at least two dozen, and at £3 a dozen I don’t know why we didn’t. I, however, made the mistake of storing the bagels underneath Beans’ stroller. At one point in the day, while husband and I were checking out some pretty knit dresses that I am already too pregnant to fit into, Beans reached under her seat, ripped a hole in the paper bag holding the still warm bagels and started eating one. After she finished that one, she went for another one. And kept trying to eat them until we were forced to stuff them into husbands bag. Keep in mind that she had been eating all day, so it’s not like we are starving our child. I think she just has spectacular taste and understands how amazing warm, fresh bagels are.
Brick Lane was not at all what I expected it to be. All I really knew about the area is from this book, which had led me to believe it would be a lot less hipster-ish then it was. I did really like it there, but I think the younger, unmarried, childless version of myself would have loved it more. To be fair, if I wasn’t currently growing a small person in my uterus I would have been much more keen on all the gorgeous vintage stores, and will probably try to go back when my dress size is a bit more consistent. I might also want to go back without the stroller, if only so I could browse the stores with a bit more ease. It’s hard to navigate those gigantic things through stores with narrow aisles, and even though I am in the market for an awesome sugar bowl I didn’t feel like I could get Beans and I into any of the antique/bric brac/vintage stores safely. Sigh. I still loved it there though. The open markets and the huge food court were especially impressive.
After husband did his tour of Rough Trade East (I went in briefly, but gave up trying to get Beans and I through the crowd after about 2 minutes) we walked over to Spitalfields. Apparently this is the old haunt of Jack the Ripper and throughout most of London history has been regarded as a bit of a slum. Not anymore though, it has been thoroughly gentrified, and a brief glance at some estate agent windows let me know that we are much too poor to ever live there.
We walked past the Ten Bells Pub which was featured in Alan Moore’s From Hell, which was beside one of the most imposing churches I have ever seen. And then wandered into the open market nearby. There was some sort of fashion show on with several well dressed men wearing Guy Fawkes masks and pretty young women giving out Hagan Daaz free samples. There was also a Cheese Restaurant that piqued my interest, but looked a bit pricey and plenty of handmade, arty stalls with pretty jewelery, clothes and hats. Beans endeared herself to a few of the stall minders, with one woman giving her a little Peter Rabbit playing card and some candy, but mostly had a great time trying to run away from her adoring parents ( we let her out of her stroller so that she could stretch her legs a bit).
All in all it was a lovely way to spend a Saturday.
On Sunday we met up with another family and explored Kew Gardens. The gardens are gorgeous, and it was so nice to let Beans run free and not have to worry about being nearby roads, or bicycles on park paths. She loved running around trees and collecting pinecones and sticks with the other children. I just enjoyed that it didn’t start to rain until we were heading home.
They did have this terrifying tree walkway that I opted out of. I’m not a heights person, especially when the walkway has a see-through floor. Brave Husband took Beans up though, and my fearless daughter loved tearing around the structure.
The other children also taught Beans how to roll down hills, even my mister got into the action, and joyfully rolled down the hill at full speed. Beans loved it so much, that even after we returned home and I was trying to get her pyjamas that night she was telling me what I needed to do to roll down a hill. I’m looking forward to exploring more of London’s parks this spring and summer, and letting Beans have more of these classic childhood experiences.