The sun was shining gloriously, my apple green soft-top Maserati was parked neatly under the shadow of the Shard and I had a generously proportioned gin cocktail in front of my hand for sipping*. We’d popped into the Tanqueray Gin Garden at Bar 31 in the Shangri La (disclosure: we were invited guests of the Shangri La) right next to London Bridge Station, and life was good.
* One of these things isn’t quite accurate – I’ll leave you to guess which. Hint: I haven’t got rid of my taxi app just yet – and make sure you have a chauffeur if you’re going to bring your apple green Maserati with you.
Sometimes I’ll just pause in the airport or a train station, and simply watch the world go by. Usually armed with headphones and sunglasses that obviously render me invisible, I won’t stare, but I love people watching in London through bite-size glimpses and making up all kinds of tales that are completely improbable.
As I type this, it’s almost rush hour at a busy London station, and a very sweet middle-aged man stands waiting just outside the ticket barriers. Dressed in denim and a timeworn leather jacket, his salt and pepper hair is combed just so and his shoes are shined perfectly.
We’ve all done it. Booked a crazy early flight, or a flight that lands so late that you’ll struggle to get the last train from Stansted Airport and across London to get home. It’s taken me years not to trust the ‘oh, it’ll be ok’ thought when booking and settle on one hotel where to stay near Stansted Airport.
I can’t tell you how much of a relief it is to step off a plane late at night and walk through the foyer of the Hampton by Hilton hotel. Or, wake up early in the morning between the crisp, fresh sheets and meander over to the Airport check-in desks.
One of the best things about living in London is the ability to travel around the world by simply hopping on the Underground and crossing beautiful restaurant thresholds. Take for instance Bombay Bustle in the heart of Mayfair – on paper their Samosas Dosas and Mimosas brunch menu is intriguing, but once you pick up your fork, it’s a whole new world of brunch flavour. Disclaimer: We were guests of Bombay Bustle, but all enthusing is entirely my own.
My toes haven’t yet made it to the exotic subcontinent of India, but I do so adore exploring the flavours as often as possible by way of utensil – it’s become by far one of my favourite fares.
There’s a special kind of magic when a group of people gather around a table – all the way from a humble cup of tea, through to intricate tasting menus that titillate the palates. Soutine is elegantly in the middle, a Parisien corner of Salon de thé, a St John’s Wood restaurant in a glorious period building. Disclaimer: We were invited guests of the newly opened Soutine but as ever, all dreamy pastel metaphors are very much my own.
We gathered, a group of four expats – talking of life, love and kettles (long hilarious story) over a table filled with delectable dishes.