Sunday, 31 March 2013

{All In A Day's Work}

This summer, to sandwich together a family reunion in Oregon, I'm making a trip to New York & San Francisco. I've been to NY before and instantly fell in love, so I can't wait to explore some slightly off the beaten track places this time. San Fran has always been on my to-do list, & luckily my flights allowed a couple days there. I don't know anyone there but I won't let this stop me - sometimes flying solo makes it an even bigger adventure. To practice, I spent a day up in London by myself (ok, that's a slight lie, I also met up for tea with a friend... & beers with other friends). I realised the beauty of being alone is that you can do exactly what you want. I was able to cram in a lot in my day out:

Borough Market, London Bridge Station:



Borough Market, a sprawling expanse of food & drink stalls, is always the first place we take visitors on a day in London. In the summer, my favourite thing to do is grab something delicious (the curries cooked in huge paella dishes are worth a try, but my favourite is the raclette stall) & a beverage to wash it all down (there's a great fresh fruit juice stall, or prosecco if you're feeling fancy), and sit outside in the sun watching people go by. Last year we also picked up some gigantic chocolate brownies & headed up Primrose Hill to see the best views of London.





Don't let the dog-food appearance put you off, the vietnamese curry is delicious! 
Of course, no trip to London would be complete without a cupcake & a cuppa. I had the marbled Easter egg cupcake from Hummingbird, while I caught up with an old friend.

 

Selfridges, Bond Street Station:

Unbelievably, this was my first time visiting the shopping mecca that is Selfridges. I've been hooked on the television series Mr. Selfridge, about the businessman from Chicago who set up the first Americanised department store in London. One of the best part of the show is watching the beautifully French (and sexy) Monsieur Leclair set up the window displays. Since its opening, Selfridges has prided itself on having the most creative, innovative & fun windows in London. I certainly wasn't disappointed on my visit.





These amazing, carnival-esque displays are thanks to the Shoe Carnival, which is on until the 21st April. The ferris-wheel spins, the hot air balloons rise & there are even bumper cars driven by shoes! There are carnival-themed events going on in-store, mostly at the weekends, including a photo booth & candy floss. I had to drag myself away from the actual shoes!



The Light Show, Waterloo Station

The Light Show has been selling out everyday since it opened, so I knew there had to be something worth seeing. It's a two story exhibition of light, including special viewing rooms & more interactive exhibits. I'm definitely not a culture-vulture - I can't last 5 minutes in an art gallery - but The Light Show has something for everyone. Hipsters & children alike were gawping at the installations. Sure, there were still some pieces that I really didn't get (but still pretended to), but for the most part I was as open mouthed as the rest of them. Photographs were strictly forbidden but I snuck a few cheeky I-phone snaps, so please excuse the quality:




This is definitely an 'you had to be there' type show, but some of my favourite features included a room with a light projection shrouded in a light mist. If you stand inside the light beam, it feels like there is a solid layer around you. A lesser favourite was one room with geometric shapes being projected all over the walls, moving at fast-pace and morphing as they went. It felt too much like a familiar hangover experience & I made a swift exit!



The Light Show is the only place where I struggled as a solo creature. Everyone was chattering away about the exhibits, laughing when they had to put special protective shoe-covers on for one room, and playing around with light beams & shadows. One feature was a tardis-looking box that you can step into (1 or 2 at a time) to see an endless reflection of the box, minus your own body. It was designed, in part, as an experiment into people's own reactions at being stared at by outsiders while they experience the interior. I didn't really fancy trying that on my own!
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