Have you ever brought someone to London, or a town you love, and you can just tell they hate it? They make all the right noises, but their eyes linger on the overflowing rubbish bags rather than the mishmash of architecture and people? They say they like it too, yeah, it’s nice… But deep down you just know that they didn’t quite get it- get why you write home about this place all the time?
Well, that’s how I feel about my mum and London. She’s always thought it was a great town for me, but she just couldn’t see it for herself. The crammed in coffee spots I try to convince her are all the rage, the buzzing parks that are on main road roundabouts, the eclectic markets you have to clutch your handbag through. I felt like no trip to visit me ever really gave her the ‘wow’ London had given me when I first visited (emerging from Leicester Square station like the doe-eyed nervous wreck with big dreams I was).
It became my mission to make her love this place as much as I did. Sure, her liking London had no impact on how much fun we had together, but I became a dog with a bone- constantly extolling the values of no-reservations-restaurants and the Oxford Street Primark (if you go midweek, duh).
Well, I think I cracked it. If you need a foolproof plan for convincing your nearest and dearest of the virtues of London, feel free to use this as a guide. Mum left town with that spring in your step that helps you navigate the tube system like a pro.
Nata tarts and two flat whites from the Soho Grind, drank and eaten in the glory of Kingly Court.
Meander through Carnaby Street boutiques through to Soho- get to the restaurant you’ve been lusting after (no bookings policy, obv) at an earlier lunch. This week’s restaurant crush was Hoppers.
Ramble on about the delights of London food scene as you gnash your way through mutton rolls, chicken heart, lamb kari, dosa and egg hoppers (or similar).
Refuse dessert when the waitress offers, instead head to Crosstown Doughnuts. Don’t let your mum see the price list, just buy one and get out. She’d rather not know.
Go to an understated London icon- i.e. give B’ham Palace a miss, go to Liberty instead. Spend forever pointing at designer retro clocks shrieking ‘I had one of those in the 90s!’ and balk at the price tags of hand cream. Buy trinkets. Get samples. Take selfies.
Head home, nip into your local boozer for a swift half and lounge by open fire. Decide on cooking an elaborate Italian meal and venture to three mini supermarkets and a deli. Head home, eat, wine, fall asleep on the couch.
Trust me on this- the conversion rate is so far 100%.