Converting London Apathetics, Eating All Day.

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).

Regent Street

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.

Soho Grind Nata

Soho Grind, 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).

Hoppers London

Chicken heart, Hoppers

Egg Hopper London

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.

Crosstown Doughnuts

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%.


Croatia in blue: Split and Braç

I may have only visited a small corner of Croatia, but I can tell you it’s beautiful. Split and Braç (a calmer, lesser known island than Hvar) have a really soft charm, like you’re looking at everything through an Instagram filter. In August, the sun glare gives a slight haze over the coast, and there are a hundred shades of gorgeous, deep blues around you. Naturally, this being a beach holiday, every waking moment was spent on the coastline with a book, a bottle of ice cold lemon beer and a pair of sunnies, gazing out to sea like a lazy sailor. Well, when you weren’t jumping off cliffs, anyway.



Split beach- find a cliff point, jump off, splash land. Rinse and repeat.



This is Supetar marina, on the island Braç . That’s the Croatian mainland looming in the background.



Above is the Split harbour just after sunset. I’m not too great at night-photography, so this photo doesn’t quite capture the purpley-marbled sky, but you definitely get the idea!



I know this kid looks pretty cool, earnestly staring out to sea like a navy-wife, but he was actually a bossy little so and so, ordering his minion friends around in the water below him. Still, who doesn’t love a silhouette!



Split marina, where every bit of cliffside is a sun-worshipping opportunity.



This corker of a church is inside the famous cemetery overlooking Supetar bay.


I loved Croatia- and have so much more to say about it, so keep an eye on the blog for my next post :)


Touring Oxford Colleges

You know who make good local guides? Male friends. I mean, sure, female friends do a pretty good job too, but you ask a guy you’ve not seen in a while to “show me the touristy bits” and you have essentially handed over your weekend plans to the most efficient tour operator you can imagine.

I know this because I might have been a little breathless from all the high-speed pacing, but oh boy did I see Oxford.

My trusty guides were Sam and Sam (not a typo, they’re both called Sam!). I’ve known Sam (number one) for years, and have visited him plenty of times while he’s been studying at Oxford. Unfortunately for all involved, it was usually on a party night, and I could barely remember my name, nevermind where the lovely chapels and tearooms were. This time was going to be different, so off we popped.

Corpus Christi College


Dat lighting tho!  The weather was pretty hormonal- hence the sunny blue sky in one corner and demon stormclouds in the other. Oxford has a weird ability to look cool while it’s grey and miserable. All the buildings look foreboding and imposing and dramatic, or on sunny days it just looks mega-twee and like a scene from Harry Potter.

Magdalen College

Magdalen College Chapel Entrance

This is just outside the Magdalan College Chapel. I’m never quite sure whether it’s appropriate to take pictures inside religious buildings, so I saved myself the moral drama and this little cubbyhole will have to do instead.

Exam Hall


The street facing the exam hall is covered in confetti. My trusty guide informed me this is because after students finish their exam, there is usually a crowd right outside with streamers and party poppers (and champagne…) their to celebrate/commiserate their academic prowess. Very unlike York, where we were more likely to be attacked by a menopausal goose than be handed a bottle of champers, but there you have it.

Merton College

Merton College Quad

New College

New College Quad

New College Quad

(I was going to limit this post to one picture per college, but look at how pretty those shadows are!)

Most Colleges charge tourists to look round, and it’s not open to the public for a good portion of the year so as to let all the students get on with their essays without obnoxious camera-hoarders getting all up in their grill. For this trip it wasn’t a problem (and was totally free!) because I was with card-carrying students who smoothtalked our way in and around the grounds- so top advice for touring Oxford colleges would be to buddy up with a current student if you can!

I’m so glad I got to see Oxford without a hangover, and I can only thank my tour guides for their diligence and thoroughness in responding to my request for a bit of tourism. Ta, boys!


Photo Diary: Walk through Brick Lane

I had my mum and sister come and visit the other weekend, and knowing how much my sister loves hipster vintage stuff, and my mum loves great street food, I thought we could discover Brick Lane together.

Brick Lane is a national institution in London. The Shoreditch end is caked in amazing graffiti art, market stalls, tonnes of incredible smelling food and some real life hipsters to top it all off.







As you can probably tell, this is also the weekend I discovered the macro setting on my camera. I’m getting used to all the extra buttons and options on my Olympus now, so expect better quality images as we go on. :)