A behind-the-scenes look at everyday London life for an ex-pat family in this fascinating, historic, funky, fun city.
To market, to market, to buy a fat pig, home again, home again, jiggety-jig! Well actually, we didn't buy any fat pigs (the customs patrol at the airport would have frowned on that), though we did return home with a suitcase full of fun and distinctively unusual things (to the average tourist) after a ten day visit doing Everyday London with our daughter and her family in London, including a short getaway to Cornwall, England.
Being an island, England has wonderful sea salt and we always pick up enough Maldon Sea Salt to give as gifts and to keep us cooking till we return. Maldon, England is only 50 miles north of London and so this chef's choice salt is very inexpensive and readily available at every grocery store. With Cornwall surrounded by the sea on three sides, the Cornish are also famous for their salt, so a few containers of Cornish Sea Salt were tucked away among our other stash.
There's also unique glassware, fun bowls and miscellaneous "treasures" from the many charity shops (the equivalent of our thrift stores, but tiny, quaint and definitely one-of-a-kind) that line the streets of London. I have hard time passing by them without taking a quick browse; you just never know what you'll discover (plus they are among the few shops I can afford in London!).
Probably the strangest thing that found its way into our suitcases on this visit was thirteen pounds of Cornish slate! Slate? Oh yes, we fell in love with some slate place mats while in Cornwall and knew they'd be a lovely prop background for our Café photography. Be on the lookout, you'll be sure to spot these in future posts! The only problem was for poor Scott; we divided the four pieces between our two carry-on bags and, being the gentleman that he is, he's the one who hoisted those slate-laden bags into the airline's overhead bin!
Since we arrived home on Sunday, I've been to the grocery store, stocked the cupboards and my oven, dishwasher and KitchenAid are quite pleased to be back in commission after a ten day sabbatical. We've got a ton of Fall and holiday recipes planned for the weeks ahead, but we thought, along with a peek into our suitcases, we'd give you a glimpse of everyday London life. Nothing fancy or touristy, just a few of the unique aspects of ordinary life in this bustling city of 8 million. ................
In the past, I was always a bit envious of the children flying down the street on their scooters in everyday London. It looked like such fun. Annie, got a new scooter just before we arrived this time and it can bear an adult's weight! She so kindly allowed me to borrow it and I loved it! Even Papa Scott thought it was quite cool to scoot!
Because of the crazy traffic, another very common and popular mode of transportation are bicycles. Our son-in-law, Josh, rides his bike to work every day, 8 miles, right through the heart of London traffic. It worried me at first, but London drivers are highly trained to always be on the lookout for bicyclers and motorscooters, since there are so many. In fact, drivers are taught and trained to continuously check all of their mirrors while driving, mostly due to the abundance of cyclists on the roads.
We also happened to be there for some fun everyday London events the girls were involved in ..............
Because the houses are primarily tall, attached row houses in London, most families have little or no yards (gardens) for children to play in. The British solution? Tons of beautiful parks.
There's so much more to share with you about everyday London life, but I'll stop for now, since you and I both have lots to do. I'll leave you with a view from our tiny, charming room, way up on the 4th floor of our daughter's home. We have a wonderful vista; London rooftops, church steeples and a few modern skyscrapers. Some might not think it too exciting, but for Scott and me, it's quite enchanting. We call it our "Mary Poppin's" room and every time I look out at the slanted rooftop windows, I expect to see a chimney sweep. I always get the urge to start singing:
Be sure to check back on Friday. We'll be sharing just a touch more of our trip with a delicious Roasted Veggie Coconut Curry our daughter prepared for us on our first evening in London. It's loaded with wonderful veggies and fabulous flavor. I begged her to make it again before we left and we used that fun purple cauliflower you see in the photo above. Scott snapped a few photos of it up in the Mary Poppin's room, the only place that still had decent light. Annie was our photo shoot assistant, and a very good one at that!
You'll love it!!