night skate

It’s getting dark at like, 4:00pm now, and instead of being all Grumpy McGrumperson, you could be NIGHT ICE SKATING.  Check out Somerset House’s Club Nights.  They light the place up in purple and red, and there’s a huge Christmas tree, and snowflake and star-shaped lights dancing around the ring as you skate.  It’s like being inside a posh snow globe.  After your skate you can grab a hot chocolate or mulled wine in a glass cafe overlooking the ice rink.  We went for a Vintage Night and skated around to Big Band music.  A couple in Victorian-era fancy dress started swing dancing in the middle of the ice rink.   It’s freaking magical, people.

There’s ice skating all over London – Hyde Park of course, but also Hampton Court, the Natural History Museum, even a dry moat of the Tower of London.

Have you ice skated in a dry moat?  NO, no you haven’t.  I’ll bet Henry VIII hadn’t either.  He was also pretty grumpy, I hear.

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Fairy castle bridge

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Tower Bridge is lit up every night a Brit Olympian wins a gold – taken Sunday 05 Aug from Potters Fields

Watching the race

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Don’t have tickets? No worries. Bring a blanket to Potter’s Field on the South Bank. Can’t beat the view!!

glorious!

Like any savvy Londoner, the instant I see sunshine I hit the streets.  Because you just don’t know when you will see that sun again!  Yesterday was glorious.  Glorious!  Armed with a treasure map, my friend and I went out seeking the perfect coffee shop.  We ambled over Tower Bridge into Shoreditch, snaking our way through tourists, sucking in every atom of sunshine and dazzling London-ness we could suck.

Shoreditch loves to surprise you.  Rows and rows of respectable Victorian buildings line the alley, the narrow street curves, and then SMACK! there’s a cartoon acid trip or scrabble board painted onto an otherwise reasonable brick wall.

Photo courtesy of Alexia

Somehow we ended up on Brick Lane (do all roads lead to Brick Lane?), found Redchurch St., and THERE, behold! Allpress Espresso.  It’s across from The Painted Lady salon and a gigantic graffiti squirrel, but it doesn’t look hipster.  In fact, its storefront is kind of boring.  The music is chill (acoustic guitary, but not, like, peppered with industrial sounds or whiney folk political rants) and the décor is simple and pleasing.  We slid onto a wooden bench, and sipped very decent lattes.  The sandwiches were toasty and salty, with cool things in them.  Success!

O London!  You gave us not one, but TWO beautiful weekend days!  We forgive you for the past 5 weeks of unholy cold and rain!  We forgive you!!

(Better get off the internet and back outside, before you change your mind.)