Wednesday, November 14, 2007


What does one do for one of their last weekends as a Londoner? Go to Amsterdam, of course. Actually, it was coincidental timing - the purpose of the trip was a huge surprise girls weekend for a friend of mine.

Though it was my fourth time in the city, I had never been there with a local (well, a transplanted Vancouverite, but she has adopted Amsterdam with a vengeance) and it made for a wonderful weekend. We wandered the entire city and I never had to pull out a map. We ducked into little cafes (no, not coffee shops) for the best espresso every half an hour, it seemed. That is, when we weren't sampling the wine list in various bars and restaurants. The best was the Dylan Hotel, a gorgeous little boutique hotel with a large, yet cozy fireplaced bar that we propped up for awhile. (And this week, The Guardian named it the "blow-out" hotel on their list of the best hotels in Amsterdam.)

The shopping was slightly out of control in Amsterdam - I'm obsessed with all the little boutiques with so many small European designers that I'm not familiar with. I love buying clothes that I know I'm not going to have staring back at me on some other girl walking down my street in London. The shopping created quite an appetite which we satisfied in a great North African restaurant, where food was consumed while lounging on pillows and smoking sheesha. I had my tarot cards read - my future card was "ruin" and my friend's was "defeat". This charming fortune telling episode led to hitting the bar after dinner, an old Amsterdam institution called Hoppe.

The flight home was delayed by hail, which pelted the plane as we sat on the runway, watching the pellets fill the window frame. My friend was sitting next to the window and remarked that it didn't look very good, to which I replied, pointing at myself and the friend on the other side of me, "Well, you are sitting next to defeat and ruin. Seatbelt fastened?"

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Perfect London Weekend

You can't plan the perfect weekend, it just has to evolve. This one was particularly special, as I will soon not be a full-time Londoner - and also, I took the entire weekend off. No thesis. I needed it. What does the perfect London weekend involve?

Friday night champagne cocktails at the gorgeous American Bar in the Savoy. Followed by some Gordon Ramsay cuisine.

Saturday sleep-in followed by a good ole' English football game. Watched Fulham beat Reading at Craven Cottage, which included a spectacular walk along the Thames on the perfect autumn weather day. Saturday night was drinks at one of my locals with old friends I hadn't seen in far too long. Much catching up and howling about the indiscretions of our youth. (Something involving Spice Girls costumes, cheap red wine, and being pulled over by the police.)

Sunday - another crisp, fall day. I spent much of it wandering around Spitalfields Market with a friend. It's such a great place to find off-the-rack clothes by young designers for a fairly cheap price. I found a gorgeous little blazer and an equally cute clutch purse during my outing. Shopping was interrupted for the best eggs benedict in London, at Canteen. Now I've just finished an indulgent curry dinner and am settling in with tea and the weekend papers that are piled on my coffee table. And even more indulgent will be the brownie I'm also about to eat, purchased at Spitalfields. Because indulgent just suits this kind of weekend.