Sunday, September 1, 2013

Weekend Happies

Happy Labor Day, Americans! We obviously aren't celebrating that here, so Daniel has to work tomorrow (boo!) and I think I am, too. The American School that I applied to a million times only to never even receive a response from is by our flat, and I am most likely picking up a kiddo that I babysit for from there at 1:30 and then walking him to the park to play for a few hours while his family moves out of their penthouse suite and into their gorgeous, newly restored home (wow, that was an incredibly long sentence). That leaves me just enough time in the morning to run, yoga, and clean in anticipation of our visitors- My Aunt Laura and Dianne arrive to London Wednesday morning and I can't wait!

Anyways, this weekend was nice and pretty low key. Here's a play by play....


When Daniel worked in London a few years ago, one of my favorite things that we did while I visited was walk through a quiet, tourist free part of London to this neighborhood Italian food restaurant. It was a romantic evening that made me really like London- we went to old pubs on the river, had a delicious meal (I still remember, I had mushroom ravioli that was deliciously simple and fresh- the way Italian food should be, in my opinion), and talked about one day possibly living there more permanently. When we moved to London together in July, one of the first things on our to do list was to trek back to this restaurant, but we couldn't remember what it was called, where it was,  or if it was still operating!
After lots of research, we finally realized it was called Il Bodello and indeed, still up and running! So, on Friday, I met Daniel at work and we began the 40 minute stroll there.

Of course, 40 minutes is a long time to walk...we had to make a pit stop at a pub or two! The first one was called The Grape. It was an old, dingy hole in the wall- our favorite type!

The next...well, I forgot the name, but it had little plaques on the wall explaining the history of it. It opened in the 1500's, and has been running ever since!

 We finally made it to Il Bodello, and I kind of went crazy ordering. We started with focaccia and a mozzarella and olive filled avocado baked in a homemade pasta sauce. YUM!

I ordered the 4 seasons pizza- artichokes, prosciutto, and mushrooms. Daniel got Pasta Carbanara (it's his favorite). I can't even begin to describe how good it mouth is watering just thinking about it! Italian food is one thing London does right, given that the restaurant is owned and operated by actual Italians!


On Saturday morning, I woke up at 7am to take the bus to babysit for the family from Portland. I finished around 1:30 and went to Sainsbury's (kind of like Wal-mart's puney, more disappointing and less ambitious little brother) to buy a cabinet for our bathroom. After carrying it all of the way back home (yep, still haven't learned), I was exhausted and ended up napping for about 3 hours!
After waking up, we met our South African friends by the London Eye for a fun night on the town. 


We went to a South American restaurant called Las Iguanas. When I ordered my much fantasized about margarita on the rocks with salt, the bartender cracked up and impersonated my accent, repeating, "On the rocks?" I was like, "Yah, is that weird?" And he told me yes, nobody orders a margarita on the rocks in London, but he would make that for me. He then asked if I was from New Zealand (?!?!?) and I said, "Uhhh no, Texas. So this better be good!" And it was. The food was okay. We went with low expectations. We did have some good nachos (although I would have covered them with about 300% more cheese) and fried plantains. Side note, I know that I sound like a total fatty on this blog. I promise you that my clothes still (snuggly) fit and I am trying to eat healthy most of the time...but with that said, I've decided that it's okay if I gain a few kilos while Europe, as long as I'm still at a healthy BMI, exercising daily, and consuming whole ingredients most of the time. know, YOLO :-P 


We used our Westminster City Save cards to tour the Apsley House, by Hyde Park. The house was the Duke of Wellington's, whom defeated Napoleon at Waterloo. The tour was very informative. I am a sucker for old, restored mansions, and this one was an absolute beauty. Gold leafed ceilings, silk covered walls, and over 100 paintings and sculptures that were either captured from the French during the war or commissioned by the Duke. Unfortunately, they wouldn't let us take pictures, but the tour is only about 5 pounds, so go have a look for yourself while you're visiting!

Afterwards, we walked through Princess Diana's' memorial garden in Hyde Park. I'm also a sucker for flowers, so had to take a pic!
OK, I don't know how actively I'll be bloggin' during these next couple of weeks...I'll probably be more consistent around mid September. Have a great 3 day weekend!

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