Secret Summer London

Since we discovered the joy of driving to London and cheap parking, we drove up to meet my school friend. It has been a year since we reconnected again and it is just like all the intervening years never happened – our relationship is very similar to how it was when we were 14. One happy joy of driving up means we can be there early to enjoy London on a Sunday morning before everyone else wakes.

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A chance encounter of a cafe with cats

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We’d been out and about and were wondering what to do next this afternoon and thought we’d pop to a cafe on the cliffs at St Margaret’s we’d been there before but we took a wrong turn and ended up seeing the Curfew Tea Rooms.

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We were given the chance to sit in the very beautiful summerhouse as the weather was slightly drizzly.

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Our hostess, Poppy, was very friendly indeed.

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The house was originally three cottages and is now one big house. The newer tiles in the middle are a reminder from when the house was bombed in the war.

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Our afternoon tea came out on beautiful vintage crockery. My cheese scone was delicious and came with some cubes of cheese and a little bit of chutney.

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We saw another kitty, Topaz, too and a third one who slunk in and slunk out ever so briefly. It was a lovely relaxed place. A perfect end to Caturday.

The cream on the cat cake: Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium

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The whole reason for our sojourn in London was because I finally managed to book a table at Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium. Can you tell how excited I am? We were half an hour early for our booking but I figured better earlier than late.

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It did give us a chance to have a drink and study the menu.

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The speciality drinks were all named after cafe cats.

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It was lovely to see lots of kitties all hanging out together.

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Lovely Donnie

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Littlest one – Lizzie

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The kitties did spend most of our visit in the window upstairs. We had a table downstairs but staff explained it was just where we would be served our drinks and food and we were free to wander around. Most of the kitties were settling down for naps as we arrived so I think I’d go earlier than 11 next time but it was a nice place and, for London, not overcrowded so quite a nice atmosphere.

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Carbonelle

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The speciality drinks all came with their own stencils

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The beigels from Brick Lane were incredibly tasty.

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Donnie and Petra

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Artemis. She was hanging out downstairs but her main interest was the birds outside the window. She did let me brush her a little.

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Loved my hot chocolate 🙂

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This is Wookie. He has a hole – and he slept in it the whole time apart from 30 seconds when he lifted his head and looked at us.

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Mue – Mama to many of the cafe’s kitties.

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Romeo

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Petra

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Donnie and Romeo. Both gorgeous.

It took all my will power to leave the cafe without cat napping any of the beautiful residents. It is a lovely peaceful place.

The Horniman

Yes, that is it’s real name! It is one of the most brilliant museums I have ever been to.

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The Horniman Museum is located in a beautiful part of London called Forest Hill near Crystal Palace. The walk up the hill from the station is quite pleasant and you see this amazing mosaic at the entrance.

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The map shows quite the extent of the place – we didn’t see all of it – too tired!

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I loved the sculptures outside – the dodo was my favourite.

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As it was a Saturday, there was quite a lovely farmer’s market up there. We bought a load of tasty items for a make-do brunch. This cinnamon cronut was quite delicious. There was a really delicious flaky focaccia bread which we had with hot smoked salmon, too.

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It was a beautiful day at the view from the top of the hill was quite beautiful.

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This beautiful glass house was at the entrance of the museum.

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Of course, we couldn’t resist a photo.

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The museum is mainly free but you can pay a small supplement to visit the Aquarium downstairs.

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Obligatory aquarium selfie.

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A friend of mine describes the Horniman as a big version of Kim’s game. There is a big room of African artefacts..

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and then you come upon Asia..

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.. then a room with musical instruments ranging from this child’s toy..

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.. to some sophisticated stringed instruments…

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… to natural history…

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.. and even a giant stuffed walrus!

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It was only these two little chaps who kept us coming back to our accommodation. The one of the right is Bill – he was shy but very soon he was sitting on my lap.

Notting Hill and Portobello Road

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We visited a few places we’d never normally have visited when we were in London. We went to Notting Hill and Portbello Road for a morning. I spotted my first ever taxi cabman’s shelter.

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There were some really usual high class junk shops.

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We spotted the Hummingbird Cafe – I’ve made lots of cakes from their book so we thought we’d take a look.

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I had a peanut butter and jelly cupcake which was very tasty. We were a bit disappointed as there was nowhere to sit down inside. They had some stand up counters which you could ‘eat in’ at but it was nice to try something. I think pao wants me to make some cupcakes now.

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This sign made me laugh.

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Isn’t this ice cream van transformation amazing? It was fun to go to Portobello Market and Notting Hill to look around but it wasn’t our favourite place. We got a bit bored looking at stalls after a while and I’d only really gone there to satisfy my Sylko obsession. Several hours of browsing and not one cotton reel! We did find a couple of haberdashery stalls but they were expensive and quite an interesting vintage fabric shop but it was hot and we were tired so sadly no photos.

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We had a little pit stop in Oxford Street for lunch and a date with Darth.

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One of my favourite places was the Olympic Park and we spent a very long time sitting and watching the kids playing with the fountains.

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This kid didn’t take too much encouragement.

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This sweet girl insisted in lying in our suitcase.

Textile Journeys

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My friend Anna and her daughter Bea took me to the Textile Journeys Exhibition today which her mum and our friend Jenny were exhibiting in. Judy and Jenny are doing a Level 2 City and Guilds course in Embroidery and it was amazing to go and see their work. We started looking at some of the work of the Level 3 students. This piece was based on the lamp posts in Thanet.

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I could have imagined an Elizabethan lady in that beautiful bodice. I thought it was very clever the way that it was staged like that.

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This bolero jacket was ever so intricate.

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Here is the back of it.

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I liked seeing how some of the students had experimented with dyes in their work. This bowl caught my eye as it was so unusual.

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This cape was quite amazing, too.

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A close-up of the collar.

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And a close up of the stitching.

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The artist’s sketchbook cover was as beautiful as her work.

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This is my friend Jenny’s stole which she made for another friend who has just become a vicar.

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Here is a close-up of the stitching and the butterflies

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The inside of the stole has two Bible verses stitched around the neck.

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It was lovely to see the other pieces that Jenny has been working on, too and also to see her sketchbooks.

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Jenny’s second piece – the box – was so intricate. I can’t imagine it was easy to work with such dark fabrics.

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Judy’s work is really beautiful, too. (excuse bad photo!)

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Her projects were a mirror and a handbag.

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I loved the little handwritten note tucked inside “For Bea’s room at Granny’s House”. This was my favourite piece but perhaps that is because I’m biased as I think Bea is a delight.

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We all agreed that this cushion was really stunning. The artist explained that it was about 6-7 layers of fabric sewed together to make that effect.

I had such a lovely time and thank you to Anna for driving me and Jenny and Judy for inviting me. I can’t wait for next year 🙂