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6 May 2012

the west end

(i'm currently on glass 2 of pink wine. excuse if i make less sense as i go on)

day 2

proving that jetlag is all a state of mind, mother was up bright and early and off visiting the local park by the time we woke up. once we were all up and ready to go (having learned the day before that buying an all-day travel card off-peak would be the best way to go for mother, £7.70 vs the £23 from the day before), we headed first for liverpool street station so mama could take in the city as well as some of the markets that east london has to offer.

when we got to spitalfields, it was barely open despite the fact it was nearing midday. disappointed! we showed her what we could in the area, and thankfully the shops in the market are ever-reliable, and we were able to at least take in some of the kitschy, retro homewares stores that the east end is renowned for. so twee! from spitalfields we headed to brick lane hoping to show mum a bit more of the 'culture' in the east.. except.. it was clossssed too. i was really disappointed for mum - we weren't having much luck. we wandered through the back streets of whitechapel, and ended up down fashion street and finally onto petticoat lane. finally we found some stalls that were open - unfortunately, petticoat lane is not what it used to be and now a lot of the product is last seasons styles or basic winter gear. nothing really of interest. sadly, it hadn't been a good start to the day! thankfully though, we were able to show mum some of the infamous jack the ripper hangouts and east london street art on the walk back to the station - so not a complete flake (although pretty flakey).

from the station we headed into the west end to covent garden markets. i knew we could count on them being open! mum is into all the arts 'n crafts and home made stuff like me, so she really enjoyed the hand made craft in the market. we passed a stall selling original artwork by london artist chris rogers - brightly coloured depictions of the city in levels of animation and caricature... right up my mother's alley. we stopped and spoke to the woman in the stall and she was sooooo good at her job - really helpful and informative and seemed really excited by the prints she was selling. she was easily delivering the best customer service i have experienced in this country. she was happy to chat with us, and kept complimenting mother and i on our brightly coloured outfits (suckers for a compliment it seems). that's all it took. mama bought the biggest, brightest print called 'spring' to put on her new lounge room wall, and we even managed to grab a signed one by the artist himself. one happy mother!

we walked through covent garden and i took mama to a few of my favourite shops along to way.. namely cath kidston - where i would have one of everything if i had the money, and wandered through leicester square. having worked up an appetite, we headed to a great little pub by the square for lunch - the moon under water. we sat and stopped for about an hour to rest and refuel, and discuss our next step. as it was about 2 pm, this threw our dinner plans out somewhat. we had planned to be back in soho for dinner about 5:30 as we had tickets for shrek the musical that night at 7. there was no way we would be hungry in under 3 hours after eating such a late lunch, so we opted to leave the soho adventure to another day and planned to go and visit the queen at home instead, not before......


m&m world is like.. candy land..crossed with disney land. candy-licious. and, they blow a chocolatey scent in through the air vents which crosses into a slightly whiffy chinese food smell towards the back (m&m world sits next to china town).. double yum. there are 4 floors of m&m paraphernalia, with all kinds of stands and statues to have your pic taken with and looooooads of merchandise and CANDY to buy. amaze. didn't buy a thing though. cheaper in sainsbury's, haha..

from m&m world we headed straight through st. james' park toward buckingham palace. on the way, we stopped as mama was introduced to all kinds of critters (my personal fave being the coot that reminded me of a pukeko - a kiwi water hen) and more botanic wonders, like ... the standard tulip. we got to the palace after having fed some local squirrels my breakfast that i forgot i had and mother becoming the bird lady  from home alone en route, feeding all and sundry and making feathered friends along the way. we watched the guards march for a bit, and contemplated ringing the doorbell to see if liz was about (the flag indicated she was), but instead decided to leave her to planning her party in a few weeks and kept on truckin'. i think mother was unimpressed by the palace. i guess everything looks more glam on the telly. it is.. just a big house. it's hardly impressive anyway.. in my opinion. 

we walked back up the mall, past clarence house and a gazillion tourists and headed to costa for another coffee fix. it was nearing on 5 (i think) by this time, so it was good to get some fuel in again. we looked over pics taken and caught up on our travels, and planned the next hour or so. we aimed to be at the theatre for 6:30 and we three confirmed that dinner would not be an issue so instead we headed for a phone shop to pick up a cheeeeap phone for mother. she had purchased a sim card the day before for her australian phone, but as soon as it went in the phone we worked out that the phone was sim locked meaning the phone would be useless unless unlocked. we had asked around the day before at some phone shops to get it unlocked, but it would take about 3 days and cost more than a cheap phone - so we decided a new phone would be best. reading that back.. what a redundant sentence. so, new phone in tow, we headed to covent garden for a drink before the show - it was pimms o'clock after all.

punch and judy at covent garden for a pimms (ON TAP)(terrible) and to watch the current busker juggle a chainsaw half naked, then off to theatre royal for 6:30 to learn we had been given NEW SEATS and now we were in the upper circle instead of in the nose bleed section. very happy! we were front row in the first balcony level, a great view. the show was just awesome, and it was boyfriend's first EVER theatre experience and mama's first in the west end. i had already seen shrek on it's opening week last year with erin , when amanda holden was playing fiona. kymberly walsh from girls aloud is now playing princess fiona, and is surprisingly good. who knew someone connected with cheryl cole would be actually a good singer? we all three enjoyed the show thoroughly, and upon exiting the theatre realised it had started to rain again.. sadface. we marched to the station, having just missed a train so with about 15 minutes to kill picked up some ready-meals for micks 'n spicks to eat on the train. finally got home about 11.. ish? pretty tuckered out after a busy day so headed straight to bed to rest up for the trip to the country the next day.

sorry there's not too many pics from the day. sometimes i take my surroundings for granted. i see these places so often that i forget to take pictures.. there are more to come of the country-side though. when mum updates the pics she has taken i will edit them in (if i remember).

tomorrow's entry will be our country escape...

thanks for reading x