Sunday, 18 August 2013

A "Weekend" In The City

Weekends are great but there's a slight issue that it feels like everyone else in the entire world is also free of the confines of work and also wanting to do all the things that you want to do on your weekend. I had a few days annual leave left to take from work so decided to give myself my own weekend (on a Thursday and Friday) to enjoy all that London has to offer with fewer people around.

It might be the "weekend" but my alarm goes off at 7am for a morning run. I'm training for a half marathon at the moment, eek. I run along the Thames path to Tower Bridge. I've lived in central London for six years now and still don't tire of seeing the sights no matter how much I complain about crowds and tourists. When you are tired of London you are tired of life, innit.
Getting ready for the day. As its the "weekend" I abandon my usual uniform of a dress of some sort and venture into the world of trousers. Well, leggings because I'm not quite ready for "real trousers". To stop myself feeling like I'm off to a yoga class I add a vintage necklace and red lipstick (helpfully obscured by my iPhone). I don't really "do" casual often, I definitely feel more "me" in a dress but everyone needs a personal "non uniform" day every now and then.
Leggings: River Island, Tshirt: Kobe University store, Jacket: H&M, Necklace: Vintage
First stop of the day is for a mani-pedi at Nailgirls in Islington - I purchased a Time Out voucher a couple of weeks ago so this was a good bargain and a nice treat. I chose a bright summery red and as I had a glittery accent nail when I turned up my manicurist suggested a silver glitter topcoat for my ring finger - perfect!
Feet ready to go with the same shade. My feet get a bad deal with my running and heel-wearing so I think they appreciated this.
I was feeling lazy (hey, its the weekend after all!) so hopped on a bus to Holborn and headed for Shake Shack in Covent Garden. There was a queue but it was about a quarter as long as the evening queue was when I last saw it. I waited (im)patiently for my order with this buzzer, still admiring my newly painted nails.
I opted for a single Shack Burger for my first taste of Shake Shack. I didn't get fries as I'm not a potato fan (unless my fries are super skinny and practically coated in salt I'm not eating them so SS's crinkle cut ones did not appeal). Instead I opted for a "concrete" which SS describe as a frozen custard.  The combinations on the menu sounded a little too indulgent so I opted for a small vanilla with chocolate-fudge topping which was also much cheaper. The drink is obviously a Diet Coke for me but there's a huge range of milkshakes, lemonades and iced teas for the more adventurous.
Close up.
The single burger was actually quite small, I thought. At £5 it is less expensive than Meat Liquor or Patty and Bun but quite a bit more than a "fast food" equivalent. On the plus side, it is made freshly for you and the ingredients are better quality. The patty had a good taste and texture - much more meaty than a McDonalds offering. The Shack Sauce was really tasty - definitely my favourite element of the burger, SS's version of Meat Liquor's "dead hippie" sauce. I liked the bun too, it was soft and not too "bready". I would give this burger 7/10 - it was tasty without being "omg amazing" but scored points for not being greasy (Meat Liquor, I'm looking at you) and for the sauce.
The concrete in close up. The topping was amazing - sweet, crunchy and slightly salty. The small with a topping works out at £3 which is pretty good value for a decent-sized portion. I'm not usually an ice cream fan (or of dairy things in general) but this was a nice treat although froyo is still my true love.
I spent the afternoon window shopping and wishing that someone would buy me Hobbs' entire NW3 collection. It then started raining so I took refuge in Starbucks with an iced soya latte (I didn't steal someone called Kelly's drink, I promise) and my Kindle. I'm currently reading NW by Zadie Smith and really enjoying it so far.

Friday morning arrived and I was up and ready for my next challenge: locate and buy cronuts. Cronuts have been the flavour of the month in NYC with crazy queues around the block so when I heard that they had arrived at Rinkoff's Bakery in East London I knew I had to try one. I got ready for my cronut mission:

Back in my style comfort zone wearing a skirt but trying double-denim. I'm still not sure but it was raining and I couldn't be bothered with outfit faff.
Jacket: H&M, Cropped top: New Look, Skirt: Topshop
Leggings: Clothing @ Tesco, Lace socks: Primark, Brogues: Office.
I hop on the tube to Whitechappel in search of Rinkoff's.
Rinkoff's is located on Jubilee Street off the Mile End Road. It's drizzly and grey so I'm very happy when I locate it after a few wrong turns in an unfamiliar part of down. The cronuts / crodoughs are in stock and the shop is pretty quiet at 11am on a Friday. As a dedicated blogger / instagrammer I snap away (with permission). Here are the raspberry and apple crumble crodoughs.
Flavours and prices.
The window sign.
The custard cream crodough with some little samples. I try a piece but opt for an apple crumble for me and a raspberry for Hannah. Rinkoffs is a family run business doing all the usual bakery fare but had the idea to start making crodoughs and the word has spread very fast! Their twitter feed is going crazy over them. It's great to see something like this being done by a small business - so much more satisfying than a big chain jumping straight on the crodough trend.
With the crodoughs safely packed in my bag, I head back west. The rain has stopped so I returned to my preferred way of getting around London - on foot! I love how there are always new and different things to notice in this city. I pop in to Whitechappel Gallery for a quick browse as its on the way back.
I meet a friend on her lunchbreak and we head to Chilangos. There's actually a chicken salad hiding under the mound of guacamole. Feeling virtuous in anticipation of the sugary goodness in my handbag.
So its the afternoon now and sweet things can be eaten (I have a weird rule about not having fizzy drinks or sweet things before midday. It actually sickens me to see people drinking Coke and eating chocolate in the morning - IT'S NOT ALLOWED!). I cautiously open my box - the cro' was is looking good and not too battered from his journey around London.
The cro' and I were in Cafe Nerro. I quickly deposit him on my saucer, shove the box back in my bag and take my first bite.
Ready for his close up. The cro' was good. All the better for the hype and anticipation. I loved the apple crumble topping (I'm obsessed with cinnamon so how could it not have been love at first bite) and the texture is like nothing I've tried before. It has the flakiness of a crossaint but the shape and denseness of a donut. It's sweet but not sickening like a cupcake. The cro' is pretty big - definitely big enough to share but in the interests of review I ate the whole lot and managed just fine. All washed down with a cup of green tea.
On a sugar high, I head to the American Apparel outlet on Brick Lane. I've been for the past couple of years at the weekend and it was manic. Mid week at 3pm, its blissfully quiet. I love colour and I love bargains so I'm in solo shopping heaven. Warning - there are no changing rooms but a communal changing area, wear leggings and a vest top if you want to try anything on but preserve some modesty.
I got a jacket, a pair of cycle shorts (for wearing under dresses and not for cycling, obvs), tights and a vintage watch. All for £39.
The watch has stopped working but I just couldn't resist, makes me feel like I'm Phileas Fogg. Perfect for knowing what time it is back home when traveling or for setting to the current location of a loved one abroad (I know there's an iPhone app that does this but I'm obviously just an old-fashioned romantic type at heart!).  Now to find a battery for it..
So that was some snippets from my "weekend". And the best part? There's still the real weekend to come!

What would be your perfect weekend?



  1. Lily this has just made me so hungry!

  2. It seems like your weekend was amazing! So much yummy food - cronuts sound incredible xx

  3. Take me to the outlet store please lily!

  4. Love posts like this! I think my perfect weekend would start with some yoga, then off to Newcastle for coffee and shopping at the market then lunch and then home for a lazy afternoon baking and watching movies :-)

  5. This looks like the most amazing weekend!

    Maria xxx


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