Fortnum and Mason and Harrods

Whilst in London I wanted to do a small amount of Christmas shopping, mainly just fancy chocolate!

Fortnum and Mason

So after dinner we headed to Fortnum and Mason for a wander around.  I had been in there once before and got very distracted by fancy tea, there Green Jasmine is fairly delicious.  I didn’t realise that it was spread over several floors.   Fortnum and Mason was, and still is, famous for it’s hampers which are very expensive wicker boxes full of luxury booze, chocolates, and meat type products.  I’ve never bought one myself, I wouldn’t want to eat most of the stuff in it and they cost in the hundreds of pounds.  london4

You really question whether the stuff is worth the price, I have found the tea nice and boyfriend enjoyed his £6 chocolate bar, although he valued it at about £4.50.  The fact that it’s so expensive becomes part of the appeal for people I’m sure.  But the £40 shower caps were my breaking point…(they were crappy plastic ones with flowers stuck on wtf?!?!)

Harrods

On Friday morning we stopped off at Harrods before we headed to the museums.  It was Black Friday and boyfriend was having some kind of breakdown in advance of what he thought would be hoards of sale shoppers.  However, Harrods did not appear to have any Black Friday offers because why would it?  Anyway, we wandered in circles around the food hall getting frustrated.  It’s been a long time since I actually went for a look around in Harrods, it’s always horribly busy.  When I was a teenager I went upstairs to the kids section and bought a pen which was thrilling.  Anyway, they had some fun window displays with animatronic shop assistant.

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Cosmoba, Italian Restaurant London

I really hate the Cosmoba website, it’s corporate black and barbie pink.  It doesn’t reflect the restaurant at all.  Cosmoba is a family run Italian restaurant, or ristorante! It’s not huge, but we managed to sneak a table on Friday night.  It was quite Christmassy when we were there, there was a pyramid of panatone in the window, as well as twinkling lights.

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I had one of the specials, which was gnocchi, walnuts, and pear (pear was a bit weird but it was still yummy). Boyfriend had lasagna, and we both had a lovely time.

 

 

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Greenwich Observatory- London

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London- The British Museum

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Our first ‘attraction’ in London was The British Museum, which I have never been to before and was about 15mins from our hotel.  We didn’t have long before it closed so we whizzed around, mostly around the Egyptian exhibit, then Assyrian, before heading upstairs to Medieval Europe.

But this funny horse man on the left is a winged lion from the North-West Palace of Ashurnasirpal II, of Norther Assyria (modern Iraq), obvs.  They were designed to be viewed from the side or front on, so when you take a photo like this you can see they have 5 legs! Continue reading

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The Hoxton, Holborn- London

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Whilst in London town we stayed in a super hipstery hotel, The Hoxton in Holborn (not in Hoxton, slightly confusingly).  We paid about £338 for 2 nights which ain’t cheap, but everywhere in London has inflated prices.  I’m sure you can find cheaper places though, but the hotel looked good and the location was convenient. Continue reading

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London Packing

It seems like only 10mins ago I was packing for Riga, but here I am again jet setting. This time only to London but it will cost about as much and take about as long to get there…

We’ll be there from Thursday 1pm until 7pm Saturday, and we expect it to be chilly but dry.  I’m only taking a backpack (I do have a mini backpack just to use as a day bag), so it all has to fit in there.  Continue reading

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National Museum of Art- Riga, Latvia

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Just a quick post about the National Museum of Art in Riga.  We popped in when it was pissing it down at the time, and it proved to be an enjoyable rainy day diversion.  Much of the art initially was not to my taste, but the constructionist exhibit was interesting especially within the context of communist occupation.  Continue reading

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The Old Town- Riga, Latvia

Latvia, in general, had a horrible time during WW2, initially occupied by the Nazis before being claimed by the Soviets.  Under the Nazis, about 24,000 Latvian Jews were killed in 1941, which is fairly staggering.  I mean the population of Latvia at the time was probably less than 2 million.  The subsequent 5 decades of Soviet rule were fairly damaging to Latvia. So many native Latvians left, disappeared, were killed, or were expelled, and there was so much immigration from Russia and elsewhere in the Soviet Union that by 1989, only about 35% of the Latvian population were native Latvians.

Anyway, things are certainly better now!  But while we were learning all these depressing facts at the Museum of the Occupation in Riga, I was thinking what a difficult transition it must have been for people in Latvian when they finally became free of the Soviet Union.

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The Old Town in Riga is probably the reason my mum picked it as our destination.  It’s got the beautiful, colourful buildings that belong on a chocolate box.  It was damaged in World War Two, I’m guessing there was some reconstruction afterwards.  But, apparently, the reconstructed and restored some of the buildings in the Old Town after Latvia became independent to restore the historic look.  It became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997, and Riga was the European Capital of Culture in 2014.

It’s extremely quaint and atractive, and well worth a wander round.  Dom Square, above, has the cathedral as well as a host of restaurants and some little shops.

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The Fat Pumpkin- Riga, Latvia

to print2The Fat Pumpkin in Riga is a vegetarian cafe in the Old Town, it also does a lot of vegan stuff. I had a falafel burger, with chips, and a smoothie.  It was half price burger day which was very exciting (normal price 9.50euro. As you can see, the burger was fairly massive, although to be fair there was a lot of unnecessary salad it in.

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20171004_130259It’s a shame it wasn’t also half price smoothie day as they were about 5euro, I did once (or twice) pay $10 for a smoothie in LA though (it was delicious).  The menu consists of burgers, wraps, and tapas and I thought it was priced pretty reasonably.  Although I do remember fondly the days when 1euro was about 60p.

 

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St Peter’s Church- Riga, Latvia

St Peter’s Church in Riga, was built before 1209 (the year it was first mentioned in the records).  More building work was done in the 13th, 15th, and 17th centuries, but it was heavily damaged in a fire in 1721, and then again in artillery fire in 1941.  Reconstruction was carried out after WW2 which finished in the 1990’s.

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It costs money to have a looksie inside, where there was an interesting art exhibition as well as fancy church interiors.  It also costs to head up to (near) the top for a great view over the old town and the river.  For three of us it was a cool 27euro which seems a bit steep.  It was also super cold and rainy when we were up there.

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