Safely back in Singapore after my sojourn in London, here’s a bit of what I got up to during my week away. Sorry for lack of posting, London internet is terrible and despite having access to wifi and a 3G connection, I rarely seemed to have the ability (or to be fair, time) to post.
I flew over, in part, to meet the new Singapore High Commissioner to the UK, whose office is nestled within a beautiful Mayfair crescent.
I came bearing gifts of Kueh Lapis which always go down particularly well with expat Singaporeans as it’s horribly difficult to find in London. I buy mine from the mainstream Singapore cake shop that is Bengawan Solo. I think it does kuehs of all descriptions really beautifully.
I loved this Halloween-inspired house just around the corner from the Embassy in Wilton Place:
My parents popped down from Scotland to see me and stayed a night in the beautiful and recently renovated St Pancras Hotel, which is a stunning building. It was also handily positioned near Euston station for their four-hour train ride to and from Dumfriesshire (rather a miracle it only takes four hours).
On Tuesday night, we had dinner at Marcus Wareing’s restaurant there, Gilbert Scott, with a menu chock full of British classics which is all I ever want to eat when I am on UK soil (you can eat almost anything here in Singapore, from any corner of the world, but it’s so much nicer to know that what you are about to fork in to your mouth hasn’t had a buy a plane ticket).
We got up early and after a seriously fortifying breakfast in the hotel’s Club (extra points for their creamy, mushroom-topped scrambled eggs) managed to beat the half-term crowds to see the poppy installation that’s currently filling the Tower of London’s moat
The 88,246 hand-made ceramic poppies each represent a British military death during the First World War which broke out exactly 100 years ago. This evolving art installation has been visited by hundreds of Londoners, tourists and world leaders alike.
Here I am with Dad
In fact, it has been so popular that today, as I write this about to board my flight home to Singapore, there have had to be gunmen in charge of crowd control – somewhat ironic when you consider that the sea of ceramic poppies are there precisely because of guns, war and violence.
The scale of it is staggering and the very last poppy will be planted on 11th November, Rememberance Day, before the exhibition is dismantled.
We had a much-needed restorative cuppa afterwards, under the shadow of Tower Bridge.
Unfortunately we couldn’t go up the Shard as it was the one day of the week that was horribly foggy
The next stop was Smythson’s, on the way to lunch…
…before popping in to Cassandra Goad where Dad took the opportunity to catch 40 winks. As you do:
Thursday I spent the day with a girlfriend who lives in Notting Hill. We wondered around town, running errands together and parted ways over tea at Coco Maya just off Sloane Square (try their flourless chocolate cake, it’s delicious).
With temperatures soaring spookily high at 22°C for the last day of October – Halloween – London felt exceptionally, and weirdly, summery
On my last day I felt a particularly close resemblance to the white rabbit in Alice and Wonderland as I dashed around, going from Central London to Barnes and back again before heading out to Heathrow. On the way to the jewellery shop that makes all the costume jewellery for Downton Abbey, (it was shut; the owner had unexpectedly gone on holiday to Italy – grrr) just a stone’s throw from Sheekey’s, I spotted people lunching outside. Bonkers for 31st October:
In Barnes I caught up with my sis who is about to have a baby. Any day now. Here she is with her cheeky monkey and my number one nephew:
Barnes village was bathed in glorious sunshine and it felt like the last day of summer:
A note on Tower of London Poppies: you used to be able to buy one of the ceramic poppies for £25 and 10% would be donated to six charities – but sadly they have been so popular that there are none left. Instead, opt for a virtual poppy by clicking here. You can also track the progress of the poppy installation there too. If you want to beat the crowds to see the poppies, aim to get there by 10am, although it should not be quite so bad now that it’s no longer half term.