In hindsight I would probably have planned a few more things but it felt great to be flying by the seat of my pants and being spontaneous.
The main reason for my visit was to attend an AWOT event, for those who may not be aware AWOT stands of Awesome Women of Twitter. I have been following them on twitter for a while and really wanted to go down and meet everyone. The lovely Amy, who I have been chatting to on twitter forever offered me a bed for the two nights I was down there, which I will be forever grateful for!
I arrived in London at around 3pm, so met the gorgeous Roswen for a quick coffee and catch up, it is so funny meeting people who you have been online friends with for so long, it was like meeting an old friend and we just chatted and put the world to rights! So great to finally meet one of my favourite bloggers.
There were so many people jammed into the quirky little basement bar, it was quite overwhelming but before I knew it I was being hugged by Ashley and sitting with the foodie bunch enjoying a cheeky gin and tonic (or three). Huge shout out to Steph, Becky and Veronica, the fellow foodies who it was great to meet and chat with!
The next morning was a pretty quiet one, lots of tea and chatting with Amy before we headed out into London. I really wanted to stop by a few of my old haunts from the brief period when I lived in London. So we headed for Soho, covent garden and the surrounding areas, I just really enjoyed getting a little lost and wandering. Its one of my favourite things to do in big cities.
Christmas time is such a beautiful time to visit London, walking around and taking in all the decorations put me firmly in the Christmas spirit, the big tree in covent garden was gorgeous! We also stopped at Eds Diner in Soho for a dirty burger, it was very tasty! I love the atmosphere in Eds too, the waiters are always chatting away to you and its great for a spot of people watching.
On Saturday morning I was up quite early and said farewell to my lovely host; Amy, I packed my little rucksack and headed off in the direction of Maltby Market. I had been told by a few people it was worth a visit and pretty close to Borough Market so I could kill two foodie birds with one stone.
I was bowled over by Maltby Street itself, it was a hive of activity, one side of the railway arches was a mixture of furniture sales and food, while the other side was a hidden away treasure trove of foodie delight. There was coffee, baked goods, wine, fresh fish, deli's and restaurants serving a plethora of cuisines, and this charming little warehouse which was filled with antiques and curios which I just couldn't stop walking around, my inner designer started sketching and plotting mood boards instantly.
I was particularly impressed with Craft Coffee and St John Bakery. I will definitely go back again and hopefully try some of the other wares. Montys Deli's Reuben Sandwiches looked particularly tasty! *Most* of the stalls and cafes were an utter delight, some I found not so friendly but I fear maybe I was a little meek in my approach.
I also met up with the lovely Giulia from Mondomulia, a fellow food blogger whose blog I absolutely adore, her obvious passion for food and beautiful photography has made her blog one of my absolute favourites.
After a brief jaunt around Maltby with Giulia, we headed off to London Bridge Tube, bound for central London to rendezvous with Helen from Fuss Free Flavours. As one of the biggest food bloggers in the UK I was pretty nervous/excited, and determined to pick her brains on how to make my blog the best it could be. (aside from blogging more often of course!)
After a lovely Latte in Foxcroft and Ginger on Berwick Street (which was lovely!), we headed for Paul Young's soho chocolate shop. The smell of the fresh hot chocolate was to die for, and the variety of flavours available was a little overwhelming. Unfortunately my budget couldn't stretch to purchasing any, but a few samples were enjoyed. (they weren't particularly expensive, I am just poor)
We settled on Fernandez and Wells for Lunch, it is the sort of place I would never have gone on my own, as I wouldn't have a clue what to order. But, Helen knew exactly what would be good and ordered us a feast of serrano ham, Manchego cheese, pedron peppers and the most amazing fresh anchovy fillets. I have to admit I was a little scared about the price as nothing seemed to have the price listed, but it came to a very reasonable £20 each, which I would say was well worth it!
Considering I was pretty nervous to be meeting all these lovely bloggers, everyone was so friendly I almost feel silly for being so timid!
Helen insisted I must buy a cinnamon bun from the Nordic Bakery, I was pretty full from all the tapas but trusted her judgement on this, she is a food blogger afterall. It was a very good that I did as my train was delayed at York and I *may* have starved to death had it not been for that delicious cinnamon bun!
So overall I had an absolute blast in London, although was very happy to get back to the North East, where I was immediately greeted like an old friend by the lady in the little shop (who I had never met), and people smiled at me on the metro home! *bliss*
Did I miss any vital foodie sights on my trip? Feel free to leave your London recommendations below; I hope to return soon.