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30 hours in London

trafalgar square london bus

Two weeks ago I headed down to London for a blog event with the England Netball Team. Whilst this definitely fell into one-of-the-most-exciting things I've done category of life events, there was way more I wanted to see in London than just some famous sporting stars. 

It took a lot of my friends and co-workers by surprise but despite trips to Africa and beyond, I hadn't actually been to the capital city of my own country since...2000? So, despite only being able to fit in a day and a half of touristy stuff I eagerly planned what else I wanted to see. Because last time I was down with my mum we did educational family things like the Tower of London, London Dungeons, and some Jack the Ripper show which left my child self scared shitless...

And obviously my first port of call in London was to check out the mutiltude of vegan and vegetarian cafés, there were about 20 in Soho alone...

Eating Vegan

cookies and scream camden

I was arriving into London at Liverpool Street Station and had already decided on Hummus Bros, However, I was not prepared for the busyness of lunch hour in City of London (like, I knew London would be busy but I was not mentally prepared for the reality of 12pm in City of London). Between the crowds and actually getting partially lost I really didn't feel like walking too far away. I bought a quick vegan sandwich from Pret and whilst walking to my accommodation, walked by Falafel House a 100% vegetarian take-away. I know what you're thinking...."Morag, you went to London where there's hundreds of vegan food outlets, and you bought falafel which is available everywhere?" but I tell you no lie when I say my brain felt like kehkhekfhfr at this point and I really needed food. I got a falafel salad bowl for £6 which contained stuffed vine leaves, cannellini beans, your usual salad stuff and butternut squash, with chilli sauce on top. I was glad when I finally got to my accommodation and tucked in. 

On the Friday I got up earlier and immediately headed to Camden in search of the award-winning and vegan Cookies and Scream bakery. Camden market was touristy and a bit of maze so it took me about 40 minutes to find Cookies and Scream in the indoor market (you can easily miss the door in) but I was not disappointed. I had a cookie sandwich with cream frosting and a toffee milkshake, both of which live up to their hype (even if the sugar overload left me with a sore stomach). Nearby was also the Cereal Killer Café (where I recognised one of the bearded founders, and that's as exciting my my celebrity spotting was) and whilst I want to pretend I wasn't tempted by a £5 bowl of cereal I so was, and there was also inSpiral on the main street (a vegan restaurant which you may have spotted in a recent Apprentice episode). 

Later on the Friday when I was mooching about Oxford Street, I headed into Vantra Vita which is vegan raw café and restaurant. It was Mildred's Café I was originally going to head to, however my feet were beginning to kill me by this point and I was heading a bit behind my timing. As you can probably tell by my regular rants on juice cleanses and raw food this was a weird choice of place for me, and it has done little to convince me otherwise. The food was so 'healthy' it was tasteless and I paid £12 for everything in this Instagram. Get in the sea. 

Geeky happenings

platform 9 kings cross harry potter

London has no shortages of geek stuff to do, from flagship stores to famous film sets, all depending on your personal fandoms. For me, I had to head to Kings Cross Station with my fellow Harry Potter geeks to get a glimpse of Platform 9 3/4. Unfortunately I was there myself so I didn't get a picture of me heading off to Hogwarts (and the jury is still out on whether I would wear a yellow or blue scarf). Beside it is the official Harry Potter shop, where you can buy a £300 replica of Hogwarts (and other stuff). 

Also on the Harry Potter tour was the Millennium Bridge which is looking might fine after it's Death Eater attack (har har). It's also a really nice piece of architecture....(check out here for all the Harry Potter locations you can see in London).  

I also popped in by Forbidden Planet just off Oxford Street. Was much bigger than any of the Scottish stores with a bigger range, but other than that wasn't anything special (I had just been in the Oxford Street Lush store which was all singing and dancing, so the London FP was a let down by comparison).

I also stopped by Westminster, which is kind of geeky (as seen in Harry Potter) and great for architecture.

blogger in london

From pop culture geekiness, to sex geekiness. As you know I'm feminist sex geek and on purposefully Googled 'feminist sex shops London' and came up with Shhh! in Shoreditch and Coco De Mer in Covent Garden. I firstly headed along to Coco De Mer which is just along from Forbidden Planet and was also founded by Sam Roddick, daughter of Anita which made my cruelty-free heart flutter. Described as an 'upmarket' sex shop, Coco De Mer is where you could imagine Christian Gray shopping for his kinky fun-times 'toys' (read: kinky but in a classy way, I was given the 'you can't afford anything here' look when I walked in). 

Also within the Soho/Covent Garden border was Harmony, which I wasn't looking for but waked by anyway. I'll describe it as an independent Ann Summers: it had fun party gear but downstairs had toys of a slightly kinkier persuasion, with two smaller rooms for look through their adult-films and bdsm collection with a bit of privacy. Out of the three shops here this was the most friendly for individuals who don't identify as heterosexual. 

The very last place I went before my train was Sh! in Shoreditch (in Hoxburn Square, next to Meat Liquor). A woman only sex boutique which I only just had enough time to pop into before my train. Whilst I remain unsure as to what they classify as a woman or female, this was a lovely shop which felt classy but not posh. I was even offered a cup of tea to drink whilst I browsed! I couldn't stick about long but out of the three it's the one that if I was ever back I might pop in by again (and if I was taking a suitcase, I only had hand luggage and sods law would mean the one time I had a vibrator would be the day I'd be victim to a random security search EDIT: Sh! have written a blog post about this). 

Also...I went to Lush. It was fabulous. 

My whole purpose of being on Oxford Street was to check out the famous Lush Oxford Street. Three floors with over 100 products not available anywhere else was too good to pass up. Complete with massive sinks to demonstrate their bath bombs and a play area for the Fun range. It was everything a flagship store should be, and everything my Lush fangirl heart wanted. 

And then I got back to Glasgow at midnight on Friday and crashed. 

And the boring part...the logistics.

telephone box london

I travelled down to Stansted on Ryanair and came up Easy Jet because it gave me more flexibility in times. I got the Stansted Express train into Liverpool Street Station, which runs both ways every 15 minutes. I also booked my first AirBnB experience with a lovely girl called Alice who studied in Glasgow and lives in a beautiful 1905 half-cottage in the Southwalk area which gave me major #housegoals. Because I was travelling alone it was nice to have someone to chat to in the evening plus host and guests have to jump through many loops to prove they're a real person and not a crazy! 

I also took the tube to Camden, which wasn't quite as daunting as I thought it would be. Thanks to the Australian born Londoner who helped me though!

As said this was my first trip to London in over a decade, and I loved every minute of it. Whilst I'll leave the living in London to the certain kind of people who live the big smoke in a different way I don't think this is the last the British capital will be seeing of me. 

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