My last week was a bit crazy. I went home to see my family for a while, and immediately got tied up at my mother's workplace covering some shifts for a staff member who was unfortunately hospitalised. It was unexpected, but also meant I felt helpful after a week of lazing around. It's difficult to go from one extreme (revising from morning to night for months on end) to another (lying around reading books)! During my week relaxing at home before the shifts began, A and I spent one lovely day strolling around the streets of Marylebone, a beautiful little pocket of central London.
We went for lunch at one of our favourite little eateries, the Nordic Bakery. It's well placed just off the high street, and lovely to work in as it's usually so quiet.
The karelian pies, or karjalanpiirakat here are to die for. They're the Finnish equivalents of Cornish pasties but smaller, made with rye, filled with potato or rice, and topped off with a mixture of egg and butter. So incredibly delicious. I could easily eat three of these in one sitting.
A had a flat white, which he assures me was delicious.
Beautifully smoked gravadlax on dark rye bread.
It's hard to capture how gigantic this piece of berry oatbake was. Like everything else at the Bakery, it was delicious and A and I polished it off super quickly.
A got me the Nordic Bakery Cookbook for my last birthday. I've tried one recipe so far from it which went down a treat at Christmas, and I'm hoping to try out some of their more summery recipes soon.
Next I wanted to introduce A to one of my very favourite London bookshops - Daunt Books, on Marylebone High Street.
Its travel section is housed in the most stunning Edwardian gallery with beautiful skylights over three levels - basement, ground floor and mezzanine. Gorgeous architecture aside, the selection is incredible. Not only does Daunt stock manifold travel guides for each country and city, it also includes pertinent literature and travel writing for each place. For example, if you're travelling to Barcelona, you might wander in and pick up George Orwell's Homage to Catalonia from the Catalan section. This type of categorisation is perfect for people who wish to do a little reading on the area they're travelling on - whether that's historical fact or fiction!
A and I headed straight for the French section to search for literature pertaining to Paris, and were attracted to Julian Barnes' Metroland, Edgar Allen Poe's The Murders in the Rue Morgue and Ernest Hemingway's A Moveable Feast. I think the best way to get excited for a holiday is by choosing your books!
We had a little wander down the high street towards the church, and I dragged A into Aesop to have a look round and to introduce him to the wonder of their products. We had a nosey around and finally tried out the Reverence and Resurrection hand washes and balms in the beautiful Aesop sink.
I really love the layout of the shop - it seems half apothecary with the glass labelled bottles, half art shop with colourful tubes of masque and cream that resemble oil paints. I'd kit my entire bathroom out with Aesop products if I could. They have everything from mouthwash to bath products for pets!
Our final stop on the High Street was La Pâtisserie des Rêves. It's surrounded by a lot of hype so I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I definitely wasn't expecting it to look so futuristic! If you can believe it, the laboratory-esque contraption above is a refrigerator, with each belljar housing a formidably designed pastry.
Each morsel was mouthwateringly tempting, but at almost £6 per éclair or slice and up to £30 for each whole cake, this was very much window shopping in the French sense - faire du lèche-vitrine, or window-licking!
I think all this browsing might be leading A to cultivate expensive tastes...