My friend Wilhelmina from Hungary was visiting London this weekend and so I arranged lunch for her and various other friends. She is a significant person in my life because she was there on the night I first went out as a girl. But as luck would have it, Rachel Cole was organising one of her gatherings in Brick Lane as well. Only one thing for it: take two days off and go out and have fun.
Last Friday, then, I met a friend for lunch at Bistro One in Southampton Street. I never cease to be amazed how one can have a three-course lunch, drink, basket of bread and butter, olives, coffee and swift service all for fifteen pounds a head.
I needed new shoes as my old pairs of shoes and boots are all looking tired. And I had a great time, gaining some new ballet flats, lovely soft wedge shoes, stout ankle boots and the most gorgeous versatile pair of tan boots ever. And a new handbag, too. All will be revealed in another post but Tomcat Leather in Neal Street was a discovery and a revelation. Thanks to Dina at Tomcat for being a fabulous assistant.
So then it was off to Brick Lane with my purchases to join the girls at Verge bar for a pre-dinner drink.
|Verge Bar with Joanne in blue, Irene in red, Rachel C in purple, Pippa in red, Rachel B in black and Stella in black with floral tights, with Kay taking the pic. Pippa's photo.|
This time we didn’t eat at City Spice. Each restaurant has its curry touts all fighting for business. Eleven TGirls means a lot of business and Rachel is good at playing the touts off against each other. The boys from Sheba won the contest, which was amusing to watch, and the manager of City Spice was most put out by our lack of loyalty. But one needs to try something new once in a while. Free wine for all was the price of our defection, and maybe some money off.
My Sulemani chicken (with mango) and coconut rice were delicate and tasty, but not quite as tangy as at City Spice. No complaints, though, and the wine was drinkable (and free!). Fantastic to meet the very smart and pretty (Just) Helen and Rachel Bull, a real natural, both for the first time, as well as regular friends Pippa, Irene, Linda, Stella, Kay, Susan, and Joanne Tran who was visiting all the way from Gloucestershire, and Rachel our hostess of course, who gets more beautiful and elegant every time I see her. We TGirls do improve with time, and I have to say that if you want smart, outgoing, fun and friendly girls, the Brick Lane set is where you'll find them. There really is nothing like having a giggle over a good dinner with other TGirls, we all agree.
|Queens of Sheba with (l-r) flustered waiter, Pippa, Rachel B, Rachel C talking to Linda, Helen, Kay with hat, me and Joanne. Susan and Irene and Stella are out of shot. Kay's pic.|
All this added to a very successful day’s shopping made the day perfect.
Saturday dawned bright and I had booked a table at our old favourite Salieri on the Strand. Another good turnout, with nine girls sitting down to a good leisurely lunch. Sammi and his staff are always welcoming and enthusiastic about having us. It was lovely to see Wilhelmina again. And nice to see Petra whom I hadn’t seen for about a year, since KD came to visit. Rachel Bull from last night joined us and it’s good to get to know her – she’s planted a thought in my head that all this foreign dining is not really what a proper London girls should be into but we need something more local and traditional like jellied eels, pie and mash and liquor … It’s a fair point. Maybe we’ll go to the pie and mash shop in Greenwich and there’s plenty to do there afterwards. Good also to see stalwarts Irene - the most reliable girl on the circuit - and Helena and Kimberley again, all London’s top ladies who lunch, and be joined by Linda and Pippa, too (who then went on to bring a touch of glamour to that dull institution, the Victoria and Albert Museum!)
|At Salieri with Linda, Wilhemina, me, Petra, Helena, Irene (hidden), Rachel, Kimberley. Pippa joined us later.|
We went our various ways after lunch, myself on a quest to Mac and Boots for makeup essentials and enjoyed browsing the boutiques off Long Acre. I must have some quality Duo boots made for me as my other knee-length boots are wearing out. I finally settled in a snug corner of the cosy Pillars of Hercules pub and enjoyed a quiet glass of wine with a book (more on the book in another post) before heading home. What a great two days. There really is nothing like shopping for beautiful shoes and eating vast meals out with your friends!
Despite that last statement. I have, in fact, lost four pounds off the tum this week. So it’s all good. And despite Sammi giving me a double-sized tiramisu afterwards as he always does.
|My pudding. To give you an idea of scale, the plate could hold a 12-inch pizza. Well, it could if it wasn't already bearing up a vast dollop of home-made tiramisu.|