Despite living on the outskirts of London I increasingly go to the centre less and less. As I have got older, and perhaps a little wiser, I have grown to realise that going central can be a bit of a planning nightmare and to get the most of your day and spending money on travel you want to spend the whole day there (and with that comes more expense).
My partner recently graduated from his MA degree at Soas and I agreed to go along. I did not want to be in the ceremony itself but mainly because I could watch on a perfectly good stream for free and save £30. But I did want to go along and be part of the day and get a few pictures.
The way the day ended up working though I had to wait until after the ceremony to grab some pictures and therefore had some time to kill but also a hungry tummy to satisfy after not eating all day and the ceremony being from 2pm until about 5pm. So I ended up walking around looking for good food, a peaceful seat and a plug to charfe my phone up on to watch the stream (turns out I left my charger at home so I was relieved my phone held out for the right bit of the ceremony and photos afterwards).
But I popped into Pret a Manger just up from Russell Square and got myself a healthy little feast even if it did come to more than half of mine and my partners weekly food bill.. seriously the amount I spent on travel, food and drink that day just because I wanted to get some photos before the ceremony began but could not is painful to think about.
This smoothie sounds great and has a special place on the menu, or at least it did when I popped in, but the execution of the drink was done poorly. I expect the very odd seed from a melon to make its way into a smoothie but it was like the staff had made no effort to prepare it and it was rather chewy and woody in practically every mouthful as they suffered at the hands of the blender. The smoothie itself tasted really good but the aftertaste of the seeds was a huge disappointment and, given it was several pounds, really narked me off.
On reflection I should have gone and found the Sainsburys and bought a meal deal and sat in the park in the rain. I decided that buying a pot of fruit was a good idea? Like you can buy two punnets of berries in Lidl for the same price as this piddly little pot AND two of my raspberries were squishy because the strawberries had been placed on top and resulted in crushing them.
*Deep breathes to calm* I know I sound like I am moaning a lot but I can partly handle it because I got to spend the day with my fiance, like I had when he graduated from his BA, after being such a big part of all the essays and revision.
This salad looks so good right? Avocado, crayfish, leafy salad and a tub of sauce. I had to look through the boxes pretty carefully though as some of them did not have good looking avocado and were also pretty skimpy on the crayfish front. This one looked the best.
If it looked fresh and evenly balanced then I would probably get it again if I was stuck in a real pinch but only if I absolutely had to because even when I have a bit of spare cash (that used to be a very common thing to everybodys surprise) paying Pret prices for something like this breaks my heart.
I did not realise that the avocado was not pre-cut though so I had to have a little battle to break it apart with just a fork. Yeah I was clearly having a pretty awful day and everything was going wrong with a lot on my mind for the days that were to follow.
But all was not lost because at least I got to have a very tasty treat of a hot chocolate in Cáfe Nero whilst passing the time. And whilst it was overpriced and the squirty cream was not the best out there it was still fun to just sit there, watch the world go by and grab some free wifi for a minute as people went about their working lives at tables around me.
I wish there were more independent CHEAP cafes in central London. There used to be a place called Hot down Kingsway but they got pushed out by rent increases after 20 years. They at least had a baguette or panini of the day to make it a bit cheaper and far tastier than a meal deal.