I spent a night in London with my sister-in-law who was in town on business. At first when she had asked me if I wanted to hang out while she worked, I really wasn't feeling up to it because 1.) I'm boring and I'd be crap company, 2.) I have limited personal funds and I'm currently working with a Market Day budget, and 3.) Seriously, I'd just be in the way. The Hubs thought I was being crazy, and told me to go and have fun. We did do a huge grocery run before he left, so spending 40 pounds on a roundtrip trip train ticket didn't seem horrendous to him as long as I didn't spend the rest of the Market Day cash frivolously.
Also, Jet Black kind of almost took out one of my eyes the night before when I was trying to cuddle him in bed. Honestly, he didn't mean to almost maim me, I was lying down and my face had been in the way when he used my chest as a platform to jump off of! After taking a claw to the face, I decided right then and there that me and Jet needed space from each other. Yeah.
The train ride from Suffolk to London wasn't the big hassle I initially envisioned it would be, mainly because I was traveling for the first time on my own. After all the previous day trips into London with The Hubs, making my way around St. Pancras station and the underground was easy-peasy. I took the Victoria line to Oxford Circus and then walked the rest of the way to Claridges.
Whoa. What is this fancy-pants shiny place with its Art Deco interiors and well-heeled inhabitants?!
I was hesitant to go further into the lobby, so I messaged Jess and her assistant -let's call her 'J.'- came down to get me. The hotel employs elevator attendants too! Anyways, J. brought me up and sure enough, Jess was in the middle of getting glammed up, but she was happy to see me. She had asked the hotel in advance to set up a bed for me in her suite's living room. Sah-weet.
We were going to meet up later in the evening, so I took the time to walk around and also grab a quick bite. I ended up at a place called EAT and sat up front to people watch while I devoured an egg and ham sandwich. The area is jammed-packed with luxury shops, and normally I'm all for window shopping, but given my current lack of disposable income, I wasn't in the mood. Also, I had been in ankle boots since 10 a.m. and my feet were killing me. If I had spent the money for an all-day travel card, I could have taken the underground or bus to Leicester Square or Soho. I could have gone to Persephone Books or to the British Museum, but I was way too tired and the bed in the hotel room looked so comfy, so I headed back. Then I remembered that Jess said that if I wanted, I could go have afternoon tea at the hotel and charge it to the room! Holy cow, yes! Yes, I want tea, scones and all!
When I went to the dining room however, the nice gal at the front told me that they were fully booked. Apparently Claridges is known for its afternoon tea, and that people book a month in advance. Not to worry though, she showed me to the bar where I could have a spot of tea. I was glad that I wasn't the only one there in need of it too.
The interior of the bar is plush and subtle. I loved how quiet it was in there compared to the main dining area.
It's beautiful in the other room actually, but I was feeling the dark, masculine interiors of the bar more.
At one point, a waiter was dimming the lights of the bar, as I assume is a routine function around that particular hour. These two American guys sitting nearby had the gall ('Murica.) to ask him why he was doing that and couldn't he wait because they needed the light. Wow, way to represent. Anyway, I didn't overhear what the very gracious waiter told them, but they didn't put up fuss nor did they storm out in a huff, and the lights remained dimmed.
Tea time was a small affair. I was told that it normally came with sandwiches and other pastries, but I had already eaten a sandwich, so I ordered scones instead.
After tea, I went back up to the room and read until 6 p.m., then headed downstairs to the lobby to wait for Jess's publicist; we were going to a BAFTA screening of a film Jess worked on. Very exciting. I won't go into major details, but I will say that it is a very interesting and entertaining political drama. It will most definitely stir up a lot of conversation and controversy after its official release.
The entire night was very eye-opening; what scant information I know of the film industry I hear from my sister-in-law. To actually be present in the middle of a work-related conversation between her and her team is a whole other experience. Her assistant J. is hardcore efficient and yet one of the loveliest, sweetest gals I've ever met. Her publicist is my new style muse, totally rocking the just-jumped-out-of-bed braid and tunic with leggings+boots look. Seriously, what was I doing there?
But once everyone had gone off to their own rooms, it was just me and Jess. We sat in the living room and talked about the film and what we both thought of it. Then we raided the mini-fridge. Oh yeah, I never get to raid the hotel mini-fridge EVER! We both managed to restrain ourselves though, content with taking only a bag of fruit crisps and a few beverages. The many jars of nuts looked really salty and yummy...
I slept through the night, and didn't have to worry about hyperactive kittens mouthing my exposed limbs in the night or performing gymnastics on the bed. The next day we had breakfast together and gossiped some more before she had to get glammed up again for press. I managed to milk some advice from the hairstylist who worked on her, asking him how he'd get my pin-straight hair to actually stay up in a 'do. Lots and lots of mousse (bleh) and sea salt spray?! I use enough of Not Your Mother's Sea Salt spray to fill an ocean, now you're telling me I gotta add mousse?? I also don't own a blow-dryer anymore! You're not helping!
I had to depart in the afternoon. I gave Jess a huge hug before she went off to do her thing. The next screening for the film was in D.C. and she was leaving later on that day. Having to hang out with her without The Hubs was a lot more fun than I expected, and I got to stay overnight at Claridges and have afternoon tea there. I also would have missed seeing an entertaining movie about lobbyists, the 2nd Ammendment, and The NRA.
I feel like I should be now planning my next solo train trip. Just as far as Cambridge this time, yeah?