Florence Duomo

Whenever we walked passed the Duomo in Florence there were a couple of issues. The first was that I never had my shoulders and knees covered at the same time. As we all know, Jesus is particularly offended by the site of a females joints so I couldn’t possibly go into the house of god with them exposed (my dad however trotted in totally naked and Jesus winked at him on the way out). The second issue was the horrendously long line that stretched down the entire length of the church. According to online reviews the line moves quickly, but all I saw was sweaty people with screaming children standing unmoving in the line for an hour.  The third was that my favourite gelato shop was on the other side of town.

I love an old cathedral, but not enough to stand in the sun without gelato for an hour.

Then my Mum eavesdropped on an American couple who had such a good Florence hack that it actually made my trip. It was so good that we thought my Mum had got heatstroke and made it all up. We made her go and lay down for a while. But it turns out she wasn’t crazy and was possibly justified in calling us untrustworthy dicks.

Fine, I made that last bit up for comic effect, believe it or not my Mum does not swear. No I don’t know where I got it from either. #wankpuffin

Anyway the Duomo. The Cathedral is free to visit, and all you have to do is stand in a line from now to eternity. However if you are willing to spend €2 and watch an awesome movie you can skip the line totally. Just around the corner from the cathedral is Teatro Niccolini home of The Duomo Experience, the answer to all your prayers. For €2 you get to watch a 15 minute film about the humanist importance of the Duomo; a little bit on the building and the art. Then with the same ticket you can just walk up to the door of the Cathedral and walk straight in. Seriously, €2, 15min and you can waltz into the Duomo like Mary (the virgin one, not the whore one).

They will try to talk you into the €15 all access pass that covers the five Florence museums, but all you need for the Church is the cheap ass movie ticket.

Teatro Niccolini

We were expecting to have to endure the movie, we thought it was going to be like the movies you had to sit through when moguls are trying to get you to buy a time share. But it was delightful. We has the entire (air conditioned!!!) theatre to ourselves, and the presenter was a priest who reminded me of a spoken word poet. He would be the guy next to Whoopi Goldberg trying to get the kids into Art History.

SO a very interesting movie while sitting in the air-conditioning, and super speedy access into a church. YOU’RE WELCOME.

Mum and Dad

Well what a month it has been. No I’m not talking Brexit, mass shootings and the world slowly imploding; I’m talking about my parents visiting. A month of me sleeping on a couch so hard it felt like it was made of bricks while they slept in my bed. A month of Mum making me cups of tea, and Dad enabling my alcohol problem. A month of showing my parents my life, my London.

It was kind of a big deal for my parents to visit me now. The last time they visited London I was only a year into living here and was not in a great situation. I had a job that was not only unfulfilling and going nowhere, but also paid me nothing and refused to allow staff access to kettles because they were a health and safety hazard. I had no close friends, a flat where mould had more rights than I did and was utterly lost.

Having them visit in 2016 felt like a milestone, it was the first time I could show my parents that not only did I vaguely have my shit together but I was actually happy. I am god damn fucking happy.

It was like the Queen going on a state tour, I made my parents have an official meet and greet with my friends. It backfired a little though, because they loved my friends so much they are all invited to New Zealand for Christmas – I am not.

I had so much that I wanted to show them, so much to cram into a month. I love London (does that come across in this blog? My huge love affair with this silly city?) and have discovered so many cool places over the last four years, the only challenge was if we really could have four brunches in a day…

The side benefit of this month of familial love is that I have some cracking blog posts coming up. We ran away to Florence for a week with the goal of eating pasta for every meal and finding me an Italian husband (after Brexit it is the only way to stay in the EU). I forced my parents to do two escape rooms (both of which were ironically larger than my flat). And of course “three flat whites” was the standard coffee order.

I am secretly excited to write all these posts, it means that I get to extend the awesome times a little longer. Because since 2016 seems to keep kicking us when we are down, I want to bring some sunshine to y’all.

And yes, the photo above is what happens if I ask my Mum and Dad to take a nice photo…yes that is where I get it from.

Dragon street art in Florence

Being a young person sucks. I mean yes you get a 10% discount on ASOS and apparently you get taught contouring in school; but by and large it is a time full of turmoil, heartache and trying to figure out just exactly who you are. You have followed four years of my ups and downs, and that is me with a backing of a supportive family and two degrees under my belt. Imagine then what it is like for kids that are vulnerable, are homeless or in care.

Thankfully the Princes Trust exists to support them. The Princes Trust helps kids aged between 9 and 30 (yes I consider 30 to be a kid, I’m 28 and milking it as long as possible) get into higher education and work. They give them all the support that I had to help these young people find some sort of stability, to help them find their own happy.

So instead of new swearwords, London rants or a coffee overdose, today I am just bringing you this video from the Princes Trust. It is for their new campaign Parallel Lives which shows how different things can be. How different things could have been for you. So please take two minutes to watch, and if you can skip your Pret lunch today and give the money to the Princes Trust. Together we can make a difference.

 

Pokemon Cafe London
Well now, who knew that all those hours playing Pokémon as a kid were going to be of more use as an adult than long division. Actually, 11 year old Rebecca could have told you that one. Since I am here as a resource to help you survive London, I simply had to write something to make playing Pokémon Go as enjoyable as possible. As you are wandering around London aimlessly looking at your phone here are my favourite cafes and their nearest Pokestops so you can refuel and get your strength back for your next Poke-battle. NB these cafes also work if you are playing Happen, Ingress or Grinder.
London Grind – Try the little silver dragon on a plinth outside or across the road

White Mulberries – Big stone seat just outside and to the left and the Knight outside the Medieval Banquet

Grounded – the gate to the park across the street

Trade – the entrance to Petticoat Lane market down the road

Blixen – the Ten Bells pub on the corner if you turn right and also the Pear sculpture if you walk the other way

Ozone – The Angel pub on the corner of the road

Lantana Old Street – Susanna Wesley memorial in the church next door

Attendant Coffee Shoreditch – pretty much every piece of street art nearby

Shoreditch Grind – The Mirror Disks around the corner

Friends of Ours – Royal Oak Court gate

Modern Pantry Finsbury Square – The square itself is the Pokestop

The Wren – St Nicholas Cole Abbey and the police box at the end of Friday Street

Notes of Music and Coffee – this one is actually near a gym (National Gallery/Trafalgar Square)

Flat White Soho – Jessie Matthews OBE Plaque and also lots of street art nearby

Timberyard Soho – There is a little blue face in the wall near the cafe

Prufrock – The Clerkenwell House Globe just a few doors down

Fields – The Bandstand mosaic and also one on the lower corner of the pond

Fuckoffee Bermondsey – Both of the sculptures outside the White Cube Gallery

Watch Tower – St Mary Magdalen Church

Creme – The ‘Sky Blue Wall’ street art

Freestate Coffee – The gate to Sicilian Ave next door

Sunday – The Hemingford Arms pub

Flotsam and Jetsam – The Althorp Pub

Story – Very weirdly it’s the Peterkin Custard Ghost sign

Granger and Co – The German Gymnasium, the Birdcage sculpture and the waterfall fountain

Milk in Balham – There should be one just around the end of the market under the sign

Brickwood Clapham Common – The Alexandra and the Clapham Common Clock Tower

Hubbard and Bell – Cleopatra Mall Mosaic

Tonic – This is near a gym (Piccadilly Circus)

Duck and Waffle – The entire tower is the Pokestop

Embassy East – The Whitmore Estate

Bourne and Hollingsworth – The Spa Fields just outside the door

Caravan – The fountain just outside

Let me know your favourite cafe and I will try to let you know the Pokestop nearby!

Happy catching.

Find a flat white in London Brunch spots that I love