While packing for her week-long London visit, Mom texted me to say how excited she was and that she “really needed this vacation!” I chuckled to myself because I’d just finished posting Holiday vs. Trip, and knew the week was certainly going to be no vacation! We had serious shopping, wine sipping and London (non-touristy, of course) sightseeing to do. However, there were plenty of lazy morning on the agenda, making the visit more like a “troliday.”
Once Mom had some lunch and got over the shocking news that we were going on a surprise trip to Milan on Tuesday, she considered taking a nap. But, we decided first to pay a visit to Luigi’s, one of my favorite neighborhood spots. We tasted wines, sampled a selection of olives, grazed on cheese, and then bought some for late afternoon snacking. A nap was no longer on the table, it was much too full of Italian goodies. Keeping with the Italian them, we had dinner later that night at La Familglia, a special spot for us. Ten years ago, my family came to visit while I was studying here, and we had Thanksgiving dinner at the same restaurant with the whole Plakas fam. It was an unforgettable night with countless bottles of wine and plates of pasta and so much fun to go back to visit. Sunday morning was appropriately lazy. We sipped lattes before finally making our way out for a walk in Hyde Park, stopping for snacks at the Serpentine Bar & Kitchen. Inspired by the beautiful grounds, we popped over to World’s End Nursery to buy a few flowers to spruce up our fall garden.Sunday wouldn’t be complete without a roast, and the Duke of Clarence never fails to be a relaxing and delicious end to the weekend. Mom loved the experience and wants to take the tradition back to the states, I’m definitely in favor!
Monday was low key with the hubs and I working, giving Mom a chance to kick any residual jet lag and prep for the following two days of hunting for Dolce, Dolce Dolce and Gabbana, Gabbana, Gabbana in Milan.
Thursday morning was spent lounging around in PJs and cleaning out my closet. By noon, we were primed and ready for lunch and shopping round II. The hubs met us in Covent Garden where we posted up at the bar of Jamie Oliver’s Union Jacks restaurant and amusingly watched the very untalented street performers. In Covent Garden, we had to much luck shopping at Ted Baker, Joseph Seibel and even TK Maxx. Thank goodness we had to stop for our early pre-theater dinner, our credit cards really needed a break. At Polpo on Maiden Lane, Mom and I sipped on spritzes while we waited for the hubs.
Having three people for shared plates is the best- you get to choose a lot of items and taste a good portion of each. Taking full advantage, we tried quince, chestnut & goat cheese bruschetta, classic beef and pork meatballs, chilli and garlic prawns, cured meats with buffalo mmozzarella (our second favorite) and baked cauliflower and fontina (our favorite). Dessert was a must and the nutella pizza along with the tiramisù pot were unreal, and I am a sort of expert in evaluating desserts. We had deep discussion over which was better. In very un-Swanson/Gibbs-like manner, we walked over to the theater well in time for the curtain of Shakespeare In Love. None of us knew what to expect or had much idea of the story line, but the production surpassed all expectations. The best part was when the very sweet usher whisked us down a section for a much closer view of the action. Friday was Mom’s last full day and we had a little more…you guessed it…shopping to do! Another lazy morning was spent purging my closet of too many college-era clothes. Needing to replenish, we browsed and tried on countless outfits at John Lewis. Finally closing the doors on our spending spree, we walked down King’s Road to Gallery Mess, the trendy bar/cafe at Satchi Gallery, where we had a lovey tea. Since we’d done enough damage shopping, the only logical way to spend the rest of the late afternoon was with cocktails at Bacchus Lounge, a fabulous new Italian cocktail and cicheti bar. Over one last dinner at Hollywood Arms, we relived the week’s highlights properly with fish and chips. Mom said she wasn’t ready to leave, but her suitcase contents expanded daily and had finally reached their max. I wasn’t ready to say so long, but had sufficiently stuffed our entryway with unpacked suitcases and shopping bags. Sadly, the party was over!
I miss my dad like crazy and wish he could have made the trip too, but it was truly a once in a lifetime mother-daughter experience. Most special was planning a whole week of girl time for Mom. She dedicated her life to raising my sisters and me, and while it would be impossible to ever show my appreciation, it’s so much fun to try!