Earlier this week, my partner Reece and I journeyed to London for a night away. We’d been planning it since October, when I purchased tickets to see the always fantastic Lindsey Stirling, an electro-violinist, for Reece’s anniversary gift. Obviously, I was also to benefit, since there was no chance he was going to be taking anybody other than me to see my favourite pixie-esque violinist. I’d been looking forward to my little not-weekend away ever since, battling through assignment after assignment, knowing I would eventually, finally, be on my way to a mini-holiday, a city break, a moment of sanity away from the stress of university and work. We had a fantastic time.
On arrival to King’s Cross Station, I was already given a challenge; attempt to find my hopelessly directionless boyfriend at St Pancras, across the road. He’d given typically illusive directions of “meet me on the concourse, near where the Eurostar leaves”. Now, if anybody has been to St Pancras recently, you’ll know that the Eurostar leaves from pretty much the whole station, since it’s a frankly enormous platform. Then he said “meet me where the trains arrive”. With clearly very little understanding of the fact that every train company in St Pancras has its own departure and arrival area, I sighed, hitched my backpack higher, and went in search for the East Midlands Trains area of the the station, whereupon I found a sheepish looking Reece. Typical.
He grinned at me on meeting, and brandished something I never in my life thought I’d see him with; a selfie stick. Reece is notoriously camera shy, and it’s a good year if I manage to get two pictures of us together. He decided he wanted a selfie together under the big clock in St Pancras, and we made an attempt. A terrible attempt. There was no clock in the photo. It was a good photo though, I’ll grant him that. Unfortunately, the selfie stick he’d bought wasn’t compatible with his horrendously out of date Android phone, so guess who now has their own selfie stick?
Following the debacle at the station, we ventured into the underground, where I successfully used my contactless bank card on the underground for the first time – tell me, Londoners; how on earth does one prove they have a valid ticket, as so threateningly reminded by every window label on the trains, when one uses contactless? For the first part of Monday, we went to Camden Market, my all time favourite part of London, where I spent money on too much food, and lots of random things I’m 99% sure I didn’t need. These included a quarter meter kielbasa sausage (I could have bought up to a meter!), a salted caramel and peanut butter “shake” from Cookies and Scream which I most definitely needed a spoon for, a crocheted jellyfish, and three expensive handmade soaps that perpetually left a stench in my carry-bag all day of cedarwood and neroli. We, as usual, went into Cyberdog and had a mini rave in the middle of the day, looked at numerous nicknacks, and also found a Waitrose for a free cup of tea (I love MyWaitrose) near the station on the way back!
We then embarked on the journey from Camden to Hammersmith, an awkward journey that took us on both the Northern and Victoria lines, a complex adventure for two complete newbies to the underground life. Reece accidentally stood on the left on the escalators a couple of times, nearly getting trampled by the busy commuters. I told him off, and explained proper underground etiquette to him. We finally arrived in Hammersmith, and went on the hunt for our hotel, which was a surprisingly affordable hostel in an excellent location. For what we paid, I was actually decently impressed. Nothing special, it at least had a comfortable bed, towels, and a working shower, all of which I was grossly thankful for. With a quick change of clothes, and plenty of mirror selfies (together, again… wierd), we left for the concert.
Lindsey Stirling – Brave Enough Tour
We’ve both wanted to see Lindsey live for years. Reece and I bonded over music from the off, which it being one of the key aspects of common interest that started our relationship. Our first gig together was to see The Blackout at Lincoln’s Engine Shed (terrible), closely followed by Rise Against at Nottingham’s Rick City (incredible). So safe to say, we were both pretty excited. We arrived at the Apollo for about 7pm, and filtered in to find our seats. Amazingly, I’d managed to bag us great seats, in the first section of the circle seating. We had an amazing few, and I couldn’t wait. We ended up sat next to a most likely drunk girl, who spoke to loudly and was incredibly enthusiastic. She was tolerable, although by the end of the night, I was quite glad to never have to see her again…
The concert was incredible. Lindsey Stirling has such boundless energy, and to be able to dance and move as she does, all whilst playing the violin exceptionally is quite a sight to see. Her new album is all about breaking free, following from her 2014 album, Shatter Me, which followed themes of getting through her eating disorder. All of her performances were incredible, and we were treated to a beautiful version of “Shatter Me”, featuring Lzzy Hale of Halestorm. After the concert, we of course got takeaway in the form of fried chicken (Hammersmith really doesn’t have enough chicken places), as is our usual post-gig tradition, and fell straight to sleep, having walked approximately nine miles, according to my FitBit.
On Tuesday, I dragged Reece to the Tate Modern for the first time in years, as I wanted to check out the new Switchhouse section. It was great to get back into something arty, having been graduated from my first degree now for nearly two years. I don’t often get chance to make art, and even less of a chance to look at it, so it was a great experience. There were some real treats there at the moment, including an artist room experience of Louise Bourgeouis, work by Monet, and Rothko, all of which I enjoyed immensely.
Following this, we ventured outside, having spotted something… intriguing. As part of an performative exhibition through March and April, there was an installation piece outside by artist, Fujiko Nakaya, a Japanese artist noted for her use of “fog” in her sculptures. It was an amazing, interactive piece, that we thoroughly enjoyed! We got a bit cold and wet though… especially me, as I kept running through it like a five year old child. Reece just stood and vlogged it, trying to keep his camera dry…
When we’d finished at the Tate, we headed down to Borough Market for some lunch, then to Covent Garden to spend some money. I bought myself a new book that I will be talking about in a future blog post, as well as Charlotte Tilbury’s Colour Chameleon in Bronzed Garnet (I hated the ones designed for blue eyes), a moomin keyring, and chocolates from Hotel Chocolat. By the time I got home at around 9:30, I was absolutely exhausted, and promptly went straight to bed.