What’s red and swollen and resembles an uncooked cocktail sausage? Not sure? How about… What feels as though 100 acupuncture needles are being simultaneously stabbed into it, will probably take several years to return to its natural state and has done 17,982 steps today? That’s right, it’s my little toes. Why are they in such a terrible state? Because Adeline, Sophie and I went shopping on the 1.9km of retail paradise that is Oxford Street today. Don’t get me wrong, we had a wonderful time, but we certainly paid for it if the shooting pains I’m currently experiencing through my toes are anything to go by.
Before we arrived at Oxford St however, we decided to have a bit of a hunt around Covent Garden. Of all the places I have been in London, Covent Garden is the one I know best. Being home to the Royal Ballet School and Royal Ballet Company, it’s no wonder that someone like me is well acquainted with the area. In fact the first time I came to London (incidentally also my very first overseas trip at the age of 14), it was to attend a two week long Summer School at the Royal Ballet School.
I’ve seen the Opera House and Benjamin Pollock’s Toy Shop, watched the buskers on the cobble stones, taken classes at Pineapple Dance Studios and taken photos with the Young Dancer statue by Enzo Plazzotta that sits in Bow Street. But yesterday we meandered through the narrow little lanes and alleys behind Marks and Spencer’s, and came across Neal’s Yard, a little oasis in the middle of an otherwise concrete landscape. Between Shorts Garden and Monmouth Street is a colourful, bustling courtyard that is home to a bunch of organic and whole food cafes, a natural remedy shop, and a hair salon called “Hair by Fairy”. The windows all have flowers boxes and plants climbing the walls- it’s such a visual treat. We had smoothies and juices to give us a little boost for the rest of the day. If you ever come to London, I hope you make time to visit this hidden treasure.