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Thursday, 30 January 2014

Keep It Clean For The Queen

Dear friends,

Somewhere in June 2012 I had the pleasure of being invited by a my best friend Magda to go with her to London. I had never been to London and it was truly one of my dreams to get there :) And frankly speaking my plan was to get some experience in IT here in Krakow, Poland, and after 6 months move to the UK... the unexpected happened and I met the man of my life and this past December we had the civil wedding :) I do not regret a thing and I am happy I could go with Magda to London for a short 5 day trip. By mistake/chance we bumped into one of the most busy/crowded moments in history: The Queen's Diamond Jubilee :)
The Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II was a multinational celebration throughout 2012 marking the 60th anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth II on 6 February 1952. She is today queen regnant of 16 sovereign states, known as Commonwealth realms, including the United Kingdom. Queen Victoria, Elizabeth's great-great-grandmother, is the only other monarch in the histories of the realms to have celebrated a Diamond Jubilee, which she did in 1897.
One of the things I truly love about Brits is the food! :p I know... I am so shallow, I could say I love their culture (which I do) but I can't help myself... When I was a wee lass my teacher taught me about the fish and chips, about the mutton pie, about the Christmas pudding, about the lamb stew and the typical English breakfast so that got stuck to my head! And I always wanted to eat that, if possible in London :) A little girl is allowed to dream big, and when dreams come true... Oh! The Happiness!!! :)
The first English Breakfast I had was indeed in London, in the city center, and it was exactly as I imagined it: beans, sausage, mushrooms, bacon and fried egg. Magda had coffee and I had a cute fruit juice with an adorable cap that I just had to pose with. It said: Feel Good Recycle :) With a breakfast like that even if the weather is not perfect you cannot be grumpy as you have your tummy full.
When I am in trouble, eating is the only thing that consoles me. Indeed, when I am in really great trouble, as any one who knows me intimately will tell you, I refuse everything except food and drink”.
Algernon Moncrieff, Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, Act 2
I truly never had for lunch the fish and chips wrapped in newspaper - as this is the tradition. But I did have hamburger and chips - and when I say chips I mean fries for my American friends out there ;) I also did have mince pie which was hot and made me warm from the inside out on a chilly and rainy day - our last day there actually, it was like London did not want me to go away...
A man who can dominate a London dinner-table can dominate the world.
Lord Illingworth, Oscar Wilde’s A Woman of No Importance, Act 3 (1893)
When I was going to London one of my and Magda's good friends recommended us a place he ALWAYS goes to when in the UK - and he is a pretty frequent flyer to London ;) - and the place is named Pret-A-Manger. Pret is a food chain established in the UK, opened in the lovely year of 1986 - yup! that's right! the year I was born! I think they were actually celebrating my birth ;)
Here is a bit from their adorable site:
"College friends, Sinclair and Julian, made proper sandwiches avoiding the obscure chemicals, additives and preservatives common to so much of the 'prepared' and 'fast' food on the market today. The two of them had woefully little experience in the world of business. They created the sort of food they craved but couldn't find anywhere else. Because Pret is private we don't face the same pressure to grow that a public company does. We will develop slowly, one shop at a time. There are about 335 Pret shops worldwide at the moment. Most of them are in the UK and between them we turn over roughly 450 million pounds a year"
I love the fact that they don't franchise and they want to keep this shop exclusive :) I also like how free and casual and careless the shops they have look like. Squeaky clean and very inviting. The people who work there are young and open and communicative and read to answer your needs and help you choose the best goodies/yum-yums for your hungry/thirsty tummy. You also have free wifi so all you need to do is get yourself coffee/tea/juice and a sandwich and relax - maybe even write a blog post, why not?! ;)
Now they even have this trendy option of ordering the food online and they can drop by your door and bring you the stuff if you are too lazy to have a walk... Their main centers are in UK - of course! - and Hong Kong & France. Though now that I come and think of it I cannot remember seeing a Pret shop in France :/ maybe I was not paying enough attention as back then I did not know about this magical place...
My personal fav sandwiches are the egg and crest ones and even the thought of them makes my mouth water. I really need to get to London again! Queen's Diamond Jubilee was a rush and it was fun and it was crazy but I guess I wished I would have liked to see London not all in a fuss... But I really loved though the decorations and the parades and the concerts and the smile on peoples faces :) I loved even the small signes like the one Pret-A-Manger had: "Keep It Clean For The Queen" - I could see how everyone was doing their best to please her, even if she would never see what they have done for her... The love for the Royals is strong and to have 60 years of being on the throne and still being strong that really shows the world something, does it not?! :)

** I made this post out of love for London and for the great food I tried there :) I received nothing in return from anyone but nonetheless I did it with all my heart and I hope that one day you guys shall try it and tell me how you liked it ;) **

Yours truly,
The LadyBug that loves English food and agrees that Pret-A-Manger is the best sandwich place in town :)