Saturday began with a leisurely hair appointment for me at the Aveda Institute in Holborn. Meanwhile, M also took Little Planet into town. He got takeout coffee from Carluccio's in the Brunswick Centre, then took Little P to play on the swings in the delightful Coram's Fields. He strolled over to Russell Square to show her the fountains, but she had fallen asleep so, while she napped in the buggy, M wandered through the Indian garden at the British Museum. By 11am, it was time for them both to meet me at Aveda. Together, we popped into Pages on Shaftesbury Avenue where we bought a mouli and some ceramic oven dishes. We stopped off at the newsagents on Old Compton Street for the FT and International Herald Tribune, then bought strawberry millefeuille, passionfruit cheesecake, olive bread and walnut bread from Princi on Wardour Street. We stocked up on macaroni and mozzarella from Lina Store and on Japanese rice, tofu and yuzu concentrate from Arigato on Brewer Street.
Back at home, we lunched on sandwiches stuffed with Red Leicester and Stilton cheeses M had bought during the week from Covent Garden's Neal's Yard Dairy. Both the Princi breads we used disappointed - too lightweight and bland for my tastes. While M worked, Little Planet napped then played all afternoon and I gave her cauliflower cheese for her dinner. Our Ocado order was delivered and Little Planet played with things as I put them away.
After Little Planet's bedtime, M cooked macaroni cheese with spinach and bacon, inspired by my favourite dish at Automat. Our Princi desserts were sublime, which was a relief after the disappointing bread. The millefeuille was flaky and the strawberries were sweet; the passionfruit was refreshingly tart. We ended the evening watching Scorcese's surreal but dated and stilted After Hours. Even the terrific shots of late night 80s Manhattan couldn't hold my attention and I fell asleep on the sofa.
Most of Sunday was spent at my mother's house. Little Planet was particularly whingy: she whined in the car seat, she cried whenever we turned our back on her, and she was particularly hysterical when we washed her hair before her bedtime - so much so that she threw up. This incident was traumatic for me, but within minutes she was happily playing on our bedroom floor as if nothing had happened. Thank goodness babies have short memories. But for the most part today, our happy girl played contentedly all day long. She crawled all over my mum's house and played with the new toys my mum had bought her.
After Little Planet went to bed, M roasted a chicken he had marinated in soy sauce, garlic, sugar and pepper. He dressed a salad with olive oil and yuzu concentrate. And we dipped the chicken pieces in two types of dips he made: one made with red chillies and fish sauce, the other made with grated ginger, lime and fish sauce. Then we re-watched Hirokazu Koreeda's Maborosi - perhaps not the most appropriate movie to watch on Father's Day as it features the life of a young woman raising her son alone when her husband dies.
M and I took Monday off as annual leave. We dropped Little Planet off with her childminders and then headed into town. We breakfasted at the Scandinavian Kitchen on Great Titchfield Street. M had a ham and cheese rye sandwich and I had a salmon and egg rye sandwich - both delicious. We shared a cinnamon bun with our coffees. It was nice sitting outside in the early morning sunshine watching people go to work. If we stay in London, then we would love to retire to an apartment on one of the roads off this street. It's low-key yet still in the heart of it all. I would also like to retire to Manhattan. Fortunately M would like this too. It's still a long, long way off, I know, but I like to dream. We're both city diehards, despite having grown up in the country (M in Shropshire and me in Kent).
Afterwards, we bought a nice bed in Selfridges (as you do!) - the kind of bed that will definitely last us for a long time. Then we went to the British Museum to view the Garden And Cosmos: The Royal Paintings Of Jodpur exhibition. It was tranquil, serene, meditative... I felt supremely rested strolling through this beautiful collection of paintings. We also meandered through the South and South-east Asian room at the museum looking at the Buddhist sculptures.
We decided to have Korean food for lunch so we went to Koba behind Charlotte Street. We've been here several times and the food is very good. We ordered an assorted BBQ, fried rice with kimchi and pork, assorted namool (beansprouts, spinach and sliced radish seasoned with chilli and vinegar), pamoochim (sliced spring onion with chilli and vinegar), and sangchoo (fresh lettuce to wrap our BBQ meats in, and seasoned soybean paste). We were stuffed, but as it was our day off, we headed back to Wardour Street and Princi for desserts and coffee: M had a lemon meringue tart and I had my favourite strawberry millefeuille. We bought some Kiehl's products from Space NK and magazines from Borders, then headed back home.
We relaxed at home for an hour or so, then headed out to pick up Little Planet. We played with her and we've just put her to bed. Now we're about to have vodka and freshly squeezed orange juice. We'll make homemade pizzas later on and watch a movie.
I am back at work tomorrow, but lucky M has another day off. He will be sorting out arranging builders and painters to come give quotations for various pieces of work we want doing on the house this year (fixing up the loft so we can use it for storage, re-doing the bathroom, painting the interior and exterior of the house) and generally pottering. He may come into town, he may not. He is a man of leisure.
It's nice taking odd days off on annual leave. I should do it more often.