This weekend I had another awesome meetup with DarkDollhouse, fransgaard, GabrielVH and Jezatron in London, England. This time I brought my new MDD with me, but since Medée’s head isn’t completed yet, I chibi-fied Aerie (Airy) and brought her instead!
I did a lot during the day that I want to share before I get to the meetup. First off, since the MDD body is so small, it didn’t make sense for me to lug around a big pillow-carry case (like the one my Volks SD16 came in) so I wrapped Chibi-Aerie up in a large sheet of bubble wrap, then in a t-shirt and tucked her lengthwise into my carry-on suitcase. She fits almost perfectly – I only had to bed her knees a little bit. Chibi-Aerie heard stories about her sister Moe’s trip to London so she was really excited to go herself too!
Chibi-Aerie also travelled in Executive First Class, and she got settled in right away and tried out the lay-flat bed in the pod-like seat.
But as soon as it got dark she couldn’t sleep anymore so as a special treat I let her visit the cockpit to meet the pilots. They were very curious to meet her and the First Officer was quite amused by her. Not many people get to see the inside of a cockpit nowadays so Chibi-Aerie was very lucky to get this special visit. There are so many dials and buttons! Be careful not to press anything Chibi-Aerie!
After arriving in London, I had a quick shower & power nap before heading out to meet my cousin for lunch. We went to L’Atelier de Joël Robouchon, which is our favourite lunch spot. I never leave disappointed when we come here. Just a few highlights of lunch:
Le Mais: Sweet corn soup with popcorn. My cousin Michelle said this was amazing!
L’Aubergine: Slightly smoked aubergine caviar served with crunchy vegetables. Tasty, interesting but not something I’d have again. The best part of this was the really fresh and perfectly prepared beans! I’ve never been so excited to bite into a bean before – and can’t remember the last time I one so flavourful!
And then for main entrées:
Fregola sarda, paella style. Seafood on a bed of pasta, but almost like a risotto. Really tasty! And the presentation is beautiful.
I had La Volaille – roasted chicken leg “basquaise” served with sautéed potatoes.
Tasty, but too much sauce. The potatoes were actually very annoying to eat – they were too crispy to cut with a knife and had an odd chewy texture to them.
And of course the gorgeous dessert of the day – La Framboise: Rasberry mousse with hazelnut biscuit, pistachio cream and yuzu ice cream. Absolutely delightful! I also indulged in a cappucino afterwards. I’m not a big coffee drinker but I must confess, I order a cappucino every time I come to Joël Robouchon in the hopes that I’ll get one of the absolutely amazing Fleur du Sel caramels that they make in-house. They don’t always have them, but they are so absolutely delicious!
After lunch we made our way down to the Thames River and crossed the Embankment Bridge. It was a bit of a grey day but Chibi-Aerie stopped to take a few photos. Along the shore you can see Cleopatra’s Needle (an Egyptian Obelisk). There was a bike race that was going on on the main road and a lot of people gathered along the side of the road to watch the end of it, but we had to be on our way.
And far off in the distance you can see St. Paul’s Cathedral and the “Gherkin” – the Swiss Re Tower.
On the south end of the Embankment Bridge is the Royal Festival Hall. It’s a beautiful concert venue with wonderful acoustics. I haven’t had the privilege of singing here (yet?… hehe) but my sister and I did see Andreas Scholl perform a spectacular recital here a couple of summers ago with the Orchestra of the Enlightenment.
The Embankment area is usually very lively with street performers and buskers. Last December there was a Christmas Market set up along the area, although since Machiko and I had been to 4 Weihnachtsmarkts in Köln and one in Paris we were a bit Christmas Market-ed out, but we’ll never turn down an occasion for Glühwein! Today it was very lively and what amused me the most was this person making massive bubbles using a couple of long sticks and some string. Ooooh, shiny *___*
The main reason that I came down to Southbank was to check out the Japan Matsuri event. Their website made it seem like it would be a large festival and I (incorrectly) assumed that it would be indoors. It was all outdoor stalls, the crowd control was a mess (annoying man on a megaphone shouting a people) and almost as soon as I got there it began to rain. Planning an outdoor event in London, where the weather is always so unpredictable, is risky so by the time my cousin and I got there a lot of the vendors were in a panic about the rain and packing up for the day. I did pick up a couple of tourism brochures for my trip to Tokyo next month, but otherwise I wasn’t impressed with the event. It was crowded, wet and awkwardly organized. Here’s one of the small stages where musicians were performing.
I did see a handful of cosplayers and some girls wearing yukata and lolita dresses – most of them headed inside as soon as the rain started and sat around chatting.
After walking around a bit my cousin and I were getting wet from the rain and annoyed by the crowds so I went back to her flat for a little while before I headed out to dinner. We went to Mango Tree, a really nice Thai restaurant pretty much next to Buckingham Palace (the back end of the palace though! LOL) I’m sure I’ve gone by it on the bus many times and never noticed it; and I know my sister and I would have walked past last winter when we got stuck walking from Marble Arch down to Victoria during the 1-day tube strike.
Here are a few food pics to make your mouth water ^__~” This is a traditional Thai snack consisting of Betel nut leaves to wrap ingredients like peanut, lime, ginger, chilli , toasted coconut and dried shrimp with sweet tamarind sauce. Once you get over the odd sensation of eating a leaf, it’s actually very enjoyable since you get a melange of flavours bursting in your mouth as you chew. GabrielVH and I both played it safe and ordered green curry, it was very good and not too spicy (which is a good thing!)
This is sea bass wrapped in banana leaf and grilled – I’ll have to try this another time. It looked so good! And the interesting looking pineapple is the red curry with duck. The bottom of the pineapple boat was scored so that you eat pieces of it with the curry to add a different layer of flavour.
And then dessert – which was rather interesting. We ordered the mango & coconut jelly set with Agar and ice cream – the jelly had an interesting consistency (like the stuff they put at the bottom of bubble tea sometimes). The ice cream had – RICE- in it! Very unusual 0__0
And with dessert, there shall be dolls! (Hmm, someone should start a blog called Dolls & Desserts! ^__~”) Here’s Chibi-Aerie meeting GabrielVH’s exquisitely lovely Yuki Morikawa Dollfie Dream and giving her a little present.
But then she was easily distracted by the yummy looking ice cream!
Here’s DarkDollhouse’s yoSD, Pino, looking very cute in her casual clothes. She opened up her present right away and immediately wore her new hair clips!
Then Chibi-Aerie’s Hello Kitty plushie was abducted by Sonja for a while! So cute!
Here’s Aerie with Yuki, so you can see the height difference between a regular Dollfie Dream and the Mini Dollfie Dream. I still think that DD’s and MDD’s look odd in photos together since their heads are the same size, but their bodies are at a different scale. It makes the MDD’s head look humungous! At least the girls unintentionally co-ordinated their outfits! ^__~”
This was the first time that they had met a MDD so Chibi-Aerie got a lot of attention. The most common observation was how floppy she was compared to the DD body, but she’s not horrible. Here’s Chibi-Aerie in some funny poses.
In all this fun, poor Pino fell over; but Sonja is paying her no mind!
Here, Pino, let’s sit you up again! One last shot of the little dolls all together. Can a MDD be classified as a “little doll”? LOL
After a fun-filled day, and staying up way past her her bedtime, Chibi-Aerie and I headed back up to our hotel. Here she is sitting on the upper level of a double decker bus. There’s no much traffic on Sunday night!
Thanks again to DarkDollhouse, GabrielVH, Jezatron and fransgaard for another very enjoyable evening. Great food, great conversation and doll meetups will make me anxiously look forward to my next visit to the UK!