Had a lovely, racing time last night.

We left for London early, after dropping off the kiddos at a friend’s for a much anticipated sleepover. Man, I love friends. πŸ™‚ We decided to see the Institute of Contemporary Art before we headed to Bentley’s Oyster Bar and finally to the Apollo Victoria Theatre in the West End to see Wicked. Talk about a jam-packed evening.

The ICA wasn’t very impressive to me. I’m sure that there are some people who would have found the artwork thrilling, but it just didn’t speak to me. There were only 3 exhibits and I just didn’t think they had much to them. I dunno….maybe I’m being too picky? However, the gift shop was really fun. (I also thought it was kind of sad that the gift shop was more entertaining than the museum…) But anyway, lots of cool stuff in the museum book shop. These all appealed to me: NO LOGO, The Shock Doctrine, and Is Britain Great? The Caravan Gallery. Of course, there were a ton of other books that I can’t remember. Lots of snarky, irreverent greeting cards and things like that. Love shops like that. πŸ™‚

After the ICA, we walked around Piccadilly Circus and checked out a bunch of shops. We found a Japanese confectionery, Kamakura Minamoto Kitchoan, and we stayed in there about 20 minutes, warming up from the rain and drooling over all the yummies. We snagged some treats with names like SUBISHIGIMATORIMAMOTOMAMA…. not really….I really can’t remember the names, but they all sound like that to me. πŸ™‚ I hope I didn’t just cuss or say something lewd in Japanese…. Anyway, we picked up some red bean paste mochi for the girls (they love them). We also got some white bean paste cakes and another one that had chestnut in it. πŸ™‚ We’re excited to try them. And an almond sponge cake, too, I think.

And they came in the yummiest little packages….and you should have seen the gift wrap. The cakes and jellies were on display like jewelry…or like a fancy truffle shop… It was heaven. πŸ™‚

After a few more shops, we headed to Bentley’s for dinner. We sat down at the bar and I noticed they had Oyster Stout on tap from an amazing pub in Dublin, The Porterhouse Brewery. That’s when I got really excited. I’m not a big stout fan…and I have no real love for Guinness, but this stuff is sooo good. It tastes SO. MUCH. BETTER. than Guinness. Ok, so we sat down down at the bar and had a pint while we waited for our table. And let me just say that this restaurant has top notch service. I was thoroughly impressed by all the people who worked there. So, a woman took us to our table and we sat down and she handed us a menu that had about 12 things on it and a wine list the size of Texas. I was a bit cornfused. I mean, the menu on the site has such an amazing array of dishes and the waitress mentioned something about the menu being limited due to the bank holiday (everything’s closed.) Anyway, I asked her if this was all we could order and it turns out there was a mix up with our reservation. Somehow we got put on the 25 pound dinner list which is just one of those special dinner offers for a reduced price. So, after we cleared it all up, we were given the real menu which was much more packed. πŸ™‚

I am a huge seafood fan. I’m not a big fan of the really stinky, slimy, rubbery kind of seafood, but the light, flaky, delicate stuff? I’m all over it. So, I got a prawn and egg salad and then I had lobster linguine for dinner. Colin, on the other hand, had the oyster selection and fish in a pot, which is a ton of different pieces, like sea bass, salmon, trout, mussels, sole, scallops, etc. in a light tomato sauce. He’d never had oysters before, so we were asking the waitress all kinds of questions about the flavor and how to eat them properly. We have no shame. At one point I think I told the waitress that Colin was an oyster “virgin”…at which point I realized I was on my third pint of stout and should probably slow down. πŸ™‚ You just can’t take me anywhere. πŸ™‚

All of the food was amazing and I can see why this placed reigns supreme as London’s finest seafood restaurant. Our show started at 7:30, and we got our check around 7:15. YIKES! So, we decided we would haul butt to Green Park station and just take one train to Victoria. The original plan was to take the Piccadilly line from Piccadilly Circus to Green Park, switch to the Victoria line and go one more stop. We simply didn’t have that much time. So, we were literally running and jay walking the 7 or 8 blocks to Green Park. Whew! Have I totally confused some of you? πŸ™‚

So, we got off at Victoria station right at 7:28 and at first we were worried that we wouldn’t be able to find the theatre. But let me just tell you that you cannot miss it. You come out from the tube station and it literally slaps you in the face.

Hello, there. πŸ™‚

So, we run in and show our tickets and we’re shown right in, but the show had already started. I was so bummed. We totally missed the first song. I guess when the ticket says the show starts at 7:30, you better have your tuckus parked in that freakin’ chair by 7:25. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a show that started on time, but I guess we should be earlier next time. 1.5 hours is NOT enough time to eat dinner. πŸ™‚

So, after the first song, we were shown to our seat and we tripped and stepped on everyone in our row till we got to our seats. Man, I was so ashamed. I hate being late and we disturbed all those people. 😦

Ok, so the show? Freakin’ WICKED. It was so funny and the costumes and sets were absolutely stunning. I tried taking a picture, but it just wasn’t happening. Way too dark in there.

My favorite, by far, was Glinda. Her character was a riot. And even though I liked it, I didn’t find it all that emotionally charged. it’s funny, and fun, and a visual feast, but the story just didn’t move me like most other musicals I’ve seen. And I’m a total wuss…I’ll cry and bawl at those old long distance phone commercials and at PetsMart when they bring in the puppies for adoption…. So I would classify this musical as a “good time”, not a “drama” or ‘tear jerker”. Still. Oz-ilicious. πŸ™‚ And I got a T-shirt, so I’m good.

After the show, we headed straight for the tube and headed home. We had a 40 minute tube ride and then an hour and a half drive home after that. We got home around 1 a.m. this morning and just fell into bed. Talk about a long night!

This morning at 9, I picked up all the chubkins. We missed them sooo much. We were told by our friends that they were really good and had lots of fun and minded and played nicely…you know…all those things that parents hope to hear. πŸ™‚

So, we came home, had breakfast, and now we’re hanging out…we don’t have a lot planned today, except for resting. The kiddos were up til almost 11 last night, so they’ll head to bed early. Tomorrow, we are planning on taking Lara to Legoland in Windsor for her birthday. I really hope it’s not raining. I hate promising things to my kids and then having to scramble at the last minute when things don’t work out.

Ok, so I guess that was a pretty darn long-winded post, huh?

And I debated on sharing this or not….but I had a secret smile all night last night thinking about pickpockets. Most people have all kinds of things in their pockets…I had just one…and it was of the female persuasion…I’ll let your imagination do the rest. I just giggled on and on to myself that if I got pick pocketed, the person would probably freak out. And then I was going to look at them and say, “You enjoy that, ok? Tampax is the best brand out there.”

Anyway…just had to share that. Hopefully I haven’t scared anyone away. Happy Tuesday. πŸ™‚ Ciao