What could I possibly be talking about in that title, and what on earth could it have to do with a relocation to London? Well, live in London long enough and the friends you make here will start having babies. And while many expats tend to settle in west and north London, familiarity with the city may also eventually open their minds to moving eastward where you get more bang for your buck. So then, to finally tie all this together, my Saturday afternoon and evening were spent enjoying some delights of east London.
To start, my good friend from home who moved here several years ago and married a lovely British man is now expecting her first child. Her fellow American friends and colleagues threw her the hands-down classiest baby shower I’ve ever attended. FYI, the “baby shower” concept is not a familiar one in the UK—I would say, “Lucky them!” unless all baby showers, of course, were as enjoyable as this one. I also adore my other expat friends whose baby showers (I’ve attended three this year) were casual and awesome, held at either a pub or café. Bless them. No corny games like eating baby food or making the mother-to-be wear gift ribbons on her belly, just gathering and gifting in celebration of friendship, family, and love.
My jaw dropped at Saturday’s shower in particular because it acquainted me with a London neighborhood I’d not yet explored—Limehouse, in the London borough of Tower Hamlets (in the Docklands area toward Canary Wharf and Greenwich) and easily accessible by the DLR (Docklands Light Rail) public transport. Situated right on the Thames off the historic Narrow Street, the fourth floor London apartment that hosted the event had huge windows and a balcony for enjoying the sweeping panoramic view of the river. At one point seated on the sofas, we saw this massive mast float by the window and rushed to our feet to see the tall ship sailing past. Adding to the treat was the catering the hosts had hired: Vintage Teatime. If you want to throw a proper tea party, these are your girls—their eclectic collection of china teacups and pots, vintage tablecloths, roses draped in pearls, and exquisite selection of finger sandwiches, chocolate-dipped strawberries, Victoria sponge cakes, cupcakes, etc. was to die for. Truly extraordinary ambiance and quality, and evidently this is the only business of its kind that services the city of London. Add that to the fact that we enjoyed bottomless bottles of champagne and wine, and this baby shower was a tremendous success. It was also coed, so my husband enjoyed it all, too. 🙂
As we ventured out around dinner-time, we thought we’d take advantage of our east London location and catch a bus to nearby Brick Lane, where many from Bangladesh have settled. As you walk along what is literally a lane of brick, you therefore have your pick of restaurants serving authentic Indian cuisine and will most certainly spot at least a couple Jack the Ripper tour groups in the side streets—this was part of Jack’s domain, after all. After stuffing ourselves with pappadum, chicken tandoori, lamb korma, and peshwari naan and washing it all down with Kingfisher, our own bellies looked pregnant and worthy of baby showers by the time we returned home to west London (bleh, imagine the nappy [diaper] change to follow a spicy curry dinner!). A day of pleasure start to finish, inside and out, and one to remember fondly among the many lasting memories we’ve made since our relocation to London.