Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Seven Dials WC2

Seven Dials is one of my favourite areas in London and the fact it has survived various attempts to demolish key parts of it over the years make me even fonder of it. Monmouth Coffee is there in Monmouth St (unsurprisingly) and should be a mandatory pit-stop for caffeine lovers in the area. Canela in Earlham St is great for lunch and if (like me) you are a fan of Portugese tarts then they do a good version here. Sitting on the steps of the sundial drinking a beer in the sun is one of my favourite Summer things to do, although I always forget the traffic and have come close to being skittled many times. I also like the weird quirky shops you find around 7 Dials - I'm not sure what this says about me but I really love the Dover Bookshop in Earlham Street which sells copyright free images. I have bought so many books of images from here and have never actually used them for anything vaguely creative, but hey I may one day. One of the few (if not sole) remaining Fopp stores is on the corner of Earlham St and Shaftsbury Avenue - even though it sells music and DVDs really cheap I always end up spending heaps of money here. Yesterday I bought 2 Beatles CDs (Magical Mystery Tour and Sgt Pepper), a Season 2 boxset of "Damages" (LOVE that show!) and my only budget item which was a 3 DVD pack containing "Top Gun", "Ferris Bueller" and "Beverly Hills Cop" for £3 - BARGAIN! Sticking on Earlham Street, Magma is also cool, particularly if you are buying presents for your stylish designer friends (I'm sure you have many of these). I love Neals Yard and often treat myself to a back-rub at the Walk in Backrub store - in all honesty the last time I went there the guy was so good I felt like I was on drugs. It all depends on who you get though - I stopped going for a while because I kept getting average rubs (for some reason this sounds vaguely obscene) but it seems to have picked up. Of course for you turophiles out there (look it up) the Neal's Yard Dairy on Shorts Gardens is cheese-nirvana and the waft you get as you walk past will stay with you for some time - delicious! My friend Steve took me to the World Food Cafe on Neals Yard a few weeks ago and I loved it - the sun streaming in the window, the healthy but tasty food (I recommend ducking into Canela afterwards for a Portugese tart to even the balance). I have developed a bit of a sock fetish lately and Tabio on Neal St has some great ones - the shop is 80% womens tights and socks but up the back they have a small but quality men's collection. One of the things I have noticed about getting older is that you start to appreciate things like good socks - as well as quality sheets and pillows, farmers markets and bars where the music is not too loud. I could continue listing all the cool stuff around 7 Dials but you know what - you should just head down there and wander around. If you are a visitor to London and you want to splash the cash a bit you should definitely consider the Covent Garden Hotel - comfy, discreetly luxurious and an amazing buffet breakfast. OK - done.

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