Last week I turned 26 (say whaaa?! Honestly don't know how that happened) and celebrated the milestone in two awesome instalments. First off, the actual day. After a morning at work I was then free to do as I pleased. The weather was pretty foul so Mitch and I descended upon the good old Natural History Museum. We headed for the blue whale but then wandered into the Darwin Centre. I must confess that I've never been in there before (v.shameful as I think it's been open for around 10 years - I'm so easily distracted by dinosaur bones), but I have now and it's pretty cool, particularly the Spirit Building. It's basically home to around 22 million specimens pickled in industrial alcohol. They have a few on display but most of them aren't for public viewing or so we thought...
Mitch was taking a picture of a half digested squid head (taken from the stomach of a sperm whale in the 1960s) when a member of the NHM staff came up to us and asked if we wanted to see a giant squid. The only answer to such a question is, of course, yes. So we, and four other people, were taken on a tour around the museum's spirit collection. It was a little gross at times (and the dissection room smelt kinda funny) but ultimately it was hugely cool and v.interesting. The lady who took us around was super knowledgable and ended up talking to us for about an hour. We were shown the main storage room full of jars and tanks housing, amongst other creatures, a chimp, platypus, fox, penguin, shark heads, a swordfish and the giant squid - which was massive, both in length and, surprisingly, girth. In another room, for smaller specimens, we saw the eye balls of the thames whale (the one that got a bit lost in 2004) and a bat preserved in a 100 year old jar which used to contain pickled onions (the label was still on)! One of the highlights, aside from seeing how they use flesh eating beetles to obtain animal skeletons (the security is pretty high so worry not), was that the museum stores (and examines) many of Charles Darwin's original specimens brought back from the HMS Beagle voyage! I highly recommend this tour (unless you're squeamish) - it's free and you get a really good look at what goes on behind the scenes. I think at weekends it'd be best to book a ticket online but if you go during the week at around 3pm you probably won't have to queue at all!
tab at pitt cue
Post looking at dead things in jars I took a v.restrained look around the big topshop before heading to Pitt Cue for some seriously lush dinner - pulled pork bun with bone marrow mash, pickles and sticky BBQ chicken wings *drooling as I write* washed down with a v.strong bourbon cocktail and a pint of Whatever. Perfect.
old glass jars used as booze receptacles at the party. Each one had a different label. My favourite was the one with the gorilla in 3D glasses.
And, as if I hadn't been spoilt enough, this weekend I had a big old party at the flat where Mitch made what's become his signature punch and my friend Alex made v.tasty vegan cupcakes! Unfortunately I was enjoying myself so much that I didn't take any pictures BUT I have realised this to be true: if this is what the wrong side of 25 is like then I'm v.happy to be here :)
just a couple of this year's spoils - the cutest sugar bowl in the world and marc jacobs' Daisy (prettiest perfume bottle ever, no?). I also got a blender - it's fabulous, how did I ever live without it!