18 ways to survive autumn in London

Summer is ending. Raspberries are out of season and the nights and the spiders are drawing in.

OH WELL. I’ve already moved on to my new boyfriend – Autumn – season of opaque tights, stained red wine lips and double helpings of carbs.

London by David Holt

You do need a survival plan for this time of year in London though – or it gets depressing, in a ‘being soaked by a massive bus splash and then questioning the meaning of life’ kind of way – so here is my list of 18 things I plan to do in London in Autumn to *BASICALLY STAY SANE*. (Please note I make no apology that 80% of these things involve eating).

  1. Dinner at The Dairy in Clapham – supposed to be an incredible restaurant – and autumn is the  time to eat in incredible restaurants so you can order desert with custard with the excuse we need the ‘nutritional value/warmth to SURVIVE THE WEATHER’
  2.  Noodles at the newly reopened Pepper Tree in Clapham –  my secret restaurant when I lived in Clapham. Except everyone loved it too. I had a minor stroke when I thought it had closed down. But they were just renovating it. PAD THAI I’M COMING BACK FOR YOU.
  3. See Gone Girl at the cinema – remember the cinema? I know I haven’t been for months either. Gone Girl is blatantly going to be  insane.
  4. Buy a leather jacket and maybe a big tartan scarf and definitely also an aggressive new eyeliner – October needs confronting with a strong look
  5. Make a vat of chicken casserole and eat it whilst watching Homeland and Downton Abbey – Lady Mary and Carrie Mathison are survivors and inspirations
  6. An autumn walk to pick sloe berries and make sloe gin – sounds idyllic, probably will descend into stealing berries from bushes outside people’s houses in SW London and making some kind of weird poison but I DON’T CARE I WANT TO DO IT
  7. See the Constable exhibition at the V&A – because I’m embarrassed I’ve been living in London for 8 years and never been to the V&A
  8. Book to go to Harry Potter Land and see the snow scene – I make no excuses
  9. Plant spring flowers – I’m thinking bluebells? Keep meaning to get down to Battersea Flower Station for some ideas
  10. See Live at the Apollo – tickets aren’t for general sale but you can apply and potentially go for free *how amazing is that*
  11. Plan a firework party/trip to Battersea Park or Ally Pally – honestly one of the best things about living in London in November, love the feeling of layering up for some communal pyrotechnics
  12. Make a roast dinner for friends. With cauliflower cheese as a focal ingredient…Oh and crumble
  13. Brixton Vilage for dinner – because I haven’t been for months and I’m getting withdrawal
  14. Shopping at Bicester Village which is definitely a bad idea but so what…
  15. A night at The Dogs at Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium – I mean it sounds kind of scary, but also I DO own a sheepskin coat
  16. Drink beer/tour at a London brewery – like Meantime in Greenwich or By the Horns in Earlsfield (see the nice write up on ‘Go Earlsfield‘).
  17. Curry in Tooting Broadway – the South West Brick Lane
  18. Book a winter holiday – I mean…all of this is great, but I’m not Jesus – there is only so long you can go without summer

The photograph in this post is London October 13 2013 015 Conkers Clissold Park Hackney by David Holt.

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London’s secret outdoor cinemas

Strange coincidence – I went to two outdoor cinemas last week – back-to-back, in a busy mid-week double header.

Picture of Outdoor cinema at half light in Dulwich Park

Wolf of Wall Street against the moonlight of Dulwich Park

Not deliberate and wouldn’t repeat  it –  *tiring* – but it gave me a unique chance to compare London’s offering for this strange outdoor pastime.

The Luna Cinema was first and my favourite for its simplicity – watching the Wolf of Wall Street under cover of moonlight in a deserted Dulwich Park felt vaguely illicit. We had wrapped up warm so being cozy outside in the fading summer was fun, rather than freezing.

Second was Secret Cinema’s much anticipated Back to the Future. Set in the depths of East London (a rare journey for me on its own), it was  more about the stage-craft and theater, than the film.

Picture of film goers arriving in fancy dress

Peabody’s farm, just shy of Stratford

Other film-goers stood out on the tube – dressed up in sophisticated vintage outfits that immediately made me question my own vague attempt. On arrival our phones were taken. Feeling naked, we filtered through into a Disney land for the children of 1985. There was a whole town to explore, if you are up for make-believe, but we stuck to the fairground and queuing for chips.

View from the top of the Ferris wheel

A secret photo from a forgotten camera in my bag…

There was a brilliant parade. And when the film finally aired it was full of impressive special effects – although watching it again in  high definition, at the edge of the city, it didn’t need them.

It was enjoyable to re-trace a forgotten film to a forgotten childhood, and connect the dots of an unexplained love of pretty boys to an early crush on Marty McFly.

We got cold and fearing our long journeys and early starts, left.

But I’m planning a Back to the Future marathon one weekend, when its warm inside and cold outside, sometime really soon.