Fun times in Leicester

So last week I spent an afternoon in Leicester so that I could obey Savvydad's counsel to "Take every opportunity to enjoy yourself." He's still sore because I didn't make it to Paris over New Year's. Mmmm, Paris.


It was a gorgeous sunny day and I didn't have any classes, so I decided to go prowl around. Leicester is a 30 minute drive south of me, but only a 10 minute train ride. Seeing as how I don't have a car but DO have a train, I went with the second option. And it turns out that Leicester is a fun kind of a place. I'm usually only there at night (um, that may sound wrong but it's not), and then I'm On The Street Where WR Lives. Unfortunately, all the drug dealers and yellers live on his street too, which kind of gives me a skewed impression of the place.

Here are some quick facts about Leicester:

Leicester is Britain's most ethnically diverse city with 43% nonwhite residents, (mostly from India and Pakistan).

It has the longest-running covered market in England--700 years and still going.

It has Roman and Norman ruins.

It has pretty canals with swans, and then some not-as-pretty canals with trash.

It has H&M, which was having a sale and sold me a blue softy-feeling sweater and a dark pink (for when I only want to look slightly vulnerable) V-neck top.

First place I hit was the Leicester Market, and Oh My Gosh it was huge. There were so many things to look at. They had clothes, jewelry, sheets, lamps, makeup, electronics, everything. And there were miles of produce. You could buy pretty much any fruit or vegetable you could think of. Plus they had things arranged so prettily and everything was so clean and fresh that I found myself wanting to cook and eat things like brussel sprouts and new potatoes because they were Just So Pretty sitting next to each other.

One of the cool things were the "pound bowls" where you could pick any bowl (full of fruit or veggies or a mixture, like the "salad bowls") for £1. The picture gives you an idea of what I mean. I forgot to take my camera with me, so these are all from the Internet.

There were also flower stands with gorgeous cheap bunches of flowers and small potted plants with spring bulbs, and I really wanted to buy myself some but figured they would get trashed as I carried them around, so I didn't.

I was, however, seduced by the piles of mangos I saw everywhere--3 for £1. So I bought three and the nice man who sold them chatted w/me and asked what brought me to Leicester. I ate one as soon as I got to WR's place that night and it was perfect--all three of them were. Then I went to Sainsbury's the next day and saw them selling mangoes at £1.78 each and I did the victory dance of "Hah! Three for a POUND, baby!!" right there in the store.

Then I went to Lush. And I saw that it was good. I've been wanting to go for the past month, ever since I got the Soft Touch body butter as a Christmas gift. WR's sister's B-day party was that night, so I volunteered to go in and find her a present, because I am a selfless, selfless person. I picked the Honey Farm gift set, only the box smelled so good that I kept sniffing at it during the day and wanted to keep it. For myself I bought a block of The Blonde solid shampoo and got a bottle of Coolaulin conditioner for free because I spent £15. (The UK site won't let me link you directly to the products, so I'm taking you to the US site, which is better, even though I'm passing out in my chair from the prices, which are about 3x what they are here. I guess I'd better stock up now!)

Other highlights:

Meeting up with WR for a pub lunch

Wandering around looking at the old pretty buildings

Enjoying the sunshine even if it was freezing cold

Finding a Baskin Robbins in one of the shopping malls, which renewed my faith in the English people, even if it was too cold to actually be eating ice cream just then.

Saved £17.50 when a gorgeous dress that made me look absolutely hot turned out not to be on sale like its neighbors were. I maybe would have bought it at £17.50, but not at £35. It really was so very pretty though . . . sigh.

Anyway, yes. Leicester and I are friends now, and there is much to see and do and buy there.


Rachel said... [reply]

Seeing these pictures actually gets me excited for England in May! You are so lucky to be there!

Kelly said... [reply]

Sounds like such a blast! I've never heard of Lush, but their products look both useful and yummy. I would probably try to eat the honey chocolate stuff so it's probably good that it's expensive here and far away there.

sakhmet said... [reply]

I heart Lush. I used to live close to Lush--the expensive American sort. Now I live o! so far away from one. Sob!

redlaw said... [reply]

That last picture almost made me cry...I am so jealous of you right now....I want to be somewhere with old arches!!!!

Nemesis said... [reply]

Rachel, I am excited FOR you! How long will you be in England and where will you go?

Kelly, I smelled that honey chocolate bar, and I SO wanted to take a bite out of it. You and I are on the same page there.

Sakhmet--Yeah, what is UP with those prices? This means that you should come out and visit me so you can stock up.

Redlaw--I walked through the arch TWICE, it was just that picturesque. But hey, when you go to that Mary and Joseph school they will have old things!

Rachel said... [reply]

Nemesis, I will be in London at the end of May. Actually, not London--Middlesex. But from what I hear, Middlesex is really close to London. Works for me. :) Can't wait! I hope I like it better this time! Paris has ruined me for other cities... :)

Th. said... [reply]


You should find a little java £-to-$ converter to stick in your sidebar so I can better appreciate how brilliant a shopper you are.

Savvymom said... [reply]

I want to come visit you and your old town. How cool.

April said... [reply]

Those are beautiful pictures, even if they weren't straight from your own camera. They make me want to get on a jet plane right now!

CoolMom said... [reply]

Very nice pics of the town. As for shopping, it could be worse, you could shop w/ coolgpa, who only travels down the aisles that contain the food items he wishes to purchaes, which are usually Diet Coke, Lays Potatoe Chips, and frozen pizza. Oops! Forgot the chimichangas and ice cream.

Also, I'm getting old. I thought Cold Comfort Farm was a band. If it's so good, why didn't someone tell me. I guess I better check that one out.

Is stupid for real about those potatoes? He could for sure be using all that humor for something more worthwhile (and profitable). Although maybe it takes that much to work for BYU.

The Divine Miss A said... [reply]

Congratulations on making friends with the city! I am oh so jealous for your very cool mangoes. Hope they treat you well.

daltongirl said... [reply]

An entire post about Leicester, and I still don't know how to pronounce it.

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