Caffeinism pt II: An Italian Tries Pumpkin Spice Latte

I’ve been living in a Starbucks-ised country for four years now and yet I waited until last weekend to try a Pumpkin Spice Latte. As I have explained before, we Italians are reactionaries when it comes to coffee, which is a very valid excuse for taking so long! From what I know, the PSL mania originally comes from Starbucks, but because their coffee is frankly quite bad (I have non-Italians backing this up, too!) I also wanted to explore some other, independent and possibly better tasting, options.

That’s how I ended up at Blighty Coffee, in Finsbury Park, which got me hooked with the promise of a Baileys Pumpkin Spice Latte. Need I say more? I entered this cute coffee shop quite sceptical because I like my coffee to taste like coffee, but then, surprisingly, it was love at first sip! This special concoction was delicious, the perfect drink to enjoy on a crisp autumnal stroll, so perfect in fact, that I had to play the part of the basic white girl at my best and take pictures of my paper cup on a bed of fallen leaves. It has to be said, though, that it tasted of many delicious flavours, but coffee wasn’t one of them, so really, this is an autumnal alternative to hot chocolate!

Surprised and satisfied, I approached the Starbucks PSL with much more openness and oh, how naïve I was!

What in the beginning tasted like a watery version of the mighty Blighty beverage, soon turned into an odd combo of extremely sugary first taste, followed by a slightly bitter aftertaste. I drank the whole thing and I paid with a tummy ache that put me off my lunch and PSL in general.

You can extract two morals out of this modern fable: if you fancy an actual coffee, you might wanna stick to coffee-tasting coffee. If you crave a dessert in a cup, do try PSL but, for the love of the coffee bean, do it at Blighty coffee, not Starbucks!

A very cinnamon-y PSL
It doesn’t get any more basic!



The Many Things You Can Do on a London Bus

The red double decker bus: a London trademark and almost my second home.

If I can avoid the tube I will, for a number of reasons including me being slightly claustrophobic and the tube being just horrible. I just prefer buses. To be fair, buses can be horrible too, especially when they make you wait forever in the cold London nights or when “the destination of this bus has changed, please listen for further announcements”.

Once you are on it, though, you are quite likely to get a seat and you’ll have an average of forty-five minutes all to yourself. I invite you to enjoy the ride with some of the activities listed below!

  • First, my favourite one: read a book. I don’t work in publishing for nothing! I am almost happy when the bus gets stuck in traffic, because I can finish the chapter!
  • Do your make up. This has been a stable part of my morning routine since the early days. Why would I waste fifteen minutes of sleep when I still have fifty minutes to spend idly on the bus? I call this “efficient time management”.
  • In case you are not a make-up person, just sit next to one of us make-up artists in action and marvel at the transformation happening!
  • Take a nap. A ten minutes snooze on your commute back from work will get you to after work drinks fully recharged!
  • Write a blog post. Yep, if you’re wondering, this post was first drafted on a bus ride!
  • Just look outside! My Inner Tourist loves watching the different areas of London unfurling in front of her very eyes and the city changing drastically. Some of my favourite panoramic routes include the 76, especially the bit from pretty residential De Beauvoir Town to trendy Old Street and through to magnificent St. Paul’s, and the 38, that goes from semi-rough, semi-hipster Clapton down to very sexy Angel and Farringdon, trudging through the touristy hell that is Piccadilly Circus and over to the West.

That being said, if you are in a rush, please do take the tube!

selfie, bus, London
Oh, go on then, take a selfie!

Come passare il tempo sul bus

I double decker rossi: un simbolo di Londra e quasi la mia seconda casa.

Se c’è da evitare la metro, io sono in prima fila: innanzitutto sono vagamente claustrofobica e, in secondo luogo, la tube è semplicemente orribile. Alla tube preferisco i bus. A onor del vero, anche i bus sanno essere orribili, ad esempio quando si fanno aspettare per ore nella fredde notti londinesi o quando decidono di lasciarti a metà strada con il temuto annuncio “the destination of this bus has changed, please listen for further announcements”.

Una volta saliti e seduti, perché molto probabilmente un sedile per il vostro stanco sederino ci sarà, avrete una media di quarantacinque minuti tutti per voi, che potreste impiegare con una delle attività sotto suggerite.

  • Leggere un libro. La mia preferita, che non lavoro nell’editoria mica per niente! Se il bus arranca nel traffico per me è quasi meglio perché almeno posso finire il capitolo!
  • Truccarsi. Rimontarsi la faccia sull’autobus è ormai parte della mia routine mattutina dalla notte dei tempi londinesi. D’altronde, perché buttare via quindici preziosi minuti di sonno quando ne devo passare altri cinquanta su un autobus a far nulla? Io questa la chiamo efficienza!
  • Fare un pisolino. Dieci minuti di sonno di ritorno dal lavoro sono il modo perfetto per ricaricarsi in vista dei work drinks.
  • Scrivere un blog post. Sì, se ve lo state chiedendo, questo post è nato su un bus!
  • Guardare fuori! La turista in me si esalta a guardare dal finestrino la città srotolarsi e cambiare faccia di area in area. Alcuni dei miei bus panoramici preferiti: il 76, specialmente la parte tra le casette residenziali di De Beauvoir Town, passando per Old Street fino alla grandezza di St. Paul’s, e il 38 che parte da Clapton, mezza hipster mezza ghetto, scende giù per Angel e Farringdon e corre verso West London passando per quel baraccone di turisti che è Piccadilly Circus.

Detto ciò se avete fretta, per carità prendete la tube!

E fattelo un selfie sul bus!