C is for cupcake

In Others
August 3, 2009

Some days you have a great idea of a cool thing you want to go and do in London. And some days you wake up with a migraine that means that every time you stand up it feels like someone is jabbing you in the left eye with an icepick. And you have to think again.

Today was one of those days. Despite migraine, I’m not prepared to abandon the challenge on day 3, so I decided on an extremely low-key plan. Went to google maps. Typed in my address. And then did a ‘search nearby’ for… cupcakes.

Which took me to Chewies Bakery on Haverstock Hill in Belsize Park. A shortish drive from my house, and somewhere I could park directly outside. Very important on migraine days, when every movement drives aforementioned icepick deeper into my skull.

God bless the cupcake craze. I know everyone else is basically tired of it now, but I’m not! Look how pretty they are!

I took some photos, chose my cupcakes, and was already mentally composing a post that read something like “Chewies has beautiful-looking (non Star Wars-themed, unfortunately) cupcakes, but the guy serving was a bit surly”, when he said:

“I take it this is research?”

I blinked a bit.

“Taking pictures, asking for a receipt. You’re not the first. Market research, right?”

I had no idea the cupcake business was so competitive! Also, I get slight aphasia when I have migraines. Not full on slurred words, but I talk more slowly and sometimes I choose the wrong word. (I once spent a migraineous lunch calling someone ‘Alistair’ who I knew perfectly well was called Alexander. I knew there was something wrong with the word I was saying, but couldn’t work out what it was.) So it took me a while to work out a response. Eventually I said:

“No, no! I… I have a blog! And I take receipts because otherwise I’ll forget I’ve spent the money and wonder where it all went!”

Which he did seem to believe. Missed opportunity though – if I’d been feeling less crappy I’d have asked him about the cutthroat world of cupcakery. I’ll have to pop back – it looked like a lovely place to sit and read the paper. Also, the coconut cupcakes are entirely awesome.


Something I’ve already noticed, even though it’s only day 3 of this project: I like the way that going somewhere new interrupts my habitual thoughts. I think probably everyone has thoughts that one returns to again and again – and usually not happy ones. An old grievance, a continual worry. I can sometimes mentally ‘look up’ and realise that I’ve been obsessing over the same old problem for maybe an hour and to no good effect. I end up feeling snippy or agitated or irritable just because I’ve been thinking about things that annoy me. (Which is all very well if you can *do* something about it, but if it’s that thing your great aunt Vi said to you when you were 13, it’s probably best just to let it go.) I think going to the same places every day can keep your brain on the same old track; or at least that going somewhere new somehow helps you jump the rails and start, instead, to wonder about how many new cupcake places are opening in London every day….

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