Technically in London for work last month, but there’s always time for sightseeing.

Before a shoot, it’s always useful to have a spare John on hand to stand in.

I’m not saying we should rate hotels based on their bathroom selfie lighting but St. Martins Lane definitely earned those 5 stars. 💡⭐

Rm w/a Vu

Highlights: A Whole New World (with flawlessly executed magic carpet ride) and The Cave of Wonders scene which is such a spectacle that it’s practically a whole show in itself.

The Prince Edward Theatre.

(Production still: photo not mine.)

Say what you will about Will Smith’s Genie, but Trevor Dion Nicholas is show-stealingly brilliant in the West End production of Aladdin, though I did, however, feel a little bad for the guy playing the title role during curtain call. Jasmine came out first to general applause; followed by the Genie who brought the house down; and finally Aladdin, who – despite having his name on the billboard – was given the pity-fuck equivalent of clapping. (It probably didn’t help that they’d invented a “best friend” character for Aladdin and cast a guy who was approximately 20 times hotter.)

Breakfast at Thomas’ Cafe, Burberry Regent St. Pictured: wholegrain pancakes, caramelised apricots, berry jam and – no word of a lie – “Brown Cow yoghurt”.

Also had the courgette fritters with roast tomatoes and chilli jam because good lord the food here was delicious.

Did a double-take when passing the courtyard at the Royal Academy of Arts.

For a minute there, I thought I was going Psycho. 🔪

The Old Operating Theatre Museum; conveniently and unmistakably Shard-adjacent.

Just look for the Sanctum Sanctorum window.

Housed in the attic of the early 18-century St Thomas’ Hospital is the oldest surviving surgical theatre in Europe.

Also this cycloptic pufferfish.

Predating anaesthetics and antiseptics, patients were primarily poor people who put up with the baying amphitheatre of onlookers because they received medical treatment from some of the best surgeons in the land who they otherwise couldn’t afford. Wealthy patients would, conversely, have been operated on at home; likely on the kitchen table.

Without recourse to anaesthetics, surgery depended on swift technique and surgeons would perform an amputation in a minute or less.

The risk of death at the hands of a surgeon was greatly increased by the lack of understanding of the causes of infection; with surgeons more likely to wash their hands after an operation than before.

Pretty sure this is a map from Resident Evil.

John assures me that practices are marginally more civilised these days.

Adjoining the operating theatre is the original Herb Garret (or attic); used by the hospital’s apothecary to store and cure herbs used in healing. And a whole bunch of opium.

Have you ever thought to yourself that child-birth just isn’t painful enough? Fear not – the 18th-century has got you covered.

Looking entirely too happy given our general surroundings. Either we were just thrilled to have made it up the world’s narrowest spiral staircase or John is still reflecting on having visited his personal Mecca aka Victoria Beckham Dover Street.

Amy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.

These are whomping willows and I won’t hear otherwise.

Um, rude.

I realise this isn’t objectively an awful name for chocolate…except that it’s the exact word we use at home to refer to cat shit.

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