So my aim was to get at least one post published in February that actually showed what I got up to in February (rather than releasing yet another retrospective from a time when I was far more carefree and actually remembered what the sun looked like).

Evidently, I have failed. I figured straight away that nobody would be interested in one about #PhDlife (accurately characterised by the phrase "please, make it stop"), which is pretty much all I was up to last month (and, indeed, have been up to this month too). It's not all bad though - last month included a trip to Bristol for a pretty cool public research event and a conference in Kings Cross, London. Which is where we are headed now.

As I have said before, I am hugely in love with London. When I was a kid, we headed to the big smoke fairly regularly and I quickly became enamoured by the eclectic hotchpotch of buildings, the fast-pace of life and the thrilling idea that luxurious and historical worlds were all wrapped up behind the myriad brick walls we passed.

So why have I named this a "London virgin's" guide? Well, as much as I love the place (and as much as I used to pride myself, as a kid, on knowing how to use the tube and how to dodge between travellers' legs in order to traverse a busy station concourse), I never get to go anymore.

(Note to other aspiring Londoners: don't banish yourself to the West Country, it will not let you leave.)

A load of my friends have moved there and have quickly become bona fide Londoners, making me feel like a bit of a fake for simply knowing how to get on an underground train. Suddenly, it seems as though everybody else has more of a claim to the great urban sprawl. And as a large proportion of the blogs I read are based in London, I've been left with the distinct feeling of standing outside a large and enticing place, able only to peer in through the misted windows at the rows of pretty cakes and the glamorous people and the Insta-perfect cocktails.

But that's all fine! It's something to be embraced, right? And having all these wonderfully cosmopolitan people literally at my fingertips is certainly nothing to complain about. Which brings me to...

Step 1: Ask Instagram for last-minute advice
Whilst balancing a glass of wine and a handful of peanuts at the conference networking event, suddenly remember that you are in London for one night and one night only. Miraculously summon an additional limb out of nowhere and snub the crowd of interesting (and potentially useful-for-your-career) intellectuals around you in favour of your new best friend - Instagram. Give three, hushed cheers for being invited into a group chat full of bloggers who are way more "on it" than you will ever be - and pester them for advice.

Step 2: Decide where to go
Now that you have asked the in-crowd where the best place to dine in King's Cross is (and you have received a near-unanimous verdict of Dishoom or Caravan), it's time to track down your conference buddy (who is actually networking) and give him the options of heading over for dinner at this precise second (6pm) but probably queueing for 2 hours anyway (Dishoom) or actually being able to book a table somewhere but at 8pm at the earliest (Caravan). Eating at that time is far beyond his traditional English sensibilities (at the age of 24, the guy wears wool trousers and carries a handmade leather briefcase for Christ's sake) but once he's seen the menus, he's sold too. By both options. As are you. You only have one night in London, remember, one night only. Which to choose?! You are also both a little tipsy from the free conference wine by this point and when the super-cool guys from the road safety company (a surprisingly fun crowd) seem to be up for moving the party elsewhere, you decide to spend the next two hours in the pub instead of a queue. Caravan it is then. After all, it's drizzling outside and it wouldn't do to see your conference buddy's wool trousers shrivel up in the dreary weather.

Step 3: Get there
Surprisingly difficult when you've glugged six glasses of cheap red and then gladly accepted the road safety guys' offer of a G&T. Also, if you're not used to the cool and trendy hearts of a truly bustling metropolis, just remember that it won't be as easy to spot as the restaurants you're used to in your home city (i.e., McDonalds).

Step 4: Play it cool
Your face might be flushed from the alcohol and bracing winds and your hair may be plastered to various parts of your face from that perpetual drizzle but goddammit, you've found that inconspicuous warehouse full of beautiful young things and you're going to blend in. Try not to look around with glee at the tables laden with plates piled high with vegetables and pizza and cheese. Make sure you've removed your conference name badge too.

Step 5: Order everything.
I'm not even kidding.

Step 6: Sit back and relax...
I started with a rhubarb and vanilla bellini, which was every bit as delicious as I could have wished it to be and every bit as diminutive as I would have expected for London and its famed price-to-quantity ratio. Will (or wool-trousers-and-leather-briefcase guy) ordered a cup of tea.

Seeing as we are both veggie and both tired of the endless rounds of tomato pasta and goats cheese and caramelised onion salads, we decided to order a load of dishes to share in an effort to make the most of the rather veggie-friendly menu at our fingertips.

Which included...

Potato bread with lemon thyme butter
JalapeƱo cornbread with chipotle butter, coriander and lime
Grow up farm baby kale with truffled umeboshi and pecorino (I would happily eat this all day, every day)
Roasted heritage carrots, smoked paprika yoghurt, hazelnut dukkah and mint

Buffalo mozzarella, tomato and basil pizza

Molasses roasted beets, charred onions, goat's curd, toasted seeds and parsley

And another glass of (not-so-cheap) red, because I was in London and why the hell not?

All of the vegetable plates were wonderful. The kale with truffle and pecorino was particularly exquisite - truffle is one of my favourite flavours and pecorino is one of my favourite cheeses with its salty punch. I also appreciated the mix of textures in the beets and carrot dishes - intermittently soft and crisp vegetables with a smooth hit of creamy dairy and a sprinkling of something crunchy, be it nuts or seeds. The pizza was good although I wasn't too fond of the tomato sauce on the base - it seemed just a little too sweet and a bit bland. More garlic and salt please! I also fell slightly in love with the breads and tried my best to plunder more than my fair share but my companion was just as greedy as I.

Step 7: Always order dessert
Again, you're in London for one night and one night only people! That's an occasion to be celebrated in itself!

Chocolate stout cake with salted caramel sauce and coffee cream. In terms of flavour, an eminently sophisticated and superior dessert. In terms of appearance, a little messy and a bit cheeky and a lot inviting. The sponge was slightly dry which was odd as it had been added to the menu that day but the sauce and the cream balanced it well.

The final step?

Stagger back to your hotel room in a drunken haze of sugar and collapse into bed to dream of all the kilos you could gain if only you lived further East.