And chatting with these loved ones is made all the better when accompanied by something scrummy to eat.
Luckily for us, London has a wealth of delectable options to choose from, and in my last week I wanted to pack in as much yummy goodness as I could before I had to wave goodbye. Here's a little taster (excuse the pun) of the places I have frequented in the past 7 days, all of them dearly loved by me for different reasons.
1. Breads Etcetera (Clapham High Street, SW4)
I discovered this gem of a little breakfast place on a very hung over morning. It's only a stumble away from my flat, and craving carbs, my breakfast mate and me took one look at the name above the door and our decision was made. Having been back there hundreds of times since, it seemed a fitting place to take Mummy Bags for a celebratory meal this weekend. She had after all, driven four hours to London to help me to shift all the stuff that I am unable to take to Doha, and driven four hours with it all back home. Hero.
Here we both are enjoying the delights Breads Etc. has to offer.
The concept is simple. They make beautiful, soft, homemade sourdough bread on the premises. You cut yourself unlimited slices, choose from the (almost) unlimited spreads on offer and make your own toast using the handily placed toaster on your table.
All of this yummy-ness is supplemented by a huge range of breakfasts that you can order along with your DIY toast. I plumped for the cold Scandinavian. Delish.
MB of course commented on the fact that all of the spreads are Tiptree. She (and I after the age of 14) grew up in the village next door to Tiptree and on certain days when the factory was in full production mode you could smell the jam in the air! Mmmm...
2. Obika (Charlotte Street, W1T)
When my friend Simmo mentioned that she'd been to a Mozarella restaurant recently, and more importantly that it was amazing, I knew I had to go. Is there anything better in this world than a restaurant completely centred on CHEESE?! I think not. I headed there for a reunion with my University bestests on Friday night.
Unfortunately, they are a little more camera shy than Mummy Bags.
But I eventually coaxed them into posing for just one picture.
There is so much to love about this place, from the mini Mozarella tasters they bring you at the beginning, with homemade pesto and yet more sourdough bread (I can't get enough of this stuff).
To the sharing platters.
To the delicious cocktails.
And best of all, it's only a step away from some of my favourite bars in London for post-food partying. It was a great night with some dearly-loved people in my life, and needless to say it ended in a pretty emotional farewell at the end of the night.
(Side-note: for the cultured among you, you can also find this restaurant in Italy, Turkey, the US and Japan - oo-er!).
3. Inamo (Wardour Street, W1F)
Now I like to think I'm quite a modern girl. I use Twitter, I have to keep up to date with new innovations in the business world for my job, I know what iOS 7 means...but when I arrived at Inamo to meet my good friend Elliot, I was completely taken aback by an invention that I had never come across before: interactive E-Tables that allow you to order without a single interaction with a waiter or waitress!!! OK, I know that these have been in use for years now (Compurants Ltd. first trade marked the current E-Table in use at Inamo back in 2005), but for me this was more than a little bit new and exciting.
All of this excitement did, of course, mean that Elliot spent even longer pondering the menu than usual.
When he finally got around to deciding, while we waited for our food to miraculously arrive we played a spot of battleships (Ells beat me, but I am 94% certain he cheated by watching where I laid my ships before the game started).
And checked on the progress of our meal as the chefs whipped it up in the kitchen.
I was slightly concerned that all the hype around the tables may have detracted from the need to produce great quality food, but when it arrived I was pleasantly surprised. My favourite two dishes were the spicy aubergine which was really tasty, and the sashimi, which was fresh and delicious.
I have had such a lovely week of food, friends and family.
I wonder what culinary delights await me in Doha.