Back on the hamster wheel

How lucky that I scheduled my mini breakdown for the weekend as it was back to business as usual on Monday.

I was tired but otherwise ok as I walked across the park to work and then, having arrived, had no recollection of how I’d got there. A true commuter.

And so now it’s game on. Having talked the talk, I now have to deliver the goods.

I spent the day working on schedules and designing spreadsheets in Excel. 

Looking forward to Friday!

A Mini Break…down

Sunday morning and I was feeling pretty down. I’d used up all my reserves and had run dry. I was tired, emotional and fragile. 

I knew rationally it was exhaustion but of course, is it possible to be rational when you’re being irrational?

At times like these in California, when things got too much, I would hop on my trusty ladies’ bike and ride to the beach. I’d buy a cup of mint tea from Cafe Collage and would sit on the beach looking out across the great blue Pacific. I’d see dolphins or seals which would restore my sense of calm and things would be put back in perspective.

In the days when Pig was still alive we’d drive up to Malibu where inevitably she’d drink too much salt water which rapidly turned into a salt water enema and she would end up with sand in every orifice. Silly dog but happy days.  

Thinking about it brought tears to my eyes or I should say, more tears as I’d done quite a lot of exhausted crying. 

Nothing was wrong exactly. I’d just hit rock bottom and after staying buoyantly positive during the past year, I deserved to have a day off. 

In a moment of madness I decided to get the train to Brighton. 

I needed to get out of London. To see the ocean but failing that, perhaps the cold, brown English Channel would do. I wasn’t feeling optimistic but by midday I was sitting on a train heading to the coast. At least I wasn’t sitting alone at home. 

Combined with the company conference, a huge amount of pressure, wedding planning and the long distance relationship, I desperately needed a shoulder to cry on and that shoulder was in France. 

Half an hour later on a very slow train, I made it to East Croydon. Things weren’t looking good…

The train passed a telephone box graveyard. Dozens of iconic red phone boxes stood to attention; faded, sad and rusted. 

Blocks of red brick flats with the tiniest windows caught my eye. No French doors or panoramic views of London from those little slits. 

The grey day wore on. 

Arriving in Brighton I walked down the hill towards a tiny sliver of grey sea. At the end of the road I bought a hot drink and walked down on to the pebbled beach. It was cold, snowing a little but the jade green water soothed me, the benign sea calmed me, the soft grey sky hung heavily overhead. The sound of the pebbles filled my thoughts as the waves rolled them gently against each other, rubbing off edges and smoothing sides. 

I stood gazing out to the horizon. It was very cold, it wasn’t California but it did the job. Slowly the tension left my body, the energy of the water replenished me and I felt better. 

I turned away and slowly crunched my way back up the beach. 


It’s now 3pm Friday afternoon. After a week of conference, meetings all day, dinners every night, it’s finished!

Hooray for Friday!

Everyone agreed it was the best conference ever. I feel a little bit proud of what I’ve accomplished in the past two months. It’s been quite stressful, I’ll be honest and now I’m seriously ready for a restful weekend because, of course… the work starts on Monday!

A very long day

Heart racing, palms sweating, shivering from cold or nerves, I wasn’t sure. I cleared my throat and started my presentation. 

It was the culmination of two months work. It was the justification of my job, my global role and despite my initial misgivings, time to prove that I was the right person for the job.  

I took a deep breath and soldiered on. Suddenly my heart slowed, my thoughts cleared, my voice sounded calm, authoritative, even. I sat up in my chair, took another deep breath and we were off! 

By 8pm the day was finally over, time for the corporate dinner. I was exhausted. My right Margaret Thatcher was hurting and all I wanted to do was go to bed. Bed was not an option, belly dancers were! 

After a four course Moroccan banquet complete with half a dozen belly dancers, I finally staggered home and collapsed into the very small bed.

11:30pm. I’d left the little flat at 7:15am, it had been a very long day. One more day to go.

Time for sleep!

Convention in town

It’s day two of the very important conference I’ve been working towards for the past two months. So far it’s been endless meetings followed by dinners and sleep. Get up and repeat.

My big day is Thursday. That’s the day I’ll be presenting the creative concepts for the next six months to a large contingent of senior vice presidents. So, no pressure there then.

Despite being quite tired and trying to keep things in perspective and possibly not succeeding (why can’t I get the heated towel rail repaired as it’s been broken for a year and is driving me insane?) I’m feeling as though everything’s ticking along nicely. I’m very pleased with how the work looks and feel that by constantly saying “global business strategy” things should go brilliantly.

Still, there’s only so much one can do. I’m looking forward to the weekend!

Too much bling?

I’ve found the most expensive, most sparkly, most perfect pair of Prada sandals and I confess, I want them!

They’re outrageous, a 4 and a half inch heel, a half inch platform, ivory silk and crystal and all for the bargain price of… well, I obviously can’t mention the price. Basically they’d feed a third world country for the next ten years.

I will now wrestle with my conscience for the next few weeks as they’re not available until April.

Can I truly buy them for my wedding or should I be more reasonable and save the money for something more sensible like food?

Of course, I was thinking of losing weight…

The Dress Dilemma

I have very classic taste. I love clean lines, simplicity and elegance. Buying a wedding dress seemed like a simple prospect. I’d seen pictures, researched designers and made appointments.

I was going for a simple silhouette; a straight column, elegant neckline, no frills, no lace, just a simple, satin, traditional, elegant dress. Which makes it all the more confusing that I’ve ended up ordering something almost completely opposite from where I started. I’m still in shock!

I had an appointment yesterday morning and had narrowed it down to two dresses. The designer, Jesus Piero, a Spanish designer, suited me perfectly and I was enjoying saying that I’d found Jesus.

The dresses were gorgeous but I was torn. Which one? What to do?

With deadlines looming, I had to make a decision. Something was holding me back. Did I really want a stiff satin dress or was a softer fabric more appealing for a summer wedding in the balmy south of France?

By luck my sister was in London for the weekend staying with friends. She was on a hop on-hop off bus with two friends and five children, so she hopped off, left them to it and came to meet me in Islington.

An hour later I was in lace and sequins! It would appear I have a secret side which likes shiny things.

It was the Christmas nightie all over again. I’d asked Letad for a new silk slip for Christmas, ivory satin, no lace, nothing. He bought exactly what I asked for, and I didn’t like it. And so on Boxing Day we exchanged it… for a charcoal grey silk nightie trimmed with black lace. I’m a nightmare to buy presents for!

And despite my best efforts, it would appear that I’m not really a traditional wedding dress girl and so with my sister and the shop assistant’s help, I tried on something I would never have gone for… and it worked.

It was a softer look, sexier but still elegant. A dress which glimmered and sparkled in the evening light and which, while not a traditional wedding dress, still had the silhouette I was looking for.

I decided to go for it and plonked down the deposit. My measurements were taken and before I had time to think, my sister and I were sitting in the pub next door having a much deserved drink.

I think I’ve made the right decision. Time will tell but in the meantime I’ve seen the most fabulous pair of sparkly shoes… it would seem that I’m embracing my inner bling.

Wedding dress. Done.

53 Invitations later

I’ve finally finished and fifty three handmade invitations later, I’m pleased, no, I’m delighted to say that they’re done and they’re going in the post tomorrow.

It was quite challenging, I’ll admit…
The invitations took two weeks longer to print than they should have. I ran out of hearts and ribbon and had to make an emergency run to the craft shop. The postage cost a fortune because bark hearts and ribbons are thicker than normal letters.

I’m very happy with the way they look and hope the hearts arrive intact after travelling to France, Australia, the US and the UK. I can imagine crumbled bits of bark falling out of the envelopes upon opening…

And so to the next item on my list… the dress!

What A Year!

On Friday I quietly celebrated my one year anniversary. It’s a year since I left LA, a year since I came back to the UK and what a year it’s been!

It seems like I’ve had retrospectives every few months so perhaps it’s not necessary to reflect again on how much my life has changed in the past twelve months. In fact, seeing as I was at work until quarter to eight on Friday evening, perhaps it hasn’t changed enough!

Last Valentine’s Day I boarded a one way flight to London, it was my present to me. I met my sister at Paddington Station with two suitcases and no real plan. Two days later I found the little flat and started a new life. 

It’s been a year of enormous change, moving, falling in love, getting engaged, planning our wedding and starting one of the most stressful jobs I’ve ever had and so far surviving. 

There are things I miss about my old life. I haven’t left without a backward glance as my friendships are too deep. I miss the expanse of the Pacific ocean, driving down PCH with the wind in my hair, the hummingbirds in my garden, the angry squirrel, bike riding in Venice, high maintenance diets and more. The ease of life in California was very hard to leave behind.

A flight away are my dearest friends, Venice beach and sunshine, it’s all there for me to visit, any time I want to go. The best of both worlds.

If I knew a year ago what I know now, I would say to anyone who wants to change their life, “Take a chance and a leap of faith.”

Go on, jump!

Outdoor Sofas

I now have two outdoor sofas sitting forlornly on the balcony. 

I imagine they’re in shock as it snowed last night and my poor teak sofas are used to California where they sat for the past six years on my deck in Venice.

I couldn’t bear to leave them. So many conversations have taken place on those sofas, laughter and tears, glasses of champagne, dinners on laps, the extremely bold squirrel who sat on one and shook his tiny fist at me through the French doors, the noisy squawking green parrots who flew overhead. So many memories.

Letad and I bought a tarpaulin and made little jackets for the two sofa frames to protect them from the elements. Not perfect but when it’s dry we’ll oil the wood so they don’t go into shock and crack.

Hopefully it won’t be too long before we’re sitting outside on the plump orange cushions enjoying the view of London, creating new memories. This week however it’s back to layers of wool as winter hasn’t let go yet. 

I’m optimistic though, there are daffodils starting to come up in Regent’s Park and buds on the trees. 

Spring is in the air… or it would be if it stopped snowing!