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!

Happy Birthday Letad!

Friday and it was Letad’s birthday, hurray!

The day began with presents in bed and I have to say, I felt I’d done quite well. A gorgeous shirt from his favourite shop in Savile Row and a selection of t-shirts and jumpers from New York, bought in the few minutes I had free between meetings and carried carefully back to London.

It had been a busy week but I managed to leave work a little early and meet Letad at Ottolenghi (www.ottolenghi.co.uk) a restaurant on Upper Street in Islington where we had a reservation. 

I arrived early and was waiting when a very smartly dressed Letad walked in just after 6pm. We ordered a glass of organic Prosecco to celebrate the auspicious day. Cheers!

Ottolenghi is a contemporary restaurant serving small plates and charging a lot for a little, to be honest.

We started with seared tuna and a small plate of green beans with garlic, following that we had a tofu dish and what claimed to be mackerel which was almost invisible (where’s the mackerel?) and all for the bargain price of £11 per dish.

The flavours were nice but it wouldn’t be worth a second visit, mainly because it wasn’t value for money and luckily neither of us was starving.

All was not lost though as we had tickets to the theatre! 
A birthday surprise.

We crossed the road and headed to the Almeida theatre, an Islington institution, where we were seeing “The Turn of the Screw” by Henry James. (www.almeida.co.uk)

The Almeida is a 325 seat theatre and we had seats fairly close to the stage. For both of us, it was the first time we were seeing a scary play. 

The play was brilliant; dark, suspenseful and spooky with moments of shock which had the entire theatre gasping, perhaps one person louder than the rest, but to be fair, I was very surprised!

The 1961 film “The Innocents” (Deborah Kerr) was based on “The Turn of the Screw” and “The Others” (with Nicole Kidman was based on “The Innocents.” 

I’ll be watching “The Innocents” this weekend if I can find it on Netflix. Scary!

All in all, a very happy birthday!

Sunday lunch

There’s something so civilized about Sunday lunch.

We’d been down to Camden to stock up on a few essential vitamins for the week and were heading to The Engineer for a relaxed Sunday lunch at our favourite stomping ground.

It was a lovely Sunday, the pub was packed with families, small children plonked in front of iPads and lots of noise. 

After an enormous bill which has made us realize that The Engineer, while lovely is outrageously overpriced, we whiled away a few hours before heading home for a Sunday afternoon and evening relaxing.

A nice way to spend the weekend! 

The gift registry

We’d been asked about the gift list so on Saturday afternoon Letad and I met up at John Lewis to register for our wedding list. 

Suddenly everything felt very real. 

We spent ages looking at glassware, debating the merits of different cutlery designs and while we agreed on everything, we agreed we didn’t like it. 

By 4:30pm our energy levels were flagging (it had been an hour) so we sloped off to the cafe to use our free afternoon tea voucher. Obviously John Lewis know how exhausting the whole process is. 

Sadly the free coffee and walnut cake was rock solid and I decided Letad shouldn’t eat any more. With his fork suspended in mid air, I whipped out the cake from under his nose and replaced it with the slightly more palatable carrot cake. He wasn’t impressed and informed me that apparently I’m becoming more and more wife-like every day!

After afternoon tea we soldiered on for a little longer before calling it a day and heading home to the little flat in Chalk Farm where we continued the process online. 

Hurray for internet shopping. So much easier.

Piles of Shite

After a year of minimal living I now have boxes and boxes of stuff stacked up in the little flat in Chalk Farm, or as I call it, piles of shite.

Coming home from work I found my two green armchairs, sitting like old friends from my former life. I found my VitaMix which I can’t use until I get a voltage converter, my sewing machine, boxes of felt, soft toys, work, a duck jug which I thought I’d got rid of, several pairs of Prada shoes and finally, after hunting through several boxes, my most treasured possession, the clay paw print of my beloved dog Pig.

It’s strange to have my memories around me again. Photos, books, journals and more. A past which I’d left behind has caught up with me and makes me feel complete. No bad memories, just a life in another time, another place.

It’s nice to have my old life join my new. If only I had enough room to unpack!