While I was in New York, huge progress was made. We now have a kitchen floor!

Reclaimed Victorian floorboards now run continuously from the hall to the kitchen. It’s a lovely thing not to fall down the hole at the end of the hall and even lovelier not to step down into the depths of concrete, dirt and dust in what is finally starting to become the kitchen.
Letad spent a hard day sanding and then with the trusty Dyson at hand, I vacuumed all the dust so he could varnish. With a couple more coats we’ll be done. 

On that note, yesterday I finally placed the order and the kitchen will arrive tomorrow. Timing is the hardest part as we’ll be travelling but hopefully we can install it in the next couple of weeks.

Morning sunshine with the prison bars

Grey Matter

Hold on a second… what’s this grey sky? What’s this wet stuff? Where is the large yellow ball? Where’s the blue? 

Back to London for six days. Just long enough to let the sunburn recover before we don kaftans and head to Greece.

The Lactation Room

Having seen a sign at LAX for the Lactation Room, I feel I’ve seen it all. Political correctness gone mad. 

And so back to London where skies are grey and I’m grumpy after ten hours battling a fat man for my personal space. Man Spread at its worst. 
I’m becoming (or rather I’ve become) extremely intolerant. It doesn’t bode well for aging!

The Cali Mani Pedi

Part of life in California is the obligatory mani pedi and unlike London, it doesn’t cost a month’s salary.

I used to go regularly and, at the time, it was $25 for both but since moving to London and becoming a renovator, nails haven’t exactly been a priority and it shows. 

With trips to Greece and France and a family wedding on the horizon, something had to be done. 

I went back to Lincoln Nails, the old salon I used to go to, where the Thai or Vietnamese girls would laugh at my arm (and toe) hair. It was never luxurious but it did the job. 
This time I had to laugh as my toes haven’t been touched for a long time. The poor girl facing my cuticles certainly had her work cut out for her, poor thing. 
I wished her luck then sat back and relaxed.  
Next stop, the airport. 

A Pink Tinge

It was a perfect day in Venice. 

After breakfast at the incredibly manic Gjuster (I have no idea if that’s how it’s spelt), we set off along the bike path heading north. 

It was very hot and glare bounced from the ocean to the sand to my skin. For all my comments about pink people, suddenly I became one. I look like the English on holiday on the Costa del Sol. Shamefully pink!
The rest of the day was spent on the deck in the company of good friends. There’s nothing like friendship which isn’t interrupted by distance and this weekend has proven that to me. 
By the end of the day I was tired, slightly crispy and covered in thick, white moisturizer. If I was in Ibiza I’d be hitting the nightclubs, in Venice it’s time for bed. 
Exhausted but looking forward to seeing my tan in the morning!

Who needs sleep?

I gave up trying to sleep and walked to the beach. 

It was a stunning morning, small waves lazily crashed on the sand and the shifting mercurical surface of the water stirred my memories. 

walked down to the water’s edge expecting to be shocked by the cold, blue Pacific but to my surprise, the water felt warm. I must have hardened being back in the UK. 

I remember swimming in the late summer when the water had finally warmed up. At other times it was freezing and the waves brutal.

A perfect wave curled up on the horizon and stood still for a second before crashing down. 

I stood up, brushed the sand off and went in search of coffee. 
Despite sleep deprivation, a lovely start to the day. 

California Dreamin’

Sunshine, blue skies, humming birds and butterflies. 

Indulging in my favourite face products (yes I’m addicted but I can only get them here), catching up with friends and remembering my other life. It was a day spent mostly in Venice, cycling to Abbot Kinney, GTA for brunch and there I was, back again. It’s only been three and a half years since I left, in some ways it seems like yesterday and in others, a lifetime.
This doesn’t really make sense but in the words of Neil Diamond, whom I hold in high esteem and have done since I used to listen to Beautiful Noise when I was about seven…

L.A.’s fine, the sun shines most the time

And the feeling is “lay back”

Palm trees grow and rents are low

But you know I keep thinkin’ about

Making my way back

Well I’m New York City born and raised

But nowadays,

I’m lost between two shores

L.A.’s fine, but it ain’t home

New York’s home,

But it ain’t mine no more
The gist being that LA ain’t mine no more but it’s nice to visit and it’s great to see friends.
Then again, Neil didn’t have social media when he wrote that song and how lucky, I always feel like I know what’s going on!

And finally Day Four

Five meetings and we ended on a high as we’d saved the best till last. 

Thursday was the best day of the trip where I saw my style guides being used well, good creative products and not too many requests/complaints. Finally positive reinforcement after a few days of being on the defensive.
I went straight from my last meeting to the airport. Despite having three and a half hours, it turned out that I needed every minute as the traffic was horrendous and then the shuffling queues to get through security were ridiculous.
Still, I was back on my mini break so shuffled along with everyone else with controlled frustration.
Once onboard though, things slowed down and we sat on the runway for an hour and a half. It was a surreal flight as I was drifting in and out of sleep, waking up from the pain of awkwardness from time to time and then nodding off again, headphones and sleep mask dulling my senses.
I arrived in LA well after midnight and got a taxi (a literal hen’s tooth) to my friends’ house in Venice. Driving down Lincoln Boulevard, things didn’t look much different. A few new buildings, a couple of new restaurants but in almost two years since I was last here, and over three years since I left, not much change that was immediately noticeable.
My life has changed a great deal since I left LA and I suspect, as have I. It’s inevitable. Still, a weekend in the city I used to call home catching up with friends is a rare treat indeed.


Despite my intention to treat this trip as a mini break with meetings, a twelve hour day with three meetings and a business dinner scuppered my plans somewhat. I staggered into my hotel room at 9:30pm absolutely shattered, having left at 9am.

And with five meetings booked for Thursday, it would seem the meetings are currently winning.
These weeks are tough, it’s a performance review each time for me as a few hundred people tell me if I’m doing my job well… or not! 
Trying to please everyone…

A well earned glass

After a day fraught with technical glitches, I decided to enjoy a nice cold glass of champagne in the hotel bar. 

Champagne is the perfect tonic for all things. A celebration, a tonic, feeling down or just because. It is the perfect pick me up and this was no exception. 

My first presentation had gone well. I presented to over fifty people where I consciously made eye contact, stood up straight and tried to be energetic and engaging. Despite my reclusive tendencies, I am a fairly natural presenter  and quite enjoy it. 
The second presentation was a chaotic mess and was decidedly less successful. Technology let things down but eventually we struggled through to a rather sorry end. It wasn’t exactly the highlight of the week. Ouch. 
With the hardest part of the week over, I can start to think about heading to LA for the weekend. 
Cheers to that!