Light on the Horizon

Having cycled home from work in the dark for the past five months, it’s hugely exciting to start to see a little light on the horizon at 6pm.

Londoners are starting to get excited at the prospect of spring, I even saw someone smiling the other day! We’re all ready for some sunshine but more than that, we’re ready for some light. Sunshine isn’t guaranteed but light will come back regardless.

I am so looking forward to cycling home in the light again. 
Only a few more weeks…

Sunshine in Exeter

We spent last weekend in Exeter and to those who have suffered from Winter Malaise for a while, Spring did feel as though it wasn’t too far off. We actually sat outside in the sunshine on Sunday by the side of Exeter Quay and it was even too bright. Eyes had to be shielded!

Exeter is a very liveable city with a great selection of pubs, restaurants, shops and cafes. We enjoyed the cathedral and surrounds and stayed in a nice room in a dogfriendly bed and breakfast. The dog seemed to enjoy it all too and slept the whole way back to London having walked for hours!

I suspect we’ll be back in Exeter before long!


Creative Excursions

This year I have introduced Creative Excursions at work. My team and I spend most Friday mornings going to galleries, exhibitions or retailing in London in order to get out of the office and get inspired. As we spend the majority of our time sitting at computers, it’s important to take advantage of what London has to offer.

So far it’s been a great success and we’ve been to a selection of fashion-related exhibitions including Liberty at the Fashion & Textile Museum in Bermondsey and Alice in Wonderland at the British Library.

Last week it was Vogue 100: A Century of Style at the National Portrait Gallery. A fantastic collection of photographs and design took us from the 1920s to current day showing changing fashion, trends and lifestyle.

As spring fashion has started to appear, we spent a morning at Harrods enjoying the haute couture of children’s clothes and hopefully next week, we’ll head off to Selfridges, Liberty and Oxford Street to see what else is new in the world of licensed product.

Enjoying London!

A dog in a box… or a bag

Having discovered the challenge of trying to fly a dog, I have spent far too many hours researching airline-approved boxes, bags and crates in order to squeeze Agnes into the cabin and under the seat.

I have now bought three dog crates and two dog bags in varying sizes and have discovered that the German-speaking airlines have a larger cabin allowance than the French speakers. The British are not accomodating at all and so Letad and Agnes are booked to fly to Nice via Brussels in the next couple of weeks.

I will need to adjust one of the bags to reduce the size down by seven cubic centimetres, yes really, and Agnes had better not gain any weight or grow as she needs to be under 5kg and fit into 115 cubic centimetres of space.

This is not Agnes!

The bag itself is an excellent product from a company called Sturdi Bag. There are many mesh panels and as a soft bag, it can be gently squashed into smaller spaces. It can even double as a convertible with a top panel for the head to stick out.

On the positive side, it means Agnes and I will avoid a twenty four hour trip consisting of four trains, a taxi across Paris and a ferry and it means hopefully she’ll be wearing a beret and barking Bonjour before too long.

Paws crossed this works out!

Tip Top Training

Sunday and Agnes and I went to our first puppy class at the Tip Top Dog School in St John’s Wood. We were a little early so went into the church hall to get out of the cold. It was a very chilly Sunday.

Big mistake, we walked into a big dog class and were told to leave (please) as we were a distraction. Oops.
Fifteen minutes later and there were lots of other mad puppies being equally distracting including another Welsh Terrier. Not as rare as we thought it would seem!
The class lasted for an hour and we learned a lot. We did puppy recall, magic fingers (not as rude as it sounds) and puppy relaxation pose (my favourite) where the puppy was laid back and relaxed between one’s thighs (also not as rude as it sounds). 
After an hour I was exhausted. Agnes needed to go to the toilet and so after a poo, we set off by overground to go to Islington to meet up with family. Another adventure for the day.
We went on two trains and a bus. We met lots of new people and new dogs. We came home six hours later and collapsed. I was shattered and I had never seen Agnes so tired.

Barely able to open her eyes…

Furry lump on the rug. Let sleeping dogs lie.
As for me, absolutely exhausted.
Tip Top!

Dogs can’t fly

It would appear it is much harder for dogs to fly than it is for humans. 

We are trying to sort out how to get Agnes to France so she can wear a little red beret and bark en française but things are proving challenging.
Air France seem to be the most accomodating as small dogs can travel in the cabin. Agnes might have to bend her knees to fit in a small bag and be put in the overhead locker. I can’t imagine how that’s going to work but as Letad and Agnes are the advance party, I won’t be there to witness the chaos. 
The other option involves getting a ferry from Newhaven to Dieppe and then travelling by train to Paris and on to Nice.
An adventure indeed but might take a bit longer than the two hour flight from Gatwick to Nice. 
And once we’re there the challenge is how to get back into the UK. Apparently it’s all very complicated. 
More to come on this…

Jazz Hands

To celebrate the birth of Letad, we went to see one his very good friends perform at Ronnie Scott’s in Soho. 

A jazz institution, the interior was classic 70s and the vibe was very relaxed. I wished I worn a trouser suit. 
It was a career high for the friend of Letad as, on a very cold, wet Monday night in February it was sold out. 
A good night was had by all and I would certainly go back to Ronnie Scott’s. 

And breathe…

The week is finished. I spent the day with two of my US colleagues doing very important research also known as shopping. We do actually do research and let me just say, it’s exhausting!

It was snowing heavily in the morning but by the time we came out of the subway in Brooklyn, it was sunny and the snow was melting rapidly. I’ve never really understood Brooklyn but people love it and it’s obviously full of hipsters.
Despite the slightly rough start to the week, I enjoyed this trip very much and felt I had accomplished a lot. These weeks are always hard but for some reason this one felt more relaxed, perhaps because I had stayed an extra day, perhaps because I hadn’t gone to Boston or perhaps because I was too busy throwing up to care!
As it turned out my return flight from Boston was cancelled and I was booked on to a flight which would have meant I’d have missed my London connection. It just wasn’t meant to be. Perhaps in the summer as I’m usually back in July.
So homeward bound to see if Agnes is house trained (I can dream!) and to start the weekend-long celebration of the birth of Letad! Hurray, the excitement!
See you next time New York!

Food for Giants

Americans still don’t understand the concept of portion control at least at JFK. 

A woman near me had ordered an iceberg lettuce wedge salad, a strangely retro 70s concept of a salad consisting of a slice of iceberg lettuce with blue cheese and creamy salad dressing. In this case it was the entire lettuce. And that was a light meal….

Americans can’t boil eggs

I am a lover of the humble egg. 

If I was marooned on a desert island and could only take one type of food, the egg would be my choice. I will eat it any way, scrambled, poached, boiled and fried. Omelette and frittata, it seems it’s hard to ruin an egg or so I thought.

Four days of eating boiled eggs in New York and I’ve been perplexed. It’s not that hard to boil an egg but they’ve ranged from hard boiled to a white sloppy mess. This morning, my last chance, with snow falling outside, I ordered avocado toast and a soft boiled egg on the side.
I cut the top (never a basher) and water poured out. Seriously? For once I decided to say something and before long a replacement egg arrived. 
I tentatively cut the top and finally, the perfect egg was revealed. A firm white and soft yolk. Delicious. I enjoyed the perfect breakfast ironically on my last morning but at least I know for next time!
An oeuf is enough! (as Letad would probably say)