The Birthday Weekend

Arriving back into Nice on Saturdaymorning, I was tired from a 5am start. I’d been out the previous evening and, of course, slept badly in anticipation of sleeping badly!
The season has started to change in France and on Saturdayafternoon, the first heavy rain arrived. It was our first taste of Autumn and it was nice.
The rain fell relentlessly for a few hours. Watching rain fall into a swimming pool is so much nicer. We sat inside watching it until eventually we ventured out in search of food. 

A Hint of Spring

After snow last weekend, we now have a hint of Spring.

Daffodils, snow drops and crocus are appearing in Queen’s Park and there are optimistic buds appearing on trees. We’ve had a couple of warmer days and suddenly there’s light in the middle (if not the end) of the Tunnel of Winter.

I’m not convinced it’s Spring yet, we’re only in February, but it’s nice to see a glimpse of blue sky and feel that it’s getting lighter. At 5:30pm it’s still light which makes a huge difference compared to 4pm.

And so after a brief respite due to travel and illness, I’m back on my trusty steed, the Lovely Miss Cooper. Tyres are pumped up and it’s time to start getting in shape for summer…


Happy New Year!

We weren’t sure what to expect in Kandy for New Year’s Eve. 

Would the town go wild? Would there be fireworks over the lake or would there be tourists in bars looking for a party?
From what we’ve seen, the Sri Lankan people are quiet, family-orientated people. 
We haven’t seen anyone smoking which is quite amazing but apparently a cigarette costs 50 rupees which is a vast amount when the lowest wages are 500 rupees a month (about £3) and alcohol is not readily available. 
As a result we haven’t drunk alcohol since we arrived and are enjoying the respite from the toxins. I’m thinking of making it a lifestyle choice. 
New Year’s Eve was spent sober. We went to bed at 11:30pm and I missed the midnight countdown as I was fast asleep! 
Given that we were staying in one of the few places in Kandy which had a crowd, this was impressive. Party animals! 

Happy New Year 2017!

Hump day

Wednesday and it’s hump day. The middle of the week. Two days in and two days until the weekend.

Since my return from New York and the sad demise of my laptop, I’ve been trying to lay low. I’m missing my lappy laptop but I’m not in a position to plunk down £1500 on a new one at the moment so the laptop must wait.

And so here I am, perched on a kitchen chair in front of my iMac. The cable isn’t long enough to reach the table (I’ve ordered a new one) and the keyboard is balanced precariously on my lap. It’s not exactly ideal and despite having the keyboard on my lap, it’s certainly not a laptop.

Anyway, I spent Saturday celebrating an auspicious birthday with a family member and enjoyed a long, leisurely and delicious lunch before an early night to catch up on sleep.

And Sunday… well on Sunday it was actually sunny and so after a trip to Whole Foods in Kensington on the bus, I repaired to the generously-named roof terrace, unwrapped one of my outdoor sofas from its winter jacket and spent a couple of hours attempting to relax in what was a very windy but reasonably warm afternoon.

Despite the wind, the warmth of the sun was lovely and while it wasn’t exactly tropical, I took the opportunity to take off my tights. Finally. I shielded my eyes from the glare of my white skin and recuperated from the week of extreme meetings which had been New York.

By Monday I was feeling normal and so off I went on my new commute to the new office. I’m still getting used to the new space, new desk and glaring new lights. I think I may start wearing hats to work to shield my sensitive eyes from the overhead strip lights. Fond memories of Aggie B come to mind as I sent Letad many photos of “The Hat of the Day” last summer when I was working there. I do like a hat so find this idea strangely appealing and quite entertaining.

And so it’s Wednesday. I’m ready for the weekend but first two more days and an appointment with a dress designer as I’ve decided to start again. 

Yes, it’s true. The sequined, lace, sparkly wedding dress I’d so rashly decided on in February has been worrying me and keeping me awake at night until it became apparent that there was no way I was going to wear it.

The dress dilemma continues so fingers crossed for Friday morning and hopefully, this time, the right dress for me! 

Getting over the hump!

Spring at last!

Yesterday Spring decided finally to lift her sleepy head and make a belated appearance. 

A whopping six degrees celsius meant that Londoners came out of hibernation and ventured outside. It wasn’t quite as good as Blissfully Warm Tuesday a few weeks ago when the temperature exploded to an incredible twelve degrees but with sunshine in our eyes and my tights feeling almost but not quite too warm, Letad and I took to the streets and ventured over to Islington, Canonbury and Barnesbury to explore some other neighbourhoods of North London.

We walked around the streets looking at lovely Georgian and Victorian architecture and admired the history and heritage of London. We strolled along the New River path, which as it turns out was an aqueduct completed in 1613 to bring drinking water from Hertforshire to North London. An interesting historic piece of trivia.

The ducks seemed unaware of the history as they quacked happily in the early Spring sunshine.

After a few hours we decided it was time for lunch and so headed off to the Draper’s Arms for a gastropub lunch.

It was just warm enough to brave the garden and so being the first customers to sit outside in 2013, an accolade indeed, we sat in the sunshine enjoying a very civilized lunch.

After lunch we continued the meander through Islington, back to Angel where we jumped on the Northern line to bring us back to Chalk Farm.

Emerging from the station, it was still warm (incredible!) and we decided to head along Regents Park Road to Primrose Hill where, for the first time in many months, people were sitting on the grass enjoying the first warmth.

By six o’clock it was cooling and we set off home to enjoy two more hours of daylight and a lovely sunset. 

I now completely understand the English obsession with weather. Having experienced a long, cold winter culminating with the coldest March in fifty years (it was snowing on Thursday) the bliss of a warm day is unimaginable.

I will never take nice weather for granted!

One Pound Down

A pound, a pound, my kingdom for a pound.

Actually the scales have started to behave and I’m a pound down this morning! Shout from the rooftops, ring the church bells and alert the media! 

Well, before getting too carried away, let’s see what happens tomorrow. As I know from experience, it can all go pear shaped… literally!

A Spring in my Step

Thursday morning and despite the bathroom blockage I was in a chipper mood. 

The bathroom scales appeared to be feeling a little better so that was good news. 

Darren the plumber showed up at 8am and started unblocking the blockage and I power walked off to work, Foolband on wrist. 

I recognized the song of the robin this morning. Crocus and daffodils glistened in the morning sun, dew dripping from their fragile petals as the morning frost gradually melted. 

With the sun in my eyes I rediscovered my sense of optimism. 

A busy and very productive day… and a surprise. Flowers from Letad for no reason other than it being Thursday! 

Amazingly bright with hot pink Gerber daisies, yellow narcissi and purple freesias, they looked like techni-coloured spring and before long their pungent smell filled my nostrils. A lovely thought!

Then it was out for lunch with the senior girls. It sounds like we’re all about ninety but as my office is predominantly female, seven women went out for lunch to say farewell to a pregnant colleague. One thing about a female crew is that there’s a revolving door of maternity leave and they’re dropping like flies.

After lunch I multi-tasked madly and by 6:30pm was able to join the crew at a local pub for another round of farewell drinks. I didn’t stay long as I wanted to avoid the calories and come home to see the results of the plumber…

And good news all round it appears. I turned on the bathroom sink and joy of joys, the water didn’t come up in the bath! 

Does life get any better?

There’s no place like Homa

Friday evening and Letad met me from work. We’d decided to try a new restaurant, it had a brilliant write up and we are nothing if not adventurous.

Off we went on the number 73 bus to Stoke Newington. That was our first mistake. I don’t know Stoke Newington but let’s just say, it’s not known for its fine dining experiences.

It had been a good end to the week. My projects were all going well, I finally felt things were under control. Letad had enjoyed a successful week working remotely and we felt like a Friday celebration. We set off to try Homa (

It was a wet evening. By the time we arrived, it was dark and raining, we were cold and the novelty of the bus had long worn off. We longed for a warm cosy restaurant and a glass of wine.

We arrived and immediately sensed something was wrong. Friday evening in London and any good restaurant will be packed. Homa had empty tables and as we were led to our table near the bar we had an impending sense of doom.

We sat down and ordered drinks. While we were waiting, a waiter dropped a glass nearby which shattered into a thousand pieces. An auspicious sign.

Drinks arrived and sadly my Prosecco was flat. The tonic in Letad’s gin and tonic was also flat and so reluctantly, we asked for replacements.

We ordered food. Our first course arrived. Sadly the wine we’d ordered did not. We asked for it, only to be presented with a different bottle. Ten minutes passed during which time we cracked jokes about how they’d gone down to the off license to buy it. 

By the time our main courses arrived, things had taken a turn for the worse. We soldiered on bravely but by this time the couple next to us were having a fight about his relationship with her cat (seriously) and out of male solidarity, Letad had had enough.

We paid the bill and headed out into the wet, cold evening. It had been a grim evening despite our best attempts at humour. We waited for a minute at the bus stop but couldn’t face getting the bus home after such a dismal evening and so we decadently hopped into a taxi. 

Twenty two pounds later, the captive audience of a very chatty taxi driver was finally released as we eventually made it back to Chalk Farm. What a relief to get home!

Homa, don’t Goma!

Operation Wedding Diet

Winter has been a deceptive mistress it would seem.

On Friday my new bathroom scales arrived. I inserted the batteries. I peeled off the layers of wool I’ve been wearing for the past six months also known as camouflage gear and I gingerly stepped on. 

I stepped off very quickly. Things, it would seem, were not as they should be.

The warming winter soups. The comforting jacket potatoes. Everything necessary to keep warm during the winter appeared to have done its job but horror of horrors, I’d put on weight.

There are just over four months to go until Letad and I are to be married. 

I am now embarking on Operation Wedding Diet… it’s time to shed the winter coat!