8pm Sunday evening. After ten lovely days with Letad and a monumental organise and tidy on Sunday afternoon, I was ready to relax.

The washing was done, the ironing was finished and I was ready for the week ahead. Suddenly the little flat was plunged into darkness as the power went out. 

I looked out of the window, other flats had power but not me. I went out into the hall where for the first time I met some neighbours. Not just me, it would seem. 

I realized I wasn’t very well prepared. No torch, no candles, not even matches. So much for being earthquake ready. 

I went down to the corner shop and bought candles and a lighter. 

By the time I got back, the fire brigade had arrived. People had been stuck in the very small lift, not something I envied. The lifts are always getting stuck and there’s a rather discouraging notice stuck on the wall about what to do if you’re stuck for more than an hour… So far I’ve never been stuck but I always make sure I have my phone with me when venturing into the lift, just in case. 

Luckily they were released after twenty minutes. Not the most fun I would imagine. 

And so here I am. Candles lit, no electricity, not much battery left on my various devices, hoping power will be restored before long. How dependent we are on electricity. 

An hour so far… And then, a miracle, just as the battery on my ipad started to go, the power returned. Hurray, hurray, my evening is saved! Now I just have to try and reset the flashing clock on the cooker… 

I’m buying a torch tomorrow, just in case.

The Bathroom Saga

As recounted by Letad…

As the plumber arrived this morning I had to leave for work, Letad was left to deal with the ongoing saga that the plumbing has become.

For the past year the heated towel rail hasn’t worked. It’s been a bone of contention as my favourite thing in the little flat was the luxury of the heated towel rail. What’s nicer than a lovely warm dry towel to wrap up in after the world’s most miserable dribble of a shower? 

Anyway, the same plumber arrived who said he couldn’t repair it a year ago, only to discover… that he still couldn’t repair it. So instead he “fixed” a patch of plaster on the living room ceiling where the roof had leaked and now it needs to be repaired by someone else so that was a good start.

Then another plumber arrived to replace the shower head and taps as the shower hasn’t worked properly since November. Not only has it been a pathetic dribble of water, but the temperature has been searingly hot so shards of boiling water pierce one’s skin every morning making showering a rather undesirable experience. Coupled with the cold damp towel awaiting due to the broken towel rail, the morning shower is not the spa like experience it could be.

The second plumber now has to replace the broken towel rail, the repaired patch of plaster on the ceiling now needs to be repaired again and the patch of damp in the bathroom as a result of the broken towel rail has been plastered but not treated… and so the saga goes on.

I came home and had a shower. 
Nothing seemed to have changed.

Rocking the Dyson

After a year of painstakingly sweeping the floors and everything having a thin coating of London dust, I finally broke down and bought a vacuum cleaner. But not just any old vacuum cleaner, the creme de la creme, a Dyson cleaner.

James Dyson invented the air blade, the fabulous hand drier which dries one’s hands in 30 seconds. He invented a fan without any blades which is incredibly cool (no pun intended) and vacuum cleaners which have taken cleaning to a whole new level.

I bought a baby Dyson. Living in a flat for midgets where everything is small (except the new sofa which looks enormous but is normal), I bought a vacuum cleaner which was small but powerful. Great excitement ensued as I took it out of the box.

I put it all together and took it for a spin. Hair and dust whizzed into the bagless chamber. The rug looked whiter and suddenly everything looked cleaner.

A touch of Spring cleaning, just in the nick of time.

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!

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!

Hurray, it’s Friday

6:30am and we landed at a rain-soaked Heathrow airport. It was dark and not exactly tropical but I was glad to be back. By 8am I was home and in bed in the little flat in Chalk Farm. Bliss.

A few hours later I emerged. I was feeling good and so with things to do, I headed into work for the afternoon. Now that’s dedication!

By 5:30pm I’d done what I needed to and with my lovely new shiny black Prada power shoes on (which remind me a little of Margaret Thatcher so watch out) I decided to hop on the tube and come home. I had other much more important things on my mind. Letad was finally coming to London.

January was really hard. We knew we wouldn’t be able to see each other and when my flight was cancelled, it meant we had a month apart. Skype is good but not that good. 

We’d had deadlines, meetings, work trips, house renovations and more. We’d been trying to plan our wedding by Skype and things weren’t easy. It was time to try something different so Letad (having a more flexible job) was going to try working remotely in London for one week a month.

I was home by 6pm and after a bath, I decided to relax while waiting for Letad’s late night arrival and Sainbury’s to deliver my online shopping.

Hurry up! 

Nocturnal Nibbling

It was 2:37am, I know because I looked. 

I awoke to a strange sound. The sound of shiny, sharp little teeth nibbling on wood. I listened for a minute, yes, something was enjoying a little nocturnal nibbling and it sounded suspiciously like mousey mousey.

I turned on the light quickly. Nothing.

I looked under the bed. Nothing.

I turned off the light and tried to go back to sleep. Nothing.

I didn’t hear it again. I know because I spent most of the night listening for those shiny, sharp little teeth.


Sofa Loafer

After living with my nemesis, the pink sofa for the past year, the time has finally come to think about real furniture. 

One day my belongings will actually arrive (they seem to have gone missing in action) but in the meantime, Letad and I saw a sofa we both really liked which would work equally well in London or in France, depending on the next phase of our life together.

And so, being snowbound in London making wedding invitations, setting up a wedding website and even hand-making place cards (what’s happened to me?) I impulsively bought a sofa.

It’s a bold move, I confess. 

There’s nowhere to put it in the very small flat in Chalk Farm and there’ll be even less room when the outdoor furniture arrives. I may have to ask if I can use the Croydon bomb shelter but more about that later.

In the meantime, it will take 14 weeks to be delivered so perhaps I have time to ask if the pink sofa can be removed… 

Au revoir Pink Sofa!


The £25 Morrisons Christmas tree is out of the box and installed in all its glory. Money well spent as far as I’m concerned.

Following are step-by-step instructions on how to assemble a very fake Christmas tree…

Step One: Open box, 
swear profusely at what looks like individual branches.
Step Two: Assemble base. Not too bad.
Step Three: Insert realistic looking branches into base. 
Realise that branches are not individual.
Step Four: Connect interlocking sections together 
Step Five: Separate individual “branches” for more realistic look 
Step Six: Hours later, tree looks almost real
Step Seven: Hide crap tree with as much stuff as possible. 
Just like a real tree, sweep up fake needles from floor.

Windy soup

It’s a windy day and so with a sniffle in my nose it seemed like the perfect soup making day. 

I’ve been a big fan of soup even before the days of frugal living but since I’ve been in London, it’s the ideal comfort food on cold days. I’ve been missing my trusty Vita-Mix, possibly the world’s most expensive blender but possibly my most essential piece of kitchen equipment. It’s really, really hard to live without. www.vitamix.co.uk

While I hope my Vita-Mix is now en route to London, it seemed I would be making a more rustic soup and so with caramelized onions, garlic and mushrooms, I added red lentils. It all seemed a bit bland so I added a bit more curry powder than I’d intended. 

And some tabasco sauce. 

Now that’s more like it. 

And some black pepper of course.

And then it seemed like a good idea to throw some brussels sprouts in, they are my favourite vegetable after all. It all cooked together until the brussels sprouts were lovely and squidgy and the flavours were melded together.

And then I tasted it. 

It’s absolutely delicious but watch out London, I can’t be held responsible!