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!

Christmas Shopping

Having downed a number of vile hot lemon drinks at the insistence of Letad, I was feeling much better and so we went out on Saturday to start Christmas shopping. Or at least that was the intention.

We walked through Regents Park on what felt like the perfect Autumn morning and sat in the sunshine on Marylebone High Street having coffee.

From there we braved Oxford Street venturing into Selfridges, John Lewis and Debenhams before heading to Liberty. I saw many lovely things sadly all of them things I would like and my Christmas list would be very long indeed.

At Liberty I bought a lovely new winter hat in felt which I suspect will be stapled to my head for the next few months and combined with my new faux fur vest, made me feel like a 70s rockstar, if only in my head.

trending… fake fur

Funnily enough, by the time we got home, I had bought a new waterproof jacket, fur socks for my wellies, Nespresso pods for the coffee machine, a new winter duvet, pillowcases and duvet cover and my new hat.

What Christmas shopping? Apparently I can’t be trusted.

Blinded by the light

Yesterday a yellow ball appeared in the sky, no one knew what it was.

At lunchtime, workers emerged like moles from their underground tunnels, blinking in the bright light, pale skin exposed to the sudden warmth as layers of winter wool were peeled off and pasty forearms saw daylight for the first time in many months.

It was the first warm day of spring. I checked the temperature on my phone thinking that surely it must be eighteen or even twenty degrees such was the warmth, only to discover it was a balmy twelve degrees. After months of being cold, twelve degrees felt tropical.

I went for a walk at lunchtime. I felt frumpy in my now tired winter clothes. Necessary for many months but in the bright sunshine, the wool felt so wrong. I popped into a shop to look at spring fashion and suddenly the possibility of wearing a summer dress didn’t seem so far fetched.

London came alive. People smiled and laughed as they sat outside eating lunch. 

All too soon it was over, today was grey again but the memory lived on. 

Dicing with death

It was my third morning of stepping into my new shiny black knee high wellies and stepping across the park.

I was feeling a little self conscious as no one else was wearing wellies and the roads were mostly dry. A few curious glances at my boots and I assured myself that people were just jealous.

In the park it was a different story. It was icy and treacherous despite sand having been sprinkled along the main thoroughfares.

A brave or possibly insane American woman wearing stiletto heeled boots staggered along next to me for a while, frankly I was amazed she was able to walk at all.

Perhaps I was too amazed or perhaps distracted as suddenly I skidded and lost my footing. Instantly my arms flung out madly in a desperate attempt not to fall. I skidded, I regained my balance, it was touch and go but I didn’t fall.

A muscle may have been used more than anticipated but otherwise all was well. A close call indeed.

Dicing with death in London!

The Tube Game

I’ve been getting the tube to work in the morning and it’s quite a challenge. To avoid tube rage, I’ve invented the Tube Game, fun for all London commuters!

Step One: Chalk Farm station.

By 8:30am it’s pretty busy so try to get there early otherwise it means counting tubes until one comes with enough room to jump onboard and push and squeeze inside. Watch your head because the doors close really fast and they hurt.

Deciding which tube. 
Northern Line via Bank is the best. Get off at Euston and walk across the platform to the Victoria line. If all goes well, it’s fifteen minutes from home to work. Bingo!

Otherwise it’s the Charing Cross branch and you’re either walking for miles at Euston or you’re down at Tottenham Court Road having to deal with the Central Line, neither of which are great options.

10 points for getting on the first tube
5 points for the second
2 points for the third
After the third, give up and go home.

Step Two: Euston
This is the tricky part. Euston is very, very busy and the platform is five people deep all trying to get on the tube. Walk down the platform, select the smallest group of people gathered around a door and wait.

20 points for getting on the first tube. It’s never going to happen.

Move forward after each tube so that eventually you’re standing at the yellow line. Hold still, those trains come in fast and close and the slightest wobble could be a disaster.

10 points for the second tube… getting closer.
5 points for the third… that’s more realistic.
2 points for the fourth… getting frustrated.
After the fourth consider getting a bus or taxi. you’ve made it this far after all.

This morning’s score: an underwhelming 7 points, third tube at Chalk Farm and third at Euston. Boo!

Oh and did I mention, the biggest challenge? Whatever you do, don’t breathe in or touch anything. Otherwise you’ve just caught the cold of extreme death, minus ten thousand points.

And so it’s off at Oxford Circus and shuffle up the escalator. Why do people walk and text at the same time? (pedestrian rage replaces road rage). Emerge at Oxford Circus, breathe a huge sigh of relief and head to the juice bar to replenish vitamins lost in transit. Underground done, work begins.

Fun on the underground!

The Wedding Planner

So far today I have taken down the £25 Morrisons Christmas tree and by some miracle, squashed it back into the original box. I’ve done two loads of washing, paperwork, sorted out the crap in the bathroom drawer, organized the crap under the bed to make room for more crap and thrown out lots of crap as I’m never as minimal as I think I am.

Speaking of crap, apparently my belongings are due to arrive in the next few weeks and I’m wondering where on earth I’m going to put two outdoor sofas. In hindsight…

Anyway, I’ve also written several TO DO lists. One for work (work a lot, go to New York), one for personal (pay tax, do yoga) and now… one for wedding!

I’ve written my guest list for the wedding and have just created a spreadsheet for the next six months including a schedule of the weekend in question. It could be seen as going overboard but I suspect with the amount of things we have going on for the next six months, it’s going to be necessary. 

The exciting news is that we’ve almost booked a date. That is, we’ve made a reservation and will need to pay a deposit. Once that’s done, we’re in business.

Suddenly this morning, I realized that if I want to order the ludicrously expensive Italian dress I saw last year, I will have to order it next weekend as they require six months to make it. What if I get fat in the next six months? Is there a refund for fatness?

The dilemma!


I’ve accidentally given up caffeine. I ran out of tea bags a few weeks ago and as a result have been drinking hot water. 

That may make me sound like I’m slightly disorganized or destitute but it would seem that hot water is an interesting and delicious choice of warm beverage and it appears I don’t need caffeine. Even more exciting is the instant hot water tap at work, now that’s life on the edge.

For someone who really loved a double macchiato, it’s a strangely liberating discovery. It’s also remarkably similar to how I gave up smoking many years ago… when I forgot to smoke.

I’m worried I’m running out of vices…

Back into the fray

Back to work and right back into the thick of it. There are deadlines looming but the good news is that after the month of misery that was December, I’m feeling great.

From trapped nerves in my back and shoulder to the cold of extreme death, December was challenging to say the least and starting a new job wasn’t the easiest thing to do. I’m delighted to say that so far I’ve been in excellent health in 2013, long may it last!

There’s a lot to look forward to in January. Apparently my furniture may actually arrive in the next few weeks, I’m heading to New York at the end of the month to work with the US headquarters and Letad and I are going to book a date for our wedding. Hooray!

Starting in February, Letad and I are going to try spending ten days together every month as he is going to work remotely in London and I’ll be going to France when I can.

We’re detoxing (who isn’t?) and I’m excited and optimistic about going back on my glutton and dairy free diet. I’m even thinking of taking up pilates.

So far 2013 is looking very exciting!

The week of extreme gluttony

It was the busiest week, lots of eating and drinking and lots of merriment and with barely a moment to breathe, blogging went by the wayside.

After Christmas Eve in Croydon and Midnight Mass in Primrose Hill, we spent Christmas Day with Letad’s family in Enfield where lots of fun was had and lots of consuming was done. Interesting concoctions included pickled onions, Stilton and Christmas cake washed down with copious amounts of Champagne, it all seemed like a good idea at the time. 

We took part in the family quiz and the tie-break was a very close call involving a buzzing wire game and a red flashing nose. It would appear my best behaviour hadn’t lasted long as I rolled up my sleeves, strapped on the flashing red nose and did my best not to touch the buzzing wire. Not my finest moment but I gave it my best competitive effort.

A little the worse for wear we headed delicately to the Boxing Day sales and then home for an early night, 

We then drove to Devon on the 27th to see my sister and her family. We had a delicious lunch in a pub in Chagwell where we spotted Jennifer Saunders and Adrian Edmondson and then, drove back to London at dawn on December 29th. 

We had lunch with Letad’s cousins on the 30th and dinner with some of his closest friends that evening. Laughter was never far away and while we were reaching saturation point, we soldiered on valiantly.

By New Year’s Eve, we were feeling very toxic indeed. It was a party for two as we decided to stay in the little flat and watch the fireworks from the balcony. We listened to Gregorian cover versions of music from the 70s and 80s (best not to ask really) and at midnight, we had a private view of fireworks exploding all around the silhouetted London skyline. It was a perfect New Year’s Eve and we couldn’t have celebrated better.

New Year’s Day and we headed back to the scene of our first meeting. The Engineer pub in Primrose Hill. With a New Year’s brunch on the menu, it was a lovely, relaxed end to the week of gluttony as we shared delicious food and a final bottle of wine. 

After lunch we strolled along Regents Canal from the dodgy end in Camden through the nice part at the back of Regents Park and back into the dodgy bit in St John’s Wood. By that time we were getting cold, daylight was fading and it was time to head home.

Our last night together passed quickly and all too soon, Letad was gone. I waved furiously from the top window and then resigned myself to getting ready for work.

It had been the best Christmas holiday ever.

Happy Christmas

Father Christmas came to the little flat in Chalk Farm, ate a mince pie in the kitchen and has handwriting which looks a lot like Letad’s!

After lunch in Croydon with some of my favourite people yesterday, going to an incredibly moving Midnight Mass in Primrose Hill last night where I confess, tears were shed and waking up and having champagne for breakfast with the love of my life, it’s been a fantastic Christmas so far.

From Skype with my lovely parents, ringing my sister who had finished Christmas at 11:30am, and an email from my brother. messages on Facebook and the rest of the day to be spent with Letad’s family. It’s a day of love and friendship, my perfect idea of Christmas.

I’m thinking of all my dearest friends, in California, in Mexico, in Australia, in the UK and everywhere else I have people I care about.

Happy Christmas Everyone!