Monday, February 27, 2012

Saturday 25 February - Team sports!

Current location: Lewisham
11.11am, Heading home so I could leave for netball. Finally, after joining a netball club in September, I have actually pulled myself together enough to play a match! Andy and I cycled to Mottingham, where the games are played, and I prepared myself for the first proper match I've played in about two years. The sun was shining and I was nervous but very excited, starting off playing as GD for the second team. After a good quarter and a few rockier quarters, we ended up losing, but I had loads of fun, and was pretty tired after the hour-long match and was looking forward to stretching out in the sunshine and cheering on the first team, whose match was on straight after ours. But as the first team were short on players, they asked me to play WD for their game too, so it was straight back on court and into a fast, fun, furious game that was very close and saw us only losing by three goals. Such a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon!

Tuesday 22 February - What to give up for Lent?

Current location: Lewisham
11.11pm, Drinking wine in bed. Andy came home from Norway today – yippee – just in time for pancakes (as it's Shrove Tuesday). We scoffed some with cheese and chorizo and force-fed some more to our housemate Petros before I realised that Lent starts tomorrow and I hadn't decided what to give up yet. So this year, I've decided to really test myself. Usually I give up crisps (which is hard enough!) but for the next 40 days I am going to give up wine. Which is why i was trying to get my fill before midnight came! Wish me luck...

Friday 17 February - More reasons to love London

Current location: London
11.11pm, Standing in Trafalgar Square, having a chat. Tonight I met my friends Siobhan and Bec in Soho for a quick drink after work, which turned into quite a lot of drinks. As we left the pub to walk to the tube station, we went through Trafalgar Square and stopped off to have a final chat before our goodbyes. It was so beautiful standing there in front of the National Portrait Gallery with all the busy Friday-night bustle going on and the evening lights of the city twinkling around us. I felt very lucky and excited to be in London, and also pretty appreciative of the good things that this city brings. For example, Siobhan and Bec are two ladies that I only met recently... Siobhan about a month ago and Bec a couple of weeks after that. But because of the easy ways of meeting new people here (mainly through other friends), and the bonus of working in central London, we have quickly struck up a very lovely, easy and fun friendship; one that I don't know would be so easy in another city or country.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Wednesday 15 February - HB Andy

Current location: Angel
11.11pm, Eating duck and watching One Born Every Minute. Even though he is in Norway, we had a little celebration in Angel for Andy's birthday (and he had his own celebration going to a Norwegian hip hop gig!?)

Tuesday 14 February - Happy Valentine's Day

Current location: Lewisham
11.11pm, Cleaning the bathroom. Ah, how romantic! My beau is currently in Norway, so I made myself a delish dinner, cracked open the Rosé and logged onto Skype to wish Andy a lovely Valentine's Day. Then I cleaned the bathroom and watched Grey's Anatomy.

Friday 10 February - Friday friends

Current location: Chinatown, London
11.11pm, Eating Chinese food, courtesy of Karyn Knobel. She is my wonderous friend from Australia who I met last year in Berlin, caught up with in Oz and went out with tonight in London. She is a dream woman, and the three of us (Emma, Karyn and I) had a fab night of exploring London's backstreets, discovering the Spanish quarter, indulging our love for gin, and catching the last train home. What fanatstic women.

Sunday 5 February - Greenwich Park in the schneeee!

Current location: Greenwich Park
11.11am, Playing in the snow!! Today was one of the most perfect days, ever. We got up early (despite our accidental late night last night) and caught the bus to Greenwich, where the snow was thick in the park and there were hundreds of people hurtling down the hills on toboggans, sledges, bodyboards, snowboards, trays and anything else they could find. It was so beautiful. And pretty chilly, so after a walk through the schnee, we stopped for a hot chocolate and some brunch to boost us for the walk home. As Andy settled down to do some work, I unleashed my inner domestic goddess that sometimes lurks and made my first ever solo roast dinner. It was a bloody good one too. A movie and many cups of tea later, I fell asleep full and tired and happy.

Saturday 4 February - Snow party

Current location: Hackney
11.11pm, Throwing snowballs from a balcony. It was Els' birthday so we went to a fuuunnn house party. Then we left and went to another house party, which was slightly less fun but only due to it being too busy (which should make it more fun?!). By then, it had started to snow pretty heavily, so we threw snowballs and played in the snow. And then took three hours to get home, no joke. The old thought that London closes down in bad weather is true, and huddling together outside Canary Wharf station at 3am was not how I'd planned to spend Saturday night. But coming home to tea and hot-water bottles was a bit lovely.

Friday 3 February - Wild games night

Current location: Lewisham
11.11pm, Playing Monopoly with Petros and Andy. I'd had a pretty tiring week, thanks to work dramas and other things, and I just wanted to curl up at home with a glass of wine and a game. Rock n roll Fridays!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Thursday 2 February - Trouble in paradise

Current location: Piccadilly, London
11.11am, In Caffe Nero. Not in work. Even though we had a magazine to make.
Late yesterday afternoon, the power went off in our building, leading to a welcome 4pm finish and a trip to the pub. However by today, the power still wasn't on, leading to a very stressful 9.30am meeting where I had to decide what to do about production... Most of the team went home to work from there, while three of us trekked over to another building, hoping our computers would meet us there. They didn't, so we relocated to Caffe Nero in the meantime... The day ended up being one of laughter, frustration, busy-ness, fear and ultimately working very hard to make the magazine in time. I work with a bunch of absolute superstars. x

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Saturday 28 January - Day two in Gdansk

Current location: Gdansk, Poland
11.11pm, Eating the best meal. Seriously, this would be a very strong contender for my death-row meal (if I ever had to decide that), perhaps only overshadowed by the Hawksmoor dinner of dreams. Andy and I had had a non-stop, freezing cold, exciting, beautiful day and were warming up in a posho restaurant with cheese fondue! It's a dish I haven't had for years but we saw it on a menu as we were passing earlier in the day, and couldn't stop thinking about it.

We woke up pretty early today and headed downstairs for a huge breakfast and lots of coffee, before going out for a stroll around the city. It was cold. Wandering through the Old Town led us to a beautiful frozen river that runs through the centre, so we did some star jumps, threw some rocks onto the ice and then got too cold. Seriously, I don't think I'd ever been so cold. Every part of skin that was showing, such as cheeks or nose, immediately started hurting. So we returned to the hotel for some more clothes (and three pairs of socks) and began our adventuring again.

This time we got as far as a micro brewery that brewed some delicious pale ales and made some pretty weird food (home-made lard, anyone?). It was across the river so we got on a boat that cracked loudly through the ice to carry us across (a mere 25p for the journey!). This city is so stunning, every thing we saw and did seemed to take my breath away!

Next we ventured to the town of Sopot, about 20 minutes away on a train. As Gdansk isn't particularly touristy, we found it kind of funny when people didn't speak English and we didn't speak Polish, which almost resulted in Andy paying £15 for a cake, and me accusing a man of being a spy.

Sopot was breath-taking, as it's coastal and the beach runs the whole way alongside the town. At this time of year, the sand is covered in snow; it's the first time I've ever seen snow on a beach and I loved it! The pier at Sopot is pretty spectacular too – lots of birds, snow and a long walk. I love it here!

However, it was definitely freezing, so we had to find a pub to warm up again (we had to). One speciality of Gdansk is Tyskie grzeje zimą – mulled beer. The beer is served hot with cloves and ginger added and is the best thing to warm you up from head to toe. The pub was the oldest in Poland, apparently, and was like something out of Harry Potter... lots of red velvet, random knickknacks and a cat curling around our feet.

We moved on to a sports bar next, where we were the only two customers in a sea of 'reserved' tables (not sure who for as we were the only people there for two-and-a-half hours). It was quite a lot like someone had just opened their house, put the TV on to show a football match, and bought a bottle of vodka. The drinks were cheap (£2 for a triple vodka, and you couldn't buy smaller measures!), the heating was on and we were happy to stay – until we got hungry and headed back to Gdansk for the all-important cheese fondue.

I'd wanted to go to Gdansk for about five years. After all this time, it was nothing like I'd imagined – instead it was much more colourful, colder, cheaper, less touristy, sunnier, more beautiful and even more amazing than I was hoping for. The sun shone the whole time and I couldn't have loved it more.

Friday 27 January - Let's go Gdansk-ing!

Current location: Gdansk, Poland!
11.11pm, Sipping an Irish coffee in a Polish bar in Gdansk. After about five years of wanting to visit the coastal city in Poland, I decided to surprise Andy and take him for a weekend away in Gdansk. We arrived to freezing temperatures (which we later learnt was -16˚C) and a friendly welcome from 'Jasper' who drove us to our hotel and told us lots about the city. The drive between the airport and the city goes through a huge national park, which was covered in snow and so beautiful.

After a quick walk around the old town, we stopped to warm up and eat delicious mussels, washed down with a local beer. Braving the cold to return to our cosy hotel, we only ventured out hours later for dinner; I had meat wrapped in cabbage, which sounds gross but was excellent and very Polish! Carrying on the evening with a hot brandy coffee, I decided I love Gdansk so far!