Thursday, 3 July 2014

May and June

What with one thing and another, and working a two month notice period that came to an end with the start of a July, May and June ran into one another somewhat.

1. Way back at the beginning of May, I spent some time back in my one time 'hood of SW3. On a wonderfully mild evening, my cousin and I caught up over dinner, then took a stroll along Chelsea Embankment, over the twinkling Albert Bridge to Battersea Park. It feel like forever since I used to run that route when I was living in Chelsea, while I was between houses, bouncing from sofa-bed to spare room!

2. May and June were music-filled months. I saw two gigs in four days, and they couldn't have been more different. First up was a trip to the O2 Arena for the London leg of the Prismatic Tour, to see Ms Katy Perry in action. (Don't judge! I love her.) The show was one slick operation - endless costume changes, dozens of dancers, elaborate stage sets and a set-list that kept the audience dancing and singing for hours. There's no denying that girl works damn hard for her millions. A few days later, in the more intimate venue of the Islington Assembly Hall, an equally talented lady took to the stage. With only two members in her backing band, and no fancy backdrops or special effects, Sara Bareilles had the whole audience in the palm of her hand for the entirety of her clever, funny, heartfelt set. Two very different ladies, with their very different styles, but both extraordinarily good at doing what they do.

3. Sunny days called for lunchtime breaks in the the squares around Fitzrovia. (If I could find a spot amongst the hundreds of sandwich-eating office workers who'd had the same idea!) My favourite spot is Gordon Square, the former haunt of the Bloomsbury Set; Virginia Woolf, E.M. Forster, Clive Bell, John Maynard Keynes et al.  Oh, and there's now a tiny branch of Viennese cafe, Kipferl, in the Square for a decent coffee and a piece of cake, which makes it an even more tempting spot.

4. The Accidental Boyfriend (now a Holloway resident, like me) and I checked out, and returned to, an excellent new burger and brunch spot at the top of the Holloway Road. I love Holloway, but we're not exactly drowning in perfect places to eat up here, so the Spoke is a very welcome addition to the area. Their pulled pork burger? To. Die. For.

5. At the start of June I had a wonderful weekend away in Amsterdam with my pal and fellow blogger, Lou. We were principally there to run Nike's We Own The Night 10k, but we spent most of our time wandering canals, drinking wine in the sunshine, eating waaaay too much excellent food here and here, and spending hours putting the world to rights.

6. June was also a month for hen parties, as two of my university friends prepare to get married this summer. First up was a weekend in London - taking a ballon-filled boat down the Regents Canal, drinking a lot of Pimms, eating Mexican food washed down with many caipirinhas, and salsa dancing at Floridita. Then, just last weekend, my friends gathered again up in Leeds, for 80s dance lessons, karaoke, dinner and more dancing in our own personal tiki hut. Congratulations, Sarah and Oonagh! Can't wait to help you celebrate some more at your weddings this year.

7. I indulged in expanding my collection of old Penguin paperbacks. I just love the classic design of these books - they look so wonderful on a bookshelf all together. But they're also a fantastic collection of stories, experiences and lives, and the perfect size to slip in a handbag to read on the bus. I discovered an enormous supply of these beloved books at my new favourite secondhand bookstore - Skoob Books in the Brunswick Centre, Bloomsbury. I also discovered a little trove up nearer my house as well: Walden Books between Camden and Kentish Town. I'm going to need some more bookshelves in the coming months...

8. A friend took me to the beautiful Kyoto Garden, hidden inside Holland Park. This is a little Kensington oasis of water and koi carp and indignant peacocks, originally designed by the Chamber of Commerce of Kyoto. It was so peaceful, despite having plenty of tourists and locals checking it out when we visited, that one completely forgot it was a mere stone's throw from bustling High Street Kensington.

9. And then I quit my job. And my mother sent me the greatest leaving card ever in celebration.

Here's to July, dear readers! May it bring you all wonderful things, and some form of gainful employment for me. 

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