Thursday, 21 May 2015

Well I'll be Dam'ed... 36 hours in Amsterdam


Everyone in the world is getting married this year so life is a constant round of hen parties and weddings. But some of them are worth 5000 mile commutes for and Jess definitely qualifies. I've managed to engineer myself on to the right side of the atlantic for the engagement drinks and the hen do - and I could not be a more excited bridesmaid.



We mananged to keep proceedings mostly a surprise until we herded all ten of her nearest and dearest to the airport to jump on a plane to Amsterdam for an entirely silly weekend.

Apartments at Leidsplein and beautiful spring weather meant we walked all over the city.




Breaking for Brunch at GS for the most desperately needed breakfast Bloody Mary's we've ever had (and a whole menu of them pleasingly printed on old records)


For a Cheese and Wine tasting event that was much more serious than we expected (rather more cheese and less wine...)



For an completely un-publishable class in the red light district that the Bride-to-be's mother bore remarkably well



All followed by a long bubbly supper at Bo Cinq - delicious Wagyu burgers and pudding that no-one could finish.


And an attempt to dance properly at Jimmy Woo - before giving up and heading out in search of more Beyonce (she hasn't got the ring on it quite yet..)


Our Sunday was (understandably) rather more subdued

A sunny Paper Planes Brunch and a quiet boat ride round the canal

Before creeping exhaustedly onto our plane, and sleeping all the way back to London.

(The most delicious of our) Locations: GS Cafe, Bo Cinq Restaurant, Jimmy Woo, Paper Planes Cafe: All Amsterdam Centrum.
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Monday, 18 May 2015

Somerset Celebrations - Wedding season begins in the West Country


My short trip across the Atlantic was mainly for the purpose of a road trip down to the West Country to celebrate the wedding of one of my oldest and dearest friends Tom in Sunny Somerset. Despite British weather being notoriously unpredictable in April - the sun shone, the Somerset sand stone glowed 

and they were led from the village church to their perfect garden party reception by a hairy suited fiddler. 





Have you ever seen such a magic cake? And the blooming magnolia trees inside the marquee were glorious.


We sipped champagne to 'Stomping dave'


Laughed until we cried at the much-too-close-too-the-bone speeches 



And slipped off in to the night to make the long trip back to Surrey before sunrise.


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Thursday, 23 April 2015

April in England - I'm HOME. The dog is less impressed than he should be.

After a turbulent nine hours in the air and three hours negotiating public transport from Heathrow back to Surrey I was more than ready to collapse. I'm rubbish at sleeping on planes and get horrible jet lag though so the only way to cope is to power through. I was greeted Bertie (the dog) and my sister Alice. Who made me tea (Alice), Sniffed me distainfully (Bertie) and whisked me off on a good stomp through the fields to wake me up (Alice and Bertie).

England is halfway through an April heatwave and absolutely at its most glorious at this time of year, warm enough to enjoy being outside without roasting, the fields are just beginning to develop their first glow of green and the trees are full of bird squawks

We pulled on wellies, whacked on hats and filled our pockets with dog treats and set off to blow away the cobwebs - it is SO GOOD to be home (even if i'm so tired I look crossed eyed - see below!). 


Location: Home sweet home.

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Thursday, 16 April 2015

A Birthday Bear - Apollo turns one


I have on more than one occasion flippantly suggested that I'd have an actual baby once I'd managed to keep a dog alive for a year. Apollo was one recently. He is exhausting. No part of me feels any more capable than I did when I got him so we're postponing the non-furry-child indefinitely. Or until I get confirmation from a credible source that I am in fact an adult.

Unpleasant reminders of my own age aside, my bat-eared-frog-legged-skunk-scented dream pup is a whole year old - or seven in dog years - which is worthy of some sort of celebration.

I checked him in to Woof Gang Bakery and Spa for a morning nail trim (my steadfastly gender neutral parenting / insistence on buying him unicorn toys means this boy KNOWS about pedicures..) while I perused the doggy pick and mix for a suitable birthday biscuit selection.

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Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Sunny Sunday - Austin Summer 2015 starts.

You know that Summer has truly begun when Nancy's wearing her Raybans - and a quick catch up brunch turns in to lunch, then drinks, then a BBQ  - and suddenly it's midnight and you're still warm outside by the pool. 
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SXSW 2015 Friday : Clean Bandit at Stubbs BBQ

A terribly belated SXSW update - festivals eat up your life....
Having missed my old friends 40 minute set on the thursday night (a combination of terrible restaurant service and even more terrible planning on my part - but The Luck Music are wonderful  - do track them down if you're in San Francisco) we were determined to do SOMETHING downtown for SXSW other than whine about the extra traffic and the tourists. 

We rolled in to town on Friday night to meet friends at Nova on Rainey - and, as is often the way in a town of not-very-many people, managed to make our way on to the Clean Bandit guest list at Stubbs for later that night. They're a London based band that mix classical instruments and strings with electronic music - pretty infectiously happy! I've had 'no place i'd rather be' stuck in my head for MONTHS so I was pretty delighted about seeing them live and hearing some more of their work.

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Friday, 20 March 2015

February Run of the Month: A not very foamy five K


A late December panic decision to sign myself up for at least one organised run a month (precipitated by a post Christmas pudding failure to zip up my jeans)  seemed like an extremely brilliant idea from the comfort of my caribbean sun lounger - and was an excellent reason to eat a few more festive snacks (gotta fuel those runners legs...).

But was less marvellous a plan on a cold, dark February Austin evening in the middle of a cold snap. Even more regrettable was the fact that this was a 'fun run' - a 'black light foam run' to be exact. I am not someone who thrives on 'organised fun'. A lot of my soul wanted to die. 
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