Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Congratulation Drinks At The Gun

Yesterday, my boyfriend passed his second CFA exam. For those of you who don’t know, the CFA is basically a really hard professional exam you can take if you work in the banking industry. It’s so tough to get through, he had to revise for six months and he did insanely well, not just passing but getting top marks in a lot of sections!

I was so proud that I immediately cancelled our planned evening of going to the gym (boring) and insisted on dragging us down to our lovely local, the Gun, for celebratory drinks with a view.

We’ve been to the Gun countless times since we moved in to our new flat, and I’ve blogged about it plenty of times too (notably here). So how had I not noticed it had a secret garden?!

It’s so pretty, with deck chairs and a yellow fence and a little ice cream stall. I wanted to put it all on Pinterest at once.

There’s even a table tennis table, where I roundly beat my boyfriend two games to one (and may have lost a table tennis ball in the process – sorry!)

I do think it’s a shame that the view is being blocked by a new hotel (WHO gave planning permission for that monstrosity?) but there’s no doubt it’s still so beautiful sitting there in the summer evenings, watching the sunset over the o2.

Days like yesterday I feel like a very lucky girl.  

Monday, 28 July 2014

My Best Friend's Wedding

On Friday, one of my best friends from school got married to the love of her life. My friend and I were bridesmaids and it was such a beautiful day, I had to share a few moments. 

I met Fiona when we were 15. She was sitting on her own in Geography and I didn't like seeing people sit alone so I went to sit with her and we soon found out we got on really well - and that was that! 

It was a brilliant day, starting off at a gorgeous country hotel where we got our hair and make up done, whilst drinking prosecco, before getting into our dresses.

The ceremony was gorgeous and there were plenty of tears!

Speeches were brilliant, followed by a really tasty (and generously portioned) dinner, and then the best bit, the evening - which was an indie disco!

I've only shared a couple of memories here because obviously it's very personal - but it did make me want my own wedding, and more importantly, marriage. You could just see all day how incredibly happy they were, and I hope that lasts forever!

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

My London Love Affair

You might have noticed from my blogposts that I’ve been all over the place recently, but it’s starting to settle down and over the last few weeks I’ve been able to spend some time at home in London, enjoying the beautiful weather. I genuinely believe that if the weather in London was like this all the time, I would never want to leave. The city in summertime is just the most amazing place in the world, and I thought I’d share a few photographs to explain why…

1. Silently appreciating the view from my balcony – the way the river looks in the sunshine, and just watching little boats bob along , disappearing into the distance

2. I made a little sunbathing spot on my balcony one day and fell asleep in the sunshine – who says you need a garden?

3. London Southbank – I went for drinks with a good friend and as we walked we both said how beautiful everything looks in the sunshine

4 Drinking on the Thames – we visited a bar on a boat, taking advantage of the weather. It was busy, but everyone was in such a good mood that the vibe was actually just really nice. Afterwards we went to Gordon’s wine bar by Embankment where the barman gave us a free glass of wine!

5 Eating al fresco – pizza and a bottle of wine, with a riverside view, equals perfection

6 All the new bars popping up – look at this one at London Southbank, the so-called Festival of Love...

7 A beach by the river? Go on then.

8 Dragging my gerbils into the doorway so they can get some air – I think one of them enjoyed it, at least!

9 Paella and Eton Mess on the balcony, making a certain somebody very happy

10 Oh my sunset. I think these photographs speak for themselves.

These are the best days of our lives.

And now for something completely different…Monty Python, Live at the O2

When I heard that Monty Python were going to put on a series of live shows at the O2, I immediately knew I wanted to get tickets for me and my Dad. He loves Monty Python and has shown me the funniest sketches as I grew up, and I thought it would be a really nice thing for us to do. The tickets sold out in under a minute (!) and were quite ludicrously expensive – but I managed to get my hands on a pair, so we headed off excitedly to the O2!

It had been decked out for the occasion, dead parrot and all!

We took our seats (right up in the rafters, but still with a really good view) and waited for the show.

I’ve heard that reviews have been very mixed, but I personally thought it was brilliant and my Dad had a great time too. All the old favourites were there – the lumberjack song, the dead parrot, the cheese shop and of course, Spam – but the way they slightly alter them each time keeps it fresh, and at certain points they were laughing themselves, which made it just so much more enjoyable!

There’s a lot of audience participation, encouraging everyone to sing along to the songs, and it is very deliberately still of its time – so if you’re going to be offended by songs like ‘I Like Chinese’, you might want to get a sense of humour or not bother! It’s risqué in places too – definitely not for kids!

Alright, there were quite a lot of old clips during the dress changes, but the show itself pokes fun at that, and realistically how else could they do the costume changes?

Overall, I thought it was brilliant – good old fashioned humour with genuinely funny modern touches (a reference to Louis Suarez went down well, for example) and a feeling of warmth and love from the audience that couldn’t fail to leave you feeling that it was worth the trip. A really, really good evening! 

Monday, 21 July 2014

Dublin Part 3: Howth Coast

As I’d been to Dublin before, I was keen to spend our last day doing something I hadn’t done before. We packed up our belongings and decided to discuss it over breakfast in Temple Bar.

Pancakes, bacon and fried egg. Breakfast of kings!

After much deliberation we decided to get the train 30 minutes out of Dublin to the little village of Howth, on the coast. I didn’t realise how close Dublin was to the seaside, and I’m so pleased we went because it was absolutely beautiful. The sea really is green and I finally realised why Ireland is known as the Emerald Isle!

There’s a stunning harbour, which we walked along…

Before climbing over the wall and, like little mountain goats, making our way down to the sea.

My boyfriend dipped his hands into the water and I decided to copy him, getting my boots a bit wet in the process!

We sat on the wall for a while, just feeling peaceful and listening to the waves crash against the rocks.

Deciding we needed to walk off our breakfast some more, we went for a walk up Howth Head. There are a number of walks, up to 6km long – we didn’t manage that much, but we did see some pretty spectacular views (and some ridiculous signs!)

We found a friendly dog as well, who was keen to play, but having returned him to his rightful owners, we made our way back down in search of yet more sustenance – chorizo sandwiches and ice cream at a gorgeous local café. The man who ran it had moved there from Germany and told us he just enjoyed the slower pace of life in Dublin. ‘If a delivery didn’t show up in Germany, you’d call them 100 times then change supplier,’ he told us, ‘Whereas in Dublin, you’re just like…oh well!’

I’m not saying I want to move to Howth and live in a café… I’m just saying it sounds pretty tempting!

We sat on the grass for a while, watching the sea gulls pecking about… and just like in Norwich, I fell asleep AGAIN! I think I need to slow down a bit, I clearly need all the sleep I can get!

Eventually I was woken up by the rain on my face, and it was time to catch the train back to Dublin, where we sadly had to get our bags and head for the airport. Howth was a beautiful village and it was lovely to see a new part of Ireland. We’ll definitely be back!  
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