I normally add a quote to the beginning of each post that sums up or enhances my writing. However, I’m going to use my monthly recaps as an opportunity to sum up the month – be it the mood, the weather, my feelings… Anything really! This month, as you’ll see, I’ve been rushed off my feet. My quote for the month is therefore about just that – being busy!
‘There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy and the tired.’ – F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Note: the featured image at the top of this post is my photo of one of Steve McCurry’s own amazing photos from the exhibition I saw in April. I wanted to share it since I just think his pictures are stunning. The image of the steam train in front of the Taj Mahal can never again be recreated, since the railway has long since gone and been replaced by a road and houses. Therefore, this photo is literally a little piece of history. I think that’s pretty awesome.
Back in January, I announced I was going to start monthly recaps on my blog. If you missed last month’s, you can find it here. Now, as we head into May (where the hell is this year going?!), it’s time for my fourth recap. April was another busy month – I’ve barely had time to breathe!
I arrived back in London fresh from Israel and Jordan on the 2nd of April and instantly threw myself back into big city life. This month has been truly hectic and has resulted in yet another long period of time going by where I’ve neglected HTMW a bit too much. I’m going to work really hard to rectify this in May and get plenty of content up on the blog. I have some posts in the pipeline, so keep your eyes peeled! I am purposefully aiming to keep life a bit quieter this month, to recuperate from April if nothing else!
Despite being super busy (or because of it?), April has been an awesome month, with lots of fun things happening. Mum visited, one of my friends was over from Munich twice in one month and I did some cool stuff like taking a day trip to Brighton, visiting Notting Hill for the first time during wisteria season and seeing some great DJs at Dinerama in Shoreditch. April has also been a great month for food!
- Coming home to London after two weeks away. Whilst Israel and Jordan were incredible, by the end of our trip I was ready to come home. Walking back from the tube station in the afternoon sunshine on April 2nd, with the trees all in bud and a blue sky overhead, I felt really fucking happy to be back in London. It was the first time this city has felt truly like home, although I know that this feeling has been coming on for a while. It was lovely to be back in my flat, chucking a load of dirty laundry in the machine and pottering about in my own space once again. Although I loved my time away, it was also fantastic to be back.
- Spring arrived! Finally. It really feels like the season has sprung this month, with all the trees in bud, flowers blooming left, right and centre and lots of blossom everywhere. The evenings have lengthened out again with the clocks going forward, it has actually been warm enough to go out without wearing a coat and there is the promise of summer just around the corner. I’ve decided that spring in London is my favourite season in the city.
- Meeting Brenna from This Battered Suitcase – she’s one of my all-time favourite bloggers! Whilst I was in Israel, Brenna posted on Facebook that she’d be holding a meet-up at the beginning of April for her readers, and I instantly knew I had to sign up to go along. I missed her last one back in June 2016 as I’d literally just arrived back in the UK after the Long Journey Home, so there was no way I was missing this one too! We all met up in a trendy bar in East London and hung out there chatting about blogging, dating and lots of other stuff before heading with Brenna across the road to her local pub. It’s a place she’s written a bit about in her blog, so it was nice to experience her world for an hour or so! It was a fun evening – it was so wonderful to finally meet Brenna and chat with her, and it was also great to meet other like-minded people who’d all come together because we love Brenna’s blog. I’ll definitely be going along if she has another meet-up!
- Lots of fun nights out with friends. So many fun nights out with friends. They all kind of blur into one, and this is the main reason why I’ve been so busy all month! I just never seem to be able to head home straight after work – I love meeting up with my mates too much! I enjoyed chips, cheese and curry sauce with E (don’t ask, I really fancied it!), at least three drunken nights out with work mates, great pizza with A in Shoreditch, a last minute trip to Oxford Street with P to buy ‘I have more money than I thought I had at the end of the month’ trainers and various other evenings out with various other friends. My network in London is one of my favourite things about living here!
- Sunshine Sunday. The temperature actually got up to the mid twenties, so a group of us decided to head to Vauxhall City Farm and check out the animals before chilling in the park for the rest of the afternoon. It was so nice to enjoy the sunshine and have nothing better to do than lounge around and chat whilst listening to music and recovering from hangovers. Definitely a great way to get over a drunken night out!
- A lovely evening in with my aunt and cousins. It is lovely to be able to hang out with my cousins and aunt on a more regular basis now that I live in London and we spent the entire evening in stitches of laughter, talking about travels, politics, babies and everything in between!
- Mum spending the weekend in London and visiting Notting Hill. It’s always lovely when Mum comes to visit, and this weekend was no exception. It was the London Marathon on the Sunday, so to avoid the crowds we headed to Notting Hill to explore. I’ve never been there before, and fell in love with the colourful houses, the wisteria drooping over the buildings and the quiet cobbled mews. We also had the best Italian food I’ve perhaps ever eaten! Head over to my Instagram feed for photos from our day out in north west London!
- Not one but two visits from C. The first was only fleeting, but the second time around C was here for four nights, so we had loads of time to hang out and have fun! As well as Brighton, we had lots of great food (both cooked by me and whilst out), spent an afternoon and evening at Dinerama enjoying DJ sets from the likes of Erol Alkan and Django Django and had a great brunch at Caravan at Kings Cross before C headed back to Munich on the Monday. It was a lovely weekend and so great to have C in town for a nice amount of time.
- A day out in Brighton. The highlight of the bank holiday weekend for me. P, C and I took a train to Brighton on Saturday to explore and get some sea air. As well as relaxing on the beach, we went to the pier and played arcade games, went on a rollercoaster (because why not!), ate yet more lovely food, strolled along the sea front, took in the Royal Pavilion and, to cap it off, we took a ‘flight’ on the British Airways i360, the world’s tallest moving observation tower. I thoroughly enjoyed our twenty minute trip overlooking the entire city of Brighton and would recommend it to other people visiting Brighton if you enjoy a good view! My favourite part of the day has to be the 2p slot machines though – who knew they could be so addictive?! Thank goodness they were only 2p’s…
- Seeing the Steve McCurry photography exhibition in Brussels. The highlight of my otherwise slightly strange trip to Brussels. Steve McCurry is a world-renowned photographer, mainly due to his amazing portrait photos and this exhibition did not disappoint. I was blown away by some of his photos and found it incredible how every single one of the 200 that I saw told some sort of story. I’d highly recommend seeing any exhibition of his work if you ever get the chance – his photos are all exceptional.
- The rest of my time in Brussels. Have you ever gone somewhere and literally just wanted to go home? Well, this was me in Brussels. I hadn’t expected to feel this way – I was super excited about this trip, not least because I booked it ages ago through the Expedia Surprise Trips website and, until I arrived at the airport on the day, I had no idea where I would be going! If I’m honest, I can’t really put a finger on why I didn’t enjoy Brussels. I felt lethargic, miserable and just dead tired for the whole weekend – probably not helped by the fact that I had a massive hangover of Good Friday and about four hours sleep before my flight. I was super bummed out by the fact that Expedia put me into a dorm room too, especially since I’d been under the impression that you got a private room when I booked. On Sunday morning, with another 36 hours in Brussels looming large, I thought about going home early and instantly felt a lot happier. Within half an hour (and after a quick phone call with Mum) I had booked a ticket back to London for that afternoon and by 9pm on Sunday, I was home. It turns out it was the best decision I could have made and I’m so happy I decided to head home early when I wasn’t enjoying my trip. I spent Monday chilling out and feeling smug about the fact that I wasn’t in Brussels anymore. It’s just a shame I didn’t have a good time. The concept of Surprise Trips is great, but I’m going to write to Expedia with some recommendations on how they can improve the idea, not least offering the option to have a private or shared room when you book your trip so that there are no unwelcome surprises amongst the good.
Posts This Month
TV Series of the Month
Big Little Lies. Based on one of my favourite books by Liane Moriarty, this TV show did not disappoint. It’s got a heavyweight cast – Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern and Shailene Woodley all star and bring this book to life absolutely brilliantly. They’ve changed a few things for the adaptation, not least relocating the story from Sydney, Australia to Monterey, California, and they’ve added some extra storylines for bigger impact, but overall nothing detracts too much from the key storylines in the book and Monterey is actually a pretty good setting with some awesome scenery and backdrops to set the show against. It’s available on NOW TV, and you can get a free month when you sign up, so if you want to check this show out I’d recommend doing that and then cancelling before you start being charged, unless you want to keep it up that is! No spoilers here – if you want to know what happens, you’d better get watching!
Instagram Pictures of the Month
My photos were from London and Jordan this month, with one from Bruges when I posted my Postcards from Bruges and a couple from Brighton right at the tail end of April.
Train Approaching, Pimlico, London. I was surprised by how popular this photo was when I posted it on Instagram – it even got featured on one of the hashtags I used! In my opinion, it’s not the best picture at all – a bit too grainy and glaring for my liking, but there we go! I took it as we were waiting to catch the tube down to Brixton for dinner. I was with Mum and E and we had just been to see the David Hockney exhibition at the Tate Britain. The platform at Pimlico was empty so I took the opportunity to take this photo, and nearly jumped out of my skin when the train driver tooted his horn! I obviously must have looked very touristy…
Goat on a Rock, Petra, Jordan. We had climbed right up to the Monastry at Petra – this is the biggest carved palace in the rocks and the scale of it is utterly unbelievable. There was one last climb up to some amazing viewpoints overlooking a sea of mountains and as we started up, this goat began to follow us, bleating quite pitifully. It had obviously lost all of its herd and seemed to want to join us instead! He posed very graciously on this rock for several minutes before finally losing hope in us and trotting off to try and find the rest of his herd. I’m still rooting for him!
Sunset in Aqaba, Jordan. We spent two evenings in Aqaba and enjoyed the sunset from the rooftop of our hotel. On the second evening, three rook-like birds kept us company, perching on this ledge and making great silhouettes against the backdrop of the amazing sunset, the mosque and the Red Sea behind. We ended up giving the birds names for a joke and, once the sun had dipped below the horizon, I read a chapter of my book out loud to P and E until it got too dark to see anymore. This was definitely one of the best sunsets so far of 2017!