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 has been crazy on a global level (I can’t even begin…), and I posted the picture at the beginning of this post on Instagram the day after Trump’s inauguration with the following quote:
‘Together we can face any challenges as deep as the ocean and as high as the sky.’ – Sonia Gandhi.
I’ve decided that I am going to start monthly recaps on this blog in 2017. My reason for this is threefold:
1) it will help you, my readers, gain an insight into my every day life
2)it will serve as a sort of diary for me – I’ll be able to look back at my year and see what went down and when
3) I want to, and this is my blog, so what I say goes… 😉
So, going forward, at the end of each month, I’ll now be writing a post outlining the main events of the month, the highlights, the lowlights and what I blogged about. I’ll be including a favourite album / song / book / movie from each month too, and I also want to post the top three images from my Instagram account from each month (the ones that got the most likes), and tell a little story from behind the image.
So, without further ado, let’s delve into January and start the monthly recaps!
January has been super busy. By which I mean, during my first week back in work, I had something on every single evening of the week. I’ve been staying up late, getting up early and basically burning the candle at both ends. It’s been lots of fun though, and I’ve had some lovely evenings out, a great trip to kick off the new year, and some quality time with friends and family.
For starters, I spent three nights in Bruges and celebrating my birthday there with one of my oldest friends, A. We had a great time exploring this very pretty city and tasting the local beer! When I got back to London, I had a big birthday night out in Brixton with my friends, who all helped to make it a great night out. Since then, I’ve been thrown back into work, I’ve partied hard two Friday nights in a row, I’ve taken a brief 24 hour trip to Cardiff for a friend’s 30th, I’ve been on a writing workshop with National Geographic Travel and to the ballet and had lots of nice evenings out eating and drinking with friends. I also managed to fit in a spa-day that went wrong, an evening at the Winter Lights Festival at Canary Wharf, an afternoon wandering around Camden and Regent’s Park and a great Sunday brunch in Brixton with my sister. It’s been pretty full on!
- Seeing in the New Year London-style and our take on New Year’s Day Part II. The real New Year’s Day was a write-off, really, with hangovers and crappy weather (read heavy rain and strong wind!). However, the 2nd of January dawned bright and fair, and being hangover free, P and I made the most of it by taking a boat to Greenwich and exploring one of my favourite corners of London. We ate great chip shop chips, wandered around the village and park and then headed back into the city for some drinks with J and C. New Years Day Part II – always better than the real thing!
- Spending my birthday in Bruges. A helped to make it a really special day, and I couldn’t have thought of a better way to spend it than seeing the sights, drinking beer and eating my body weight in cheese and other delicious food! We climbed the Belfry in the main square and had a great Belgian brunch before taking a brewery tour and chilling out in the evening.
- My birthday night out in Brixton. I’ve never really been one for celebrating my birthday, so I felt a bit apprehensive about the pressure of having a lot of my friends gather together just for me. However, my worries were completely unfounded, everyone got on really well and as far as I’m aware, everyone had a great evening. I definitely did, if the hangover was anything to go by!
- Going to the ballet. We bought our tickets for The Nutcracker months ago, and it was totally worth it. Everything was stunning – the dancing, the costumes, the stage designs – and I enjoyed every minute.
- Attending the National Geographic Travel writing workshop. This was insightful, interesting and really useful for someone like myself who would love to be a published writer one day. It was great to meet the editors on the magazine and hear their stories and learn from their experiences. I’d recommend it to anyone who has even the slightest interest in travel writing!
- Catching up with friends and family. I hadn’t seen some of my friends from home for years, so it was lovely to see them in Cardiff. I also loved having all of my friends gather together for my birthday and to see them all get on so well, and I have had some lovely evenings out with friends this month too, eating and drinking or both. I’ve also spent some quality time with new friends, in the form of my work colleagues, and spent a lovely day with my flatmates in Kensington… Even if the spa did go wrong!
The Lowlights (luckily, hardly any, and those that did crop up are basically #firstworldproblems!)
- The massive train delay on our way home from Bruges. The train in front of us caught fire and we were held up for hours. Thankfully, everyone on the other train was fine and nobody was hurt, and thankfully everyone on our train was nice and no-one got pissed off, but it was a huge inconvenience to arrive back in London six hours after our intended arrival time when both A and I had made plans for the afternoon and we both had to cancel them.
- A much anticipated spa day was pretty bad. My housemates and I decided to pay for a spa package and go for massages and a relax at the Imagine Spa in Kensington. We were all looking forward to it and even went so far as to take the last two slots of the day for treatments, which meant getting up super early to make it on time for my appointment at 9.15am. You can imagine our disappointment upon arrival to find that the facilities were completely overrun with lots of children having swimming lessons and we simply could not relax and unwind as we had planned. My massage was lovely, but the Jacuzzi was the smallest I’ve ever seen, it was impossible to chill by the pool because of the swimming lessons and when I took a sauna, I was constantly interrupted by kids yelling hello at me and running past. We end up cutting our time there short, and my housemates got their money back. Instead, we went for coffee and then walked home from Kensington to Kennington, enjoying the sunshine and making a few pit stops along the way. Much nicer!
Posts This Month
Album of the Month
The xx – I see you. This album is literally blissful, beautifully put together and so tight. It just works on so many levels and I’ve had it on repeat pretty much the entire month (since P told me about it anyway!). Go listen – NOW!
Instagram Pictures of the Month
Bicycle in Bruges – This photo got 70 likes. I took it on our second day in Bruges, as we wandered the city getting a feel for the place. Both A and I loved the architecture in Bruges – the whole city felt like it should be put on the cover of a biscuit tin or chocolate box. There are a lot of canals too, and I feel like this photo really encapsulates the feel of Bruges – quaint, cute, small-town, beautiful. I’ll do a full post about Bruges soon, but needless to say, it is a great city and definitely worth a visit if you have a few spare days and need some inspiration on a travel destination!
The Main Square, Bruges – This photo got 67 likes and I’m not surprised! This was perhaps the most colourful square I’ve come across in my European travels so far – so bright and vibrant! There were horses pulling carriages but nowhere near as many as in Krakow and as it was January, it wasn’t ever too crowded. Those restaurants you see were super expensive (rip off!) and the wine wasn’t great – so we found a lovely wine bar on the second evening which served NZ Sauvignon’s and I was happy! The main point to see in this picture though are the people – when I posted this, someone commented that they could see themselves! That guy with the bright orange jacket? To the right, there’s a group of three women all wearing black coats, and they were the people who commented on my photo. It made me absurdly happy that some random person in the crowd had seen my picture and recognised themselves in it – I can’t be the only person to ever wonder how many random photos I’m in the background of?!
Roundel Reflection – Mildly hungover after my night out in Cardiff, I decided to walk back from Victoria to Kennington to get some fresh air and stretch my legs. It had been raining, and the pavements and roads were slick with water. One of my favourite things in London is finding quirky reflections and different angles when it’s wet to make photos more interesting, and this photo of the Underground roundel sign at Pimlico tube amassed 67 likes, probably due to the fact it was a slightly different take on something that Londoners see every single day! This is the only one of this month’s three photos that I took on my iPhone, the other two are DSLR.