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 was far quieter and more relaxed than April, and I’ve felt a lot less stressed out. I’ve taken time for myself, in extreme contrast to last month, so the quote this month reflects how good it’s been to chill out.
‘Taking time to do nothing often brings everything into perspective.’ – Doe Zantamata.
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 June, it’s time for my fifth recap. May was a lot quieter than April, and I really enjoyed having my own space to relax and just be on my own. Sometimes, there’s nothing better!
I spent the entire month of May in London. This is the first whole month I’ve spent at home since… I don’t know when, and it felt good. I was so busy in April, going here, there and everywhere and barely giving myself time to recuperate after our two weeks away in Israel and Jordan. As a result, it was wonderful to have no plans to go anywhere in May and spend all of my time in the capital. I spent my time exploring some parts of the city I’ve not seen before, celebrating two weddings and catching up with friends and family. The weather has been excellent for the last part of the month too, which was an added bonus!
The best thing about May has been the time I’ve had to myself. I’ve actively worked having evenings alone into my schedule and spent them relaxing reading books, watching TV and films and just being… without anyone else. I’m an introvert at heart and spending every waking minute with other people becomes wearing for me. I therefore enjoyed chilling out and deliberately taking myself away from others to rejuvenate after April and get ready for the next couple of months, which are looking busy again!
- Celebrating P’s wedding. Early in the month, my good friend P got married and we went along to the evening do in Shoreditch. I ended up getting absolutely wasted (thanks for the free bar there P, really did me over!) and I didn’t get home until 3am – on a school night too! Work the next day was not fun… It was a great evening though – I’ve not had such a good night in ages!
- Celebrating my cousin S’ hen do and, two weeks later, her wedding to E. My sister and I paid for our spa day treat to celebrate S’ hen do in April, so this almost felt like a freebie! We enjoyed a delicious Champagne brunch before having our treatments – a facial and a back massage. I felt so relaxed afterwards. It was my first ever facial and I’ll definitely be getting another in the future – head massages are to die for! It was great to spend some quality time with E too. We ended up having dinner at her flat and playing monopoly together.A couple of weeks later, we headed to north London to help S and E celebrate their wedding blessing. It was a beautiful sunny day, and it was really lovely to see my grandparents, Mum, Dad and some other members of my extended family, as well as my adorable baby second cousins. And of course, it was wonderful to see S and E saying their vows too!
- Having a lovely evening with an old family friend T and my sister. My parents have known T since before I was born, so for a pretty long time! It transpires that I hadn’t seen him for about six or seven years, so it was wonderful to catch up with him and enjoy a nice meal all together. The biggest laugh of the evening came when E ordered a salmon fishcake and declined a side to go with it… Out came her plate, with a salmon fishcake and some wilted spinach and… not much else. It was £16 as well! For a fishcake! Despite the fishcake, we had a lovely evening reminiscing about old times and getting into political conversations.
- Spending one Sunday walking from Bethnal Green to Camden along Regents Canal. A and I decided at the end of April that when we spent time together, we would try and be active, rather than go for a drink or for food. As such, one Sunday we walked along Regents Canal, together with P, from Bethnal Green to Camden, stopping off at Kings Cross along the way for, yep, food and a quick drink to keep us going. It was a lovely walk, slightly too crowded for my liking at the beginning, and a great way to spend a Sunday – chilling out and getting some exercise in. I’d highly recommend doing this if you haven’t already – it’s easy walking and takes you into some quieter parts of London, away from the hustle and bustle of central, only to throw you back in at the deep end when you reach Camden.
- The beautiful, hot weather. It has been glorious to have some proper sunshine and some real warmth. It’s actually felt like summer! I daresay this is going to be the only summer we get (haha) but it’s so nice to finish work, find a sunny spot and have a few drinks with friends, or go to the park and chill out for an hour in the long summer evenings. Long may it last!
- My happy day! After a night out to say goodbye to D, I woke up at my usual time feeling apprehensive. I’d drunk quite a few double vodka, lime and sodas… I was surely going to be in hangover central, right?! I sat up. I blinked. I looked around my room. Realisation dawned. I wasn’t hungover! In the slightest! Not even a little bit! With a quick grin, I hopped out of bed and headed for a shower. I walked to work in the bright sunshine, got an iced coffee on the way and, upon arriving in the office, announced that I was in the most ridiculously happy mood ever! Not only was I hangover free, with an iced coffee in hand (my second of the season), but it was also pay day! The day only got better – I think I was a bit delirious for much of it. I had a burger for lunch, I had a drink on the rooftop after work, I had a laugh with my friends. I even got the best email that has ever landed in my inbox – but that’s not for this blog. Needless to say though, it provided me with quite a bit of mirth. All those little things combined made that Friday literally the happiest day I’ve had in a long time.
- A day at Kew Gardens with R and A. I’ve been meaning to go to Kew Gardens for a while, so dragged A and her friend R along with me when I went at the end of the month. The £15 entrance fee is, in my opinion, a little steep, but we had a pleasant few hours exploring the gardens. I loved The Hive, a beautiful installation demonstrating how bees live and survive, and it was nice to escape the bustle of central London and enjoy a quieter pace of life. After the gardens, we had a roast dinner (R gave me her Yorkshire pudding, which really made my day!) and looked in the little shops before heading home. Another lovely day with A, and great to meet a new friend too.
- Cocktails at The Alchemist with A. One of my friends posted a picture of an amazing looking cocktail on her Instagram, inspiring A and I to head to this awesome cocktail bar near Bank. The cocktails were all delicious – put it this way, I am not a fan of gin and I enjoyed the best cocktail I’ve ever had – with, you guessed it, gin. It was lovely to sit at the bar, watching the cocktails being made (some of them were literally like magic, or a cool science experiment at the very least!) and catching up with A. She is going away for a few weeks in June and I’ll really miss her company, so have to make the most of her whilst she’s still around!
- Falling down the stairs. The morning after P’s wedding party (you know, the one with the free bar), I may still have been slightly drunk. I got ready as usual for work, wishing I’d booked the day off / could work from home, and stepped out the front door. Halfway down the stairs out of my block of flats, I lost concentration, missed my footing and fell about three or four steps to the bottom of the flight of stairs. I hurt my ankle pretty badly (it was still painful about two weeks later) and ripped my jeans. Not my finest moment, but at least I could go home and get changed before going to work! Note to self: focus harder when negotiating stairs whilst still slightly drunk / majorly hungover.
- The Manchester terror attack. The shittiest thing to happen all month. All year. For years. I woke on Tuesday 23rd May to a message from S saying that there had been a bombing in Manchester. I cried that morning before work when I listened to the news – targeting children and young people at a concert is just too terrible to wrap your head around. It’s been amazing to see how Manchester pulled together and stood defiant in the face of the attack, and to see the outpouring of love from people all over the world who were horrified by the attack. If you felt as helpless as me in the face of such an appalling atrocity, and feel you want to contribute something, there is an amazing fund that has been set up by the British Red Cross and Manchester Evening News for the victims and their families. The link to the page is here. We Love Manchester.
Posts This Month
TV Series of the Month
It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, Season 12. It was P who first introduced me to this show, and I have to say, Season 12 was just excellent. The latest season and out this month on Netflix, the episodes were basically just hilarious from start to finish, with no weak episode in the entire series. If you’re looking for a quick comedy fix and don’t get offended too easily, then this is definitely the show for you. Described on Wikipedia as a black comedy sitcom, you can enjoy such episodes as The Gang goes to a Water Park (pure dark comedy at it’s genius best) and Making Dennis Reynolds a Murderer (an episode based on the hit TV show Making A Murderer). Each episode is only about 20 minutes long, so there are no major time commitments either, and it’s not hugely important to have seen previous seasons, although there are some loose themes / story lines that run through the series, so you may find a few of the jokes a bit weird if you’ve never seen any previous episodes.
Instagram Pictures of the Month
My photos this month were mainly from London, with others thrown in from Jordan, Israel, Brighton and New Zealand as well. I choose these three images based on which got the most likes on Instagram and then tell the story being the picture. Disclaimer: They are not necessarily my favourites photos!
Mirror Reflections, Regents Canal, London. The rain had passed and we left Kings Cross behind to continue walking onto Camden. I borrowed P’s jacket against the early evening chill as we strolled along. The towpath was quieter now, with fewer people around as Sunday began to draw to a close. The sun was setting – golden hour upon us. Whilst A fiddled with his camera settings, I took several shots on my iPhone and managed to capture this image. The water was so calm the reflections are almost perfect, with just a few ripples in the bottom right disrupting the mirror. A woman with her toddler in a pram was also snapping photos on her phone and we exchanged comments about the sunset, remarking on how nice it was with the water. I wasn’t sure about this image but it turned out to be one of the most popular posts on Instagram of the month. For me, the picture represents a quieter, less urban side to London that you have to seek out. This is secret London, the shy side that hides from people who don’t want to go looking. It reminds me to always explore further, look harder, hunt these places out.
Chasing the Train, Wadi Rum, Jordan. Whilst E and P were off walking, I wandered into the desert near our camp with my camera looking for photo opportunities. My inner geek had done a dance of joy when I’d noticed the train tracks earlier, upon our arrival in the desert, and I’d rushed out during lunch when we heard the unmistakable rumble of a train and watched as it trundled slowly past, making it’s way inch by inch across the desert sea. There was no noise now – no train coming anytime soon. Just the whisper of the wind and, if you listened hard enough, the rustle as millions upon millions of grains of sand marched ever onwards, blown by the breeze and shaped the landscape, never ending. I followed the tracks and stopped to watch dung beetles scrabble and scurry across the sand, leaving weaving tracks in their wake that disappeared in minutes behind them. All around me, giant monoliths of rock towered over, silent and still, eons old. I got this shot just as the sun was dipping below the horizon and the clouds looked like a shoal of mackerel in the sky. In the distance, I could make out two small, moving dots. My sisters were returning. I headed back to camp, quiet and peaceful, to watch the sky turn orange, gold and red and to spend my first night in the dark desert night.
Wisteria Season, Kennington, London. I went up to Notting Hill at the end of April to take photos with my camera of the wisteria flowers, having been inspired by several bloggers on Instagram. I got some shots, but felt rushed as I was with my Mum and sister and didn’t want to keep them hanging around (I have it on good authority that there is nothing more annoying for a non-photographer to have to keep stopping and waiting for someone who is spending ages taking a photo). I walk past this door every single day, but barely registered it until Mum pointed it out to me on our way to the station on her final day in London. On my way back from dropping her off, I stopped and took the scene in properly. The purple-blue door was perfectly coordinated with the purple wisteria blooms, and I was in luck – there were no cars parked in front, making for an awkwardly composed photo! I snapped two or three shots on my phone and headed home. Turns out, this was the best image I got of the wisteria blooms. Just goes to show, you can head all the way to north London especially to search them out and then find exactly what you were looking for right there on your doorstep.