A couple of weeks ago was a day like any other, a Tuesday which had nothing out of the ordinary going for it except for two things.
Firstly, we had snow. An actual layer of snow landed on the ground and settled long enough for me to see and snap a photo of! This is very exciting for me – London hasn’t really had any snow yet, so the novelty factor was still high.
And secondly, it was a special day because it was one year since Ben and I first got together. To our great frustration, Ben was called in to work last minute, whereas before we’d both been on a day off. But we still managed to cram some celebrations into our day.
We started off in style with breakfast at Jackson and Rye. Newly opened in Richmond, this place is fresh, bright and clean, and prides itself on what seems to be a slightly vintage, thirties style. It’s situated right by the river, so we had a wonderful view of the (slightly) snowy morning while we ate.
It was practically deserted inside, as being a weekday a lot of people were at work. This meant I could get to work with my iPhone snapping the interior. I liked the slightly vintage feel, and felt it could easily fit with a 1920s or 1930s American diner.
I went for the Angler’s, which consists of scrambled eggs, smoked salmon, country style potatoes and grilled toast. I’m dribbling just at the thought of it! Ben chose the Farmer’s, made up of maple slab bacon, fried eggs, sausage patty, country style potatoes, spring onion and grilled toast. And when they said ‘slab’ of bacon, they weren’t kidding! It was like a doorstop.
Once Ben was done for the day, we picked up our day where we left off, in Richmond. We took a trip to the Hummingbird Bakery for slices of carrot cake and red velvet cake, and I further confirmed my suspicions that I cannot manage a whole slice of their ginormous cakes. Even for someone with as sweet a tooth as mine, it defeats me!
(I have a bit of a thing about herons. I used to walk to Battersea Park every day during my uni summer holidays to try and catch a glimpse of their colony of herons). It was just at that wonderful time of day when the sunset diffuses across the sky into shades of pinks and reds.
Sadly we couldn’t linger too long, as it was A) freezing, and B) we had to head home to smarten ourselves up, ready for dinner.I had booked us a table at the Hawksmoor restaurant in Air Street, just off Regent Street. Hawksmoor is essentially a steak restaurant. But it is an awesome one. Frequented by the likes of Millie Mackintosh and her husband Professor Green, I had been eyeing their Sunday roasts for a while, and had made it my mission to visit. I knew Ben had been once before and loved it, so it seemed like the perfect place for a special meal.
The restaurant itself is a long, elegant room which specialises in mood lighting. Hence the poor quality of all my photos! It is, however, beautiful and atmospheric. I’m a sucker for art deco design anyway, so I was sold from the start, but in particular I loved the wall of mirrors, edged with wood to cut it into three sections (I don’t know any technical terms!). It added light and the illusion of light to the room. I also enjoyed the green leather banquette seating in some of the booths. But the winner for me was the stained glass window I sat in front of all night.
Isn’t it beautiful? I also liked the different designs on the back of our menus: Ben’s had an old-fashioned design of the Underground, and mine had a map showing all the theatres in the area (which I found rather fitting considering my penchant for visiting the theatre!)
The meat was truly delicious, perfectly cooked and melt in the mouth. The buttered greens made us feel a little more virtuous about the rest of our meal, and the triple cooked chips were as they should be: crunchy on the outside, but soft and fluffy on the inside. And the mac and cheese? Wow. It made me remember why I never let myself have macaroni cheese – it’s the ultimate wonderful sin!
Hawksmoor was as good as I was hoping for and more. We found the food to be amazing and the staff polite and helpful. The other diners were probably the most grating element! There was a very loud drunken party diagonally across from us, but they thankfully left before too long, and a couple who actually got their laptop out at the dinner table and started working on some kind of presentation before dinner! But I think this may have had something to do with our central location, and if we’d gone to one of the other branches we may not have encountered it. And neither was a reflection on the restaurant, which was gorgeous.
Finally, to finish off the post, I thought you might like to hear a little bit about how Ben and I got to our one year marker.
We met in September 2013 when we were drafted in to work together for the day, and I immediately set about taking the mick out of him. I’m quite a shy person straight off the bat, so this was unusual in itself, and I apparently made quite an impression! In return he struck me as someone highly intelligent and dedicated to his work. But after our initial meeting we didn’t really spend much time together, as we worked at different offices. He was someone I knew on the periphery of my work circle, but we were both seeing someone at the time and therefore our paths didn’t really cross again until the end of January. Fresh back from a very welcome break to Paris, I was invigorated and refreshed, and ready to throw myself back into work – and life – anew. After a combined training day, our teams went on to shared drinks. Ben and I got chatting, and he invited me and one of our other colleagues out to drinks with him and a group of his friends. I stumbled home very drunk a few hours later, and ignored Ben’s ‘Did you get home safe?’ text for at least 12 hours. My flatmate and I were both suffering the next day from our respective nights out. But when the fog of my hangover eventually cleared I replied to Ben’s message, and we started texting. During the process, he invited himself along to an 80s fashion exhibition I was planning to go to at the V&A later that week. I was dubious, but my concerns were unfounded. What we expected to be a couple of hours wandering around the exhibition before going our separate ways turned into 10 ½ hours of talking. We saw the exhibition (and sniggered over lycra penile tubes – don’t ask!), then meandered around the rest of the museum and finally into a pub down the road, where we spent the rest of our evening. We talked about anything and everything, and by the end of the night the wheels were already turning…and a few weeks later that was it. We’ve been together ever since.
Ben and I have shared some wonderful adventures together over the past year – hiking around the Sussex Downs, biking in the New Forest, road tripping across California, and just enjoying the little wonders of everyday life. We’ve acquired pet names, in-jokes, and the almost-telepathic ability to finish each other sentences (it freaks the hell out of my friends!). I’ve never had that in a relationship before, and it’s been a wonderful revelation. I think it’s fair to say that Ben knows me better than anybody else, and he has the seal of approval from both of my parents! (This is a Big Deal). I’ve been oh so lucky to spend the last year with him, and I’m already looking forward to the next one.
Oh, and because I promised Ben that I would present both of us in an equally silly and embarassing light, here are photos of the two of us arsing about with puppets at London Zoo and the Natural History Museum…
So thank you, Ben. You are my wingman, partner in crime, best friend and other half. You are my staunchest supporter, and your encouragement is the reason I even have a blog. You know exactly what to say to bring me up when I’m feeling down, I can be silly with you like I can with no one else, and a hug from you is one of the best kinds of medicine. Thank you for being you. Here’s to another year’s worth of adventures!