What a week! The sun has been shining, and it’s finally felt like Spring, even with hints of Summer creeping in. I even spent Friday afternoon with my bare exposed to the world for the first time all year, blinding passers by with the sheer whiteness of my Winter legs. I miss my Summer tan! Time to start working on it again I think…
After coming back from a much-enjoyed Easter weekend in Suffolk, I have been on a training course in Richmond for most of this week. It was actually fairly enjoyable, with 07:30 starts but afternoons spent enjoying the lovely weather and the delight that is Richmond. I fell in love with this town when I first visited about nearly three years ago, and will jump at any excuse to visit. I just love every part of it: a wide range of good shops, from Waterstones to Anthropologie to Hummingbird Bakery (if you come to Richmond you’ll be bankrupt but you’ll go home happy!), to the gorgeous architecture of the townhouses down to the sparkling, winding river, and to the unrivalled, sprawling park. Heaven. And all within arm’s reach of London. If only I could afford a house there…
A lot of the things that have made me smile this week have been seasonal (surprise, surprise!), but they have pretty much all featured Ben and just spending some quality time together enjoying each other’s company and the simple pleasures in life. And without further ado, here they are…
+ Bagging this Crew jumper in the sale. The colour is described as vanilla on the tag, but I would consider it more an oaty colour. It’s so very pale compared to my normal palette of bright, bold colours, and it took Ben reassuring me several times that ‘yes it looks good’, ‘no, it’s not too pale’ and ‘no, it doesn’t make you look fat’ to convince me. But it is soft and comfortable, goes well with a lot of my bright colours, and is possibly even a little more grown up than my normal wardrobe… (perish the thought!) Sadly it is only now available in a size 14 in this colour, but the style has a whole range of colous.
+ Walking home after work on Wednesday. It was a glorious sunny day and we took the river route back from our training course to Ben’s. We saw about four herons hunting and flying along the shore, a rowing team sculling past along the tranquil river, and basked in the warmth of the sun. It was a calm, serene afternoon, and made me thankful for being able to escape the hustle and bustle of city living for moments like this.
+ Date Night on Thursday. We went to see Insurgent at the cinema, then had dinner at The Pig’s Ear in Richmond (good food, brilliant range of beers). I’ve read Divergent and really enjoyed both the book and the film, but haven’t read the book of Insurgent, so I was out of the loop. The plot, to my mind, wasn’t as good as Divergent, and Tris got on my nerves A LOT. I mean, come on, I went through the whole survivor’s guilt angst with Harry Potter, don’t put me through it again! But it was still an enjoyable film and I may even return for the finale.
+ Friday Fro Yo! This isn’t a thing, but it really should be. Ben introduced myself and one of our work friends to The Farmery in Richmond on the last day of our training course, and we gorged on frozen yoghurt and all the decadent toppings that come with it. I had the Banoffee Pie, which was salted caramel yoghurt, with sliced banana, brownie pieces and toffee sauce. *Makes dribbling noises*. It was divine, though I did feel full enough to burst afterwards!
+ Following on from Friday Fro Yo, Ben and I had a ton of Itsu sushi and fro yo to work off, and set off on a (three and a half hour) afternoon ramble through Richmond Park. It was such a lovely afternoon, with enough sunshine to warm us that I even took my tights off! We saw many, many dogs frolicking, deer grazing and flowers blossoming, and it made my heart sing with happiness. We also spent the entire time discussing our future dream country home, which was lovely (and ranged from a conservatory dining room to an open fire in the living room to a tree house in the garden, with a games room, window seats and a sweeping gravel drive thrown in. We’re not unrealistic, not in the slightest…)
+ Watching The 39 Steps at the Criterion Theatre on Friday night. It’s based on a novel written in the 1930s by John Buchan, although it owes far more to the Hitchcock film adaptation than it does to the original, rather serious, novel. I will try and cram a review in soon, but needless to say it was hilarious and is well worth the watch. We both left the show with ear to ear grins, and the whole theatre laughed throughout the performance.
+ Discovering that Woman’s Hour provide a free podcast subscription service. If you hadn’t heard of it, Woman’s Hour is a radio show on BBC Radio 4 which broadcasts every weekday morning. It covers a vast range of topics, with particular emphasis on issues which matter to women. They’ve talked about periods, the election, Fortitude and the Oxford-Cambridge university boat race* recently. It’s such a middle-aged pleasure, but I find it so soothing just to tune in and listen to their discussion of these topics. It’s nice to engage with issues that I wouldn’t have the opportunity to discuss in my (rather male-orientated) place of work. So discovering these podcasts (and downloading them in bulk onto my iPod) looks set to be my new obsession!
(*Which deserves its own shout out for finally letting women compete on the same route as men along the Thames from Putney rather than on a separate day over in Henley)
+ Spring cleaning. Having started on this back home over the Easter weekend, I took the opportunity before work yesterday to get into it with gusto. My room is such a tip, with bags and piles of things and assorted ‘stuff’ that I have been meaning to tidy for ages. The saying, ‘tidy house, tidy mind’ is certainly rooted in fact, and I often get myself more into a frazzle over the state of my room. So I have worked out a system, and will be using my days off this week to tackle the different sectors of my room bit by bit, to finally give me back a room I’m proud of!
+ Along with spring cleaning, the urge for nest building has reared its head again. The cure? Home magazines to the rescue, and much tearing out of pages where I like particular room styles and schemes. I may not be able to afford any of it right now, but I can dresm, right? The Debenhams and Graham and Green catalogues received similar attention, and I may have to save up for this particularly gorgeous pouffe from Graham and Green…
+ And finally, just this afternoon I booked one of the hotels that Ben and I will be staying in during our trip to New York and Washington DC next month. On the final night we are staying close to Newark Airport, as we have an early flight the next morning and decided to avoid the stress of the hectic commute out to the airport with a (much) quicker shuttle bus. After an overwhelming internet search (there are so many hotels within spitting distance of the airport that trying to single them out was an ordeal!), I chose the Courtyard Newark Liberty International Airport. Has anyone stayed there before? What were your thoughts? Also, dear reader, where can you recommend we stay whilst in New York and DC? Suggestions are very welcome!