Five Highlights from the month of July


How we have flown through this last month? In fact, it feels crazy to believe I started this year living in New York! I have now been back in the bosom for over four months - four glorious months - and I think my rose-tinted spectacles are firmly fixed upon my nose and life in the UK has never felt better. I can't tell you how many moments I've just been overwhelmed by happy feelings; dinner with friends we haven't seen in over a year, moments spent by the river and, yes, even popping to Tesco on the way home (still a luxury)!

If it weren't for all the talk (read: borderline moaning) about the heatwave, the nationwide shortage of electric fans and air-con engineers being in hot demand, you could be mistaken for thinking the UK had moored up in the Mediterranean. Yet, if it weren't for the hard-to-avoid scorcher of late, I can hardly believe how quickly summer has come around. As a way to capture this year before it's over, my first blog post in a while is capturing the 'best bits' from this month just gone by.

Where did that time go?
July is one of my favourite months of the year, especially now the 1st of July commands champagne and happy memories as we celebrate our wedding anniversary. Before 2016, I was never really a fan of the summer months owing to the challenges of a summer wardrobe, permanent sweat 'tache and a complexion that was either ghostly white or lobster red. I've been particularly grateful that we even had a little rain on the morning of our wedding day to ensure I wasn't a sweaty mess on our big day!

As the novelty of wedding anniversaries hasn't worn off yet, we like to make a little effort with marking the happy day. Last year, for our first anniversary, we gave each other paper clues of places to see on a day adventuring around Manhattan. This time around, we went back to the scene of the crime and spent the day chilling (read: walking, napping, eating) around Kew Gardens. In fact, I realised I have never walked all the way to the end of The Mall which was glorious not only for its dappled shade, and I also got to see the newly renovated Pagoda. I just love this place so much, it really is a little sanctuary in London!

What a world cup.
Don't worry, this will be short and sweet - football is not a topic that lives on this blog. But, didn't our boys do well! I have always got behind our England football team (well, approximately every two years) but this year, they really did us proud. I personally think huge credit for the morale boost among us (fickle) supporters, particularly my generation, is the man at the helm who we all cried with in '96, Gareth Southgate. The man who brought back to life the love of the home-team and drove sales of waistcoats (well played, M&S). Whilst there were tears at the semi-finals, I don't think my nails could have taken another 90+ minutes of tension. Plus, the pub-drinking action has definitely taken it toll!

Weekend pleasure.
One of the perks of being home in London is, of course, that we can spread our social butterfly wings again! After spending much of June unpacking, sorting, redecorating our two-bedroom apartment, we are now happily hosting most weekends! As we are based nearer to Liverpool Street / Shoreditch way, I've come to know this area a lot better and whilst we (mostly Ryan) show our out-of-town friends around London, I'm feeling as much a tourist as they are! July 2018 was the first time I have ever been to The Breakfast Club - I know, shocking for someone who loves breakfast, particularly when I saw they had a 'Cabbies Breakfast' - oh em gee - and took a trip up The Shard for London's very own skyscraper views. Plus, not to forget I wasn't totally defeated at a game of crazy golf at Swingers. Ryan was victorious, if not a little shocked I wasn't far behind. As per the aforementioned hot weather, it has called for drinks, drinks, and more drinks. We're not picking where...by the river, on a rooftop, on our balcony (with a side of Dominos).

Seeing some sights.
Almost six weeks since our little jaunt across the continent for some much-needed R&R, last weekend we hopped on the train to my parents for a spot of country respite! For years, I dreaded going back to their country pile because it was, quite literally, a pile of rubble - bugs everywhere in the summer, freezing cold the rest of the time and that's without mentioning the caravan phase! Ugh! But, we made it through the wilderness (aka. the building years) and now their home is nothing short of a sanctuary. Late afternoon, we popped down to Hastings for a breath of sea-air and were quite literally breath-taken by an impromptu aerial display courtesy of The Red Arrows. Growing up, I would hear them fly overhead near to Biggin Hill but this was truly a spectacular sight to watch. A full twenty-five minutes of jet-plane acrobatics. Mind. Blown.

To end the night, it was a trip down memory lane to see my Dad back where he belongs on stage behind a drum-kit. He was playing at the White Rock theatre with The Quo Experience. It's been a five years since my Dad took his final bow at the 02 Arena with the actual Quo after thirteen years of smashing it all over the world (or I should say "rocking"). It was quite incredible how knee-twitchingly, head-bangingly and scarily accurate the mannerisms of the band members were to make you believe you were watching the 'real thing'. If you're a fan of the music, I cannot recommend the show highly enough as a night out!

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So, here's to a lovely August ahead! It feels rather French of me to say we'll be spending the month in West London in a (sort of) summer city break. Basically we've migrated from Zone 6 to Zone 2 in a bid to enjoy more of our beloved river, shorter commutes, a spot of house-hunting and trying to find my London-equivalent to Physique 57!

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