The reason I decided to do this project in the first place, was to adopt a renewed appreciation for the simple things in life. A refreshed gratitude for the everyday. I also wanted to acknowledge the rejuvenation that summer brings, because it is a truly wonderful season and I seem to forget that each year.
This week has been lovely, I can think of no better word to sum it up. Tuesday started with a lie in and scrambled eggs on toast, eaten in bed at 11am. I then ventured up to Covent Garden to meet my friend, Ruth, for afternoon tea. Sitting outside, nibbling miniature sweet treats in the sunshine, sipping golden champagne, we talked our mouths off, putting the world to rights sentence by sentence. And it was delightful. I may have got stuck on board a hot train on the way home, due to a trespasser on the line, rendering the 17.43 immovable on hot, sticky tracks. And I may have had to stand, tired and sweaty, inhaling stagnant, day-old-breath filled air, but I came off said train to be met by the dreamiest boy, who then drove me home to a dinner of homemade burgers. Followed by an icy gin and tonic and a viewing of Meet the Parents.
Wednesday, also began with a big sleep, followed by half an omelette and a screening of Matilda, sat on the sofa with the man I love. We then clambered into his car and drove to Down House where the great Charles Darwin lived. Seeing Oli so absolutely fascinated about Charles Darwin’s life and discoveries was so endearing to watch. I was beginning to teeter on the verge of boredom, but Oli was engrossed, soaking up facts like a sponge and reading every word of the exhibition. He’d cringe at me saying this, but it was so cute. Down house is beautiful and the gardens are lovely, so we strolled around leisurely, listening to snippets of the audio guides as we went. Until we stumbled across the tea room and devoured a millionaire shortbread and a piping hot cuppa, alfresco, despite a slight chill in the air. Whilst in the garden, I caught sight of a huddle of bees on a flower, their bold, furry stripes of black and yellow, dusted with a hint of pollen. How amazing, that they busy themselves so readily, that something so small has such drive and purpose.
When we arrived home we promptly devoured my Dad’s homemade chicken Goujons in Panco breadcrumbs, dressed with a sprinkling of fresh lemon, along with salad and new potatoes, before rushing out to meet friends for a game of evening crazy golf. It was so much fun and as I finished my putt, I looked up and saw the sky, which was a beautiful peach Melba haze, I couldn’t resist snapping a quick picture.
Thursday was wonderfully chilled to start with. I met my friend, Maria, for a pedicure and manicure in the late morning, nothing like a spot of pampering after a hard term. We then lounged around in Starbucks for a while, enjoying a few snacks and a grande lime refresher. Once we’d bid goodbye, I walked into my local town, (passing a full blackberry bush on the way, que Nature’s energy boost) and literally shopped until I dropped. After emptying my bank account and refilling my wardrobe, it was soon 7pm and time for me to meet my friends at Gourmet Burger Kitchen. As the restaurant branch was brand new and just opening (and because my friend works for them) we got a whole meal for free! We ordered a whole heap of food and gulped it down without having to spend a penny, as did the rest of the restaurant, absolute madness but delicious madness nonetheless! Thank you GBK!
Today (Friday) was super special. My Mum, Sister, soon-to-be-three-year-old niece and I headed to our local retail park for the day. We began our trip with a Marks and Spencer lunch, my niece struggling with the idea that you have to eat the savoury parts of your lunch before you can stuff your face with chocolate cake. A very hard lesson for someone so small to learn. We mooched around the mall, popping into shops casually and looking around with no real agenda. The best way to shop sometimes, I find if you go expecting to find nothing, that is precisely when you locate exactly what you’re after and more! We went to my Mum’s favourite shop called The White Stuff and what an unexpected joy it was. In the shop, sat a large round and vintage looking table, with retro armchairs scattered around it. On the table were crayons and colouring books and toys and games. Toddler heaven; my little niece was in her element. And my sister, (7 months pregnant) had a chance to rest her weary baby-carrying bones. I sat down too, and we were soon offered complimentary cups of hot tea and biscuits. We politely accepted and enjoyed our refreshment whilst our Mum bought the entire shops clothing line. I came across the most gorgeous sandals in their sale. They were Aztec, beaded, brown leather and £29 reduced from £45. Ideal. But the undeniable highlight of the day was spending some quality time with my beautiful niece; she is such a special, clever and funny little girl. We spent the day running from pretend monsters, holding hands, dancing in shops, making friends with various sales assistants by asking ‘What’s your name?’ (Sophie’s new favourite question) and thanking shops for their hospitality, waving goodbye animatedly.
Sometimes we can get waylaid, bogged down in the mundane and we end up forgetting the real beauty of life. I hope that by recording the pure delights of the summer of 2015, I can look back and be filled from head to toe with an attitude of gratitude. Because what’s not to relish?