Week in Review: Some real talk…and London high life

I’m writing this from my bed. I’m under the covers, duvet up the neck, with my arms out the sides, typing away like an octopus stuck in bright white linen net. It’s an odd sight to say the least. But, that’s where I am. We’ve been in lockdown now for months, and this is the first day where I’ve just thrown in the towel and said, “screw you, Monday, I’m not leaving my bed.” Don’t get me wrong, I tried. I got up at 8am, hopped in the shower, blew dry the hair, went through the skincare routine and even put on undereye concealer, mascara and blush. I made it downstairs, prepared a cup of coffee, glanced at the Sunday papers I didn’t get around to reading yesterday and then somehow found myself back sitting on the bed. Sitting led to laying and laying led to sleeping. And now, it’s 17:35 and I’m finally doing something, anything of note. I won’t lie, I’m losing the plot here. Of course it’s all rather first world. I’m losing the plot because, for the first time in twenty years, my feet haven’t left the earth. For the past ten years, I’ve been on a plane once a week, flying somewhere for work or pleasure (let’s be honest…mostly work, which I have always found a pleasure). Now, I’m reaching the five month point, next week, of not having gone anywhere. That is odd. It just is. And I know I’m not alone.

What I’m finding harder than anything else, however, is the way in which the 4,000 miles separating me from my family has grown to feel longer than the distance from the earth to Mars. I miss my mom, dad and brothers so much and any friend that knows me knows that what is happening right now has always been my worst nightmare. I have spoken often about my fears of having an ocean between us and I’m living out those fears in real time and they are getting the better of me, in small moments. The other day a woman on the King’s Road walked past me, and, even through the mask, I could smell her perfume and it was my mother’s. I had to physically remove myself from the street to avoid the shame of pedestrians seeing me cry. And it wasn’t a light cry. It was heaving, from the soles of my feet, body shaking, cry. It was ugly and it was long overdue.

I’ve tried so hard to keep things in check. I’m living in a house in the country that belonged to my boyfriend’s mother. He doesn’t get to sit around and cry about missing her, then phone her and tell her he misses her. I do. I get to call and tell my parents that I will do whatever it takes to get home this year safely. I will go to whatever lengths are required to hug them. I’ll quarantine in a tent on a neighbouring island for a month if I have to. But, I will get there.

Keeping all that inside, trying to be brave and not talk about it or acknowledge it has not been good for me. It’s been the exact opposite. It’s left me in a state of heightened anxiety that has me overreacting to the silliest and stupidest things. I yelled at Steve yesterday, an actual big accusatory yell, as he stood outside and watered the lawn while answering a friend’s message on the phone. I don’t even really know why I yelled at him. Like him being outside on the phone and not inside helping me make Pimms was a punishable crime? WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? I put this down entirely to having zero personal space. I’ve lived by myself for, well, almost forever since leaving my parents’ house at eighteen. I think they are most surprised by me moving in with Steve and not moving out immediately. Going from living by yourself to living with someone 24/7 is not the normal, although it is very much the new normal I suppose.

Anyway, this is the longest introduction ever, but I thought an explanation was due for why I’ve been so slack with the blog. It’s been difficult to find inspiration in anything at all, but I find a glimmer here and there and I run with it until I’m fully out of steam. I can’t thank you enough for sticking around to see how I deliver. Things certainly are different. But one thing I’ll never do is try and sugarcoat it. This is real. It’s really hard. And not talking about it won’t make it any better for any one of us. So that’s me, writing from bed.

Thankfully, my week wasn’t spent there. So here’s a look at more exciting adventures had:

Monday

On Monday, I headed back into London for a few meetings, but I started the day with a moment of pure joy. I met @jessonthames for breakfast at The Pilgrm Hotel in Paddington. We sat on the terrace, overlooking the city and caught up on four months of isolation. It’s amazing how much can change in a time where every day seems the same. That’s the thing, I suppose… everyone will come out of this with a new story. Even though it seems like Groundhog day, everyday, the memories of this period have created stories that will be told for generations to come. Our grandchildren will ask, “what did you do during the lockdown of 2020?” Think on that…

After breakfast, I decided to walk into town to see check on some old haunts. I wandered into Selfridges. My curiosity got the better of me. Each and every door was attended by a small team of people greeting customers and pointing us in the right direction for entrance and exit. I was sucked in, but I don’t regret it for a moment. It was the most civilised shopping experience I’ve had in London to date. I didn’t see more than thirty people while browsing the sale. Bliss! However, it did make me very sad to see a space, that is usually overflowing with people, almost entirely empty of people. Retail spaces are most definitely in trouble and seeing it first hand is soul destroying.

I continued on my journey, walking past the iconic doors of Claridge’s and taking a shortcut through Mayfair Mews. This time of year it’s usually full of customers sipping Rose and complaining about cigar smoke. Now, the chairs holding London’s office elite were piled high, a sign of the times.

Bond Street was almost entirely empty, apart from Hermes and Chanel. Shock horror…there were queues outside. Also a sign of the times. High End luxury survives all. It truly is amazing. The world is in trouble, but a Birkin bag will show us the way to salvation.

My last meeting was grabbing a salad in Annabel’s with the beautiful Tanya Rose. Over ten years as a travel writer and I’m only just meeting this travel legend. It only took a pandemic, Tanya. I’m pleased to report that the swan sinks are still in existence at Annabel’s and the only real difference is found between the sinks, where plastic partitions now exist to keep us all safe.

After our meeting, I leapt back in the car and discovered the joys of rush hour traffic leaving London. This was my first time really seeing traffic back to the usual. Good thing I’ve fallen head first into the joys of podcasts. Barely noticed the extra 35 minutes in the car at all 🙂

Tuesday

Tuesday was a tax day. Sorry there isn’t more to report there. It was boring as hell, but a necessary evil. We did, however, take a break to drive to a hilltop for lunch with a view. I packed pastrami on rye. It was a weird America meets British countryside moment, but I was there for it. We’re doing a lot more of this now, the whole exploring bit, and I’m loving it. Maybe I’ll sit down and write a whole guide to Hampshire in the near future? Who knows. Time is on our side, it seems.

Wednesday

I’m trying to only spend one day a week in London for the moment. The less travel the better. But, I did make a special visit in for a very golden boy and his Queen’s favourite friend. It was a day for the dogs. I travelled into Hampstead, specially to see my friends @lecorgi and @the_life_of_claude. I’ve known Marcel and his family for a few years and through them, I met the golden retriever Claude. Claude has a very special story. He’s surviving a brain tumour and his family wanted to capture his remaining years through photographs, and share those photographs with the world. Enter the most glorious instagram account you’ll follow this year… truly. This dog is sunshine and hope and I’ve been seriously fangirling for some time. This was the day we finally met and I cried the whole way home thinking about my goldens, how dogs’ lives on this earth are too short and how special it was to meet a dog that I felt I had met before. Do you believe in the idea that dogs are reincarnated? Anyone else seen “A Dog’s Purpose,” and believe it to be true? I’m unsure, but I know a special pup when I see one and this one absolutely had me at hello…

Thursday

We’ve been early mask adopters. I’m not quite sure why the UK government felt the need to give people weeks of notice for something that could have been started and made a difference earlier, but it’s in place now, so let’s not get into it. Please wear your masks. It could get us all back on track and back to normal faster! OK, not going to lecture. Instead, I’m going to show you a hot tub we almost bought that is the most ridiculous looking thing I’ve ever seen. I mean really it’s the “Vegas” on the side that really sold us. NOT! We were out looking for garden furniture, found a great deal that was impossible to deliver and then found this hot tub. So many thoughts. No hot tub or outdoor sofa came home with us on this day.

Friday

So, the one thing I’m holding back on here is that our garden renovation happened this week. It’s mega, it’s something you won’t believe, but I can’t share yet, as I want a grand finale and we still have so much work to do. Don’t worry, I’ve taken videos and pictures galore so that you can see what we’ve been up to. For now, I’ll just show you a sliver of the chaos. Watch this space!

Saturday

Saturday was pretty chill. A work catchup day for me. I only took one picture the whole day and it was this…at 8:05am. I had to run out to get milk and ran into my favourite neighbourhood dogs. Apparently this family own six of these beauties and only ever walk three at a time. I just want to lay myself on the pavement and call them in for a cuddle. They’re so gorgeous aren’t they? I’m working up the courage to offer my services as a puppy babysitter. I’ll update you when I know more.

So, in a nutshell, it was a busy week, but more so on the office front than anything else! Here’s hoping this week ahead will be a bit better, will involve less hours in bed and more adventures worth sharing. I’m hoping the pressure of a week in review will get me moving.

Hope you all have a beautiful week!

x


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