the past few weeks (part1)

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The past 6 weeks or so have been experienced with eager eyes and embraced with much gusto. There was such an outpouring of goodness,that I have been massively encouraged to soldier on in this crazy marriage with life.

After a potential job opportunity fell through last week(one I had spent weeks working terribly hard at), I retreated to the comfort of my bed,pizza,good friends and chocolate cake. I did not even have the willpower to go outside on a particular day,much less draw my curtains open. But then I had booked to see Naomi Kawase’s Sweet Bean at the ICA the next day and I didn’t want to waste the ticket.Sitting in a dark room alone,with strangers dispersed around me, I began to find myself again. As I walked out into the evening light after the film, I saw a text message relaying some great news(totally unrelated to the job), in the charming way that life often affirms itself.

At that moment, even with strong residual feelings of hurt, I knew that the work opportunity had fallen away from my grasp, not because I wasn’t intelligent enough,but because it was an opportunity that never belonged to me. And I don’t wish to have anything that isn’t truly mine. In the past I have looked at things I once longed for  and arduously manipulated into fruition,with feelings of void and disappointment. That has taught me not to force anything that doesn’t feel right from the depths of my heart.

I thought I would write about this beautiful summer in several short and sweet posts.

One afternoon I visited my sister at Oxford University. We ordered such delish tapas and I had a top notch white sangria at Kaz bar. The sun shone rather luminously…

Wintering

I feel as though I have been up to everything and nothing at all.I have been exercising that beautiful sounding ‘verb’ called wintering, by indulging in the ritualistic mundane.I have been staying cosy in bed and watching episodes of First Dates(A British tv show where a restaurant overlooking St Paul’s cathedral is filled with customers,all on blind dates). When I watch this particular show,I think of the messy maudlin heap we call the human heart and just how much courage it takes to show up and risk love.

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In a similar vein, I recently finished reading Aziz Ansari’s book Modern Romance and I think he’s quite the jam! Between the insightful research on dating within a plethora of cultures, to some 90s hip-hop references, Aziz is straight up gangstaa (this is where I insert a really cool emoji in my head)!

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Seasonally inclined, there have been many a glass of good ol’ Marks and Spencer mulled wine,which my family has a tradition of bringing all the way from London to anywhere in the world we are spending the holidays. And when we are tired of that,we open a simple bottle of red while a candle from Voluspa burns( Incognito is my favorite scent,because it is warm, a little masculine and sexy).

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With regards to food, I’ve been quite pessimistic(after several meals on the subpar to downright disgusting spectrum),sticking to what I know is top-notch and locally sourced and that is Woodberry Kitchen.My sister and I have made several trips there since my initial visit and I think I can confidently say that the most masterful dish on Spike Gjerde’s menu, is the fried Oysters. They honestly are divine! The restaurant’s space is quite decadent and chic at this time of year.

I suppose this is a fairly concise catch up.I anticipate good and fun things to come and good words to write.

Life, kafe Leopold and cosy food!

A lot of things have happened since I last meaningfully blogged. I turned 26 and simultaneously developed a penchant for wearing cropped tops with leather skirts(don’t judge).I started reading this book that may not prematurely be my favourite read of the year. I discovered snapchat and really like sending random images to my friend Mathilde.Also, I finally made it to Kafe Leopold in Georgetown for brunch with my oh so fabulous little sissies, who happen to be visiting.

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The Kafe is fantastically minimal in every way. From natural light streaming through the long windows, to the design of the bar stools,that reminded me of an arrangement of orange and white petals. I had the best pancakes of my life (so zesty, fluffy but light!) and learnt that their melange is the most perfect coffee based beverage I have ever drank! Now I understand why so many people have exclaimed about the quality of the food.

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The sissies went with slightly healthier options than I did and even tried a croissant, which wasn’t a disappointment.I’m quite pleased to have them here and it was a lot like being back in St John’s Wood, our more loved of our two permanent homes.

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We also had a good supper,but average drinks at The Heights.

The shutdown remedy

A frequent childhood memory involved my mummy leaving my sisters and I with a nanny/au pair in London and whisking herself away to Paris for a full day of lunching, writing poetry and shopping by herself. I am glad I remember this, because this strong sense of self, is somethingthat I posess and it is also what I loved most about the heroine of my favourite book.It is why I am all the company I need to have fun oftentimes.

So popping into work this morning and then taking the afternoon off, I decided to go wandering by myself,partly because my friends were all at work. I was thrilled at the prospect of exploring more of DC, until I remembered the shutdown! That immediately eliminated the possibility of reading in the park or visiting one of the 17 Smithsonian museums. However, a quickie online browse let me know that The Phillips Collection was open! Even better, as admission is free on Fridays(the only free day)! Now I dislike cheapskates, but I love a good bargain and firmly believe that enlightening cultural experiences should be free oftentimes.

The art gallery is located in DuPont Circle, which is just a 20 minutes walk from my place, so I whipped up this dress, grabbed my Tom Ford sunnies( pictured below) and made the walk to DuPont, stopping for lunch at The Front Page.

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My first time at The Font Page was during my first week in DC. The French girlfriends and I decided to serenade a sweet man friend with supper there and it was such a fun time! I had a mango mojito and crab sandwich that evening, but opted to start with a plain mojito today.

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Rather than ordering a main, I opted for two sides, a caprese salad and onion rings, both of which were visually pleasing and tasted divine. After lunch, I used the map on my phone to find my way to The Phillips.

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The Phillips Collection happens to be America’s first modern art museum and it is such a gem of a place and lacks  the hoardes of crowds one would find at the Tate Modern for example. Despite it being free today, there wasn’t an overwhelming crowd in this building that often holds works by Renior,Matisse, Cezanne and all the other impressionists that I adore.

Where is your place?

One most always have a place. It can be wherever you like,seeing as we all differ. The only rule is that is must be a place for you to escape daily pressures and feel most like yourself.Perhaps your happiest self.A place to mentally and even emotionally refuel. In London, that place is Daunt Books for me. In Paris,it was my apartment and also Publicis at le Champs Elysées, which I was introduced to by my sweet Mathilde(Publicis is a ‘ luxury drugstore’ where you can buy an array of  things from foreign food to Marc Jacobs handbags) . In Atlanta, it was an antique shop at the Highlands and in D.C, I have most recently found my place in Le Pain Quotidien,just off I street NW.

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There are many reasons why this place chose me(I felt so naturally drawn). It is reminiscent of a hybrid of my second most favourite London high street(Marylebone, which also has a branch)and Paris, because  this branch in particular is frequented by the French professionals working downtown and you are likely to hear more French than English. In less than 2 weeks, the waiters have all befriended me and without asking, know that avec mon petit déjeuner, I will always have a café au lait and for my lunch, la soupe du jour.

P1080394The interior is rustic,clean and bright, the menu great and uncomplicated and in the words of the Cheers theme song, ‘You wanna be where everybody knows your name….’

Déjeuner à Brighton

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Besides a random quaint Italian somewhere around Oxford street(the name eludes me unfortunately), since my return to England (from my work stint in America),my fondest foodie experience thus far,is undoubtedly lunch at Food for Friends in Brighton.

It is certainly a veggie foodie’s paradise, far more interesting than restos that scorn us,non- redmeat and chicken eaters,dumping us with lashings of things made of beans…anyone sick of falafels and blackbean burgers aussi? Ofcourse you don’t need to be a veggie,you’re just as welcome and their cocktails are terribly delish.

Eating out is an experience and it is unfortunate when restaurants don’t quite get this right.But not Food for Freinds. The naturally bright, yet rustic space, really is synonymous with the name of the restaurant. If Brighton’s pebbled beach hadn’t been calling, I would have had a second cocktail and continued the afternoon’s gossip…

I had a rather light coconut curry which was heartily stuffed with aubergines,bell peppers,peas and chickpea dumplings.There was a side of rice,but it went mostly untouched.My friend had the soup of the day with some bread and we both ordered cocktails to accompany.

It was quite a lovely experience and we spent the rest of the day popping into little teashops,shops and bars, in between enjoying the seafront.

HYDE PARK ON SUNDAY

A friend asked me to meet for an afternoon at Knightsbridge and it sounded like a good plan.We decided to skip our usual stomping ground in the area, opting instead,to enjoy the sunshine at Hyde Park. The boats were charming and the London marathon did not deter fellow sun worshipers.We decided to head to the Serpentine Bar and Grill for lunch, which is my favourite restaurant in the park.I quite like the rustic interior of the resto/bar, which looks like a conservatory,resting at the edge of the lake. Those picnicking could easily pick up some cookies and muffins at the entrance, but we wanted a lazy meal and headed to the main seating area.
I had my first glass of pimms of the season,which is definitely a ritual that welcomes the cheerier weather. The haddock fingers sandwich is a winner in my opinion.It was simple yet delicious.Living a pesco-vegetarian lifestyle, its nice to have a decent option that doesn’t include falafels and black beans-instead quality fish cooked perfectly. Also,how adorable is the chinaware on which my meal was served?

There I am above, doing god knows what. I brought the latest company edition and we both snuck our drinks out to enjoy in the sunshine. My kinda Sunday.