The past few weeks (part 2)

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The word nesting harbors imaginings of warmth and coziness, often ascribed to winter. But I wish to paint an alternate picture. One of  late afternoons at Gail’s, spent reading  a book,over freshly brewed iced berry tea with rose and pistachio cake. Sometimes I’ll have the oat,pecan and cranberry cookie,which is one of my favourite things to eat in the world.

Over the course of summer, I read a succession of great literature.While at Daunt Books on Haverstock Hill some weeks ago, I found myself holding pleasant conversation with a well read Canadian man. We found out that we shared a mutual love of James Baldwin and so he fished around the bookshop to find me the last copy of Baldwin’s Another Country,which I purchased in a blink. It was no Giovanni’s Room,but it was uncomfortable and genius.

During my trip to Oxford last month, my sister took me to Blackwell’s where I purchased a hardcover copy of Alain de Botton’s The Course of Love. I had read his somewhat prequel to the book On Love some months back, which I found to be beautifully philosophical, albeit a grim take on first love. The Course of Love felt like a maturation and practical understanding of human interaction. I still find myself picking up the book and feeling absolutely breathless by how this man puts words together.

Two evenings ago I devoured the last pages of Chogozie Obioma’s The Fishermen. Obioma’s strength lies in offering quite a varied narrative of Nigeria, than the international literary world is used to.He also plays this magic trick of conjuring up such strong and beautiful metaphors.

It is how past 5am and I am certain that the morning light will meet me here,if I write some minutes longer .I am however  glad that I have briefly covered the solid few books that will keep on living in my head.

 

 

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…

summer rain

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There is so much I have been meaning to tell you.

Petrichor.

(peˌtrīkôr) noun | the pleasant scent of the earth after it rains.

  • etymology: petra = “stone” + ichor = the fluid that flows in the veins of the gods in Greek mythology.

In Lagos summer is synonymous with heavy rainfall.It is comforting to go to bed, listening to fat raindrops thrumming on the rooftop.It is my lullaby, alongside all these great music I’ve discovered recently.In the year and half  between a broken heart and my mother’s absence from the world,I had stopped feeling music.I discovered a song here and there that I fancied, but I felt nothing in a guitar’s strum.What I had listened to in the past(usually a playlist made for me by my past love, or some Sting and Andrea Boccelli that reminded me of sweet mummy) I wanted to leave behind,at least for a while.Recently I discovered Alice Smith’s song The One and it is everything. Bombay Bicycle Club’s  You Already Know is so poetic and kinda my jam. These songs,they feel as though they belong to me.

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And when it rains during the afternoons,I can sometimes be found at my favourite cafe,wolfing down a tuna baguette with an accompanying cup of strong chai. I sit on the patio and gulp in that delicious earthy scent that makes everything feel okay. Rather than being the architect of great imaginings,I stay in the moment. I am happy and I mean that sincerely.

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Today was an almost clone of my treasured afternoons,until I discovered Alexa Chung’s Art of British Style cover for the July issue of Harper’s Bazaar. The bouquets of hydrangeas and Alexa on a boat in a ridiculously beautiful dress,wow! It reminds me of that dreamlike essence you find in Monet’s paintings.

summer

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There is something to be said about wearing your sister’s breton shirt with an old grey skirt and maroon Vara Farragamos,found in Paris almost 3 years ago .

There is something to be said about freshly baked sourdough bread,slathered with a generous helping of buerre président and accompanied by a spicy tomato and bell pepper soup.

There is something to be said about a  window fly,bright light streaming in,while watching a barbecue supper being set up in the middle of the garden.

There is something to be said about the splendour of roses.

There is a lot to be said about summer.

Enid A.Haupt Garden

Okay, so I do take a lot of pictures of flora, but there was something about it not being  my usual experience this time around.It wasn’t me being back home in London,whipping my camera out and crossing the road to Regent’s Park. It was somewhere new and I was quite curious to feel a sense of calm and work on my photography in a new environment.

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This garden at first sight, isn’t particularly stunning. In Regent’s Park, the Queen Mary’s Garden is a bit of a rose titnted paradise. This is not to say this little garden isn’t fantastic, because it is.It is one of those places that feels like the more you unravel, the more beauty you see. So as I walked into little tents of foliage,I was swept away by the array of plant life before my eyes.

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The picture with the busy bee doing his own thing is my favourite. My desire to capture him certainly superceded the fear that he could jump on my nose and sting me in a second!

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So if you happen to visit the Smithsonian and want a bit of a break from all the museums, do pop into the Enid A.Haupt garden, it is a botannical feast for your senses and I can’t wait to go back. I also hear that it is a dream when the cherry blossoms are in town.

 

Cheap thrill, expensive city

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When fellow DC newbies complain about how expensive the city is, I usually have an inward smirk. I mean I’m a Londoner and previously lived in Paris’ latin quarter. In comparison to DC, those places are certainly more expensive and while you would have to pay at the Louvre, that is not the case with the 19 or so Smithsonian museums and that also includes the most coveted of exhibitions. You can totally make a cheap date of it as I did this Sunday, by visiting the Enid A.Haupt Garden.

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The only money that left my pocket, was the 5 dollars it cost to get a sprinkled mr softy on a waffle cone,from a truck on The National Mall. This is a little Sunday ritual of mine actually. I’m wearing my usual summer uniform that is my Topshop dungarees, the most useful summer purchase I have ever made.I imagine myself whipping it out almost everyday for summers to come.

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You can tell a London girl by just how many Topshop steals she is wearing. My shoes are also from Topshop and I like the character of them, after a bit of dust and dirt. My bag is the Phillip Lim Pashli, which I got a few months ago. Although Phillip Lim will be releasing a smaller non-leather, cheap look-a-like for his Target collection, I’m all about a sturdy leather bag that I will not have to replace in a couple months, so I still love my Pashli and Mr Lim’s aesthetic in general.

I took lots of amazing pictures in the flower garden and i’m itching to share them tomorrow! Also, if you stumbled upon this and have a cheapie guilty pleasure,do share!

Glorious

P1070234P1070240The weather in London town is little short of perfect at the moment. Despite about an hour of sleep(bad insomnia lately), I made it out of bed to meet one of my best girls for brunch. Our choice was The Pantechnicon in Belgravia, a resto I have been meaning to try out for a wee while now. I would describe the food as posh-pubby with a twist and thank heavens for mimosas made from freshly squeezed orange juice cough  cough American restos, take note. We sat out in the sunshine, behind a father and son with their beautiful dog and all enjoyed the breaking meal, glancing from time to time at beautiful cars passing by.

P1070245We walked around the residential neighbourhoods  of Knightsbridge, peeped into Christian Louboutin, before popping into L.K Bennett and scoring a pair of shoes each from the great designer’s classic range.I slightly justified it by the fact that she’s actually an alumni of my undergraduate university :)..gotta keep it in the club!..errmm not! I’m thinking of writing a little shopping spotlight soon.

I was so charmed by the beautiful plants people had in from of their Belgravia flats and so sneaked in a shot here and there.

P1070247P1070253We took the tube to Covent Garden, where I made an enquiry about something rare I had been looking for, then walked from there to Piccadilly- bringing our walk to an arresting end,when we stumbled upon Café Royal Hotel. It is quite possibly impossible(unless you’re Ebenezer Scrooge) to pass by the charming windows of the café,which has golden-brown  gourmet cakes layered on top of each other, without peeping in. Friend and I looked at each other and thought..why the hell not!

Their ice-teas get a big thumbs up from me, as well as the victoria sponge we shared.From there, we went to St James’s church to say prayers, light candles and as my friend noiselessly sleeps, I am writing this.