Sunday, 8 April 2012

Notting Hill nights and a spring in my step



When thinking about this post, albeit last week, I had visions of myself sitting down to write, staring smugly out the window toward the blue skies and blossoms that were then gracing London. If the lesson wasn’t made pointedly clear by the clock I spotted this week on Peckham Rd then it has been now by the fact I’m sitting on the bed, swaddled in blankets and layers of fleece and going through a box of tissues at the rate of snots. That and it’s grey and miserable outside, back to single digit temperatures and the long range forecast is for (yet more) rain.


I’m not too despondent about it all – though my blocked ears are absolutely giving me the shits – daylight savings has started, and while it’s windy and cold, the trees are still ruthlessly turning green, my magnolia trees are blooming and the cherry blossoms respond to gales by shedding a delight of blooming confetti. I love spring. If potential had a time of year, spring would be it. Before it turned to pants earlier this week, we had a glorious nearly fortnight of perfect weather.


Last Friday was the last of those lovely days and thankfully I made the most of it. I took the afternoon off work, sauntering home via Putney to pick up the other framed screen print Lovely Boy and I bought at the Art Fair, before putting on my Jimmy’s and heading to Notting Hill to meet Katie, Nina and Jen for a cocktail and dinner. It was a trip to the mild, mild west for my girl o' the east but they, like me, have a special spot in their hearts for the charms of Notting Hill and so there we went, ambling down the beautiful leafy roads with their spectacularly beautiful houses and lovely posh shops. 

Anyway, I’ve been waiting 12 months to take these sparkling gold shoes out for a spin. Their extravagant purchase was made over a year ago and “justified” (if only barely…) by the fact I planned to wear them to the wedding. Before January 7 the only outings they had were around the house while I broke them in, usually while wearing Lovely Boy’s tracksuit pants. And so since their debut in January – where they ended up discarded on the grass - they and I have been waiting for an occasion and Friday was it. Dorothy knew the power of a pair of sparkly shoes and while without them I’m sure the night would have been just as divine, the shoes definitely put a seasonal spring in my step…

the naff obligatory shoes shot taken
by every wedding photographer out
there - even despite my protestations
Proceedings kicked off at Beach Blanket Babylon, a restaurant and bar in an old Georgian mansion on Ledbury Rd. The d├ęcor is pure girls-night-out: baroque light fittings, gilt mirrors, candles, chandeliers, quirky flower arrangements in quirky china teapots. And the cocktails… oh my god the cocktails. If spring had a flavour it would be the La Vie En Rose martini. Even thinking about it now makes me thirsty. Really thirsty. Reminiscent in colour of the lately cherry blossoms, the combination of gin, lychee liqueur, rose syrup, cointreau and lime juice was just prettiness personified. Add the luxe surroundings, the lovely girls and the conversation – well call me happy in a pair of gold shoes.


From here we went to the Lonsdale, detouring from all things girly with a round-table order of burgers but keeping things sensible with a bottle of prosecco to wash them down.  It wasn’t a late night but it was lovely.  Spring always gives me pause for gratitude – mostly that fucking winter is finally fucking over – but also now for the incredibly special friends I’ve made and for the life I’ve succeeded at building here in London at last.


This past week at work has been spectacularly boring, mostly because everyone I’ve needed to communicate with seems to be on holidays but I’ve enjoyed the quite office and am enjoying the Easter long weekend, even though it’s been so far squandered with coughing fits and a slight temperature. 

Because I’m stubborn Lovely Boy and I are still going out for dinner tonight – to Sketch to experience Martin Creed’s new installation in the gallery. I’m quite excited about it actually and can’t wait to see Lovely Boy’s reaction to the singing pods in the bathrooms and kinetic sculptures in the entrance hall. It should be a memorable night.


Tomorrow we’re off to Hertfordshire for the day for lunch and a visit to Hatfield House with an old family friend who’s in London for the week. So, lots to look forward to, not just a returning ability to breathe through my nose and the proper spring weather….

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