Sunday, 20 April 2014

Cruise time!

Last week was spent sailing between Spain, Portugal, Morocco and Gibraltar. It was beautiful and I definitely have the holiday blues! I wrote a little (ok, probably a lot) about each day, and part of me was tempted to live-blog each entry, but the traditionalist in me got the better of me and my phone remained safely on Flight Mode for the entire holiday so instead I am faced with the mission of writing up the whole week now I’m home. I thought I’d introduce each day slowly as opposed to going in with the whole holiday, so here goes (as written at the time)...

Cruise time! For the first time yesterday, we had a morning fight, so a ‘full day’ in Malaga, where the ship sailed from. By the end of our 13 hour journey, I think we all agreed that we’d be much happier to sail from England, even if it did take 3 days meaning that we had to go away for 2 weeks (shame)!

Mother and father arrived at my little flat early evening, and after many cups of tea, suitcase weighing, unpacking and re-weighing, we drove through Central London (what an experience) to collect Lorna and her ‘ginormous’ suitcase from the train station. Said ‘ginormous’ suitcase had clearly not travelled with the likes of our baggage before... Once home again, we began our night of waiting to head off for our flight. The flight wasn’t until half 6 in the morning, but in true Brockway style we had to be there in plenty of time, and in order to be there in plenty of time, we had to leave mine at half 2 in the morning. Time was killed with animated discussion about what we might get up to, drinking yet more endless cups of tea (or hot water) and eating hot cross buns; I even managed to give the kitchen and bathroom a pretty efficient clean!

A pretty hairy journey (she says, realistically I probably spent most of the car journey zombified in the back – I certainly couldn’t remember it at all well) or at least lots of U-Turns out of London, waiting around at the airport for who knows what, the most uncomfortable flight, inefficiency as far as the eye could see on the Spanish border, hustled onto a coach, queuing, queuing, and more queuing (spelling that three times was rather a struggle) and we were finally on the ship in time for afternoon tea (hence why my earlier ‘full day’ was in inverted commas. We had been hoping for a lunchtime arrival...)!

The initial plan as we expected to have plenty of time had been to venture into the old part of Malaga nearest to the port. However, as we were all beyond exhausted, and presented with amenities such as can be found on a cruise ship, it was kind of (/extremely) hard to tear ourselves away! As soon as we had located our cabins for bag depositing and freshening, we headed straight to the buffet! Cruise food is just. Oh gosh.
Once faces were stuffed (as if there wouldn’t then be food available all day, every day) we took a turn around the ship in an attempt to get our bearings. We oohed and aahed at the many lounges, bars, restaurants, decks and the casino (blasting out the cheesy 90’s hard house, as you do), discovered hidden places that we would later struggle to return to, and inadvertently (we weren’t just trying to get thrown overboard, honestly) came close to passing through several doors with restricted access. Ships are big (and by comparison, Thomson are small), so we retreated back to our cabins to unpack suitcases before we lost every drop of energy we had left.

Lured out again by the prospect of ‘cocktail of the day’, we placed an order and promptly fell asleep on loungers on the sun deck for an hour.


The thought of our first evening meal stimulated a sudden surge of energy, however, and we headed off to beautify and glam up in order for impressive food consumption! My menu looked a little like this:
Starter – cheese ravioli
Soup – Duck consomm├ę
Main – pan-seared tuna (with veg and potatoes of some variety)
Dessert – Chocolate Charlotte (what an experience!)

Unfortunately there was very little time to sit back and revel too much in the pleasures caused by Chocolate Charlotte, as it was time for the passenger safety drill! In previous years, all guests have been lined up along the deck, where the more effeminate members of the entertainment team can always be found ensuring Dad’s life jacket straps are well and truly done up as tightly as they can be. This year, we were all herded into the show lounge, where someone who was probably supposed to know what he was doing made a half-hearted attempt at calling all of three names from his register before giving up. Well I HOPE WE WERE ALL PRESENT AND CORRECT, SIR. I wouldn’t have had a clue what to do in the event of submersion.


For some strange reason (not really, just because we were on holiday I imagine), instead of going to bed as we probably should have done having passed the 36-hours without proper sleep mark, we powered through, and found ourselves listening to a trio aptly named ‘The Rhythm of Three’. ‘They sound like they might be quite jazzy’, I heard myself say. Morbid fascination (or perhaps delirium caused by over-tiredness at this point) found us remaining in the Royal Fireworks show lounge for their entire set, and before we knew it we were participating in a quiz!? Despite none of us being quiz-types, we made an admirable effort and were some of the last to put our answer sheet down!

The quiz finished just in time for us to head out on deck to watch us sail away and join in with ‘sail away party’ celebrations (deep joy). I did dare to dance to Steps – 5, 6, 7, 8, but otherwise the ‘party’ consisted of guests standing around while the entertainment team tried and failed to engage us all in continuous mad dancing to awful covers of cheesy pop songs. After making what we felt was an acceptable length of appearance, we finally sidled off to have a party of our own on the sun deck in the wind and sea spray (nothing quite like it!) before realising how tired we were, so retrieving tea and wending our way down into the bowels of the ship (almost, at least) to BED... 42 hours later.


Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Welcome to the circus

Another year, another excuse for over-extravagant birthday celebrations! Monday 31st saw my turning 23, so I made use of the previous weekend for welcoming in the 23rd year in true Laura-style!

There’s nothing I love more than celebrating birthdays, and despite the fact that I was expecting them to get dull after 21, I am pleased to report that they have yet to do so; 22 and 23 have both proved equally as enthralling as the years that preceded them, and thus have seen me driven into my usual state of ‘birthday-girl-frenzy’...

This year all began with a surprise birthday party for myself and a work colleague with whom I share my birthday 2 years apart (25 was clearly the bigger milestone of the two, so I felt even more lucky to be celebrating mine). The night was spent playing with inflatable palm trees, sword fighting, playing pass the parcel, and alternating between pirate hats, Minnie Mouse hair extensions and tiaras for head-wear. SO much fun! Turns out my body on a Friday night felt like I was turning 46, not 23, as an early start meant an early finish and I was still in bed by 11 (I suppose it’s a good sign that I can have that much fun, yet still manage to be snuggled up by a reasonable hour? ... it’s not. I’m old before my time).

Having broken the alcohol-hiatus spell on Friday night, I awoke on Saturday morning feeling better than I had in weeks (worrying? I’m really hoping it was more to do with working hot water for the first time in a while and not a sign of how much my body had missed gin)! Saturday saw the arrival of the most highly anticipated event of the year (admittedly, not much of the year has been yet, and it was my birthday, so I may have been biased), the Dark Circus Party, courtesy of Belle Epoque.

I really wasn’t entirely (or let’s face it, at all) sure what to expect, but I’d been to the Prohibition Party also at the Bloomsbury Ballroom in February hosted by the same event company and had the most amazing time there, so didn’t think we could go too wrong with this one. I’m not quite sure how to explain or describe the experience, but suffice to say, it went completely above and beyond my expectations and I will absolutely definitely making a reappearance at the next one in May (if anyone cares to join me?)!

Initially when we walked in we were a little dubious as although the place was kitted out in the most wonderful way (a Big Top covering the centre of the room, a cage at either end, one labelled ‘Monstrous Menagerie’, the other donning a sign which read ‘Sideshow Freakshow’, the promising sight of a suspended hoop, well-dressed bar staff and monkeys offering guests popcorn), it did not seem as busy as the Prohibition Party... hang about though, I seem to have skipped a little too far ahead of myself here.

Let’s re-trace our steps to the beginning of the day.

I was lacking in anything to wear (well, I had shoes, but I wasn’t sure they’d be appropriate on their own... turns out I probably could have gone with the ‘just shoes’ plan in the end) which meant that Saturday turned into rather the shopping extravaganza; took the bus to Dalston for a fancy dress shop that I then couldn’t locate, off to Oxford Circus, Soho, back to Oxford Street, and home again (with McDonalds gorge in between to keep us going). It may not sound like we covered much, but in 2 or 3 hours with such a specific mission, we sure worked up a sweat of sorts! Somehow three of us without costume managed to find something to wear before rushing back to mine for burnt pizza (not intentional) ready to leave at 8... yeah. I think we always knew that part of the plan was not going to be feasible.

When we attended the Prohibition Party in February we missed all of the acts bar one, so this time we decided we’d attempt to make an earlier appearance and acts were due to begin at 9. However, despite our much later than planned departure, upon arrival we discovered that they didn’t start as early as we’d thought, so we were actually in perfect time!


The journey to the Bloomsbury Ballroom this time had a very different effect on the general public. Where last time our costumes had sparked great discussion on escalators and the tube, received compliments from elderly gentlemen, and caused a sense for all those who joined us in our train carriage of travelling back in time, the effect of circus costume was more one of shock, despair, and general disapproval. Jacquard leggings, corsets, leotards, stockings, leather, tattoos in all the wrong/right places, feathers and hats galore, accompanied by our two very own suited and booted men, we perhaps did look like some sort of ‘organisation’ shall we say? As we teetered along underground tunnels, we prayed that we might see fellow circus-goers in order that we may stand out slightly less (although on the other hand, we did all agree that it was rather empowering to turn so many heads and drop so many jaws)! However, none appeared (because clearly they were all sensible and listened to their friends when they suggested getting a taxi) so we assumed the position of circus-themed Pied Pipers, leading the way along subways and up escalators (in fact, even almost leading some poor, unsuspecting males into the party because wherever we were going ‘we want to be there’). 


From the Underground, my directional abilities were miraculously right on point and we descended upon the ballroom to discover our skills in the art of perfect timing!

The night was so much more than I ever could have expected, with something happening wherever or whenever the head turned; fire eating, pole dancing, feathers, tassles, acrobatics, cabaret singing, tails, top hats, frills, horn-playing moneys, Marilyn Monroe strip teasing, cake and cocktails galore! With a truly interactive feel, even those of us who weren’t professional performers became part of it all through simply being there; it was a magical kind of surreal!




The circus was certainly quite the contrast to Friday night’s ‘kiddie’s party’ and a fish and chip supper on the evening of the birthday itself (always important to bring a little ‘home’ with me wherever I go). Each year I wonder how I’ll ever beat the last, yet each year so far I seem to have managed it – who knows what’s to come?



 Welcome to 23, me.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Playing tour guide

So much packed into this weekend that I had to list it all before I began writing to ensure that no unintentional gaps were left. Have had yet another ‘relaxing’ weekend, where an awful lot of energy was used in between the occasional moment of calm and quiet sitting in sunshine.

GLORIOUS weather this weekend made for very pleasant venturing conditions indeed. I spent my days playing tour guide to a Mancunian visitor, for whom I was extremely grateful as otherwise I fear I may have spent more of my weekend cooped up inside over a laptop and piles of paper, pretending the sunshine wasn’t really there. As it was, I embraced it instead, and have come out at the other end feeling so glad that I did (although I’m not entirely sure that my feet and legs would agree with me, could they speak).

On Saturday, we covered what felt like 50 miles walking between Notting Hill and Southbank, taking rather a roundabout route to say the least. Dreams of sunshine on the pretty coloured houses and strolling along quiet, idyllic streets (some maybe even cobbled) put me in the mood for Notting Hill, and it did not disappoint. Of course, somehow I do always forget the existence of Portobello Road Market (not so quiet at all), and although the initial throng of people causes me great horror, I soon fall into the slow pace of a browsing customer once antiques reach my gaze. Lunch found at the end of the market where the food stands are very cleverly placed, I was then also enticed by a stall selling mushrooms. Just mushrooms, nothing else. I never knew I was so excited by mushrooms until this moment, but of course I had to buy a selection, so I did (and cooked some up for tea in the evening, delicious if I do say so myself)!



From Notting Hill we decided (or, maybe it was the royal ‘we’) that food would be best consumed in a green space. Of course, we could all follow in the footsteps of Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts and have a whoops-a-daisy moment into a private garden, but we thought we’d be a little more common and head for a public park. So off we went to Kensington Gardens, where we were greeted by a distinct lack of deckchairs (I’m hoping they will appear in April?) and an abundance of dog walkers whose dogs were far more engaged by squirrels than the pleading calls of their owners’. Shoes off, sunshine in full force, it was a more than pleasant pit stop.  

Many times before I have been deceived by the London Tube map in terms of how close things are to each other when they appear to be so far apart (I hark back, in particular, to those days when a good friend and I used to make the tube journey (where we had to change, by the way) from Liverpool Street to Shoreditch for Spitalfields Market. I cringe.), so I tend to make more of an effort to walk between places now instead. I do wonder though, whether now I am deceived in the opposite way, where places that according to the map should be within a stone’s throw are in fact more like a marathon apart. So we walked, aimlessly, along the river from the Albert Bridge (which I never even knew existed before, but which is really rather beautiful so I’m extremely glad to have crossed it), through Battersea Park (another location I’ve wanted to pay homage to), past Battersea Power Station, alongside Westminster, all the way to the Southbank where we finally rested for a well-earned cup of tea while dusk set in.








After such a beautiful Saturday, Sunday did not get off to the best start. This morning I:
1.       Melted a hole in my favourite top (we have been here since October, this was literally the first time the iron and ironing board had been used. They will not be seeing the light of day again in a hot hurry!)
2.       Couldn’t decide what to wear for such warm weather
3.       Had unhappy hair
4.       Feared that wearing makeup when my body hasn’t seen the sunshine in such a long time made me look rather orange in contrast to my pale arms
5.       Remembered that the Jubilee Line was part-closed where we needed to be
6.       Got to the line that was open so we could use, only to discover that it was suspended until further notice
7.       Narrowly missed the bus we needed instead, resulting in a 30 minute wait for the next one
8.       Received a text to alert me of beach trips being made by my nearest and dearest at home (icing on the cake?)

Please don’t judge me for what is about to follow, I was miserable. As one might imagine, I was not in the best mood at the start of the day following on from all of these little disasters (little they may have been, but when there were so many of them, it was hard not to let them take effect)! Anyone who knows me knows that the best way to alleviate my slumps is to feed me. So feed me I did. In McDonalds. At half 11 in the morning. Sitting by the river with a pretty stunning view of The Shard made it all feel much more acceptable though (we won’t worry about the disapproving glances from passersby).

As we sat munching on happy food (not a Happy Meal, just food to make me happy... don’t even ask what I had!), I suddenly noticed that The Monument was nearby. Now, after Saturday’s mammoth walking spree, my legs were definitely screaming at me at this moment, but I chose to ignore them, and we took to the steps. The last time I was up The Monument was when I was a child, and I still have the certificate to prove it (I’m now the proud owner of two, check me out)! My memory was a little hazy of what it’s like at the top, so I was somewhat dubious about making the trek with older, less agile legs, but it was definitely worth it; I do love a view!


After our visit to The Monument, we carried on ambling along the river. I’ve seen lots of great photos of City Hall recently with Tower Bridge in the back, and I wanted to see it for myself, so that was where we headed (a much shorter distance indeed!), again taking detours here and there for me to assume my role as tour guide and point out all the tourist attractions. The day certainly turned right around from such a disastrous morning, and remarkably we even stumbled across a small section of the river where you could get down onto the sand; with closed eyes, the sound of the waves lapping the shore and the cackle of seagulls was plenty to transport us straight to the coast! Boats with gardens (like, actual fully grown trees!) at Butler’s Wharf, amusement caused by tourists assuming the position for photos by the Tower of London and Tower Bridge, a quick visit to the Design Museum shop, and food and entertainment by the London Eye. Thank you London!



Sunday, 2 March 2014

Kyla La Grange, Warpaint & Temples

I began this post on the train to Norwich the week before last, but as usual forgot that going in and out of signal does not lend itself well to writing a blog post, let alone a blog post with links. According to my phone, the original draft is still 'saving', so I thought I'd just start afresh..

In between blasts of Major Lazer & Diplo, a love of whom has been re-kindled by the appearance of new material (who am I kidding? Like the love ever really goes away...), I have mainly had these tracks on repeat lately. Still mourning the loss of my iPod, I have much less room for music on my phone as I am someone who instead likes to clog it up with endless photos (10 points for whoever can guess the subject of the majority of these photos), but I feel like these three artists complement each other rather well, and have thus filled a void over the past two weeks or so.


Kyla La Grange - Heavy Stone.
With the release of her new track 'Cut Your Teeth', I have been rediscovering Kyla La Grange's debut album, Ashes, which I adored when it was first released. This version of this song was the first I heard of her, and I couldn't quite believe it when I realised her music was no longer even on my iTunes (this is what happens when you continuously destroy laptops and so your music collection)! With a voice not too dissimilar to Kate Bush, I think even my own father might enjoy her music if not for the lyrical content. Alongside her music, her Instagram feed keeps me well entertained. Who doesn't appreciate a lady who loves anything psychedelic, pastel or unicorn related? She's my kind of person!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Htnt2ssAOo

Kyla La Grange - Cut Your Teeth.
I love this video, and I hope that my summer of music festivals ends up looking a lot like it...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GINpKSkZawk


Warpaint - Undertow.
I first discovered these ladies on Annie Mac's Winter Warmer 2010 (which I actually linked to way back when in one of my first posts) without even realising it. This song always gets in my head, and it's only when I succumbed to advertising on the Underground that I became aware that I already knew who they were! This track is from The Fool, but I also really love Biggy on their self-titled album. Both albums are definitely worth a listen, I just didn't want to bombard with links!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMkqbY0oGKQ


Temples - A Question Isn't Answered.
I can't quite decide what it is I like so much about this band (they are described as a 'psychedelic rock band'... so maybe I sense a bit of a theme going on here), but I do know that I love their retro (I use this word simply because I wouldn't like to pin them down to one era... I'm sure there is one, I'd just get it wrong) sound, particularly in the rhythm and vocals of this song. It's real soundtrack-to-my-life kind of music, and although I've decided that most of it isn't particularly something I'd listen to in a paying attention kind of way, it's made the perfect back-drop to catching up with friends, shopping and travelling on public transport.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyZf0mKXZr8

I don't like to do this too often as I don't usually have a particularly strong selling point for why people should be listening to what I am, and I hate to be judged for my 'taste' in music. I just wanted to share what's been playing in my ears lately as it's got to be partly to blame for the brilliant mood I've been in and who doesn't want to be in one of those? Enjoy!

Sunday, 23 February 2014

A potentially rather allusive list

Illness has finally descended upon me. Nevertheless, bravely I soldier on, making the train journey to Norwich for a day of hairdressing and parents. Apologies to those sitting around me for profuse flu-sweats resulting in my need to strip down to the bare bones (I want, at this point to liken myself to a woman suffering from the menopause, but I fear it may be rather insensitive, so make whatever association you wish, so long as it’s not too profane)! Seeking a silver lining as always, my keeping tissues visible alongside other tell-tale signs of a cold is meaning that I have four seats to myself around a table... aaaaand ssstttretchhhh...

Armed with teabags to add to free hot water (I LOVE THE CAFBAR SERVICE), a bottle of Fiji, Vogue Magazine, new music and my notebook, I feel more than ready for what promises to be a perfectly pleasant journey (I may have spoken too soon, the Von Trapp family out on a half term day-trip have just landed to destroy my peace!!).

Despite suffering from the plague, half term has been exactly what half term should be; down-time. In six days I have
spent Valentines the way tradition has dictated it must be spent,
been shopping,
attended a party with jazz band, vintage costume and a guest list,
visited the Tate Modern,
reverted to my 17-year-old self and more,
seen the view of London from Alexandra Palace,
lurked outside my original London home with visions of little Laura on the doorstep playing with Polly Pockets as the removal men hauled boxes to the lorry over my head,
had many a moment of music discovery and re-discovery,
finally got internet installed (to assist in music discovery),
bought a vacuum cleaner (this is TOO exciting for words),
eaten good food,
consumed endless cups of tea,
and slowly, but surely, have prepared for the run-up to Easter (not that I’m counting down to the next one already. I am. But perhaps that’s mainly because it’s the birthday countdown and I LOVE birthdays!)
all with some of my most favourite people. 
(Looking at that list, I do wonder whether it’s a little unsurprising that my nose feels about four times its natural size – this is what my days look like when I’m ‘taking it easy’?)

I return to writing this on the last night of the half term, having spent two days giving recovery a better go (between making an appearance at a party on/in/at (?) Kensington Roof Gardens and drinking mocktails in Shoreditch). It’s always nice to write upon reflection, as although I have spent the week feeling rather sorry for myself, I have been very fortunate in spending time doing things I love with people I love spending time with. 

I don’t want to live for the weekends, but I am very much looking forward to discovering what they have in store!






1. Brick Lane; Elephopus/Octophant?
2. 1920's Prohibition Party
3. Neon lights at Tate that I'd been wanting to see for ages
4. From Alexandra Palace
5. Kensington Roof Gardens

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Phlegm - The Bestiary

Have just returned from Meat Mission on Hoxton Market. Quite the experience, and I can't help but feel that the name doesn't just come from the location.. I have been defeated by food. Saturday night was also a feasting extravaganza - classic songs, cheese and cordial (as opposed to cheese and wine - still going strong), the best way to spend an evening with a good friend!

Before feasting on Saturday night, we headed to Shoreditch for the opening night of an art installation by artist Phlegm, called The Bestiary. I'm not an art connoisseur by any means, I just spied some images from the exhibition on Twitter on Saturday afternoon and decided to go for a nosey!

Once there I found myself completely lost in the space, transported back to my childhood and unusual but fascinating illustrations in children's books. As we wandered around, I found myself almost creating a story; it was hypnotic. I wanted to share some of my images (all taken on my phone - not only am I not an art connoisseur, but I am also not a photographer) to give you a taste of it, but the best thing I can do is make a recommendation that you check it out for yourself as the images are not at all the same standing alone as the experience of being amongst them (and perhaps go to Meat Mission before or after the event for a feast so large you may not need to eat for a week afterwards!).












The Bestiary by Phlegm is on at the Howard Griffin Gallery, 189 Shoreditch High Street until 4th March.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Dryanuary (I know that's not the official name, but if you say it really quickly I think it has a better ring to it!)

New Year’s Resolution Number 1 – improve diet! 
New Year's Resolution Number 2 – make time for real Laura time!

By way of adhering to both of these resolutions, I made a rather extreme (by my standards, anyway) decision at the beginning of the year. Every year I have made an attempt to at least say ‘this year, I am going to take a break from alcohol’, and every year I have failed to even say that sentence without an overwhelming sense of doubt, let alone make it a reality. This year, however, despite the reactions of my highly supportive friends (said with a slight hint of sarcasm after mutual agreement that perhaps we could all support each other in our endeavour, followed by shock and awe at the news this weekend that I am still standing by my word), I am making a proper go of it!

Admittedly, I did not start at the very beginning of January, as I had to see to the alcohol store leftover from Christmas (there is still Gin hiding in the freezer if anyone is looking for any) to avoid temptation! However, I have now survived three weekends, substituting Cobra for pineapple juice, cocktails for Turkish teas and red wine for cranberry! I’ve hardly dared to openly own up to my choice to give up alcohol for fear of imminent failure (as I write this, I worry that I sound rather like an alcoholic – as if the ring addiction wasn’t enough!), but this weekend marked a significant achievement in the proceedings, so I now know I am doing well.

Last Saturday I awoke with the most atrocious headache. It was as though my body is so used to my usual morning-after-the-night-before state that it decided to give me that hungover feeling just so I wasn’t in danger of missing it too much. Of course, I was less than impressed, but thankfully it cleared and a most productive weekend followed. This weekend has been equally as productive and although less adventurous, with the weather as it has been, it has been quite nice to spend some time feeling cosy inside. Friday nights spent cleaning to music bordering on an anti-social volume (I’m simply engaging in friendly competition with the Portuguese folk music so loud from our downstairs neighbours that I always feel convinced there must be a live band performing in our kitchen) and/or doing an extravagant food shop have become something I genuinely relish the thought of (old before my time?), and mean that Saturday is not spent in comatose, but instead has the potential for productivity and the outdoor element of making time for ‘real Laura time’ (when I want to venture out, anyway)!

Friday night thriller. It's how I do.
Last night came my real test, as all the odds were against me;

I went out for a friend’s birthday.
I went out for a friend’s 30th birthday.
I went out for a friend’s 30th birthday where I knew no one (Dutch courage had to instead come in the form of over-enthusiastic violin playing detrimental to the living room before I left the house, but that’s a-whole-nother story!!).
I went out for a friends 30th birthday where I knew no one and drinks were in a GIN BAR (gin is my favourite, just for future reference when this is all over)!

The thing is, I not only survived, I really enjoyed myself. Despite the genuine shock expressed by the barman when I ordered a gin and tonic without the gin (he was shocked? Imagine how I must have felt!), the fact that others have expressed admiration, and that I am feeling and (I may be imagining this but) looking better in myself makes me feel like this is totally worth it and I have a true respect for people who do this every year! I won’t share what’s going on in the back of my mind right now, but we’ll see how the land lies; the spoken aim is until Easter/my birthday.

And hey, I had three sausages for my tea tonight. That’s an odd number. I still know how to have a good time!