London meets Scandinavia

Last weekend was jam-packed once again. As soon as work finished on Friday, I made my way to Peacock Farm, a bar and restaurant in Bracknell I may have mentioned before. It was the birthday celebration of a girl from work, so we relaxed in the beer garden (with lemonades as we were all driving!) before having a lovely meal inside. It was a fish and chip shop platter for me, which was nice but not as gorgeous as the buffalo chicken burger I had last time.

On Saturday morning, I braved the M25 again to make my way to Hendon, the home of my friend DO from Kerry. I left the car at hers before we hopped on a tube to take us to Soho to meet up with DL from Limerick who is currently residing in Kent. We grabbed a quick lunch (goats cheese and roasted peppers on ciabbatta for me!) before making our way to the Novello Theatre for Mamma Mia!

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The theatre was beautiful, and the musical even more so. The actress playing Donna (the role Meryl streep had in the movie) was particularly good, but the entire cast were really excellent. At the end, the entire audience stood up to sing along with the last few musical numbers, it was brilliant!

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After the musical, we hopped on a rickshaw for old times sake (I met the girls while on my volunteering trip to India) and made our way to The Verve, a bar near Leicester Square. Apparently Londonders enjoy happy hour between 5-8pm on Saturdays, then head home to get dressed up before returning to the city centre clubs and bars. So we decided to do as the Romans do and join them!

Our tummies soon began rumbling, so we grabbed a tube back to DO’s and picked up a pizza from Dominoes on the way. It felt slightly wrong to be eating takeaway pizza in one of the foodie capitals of the world, but it was delicious all the same! We got dolled up and soon found ourselves back in The Verve.

We were enjoying dancing just the three of us, but I felt like it might be a good idea to make some London friends. I spotted a gang of people dancing in the corner, we went over to join and we soon found ourselves chatting to a Londoner called John who had been ditched by his friend who had found a girl. Shortly after that, I noticed a table full of bearded guys watching our gang with interest, and next thing we knew we had introduced ourselves to Eirich, Stefan, Petter, Lars and Thomas, a gang of Norwegians! Not long later, two Swedish girls, Victoria and Michaela joined us and we had a Viking dance off!

I have to say, the Norwegian guys were some of the most gentlemanly I have met. They bought us several drinks and danced away with us, and never did they try to chat us up or make a move. At one point, an Australian who had briefly joined us grabbed a full drink that one of the girls had just bought and ran off. Upset, she went to the bar to get another, when suddenly, Lars (the quietest of the gang who I had yet to speak to) jumped up. He had spotted the drunk Australian, and dragged him back over to the table. The drink-stealer found himself being interrogated by five very angry Vikings, asking him what he thought he was playing at and was he trying to spike girls’ drinks. Then, I turned around to find that one of the Norwegians had alerted security who immediately threw the Australian out of the club!

Once security had left, the Norwegian gang all turned to me (as DO was still up at the bar getting another drink), and began apologising for the behaviour of the Australian (despite them not even knowing him!), imploring that I not touch the possibly spiked drink and offering to buy more drinks for myself and the girls. They were genuinely concerned that us three Irish girls (that they had only just met!) would be taken advantage of or made ill by these spiked drinks!

Luckily, we managed to forget this slight trouble soon, and resumed our crazy dancing with our new gang. We stayed until the bar closed, when we parted ways with all new Scandinavian friends. Tired but happy, we returned to DOs and collapsed on her couch. The next morning (slightly the worse for wear I’ll admit), I drove home to Maidenhead feeling extremely satisfied with my first night out in London!

Relaxing in Reading etc

Once again, life has been busy and the blog has been neglected. Sincerest apologies! Despite my busy-ness however, I don’t have a huge amount to report here.

Two weeks ago, I decided it was time to finally see my nearest city, Reading. The day dawned bright and sunny, and I ended up having to be late for my lunch date because I needed to stop off for sun cream! Once I was properly armed against the UV rays (with proper La Roche Posay lotion, none of that cheapy stuff for us Irish milkbottles!), I met up with J at the Riverside. We settled ourselves at a nice outdoor table in the shade of Côte Brasserie. Being starving, but not hungry enough for a main course, I ordered two starters, goats cheese tartine and calamari. J also ordered the calamari and we split a side of chips. And to wash it all down, I had a bottle of beautiful French lemonade. Heaven!

After our scrumptious meal, we went for a wander around Reading and grabbed some ice cream for dessert. J had to head off eventually, but I hung around in order to do a bit of shopping.

You might have noticed that this post is also a bit low on photos, this is because my third-hand phone decided to die! So I spent a large proportion of my time in Reading looking at various phone options, to no avail unfortunately. I then spent some time looking at potential dresses for a wedding I’m attending during the summer, no luck there either!

The rest of that weekend was spent chilling out, before my friend K arrived on Monday. I went to university with K, and she was moving to the UK for a job really near me! Because they wanted her to start ASAP, she didn’t have a chance to find a place to live and move in, so she stayed with me for a few days until she found her feet. It was so nice to have another Irish person around!

Last weekend, I flew home to Ireland for the second time since moving here. After a whirlwind few days trying to see everyone and do everything, I thought I would be quite ready to return to England for a bit of a break. However, leaving home this time was harder than my first visit and harder than leaving originally was. It feels as if it’s finally sinking in that this isn’t just a holiday, that I’m in England for the foreseeable future.

After my busy weekend at home, I knew I needed to take it easy this weekend. I deliberately avoided making plans, but when K offered to take me out for dinner as a thank you, how could I say no! We met in Ascot, and found a table in Rock Salt. We both ordered the linguine with chilli, garlic and prawns. It was gorgeous! K was also kind enough to give me the most interesting cupcake recipe book I’ve seen, “10,000 Cupcakes”. Each page is divided into three, decorations, toppings and cakes. You can flip each part separately to create whatever combination you like. I’m itching to hit the kitchen again and experiment!

Yesterday was beautifully sunny once again, though not as hot as my day in Reading. I decided a walk over the moor into Maidenhead was on the cards, particularly as I needed to sort out my phone. Two weeks without Whatsapp and Skype does not a happy emigrant make! After much ado, I am finally the proud owner of a lovely new smartphone, complete with camera to brighten up my blog! I also purchased a dress, bag and fascinator to wear to the races at some point over the summer.

My intention was to go to Asda last night, but after all my walking, I decided that an evening in bed with a good book was a much better alternative. It is now Sunday morning, and I’m having a lazy breakfast (porridge with blueberries), enjoying the breeze floating in from the open back door. Bliss!