Things You Probably Don’t Know About Me

In the summer of 2002 I did an internship at the Cabinet Office and visited Number 10, I didn’t realise where we were until we walked down a stair case with pictures of all the Prime Ministers (you may know this from Love Actually 🙂 ).

Interesting things have happened to me in New York City:

  1. Monica Lewinsky was on my flight to New York once, I recognised the “hair” at the baggage carousel. After passport control, her luggage had fallen off her trolley so I went over and asked if she needed help. She declined politely. She was then picked up by a driver who had a sign with a totally different name on it, at that moment I felt for her.
  2. That same day, once I had arrived at my hotel, I asked Jonah Hill the actor where the hotel reception was, he looked very confused.
  3. I was stuck in that same hotel during Hurricane Sandy

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This picture was obviously not taken during the hurricane!

Other celebrities I have met (by met I mean actually exchange words) include:
  1. Goldie Hawn
  2. Peter Gabriel
  3. Jamie Dornan
  4. Michel Roux Junior
  5. Fergie from the Black eyed peas

I’ve been to New Foundland (not many people have!), we had to make an emergency landing there once on our way to the US.

Travel disasters follow me, indeed once I was stuck on the Eurostar for 9 hours. I also had food positioning on a Singapore-London flight…

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I’m the eldest of 8 children (1 sister, 1 half sister, 5 half brothers).

I lived in France for 11 years.

I’m a big rugby fan and have seen England beat France twice at Twickenham.

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My grandmother is one of the world’s experts on fans.

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The Friday Happiness Project – Week 1

Happy Friday!

On Sunday night, I watched the “Happy Movie” (http://www.thehappymovie.com/), it was a really positive movie with some interesting scientific facts thrown in (some people are genetically less predisposed to happiness – unfortunate for them!). It made me think about what makes me happy and what would make me happier. I recently wrote a post about winning the lottery, for me the main advantage to becoming a millionaire would be to be able to make others happy, indeed winning the lottery won’t make me happier – this is actually a scientific fact “As people earn more money, their day-to-day happiness rises. Until you hit $75,000. After that, it is just more stuff, with no gain in happiness.”. What would definitely make me happy would be to make my closest friends and family financially secure and to be able to spend time with them by going on amazing holidays!

The plan is reflect on the week every Friday and remind myself of some happy moments in the past week. So here goes:

  • Arabella getting her second tooth this week, this means that hopefully the crazy night teething will pause for a few days! Its also really cute to see her with 2 bottom teeth.
  • Eating a delicious lunch at Shake Shack with my best friend and our babies
  • My brother is working at my sister’s company for the summer and he got an email thanking him from a customer on his third day at work, that made me really happy
  • Monday was a really happy day, my sister came to visit us and its so nice to see how excited she was to see and play with Arabella

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  • Arabella wearing her first hair clip – so cute!

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So this week, a lot of the happy moments came from family and friends, not material things (well except a cheap hairclip). Some THING that is going to make me happy is the Chipotle Burrito my husband will bring back tonight for dinner!

Have a happy weekend everybody!

Day Dreaming

One of my favourite things is to imagine what I would do if when I win the lottery (those who know me well know I am sure I am going to win big on the lottery one day, believing is the first step to winning in my opinion). So in order to not waste time or forget anything when the day comes, here is the list (this assumes a win of 10 million pounds or more, the list might have to be reduced for smaller gains…).

  1. Pay off our mortgage and rent the flat out
  2. Move into a hotel whilst we choose a new house in London (most likely in Islington)
  3. Buy all parents and brothers and sisters a house each (some might have to have flats as we have a big family!).
  4. Spend December and January in the mountains, I have always dreamed of Christmas with all my family in a chalet in the mountains
  5. Buy a house somewhere hot
  6. Buy Orford house in Walthamstow and transform it into a “Shoreditch Walthamstow House” -this, along with charity work, would be my job
  7. Spend a year travelling the world eating in 3 Michelin star restaurants and doing cooking classes along the way. In particular spend time “eating” in Thailand, Japan and Italy
  8. Learn Italian
  9. Spend the summer somewhere hot with different friends and family visiting each week having amazing pool parties
  10. Pay off quite a few friends and family’s mortgages/get them somewhere permanent to live
  11. Spend a week every “season” shopping in New York with a personal shopper with my best girlfriends
  12. Get a personal reformer pilates trainer to come 4 times a week and make my body HOT.
  13. Fly back to Bali in Singapore airlines first class on the A380
  14. Go to the South Pole
  15. Go to the North Pole
  16. Have a massage and facial every week
  17. Get involved with a few different charities
  18. Buy my mum a horse
  19. Buy my husband a cross fit gym
  20. Never have to learn to drive

That’s all.

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My “Petite Madeleine”

A few days ago, as I was walking down the street, a little girl wearing a red and white checked summer school uniform walked past holding her mum’s hand and I was taken back, far far back. Suddenly I was a little girl again at Southwell school on Portland in Dorset in the late 80s and I was wearing that uniform and having lunch outside on a sunny day. I could hear the seagulls, feel the fresh air, taste the sandwiches from my lunchbox and hear children playing all around me. It was so strange and quite intense, the memories just hit me. I actually stopped pushing the buggy for a few seconds as it was such a strong feeling. All the memories came flooding back: assembly at school, playing with Tim, Anna, Daniel and Heidi, living in Osborne Hall (it’s now quite a nice Air BnB: https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/863848) where slow worms used to live in the back wall, my Grandparents’ beach hut, The Cove Pub, the sculpture park in the quarry, the Beach Road, being very mean to the girl up the road and pouring oil on her head (sorry!) – my childhood on Portland before I moved to France basically.

Nearly 30 years later I would move to Walthamstow (via quite a few other places) and meet H through NCT, she happens to be friends with a girl who was in my class at Southwell school on Portland, it really is a small world.

The only other time I can remember being thrown back in time was a few years ago when I stayed at someone’s house and had forgotten my toothpaste. The only toothpaste in the bathroom was children’s toothpaste, the second it hit my taste buds, that particular banana flavour took me back to the South of France and my first “colonies de vacances” when I was 9 or 10 years old. I can remember that holiday camp like it was yesterday: feeling different because I didn’t have a “carnet de sante” like all the other French children and because I had some Stefanel clothes my Granny had bought so I was seen as “posh”, wearing my pink jumper (I can’t remember the brand name but I loved that jumper) in the morning to breakfast, the only time it wasn’t hot; falling in love with “Sebastien” and asking my mum when we got back if we could move to Argenteuil so I could see him (if you know anything about France and “les banlieues”, you will understand why this was a very naïve request…); plucking up the courage to ask a girl if she wanted to be friends on the first day; listening to lots of Michael Jackson and I randomly remember a girl rubbing her soap against the shower wall to make it looked like it had been used a lot because she didn’t want her mum to know she didn’t wash much once she got back – how do I remember that ???!!! I can still see her banging that soap against the wall… It’s strange how tiny weird details stick in your memory. It’s also amazing how when you are a child you don’t understand social differences, I now know that “Sebastien” and his friends most likely didn’t pay for their time there and it was probably their only holiday.

What will A remember from her childhood, what will stick in her mind, which memories will last and which ones will fade…. I just hope she likes to wash with soap.

What I Love About Walthamstow

Just under a year ago, we moved from N1 to E17 and didn’t really know what to expect. We moved for the typical reason of “we can’t afford to buy in Islington so lets move up the Victoria Line” and have not regretted it and here’s why:
-We live AT the station, this means it takes 3 mins exactly to go from our front door to the platform for the train, I was so grateful for this when commuting whilst pregnant and am very grateful for this as my husband gets home really quickly in the evening
-We have an amazing view of London from our balcony, I have spent many hours sat on the sofa breastfeeding and admiring the view!
-There is a great Moroccan and many Turkish supermarkets within walking distance where you can find amazing and authentic products, merguez or ajvar anybody?

-I can get freshly cooked Gozleme in 3 mins

-I love wondering around the best Spar (it’s official!) in England and looking at all the interesting products they sell, it’s E17’s version De Beauvoir Deli in my opinion

-The East London Sausage Company makes amazing sausages!

-I love everything about Ravenswood Industrial Estate, the neon, the cakes next door and the brewery

-I’ve made great friends here and know more people in Walthamstow than I ever did in Islington, of course it’s because I have a baby now and they are all “baby related” but still it makes me feel part of the community (even if for now it’s part of the buggy brigade!), which I never did in Islington

-You can take the 97 bus and be at Westfield in 20 mins, where they sell FROZEN YOGURT and there is a WAITROSE!

-Walthamstow village in really pretty

-I love walking to Lloyd Park as it’s just the right distance to get A to sleep in the buggy and once there it’s lovely, even though it takes a lot of willpower not to buy a cake on the way in one of the MANY cake shops!

-I am addicted to Lidl’s pains au chocolat (I know this is not really Walthamstow related!)

-There are some great pubs around, yes I know a lot of them feel like creches on a Sunday but at the moment that suits me fine 🙂

-It’s super easy to get anywhere from here (the City, central London, Stansted etc.)

There is still so much to discover, we’ve never been to the Marches for example nor to Epping Forest (which we can walk to!), I’ve never been to the Mill nor to Hornbeam Cafe nor bought fish from Davies & Sons nor really made the most of the market etc. I will spend the next 6 months of my maternity leave doing a lot more exploring now the weather is better.

Finally to top it all off, apparently TK Maxx is opening this year, which is my world is VERY EXCITING. They don’t call it Awesomestow for nothing!