So I’ve decided to jump on the bandwagon of monthly round-ups, mostly because I think it’s a really lovely way to see a quick summary of your life at a certain point in time and be reminded of all the wonderful things that you did, but also because it’s the start of 2016 and thus my OCD sees this as the perfect (and only) time for this series of posts to begin, lest I should wish to wait a whole other year. I know, I have issues.
After bringing in the New Year in style with dinner at my favourite restaurant, Roka, and a night out with a group of friends at Sketch, I was prepared (and relatively looking forward to) January being a quieter one. But, of course, life tends to get in the way of that, and I’m glad it did, as I’ve already made some amazing memories in 2016.
I was lucky enough to be gifted the Nikon D750 for Christmas, which I am more than slightly in love with, but need to invest some serious time with if I ever wish to master. Since Angie has the same camera she was kind enough to meet me for a camera play date, which was invaluable (thanks again hunni), although I have a long way to go before I’m anywhere near her level.
Starting the month with great intentions I hit a Barry’s Bootcamp pre-work sesh with my step-sister, which made me feel like a Queen all day and is an exercise class that I would highly recommend, should anyone be considering it.
Activity-wise I took a trip back to childhood and went bowling at All Star Lanes, although being able to play with booze definitely made this a fonder adult experience for me. I also had a fun night playing darts at Flight Club, which does all of the scoring for you (so you can concentrate on your wine) and is a bit more glitz & glam than your average old-fashioned pub, making for a different & good night out.
My girlfriends from school & I met for drinks in Camberwell, which was so lovely as we’re very rarely able to find a date that so many of us can make!
I also had my first ever (multiple) Porn Star Martini!
Then there was brunch at The Good Life Eatery with one of my favourite people, where we both tucked into acai bowls and intriguing smoothies. Everything was delish, although I think it’s overhyped considering how long you have to queue and the prices ain’t cheap.
This was followed by an afternoon of ‘culture’, or as much as you’re going to get out of me at a museum, with Michael & I visiting the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Natural History Museum, which was really super. It runs till 10th April and costs £13.50 per adult, and is well worth the trip.
One of my oldest friends had us all over for birthday brunch, which quickly escalated into our usual drunken hilarity.
I had an ‘interesting’ night at Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club, where you can play games, interact with some ‘special’ characters and observe a very bizarre midnight hot dog eating competition. Against my better judgment, I also found myself signed up to a very grimy night at Egg, which was surprisingly good fun, although my beautiful boots took a battering. The Culpeper also proved itself to be a great pub for a few nighttime drinks, with a good & busy vibe at the weekend.
Then there was the Bouillabaisse OLAC night, which is meant to comprise of Oyster and Lobster Tasting with bespoke cocktails at Bouillabaisse seafood restaurant (owned by the infamous Nikkei Boys and sister to Chotto Matte) in Soho, however, they’d run out of lobster by the time we arrived, and so we were hilariously given a bowl of vegetables instead. Still, it was really good fun and the barman was an absolute dream.
The last day of the month saw mum, Michael & I take part in the Cancer Research UK London Winter run, which we ran in honour of my Grandma whose birthday it was on that day and who passed away from cancer a few years ago. Despite it being miserable weather, the atmosphere was great and it was really lovely, albeit quite emotional, to see the number of people running in aid of someone they love who is or has been affected by cancer.
January turned out to be heavier on the food & booze than I had expected, throwing all health resolutions out the window, but I have no regrets considering how well fed & watered I was.
Michael & I visited The Meat Co. for a South African feast of delicious meats & puds, which resulted in me being introduced to the nation’s famous ‘Malva cake’ dessert, which is worth visiting this restaurant for alone.
I hit Barbecoa with mum and sampled a selection of their starters, whilst enjoying the impressive view of St Paul’s Cathedral.
Then there was some Friday night extravagance with a work dinner at Duck & Waffle where we indulged in the Chef’s Sharing Menu, which is an absolute steal at £65pp for the selection of dishes and portion sizes that you get. Honestly, I’d be impressed if you polished off all the food that you’re given. We ended the night with many a drink in Sushisamba’s bar and I went to bed a very happy girl.
Michael & I celebrated our 4-year anniversary at Hakkasan, where we were unfortunately quite disappointed by the food, although having discussed this with several people it seems that the Mayfair branch is the one to visit, so perhaps we’ll give it another go.
I had dinner at Coya in Mayfair which, although I definitely enjoyed (and loved the décor), thought served pretty average food; pleasant enough, but not worth a re-visit, particularly when it’s owned by the Roka / Zuma group and both of those restaurants serve much tastier food for similar prices.
I had a lovely lunch at Oblix Lounge, where my friend & I were fortunate to be treated to clear blue skies and thus a great, clear panoramic view of London. The food was really on point, although service was a little slow, but a few glasses of wine down and spending a couple of hours out of the office on a Thursday meant that this was quickly forgiven.
More tapas at a gem of a discovery just walking distance from our house, Copita del Mercado, took place the following evening, which delivered on both food & ambience, serving as further testament to the gentrification of the Aldgate area.
Of course, our 10K run on the 31st of January deserved to be rewarded with brunch, and so 3 very sodden diners + my poor frozen step-father turned up to the The Modern Pantry, not quite wearing our Sunday best, but grateful to be tucking into some hot food and my final meal out for the ‘quiet month’.
So, on reflection, January was a pretty great month for me; I caught up with lots of different groups of people, visited some new places and did a few cool, different things, and ate lots of delicious foods. Although, I can’t lie and say that I haven’t had itchy feet at wanting to get out of London, so am more than a little excited to be going skiing in Switzerland and visiting Dubai in February.
How did your January turn out? Were you good or is February the time for a ‘do-over’?