So this month started off rather inauspiciously, as I spilled an entire carton of soup inside my handbag on my way to work. Homemade soup, to be fair, but weirdly enough the fact that I had roasted the pumpkin myself didn't make it any less irritating as it got inside my purse, my stethoscope, all four of the lipsticks I somehow found in there, and, worst of all, my iPod.
Mourning for the eponymous iPod had to be cut short though, as my long-awaited annual leave meant that I was on a train down to London, clutching a list of all the food I wanted to eat and people I wanted to see.
I somehow found myself in the first class carriage [I think the cape I was wearing gave me an air of mystery and wealth] and let me tell you - I have been spoiled. After round after round of free gin & tonics, chocolates, cups of tea and cheese and crackers, I nearly cried when they told me how much it would be to upgrade for the way back up. I even wore my new fedora to try to play the mysterious and wealthy European socialite card again, but it turns out that it would be hundreds of pounds despite my obvious intrigue and hinted-upon riches. No wonder Richard Branson's doing well for himself.
First stop was Shoreditch for brunch, where we were hitting it hard with cocktails before noon - and I discovered that I can't stomach lychee liqueur after my last batch of lychee martinis ended up with me being carried out of a club by my sister's boyfriend [although I did blame it on the sushi at the time]. So that's both malibu and lychee liqueur on my 'never again' list. The drinking equivalent of setting a favourite song as an alarm clock.
Luckily, I powered through and discovered my new favourite drink for winter - hot buttered rum. You guys, I think it has actual butter in it, and I LOVE IT. Partly because it makes me feel like I'm in Hogwarts [always a plus] and partly because they served it up in camping mugs whilst we sat on tree trunks in a wigwam on the top of a club. I mean. To be fair, it could also be due to the fact that I'd already had the aforementioned cocktails, mulled wine and a hot toddy. For comparison's sake. But that's the joy of the festive season - heating up booze makes it acceptable to day drink. It's right there alongside advent calendars and getting really neat corners on present wrapping.
It was a long weekend of eating and catching up and exploring London, and of late night TV marathons and reminiscing about those parts of your childhood that you only and your siblings know, like the time your dad set fire to the Wendy house with a Catherine wheel, or when your sister cut off her fringe in what to be honest was a logical response to not wanting a fringe anymore.
I also got to take some time to visit a friend's family cafe and pretend to be a proper food photographer, and even got to re-write one of the blackboards outside with my very best handwriting. Which was terrifying. And I forgot how to spell licensed. But thanks to Google and Phoebe telling me to make it less loopy and more legible, I produced a damn fine board. I am available for all your chalkboard needs, just pay me in coffee.
One of the last stops on my trip was a belated graduation lunch for my sister, at one of the best restaurant's I've ever been to - Duck and Waffle. Any meal where you find yourselves just looking at each other and repeating "Oh my God" is a good one. We ate everything. Pigs ears, roasted octopus, lobster and foie gras creme brûlée [!!], duck & waffle [obviously], and still had room for dessert. Just about. I went full-Instagram-dickhead as well, proper SLR, different angles, and I even roped Phoebe in as my syrup-pourer. A very important job, as I discovered this morning whilst trying to pour and click at the same time - syrup EVERYWHERE. And then I had to eat it all. Nightmare.
Alice Boman - Skiss 3
Tom Rosenthal - It's OK
Belgian Fog - Loveless
Slow Club - Tears Of Joy