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Ten happy things – August 22

Courgette pizzetta

Each month I like to look back and reflect on what brought me joy and happiness. August was a very busy month as I had my family over from Canada for two weeks. It was wonderful to see them after three years! I spent a lot of time playing tourist in my own city, which was great – but tiring! Here’s my ‘ten happy things’ for August.

Lunch with Mitzie

My friend Mitzie and I met at Lina Stores in Bloomberg Arcade one lunch break for a catch up. Unfortunately I’d overbooked myself so could only meet for an hour. Still, it was great to have a chat and hear about her upcoming holidays and talk about the trip to Sicily we’d just been on.

As always, the food was delicious. We shared the fried artichokes with aioli and pangrattato, which are highly addictive! We then shared the Ravioli Primavera, with peas, ricotta and mint (perfect Summer dish) and the Casarecce alla Calabrese with prawns, tomato and chili (hearty and very tasty).

I’ve now eaten at every single Lina Stores in London!

Casarecce alla Calabrese from Lina Stores

Seeing my family

I last saw my mom, sister and my nephews when I visited them in Edmonton in 2019. I met them at Heathrow when they arrived and it was so great to hug them all after so long! My nephews have also grown up so much and I had to stand on tippy toes to hug my eldest nephew – he’s so tall!

Read a brilliant book

This month I read the second book in the Thursday Murder Club mysteries by Richard Osman. I absolutely loved it! I really enjoy Richard’s writing style and there were many ‘laugh out loud’ moments. If you’ve not read them, I highly recommend adding them to your reading list!

Cover of the book The man who died twice

Discovering Burgh House in Hampstead

So when I say ‘discovering’, I mean I actually went in! I had walked past Burgh House in Hampstead a few times but hadn’t ever gone inside. It’s actually a museum and one of the oldest standing houses in Hampstead – dating back to 1704 when Hampstead was actually a spa town.

My mom and I had lunch at their cafe and the food was great! They also have lots of outdoor tables in their lovely garden so perfect for al fresco dining when the weather is nice. I created a little Reel on Instagram to show you around! It’s also free to visit.

A visit to Kew Gardens

I’ve been to Kew Gardens a few times and it’s always a treat as there are so many areas to explore. In fact, our legs were hurting so much by the end of the day as we had walked a lot! Unfortunately the Treetop Walkway was closed as they were doing something to the lift but my disappointment was soon dissipated by the discovery of the waterlily house. The waterlilies were huge!

My mom and I had a fantastic day at Kew, and a lovely lunch at the Pavilion Bar and Grill – although the service was quite slow….

The waterlily house at Kew Gardens with giant green waterlillies

A surprise visit from my aunt and cousin

My sister and nephews traveled up to Edinburgh for a week, while they were over, to see my dad. My mom didn’t want to go so stayed in London with me. My aunt though really wanted to see my mom so came down on the train one day, with her daughter, to have lunch with us. My cousin had contacted me and we arranged it together but it was a total surprise for my mom! It was such a lovely thing for them to have done (especially as it was a really long day for them!) and my mom really enjoyed spending time with them.

Lunch at Petersham Nurseries

Lunch at Petersham Nurseries in Richmond is always a treat! I took my mom for lunch and we had a great time. The weather was lovely, which meant we got to sit outside under the vineyards- such a gorgeous setting.

A table for two under vineyards at Petersham Nurseries

As always, the food was wonderful. It’s a set menu of either 2 courses or 3 courses. We shared a pizzetta with courgettes to start, then I had a lovely artichoke salad as my starter. My mom and I both had the whole lemon sole for our main and then my mom had a delicious trifle for dessert.

Courgette pizzetta from Petersham Nurseries

After lunch my mom’s friend Judy, who I’ve known since I was a baby, joined us for coffee and a wander around the nursery. It was a really lovely day out!

Day out in East London

One Sunday my mom and I headed to Columbia Road Flower Market in East London to meet up with my childhood friend Genevieve. We had a quick wander around as it was heaving with people, then had a coffee and catch up. Afterwards we walked to Liverpool Street to meet my mom’s friend Judy. They then went for lunch on their own and Genevieve and I headed off to a food market in Brick Lane where he had some delicious Turkish food.

It was really good to spend some time with Genevieve as we hadn’t seen each other in a year!

A vintage stall with racks of clothes and household items

A boat ride to Greenwich

I haven’t been to Greenwich in YEARS and my sister and nephews had never been so I suggested a visit. We started our day in London Bridge, had lunch at a food stall in Borough Market, then hopped on an Uber Boat to beautiful Greenwich. It was really fun taking the boat and you get to see London from a different angle. I also enjoyed going under Tower Bridge and when we stopped at the pier at Canary Wharf.

View of Tower Bridge from the Uber boat

We had lovely weather in Greenwich with blue skies and sunshine. We had a walk around the market and then a quick visit to the National Maritime Museum. We then walked up the hill to see the Greenwich Meridian Line (of course!) as well as spectacular views over London.

View of London city from Greenwich

A Bank Holiday catch-up with Fee

On the last Bank Holiday Monday I met up with Fee for coffee and a catch-up in Richmond. We hadn’t seen each other in a while and had loads to talk about as we’d both been on holiday. We were going to have a picnic in the park but then the weather wasn’t great, so we opted for coffee instead. Afterwards we strolled to a pub just off the river and I discovered a part of Richmond I’d never seen before!

So that was my August! How did your month go? Let me know in the comments.

Kirsty Marrins

Reader, writer, occasional runner, travel lover.

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