Each month I like to look back and reflect on what made me happy and brought me joy. February is my birthday month so there were many happy moments – it was hard to whittle them down to just ten! So, here are my ‘ten happy things’ for February.
Pre-birthday lunch with Natalie
My lovely friend Natalie booked us a table at Arabica in Borough Market for my pre-birthday lunch. She had even organised a glass of bubbly on arrival! The food was really good – especially the cauliflower with Berbere and tahini. We also loved the healthy crudites with Baba Ghanoush.
After lunch we went for a walk along the river and bumped into a film crew who told us they were filming a movie with Jamie Foxx and Cameron Diaz. Sadly we didn’t get to see them as they were arriving in about 2 hours and neither of us could hang around that long!
Day of fun with Dawn
My birthday happened to fall on a Friday, which was also the last day to see the ‘Evanescent’ bubble installation at the Leadenhall building. My good friend Dawn really wanted to see it so I met her at the train station and then we headed for a yummy lunch at 28-50 Wine Workshop & Kitchen in Marylebone before getting the tube into the city to see the bubbles.
It was such a fun afternoon!
An evening at Cirque du Soleil
One of my husband’s birthday presents to me was tickets to Cirque du Soleil’s Kurios at the Royal Albert hall. He completely surprised me with them! We both love their shows and the Royal Albert Hall is also the perfect venue for them. Although getting there was a bit of a nightmare (tube cancellations and delays) we managed to get there with enough time to get a drink before it started. We had great seats and thoroughly enjoyed the show!
Afterwards we had dinner at Macellaio RC in South Kensington, which is an Italian restaurant with a butcher counter. The steak was absolutely delicious although we did have to ask them to cook it a little bit more…
Surprise birthday lunch in Amersham
Another one of my birthday treats from my husband was lunch at The Artichoke in Amersham. It’s one of our favourite restaurants, although we’d not been for a few years, so when I found out I was ecstatic! As always, the food was absolutely exquisite and we also got to have a chat to chef patron Laurie.
Discovered a fabulous bakery
This month I discovered the most wonderful bakery right near my office. Fortitude Bakehouse is an absolute gem, tucked away behind Russell Square tube station on a cobbled street. I mean, just look at this beignet (which resembles a Roman maritozzi)… utterly decadent!
A catch-up with Emma
It has been years since I last saw Emma, who I met on Instagram, so it was lovely when she got in touch to suggest a catch-up. We met at Bondi Green in Paddington for lunch, which is always a good shout as the food is good and it has a real buzz.
I chose the chicken salad, which was tasty but wasn’t very filling so I treated myself to a delicious Lamington afterwards – at Emma’s suggestion. They have loads of different flavours!
It was great to see Emma and hear what she’s up to and hopefully it won’t be years before we meet up again.
Read a brilliant book
I am a big fan of Richard Osman’s Thursday Murder Club series! This month I read his latest book, The bullet that missed. As always, it was such a good read. The characters are so wonderful and, once again, I didn’t actually guess who the murderer was…
Lunch with Nadia
I hadn’t seen my friend Nadia in months so we were definitely due a catch-up! We met during the week for lunch, just around the corner from Nadia’s office in Spitalfields. Nadia had suggested Crispin for lunch and I’m so glad she did as the food was delicious.
It was so lovely to see Nadia and to catch up on all her news. And she very kindly treated me for lunch as a birthday present!
Learning Italian with Duolingo
I’ve tried several times over the years to learn Italian… I’ve taken in-person lessons and listened to podcasts designed to help learn the language but nothing has really stuck. I’m giving Duolingo a try and so far I’m really enjoying it. It’s gamified, which probably lends itself well to my competitive nature! I have actually improved my Italian since starting it a month ago – even my husband is impressed! I’ve also purchased a book to use alongside the app. Have you tried Duolingo to learn a language? I’d love to hear if it helped.
A weekend in the Cotswolds
Another lovely birthday present from my husband was a weekend in the Cotswolds! We’ve been a few times as the Cotswolds is not too far from London by train and we’ve been to various little villages. We stayed at the fabulous The Manor House hotel in Castle Coombe, which has been named ‘the prettiest village in England’.
The hotel was gorgeous and the grounds are so pretty. They also have a Michelin starred restaurant called The Bybrook, where we had dinner the first night and it was such a wonderful meal. I’d highly recommend a stay here!
So that’s my ‘ten happy things’ for February. How did your month go? What made you happy and brought you joy? Let me know in the comments!