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Ten happy things – January 23

The Burnt City neon sign

I can’t believe it’s been five years since I started my monthly ‘ten happy things’ series! I love reflecting on the month just gone and writing about all the joyous moments. Here’s my ‘ten happy things’ for January.

Ringing in the New Year in Washington DC

We rang in 2023 in the beautiful city of Washington DC! I will be honest and say that it wasn’t a travel destination high on my travel list but I was pleasantly surprised by how lovely it was. It’s a very walkable city and we got lucky with the weather. Steeped in history, it was great to walk around and explore the city.

Kirsty stands by the C&O canal in Georgetown with colourful houses behind her

The Burnt City

One of my Christmas presents from my husband was tickets to the immersive theater experience, The Burnt City by Punch Drunk. We loved their show, The Drowning Man, so had high hopes for this one. The Burnt City is set in Greece in the city of Troy as it’s about to fall. The set is absolutely amazing and the actors and dancers are incredible. But… we felt there was a bit too much going on and the story wasn’t very clear. We didn’t really know what was going on! We really enjoyed it, and I would recommend it – especially if you’ve never experienced immersive theater before – but be prepared to be confused!

Neon sign that says The Burnt City

Chinese feast at MiMi Mei Fair

After The Burnt City we had dinner at the gorgeous MiMi Mei Fair, near Green Park. As it was close to Chinese New Year, it was decorated beautifully with Wishing Trees. We had been once before and enjoyed the food but had missed out on the duck as we didn’t know that it needed to be ordered at least 24 hours in advance. We didn’t make that mistake this time! It was a fabulous evening with the show and then dinner.

The Parlour at MiMi Mei Fair

Lunch in the city with Mitzie

One Tuesday I met up with my friend Mitzie for lunch near her office. It had been ages since we’d seen each other so it was great to find out all her news. We shared some plates at Vinoteca and I had a glass of white wine from Romania, which was really lovely and a bargain at £5. The Neal’s Yard Cheese croquettes were probably my favourite of the dishes we tried.

Four cheese croquettes on a white plate

I thought the smoked aubergine fritters would have been my favourite but they were unfortunately a bit bland. Although the food wasn’t the best, the company certainly was!

Lovely new bedding

After lunch with Mitzie, I headed to M&S as I had a £50 M&S gift card and they had 20% off bedding. I managed to buy a new duvet cover, pillowcases, flat sheet and fitted sheet and only had to pay £8 of my own money. Bargain!

Dinner with Jen at Noble Rot

My friend Jen was down in London for work so we met up for dinner, at Noble Rot, near her hotel. I’ve been once before to Noble Rot for lunch and it was fab. They change the menu each week so it’s always varied. I enjoyed both my courses but unfortunately Jen didn’t like her starter. We had a great catch up though and it was lovely to see her in person.

John Dory with potatoes and sea vegetables.

Made focaccia

Normally we eat out every Saturday but in January we spent two Saturdays at home for lunch. For one of them I made focaccia with tomatoes and rosemary. I’d not made focaccia since lockdown so it was a treat. I have to say, it was pretty good!

Homemade tomato and rosemary focaccia displayed on a wooden board

Work lunch with Neha

My friend Neha’s office is right near mine so we arranged to have lunch one day when we were both in. We tried the new Riding House Cafe at the Brunswick Centre. What a gorgeous restaurant! And they seemed to give us the best table in the house.

Corner table at Riding House Cafe

We ordered quite a few dishes to share. The only one that was a bit disappointing was the Cobb salad as it was quite bland. The crispy okra was probably my favourite, although I also loved the cauliflower skewer and the artichoke dip with toasted sourdough. Not bad for a work lunch! And it was so lovely to catch up with Neha.

Selection of lunch dishes from Riding House Cafe

Decadent beignet from Fortitude Bakehouse

So I only just discovered the most amazing bakery, which is just steps away from my office! As it’s tucked away down an alley, I’d never noticed it before. My friend Rasha had gone and had posted her beignet on Instagram, so I headed there the next time I was in the office. Apparently they change the flavours often but I didn’t even bother asking what the flavour was! OH MY. It was so deliciously indulgent and decadent.

Beignet with cream

Relaxation at AIRE spa

When I opened a Christmas present from my husband to find that he’d booked for us to go back to AIRE Ancient Baths, I almost jumped with joy! He booked for the last Saturday in January so after a yummy pizza at nearby Rossopomodoro, we headed to the spa for a blissful 90 mins of total relaxation. I really love the concept and the fact that phones are forbidden – the gowns have no pockets so it’s impossible to sneak your phone in. It means that guests can just relax and not be annoyed by people taking tons of selfies! PS: this photo is from AIRE as I asked for photos to write a review.

Floatarium at AIRE

So that was my January! How did the first month of the year go for you? What made you happy and brought you joy?

Kirsty Marrins

Reader, writer, occasional runner, travel lover.




  • Neha

    Lunch was delicious for sure. I need to try Mimi Mayfair and that spa sounds so good.

  • John Lepp

    Always appreciate these posts Kirsty… I started the new year in the arms of someone I love and cherish and we headed down to the Mayan Rivera for a week in the warm sunshine. We visited the ruins in Tulum (google it!) and then walked down to a beach for fish tacos, cold drinks and a swim in the ocean. So that was fab. Got together with most of my family for a belated Christmas gathering and made some steps to prioritize my physical health and cut back on my wine intake. Pretty good January – I have to say! Thanks for giving me the space to reflect! <3 HNY!

    • Kirsty Marrins

      Sounds like an amazing January John! And I’ve actually been to Tulum but many years ago – it was really beautiful. Hope you have a wonderful Feb!

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