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Ten happy things – November 2023

Monkey Forest in Ubud Bali

Each month I look back and reflect on what made me happy and brought me moments of joy. Here’s my ‘ten happy things’ for November.

Explored a new country

We started November in Bali, a popular island in Indonesia. We’ve never been to Indonesia before so that was another country to tick off our list! Bali is beautiful, with its many stunning temples and lush habitat. We stayed in two areas – Jimbaran, which is by the sea and Ubud, which is in the jungle. We absolutely adored Ubud! Having never stayed in a jungle environment, it was a totally new experience and so beautiful. The Balinese people are super friendly and we loved the food. We had a fantastic time.

A snake water fountain made of stone in Ubud in Bali

The joy of bathing in flowers

If there’s one thing Bali loves, it’s a flower bath! At the first resort we stayed at, they had put flowers in our bath when we arrived and it looked so pretty. The frangipani flowers had the most incredible smell too.

Flower bath at the Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay Bali

I had booked a spa experience in Ubud for my husband as part of his birthday present and the package included a flower bath after your massage. You also get to choose the pattern that you’d like and we chose the one called Alexandra. The bath was absolutely packed with flowers that you couldn’t even see the water. I forgot to take a photo before we got in so this was the aftermath! Bathing in this many flowers is a bit of an odd sensation but a fun and unique experience.

Flower bath at a Bali spa

An incredible Chef’s Table meal

In Ubud, we had the most fabulous and delicious Chef’s Table Balinese dinner at our resort Four Seasons at Sayan. The chefs cooked in front of us and explained each dish. The star dish was the famous suckling pig, which they had been cooking on a spit at the side of the restaurant. It was a really memorable dinner!

Chef's Table at Four Seasons at Sayan in Bali

Street art in Singapore

After Bali we headed back to Singapore for four days before flying home. When we visited Singapore many years ago there wasn’t much street art – if any. Now, due to a Government initiative, there’s beautiful street art everywhere! The street art is so intricate and depicts the culture of Singapore.

Tea cups street art in Singapore

Dinner with the girls

I’ve been wanting to go to Forza Wine for ages but Peckham is a bit of a pain for me to get to so when they opened a new restaurant in the National Theatre on the Southbank, I was delighted! I suggested it to my friends Cath, Jennie and Nadia for dinner one night after work and they were all keen. Sadly on the day Nadia couldn’t make it but Cath, Jennie and I went ahead and had a fab night.

The food was great and the wine was flowing! I also really loved the design of the restaurant and even though it’s situated in a theatre, it didn’t feel like we were inside one. I’d definitely return!

Wine bottles lined up at Forza Wines

Lunch in Amersham

My friend Dawn and I meet up every few months, usually for lunch and a catch-up. The last few times we’ve met up, Dawn has come into London so I thought it only fair that I head out her way. We met for lunch in Amersham, which I love and hadn’t been to for a while.

We went to Zaza, which is an Italian restaurant with gorgeous decor. Each Zaza restaurant has a tree inside, which looks beautiful. They had an amazing lunch deal of two courses for £14.50, which was an absolute bargain. After lunch we had a wander around the town and stopped into a few shops for a browse. It was a lovely afternoon!

A beautiful tree inside Zaza restaurant in Amersham

Read a fantastic book

Is there anything better than losing yourself in a good book? This month I read Yellowface by Rebecca F. Kuang and I was hooked from the first page! It’s fast-paced and gripping. I also enjoyed learning more about the publishing industry and how ruthless it can be. A great read, I highly recommend it.

A photo of the cover of Yellowface, which is a yellow book with eyes on the cover

Delicious lunch at The Ninth

We’ve been to The Ninth a few times but hadn’t been for ages so it was a real treat to go this month for lunch. The food is always excellent and even though the menu seemed a bit smaller since the last time, there were still plenty of great options. We very rarely have dessert at lunch but it would be a sin not to order the Pain Perdu with Tonka Bean ice-cream – the best dessert ever!

Pain perdu dessert with tonka bean ice-cream from The Ninth

Afternoon out with Jen

My friend Jen was down in London for both work and pleasure and asked if I wanted to go to the BBC Earth Experience with her in Earls Court. We met at Megan’s in High Street Kensington and had a yummy lunch and a catch-up before walking over to the show.

We were both a bit underwhelmed by it, unfortunately, as it wasn’t as interactive as we were expecting. It was more like just watching a David Attenborough documentary in a large room with lots of screens and beanbags… Also there wasn’t any climate messaging really until the very end where you hear from Sir David as you exit. Still, it was something different to do and it was great to see Jen!

Screens with seals on rocks at the BBC Earth Experience

Fizz with Fee

Fee and I met up in Soho for some drinks and a catch-up. It was absolutely freezing so we wanted somewhere cozy and stumbled upon Mimi’s Hotel. It’s a lovely hotel and has a great bar. We managed to get a table by the window but we could only stay about an hour as they were fully booked from 5pm!

Prosecco at Mimi's hotel in Soho

We then moved on to Soho Joe where we had some more Prosecco and then a couple of Fee’s friends joined us before they went off for dinner. It was fun afternoon!

So that’s my ‘ten happy things’ for November. How did your month go? Let me know in the comments.

Kirsty Marrins

Reader, writer, occasional runner, travel lover.

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