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Ten happy things – November 21

Four Seasons Mauritius swimming pool

Each month I look back and reflect on what made me happy and brought me joy. Sometimes it’s something very small, like enjoying the change in seasons, and other times it’s really big – like a holiday abroad. November had a bit of both!

A holiday in Mauritius

At the beginning of November we spent a wonderful nine nights in beautiful Mauritius. After having so many holidays cancelled due to Covid last year, it was just the tonic we needed. We mainly stayed in our resort, enjoying the free water sports and the short boat ride to the neighbouring island of Ile aux cerfs. That vitamin sea did wonders for us!

Beach bar at La Plaz

Total relaxation at AIRE Ancient Baths

My husband and I booked to go to AIRE Ancient Baths, just off Covent Garden, for a relaxing afternoon. It’s the most magical setting with candlelight and a number of different baths to explore. They range from very hot at 40 ºC to really cold at 10 ºC! We only had 90 minutes but it felt afterwards as though we’d been there for hours and hours as we left feeling totally relaxed. I can’t wait to go back!

AIRE Ancient Baths

Cooking with Clodagh (blogger invite)

I was invited by Parma Ham to a cooking event with the lovely chef and TV presenter Clodagh McKenna. It was hosted at Food at 52 in east London, which is a gorgeous cooking school. We were put into groups of three to cook two dishes using Parma Ham. The first was a Winter endive salad with poached pears, Parma Ham, blue cheese, rocket and walnuts. The second dish was pappardelle with crispy Parma Ham and wild mushrooms – both were absolutely delicious! We then ended the night with Clodagh’s yummy tiramisu. It was such a fun event and I got to catch up with my blogger friends Neha and Felicia and make some new friends too.

Kirsty with Chef Clodagh McKenna

Dandy came to stay

My neighbour Josh asked us to look after Dandy for a couple of nights. I love it when Dandy comes to stay! He is just the cutest, fluffiest cat and I love watching him all curled up asleep. Especially as he makes the sweetest little noises when he sleeps! My heart just melts.

Dandy the cat curled up asleep

Lunch at Manteca

If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know how much we love eating Italian food on Saturdays. We tried Manteca in Shoreditch after my lovely friend Natalie went to their launch and posted about it on Instagram – I then booked a table immediately! They had a pop-up in Covent Garden and have now made Shoreditch their permanent home.

The menu is fairly small, which is always a good sign, and the food was delicious. The fazzoletti with duck ragu was a particular highlight. We’ll definitely be returning!

Delicious pasta at Manteca in Shoreditch

Breakfast with Jen

My friend Jen, who has featured a few times on my blog, was down from Matlock to attend a very special afternoon tea at the Houses of Parliament as her business Co-working Corner was named one of Small Business UK’s 100 small businesses – how brilliant is that? Jen and I speak over WhatsApp voice notes multiple times a day so it was great to have a chat in person! We met at Caravan in King’s Cross for breakfast before she got her train back home.

Kirsty and Jen taking a selfie

Took myself out of my comfort zone

I decided to go to a Zumba class at my gym one Friday morning. I haven’t done Zumba for about ten years but I remember not being too bad at it. Well…. after about 5 minutes of this class I wanted to run out the studio. I felt so uncoordinated and awkward! But I stuck with it and it was actually kinda fun. And what a workout… I could barely move for two days afterwards! At the time this would never have made my ‘ten happy things’ but on reflection, I’m proud of myself for staying in that class and just giving it a go.

I discovered mead (gifted)

I attended a fab Comté virtual tasting with renowned cheese writer and World Cheese Awards judge Patrick McGuigan. Patrick paired the 12+ month Comté with sparkling mead from family-run Welsh meadery Afon Mêl. The 24+ month Comté was paired with Tamoshanta cider from Pilton and the 36+ month Comté was paired with Dunkel lager from Barnaby’s Brewhouse. My favourite Comté was the 24+ – it was so nutty and delicous. The surprise though was the mead! I’ve never tried mead before and I loved it.

Comté virtual cheese tasting and pairing

I posted some Stories during the virtual tasting, one of which said how much I loved the Nectar sparkling mead with the Comté. The lovely Maggie from Afon Mêl then got in touch and to cut a long story short, she very kindly sent me a whole bunch of their range to try! So far I’ve tried the Nectar and Bramble, which are fabulous. Looking forward to trying them all!

Mead selection from Afon Mel

A new, exciting contract

Just as I was winding down for Christmas, workwise, I had an exciting opportunity come up that I just couldn’t say no to. It’s a well-known charity that I’ve admired for years so I’m so pleased I’ll be working with them until the end of March 2022. I’m looking forward to working in a team again and getting to go to an actual office! Home working is getting a bit boring now…

Read a great book then gifted it

Is there anything better than reading a great book on holiday? And even better… a beach holiday? I’d heard good things about Girl A by Abigail Dean and it certainly didn’t disappoint. I always post a mini review of what I’ve read on my Instagram Stories and then add it to my ‘Book Reviews’ highlight. My friend Michelle spotted my review and said she wanted to read it so I popped it in the post to her. I love passing on a great read!

Reading Girl A on the beach

So that’s what made me smile in November. How did your month go?

Kirsty Marrins

Reader, writer, occasional runner, travel lover.



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