Saturday 17 November 2018

Said the Hatter with a sigh, it's always tea time. October - Part Two.

To pick up where I left off, thankfully I was feeling much more myself by the time I was due to head to London with Soo for an exhibition and my birthday gift Mad Hatter's afternoon tea.

I had to pre-book the afternoon tea as it was one of those experience things where you get a code and as it turned out the only time slot free on the day we chose was 1.30pm so we basically had an afternoon tea for lunch!
But I digress first we took ourselves to the Museum of London for 10am when it opened to give ourselves plenty of time to browse their exhibition London Nights.
An exhibition of photographs from the very first nighttime picture of London taken in 1896 to the present day. It was absolutely fantastic, I'm so glad I got to see it before it closed.
I loved that the pictures were not in a chronological order, but that they did group all the pictures of say Piccadilly Circus together so you could see it from the 1900's - 2000's and wonder at the changes in fashions or advertising as well as photography techniques.

We both loved the set of pictures taken from the roof of Brentwood shopping centre on a cold rainy night, where the photographer was on a level with the top deck of all the passing double decker buses and took amazing pictures of the unaware commuters travelling home at the end of their day. The steamed up rain spattered windows created incredible light effects, they were just fabulous. (No photography was allowed but if you google the exhibition name and click on images you'll see what I mean..)
There was a stunning picture taken this year of the London skyline but with a star filled night sky from the desert in Kazakhstan added to show what you should see in London if it wasn't for the light pollution.

We took a good couple of hours to thoroughly browse before ambling to St Paul's to catch the tube to Oxford Street and the Sanderson Hotel. This establishment is 5 star so we went to a glorious old hotel first (which wasn't The Sanderson) and got pointed across the road to this frankly very ugly concrete office block type building!

Once inside we were rather surprised to be guided through the bar and restaurant and out into the courtyard. To be fair it was a very pretty courtyard with a central fountain. To each side of this there was a marquee filled with prettily decorated tables and chairs, but it was the end of October and absolutely bloody freezing!
Now they did have heaters inside the roof of the marquees, but the roof was high and not all of the tables were inside the marquee.
We were sat at one table outside of the marquee where the blast of wind was positively arctic, we asked to move and were put at another table, just on the edge, so not quite as drafty but not under the heaters either. We were also give a blanket each. So yes I sat and ate afternoon tea at 1.30pm wearing my coat and wrapped in a blanket!
 The dress code was smart casual and there were various groups of people dressed to the nines also shrouded in coats and blankets, I felt sorry for the poor staff who were in shirt sleeves and clearly very cold as they stood hugging themselves in between serving.
The only time we were offered the option of sitting inside was when we have pretty much finished eating and had mentioned again how cold it was. It seems to me that this was just a cynical way to cram in extra people by still seating outside in the middle of the British winter.
I have to say it certainly tainted my enjoyment of my birthday treat as we basically shoveled down our food and left to find somewhere warm.
Such a shame because the food was gorgeous. A great twist on the classic afternoon tea and with quirky Alice in Wonderland touches and absolutely delicious scones and cakes. The service was great and I particularly liked that they asked if there was anything we didn't like and changed the selection accordingly.

Anyway from there we took ourselves to the fabulous crowd funded Sourced Market on Wigmore Street for a hot drink, somewhere I will definitely go to again.

The month finished with Halloween and a yummy Lebanese lunch out from work for Charlotte's 50th. Charlotte and I decided to take the afternoon off and check out the latest exhibition at The Ashmolean Museum called Spellbound.
With hindsight Halloween might not have been the best day to go to an exhibition on witchcraft! Let's just say there were some very strange people there...

Another fascinating exhibition that starts by testing how superstitious you are by asking you to enter by walking under a ladder!
The first part was material from the medieval era, it was interesting to see how much the very beginnings of medical science were steeped in ritual and magic. A whole section was about all the different items that had been found in walls, cellars and loft spaces that were meant to protect buildings (yes there was a mummified cat.) Some of the testimonials from witch trials were quite harrowing, though I wasn't so keen on the random modern art installations that were dotted among the old artifacts. Anyway I'd recommend it if you fancy something a little bit different. 

Halloween is also our anniversary so Himself came and met me and we went out for a drink and then dinner at Gino's in Oxford. As a sign we are clearly getting old neither of us fancied another drink after eating and I was back home drinking tea and watching Holby City on the i-player before 9pm!
As mentioned before we also have a tradition of going to the cinema for our anniversary and this year we went to see Widows.
I loved the TV series back in the day and was delighted this stuck closely to the original story, I thoroughly recommend it.

I'll finish up with my October purchases.

I'm late to the party with the Pretty Retro Hostess dress, somehow I could never justify buying it full price. I finally got it for £25 as it is a factory second, luckily for me the fault is almost invisible.

The second dress is from Collectif in my favourite style by them, as soon as i saw it in tartan check I had to have it. It was out of stock almost immediately and stayed that way for ages. It finally came back in right when I had a discount voucher so I didn't even think about it.

The two bags were online purchases, another Corde for my small collection and a 1920's mesh bag. It was very dirty and is a little damaged but it was a great price and I don't have one in my collection. It has cleaned up beautifully and is now on the project pile (for when I ever get some time) to see if I can fix the worst hole.
This bag was a sale purchase from New Look. I dived in there for something, I can't even remember what now, but came out with a pair of pumpkin print socks and this bag, neither of which was what I went in there for!

Finally brooches.
I have to say I am cheating because all but the Catfish are actually from November. The top right I bought when I had to have an emergency dentist visit and the bottom two on a girls day out with Soo and Melissa, but more of those anon when I do my November round up.
I've already been flat out busy with fun stuff and if that wasn't enough I'm off to Bhandra in Mumbai on Tuesday for work.
Another time where frustratingly I will only have a few hours to try and cram in some sightseeing so no chance to get into Mumbai itself and immerse myself in it's Art Deco loveliness, bah. 

Tuesday 13 November 2018

This Means Nothing To Me. October - Part One

Another month another missed blog post. October has been jam packed and it's taken me until now, mid-November to even have time to think about blogging.
I still can't quite decide whether to do one massive post or two smaller ones, I'll see how it evolves...

The month started with a trip to the cinema with Himself to see Venom starring Tom Hardy. I'm not in the swooning club when it comes to Tom Hardy, so this was all to do with the comic books and not the man. Sadly the film was a big old mess, such a shame.

We also liberated my Dad from his care home for the evening to meet the rest of the family and eat huge pizzas (and in Dad's case drink gin) to celebrate Nephew Number One turning 24. Where does the time go??
It seems like only yesterday I was dancing round the room singing along to You're Gorgeous by Babybird with him in my arms.

This was followed by a busy time at work shortlisting and interviewing potential students. This culminated in our in person interview day which happened to take place on the day when storm Callum was giving us a run for our money. I was leading a tour group through a door, in full flow about the wonderful facilities when the wind blew the skirt of my dress right up over my head. Being British I just pretended nothing had happened and swept through the door in full flow whilst batting my skirt back into place.
All I can say is thank the lord I was wearing leggings under my dress that day (due to my foot and calf being heavily strapped up with orange & black tape) ore those poor candidates would have been scared for life! Himself ever sympathetic just said "well you do keep wearing dresses with voluminous skirts"

The next weekend I was helping out a a recruitment event in Vienna. I arrived with a colleague Amy on the Friday evening, checked into the hotel, and then met up with another colleague who had done a fair the night before. The three of us jumped on the metro to the city centre to get dinner, where irony of bitter ironies, we talked over dinner about travelling for work and not getting sick in the places you would expect it. For example Amy having been pretty much all over the world had only ever been ill in Paris of all places. 

You know what is coming next don't you?

Yes of course I jinxed myself by saying I had been lucky and never got ill yet, then proceeded to have one of the worst bouts of food poisoning I have had in years.
As we had traveled light with just hand luggage I didn't have my usual huge washbag come pharmacy on me but mercifully for me Amy still had some of her Paris emergency medication with her which I gratefully accepted.
I genuinely do not know how I got through the day, sheer grim determination and bloody mindedness.
We had 4 free hours which we had planned to do some speed tourism in and I popped another pill and headed out into the fresh cold air because if nothing else the hot and airless hotel was making me feel worse.

Vienna was just beautiful, easy to get around on foot or on the metro and well worth another visit if I ever get the chance.
I will say very randomly the centre of the city seemed to have an extraordinary amount of shoe shops and it seems Amy is something of a shoe fanatic. As time was of the essence she did resist for as long as she could before pleading to go into a couple of shops. So yes I ended up trying on various pairs of boots as you do when in a vast shoe emporium and of course I fell in love with some

They really don't photograph well but the panel at the back is glittery!! *swoon* so yes they came home with me, I managed to force those babies into my hand luggage somehow!

We found the most delightful traditional Viennese cafe where I sipped tea and ate a plain potato fritter whilst Amy indulged in Vienna Schnitzel and Sacher Torte then it was back to the hotel where I spent another wretched night.

With me dosed up again we had just enough time to squeeze in a quick visit to a Klimt exhibition Amy was desperate to see before we had to head to the airport. Of course the flight was delayed and the coach took forever to get to Reading where I then had to wait for a train home. I was fit for nothing when I finally got home and just crawled into bed.
I was actually bad enough to have to take 2 days off work which pained me more than I can say as it broke my 6 years with no time off sick record. Now that seal broken I fully expect to be stricken with all sorts *sigh*

Thankfully I was feeling human enough to go and see Bohemian Rhapsody at the cinema by the end of the week.
Overall I enjoyed it. Certainly the last 20 minutes were mind blowing and pretty much saved the film which up until that point was more like one of those rather awful Channel 5 dead celebrity drama documentaries.
Of course the music was amazing (I have always loved a bit of Queen) and as I was explaining to the millennials and generation z-ers I work with, who are all far too young to know, that performance at Live Aid really was that seminal. Ask anyone about Live Aid and Queen is what they remember the most.

Ok I have just seen the time which means this will most definitely have to be part one.

Part two will follow soon.

Expect frocks, bags, brooches, a mad hatters tea party and witchcraft...