Monday, 30 June 2014

#124: Go to Bruges

Photo: Botond Horvath / shutterstock

For those (Americans) who have never heard of Bruges before, or who only know it as the title of a bad Colin Farrell movie, it's a lovely medieval city in Belgium. There are so many canals that it's often referred to as the Venice of the North. I've never been to Bruges before so with my mom visiting, I thought I'd take her on her first Eurostar trip and show her one of the reasons I love living in London: being able to travel to so many fun and exciting places so easily. Plus, it's a good excuse to tick this one off the list.

How can you not like a place that has 780 different beers on a wall?
Or has sweet shops that look too good to eat?

Thursday, 26 June 2014

#123: See my parents more

Photo: kiko_kiko / Shutterstock

I love my parents but I don't see them as much as I used to. This isn't surprising considering the Atlantic Ocean separates us nowadays, a fact that is not entirely accidental. However, I've started to notice recently that my parents are starting to 'age' more. So, while they are still somewhat young-ish (or at least young at heart), I've been thinking how I really need to make more of an effort to see them and, likewise, encourage them to visit me as well.

Well, for those of you who've felt the tremor in the force and haven't been able to place mother has arrived in London for a 7 day visit. I'm going to take a few days off work and try to show her a nice time over the next few days. They say it's quality not quantity. So here's hoping I survive.
Help me Obi Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope...

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

#122: Meet the Parents

I met the Parents. I was nervous. They were lovely. Even still, it felt a bit like this:

Apparently, I passed the test.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

#121: Ring builder/plumber and fix/get that odd job done

Photo: Kurhan / Shutterstock
Being in property limbo for the last 6 months meant I had to put repairs and other work on my flat on hold. With the transfer complete I can now start fixing things big and small that I had been putting off. So...
  • New boiler? Check. 
  • Kitchen ceiling lights that don't work? Electrician has fixed. 
  • Holes in wall from ladder incident? (Don't ask) Filled and painted.
Admittedly, this is a real boring one. But I've had this on my list for more than a year and so it's nice to not have it hanging over my head any longer. It's also nice to be able to see in the kitchen at night and be able to take a hot shower ... but it's amazing what you get used to.

Friday, 20 June 2014

#120: Go to a Professional Tennis match

I've been very fortunate to be able to go to two matches this past week. The first really did tick a big 'lifetime bucket list' item off: going to the Finals at Queen's Club and seeing Andy Murray win. After hours of rain delay (it wouldn't be English summer without) and Pimms to keep us busy, play got under way and eventually the day ended with a glorious sunny day and a celebrity match to benefit charity.
I followed this up by taking in some live matches at The Boodles, an event to help players hone their grass court skills in the lead up to Wimbledon. The highlight was seeing Alexandr Dolgopolov, who I had never heard of before but who was an excellent and very entertaining player to watch.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

#119: Champagne on the London Eye

Nothing beats seeing London from high up on a beautiful spring (or is it summer now?) day. Combine great views with some bubbly and a group of outstanding people and you get a great way to celebrate a special occasion. 

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

10 things I learned from doing my Break Up Bucket List

Excerpt from the article I wrote for Tue Night:

In late 2012, I had a milestone birthday and my long-term relationship of nine years ended. I had met my ex within weeks of moving to London from New York and so most, if not all, of my life in London had revolved around my relationship. I loved my life and partner tremendously and was hit hard by the break up. Knowing I could easily spend years in bed wallowing over my loss, I realized that I needed to keep myself busy. Looking back on my own role in the failure of the relationship, I discovered that I had completely lost sight of who I was — separate from being in a couple — and vowed never to do that again.

I decided that I wanted to live the next stage of my life differently, so I made a list of things that I’d been meaning to do over the past few years but never quite found the time. Some were things that I’d never done, others were things that I hadn’t done in years and some were things I liked doing, period. 

After my brainstorm session, I had literally hundreds of possible things to choose from. I knew I couldn’t spend each day checking off a new item (I did have a job after all), but I decided to challenge myself to do 100 things over the next 12 months. This was my 2013 New Year’s resolution. People started asking me about my progress and what I had done so far, so I started tweeting @BreakupList and set up a blog, The Break Up List, where I wrote about what items I’d completed thus far.

A year and a half on, I feel like a completely different person. I no longer need My Break Up Bucket List to help me survive my break up, but I continue on with it because it helps me remember who I am, pushes me to try new things and enjoy life to the fullest.

Here are 10 important things I learned from doing My Break Up Bucket List: ...

Read rest of article at Tue Night

Saturday, 14 June 2014

#118: Settle house / financials with Ex

Photo: Solgas / Shutterstock
It's been a big week for me. Job offer on Monday and finalising the house transfer with Ex on Friday. It's really bittersweet. On the one hand, I've very excited to have official closure and have no more financial tie-ups. On the other, it marks it all as final. Done. Over. We no longer own a house together. I am now sole owner.

Frankly, when we split I didn't think I'd be able to come up with the cash to pay the Ex out, and that on top of all the other disruption and emotional turmoil I was going through I was going to be faced with moving out of the house I loved as well. I'm very pleased to have be able to keep my home and come to an agreeable arrangement financially with the Ex.

My bank account may be in intensive care but I'm free and clear now.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

#117: Get a job offer

Photo: kamil macniak / Shutterstock
I've been with my current company for four years and when someone called me up with an interesting new role, I decided I'd look into it and see where it led. After 4 months of interviews, the role being put on hold, reporting lines changed, the role opened back up again and I was very fortunate to be offered the role. After much deliberation, however I decided that it wasn't the right move for me to make at this point in time. In this economy, I realise how lucky I am to be in a position to turn a job offer down, but it just didn't feel right. I may regret it later but I think it's the right decision. 

Sunday, 8 June 2014

#116: Meet someone famous

     Tennis Star Jimmy Connors signs his book, and a birthday card, for me

My parents were big tennis fans and so they got my brother and I into tennis at a very early age. We loved watching Wimbledon and the US Open and I have fond memories of some of the first tennis stars I remember watching. One of whom was Jimmy Connors, towards the end of his career. So when I saw he was doing a book signing across the street from my office, I thought I'd go to it.

While this was not some random run in with a celebrity, I'm counting it. It's not everyday I have the chance to meet someone famous.

Update: I've been busy on this one! As of April 2014, I have spoken to Boy George and Nigel Slater, to name a few more.

Friday, 6 June 2014

#115: Start a journal/Blog

Photo: Chris Hill / Shutterstock

As you've somehow found your way to my blog, you can see for yourself I've ticked this one off...

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

#114: Eat Fish & Chips with Champagne

Fish and chips with champagne is a great combination which can't fail but put a smile on your face. There is a wonderful juxtaposition in eating such humble and cheap grub with one of life's luxuries.

Monday, 2 June 2014

#112: Go Skinny Dipping

Photo: Michele Paccione / Shutterstock 

Now, I'm not one for swimming. Nor am I one for nudity. There's a reason bathrobes were invented...and it wasn't just to keep warm. I've only recently been comfortable enough to wear a bikini in public so going au naturel, even for a brief swim, is really pushing things.

Frankly, I'm not sure if it was a skinny dip or a chunky dunk.