Month: January 2015

London Haunts | Harrow on the Hill

I’ve been visiting Harrow on the Hill for my entire life. In fact, it’s such a seamless part of my everyday landscape that I don’t know if ‘visiting’ is quite the word. My aunt and uncle live in a gorgeous house teetering on the edge of the hill and my grandmother grew up here, first in a flat above the newspaper shop her father owned and later packed into a terraced house with her four sisters beside the green. I still like to stroll by whenever I find myself nearby. My great-grandparents Claude and Alice are commemorated in small, chalky plaques in the graveyard at the crest of the hill and I like to visit them sometimes although they died before I was born. It’s funny how you can feel a sincere connection to those who share your blood and bone, isn’t it? Even when you never laid eyes upon each other, never heard the sound of their voice, never experienced the smell of their embrace or knew how they liked to spend a Sunday afternoon. I digress. Harrow on the …

Thought For The Day

My mornings can be hectic. Sometimes I snooze my alarm until the last possible moment, grab a banana to go and speed towards the tube station with wet hair and unzipped boots. It’s not pretty. Occasionally, this frantic sense of being always on the go, always in a rush, leeches into the rest of my life too. Since moving back to London, I’ve noticed a change in the way I cope with being busy and I know am guilty of being caught up in the the constant flood of moving, shaking, hurrying that characterises city folk. I was striding down an escalator in central London the other evening and heard a bewildered tourist exclaim, “People in London are so impatient!” as I stormed by. Guilty as charged. I neglect to linger, to dwell and to really let myself sink into places and situations. To give people my time. Because, after all,  your time is really the best gift you can give a person, isn’t it? One of my resolutions this year is to savour life …

London Haunts | The Secret Garden

Welcome to a new blog series: ‘London Haunts’, chronicling some of my favourite places in this sprawling city. I wrote the piece below during the summer for a travel journal, but thought it fitting to herald this series as it’s my favourite place in town. I’m still head-over-heels for it. If you’re a Londoner and fancy a visit, directions can be found here. Its official name is the Garden of St. John’s Lodge (but, ssh, let’s keep it just between us?) Sometimes since I’ve been in the garden I’ve looked up through the trees at the sky and I have had a strange feeling of being happy as if something was pushing and drawing in my chest and making me breathe fast. Magic is always pushing and drawing and making things out of nothing. Everything is made out of magic, leaves and trees, flowers and birds, badgers and foxes and squirrels and people. So it must be all around us. In this garden – in all the places. – Frances Hodgson Burnett, ‘The Secret Garden’ Did you love Frances Hodgson …

Weekly Thanksgivings

Homemade lentil and tomato soup. (Is it odd to say it’s my favourite food?) A cinema date with my dad (who I don’t get to spend nearly enough time with.) Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game (and in general.) I don’t get to spend nearly enough time with him either! Disposable cameras and the (often) hilarious images produced by blinding flash and goofy smiles. Piping hot tea. Coffee, too. Beautiful images of faraway places. My mama is busy exploring New Zealand, my sister just moved to American big sky country, my dad’s about to head to Dubai – and the next best thing to travelling myself is emails full of photographs of my family’s adventures. Yoga.  I’ve started practising this series before bed, with coconut candle burning and the lights off. It’s so relaxing and makes me feel much more energetic the next morning. This year. I have no notes in the diary for 2015 yet, besides one September wedding and a driving test. No travel plans (yet!), few big events or big birthdays. 2015 feels wide open, like l …

Monday in Paris

My friend Ash and I enjoyed our inaugural visit to the city of lights on Monday and marveled at the Pont des Arts and the Arc de Triomphe, the old world grandeur of Tuileries. I craned my head skywards to gaze at the tower cloaked in mist, practiced my French with waiters and walkers and ate a buttery pain au chocolat outside Notre Dame. The breeze was brisk, the air icy, but I was struck by the joie de vivre of the city and its famously brusque denizens, too. In a Châtelet metro tunnel,  a fiddle filled the air with music and my heart – no matter how cliché – felt thick with joy on an otherwise bleak January day. But a whimsical post with our touristy snaps no longer seems appropriate, given the events in Paris that occurred on Wednesday. We were just there, I keep thinking, recognising that the city I enjoyed for the first time this week will be changed indelibly, if not visibly, by the brutality of this week. It is a beautiful city, and one whose …