It’s really hard to talk about being busy as a blogger without coming across as incredibly self indulgent. Conventionally, a demanding job and equally active social life suggests a degree of popularity and especially in this industry, where this is currency, there is a real problem with ‘boast-plaining’. It’s a term I like to think I’ve coined where you complain about how busy you are but really, it’s a subtle form of boasting. And yes I am aware of the irony of this post and my last statement, and I will take pains to show you that I’m not just flaunting my schedule.
I mentioned on Instagram that the things I thought would make me happy or had previously added value to my life have recently failed to do so. This week I took efforts to only agree to attend things that fit the criteria I believed would leave me with a good experience: people I liked would be there (not simply just a networking event), the venue wasn’t ridiculously difficult to get to (I live in the suburbs of London and it’s tiring to travel so much) and that the brand or event would actually give me meaningful content to write about (everyone loves free prosecco but you can’t write more than a tweet on that). So here’s what happened in the week where I tried to limit my busyness and assess if these commitments actually made me happy:
Renegade wine with Kristy
Urban winery in Bethnal Green, Renegade London wine has been featured on Vice and Time Out. It also lives in an ex-transgender sex club slash archway of a railway line. When I was invited down to check it out I thought: I love wine, it’s cheaper than therapy, so why not? The tasting was arranged for Bank Holiday where I convinced my lovely blogger friend to come with me all the way from Essex. (Read more on the winery here).
It is what it is.
London Evening Standard Food Month VIP launch
There was so much champagne, the Ketel One cocktails were very strong and the little canapes, in particular the lamb and the steak, were in tough competition with the octopus tostadas for stomach space. Even the caterers knew that the little Chinese girl in white lace wanted more lamb. As for the speeches, I’m horribly shortsighted and totally missed that it was George Osbourne gave the introduction. I only realised this when I was scouting news sites for work and and realised who it was. And I ate a jerk chicken burger on his stage! This all sounds like I’m a horrible guest but I wasn’t, you had to be there okay? Really, anyone who was anyone was using that platform as a picnic area.
I am so dehydrated and sleep deprived. Also can’t remember what I did in between getting home and falling asleep last night because my brain was logging off prematurely, like when your Mac wants to restart for updates and you’re like, no I was watching something! I think I had two coffees before lunch.
They feed me and I really like the group I’m in. This is a free and easy course on Christianity where you drop in on Wednesday evenings and have a chat, listen to a talk then discuss your thoughts on the topic of the evening. It’s like mini Church mid-week for me and totally resets my anxiety button. What I like is that the emphasis is less on ‘religion’ but and more on faith. Also, having always believed in God, I find it interesting to hear questions from people that don’t share the same beliefs but are open to it. It always makes me think.
Thursday 1st June
Really not as tired as I thought I would be, despite going to bed at like 1am. It is a quiet day at the office.
Harvey Nichols Tanqueray Perfect 10
I was meant to go to something at the London Edition Hotel but it clashed too much with office hours. Harvey Nicks x Tanqueray kindly sent a car to my office to pick me up and I brought Kristy as my plus one. Every time I see someone I have at least one angry rant ready to go, so I hope she’s not sick of them now that she’s seen me twice in a week.
The attendees were mainly industry people – press and personalities, and you can kind of tell by the way they’re so chatty with each other and how they dress (like Kate Moss). Oh and the fact they actually eat and enjoy themselves, because I’m perpetually the only blogger eating at influencer events. My new Instagram friend (@ave.camilla) who just moved here from Toronto came bringing another new Londoner with her – Ashley (@miss_gunner) from Sydney. So refreshing to meet girls whom are so professional, smart and oh my gosh they smile so much, I feel like being around them makes up for my constant grump face!
The bar prepared gin based cocktails with Tanqueray’s ‘Perfect 10’. The name derives from its distilling process, which is made in small batches with citrus fruits and recommended to be served with grapefruit. I think I’ve found a competitor to my staple summer drink, Aperol spritz.
Friday 2nd June
So tired I want to cry. Like you know when you want to jump into a swimming pool and scream as loud as you want, so no one can hear you?
Black Cat Cabaret
This was my second attempt at seeing the show, the first time there was a major hiccup at the Box Office that meant I couldn’t enter. I decided to give it another shot because I had such great memories writing the review on Cirque Eloize back at Time Out.
Based on Belle Époque glamour, the pseudo-circus and burlesque spectacle has a palpable vintage vibe. Taking place under a spiegeltent and upon a humble stage, the setting resembles that of a travelling show. Usually, I’m completely adverse to audience participation, probably caused by a traumatic childhood of Christmas pantomimes. However, the Black Cat Cabaret is hosted by a young Boy George lookalike named Dusty Limits, with a tongue as sharp as his wit. His favourite topics of the night included a member of the audience named Dom who was sat with his girlfriend, Brexit and as you could have guessed, sex. Humour, acrobatics, fire eating and music talent were displayed that night.
Of particular note was an operatic nympho character that every girl in Camden would envy (a lot of black eye makeup, an amazing vocal range and a black and white striped pantaloon/tutu). Then there was Hecatate who I believe you can fully visualise with this description: like Cara Delevigne in Suicide Squad but with an ass that also eats fire. Her set also involved water and strobe lights, a performance that would make Beyoncé jealous. Now check back at the photo above and tell me you don’t see it! And I can’t help but mention the acrobat who was dressed in what was my favourite costume of the night: a strappy lingerie set decked out in scarlet Swarovski crystals that wouldn’t go amiss on the VS runway. This was the aerial hoop performer that closed the show on a high, literally.
Find out more about the Black Cat Cabaret here
Saturday 3rd June
Pasta masterclass at Frescobaldi
Saturday morning was spent at Frescobaldi, an exclusive Italian restaurant tucked away from the tourist conveyor belt that is Regent’s Street. I joined two other bloggers (@qkatie and @london.food), my friend of @KohlKreatives, Trishna and the pastry chef of Maitre Choux and his girlfriend in the pasta masterclass with Chef Roberto. I’m going to be honest, I was incredibly exhausted when I arrived. Every night of the week I had a commitment to attend and whilst I enjoyed every single one, work-related or not, my fatigue resulted in shaving down an artichoke until there was really only stem left. I turned to my friend and was like, ‘so what part of this do we keep?‘ My vegetable looked like a kind of voodoo stick when I was done with it. And it was completely inedible. (Read about the masterclass and the review here).
Hammam spa at the Urban Retreat, Harrods
I lasted until the early afternoon with zero caffeine and I was determined to just ‘detox’ – alcohol doesn’t count if you also had it the night before, okay? Mother invited me to try out the hammam experience at Urban Retreat. I think I must have said ‘I’m so tired I want to cry‘ every 20 minutes but the heat of the relaxation room was so comforting, the pain of sleep deprivation seemed to melt away. Inside, the spa is a marble space separated into empty chambers, where a lone rolled up towel featured in each room. There’s also a cove off the side, where a Moroccan style faucet provided the water.
You’re expected to strip off your fluffy bathrobe until you’re just in your disposable panties (lol) and you’re asked to lie, stomach down, on the marble floor using the towel as a head pillow. Unless you’ve tried this, you wouldn’t believe how comfortable it actually is. Yes, I’m serious, this really is part of an inexplicable genius method. Once comfortable and splayed like a starfish in all of your naked glory, the therapist then splashes water over the body, washing it with a natural soap. Next, you’re scrubbed down with an exfoliating mitten – no lubricant involved – to really remove the dead skin, which peels off like gummy rubber bits. It’s kind of like when you rub out graphite from paper. This was the shortest treatment and the longer ones offer oil and scalp massages. The experience was finished off with a shower and fresh mint tea.
Sunday 4th June
I went to Waitrose, the gym and church. It was the best.