1. Eating Afternoon Tea and Tapas
On Saturday I headed out to celebrate the upcoming wedding of Steph. She’d already had a bit more of a true bachelorette party in the States, where she’s originally from, so her choice for a London meet up was a bit more relaxed, and a little less…um…fertility based. We sat for hours over tea and sandwiches and cakes and chatted away. I’d put together a book with a few notes from people there and her friends from home, so she read them, and we remembered memories, and mostly waited for our stomachs to allow a little extra room for a little more cake or a little more scone. We had one cake stand, stuffed with sandwiches, scones, cream, jam and cake between two, and we were defeated!
We walked around a little more – the weather was gorgeous – and as the afternoon became evening we found ourselves in Iberica – my new favourite place I think. We ate tapas, boards of cheeses and spanish cured meats, green padron peppers studded with salt and the creamiest croquetas I’ve ever come across. I’m not sure if it’s my love of salt, my greed or my magpie eye when it comes to trying everything on the table, but sharing plates of tasty things is my favourite way to eat. Arms reach over from all sides to reach plates from across the table, people dip bread in oils and sauces, and meals are extended over hours, topping up any tiny pieces of appetite with another little morsel. I also really loved sipping my apple martini. Sometimes I forget that cocktails can have crunch and bite and freshness, rather than pure ice and sugar syrup, and it’s always worth reminding myself.
2. Exploring an Open Garden
While I walked across London, enjoying the beautiful sunset, arriving home from Steph’s hen do by about 10pm, Mr Story enjoyed a few drinks after a very long day at work. He arrived home at 3am. The next morning I was worried that, as the sun blasted through the windows, that I’d be spending my Sunday alone as he slept. Luckily, an extra morning nap, a big mug of coffee, a shower and a plate of eggs, fresh bread and haloumi sorted him right out, so we walked over to Peckham and an open garden, on a private little street called Choumert Square. It’s a row of tiny little houses on each side, each with a garden, and a communal garden at the end. They have an open day every year, and many residents sit out in the gardens, selling Pimms, tea and cake, their own crafted items or bric-a-brac. There was a community choir, and it all had the feeling of a village fete. We picked up a jar of homemade jam from a table in someone’s garden, as they sat eating lunch and chatting to all the visitors. We ate ice-creams and walked home in the sun.
3. Dreaming of Wild Swimming
The sunshine has reminded me of my love of Hampstead Ponds, lidos, and swimming outside. Comparing swimming inside and out is like comparing eating inside or out; there’s something really joyous, special and memorable about swimming outside. On our trip last year, I swam in so many different and amazing places; glacial lakes, non-glacial lakes, streams, and outside hotel pools. Sometimes it was because we were days away from washing, but mostly because swimming outside is the best thing in the world – as long as it’s safe of course. We were mostly in shallows, and relatively small areas of water, so didn’t have to contend with currents or depth, which can obviously be extremely dangerous.
I’m working on the illustrations for a book about our travels, and my guide to wild swimming is part of that. I’m not sure if it’s quite finished yet – especially the title and colour, but it’s one of the things I’ve been working on this week.
4. Embracing Art Themed Wedding Stationery
I have loved drawing this set of wedding stationery so much. From a passing mention of a love of Litchenstein, Sam and Jon’s wedding stationery has been built around art. This week I’ve been working on their On the Day stationery, their tables themed by artists – including the fella above. Recognise him? Sometimes you need someone else’s enthusiasm to remind you how much you love things. I used to be much better about going to galleries, but I haven’t been very good at it recently. I plan to change it this summer.
If you have something you love and you’d like me to build an illustration or your stationery around it, then do have a look at my illustration services.
5. Being excited about winning a recipe book, and catching itchy feet.
I was really excited to win a copy of Noodles! on Twitter this week, by Mimi Aye. I love noodles so much I tend to sing to them when they’re cooking, so I can’t wait for the book to arrive. Following Mimi on Twitter has made me really intrigued and interested in Myanmar/Burma. I follow all her photos and recipes from there avidly, and so, to the surprise of Mr Story, I announced it as my new next place I really really want to visit. Along with India and Bhutan and so many many other places.