I’m writing this in such a delayed manner, I’m getting confused about what week I’m supposed to be writing about!
It’s been a busy last few days, with uneven internet and work fitted around the gaps. Things are settling down now, and although we’re away from home this coming week, at a little wood-stove heated Airbnb house in Devon, there will be a lot of relaxed designing and drawing hours, along with long lunches, walks, the coast, and a visit to my Gran. I have a few exciting first designs lined up for this week – a bespoke illustration following a couples’ journey as a wedding gift, a thank you card for a couple for whom I designed their wedding invitations and other stationery, as well as working on some ideas of my own too.
But, to update, this is what I have been mostly up to this last week/week and a half –
1. Going to a Poetry Slam Final
I saw that this final was on several months ago. There was a mix up with my booking, which meant I didn’t think I actually had tickets until a couple of days before the event. When I discovered I had, once I’d come to terms with the idea of leaving the house and wearing real clothes (no PJ trousers?! Shock horror!), I was really excited. I managed to find a couple of people able to join me, so we went off to the Roundhouse to see the Poetry Slam.
In talking about the event to Alex, who came along with me, I said, ‘This is what you need, and I need it too’.
There are very few events that are as enormously inspiring and as likely to make me weep, laugh and be fired up with the best kind of anger, in a few short minutes. I love poetry slam with all my heart – being in a crowd that is relating to a poet and poem, spat out with furious anger, or quietly spoken whilst surrounded by a silent audience is an experience like no other. It resembles the best gig of your life; but it needn’t be your favourite band, and you don’t even need to know the song or understand the music – it’s all laid bare in front of you, in a way that makes your heart roar.
2. Going to a Wonderful Wedding
Next year it will be ten years since I start university. In comparison with others it seems as a group of friends, we’re not the marrying kind; This past weekend was the first university friend’s wedding I’ve been to. Throughout university, and now too of course, Chloe was a beacon of warmth, kindness, a huge cackling laugh, and a truly astonishing wit and range of dirty jokes. She and Seamus have been together since school. He matches her laugh and sense of humour, no probs. In short, they are both brilliant.
We all wept through the vows, drank bubbly, ate, and were the last on the dance floor. It was a brilliant wedding, and I love the surge of happiness, pride and appreciation in watching some of your favourite people get married. It makes me weepy just thinking about it all over again.
3. Visiting Big Sis
We fit in a birthday visit to big sis, to cook and eat lunch, handover a birthday present, and squidge the baby. Big sis had put together some gorgeous food, recipes from Diana Henry, with help from big bro, and I made Nigella’s Quadruple Chocolate Loaf. Mr Story ‘did some emails’ – otherwise known as rolling around on the floor with the baby!
We didn’t have a lot of time before leaving for the train home, so attacked the Quadruple Chocolate Loaf Cake not long after it came out of the oven. As you’d expect, it rather fell apart, chocolate steam coming off it in the most appetising way. I imagine it’s a very tasty loaf cake – we discovered it’s certainly an absolutely amazing chocolate pudding.
4. Leaving Dinner at Wahaca
On Tuesday night, I had a lovely evening, chatting, crying with laughter, quietly sipping drinks and attacking plates of food at Wahaca, with friends, and saying goodbye to Alex for a year, as she heads off for a year living in Vietnam. I haven’t been to Wahaca for a long time – I head my head turned by Polpo I think!
Wahaca opened quite soon after I came back from spending a year in Mexico as part of my degree, and it’s pork pibil tacos were a regular choice to stave off too much yearning for Mexican food.
My recommendations for visiting Wahaca in London are to avoid the extremely popular pop up style shipping container on the South Bank, with it’s huge long wait and little space. Instead, walk ten minutes down the road and head for Wahaca Waterloo, where there was no wait (on a Tuesday night, mind) and plenty of space. Actually, don’t ALL do that – it’s my trick!
While you’re there, order the inexplicably creamy black bean frijoles, the pork pibil tacos, the plantain tacos and finish with churros. I’ve previously tried the salads and main dishes, but I just don’t think they’re as amazing a several little portions of tacos. Chose what Mexican food does naturally – corn tacos stuffed with protein, sauce and chilli. Yum!
The main thing I’ve been doing this week is packing and moving, and unpacking again. We moved temporarily a few months ago, and now we’re somewhere more permanent.
I have spent several long days of my life this year packing boxes and sealing with tape, cutting open tape, and unpacking boxes, as well as staring into the bottom of boxes that contain a few odd assortments – adapters, bottles, kirby grips, batteries, pens, bits of paper, notes – and wondered where the hell they should go.
The true and brilliant pay off for this has been our new flat, which I love so much. We’re tucked away on the second floor of a house, amid the roof tops and leaves. We have space to move, and most excitingly, I have an office! Over the years, depending on where I’ve been living, I’ve had studio spaces shared with architects and designers, with a food magazine, I’ve used our living room dining tables, and had a desk that flipped out from under a bed that flipped up. Now I have my own permanent home. as The Story House. I don’t need to invade Mr Story’s sofa with my papers, lists and sketches, or move them from our table for when we eat lunch. So excited!
6. Illustrating for wedding fairs
Along with the moving and having a nice time, I did fit work in too! I’ve been working on an illustration for an amazing photographer for a project for her wedding fair stand. With that in mind, I’ve been doing some wedding drawing, including this bride and groom. What do you think?