Life took off in a completely different direction recently, and it's all I can do to keep my feet from being lifted up from beneath me and falling over in the wave of crazy events that are going on around me.
Everything that is happening is good! New job, new friends, new man in my life. I am busy and it is constant, but this is the way I love life.
It also means I have lots to blog about. There's a whole backlog of draft posts I need to get out - a whole host of places to go and things to eat in London. I'll get there, when I have a few days to breathe.
I do love to have a break from it all sometimes. Chris surprised me the other day and it meant I got to have the most wonderful weekend pretending like we were on holiday, away from it all.
From meeting me first thing to get me an iced coffee...
...to whisking me out of work at lunchtime to a 5* hotel, where two bottles of champagne sat waiting for us...
...and then wandering around Southbank with me drinking Pimms...
...and finally booking us into an amazing Teppanyaki restaurant...
...he made my Friday surprise magical, and just what I needed.
Saturday wasn't too bad either.
I wish every sunny weekend in London could be spent like this.
image source Hands up, I'm guilty. I always have something to say. Always. And I am inherently programmed so that I want to tell everyone everything... If I hear a perfect stranger get something wrong, I want to show them that I know the right answer. If I hear a discussion going on at work, I always want to join in on how the subject relates to me. And if something happens in my life, it doesn't feel real until I share it with my best friend. Nikki is probably the one who suffers most to this fault in my character, I must say. When we are together, there is constant talk, but I do sometimes wonder how much I am actually listening and processing what she has to say. Sometimes I just want to talk at her, rather than listen to her advise. She is my therapy, but I have to remember that that's not just because I can tell her everything. It's because she has the answers, too. Communication is the key to all relationships. But if you have trouble in your relationship, it's not so easy. I know of a few great charities that can with these things, if ever you so need it:
OneplusOne, the charity for strengthening relationships, has recently launched The Listening Room, a free live chat service offering one-to-one support to anyone needing somewhere to offload concerns they might have about their relationship. I'm lucky I have my best friend for this, but for some it's not that easy.
Safe Ground use drama to promote relationship skills as tools for empowering people to change, so reducing the risk of reoffending and building stronger communities. They use communication as the core to all they teach, and I've seen the results first hand as the participants are able to read poems to their loved ones as part of presentations within prisons.
Relate also offer counselling, support and information for all relationships.
I've got more into my lipsticks again recently. Whenever I go into Boots I seem to need to buy a new shade. There's 5 that I've been really loving over the past month or so.
When I bought Rimmel Lasting Finish Colour Rush in All You Need Is Pink, I thought it was a red (yes, despite the name), but it is in fact a hot pink. It's more of a stain than a lipstick, but as soon as I wore it at work my friend said it completely brightened up my face.
I received this lovely YSL Rouge Pur Couture no 51* and adored it immediately. I think I suit corals more than plum shades and so this is just the best. Its a matte but it isn't drying and has good staying power. I am a fan!
This is just one of those Natural Collection Moisture Shine shades which are cheap and chips and come out like a stain. It's more pink than the Colour Rush, which is surprising as the shade is called Crimson. I can't actually decide which one I prefer, they're so similar!
I'd never tried L'Oreal lipsticks before. L'Oreal Intense Colour riche in 297 red passion is a fab red, except it has glitter in it. I'm not sure how I feel about that. Good for nights out though.
Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate Lipstick in 03 is lovely and creamy. It reminds me of some MAC cream shades actually, as the colour is a wonderful pink beige. Very natural for day to day.
While in Berlin, I spent a lot of time thinking about how I should construct my travel posts. I want them to be a diary of how I spent my time, as this is a lifestyle blog after all. But I also want them to show my itinerary, and suggest things to do and places to go in the places I visit. Berlin is a fantastic place to travel, and it was a wealth of fascinating history behind it. Let's hope I can communicate just how amazing it is for you... I warn you, it's very photo heavy!
I was so excited to get away with my mum. We were only there for 4 nights, but wow was it needed! I put on about a stone due to food and alcohol consumption, but there's nothing like time with your mumma to clear your head a bit.
We arrived on a Friday afternoon when the weather was cold. After checking into our hotel near Hackerscher Markt (and a weird experience with a road blocked by trams) we got straight outside to do a little walk around...
...and stop for some Friday refreshment along the way.
Walking around in the cold is thirsty work. By this point I was high on holiday spirit, and ordered another mammoth sized beer from Restauration 1840, on Hackerscher Markt (where we ate most nights!).
We had to wait a little while to get seated, then they forgot about our main courses (and the waiter didn't apologise for it), but the atmosphere was so nice in there that we didn't even notice at first.
When the food came, it was delicious too, and we left feeling very happy.
Breakfast the next morning was at Grand Rocka, also on the square. The menu was so much better than the average brunch at home, and I have honestly not had that good a coffee and croissant before now.
We were then fueled up for a day of wandering around in the sunshine. My mum speaks fluent German and knows Berlin pretty well, and last time she was there enjoyed a great walking tour. We decided to go on it again, as it is a fantastic way about learning all about the history of the city whilst taking in all the landmarks. Plus the weather was amazing for it!
The cathedral and the old national gallery sit on a gorgeous grassy green square. I couldn't get over how nice the architecture looked in the sunshine.
For he less spectacular bits of history, the sun didn't seem quite so appropriate. We decided to visit the larger strecth of wall the next day, when it was forecast to be cloudy.
I remember visiting the Jewish memorial when I was on a school trip, aged 17. We weren't sure what it stood for then, and played hide and seek among the grey blocks. It was very scary, as the feeling the monument evokes is foreboding. I feel that's the point from it... there's lots of theories about what it stands for, but I think you take from it what you will. And that for me is repression and fear.
The tour finished at the Brandenburg gate, where mum and I went in search of more beer...
...stopping briefly for a compulsory picture in front of the Reichstaag.
Dinner that night was at yet another restaurant on Hackerscher Markt, where I had pork in the most delicious tomato sauce.
The next day we visited the Eastside Gallery, but I'll have to save that for another post, as I fear you might have information overload!