Adventures in Wonderland: My Week #2
I am writing this blog on the train on Sunday evening coming back from Newcastle, my hideout for the weekend while our London home was used as the base for my fiancé’s stag do. Although it’s only been a 4-day work week, I’m feeling absolutely shattered due to a combination of some out of town work trips, travel up to Newcastle, and a seemingly never-ending list of wedmin to complete. Bring on the next Bank Holiday weekend when it will be my turn for my hen-do (so exciting!)
Here’s what I’ve been getting up to this week in wonderland…
Dinner at Temper in the City
In a 4-day week, there isn’t so much of a ‘hump day’ but a clear dividing line on Wednesday night between the start and end of the week. To celebrate the shorter week, I went out with some colleagues to Temper restaurant in the City. As a concept, the menu seems like an odd mixture of BBQ meats, steaks, and thali, to be enjoyed with the soundtrack of 80s power ballads playing in your ears. While we were choosing our food, I kicked off the evening with a yummy (and very sweet) cocktail before we moved onto wine. Vegetarian options were quite limited but I selected a starter of burrata (very spicy) and a tomato and charred aubergine thali as a main. While the food was plentiful (and the meat dishes looked even more so!), I felt like the thali plates could have benefited from some rice – especially to absorb all the creamy curry sauce – as the paratha breads didn’t quite cut it, and so lots felt wasted. After a final drink of an enormous glass of gin and tonic, I headed back home, realising on the way that I hadn’t yet hit my daily target of 12,500 steps, meaning that I ended up getting off the bus a few stops early to get in the extra exercise.
Stag Do preparations
In last week’s blog I described the feeling of contentment decluttering and cleaning the house. Unbeknownst to my fiancé, the timing of this task was driven by the imminent appearance of about a dozen of our closest male friends on Friday night at our house for the start of his stag do. Thinking about it now, I am not really sure how much the semi-drunken group of males really appreciated my decluttered shelves but at least I feel a sense of pride in knowing it was done (and saved me a job for later).
My role in the stag was understandably limited but pivotal in propagating the deception that the party was heading out of London and making sure he was carrying as much useless stuff with him as possible. As the rest of the party dropped hints around airports and trains, I settled on convincing him that the weekend would be spent doing a triathlon, and making him pack a wetsuit, swimming shorts and full running gear. I laughed after he left the house on Friday morning wearing his smart work suit and carrying a huge red backpack that wouldn’t have looked out of place on a 18-year old’s gap year. At least he was prepared for everything! Not sure how happy he was returning home later on Friday night having carried that weight around the pubs of London though…
While I’m sure some things will remain ‘on the stag’, I can’t wait to find out what they got up to when I get home.
Puppy love in Newcastle
With the stag do kicking off in London, I strategically fled the capital city for a more relaxed weekend with my parents in the North-East, made all the more exciting by their 13-week old cockapoo puppy Skye. Having completed all of her vaccinations, she was able to go outside for the first time on Friday, so we all went on the most exciting walk around the block that I’ve had in a while! As my brother was in London on the stag do, we were also looking after his 18-month old sproodle Penny, so the house was full of puppy fun – I was in heaven!
Kicking off Saturday morning (when Penny decided at 5.30am we had all been asleep far too long), we took Skye to her first Puppy Hour at Pets Corner near Gosforth Park. This is a free activity designed to help socialise puppies playing together in a cordoned off aisle of the pet shop, as well as receive advice on any queries ranging from food, training, and behaviour from the lovely staff in and around the pen. The three of us were like proud parents, watching our little ‘baby’ head off with the other pups – I can only assume that this is how watching your child go into their first day at school fees like! Despite a few initial nerves, Skye held her own playing with the other dogs, while getting lots of love (and treats) from their owners.
In the evening, I promised to ‘babysit’ the dogs while my parents headed off to the theatre. I imagined a chilled evening writing a few blog posts with a nice glass of wine, Eurovision on in the background, and the pups lazily dozing in front of the television. How wrong I was… I spent the whole night in a seemingly never-ending circle of separating puppy play fights, trips outside to the toilet, and desperately throwing balls and squeezing squeaky toys to cheer them up as they pined and searched for my ‘missing’ parents. By the time my parents returned I was absolutely exhausted, while they were amused at the lengths I’d gone to. I heard the phrase ‘now she knows a bit of what we went through as parents’ muttered once or twice – and yes, I now have totally new understanding of the strains of being a parent (even if only to a puppy).
Browsing Tynemouth market
After a rather later start on Sunday morning, we headed off to Tynemouth Market where there is a stall selling jewellery made using glass washed up on the shores of Seaham. Unlike the horrible plastic waste that washes up on the shores of most beaches, Seaham beach is strewn with pretty glass fragments of all colours, edges rounded by the tides – waste from the long since defunct glass industry in Sunderland just up the coast. As our reception is local, my maid of honour suggested it might be nice to get something of the local craftwork to mark the day for the bridesmaids and groomsmen. Hopefully we’ll be picking these up in a few weeks’ time, and I can tick another item of wedmin off the list.
Tynemouth market is a wonderful place to spend a morning (and probably a fortune) looking at all of the beautiful crafts, baking, jewellery and artwork – unfortunately time was against us this weekend but I’ll make a note to come back soon. We took a brief break to rehydrate and top up our sugar levels with an indulgent hot chocolate (topped with cream and marshmallows, of course!) and a slab of millionaires shortbread at Dil & the Bear on Front Street Tynemouth. It was such a relaxing feeling, basking in the sun, eating yummy food, and watching the world go by, all the while cuddling a snoozing puppy on my lap!
Finishing off the weekend, I realise the next time I will be back here will be for my wedding in 6 weeks’ time (eeek). Better crack on with the remaining wedmin this week!