Tag: Husband

The Hidden Drawer

“But have a care! It is a bitter blade, and steel serves only those that can wield it. It will cut your hand as willingly as aught else.” 
― J.R.R. Tolkien

We have lived in our apartment for over a year and have only just made an embarrassing discovery. We have a cutlery drawer.

How could you just have discovered this, you ask?

Part of the reason we decided to move into this apartment was the fact that it had recently been renovated and a brand spanking new kitchen had been put in. It’s so shiny, guys, we nearly cried the first time we saw it. It’s not my Platonic Ideal of a kitchen but coming from the one room flat we lived in for three years that had one small cupboard stuck on a wall and about two feet of counter space, it’s downright Nirvana. The whole thing is designed for maximum storage and it’s nice to actually be able to put things away in an orderly fashion and cook with new appliances.

One of those appliances is a flat topped stove with built in ventilation and other systems that I’m sure I don’t properly understand. It appeared as if some of the design of this stove was also built beneath the surface of the counter because it because there was some bulky hardware when I opened the drawers situated a bit further down. Turns out I should have tugged on the nooks and crannies of this a bit more because I found a random tab on it the other day and put some elbow grease into it…and this popped out.

Jeff was in the other room and I had to call him over to make sure I hadn’t lost my mind. He too did a double take and demanded where this totally new drawer had sprang from.

After shaking our head at ourselves a bit, we resigned ourselves to our stupidity and stocked the drawer.

This is actually our first proper cutlery drawer of our married life. We begin to feel quite grown up.

ETA, the album of the week is Say Less, by Roy Woods


Friday Links

“Be steady and well-ordered in your life so that you can be fierce and original in your work.”
― Gustave Flaubert

It’s Friday, I’m putting the Russian event to bed and gearing up for one involving Rolls Royce. Life is surreal right now. It’s also Jeff’s 29th birthday and I get to tease him about being old (while wiser people roll their eyes at us). I have to say, he is aging marvelously.

We celebrated earlier in the week with an excellent dinner at a restaurant we’d both wanted to go to for over a year, and it was worth it! Tonight it’s pizza and movies with presents.  Over the weekend it’s freelance, food, and writing/editing. I’m pleasantly tired and looking forward to it. If I could find a way to mix in regular exercise again, I would be downright impressive. Here are you links, with extra holiday cheer, and share anything else worth reading in the comments!

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The view from Jeff’s birthday dinner. Not bad.

The John Lewis Christmas film has arrived. And I am in irrational love with it. Call me ridiculous, but as the companion of an intrepid and well loved teddy bear, I think this advert nails both the relationship and the general loveliness of the season. Sue me.

Sainsbury too?! Guys, my heart grew three sizes this day.

And speaking of childhood wonder: loop forever.

The madness needs to stop!

Newly working with luxury developers as I am (she humbled bragged), these caught my eye.

In case you haven’t noticed them on The Toast, their women in Western art pieces are hilarious. But this is my favorite yet.

I snort laughed, remembering the feeling of the limitations of my first paycheck well.

Good luck sleeping tonight.

Oh dear…some of Jeff’s “dance” moves are validated…

My religi-crush on the Pope continues.

Meeting the Queen…’s Residence

“Be thine own palace, or the world’s thy jail.”
― John Donne

Jeff and I dedicate a substantial amount of our time off to going on “wanders” (some people verb nouns, we noun verbs) across the city. Quite often we’ll just pick an area to explore and set off down any street that looks interesting. We wend our way through tourist areas, obscure roads, hidden squares, and vast parks. It’s a lot of fun, but occasionally one of us is surprised.

A couple of weekends ago, as we ambled through Westminster, Jeff casually remarked that he had never really seen Buckingham Palace. I stopped short.
“What do you mean? It’s one of the main sites and you’ve lived here for two years now.”
He shrugged, “Just never got around to it.”

We happened to be crossing a wide, ornate lane at the moment and Jeff glanced up the tree lined road.
“What’s up this way?” he asked.
“Buckingham Palace,” I said dryly.
“How handy,” he replied and tugged me towards the residence.

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Good find, love.

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Nice pad.

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Louis XIV is beyond not impressed.

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St. James Park, just next door.

I scream, you scream, etc.

“Forget art. Put your trust in ice cream.”
― Charles Baxter, The Feast of Love

One of the great tourist-y pleasurable things you can enjoy in London is exploring the famed shopping area in the West End. Bond Street, Regent Street, and Oxford Street have a bunch of high street shops that are plenty interesting, plus the city of Westminster goes to great lengths to make it accessible, especially during the summer, but the ream gems are the remarkable department stores like Liberty and Selfridges. Not only are they noted for stocking all the luxury brands, but many of the great British department stores are great at forming partnerships with brands (some big, some new) for events and launches. This year the European ice cream company Magnum is celebrating 25 years, and apparently this is a Really Big Deal on this side of the Atlantic. I thought the idea of throwing a celebrity-studded bash over ice cream was a bit much myself…but my grinch-like heart softened eventually. Because, ice cream.

Last Sunday, Regent Street closed to traffic (something they’ve done every Sunday in July) and Magnum set up booths by the dozen to give away thousands of free ice cream bars.

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However, Jeff and I didn’t feel like standing in one of these lines. We decided to stand in a much snootier line instead!

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Selfridges had a super-fancy exhibit for Magnum in their famous Wonder Room, where participants could create their own ice cream bars with super-fancy dipping chocolate and super-fancy toppings. Alas these were not free, but we figured that VIP ice cream would be a fun weekend treat so we sprung for it anyway.
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The decor was, of course, delightful. Selfridges is famous for their displays, primarily in their windows; I love their emphasis on visual design and engagement. But on to the main event!

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Toppings were tossed together in cocktail shakers before being lovingly spread over the hand dipped bars. Jeff and I managed a combination of ice cream, dip, and drizzle that included all the chocolate variations, plus toppings that were just wacky enough to be interestinghazelnuts, brownie bits…and cornflowers!
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Too weird for your taste? Trust me, it was delicious.

Daughter Concert

“For those of you in the cheap seats I’d like ya to clap your hands to this one; the rest of you can just rattle your jewelry!”
― John Lennon

Confession time, we have not been taking appropriate advantage of London in the summer and we need to rectify this immediately. Working from home obviously contributes to the problem, as does the fact that my clients are several timezones behind me and I often have to be at least partially available during hours that most people spend frolicking. Jeff also has a lot of studying to do for the ever present reality of tests, and weekends are largely devoted to the necessary errand running that we haven’t been able to do during the week.

But it’s summer. In London. We need to be outside absorbing as much Vitamin D as humanely and safely possible because the cold, dark days will arrive much sooner than we all probably realize. To that end, we’ve started making an effort to track down as many outdoor adventures as possible, while varying up the routine a bit.

If I’m a theatre girl, Jeff is the resident music guy. When we were deciding what to do for our anniversary this year (travel being out of the budget for a while to go, alas), I picked the midnight matinee at The Globe and he wanted a concert and found a great one.

Somerset House, on the banks of the Thames, has a long history. The site has been home to a Tudor palace, a residence for members of the Royal family and their entourage, and apparently later a barracks. It was demolished and rebuilt in the neoclassical style and has moved over time to house various arts and learning societies and is a popular venue for performances. Particularly in, hey! Summertime! We first heard about the band Daughter on NPR and Jeff snapped up tickets as soon as he found out they were going to be performing.
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Not bad, venue.
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Drinks boys circulated the crowd with these signs and easy-to-spot flags that I probably found entirely too funny, but that I clearly had to document.
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No makeup and summer allergies, but pretty happy to be here!

The opening act was D.D Dumbo, an Australian artist who builds his songs while you listen (see more here, thanks again to NPR’s music reporting).

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A disproportionate amount of my music is tragic or vengeful, the blues feature heavily, so make of that what you will. Daughter makes music that is gorgeously sad and depressing, and the lead singer Elena Tonra has a perfectly haunting voice so she’s right up my street. The band is still learning how to tour and their stage presence could use some work, but the music is the slow, quiet kind that gets its claws into you.

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Just as pretty in the dark. Hopefully there can be more concerts in our future, as this has only been my third ever. My second, incidentally, was my first date with Jeff, so things are working out pretty well so far.

Let’s talk sandwiches, specifically at Monty’s Deli

“A man’s social rank is determined by the amount of bread he eats in a sandwich.”
― F. Scott Fitzgerald

Jeff occasionally gets an idea into his head (usually involving food) that can only be exorcised by action. After our previous favorite brownie changed their recipe, he went on a bit of a tear to locate a replacement, which is how we discovered Maltby Market. He’s been going through a similar rough time in the hunt for some proper pastrami sandwiches, so you can imagine how thrilled he was to find Monty’s Deli in the same area.

There are certain kinds of sandwiches where the British are the unquestioned champions; tea sandwiches, cucumber sandwiches, and the much vaunted bacon roll are among them. I’m still trying to figure out what the pinkish-red bread Liberty’s cafe uses is exactly, and we’ve even found a really good pulled pork. Not as good as American barbeque, admittedly, but delicious in their own right. However there are some areas of sandwich-dom where we have found our new abode somewhat wanting. We didn’t think we could find a good Reuben, but I’m happy to report we were wrong.

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I mentioned before that there is a whole slew of businesses that have set up shop in the arches beneath the train tracks, Monty’s Deli is one of them. Serving up “Jewish soul food,” they set up shop in the arches on Saturdays and Sundays only, so coming here is a treat.

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It’s not high tech…

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But the results are pretty damn great. Instead of fries they offer potato latkes and share space with an organic Greek wine merchant. That’s just how Druid Street rolls!

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Not his best photographic moment, but let me assure you there were sounds of delight coming out between bites of that pile of meat! Something that isn’t always appreciated is that British street food sometimes gives people sticker shock, but the portions are incredibly generous. You get what you pay for. I couldn’t even finish my own sandwich, I dragged the boxed remains home for a later afternoon snack. Which Jeff ended up eating…

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But nevertheless, let me heartily recommend the salted beef sandwich with a great helping of some pretty spectacular slaw.


Five Years

“When I said I would die a bachelor, I did not think I should live till I were married.”
― William Shakespeare

Five years ago, when I was barely 23, we got married.

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Easily the best idea we’ve ever had though it was not at all what either of us had planned. Jeff didn’t want to get married until he was around 30, I was sure I didn’t want to marry at all. But as the months went by being together was simply right. It was a series of pieces clicking into place with each other. Marrying him was as easy as breathing and, whether in the midst of adventure or even argument, it still feels like that.

While still dating, I confessed to Jeff that I once joked my very idea of hell was marriage to an accountant, 2.5 children and a white picket fence. Jeff loves to tease me with this dire pronouncement still, although assures me he has no plans of inflicting a fence upon anyone. “I ruined every one of your plans,” he likes to gloat. He did. And I’m so glad. This is so much better than anything I ever came up with.

Solidly Late 20s

“With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.”
― William Shakespeare

As of yesterday I am (so one of my younger brothers informs me) “officially old.”
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My Big Brother also weighed in…I find this a bit creepy, but weirdly sweet at the same time?

I had a delightfully low key birthday and got just what I wanted: flowers, savory food, sweet food, and hangout time with Jeff. May was a rough month for both of us, work wise, and it was nice to go out to dinner just the two of us to relax from it. For about an hour and a half, after which it was straight back home to the email piles. Adulthood, kittens!

On Sunday we trekked to Old Spitalfields Market in search of my specially requested cake alternative (cupcakes from Flavourtown Bakery), only to learn that they had not set up shop in their usual spot this week. It turns out, they are being featured in the Selfridge’s food hall – well done! So, undeterred, after grabbing a quick bite at one of my favorite food trucks, we shot off to Bond Street.
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The cheekily named Mother Clucker specializes in Southern style, twice fried chicken. Spices and buttermilk are of course included, but what makes this joint the real deal is the (also Southern style) sweet tea marinade that juices up their meat. Seriously, you can’t get that level of soul food without heading south of the Potomac. They also make really good fries/chips, something both Jeff and I tend to be picky about.
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On Monday we both went to work as per usual before slapping on red lipstick (in my case) and reconvening after 5pm in Notting Hill at our favorite pizza joint, Otto. I first learned about Otto thanks to Lauren’s Pizza Night back in January, and it’s been a regular date location ever since. We plumped for snooty artisan lemonade and ginger beer, a treat since we almost always stick to the wallet friendly option of water when we eat out, and wolfed down three slices each of the gorgeous cornmeal crusted wonders.
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After this we went home, followed up quickly on a handful of work projects, and then cracked open the cupcakes and pulled up an episode of House of Cards, our latest entertainment addiction. It was exactly what I needed. Here’s to 28, I’m ready for it!
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