The Cycle

We are all subject to the cycles of light and life. The greats all say pretty much the same thing about this… ‘It has to hurt if it’s to heal’, ‘It’ll get darker before it gets lighter’, ‘To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…’

With every fiber of my being, I get it. I feel next to normal these days, but that isn’t to say it came easy.

So many broken things are so beautiful…
glastonbury abbey

I can only hope that applies to us as well.
jen and drew winchester

Broken bent tired confused
Listless and gutless and buried and bruised;
I ache and I cry but I haven’t confessed
that I’ve married my pain – that my heart is undressed…

You’re gone, but I’m standing here waiting to see
if some odd miracle will bring you to me-
for a moment,
for a second,
on a breeze.

My heads swims, my heart heart swells;
I am soaked by the waves
of the life that you’ve left moving
through what’s left of my days.

On the edge of this ocean,
feet buried in sand,
I will listen to hear you-
my heart in my hand.


For more than a week I have wallowed in my own wondering and self-pity. In certain circumstances, we deserve that at the very least. But only for a moment. There have been signs that my moment has passed. All signs say, ‘reach out, give love, take care of others, find yourself’.

I used to think that finding meaning in signs was like making fun of God – ‘God’ being the one proper noun in the English language for which I haven’t found an appropriate pronoun, but I digress…

When we have opened our eyes to it, meaning surrounds us. The question is not really about whether or not the tree falls in a forest–it does or it does not; that is truth. The question is really about what the event would mean to a witness. The ‘sign’ is either present or it is not.
just falafs

We have an innate desire to derive meaning from experience. So, again, the question is whether what we experience has meaning for us.
drunk phone calls

We came to London to be immersed in a multicultural environment that might challenge us. Never did I truly understand that I would learn so much about myself.  Being outside my habits. Without my comforts. Beyond the boundaries of my paradigm.

That’s the answer. I have to invest in another human being to learn more about me. I have to seek others to be found. I have to question my ideas and listen to the big wide world to know myself. How else will I realize where the whole ends and I, as just a tiny part, begin (and vice versa)?  It’s so important that there is darkness and there is light.

Even the big, wide sky is a sign. The Pioneer Woman said so, too.

You have to love the grey skies. You have to appreciate the fog, the mist, and the rain…’ Jamie Cullum.
rootmaster fish sign

There she was in my doctor’s office – a beautiful young woman who could not read the English questionnaire she had been given. For some reason she sat next to me.
bung hole quiz

And then there were the two people who stopped me needing directions as I hobbled home from the hospital lab.
stop sign

I could have thought nothing more of it. But my eyes are open. I am not to give up or give in. There is still much more in me left to give – more than I am aware I have left in reserve. We are going to be ok.

Working Outs

Noun. These are the details of your work before the answer is deduced. On the math test, don’t just write the answer, please show your working outs. In other words, ‘working outs’ can used interchangeably with the word ‘life’.

The Only Thing Constant is Change

It’s natural at the turn of a new year to contemplate change. Hordes of people are 10 days into fulfilling a New Year’s Resolution. In these early hours of 2011 I can only hope to adapt to the waves of change that have found me – found us. Somehow I have been blindsided. All I can do is open my eyes, gather my wits, and walk into the fire.

I sound like and angsty teenager, but that’s how I feel too. At least it’s consistent.

I’d like to know what your New Year’s Resolution is. I am going to give myself more love and more credit.

Run Over by a Truck

I feel like I have been run over by a truck. It might have been a garbage truck, but I didn’t catch the plate number. (Please enjoy the music while you [finish this post].)

Life is full of things we’ve and done and things we haven’t. I hadn’t driven a car until I did. And then I hadn’t had a Yorkshire Pudding until I did. And I hadn’t ever been to the A&E (Emergency Room in the UK) until I went yesterday. In the commotion and embarrassment it suddenly occurred to me how relieved I was that I had shaved my legs. Don’t you worry though; I am on the mend. They let me come home because Drew promised to feed me, give me the medication they prescribed, and monitor my symptoms. I am so thankful for that – who can get any rest in a hospital?

I know you Americans want to know what’s different about the A&E. It’s your lucky day.
– Admission paperwork: I wrote my name, birthdate, and post code on a scrap of paper. For real.
– Waiting Room: I waited less than three minutes to be seen by an intake nurse.
– Staff Allocation: I saw three nurses, one student nurse, one @$*h^£3, one ER doctor, and one specialist.
– Quality of Care: Acceptable. Not stellar, not a failure, but I could make some suggestions.
– Overall Assessment: The NHS is low on frills but I do appreciate the time I was given with the doctor and the specialist. I would like to advocate for the increased usage of the alcohol swab, aseptic technique, and the butterfly device for drawing blood. It would also behoove the staff and patients for antiseptic cleaners to be available in all patient areas and for all staff to have sensitivity training. The sensitivity training comment is really directed to the one @$*h^£3, but in my crotchety old age I did find myself wishing to be looked after by older people. When did I turn 73?!

So, if you’ve been a good girl a friend brings you flowers when you are sent home from A&E.

And cakes.

With a side of crayons, a coloring book, and hard to find medical supplies.

If you are a really good girl, your friends and family send you an outpouring of the sweetest messages on the planet. You people are the bestest.

I know that my turning tragedy into comedy makes some people nervous; it does seem irreverent even to me. But my sister gave me permission this morning saying, ‘Consider it pure joy…when you face trials of many kinds’ (James 1:2). It is all we can do to look forward, look after others, and reach out. Drew and I feel very loved.

This post is brought to you by Tylenol with Codeine. And Nurse Drew.

Baby It’s Cold Outside

We should have been on a 12:05pm flight from London Heathrow to Chicago O’Hare, but we were not.
snow on balcony

Instead, we’ll be flying home on Wednesday via Dusseldorf. It’s the wrong direction, but it will do. Crazy weather has disrupted travel well beyond our own doorstep, but it’s cute watching the birds walk on water.

Here are some things you need to know when your United flight is cancelled:
– There is a domestic and an international customer service center. Both are in the US. Both have 800 numbers. 95% percent of the agents at both centers hate you.
– Agents are not all aware that there is a time difference between Itching, Alaska and Paris, France.
– Using Skype to navigate an automated system is nails on a chalkboard.
– Reservations mean diddly squat.
– There is one kind soul who gave me her time and found us a flight home before Christmas Eve. I wish I could remember and pronounce her name. (I will try to find out.)

Location, Location, Location

Once there was a girl named Sian. She taught me the slang meaning of ‘greedy gannets’ and other valuable phrases. She mentored me, trained me, and witnessed me singing Ice Ice Baby at an inappropriate hour of the day in what could be construed as an unprofessional move on my part… She was my travel buddy.

There is still a girl named Sian, in love with a boy named Mark, as I hear it told. These two best friends have taken off on vacation to the land of Oz where surfing is much more popular than in land locked London. And they might be on vacation for a long, long time.

I ache for them at the same time that my heart leaps for joy in my chest. With sincerest hope, I wish them both all the very best.
friends at thanksgiving

Fat and Happy

We three chefs of London, N1, have forged new Thanksgiving traditions…
thanksgiving chefs

Wine is a relatively new addition for me; and you can see that we really don’t need it. We are quite silly already.
elsa opens wine

First, we start with a big mess. Then we make it an organised mess with too much cream and/or butter while we pretend to look at recipes.
thankgiving prep

Eventually, it looks like this.
broccoli casserole


mash potato

green bean casserole

Jen with dinner

And we are happy.
helene approves thanksgiving

And then there is pie.
pecan pie

I am not eating ever again until next year.
pumpkin pie

Missing: One Pumpkin

The days are growing shorter all the time, there are rumors of snow (did I just type that out loud?), and I think the hay-fever has cleared. This can only mean that winter is really here to stay its course this time. And here I am again making the grocery list that has too much butter… Finding the strength to celebrate, despite my mother’s leaving, has not come to me all at once. It has come in waves of responsibility and true thankfulness.

2010 has not been without challenge, but I think it has firmly sunk in how truly rich I am. What I have is miles more than I deserve; it would be nice to know that everyone wakes up to the smile of their best friend (I hope your best friend doesn’t tickle you before you are very awake). I’d like to know that everyone has the means to have big-family-gathering, Thanksgiving-style feasts. It would be great to have Dr Who style transport to all the places I’d like to be, but I’ve got a stable job — these days they both seem equally hard to come by. I have beautiful friends –- here, there, soon-to-be-elsewhere… Just sharing with each one a walk on the same stretch of road in the journey of life is an incredible gift I get to keep opening every day.

That family of mine… Dang, Gina. We cause each other a lot of worry; Drew and I both get that sensitivity honestly. But I do not have a doubt that I am always loved, completely unconditionally. If there is any one of us that doesn’t know that yet, he or she just isn’t ready to hear it, but it is always true.

There is nothing else I need. I’d like some of the green bean casserole that my dad is making, but I will have to wait for Christmas. But there is nothing else I need.

May you have everything you need, too…

So Much to Say

The more there is to say the more trouble I have saying it. All the words about all the meaningful moments, those that are beautiful and those that break our hearts, get tangled together. I have wanted to tell you everything–-it just seemed so disrespectful to recount to you all the sunny days in October as if the sun shines everywhere at once…

Drew’s Granny Young is very ill. My sister was in London visiting when we got a call to let us know that Granny had been admitted to the hospital and another call to say that she was being discharged, weak and tired. It was a bit like waking suddenly from a deep sleep in which I was dreaming a lovely dream.

We all flew home–Drew, Donna, and me. And then Drew and I came tearfully back to a colder London. (That part you know.) While we carry on here, Granny is hanging in there. Some of her days are better than others, but she has some stories still to tell… She is looking forward to Christmas and so are we.

Granny isn’t the only one holding my heart for ransom. My heart is traipsing around the US, sitting in turns with the people I love; sometimes I even suspect it is in more place than one at any given moment. She’s tricksy like that.

The point is that we will resume normal programming here on the blog, but I’d like to be clear: real life continues with the serious things mixed in, even when I don’t mention it. And we couldn’t make it without you.

A Song For You

‘You taught me precious secrets / of a true love withholding nothing…
If my words don’t come together, please listen to the melody /
[be]cause my love is in there somewhere hiding’

I have not said ‘thank you’ as many times or to as many people as I should. In the aftermath of 2009, I felt loved at the least – if not carried.

Angels walk among us; I know because one of them sent me spoons.

spoon up close

There was also a sweet personal story, a recipe box, recipes, vegan chocolate chips, beautiful cupcake cups, and an exquisite apron.
apron and stuff

The first thing these spoons made was Vegan Pistachio Rosewater cupcakes.
vegan pistachio rosewater

Maybe they weren’t as pretty as the photo in the cookbook, but making them was music to my soul. Who knew a girl could find so much joy in spoons and corn meal?

Thank you, Thomas family, for this and your many beautiful gifts.

The Sun Will Come Out

Tomorrow. Or the next day. I think.

With heavy eyes and our hearts soaking wet, our plane circled London in a morning sky that looked more like a sunset – a large stroke of hot pink sat squarely on the horizon. The grass and the grey both might have been colored in on black and white film; the light was the kind that photographers dream about… Through the tiny window on the plane I watched London rise as I fell that familiar, steady, controlled-fall into the maze of pavement.

London has a strange new smell since we’ve been gone. It smells like dark and winter chill. It’s perfect. It’s exactly what I needed. London’s cold shoulder is like music to my ears.

While I was having a smashing time showing my sister the inner-workings of my day-to-day life in the big wide London-town, we got news that Granny Young was ill. She’s doing fine now, thanks for asking, but the news of Granny’s illness was enough to get us on a flight home. Like I said, Granny is a trooper and we’ve returned to the daily grind, but somehow returning gave me an unexpected feeling. When I can put my finger on exactly what feeling that was I will let you know.

Until then, I would just like to say ‘Thank God for babies’. Just look at them. Gorgeous. Yummy. Snuggle-able.
baby cousins

Going the Distance

Maybe we weren’t adventurous enough to climb the lions at Trafalgar Square, but the moment I finished telling Donna that human contact of any kind is highly discouraged on the bus, we chatted about the validity of art with some hipsters from the East side – one fine artist, one fashion designer. I think that was more interesting really.

Now. Where were we? Ah, yes. Donna in London…

Saturday mornings=Borough Market + Cinnamon Tree Bakery
Cinnamon Tree Bakery brownie purchase

Apparently, taste testing was encouraged for anyone in a leopard print scarf. Lucky us.
sangria tasting

We found the sauce, the spice, and the delight.
sauces borough market

spice mountain borough market

turkish delight borough market

And we found the silly. Thank goodness for the silly.
silly face donna

A stop at Cafe Nero chased away the grey fog on the south bank of the Thames. Ok no. It didn’t.
donna jen river thames

But we carried on to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre – because Saturday afternoon = wandering + beverage.
shakespeares globe

A wander through Tate Modern sparked some interesting conversation (see introduction re: hipsters + bus above).
tate modern london

We toured St Paul’s Cathedral.
st pauls donna drew

We chased that tour with a visit to the Museum of London and a visit to Liverpool Street. Then we crawled home. For some unknown reason, we dragged ourselves out to Leicester Square to see Drew Barrymore in Going the Distance. Oh wait, I remember: Drew Barrymore (that Justin Long has won my heart, too). I can only speak for myself when I say that I may have peed in the seat.

The End.

Well, what more do you want from Saturday?!

Just Do It

Coffee.  Breakfast.  Russell Square. Big Bus Tour!  First stop, Trafalgar Square.
trafalgar square gina sassy

We almost climbed the lions. And then we didn’t.

We said hi to Ben. Big Ben, that is.
big ben

We waved at the London Eye.
london eye

We giggled our way around the city.

The Queen was not home when we stopped by Buckingham Palace so we piddled around outside for a bit.
gate at buckingham palace

buckingham palace fountain

Then we went home for a break!

Drew took us to dinner at The Driver.
drew at the driver

They have a swanky new restaurant on the first floor. The ground floor is still a cozy pub…
the driver pub

Sassy and Gina seemed to have a good time.
gina and sassy the driver

Bunking Off

To ‘bunk off’ is to skip an obligation, especially school or work. e.g. Let’s bunk off today–we can just not come back to work after lunch! -OR- We are bunking off, let’s not get caught by our boss in the Tesco by the office!

Fly Away

Two years have now gone by since we first landed in the UK. It seems like a very long time since we dragged our three suitcases across the ocean to this door in Seven Dials, but at the same time feels almost like it could have been yesterday.

seven dials flat

It’s weird to read what had to say when we landed on 5 October 2008.

So much has happened since then that I wonder how we’ve managed to stay sane, but then I know the answer.  We’ve never been alone.  Drew’s been faithfully, unmovable, by my side every step along the way and I’ve done my best to keep my chin up for him.  Our family and friends have not forgotten us.  New friends have embraced us.

This painful, wondrous, awe-inspiring experience has been a true adventure.  In 85 years my grandkids might be reading this journal and find inspiration here…  I can’t help but be pretty inspired myself; we are so fortunate to have had this opportunity.

Cheers to two years!

To celebrate, my sister is on a plane to London!!  (Thanks for sharing her Richard, Alicia, and Elizabeth!  I know that you’ll miss her very much.)

One Is the Loneliest Number

It’s very often I am reminded I am not in control of all things in life. This week I have been sent a message via canal boat. It is a first, I assure you.

loose canal boat

I see that there is something to be learned in finding a canal boat drifting aimlessly down the canal, but I can’t promise I have figured it out just yet… Not to worry – it has been safely moored by some random folks down yonder way. I just hope its owners know that their house has taken up residence downstream from whence it came.

The Serenity Prayer and Beer

You are likely to think I am an alcoholic by now. You know, I do ask myself if I should be worried about the number of times per week I consume an alcoholic beverage. I will let you know if I begin to suspect a problem. Until then, please consider Exhibit A:

what the beer

I have had to ask myself if my guardian angel might send Pale Ale to me in London in times of my greatest need. It seems a little out of character from what I’ve been told of guardian angels, but what do I know?!

I am taking it as a sign.
jen on the moon

I can hear my guardian angel’s voice now, as she shakes her head in wonder (and with a strange pride): ‘My daughter drinks beer.’

Stand by Me

Can you say ‘struggling’ girls and boys? Don’t be afraid to try: ‘Struggling.’

That’s very good.

Now let’s use it in a sentence: ‘I am struggling.’ (The slang term ‘struggling’ is in this case interchangeable with ‘busted’, but should not be confused with ‘crunk’, ‘messed up’, or ‘whack’.) It’s very important that you know what to do when you are struggling, girls and boys. You count your blessings.

Though I will spare you the insanity of hearing all about it, I am going to share with you today’s Five Things Jen is Thankful For.

#1 Hello.

drew and jen

#2 My sister is coming, my sister is coming!

#3 Yeah, for real.

#4 I could hold up a mirror, this would be the place for it. Under this sentence, down there. Right there. Forget it. Just go look in the dang mirror!

#5 There are people in Trafalgar Square standing by to help.
free hugs two

free hugs one

Nosy Parker

Someone who is nosy. (Some say this phrase originated when an Archbishop of Canterbury named Parker (1559-1575) ordered some unpopular inquiries…)

Show Me the Money!

When the United Kingdom joined the European Union (EU), it was the only country to keep its own currency. Some members of the EU consider this a serious controversy. (Except ‘controversy’ sounds a bit silly when a Brit says it, if I do say so m’self.) Well, it seems that the UK is sticking to its guns on this one.

Great Britain has minted coinage with a brand new design.
new british coins

The crest is the Queen’s. The design is Matthew Dent’s (Mr Dent has not commented on his relation to Arthur Dent). At 26, he is the youngest person to design the nation’s money, but he won the contest fair and square.

I think this says two things: Before the Queen passes the crown to Prince William she intends to make sure she’s still in circulation for a long time to come. The UK is giving the Euro the finger.

A Different Kind of Mallrat

Being a true blood American, I struggled to function in the London shopping scene upon our arrival. I could write a dissertation on the link between the downfall of society and its relationship to high street shopping, with an emphasis on knowing-what-one-thing-you-want vs the effort it takes to get that thing in an environment that is adverse to either the casual browsing or targeted purchasing experience.


I wondered how Londoners functioned without shopping malls. After some time I heard about a mythical place called Westfield, an American style collection of the most popular shops – a mall. That’s lovely, but it is a long way to go when I need a small thing or a particular thing which is not guaranteed to be in that wonderland.

It took me nearly two years to put it together, but the epiphany hit me on Sunday like a hot latte. London does have shopping malls! They are hidden in plain site. Here they call them ‘train stations’. I am going to let you future Huddleston B&B guests on a little secret.

St Pancras is a closet mall.

sourced market
Sourced carries Monmouth Coffee. They also carry organic and locally sourced frosty beverages, among other things of course.

cinnamon tree bakery
Borough Market is closed during your visit? Local bakers sell their goods at Sourced, too.

peyton and byrne
Look at those Mallrats… They look just like travelers.

wilton and Noble
Made in England. Kiss my big toe Oxford Street.

fat face

These are just a few. We’ve got Fossil and Neuhaus, too. This does not solve all of my problems, but it does comfort me to know that there is a late night Marks and Spencer nearby… Dang, Gina – it took me a long time to see what’s been staring me in the face all this time.

Let Them Eat Cake

She would be pleased to know that people eat cake on her birthday, I think, but she isn’t around for me to ask anymore. I made cake anyway. If you want to have what I’m having, you are going to need my Chocolate Mess recipe.

1 Devil’s Food cake box mix and the ingredients it says you need
1 glass wine or Diet Dr Pepper (you may choose your own vice)
1 cup chocolate chips (any variety. Heck, they don’t even have to be chocolate)
1 cup chocolate chips

Fudge Sauce
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp vanilla
1 pinch salt
3 tbsp milk

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 large container double cream

2 1/2 sleeves oreos (chocolate cream if you’ve got ’em)

You might start with a Devil’s Food cake mix from a box or you might use your Granny’s secret recipe – I don’t know what you do in your kitchen… But let me give a gentle word of advice: box mix. Ok, that was two words. What I mean is that Granny’s secret recipe would be wasted underneath the gobs of stuff you are about to throw at it; save it for a day that it can stand in the spotlight.

Prepare Devil’s Food cake as directed on the box (or use Granny’ recipe for the cake if you insist. I don’t like telling you what to do). Now sip your wine, or your whatever, every time you have the urge to lick the bowl. Or the beaters. Or the spoon. Put. it. down. Before you pour the cake in the pan, stir in 1/2 to 1 cup of chocolate chips.

While the cake is in the oven, heat the sweetened condensed milk on the stove, but do not boil. Stir in the cocoa until well combined; stir in the salt. Let cool a minute or two (sip wine) before adding the vanilla. Add milk one tablespoon at a time until the consistency is runny enough to be considered fudge-y syrup.

As soon as you have the cake on a cooling rack (but straight from the oven), use a spatula or knife to make long, deep slits in the cake without cutting all the way through it. Your instincts will fight against you, but this is critical. Take a swig of wine; really, it’s ok.

Pour the warm hot fudge-y syrup-y stuff on top of the just-out-of-the-oven cake. Sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly on top of that. Have a sip of wine and tell your OCD to go sit in the corner. ‘Sprinkle evenly’ is a general term; there is NO density calculation required.

Let them get to know each other and do that thing that cakes and sauce do together. Try not to stare – where is your wine? Let the cake cool completely after its ‘activities’.

Crush the oreos. Food processor, hammer.. Again, I am not here to judge what you do in your kitchen.

Whip the double cream with a whisk attachment until slightly thick. Add cocoa and sugar in spoonfuls as you continue to whip until soft peaks form. Whip a tiny bit longer. Wine or whisk, put one in your mouth. Whatev.

Spread the chocolate whipped cream on the COOLED cake. Spread crushed oreos on top, refridgerate at least a few hours. (If you have leftover chocolate chips, chuck them on top. Or eat them. No one will know.) Serve.

I am told that red wine goes nicely with chocolate.

Southern Belle in London

One of the joys of living abroad is having a good excuse to play host and hostess to friends and adventurers seeking sleep (and/or beer) in London. I am very lucky to be loved enough that when my friend Candace‘s mom came to Europe to visit, Candace shared her mom with me. Cheryl’s visit was the perfect end of summer treat.

With only 2.2 days in London post family trip to Rome, there was a lot to see. Lee and Cheryl covered a lot of ground on Friday while Candace, Drew, and I finished the work week. The weekend was a beautiful blur.

We introduced her to soho.
bracelet story

soho queen

To all the girls and boys, and those in between – for the love of self respect, your skirt should be long enough to cover the subject.

After that, I almost need a smoke, too.
cuban purchase

We took a breath at Piccadilly Circus.
cheryl at piccadilly

(Why wasn’t I born with hair like this?)
hair at piccadilly

Candace and Lee didn’t think Cheryl should miss Borough Market.
borough market

I agree.
borough market bread
Get in my belly.

Who can resist organically grown chilies that make your nose bleed?!
chili stall borough market

Amazingly enough, we had time for Ye Ol’ Cheshire Cheese-
cheshire cheese

and ladies’ tea at Fortnum and Mason before Candace and Lee took Cheryl out for a big surprise.
fortnum and mason

I wish I could have seen her face when they led her to the Lyceum Theatre to see The Lion King… At least I got to hear her describe it when they got home. Ah, good times.

If you’d like to share your vacation with the Huddlestons, please do let us know. We need some extra mouths to feed at Thanksgiving.

Thames Festival, Signing Off

The scene: sundown on a calm Sunday evening with clear-ish skies.
oxo tower and sky

Features among the cast of characters:
Prehistoric animals

(Yes, that is London Eye in the background. Yes, that is wicked cool.)

mardi gras singers

scaring children

lion on stilts

monkey head

cleopatra and st pauls

(Yes, that is St Paul’s in the background. I know, I know – I’ll give it a rest.)




And the finale –

Go to Vimeo.

This will become a new tradition for The Huddlestons. Let us know if you fancy joining us next year!

Thanksgiving, Lord Mayor’s Style

No one told me that London celebrates Thanksgiving. Ok, so they call it ‘feast on the bridge’… Whatev.
feast on the bridge

Apparently the end of summer is marked by the Thames Festival, a two day outdoor arts event put on by the Thames Festival Trust.
thames festival

The Southwark Bridge was lit up like a garden reception.
Jen and the bridge

It’s the biggest end-of-summer-harvest party I have ever seen.
southwark bridge dining

dining on southward bridge

southwark bridge crowd

There were unique stalls and installations – some educational, others just fun.
thames festival activity

bicycle cinema

Yeah, I could use this kind of thing at home.
bicycle cinema two

To work off dinner.
buddha bowl

(Must. Replicate.) Brown Rice, sweet potato and pineapple curry, kale?, blackened tofu. MMMMmmm.

Oh, yeah.
konditor and cook

I did have a gingerbread man from Konditor and Cook.
gingerbread men

You should have been here for this.

Festivities stretched along the southbank from Westminster to Tower Bridge.
vw and tower bridge

You would look good in this picture. See you September 2011?
tower bridge

Sunday = Carnival+fireworks. For the win. Full report coming soon, same Bat time – same Bat channel.


A dessert with pieces of crunchy meringue, cream, and berries. Eton Mess is a type of mess made with strawberries. (It ain’t the ‘mess’ of the South.)

Defying Gravity

You know you have made it to the big time when Drew Huddleston designs your website. (What you see below is the result of Jen Huddleston design. I think you can see for yourself why we leave the digital art to Drew. I reserve the right to bust a mean summersault+sexy push combination on the dance floor and all that, but Drew is the real digital specialist…) Yeah, so. What was I saying?

Oh yeah.

I must be on top. The hottest web designer around takes my calls on his day off.

If you log into my website and it’s daylight where I am you get blue sky.
website feature daylight

Believe it or not, this is more common than grey sky and rain. I digress.

If I am in the dark, so are you.
website feature night

And when I need to know how long I have to get the flat clean before my sister gets here, you can count down the hours with me.
website feature countdown

I am not really sure when I ascended to stardom, but it’s oh so nice to be on top.


Let us rejoicify; we’ve seen the best show in London! I couldn’t be happier. We couldn’t be happier, right dear?

WICKED is absolutely everything the discerning West End crowd demands. The posh Apollo Victoria Theatre lobby has taken on a certain green glow since WICKED came to London. The stage has been expertly transformed into a great gateway to the famed Emerald City.

Though I refused to be swayed by hype and mass hysteria before I had seen the show myself, I did wonder what life new voices would lend to the characters I had only met in the soundtrack. I should have known better. Our cast was flawless. The talent of the London artists is stunning, each character is a three-dimensional, familiar persona of someone I already know. I’m convinced I was really there; you, and you, and you – and you – were there too.

No doubt the success of the show is directly linked to the amazing story and music which lay the foundation for the characters to engage us, but the creatives involved in the production of the show cannot be faulted. The show really is spectactularious through and through.

I could say more, but it wouldn’t be enough. I’m limited. But I have been changed for good.

What is This Feeling?

Let us rejoicify; we’ve seen the best show in London! I couldn’t be happier. We couldn’t be happier, right dear?

WICKED is absolutely everything the discerning West End crowd demands. The posh Apollo Victoria Theatre lobby has taken on a certain green glow since WICKED came to London. The stage has been expertly transformed into a great gateway to the famed Emerald City.

Though I refused to be swayed by hype and mass hysteria before I had seen the show myself, I did wonder what life new voices would lend to the characters I had only met in the soundtrack. I should have known better. Our cast was flawless. The talent of the London artists is stunning, each character is a three-dimensional, familiar persona of someone I already know. I’m convinced I was really there; you, and you, and you – and you – were there too.

No doubt the success of the show is directly linked to the amazing story and music which lay the foundation for the characters to engage us, but the creatives involved in the production of the show cannot be faulted. The show really is spectactularious through and through.

I could say more, but it wouldn’t be enough. I’m limited. But I have been changed for good.


As I patiently wait for Drew to finish the last bits of work he has promised his mates he’d attend to this weekend, the gentle sound of raindrops slapping water drifts up to us from the canal. We’ve been well fed and watered by new friends Adam and Milly (and baby Rufus). It has been a beautiful day.

Maybe it’s the warmth of budding friendship or the wine- or maybe it’s the effect of having been so near a precious miracle- that gives me the feeling that I am going to be fine.
baby with jen

Faces like these… I am glad we got away before I completely melted.
baby sleeping

Despite the way it looks, there was intelligent and stimulating conversation. Bless him, it was a lot to process.

Surf and Sun

Tumbleweeds drift though deserted school streets and echoes can be heard in the underground stations across the city. August is witness to the Exodus. Summer holidays.

Every last family in London with small to medium children remaining in the city last Thursday morning, took an Easyjet flight from Luton to somewhere. It is no wonder why I went on holiday to Portugal and my luggage decided to enjoy a break in Spain; it was either confused to be packed among the mass of cute little Trunki or running away.

Eventually we made it the safety of the pool. (Thanks to Mel for loaning me clothes, bags, sun lotion, hair care, bodywash, toothpaste, bathing costumes, towels, sarongs, etc.)
feet pool
My theory is that she clothed me because she couldn’t bear to have me sun bathe nude. (I couldn’t stomach it either.)

Thanks very much to the Lyons family for letting us stay in their home.

Thanks to Ade and Mel for taking us to the western most point of Europe.
west point

And thanks to the sun for never giving up on us.
covered market

Even Drew soaked up sun and waves.
beach drew

He’s so handsome in his new pinky brown skin. In fact, I’ll see you all later…

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