Archives for category: Monthly update

The Christmas break up north with family was exactly what the doctor ordered!  It has given me the very necessary time to take a step back, slow down and assess things.  In my day-to-day life in London things just seem to take over, and especially in 2012 which felt like a whirlwind.  I don’t know about you, but it only seemed like yesterday that 2012 had started, let alone the dawn of yet another year – the year 2013.

December was a month spent with family, work colleagues and friends.  The work Christmas dinner and drinks was a very enjoyable evening – that’s to say I didn’t hear of many complaints, apart from my failed attempts at giving a speech (about six times I have been told).  So here are my words of caution now to anyone, do not ask me to give a speech, unless: (a) you want to find a cure for insomnia, (b) someone has spent time writing one for me, (c) you have the patience of a saint, or (d) you have a large alcoholic beverage to get through the pain.  So don’t say you haven’t been warned!

To describe Christmas in three words I would say: ‘a humble one’.  It was not a Christmas about giving and receiving big gifts, as has been the case in previous years, but instead one about people, and in particular FAMILY.  And you know what…. it has been very refreshing and one of the best I have had.  I had the opportunity to catch up with my parents and brothers and his respective partner, finding out what’s been going on in their busy lives, and I also got reacquainted with friends I haven’t seen for several years, including my dear friend Dave.  Without my family, and my friends, I would not be in the position I am now.  So I want to say here, thank you so very much for all your love, guidance, help and support you have given me over the years.

New Year was ‘a quiet one’.  And while I am only 26, it was spent having an early night and waking up all refreshed and energised without waking up with the hangover I suffered with last year.  Instead I was able to enjoy a lovely meal with Kraus, Jack and Joe, with wine and a good chat.  It was a very enjoyable afternoon and one I will treasure in the year ahead.

2012 was a year of change – a bit like arriving at your terminus with the driver going, “All Change…”.  It was a year with many great memories and treasured experiences.  It was a year that I learnt more about myself, and that includes the bad and the ugly in addition to the good!  I met new acquaintances and from it made some new friends that I am very grateful to have.  I secured a great job, and I got to play a small part in the delivery of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London, and most importantly, I had fun along the way.  So I want to thank everyone in my life, and those people that know me, for making it such a wonderful year.  While in some ways I did have my downs as well as ups, it was, on the whole, a great year and I hope it continues in an upwards tragetory for the year ahead, the year that is 2013.

So for 2013 I haven’t made any dramatic or drastic resolutions, but instead have opted to go back to basics (and NO – I am not talking about the Sainsbury’s food range!).  My resolution for the year ahead is: to be more patient, make time for my friends, relax more, cherish the things I have, focus on health and fitness, and lastly to smile.  Simple I know, but one thing this Christmas has shown me especially, is that I have, in the mad rush of last year, failed on several occasions to do this.

So without further a do, Happy New Year!  I hope it brings you all much happiness, joy, love, prosperity and success!  AND remember, enjoy life in the best way you can, focusing on the things you do have, cherishing friends and family and making yourself a better person.

Well November has been and gone, and no I didn’t sign up to the moustache goings on this year. While I do praise those that do partake in this awareness event concerning men’s health issues, it is a little lost on me, especially with my baby face; and despite me shaving everyday, I just couldn’t grow a moustache like the average man. So to those that did, well done and congratulations for going through with it.

Now this has been quite an active month, and for a number of notable reasons.

Cross Trainer

Following on from my update last month, and luckily to say, I haven’t been plagued with problems with wisdom teeth as now they have been and gone, well at least the lower ones, and hopefully I don’t have any problems with the upper ones. The idea of another set of wisdom teeth extractions does not bode well. On the upside it has meant that I’ve had an uninterrupted phase on improving my physical health by attending the gym after work regularly. I’ve found it indeed a great way to de-stress and gives me the time to reflect on the day whilst listening to trance music to keep me moving to a beat.  So for this month, just gone, the cross trainer has been my best friend!

Now moving on to the more interesting stuff, or perhaps I’ve made you fall asleep already, if I have and you’ve been suffering with insomnia…then spread the word…you’ve finally found a cure!  If not, thanks for reading on and better luck next time!!!  First Friday in to the month was a day of rest from the work place, and I spent it having lunch with a friend and doing some sightseeing around the galleries in London. I do admit, the National Portrait Gallery is a great place to go to escape the hustle and bustle that is London.  Following on from my leisurely day, I head to a wine bar not far from my office to celebrate a work colleagues belated birthday. It was a time of true enlightenment and laughter seeing my colleague open the presents that had been bought for her….some interesting gifts I have to say!  A cheerful evening with some nice wine, laughter and a great time overall. Hope you had a great one.

Skyfall

Saturday, and yes I had a mild headache in the morning, which was kindly whisked away by a fry up before heading to catch up with Tam to watch the new Bond film, ‘Skyfall’ which I reviewed at the beginning of the month and can be found below. Sat in the Sky Premier screen, the full action exploded in front of my eyes and I was lost for several hours deeply absorbed in the story, before departing our separate ways after a brief analysis of the movie.

That Sunday it was back at the gym, before having a light bite for lunch and watching the day leisurely go by.  I have to admit very refreshing. I did some reading of a book I’ve been reading called, ‘The fish rots from the head’ and gives an I depth guide into the inner workings of corporate governance.  For some, they’d find this boring, but for me is an area of which I am rather interest, and partly because one day I’d like to work my way up the career ladder, and therefore this is an area that I want to become more knowledgeable of.

Monday that followed, I caught up with Justin who I haven’t seen in a long time, at least over a year, and went and watched the film, Silent Hill 2: Revelation and in 3D.  Throughout the film I clenched my eyes together at times, and jumped in others.  We both laughed at how remarkably pathetic I was before having a catch up over coffee in Starbucks, enjoying the Christmas drink offer of two for one: toffee nut latte and praline mocha. I have to admit the former was delicious, and you’ll have to ask my friend what he thought of the latter.

Freedom

Afterwards I headed to central London to talk to a Eduardo about law as he’s just started his LLB programme, and in doing so, made me realise what a fantastic time I had when I was studying the subject up north.  Also made me realise how much I still remember, even if I was a bit rusty at times.  After the discussion, I had a leisurely walk along Oxford Street to Marble Arch, before heading back home for a rest and some more reading in the evening of the fiction book, ‘Freedom’ by Jonathan Franzen.  The book is a revelation itself, and I love delving into the various lives of the characters, so thank you Joseph for the book recommendation…you know my taste in books quite well.

British Museum

Tuesday, my final day off on annual leave from the office, I decided against going to the gym and instead spent it having what I like to call ‘cultural time’, and this is where I take time out to learn new things by visiting a museum or an art gallery.  On this occasion I visited two museums: The National History Museum and The Transport for London Museum, the former based in between Tottenham Court Road and Holborn Tube stations, and the latter in the central square area of Covent Garden.  Now I won’t go into too much detail here, as I have already talked about it in my earlier post this month, which you will find below and may find it interesting to read, or not, which ever is the case.  As per usual, I headed to Starbucks to grab another delicious Toffee Nut latte without the cream….have to cut the extra calories out where possible.  Oooh so saved about 10 calories there then!  Arh well just like Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor will my weight be lost in the same period.  If you know of a miracle cure, please let me know.

The remainder of the month of November by contrast to the beginning has heavily revolved around going to work, keeping on top of paper work and going to the gym.  I am in a phase of my life where I am continuing to battle with losing the weight I want to get rid of, so instead of looking in the mirror in the morning and going ‘urgh’ to replace it with, ‘not bad!’  Im not asking for much am I.  It has also been spent reading a lot a many different books, and has been great as the nights have been getting colder.

argo

The last two weekends of November I spent time with Matt and Jamen, helping the former with organising his wardrobe, and both of them for dinner.  They introduced me to two great places for dinner, a place on Commercial Road and another called Pie Crust, which is situated on Stratford High Street. Alongside this, I watch two movies with Matt, both of which I reviewed earlier in my blog, ‘Twilight’ which was an utter saga, and ‘Argo’ which I have to say was phenomenal and cannot recommend enough.  So thank you Matt and Jamen.

So all in all a great month, and that was the month of November.  Now I am very much looking forward to the festivities that December will bring and of course seeing my family for Christmas, whom I love very dearly.

Have I cured your insomnia? Hahaha.

All the best, BENJAMIN

October was ok, and hence my misspelling of this word in the title. I spent it catching up with friends, focusing on work and generally having ‘me time’. I guess over the past year to date I haven’t given myself really any proper time out just to relax, unwind and refocus on my priorities – so all in all a great month.

However, it wasn’t a month without its trials and tribulations! I spent the first part at least in quite considerable pain following a complicated and prolonged wisdom tooth extraction at the hospital; which many people close to me will know didn’t go according to plan by any stretch of the imagination. Plus it involved me going back later in the day, just as they were closing, to address an urgent complication. But my many thanks to the chief consultant and on call dental surgeon for your resolve in fixing the problem. So for about two weeks I was very much feeling sorry for myself – so mum, dad, my apologies for the umpteen phone calls that I made to you during that period.

However, I had Kris to cheer me up with drinks so the self-pitying self came to an end, for one evening at least, having drinks and catching up in Browns Bar and Brasserie at Canary Wharf. Have to say always a great laugh, and his hubby is very lucky to have him, as is Kris to have him! Spending time with Kris is always entertaining, and its like a game of lucky dip…you never know what to expect! So thanks Kris for the drinks, the chat and of course generating more work for me! Lol. The migraine wasn’t induced by the alcohol, let’s put it that way. (Only joking Kris…or am I? 😉 …..hahaha you decide…you’ve known me long enough now).

Mid way through the month, despite being able to open my mouth properly, I had a lovely meal at Terroirs Wine Bar with a dear friend. I chose a great wine (even if I say so myself), not too acidic, nor too mild, delicious in fact. So if you go there, I’d definitely recommend a bottle enchantingly titled ‘Carbone 14’ (Stephane Morin, Banyuls 2009 VdP des Côtes Catalanes). It is a mixture of Grenache Noir, Grenache Gris and Grenache Blanc, and is sensational on the palate, packed with plenty of fruity flavour, and is easy to drink. It is a medium bodied wine, so if you find that you don’t like the harshness of a Cabernet Sauvignon, then this is definitely one that you should try. Also, it try Côtes du Rhone as well if you find that you are picking up bottles that are too full bodied. But if you do have a strong red, solution is to balance it out having a cheeseboard.

A short while after I caught up with Khai, a friend I made in London just over two years ago. A very wonderful guy… and he will make that special someone a very lucky person indeed, and I look forward to seeing it. We ended up having a burger just off from Southbank before heading to Mad Hatters, which is a pub just off from Blackfriars in the direction of Southwark Underground Station. I like this place as it’s like going back in time with the wooden beams in the ceiling and their selection of beers, wine and other alcoholic delights. Definitely a place to go if you don’t want to be in a modern trendy bar and would like to retreat a little.

The penultimate weekend I spent a day with Samantha, a very special lady indeed. Having lived together at university, we have become very close friends and appreciate the time we have chatting over coffee, wandering around the shops, having wine and dinner. Such a great catch up over pizza, before wandering the shops (window shopping), before an afternoon scone and tea at Patisserie Valerie (PV) and then a bottle of Cabernet Shiraz at All Bar One. PV was great, and whilst they do have a huge array of cakes to chose from, I can recommend the pot of tea and scones – and no one order will serve two. If you ordered one each two scones well, is too much and you’d have too much tea!

And amongst all this, I managed to fit in a few good films, Taken Two and Sinister. The latter made me jump several times in the cinema, and made me laugh at the same time at myself; making myself jump at the sudden boom on the screen. It was a good story all the same and I can sense a further film coming out of this, but how they can build on the story I do not know. As for Taken 2, it was like an abridged version of an action film, cut all the unnecessaries out and get straight to the point. It contrasts to Taken, and have to admit I was left with mixed feelings once it had finished.

Well hope I haven’t bored you that much, and be grateful I gave you a snap shot into the month that was Oktober!

Best wishes, Benjamin