Hopefully this is a place in which I don’t bore you.  Here, I am going to provide you with an update on what I am doing in my life, the places I have been and the experiences that I have had.  Having so many friends around the world, and living away from different family members, this is a great place in which I can provide an update to you, and them, when I might not have the time to contact them individually at one particular time.  That said, I do endeavour to keep in touch on a regular basis, and if I don’t please don’t take it personally.

When discussing my life here, I will do this on a monthly basis.  On a previous blog, I tried to do this on a weekly basis, but found that I was unable to meet that demand, or, I didn’t have anything interesting to say as it may have been a quiet week.

Most importantly, I hope you enjoy.

JANUARY 2011 – A NEW YEAR HAS ARRIVED!

Has proven to be an emotional month for me.  2011 is a year of great significance, or at least one in which I ascribe so much too.  It is a year I want to achieve things, a year I want to make a difference, and one in which I stand up, and shout from the rooftop  “HELLO WORLD HERE I AM!”  Yes this year marks a change to my personality, I no longer want to shy away, I no longer want to put my happiness in jeopardy, indeed borrowing from the film title, I am in ‘The Pursuit of Happiness’.  I grew tired in 2010 of seeing other’s happy whilst myself experiencing some significant periods of unhappiness – and hence some considerable change took place in the latter part of that year to gear me up for this.  Anyways, now that I have finished my prologue, lets start with this month’s blog.

The New Years Celebrations are the best I have had.  I was kindly invited by a wonderful couple, both of whom being work colleagues of mine, to their flat party.  A more joyful evening one could not have wished for.  The evening started with the booze run at Tesco’s before heading to their flat from there we commenced on the Ninetendo Wii, before proceeding to watch a music video of two of my work colleagues on their gig night, and then drinking games commenced.  I have to admit, the “drink of death” was rather awful, never have I drunk something that has tasted so much like liquid medicine – it was vial (I say that, but Vodka Red Bull is on a par, for me anyways!)  The New Year arrived, we all toasted and cheered for the New Year – lets now hope it is a good one.

I then went the following weekend to visit my family up north, in which I made a post about it on this blog entitled: “The Venture North”.  I had such a wonderful time seeing my family and catching up on all that I had missed.  So read the post I made about this special and treasured time spent with them.

The rest of the month consisted of work, going to the gym (as I am trying to get back to my 2007/2008 fitness levels and of course get back to my 32” waist and 40” chest instead of the current 34/36” waist (depending on trousers) and 42” chest).  Fingers crossed, I will get back to that soon, give it 3-4 months.

I had a lovely meal spent with an amazing guy called Aik, so sweet, so cheery and such great company.  We had a great time at Terroirs (see restaurant review), which is a great French wine bar that serves such a huge collection of wines for all budgets, and the food, though on a limited menu, is absolutely superb.  Afterwards we had a walk along Embankment before finishing off sharing a crepe at Kensington High Street.  In many ways it was a farewell meal and celebration for his graduation with his masters… I am so ever proud of you.  Come back soon!

Towards the end of the month I went to Khai’s birthday party, a very dear friend I have come to know over the past year or so now.  Fun and laughter is always guaranteed.  So the drinks party was held at O Bar, which is located in Soho, London.  I had arranged for my dearest friend, and a person whom has been there for me through thick and thin – Barry (of course I cant forget to mention Mayi and Amanda – they too have come to feel like my family), so we arrived just after 7pm.  We had a few drinks before we left and headed off to Ku Bar, located in China Town.  There we enjoyed several glasses of wine, before heading for dinner with Mayi.  Afterwards, I suggested going to Kudos, which is on Adelaide Street, not too far from Trafalgar Square.  The place was rammed, and the guys behind the bar were hot… seriously, the management their have made some great improvements and will definitely be heading back there soon.  It was great as I bumped into Kris another great friend of mine (which brings me to another point, I am truly blessed with having such great friends and work colleagues… I am very lucky!)

Well that’s it folks, that’s January covered.  Same time next month and February’s blog will be up.

DECEMBER 2010

A Christmas Foreword:

December – that festive time of year has arrived once again. A time for joy. A time for pondering. A time to treasure, and a time to show everyone dear to you, how much they mean. Often we come to think of Christmas as the time to give presents.  However, I think the best present you can give someone is time.  Yes the materialistic things are nice, but they can’t compare. People make Christmas special. And I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas.

Recently, I have been thinking about my family. How much I miss them, how much I treasure them, and how much joy they bring to me.

Here I am, sat (at the time of writing this) in Starbucks, Jubilee Place, Canary Wharf.  Looking out I can see Santa’s Grotto.  The children and parents lined up, queuing to enter. It is such a magical time for them, and for some it’s their first Christmas. Its lovely to see their faces beaming and smiling. Reminds me back to the days when I was a child, going to the shopping precinct with my parents and brothers. Being all excited at the idea of meeting this magical, yet fictional character, Santa Claus. I miss those Christmas’s with my family all gathered together.

What I treasure the most now is not the presents, but the experiences I had. Spending time with grandma, grandad and my great aunt. I miss them dearly, particularly my grandad (from my dads side), he always had a smile, he always brought cheer and he always found the time for everyone. A more happier, loving and caring man you could not meet. My grandma for making sure everyone was all fed, or in her case over fed. My great aunt for sitting in the rocking chair, sipping her sherry and showing that despite all the knocks you can have in life, that you should celebrate life however you can, even if it’s just in a small way. Of course my mum, dad and brothers, step dad and step mum are thought of dearly. The excitement, the passing of stories, the cheer and the valuable time we have spent together. I will be thinking of them so very much when I am down here in London this year. Looking forward to seeing you all in January!

So what I want to say, before going on to tell you about the month for me, is: Enjoy. Celebrate. Treasure. The time spent with your family, loved ones and friends can never be wasted. Give thanks for everything you have. Yes there will always be people richer than you, but remember there are people and families worse off than you. It’s not about bankrupting yourself on presents. Christmas is a time about people, and remember the greatest gift you can give is you – the value on that is priceless!

December – The Month that was!

December has involved spending time with dear friends, those dear to my heart and having a ball. It has been a time I have found in which I have reflected, as I often do this time of year, and I can’t help feeling that there is something more I can do, more that I could have done, and more that I should have done. Have you found yourself thinking the same? Well, I have completely side tracked, so back on point.

The last weekend in November (yes I know, not December, but its my blog, my rules!), I met up with two very dear friends of mine: Steve and Caroline. They have seen me through the highs and low points in my life, have always proffered an open ear to my trials and tribulations, been non judgemental and given me sound advice. Having coffee with them at Cafe Nero was like the good old Uni days (boy I’m sounding like an old fart!). We all commented on how far we have come since those days, and yes, noticed the different avenues some of us have taken (mainly me).

It was great catching up, we seemed to hobble from one coffee shop to another, experiencing the delightful Yum Cha Tea House just of Wardour Street, heading towards Oxford Circus, before entering the National Geographic Store. Afterwards, I showed them this lovely coffee and cake shop, whose desserts are to die for and the coffee is always warm, inviting and reinvigorating, which is situated on Regent Street in an Edwardian/Victorian arcade. I love such quaint places.

We walked around London, popping into a few shops, with a bit of friendly banter between Steve and myself about an audio recorder he ‘needed’, and it had to be cassette tape. I tried persuading him to see the light of the 21st century, but he had none of it. Steve is the loveliest eccentric (I mean that in a very positive way) who believes very much in mechanical products, and me living in the digital age, preferring an iPod or Blackberry to a pen and paper, or Walkman (cassette version) in Steve’s case! So we had a great laugh, and I was amazed at how delighted he was with his purchase, despite me thinking it completely over priced. The simple pleasure hey?!?!

The first  Monday in December (yes, I’m talking about the correct month now), I had a lovely meal in Holborn at a Japanese Restaurant called Sushi Hiroba. Now in the past I have had my miss givings about Sushi, as two great uni friends I had back in Liverpool will vouch for, following a rather embarrassing incident involving a sprint to the bathroom at Sapporo Teppanyaki. I was more open minded this time, and loved every minute. I can highly recommend the salmon and tuna and definitely will be heading back there sometime soon. Apart from the sushi, we had (cooked) eel. Now I personally wouldn’t order eel, out of choice nor want. Yet I was pleasantly surprised (lesson learnt – don’t judge something because of its name or appearance!) It was delicious, not slimmey, like I would imagine it to feel like, but it was tender and succulent. Dessert was amusing as, we had both ordered one each and decide to share, so many thought the green tea ice cream and Japanese filled pancake was a set dessert. Glad to see the ability to set a new trend! Making extra money for the restaurant… I will be wanting commission!

I have had two very delicious meals cooked for me, by a person who is very dear to me. Such an amazing cook. Never tasted fish so good, and was good talking about so many different topics.

The Friday before Christmas Eve, was another work do evening out at The Crown in Southwark. A cosy bar, about 5 mins walk from the tube station. I walked with one of my work colleagues, and the ground was icy. Me wearing shoes with no grip and my colleague with her stilettos, its a wonder how we got there unscathed! Turned out to be an evening of great joys and laughs, with my boss trying to find out who had the best music on their ipods to play on the sound system.

Saturday was a day of snow. Started off lightly at first and then it dumped a huge load, one minute you could see tarmac, the next completely white. It was like Harry Potter had come along and cast a spell, kabummmmb SNOW! So a lazy day in doors for me, catching up on emails, watching trash tv and reading the newspaper, that and several thousand cups of tea… It was bliss.

That Sunday, I met up with my dear friend, Matt (www.mattunplugged.com). Haven’t seen him in ages. Looking super cool as ever we caught up over coffee at Bar 38, West India Quay before going to the cinema to watch Tron Legacy 3D (check out film review area). Loving Matt’s Hunter wellies (note to self – must buy some if this horrid Antarctic weather continues). He showed me his Blackberry Torch – my heart literally skipped a few beats, its amazing, I so can’t wait to get one of them… (Long wait until contract due up!)

Monday just before Christmas, well day started great (NOT!). Central Line was screwed, 715am and a defective train meant no service for 20 mins between Leytonstone and Liverpool Street. What is it with a little dusting of snow and our transport system grinds to a halt?  Day seemed to pick up, until a 20 min journey from office to home took me nearly 1 1/2 hours due to suspension on Jubilee line, for all things a fire incident on a tube train! Ohh the joys. Least can say it wasn’t a dull day!

Christmas was lovely. Spent it with a dear friend and decided to be different and cook roast beef. It was deeeeeelish! Played on the Nintendo Wii and opened presents.  Monday was sale shopping, wondering around Selfridges and that.  Rest of the week was back to work, in the lead up to New Year’s Eve (and you will have to wait until January’s entry).

Well that’s it for now, not long till January’s entry!  Have a great month ahead.


NOVEMBER 2010

This has truly been a very special month for me.  A month in which I have spent time with those important to me and had many great experiences.  It has also been one in which I have done a great deal of reflection on my life, where I am and what I would like to achieve for the future.

The beginning of the month, I took part in a quiz with a number of my work colleagues, at a bar near Moorgate.  The quiz touched upon many different areas, from general knowledge, to film and music along with more specialist areas.  Half way through, we were the leading team, but came third overall at the end of the evening.  It’s not the winning that is important, it the taking part.  We all had a great laugh.  One shocking thing for the whole night however, was the disastrous wine we were provided with and the price at which it was for a bottle – the cheapest being £20.  The steak sandwich left something to be desired on the palate also – £9.95 for the toughest, fattiest and chewy steak going, about one lettuce leaf, no sauce and not chips.  In other words – a rip off!

Mid November, I had the worst Saturday ever of my life.  I had decided to go to them gym, have coffee and then possibly go and watch a film at the cinema – all of which sounds like a great plan.  So off I headed to the gym.  Did my work out and headed to the get de-clothed and shower.  After securely placing my valuables in my locker, (wallet, Blackberry etc), locking it securely, I headed to the shower rooms.  When I came back, I found my locker open, the lock completely removed and the contents inside in disarray.  I couldn’t believe my eyes, My Blackberry Bold 9700 (worth nearly £400) gone, all the cash in my wallet taken and my bag all sifted through.  Shock was the first thing, then came anger and then disbelief.  Having changed, gone to the gym reception and reported it, I was treated as if I were the one in the wrong!  Treated as if, I hadn’t locked it and that it was all my fault.  Well I think the number of other thefts in the same period, negated that.  It was only when another gentleman came reporting the same thing that “ooopps, that’s awful” was displayed and assistance to help given properly.  Needless to say, my plans for the rest of the day were cancelled as I had to address the issues surrounding the theft.

The following weekend, one of my elder brothers came to visit me in London.  I had been looking forward to seeing him all week, and I didn’t have a disappointing weekend.  It was lovely.  Friday night we headed to near my work place, so I could show him around my office before heading to the local pub, having dinner and a few drinks.  My boss and another colleague came along to (which hadn’t been pre-arranged as I had lost everyone’s numbers the previous week with the stolen phone).  Later in the evening, we headed to Canary Wharf, so I could show him one of the financial hubs at night.

On the Saturday we headed back to Canary Wharf, this time being less foggy and misty, (unlike the night before).  We had breakfast out, before walking around and taking more photos.  Afterwards we headed to the pier to get the Thames Clipper to Embankment, so that I could show him the sights along the Thames, which cannot be seen in any other way.  The day involved a lot of walking around, Southbank, House of Parliament, Downing Street, St James’s, Green and Hyde Parks, Regent Street, Leciester Square, Covent Garden, St Pauls and Bank before returning home early/mid evening, as we had a birthday party to attend.

Sunday, we had breakfast out again before he headed back north, ready for work Monday morning.  I have never spoken to my brother so much, in such a short period of time.  I will truly treasure it.

I’ve had dinner out, spent time with a very dear one to me and overall enjoying my time in the evenings after work.  One thing I have learnt from the past is that life is too short to put it on hold, and that you should grasp life with both hands and pursue it.  I don’t want to live with regrets.

Well the last Friday in November has been a sad one for me.  One of my work colleagues going on a career break for a while.  The office will not be the same without him, and greatly look forward to his return in the near future.  It was also the leaving drinks for several other colleagues of mine that will be surely missed.  We headed to a wine bar, close to our former offices, and enjoyed several glasses of wine and letting the night drift away.