This time last year, I did a little round-up of 2012 which I’d entirely forgotten about until about 20 minutes ago. It was interesting to re-read it a year down the line, so I’ve decided to do one for 2013, purely for selfish reasons. A little diary if you will.
January was dominated by mice, specifically my insane fear of mice and multiple visits by the mouse exterminator dude. It actually took many months before I stopped being completely on edge every time I heard a tiny, unexplained noise. The fact that Ralphie and I are still friends after she traumatised me so badly by bringing that tiny, live mouse to me at the end of December 2012, is no small miracle. To distract myself from the mice, I had a few fabulous meals out, most notably at Medlar, Zoilo (which I really love) and Bonedaddies.
February was relatively quiet. I learned how to crochet, promptly forgot how to crochet and went to Silk Road in Camberwell twice. I also threw a Pancake Day party (which MUST be repeated) and went to John Salt when the kitchen was still being run by Neil Rankin, and had one of my favourite dishes of the year – green chilli poussin – which he kindly told me how to make.
Where February was only a little quiet, March was positively sleepy. I took my friend Shed to see the Royal Ballet’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland at the Royal Opera House which was just incredible. I also took my first of 3 trips up to Yorkshire to see my parents and have a bit of much needed down-time.
In April, I had one of my very favourite meals of the year at The Clove Club. If you haven’t been yet, GO. Go fast. Shed and I indulged in a little more culture, this time it was Old Times at the Harold Pinter Theatre. The play was weird. We emerged into daylight feeling totally confused and headed over to Duck & Waffle in order to make sense of the world. We ate far, FAR more than was strictly necessary (thanks Dan) and rolled home stuffed to the gills. Also in April, Jordi and I brunched at Balthazar before seeing La Bayadere at the Royal Opera House (SO MUCH CULTURE). We then headed over to Shed’s for this pig. It was DELICIOUS.
Hold the phone – April isn’t over yet. MORE ballet, this time with my friend Andrew and my favourite ever ballet – Mayerling. It was good, but I’d booked to see Johan Kobborg dance Crown Prince Rudolf and the git was injured. So selfish. I also ate twice at Polpo and had my first visit to FM Mangal in Camberwell. Finally, I saw a hypnotherapist to see if he could fix my weight problem. He couldn’t. Judging by this recap, it’s not that surprising.
My mum came to visit at the beginning of May. We went to Brockley Market, had dim sum at Hong Kong City in New Cross and I took her to The Clove Club which was almost as good the second time around. I also went to Beagle in Hoxton which I really didn’t love. I think I ordered badly as everyone else seemed to like it. I also visited Honey & Co with my friend Janie and had a pudding-gasm from their cheesecake. Seriously, LOOK AT IT:
May also saw my friend Jassy opening the cafe at Stepney City Farm and I volunteered to help out on the first day which was actually a lot of fun. We celebrated that night at Bob Bob Ricard and, yes, we pushed the champagne button. 2013 saw Jassy and I start our own little cinema club and in May the film was The Look of Love. For some reason, when I booked it, I was under the impression that we were going to see some sort of romcom. I was rather surprised when, over our pre-cinema dinner at Elliot’s Cafe, Jassy informed me that I’d actually chosen a film about porn baron, Paul Raymond. It transpired that the film was BRILLIANT. The dinner, not so much, but it didn’t really matter. At the end of May, I was invited to a Save the Children/River Cafe charity dinner to raise awareness of The Big IF campaign. I wrote a little thing about it here.
In June, my stepdad came to visit. We went to The 10 Cases and spied Nigel Farage (*shudder*.) The following night was the first of my many trips to Tozi and another of my favourite things I’ve eaten this year – their buffalo ricotta ravioli with black truffle is on another level. I am reliably informed that @tehbus licked the plate clean when he visited. Can you blame him when they look like this??!
Being a massive knob, I couldn’t get over my Mayerling disappointment, so I went to see it again in May, this time to see Edward Watson as Rudolf. It was incredible. I cried.
And then we hit July. Holy crapola, a mixed month. It started really well. I went to Peckham Bazaar for the first time, more Tozi-ing, more Honey & Co-ing and had another trip up to York, this time for my birthday. Andrew took me to Quality Chop House, also for my birthday, and some other friends took me to the anniversary games at the Olympic Park which was just brilliant. The next day marked one of the best bits of 2013: I became a godmother to my friend’s two gorgeous girls. In July I was also contacted by a family friend who is a dietitian and we spoke several times. She turned my thinking about food on its head completely and I started to eat in a totally different way. It was nothing short of a revelation and I started to lose weight for the first time ever without actually dieting.
And while all that was happening, something bad was going on inside me which I was trying very hard to ignore. On the evening of my goddaughters’ baptism, I faced the fact that I had to do something about it and toddled off to A&E. Assuming that I was in for a long wait, I took my kindle with me and was a little surprised, not to mention scared, to find that there was to be no waiting around for me. Apparently chest pains = speedy service. Apparently chest pains + dodgy blood tests = you, lady, are being admitted. The possibility of this hadn’t occurred to me at all. Luckily, my mum had rushed down from York, arriving at Lewisham Hospital at 11pm. I nicked her nightie and ended up sitting on a ward for 5 days. It was horrible. And scary and emotional and upsetting and scary some more.
August and September sucked. Having been diagnosed with a deep vein thrombosis that led to pulmonary emboli, I spent most of it in and out of hospital having my blood checked. Actually, I’m STILL doing that, nearly 6 months later. I was told that I had to be very careful about what I ate because it can upset the medication I’m taking and I became totally paranoid about everything. I stopped drinking, freaked out every time I saw a green leafy vegetable and sank into a deep depression. I didn’t really see any of my friends at all, instead taking some time out from normal life to process everything that had happened. It was a really awful, dark period of my life.
And then October happened. I went home to York again. My sister and her children were visiting from Australia and I had some lovely family time with them. While in York, I was in hospital every single day because my blood just wouldn’t behave. This was nothing new in itself, but it made me come to the realisation that my blood was never going to behave so I decided to let go of all my neuroses around food and start living again. I started to drink again – in moderation – and stop fearing broccoli. I also made a decision which I’m pretty sure saved my sanity – to join the gym. It was a strange decision, given that I’m just about the laziest bastard that you’ll ever meet, plus the medication that I’m (still) on drains me of my life force, leaving me in a little crumpled heap of exhaustion, but I knew that I needed to make some drastic changes to my life. As shit as the DVT and PE have been, I’m actually one of the lucky ones. I was given a warning. Not everyone gets that. I was made to take a real reality check and I realised that I had to start living my life a bit better.
With that realisation, the depression slowly lifted and I re-entered society in late November. Hoorah! I went to see Chase & Status at the O2 and had dinner at Briciole with friends. The rest of the time I rested and swam, rested and swam.
And so to December. Work went crazy. I lost the plot again through exhaustion. I swam a bit, but not as much as I wanted to. I ate schnitzel at Boopshi’s and octopus and some incredible crispy lamb belly at Peckham Bazaar. My parents came to stay with me for Christmas and, after two days in two different A&Es (more chest pains which, luckily, aren’t caused by another PE) we celebrated with a brilliant meal at Alyn Williams at the Westbury. Hands down, best meal of the year and the man himself came out to say hello (I blushed – SUCH a fangirl. Thanks GC for a truly wonderful evening). We went to see Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake at Sadler’s Wells followed by another meal at Peckham Bazaar (it’s really good, OK?) Last night, I saw in the New Year with my parents, my sister and her partner and it was good.
I’m not sure how I feel about 2014. Last year I wrote this about 2013: “Ordinarily, I feel quite positive at New Year, feeling that the next year HAS to be better than the preceding year. This year, I’m limiting my expectations. I’m just going to hope that it isn’t any worse.” Well, IT WAS. Much worse. But that HAS to mean that 2014 is going to be my year, right??
My only resolution is one that I’ve never had before: to be healthy.