Caffeine connections

September turned out to be a packed month and given we are mid-October already, you may all rest-assured that I have plenty to post about over the coming weeks. It’s been a run of reminiscing as I have bounced around between regular catch ups and lots of old friends that I have not seen for absolutely ages.

The month started with a work alumni event. I posted earlier in the year about the changes at work and this has meant that many people who worked in the same office as I do have left. In an effort to maintain connections, one of the leavers set up an Alumni Group on LinkedIn and so on the first of the month, on a rather warm and pleasant evening, sixteen of us gathered on board the Tattershall Castle for a tipple or two. Some of us are still working out our notice, some were on the verge of beginning new jobs while others were revelling in the time and space they’d had to do nothing but enjoy their Summer. It was great to see everyone and at the same time, observe life moving on…and at quite a rapid clip!

The following week I caught up with an old boss of mine from almost eight years ago. We could not believe it had been so long and we spent a couple of hours reminiscing about our ‘battles’ in the travel industry and what we’d each achieved ‘back then’ as well as the people we’d worked alongside and continue to stay in touch with. This was also a fantastic reminder of the kind of work I did at this company, the kind that I love to do, and it was such a timely and valuable prompt for me to stay ‘true to my course‘ in navigating the uncertain times ahead.

The next week, I managed to get a gig for breakfast at the fabulous Shoreditch House. This particular friend of mine started out as an agency contact which then segued into a few social, theatre-type outings every few months and we’ve since decided that this hanging out together from time to time is a pretty good idea. She’s great company – one of those well-connected yet down-to-earth types with loads of stories and chat – and works right on Shoreditch High Street. So on a clear Thursday morning, I skedaddled in from the hustle and bustle of the main street and up to the 6th floor to enjoy some poached eggs and avocado on toast with a view over East London on one side and people having a leisurely morning dip in the House’s rooftop pool on the other. (I mean seriously, don’t these people have jobs to go to?)

Towards the end of the month, an Australian friend I hadn’t seen for over six years was in London so I booked us into Ceviche, one of my favourite restaurants. It’s in Soho and while it is on the hubbub of Frith Street, it is so unassuming it’s easy to miss as you weave along the narrow footpath. We spent four and a half hours nattering over cocktails and delicious Peruvian tapas plates before launching into a decadent chocolate dessert…each. (No way were we sharing that!)  It was great to see her well and happy with her life back in Oz.

And then I ended the month by flying to Lisbon (the one in Portugal) to spend a week with Lil Chicky – the ultimate catch up! We were there for six days so I have plenty of fodder for a few posts which will seriously whet your appetite and make your feet itch!

In between all of this, there was a little reflection on trust, a return to yoga and the I-almost-missed-the-whole-of-2016 discovery of the wonderful Prudential Series at The China Exchange. I also consumed an inordinate amount of coffee across my regular catch ups and many other connections keen to chat about my what’s next.

coffee-l

And what’s next on Gidday from the UK I hear you ask?

Well peeps, keep your eyes peeled for a few glimpses of what Chicky Tours Unlimited got up to in Lisbon. It’s coming soon…

Sour grapes

It’s the 1st of February. Where did January go for heavens sake? It’s only just begun and the year is already whizzing by.

As promised, with the heralding of the new month comes the next instalment of the 2014 Calendar Challenge and February’s funny finds inspiration in the language of our childhood…

Image Source: Simon Drew’s Famous Phrases Calendar 2014

Now come on admit it. Your pre-school world was full of moo-cows and baa-lambs wasn’t it…

Anyway the sketch of these woolly warmers gassing over a vino or two reminds me that today is National Pisco Sour Day.

I know. Who knew?

Pisco is a powerful grape brandy created by both the Peruvians and the Chileans and forms the basis of the potent Pisco Sour cocktail. Each nation has a slightly different recipe but Peru pay homage to their national tipple on the first Saturday in February – today. And if you are in London, the kind folk at Londonist have published a list where you can sample the best/most authentic manifestations of this South American delight – just click here. If not, you’ll have to google your own list.

I first discovered the joys of pisco during a girls night out at the then newly opened Ceviche Peruvian Bar and Kitchen in London about 18 months ago but rather than sour grapes, it was passion that I found at the bar. Or rather Pasion de Ceviche: A delicious blend of ginger-infused pisco, passionfruit juice, prickly pear liqueur and honey that was so smooth and delicious I had four that night, firstly transferring from an early allegiance to Toro Mata (a cocktail combo of coffee, pisco and sugar syrup) and then duly convincing my three cocktail-ing compatriots to join me.

Unsurprisingly sour grapes were in short supply at our table that night.

Note to self: Must go back. Soon.

In other alcoholic news, just yesterday Lil Chicky posted this on Facebook…

It’s chocolate port…in a glass shoe-boot.

*Excited squealing*

What’s a girl to do? It’s just leading this ‘sweet’ Aussie lamb to alcoholic slaughter.

Baaa-mmer hey…

 

Going global

Here we are at the last bank holiday in the UK before Christmas and I am ensconced at Gidday HQ catching up on a whole lot of the must dos after a few days of fun to-dos (and not a small amount of alcohol). The washing machine is whirring in the background, the ironing pile is lurking within eye-shot – which I must address one way or the other (i.e. iron or put away in the cupboard) – the UKHot40 is playing on the telly and my water bottle is within reach.

So let’s start with Saturday: a day of short sunny bursts and bouts of torrential rain under a largely grey sky. And an evening of cocktails and mighty fine cuisine as four work friends painted the heart of London’s Soho multicultural – at a Peruvian restaurant. This is what happens when a Turk, a German, a Frenchwoman and an Aussie, all obsessed with food, get their heads together for a girl’s night out.

After a flurry of emails late on Saturday afternoon, a plan was hatched and a few hours later, four happy expat ladies were sitting at the bar in Ceviche, watching the intermittent drizzle against the window with cocktails in hand. Ceviche is new to the London restaurant scene, having only opened in February this year, and has had some terrific reviews (including one by yours truly over on Weekend Notes after our super Saturday soiree). I won’t repeat here what you’ll find elsewhere – suffice to say we left four very happy ladies. And it wasn’t just the cocktails.

Sunday morning dawned and after a kick-start of croissants, coffee and copious amounts of water – how is it that so much drinking can be so dehydrating – I was off again, this time to the Edinboro’ Castle in Camden for a farewell do.

You see, in just under two weeks time, A-used-to-be-down-the-hill will become Seattle-A. Yes, she and hubster are moving state-side to the land of the free, the home of the brave and city of highest rate of sunglasses purchases per capita in the US. They’ve bought a fabulous new pad, booked the movers and are starting their own round robin of goodbyes to old London town.

And yesterday, under the canopy of trees in the sun-dappled beer garden at the Edinboro’ Castle, was a gathering of their wonderful circle of friends. Almost ten hours of repartee and reminiscing, of howls of laughter and a little just-between-friends political incorrectness, of re-connecting and fond farewells, to wish them well in this next exciting chapter…and to book our respective berths at Palazzo Seattle.

So this weekend has been a poignant reminder of the power of my expat friendships, both old and new, and the importance of trusting my instincts in reaching out amongst the myriad of connections I make each day, week, month, year.

Saturday night heralded the start of a ‘four girls from four nations’ friendship.

And while my own personal farewell with A is still to come, Sunday was a celebration of a friendship that began just two weeks into my expat journey. That’s more than eight years of life in the UK together. Opening the pages of this next chapter in our friendship has me feeling a little sad, but excited about the possibilities that will follow for both of us.

You see we, my friends, are going global.