Alice Visits a Palace

Yesterday I got up really very early 😠 for a Saturday morning and took myself off to to Alexandra Palace 🏤.  I have been there once before and I can tell you it is VERY FAR from Wandsworth.  I walked 🚶, got a train 🚂, got the tube 🚅 and then a bus 🚌 and finally made it.  However my journey wasn't over - some very suspicious security people 😎😎 finally let me into the Palace 🏤 (I'm an exhibitor, I promise 😇) and trekked to the other side of the Great Hall 🚶🚶, to discover my Mother 🙎standing on a table amongst a number of canvases 🎨 and a lovely vase of daffodils, witch hazel and camellias 🌼🌾🌺.  There was a reason for the table standing - she was setting up for a day of tourism trade excitement, as High Beeches Gardens was exhibiting at Excursions Exhibition 2016.The exhibition interestingly shows all sorts of attractions based in the south east - so big names such as the Tate Galleries 🎨 and Royal Collection were there, along with small independent people like us, and even some magicians (although I am still confused by their presence).  It's a odd mix of exhibitors - landed gentry (who have an 'attraction' on their estate) pottering about it tweed jackets, the rather aloof RHS organisers wandering about in zipped up fleeces, the travel company owners in crumpled shirts and ties, and the odd Roman soldier...Anyway we were sharing the stand with Bolney Wine Estate 🍷🌳 for the day, and we had a lovely time on stand SE23, with only a few small confusions  'so you are a vineyard and a garden...'  No - for the record - High Beeches is just a garden, Bolney are just a vineyard - but we are 15 minutes down the road from each other, so please do come and visit both in one day, you can have lunch at either.I have spent a number of days on stands at trade fairs before - mainly at Kensington Olympia with Gabs handbags  👜and Elia B shoes 👠 and once in Milan.  Milan was one of the most amazing and overwhelming experiences ever - there was many, many halls the size of Kensington Olympia next to each other and just filled with shoes👠.  So many shoes 👠👠👠.  It was truly wonderful.  David who I worked with at these fairs is an absolute stickler for 'stand etiquette' - the stand must be tidy at all times, no sitting down, and always a keen eye 😳 for any passing potential handbag 👜👜buyers.  I think I did you justice David, I did keep the stand tidy (removing the endless empty tea cups) and I did accost a number of potential garden visitors, although they are certainly a very different sort....The visitors to the fair appeared to be fairly officious retired older ladies 👵 (members of U3A are the most terrifying, the WI are kinder), flogging tours to other older ladies 👵 who need entertainment.  'Ohhh we do love your garden 🌳but it's a bit too hilly 🗻 for our ladies', 'What a lovely garden, can we fit you in with another attraction as a nice day out' (Yes we've already told you Bolney Vineyard 🍷 is down the road...) 'Oh we do love coming to you, such a good cream tea ☕️🍰'.Anyway is was a super day, I met an owl called Twiglet 🐦 (he was quite sleepy), had a delicious Bombay Sapphire gin cocktail with the Mad Hatter 🎩and Harry Potter 🔮(apparently they do tours of Oxford), and learnt quite a lot about wine 🍷 from the lovely Charlotte of Bolney Vineyard.  If you grow the grapes in England - it has to be called English wine not British wine.   British wine is when they buy the grapes from another country but make it in England.  AND very kindly Goodnestone Park gave us a little pot of their honey to take home 🐝☺️Today:Today I went cycling 🚴in Richmond Park 🌳which was great - I haven't done that much proper exercise for quite sometime, and my fellow cyclist certainly put me through my paces.  I dug out my Sweaty Betty trackie bums and looked sort of athletic (the glittery Bimba and Lola trainers were maybe a little overkill - but there is something very satisfying about overtaking lycra clad cyclists whilst wearing glitter) It was a wonderful day out and we sat in the park and had a coffee ☕️ and then cycled up 'just a small hill' - it was really very steep 🗻 and I may not be able to walk tomorrow.  But it really was a super nice day.This evening I have been editing some copy of a website 💻which has yet to be launched, which I have enjoyed immensely ☺️.  I spend rather a lot of time 'thesaurusing' words and it makes me realise I need to read more 📕.  Lots more📕📘.  I think I need to set myself a reading goal - so will report back when that is in place.Tomorrow we are having a Burns 🔥 dinner, which is super - and I am very excited 😊😊.  We have given all the guests one verse of the 'Address to the Haggis' to learnt off by heart to be recited tomorrow evening - you better all be practicing your best Scottish accents!! 😉Alice xxxIMG_1655IMG_1669IMG_1672IMG_1679IMG_1740IMG_1728IMG_1720IMG_1712IMG_1759IMG_1743IMG_1768IMG_1804IMG_1780IMG_1779 

Week 3

So far lots of exciting things have happened this week 🎉😊!  I went to work 💻 on Monday - hurrah!  This was good, I was helping to set up for a sample sale 👗👚👠👙, and it was great to get out of  🚴 the house 🏠 and be useful and catch up with some people 😃.I had lunch at Coffee Affair ☕️ in Queenstown Road 👸 station 🚂 which is splendid.  I really quite like this little coffee shop ☕️🏪, and the couple who run it are so lovely.  I hadn't been in almost a year, and was so pleased that they are very much still there.  They sell all sorts of things, sandwiches 🍔, cakes 🎂 and soup 🍵and most importantly coffee ☕️.  They are very good 😊 at coffee - They even do coffee classes ☕️🎓!I had some delicious Italian meatball soup 🍝 and a flat white to take away ☕️.Today I took a trip to Wimbledon 🎾 which is not so far away - and took a cycle path 🚴 that was very rural 🌳🌿🍃.  Max is convinced Wandsworth is the countryside 🌳 (he took a photo of a duck 🐥 on the common the other day...) but, I have to say - the cycle 🚴 to Wimbledon 🎾 really did make me feel like I was in the countryside 🍃🌿 - Citymapper 📉 took me through a thoroughly un-city route.  It was a beautiful day ☀️ - but I made the mistake again of inappropriate footwear 👠... they are so beautiful 💕 though - some lovely gold loafers...  (I was in Wimbledon for an interview which was very exciting!)I met Chesca back in Wandsworth and we headed to Flotsam and Jetsam 🚣 again (you can have breakfast 🍨until 3pm in the afternoon - I can't get enough of the place!).  I ate eggs florentine 🍳🌿 and she had blueberry 🍇 and lemon 🍋cake 🍰 - it was very good.There has been a demand for more baking 🙇🎂 - so this afternoon I made chocolate biscuit 🍫🍰 cake with cherries and white chocolate chunks - I have never seen Tom so happy when he discovered this (apart from maybe when Arsenal ⚽️ are winning, but even then you know, I'm not sure - the happiness was really quite Great 😃 - in the large sense, not the 'thumbs up' sense, this is important).  I used this recipe but added white chocolate and removed the nuts.  I have even offered to cook dinner 🍝this evening - I am not sure quite what is happening - we are having this......Alice xxxIMG_1492IMG_1489IMG_1490IMG_1519IMG_1497IMG_1502IMG_1511IMG_1512IMG_1515   

Day 1 of Week 2

So yesterday I was set a challenge - a friend needed some letters 💌 delivering for work, and as they were all going to a similar area it seemed silly to post them.  As I apparently have oodles of time, I offered to play Postman Pat and deliver them by hand on my bicycle 🚴.There were 14 in total, so I put the letters in my basket, and having planned my route, pootled off.  It was a fun exercise in modern orienteering 📉🚵  - I plotted my route on Map Quest, screenshot it, then used google maps as a reference on my phone 📞 when I got stuck.  There is probably a far more efficient way of doing this, but I quite enjoyed stopping and checking my 'map' 📉📞.  It took me two hours and I only lost my bearings once, and found some really quite magnificent houses 🏰.  It was good to get out in the fresh air, and take some exercise - exercise is definitely good.IMG_0946IMG_0947IMG_0995Something that has been a little trying over the last week is the hot water situation in the house.  It is on a timer ⏳, and therefore comes on twice a day at normal hours (i.e. in the morning before work and in the evening after work).  I came unstuck last week when I REALLY wanted a hot bath 🛀 after cycling 🚴 into central London and back, and I got into a very luke warm bath.  It was truly horrid.  I could of course change the hot water settings 📲, however I don't think I should be doing that (it is good to keep a normal working day mentality), I don't actually know how to (I need a lesson Tom) and I'm not sure I would be allowed to.. 😉😁I do love having a bath 🛀 though, so I waited until 6.30pm ⏰ yesterday evening and had such a nice hot 🔥 bath.  Baths are truly great, and bathtime is something of a ritual.  I do enjoy a nice scented candle 🎆, and bubble bath, but I don't tend to wallow for long, I can't read in the bath (I always drop things) and I not a fan of the lengthy bath prune look.  I do sometimes paint my nails 💅, - yesterday was Max Factor Diva Coral - and listen to a story tape (podcast) 🎶, often 'No Such Thing As A Fish' - maybe the best podcast / listening material, ever 😊.  All of my housemates 🛀🛀🛀🛀 are bath people - which is great (we have two baths 🛁🛁 in the house which is ideal) - I don't quite trust people who don't enjoy baths.  I KNOW this is controversial - all that stuff about wallowing in your own dirt etc etc.  But it's just so nice to immerse yourself in all that hot water, it's the best way to relax.  I'm going to stop freaking you all out with my love of baths now... but just a quick fun photo of my current bath products:IMG_0952Ortigia Geranium bath salts : because someone gave me some Ortigia hand soap last year, and I have developed a real love 💗 for this brand, as it smells amazing and the packaging is glorious.  I particularly like the geranium products, and treated myself to some bath salts for Christmas.  Also the people in the Sloane Square shop are really lovely.Nutrogena Pink Grapefruit face wash: my housemate got me into this, I like the smell , it's leaves a nice clean feel (well done face wash) and it's pink 💓.Avalon Organics Lemon bath and shower gel:  This is nice and lemony 🍋, I love the smell, and makes me feel sort of good about myself - no parabens (I think), recyclable, good for the environment.Badedas bubble bath:  A classic, it creates proper bubbles and lasts forever.Lavender Room, Blackcurrent and Tomato candle: this smells similar to the Jo Malone Blackberry and Bay scent, but possibly even better,  😊🎆🍎 and for a quarter of the price (Sorry Jo, I do also love your things A LOT 😍.)IMG_0999IMG_0987