1. Babysitting a dog
In a bid to solve the having-it-all dilemma of living in London and therefore never being able to a) buy a house and b) own a dog, we joined Borrowmydoggy.com, a site where, for a mere £8 a year, you can create a profile explaining why someone should lend you their dog. Hey presto, a few months later we got Max, a little Border terrier who lives about a five-minute walk away from us. Normally we take him for walks round Greenwich Park on Tuesdays, but a few weeks ago we got to have him for the WHOLE weekend. We took him to Hyde Park, but he wasn't a big fan of the tube, so the next day we just stayed local and took him exploring round Greenwich. He's very cute, especially when he's tired and falls asleep on the couch.
My mum still can't get her head round the fact that we are "paying to walk a dog" (I also doubt that she'd allow the couch-sleeping).
2. Appreciating our free time, and where we live
I know I have not stopped talking about my epic 15-dayer at work, but honestly, it was brutal. I volunteered for it because we were a bit short of people, and thankfully I got the time back this week, but I really felt like all I did was work, eat and sleep for two weeks. It had a really good impact on how I plan my free time though. We have already been avoiding going out for food (it's too much hassle on Whole30) and although whole foods are more expensive, we are still spending less in total, which means I have more disposable income for fun stuff.
(As an aside - restaurants in London where you can get Whole30 compliant food):
- Cafe Libanais - the chicken shish with salad (but don't eat the sauce)
- Bill's - steak with chilli sesame brocolli
- Waitrose Canary Wharf steak and oyster bar
- Pret - avocado and crayfish salad (no dressing)
- And some on-the-go snacks for when you are about to cave in and have chocolate: Urban Fruit's dried strawberries (like gummy sweets, mmm), Nakd bars (especially the cocoa mint one), coconut butter melts from here, Los Berones or Bath Pig chorizo from Waitrose, and a fruit/veg juice mix if you're really desperate.
Since I was already taking time to plan meals, I started planning in when I was working, when I could make it to the gym, and what I could do for fun - it's only Saturday and I already feel like I've had an incredibly productive and fulfilling week. I started a pottery and ceramics class at Camden Working Men's College and so far it's great. It's like going to school again but only doing art - being an adult is good like that. I have made Max a water dish so far (still to be slipped, fired and glazed) and I tried to make a vase but it didn't really work. I just need to master the potter's wheel now so I can make a proper one!
It's easy to forget to appreciate where you live, and we both love Greenwich, so we decided to take some pictures for the ole' blog to share how nice it is on a sunny day. I love how the Cutty Sark is just sitting on a pavement near M&S. It's one of the things that gives Greenwich its peculiar character. That and the MASSIVE Old Royal Naval College, star of many a film.
3. Running (and handstand yoga-ing, and stand-up paddleboarding)
We haven't been running a huge amount recently, mainly because I joined a gym and have less time, but we need to keep at it because every time we go the riverside changes and we need to keep up with it! It's usually pretty quiet down there too, so it's a great place to think (we saw a man dancing when we went running on Monday, so evidently he thought it was a nice quiet place too).
To mix things up a bit, I went to a handstand yoga class with my friend Suze at this yoga studio. They have a great deal of unlimited yoga for 10 days for £25, which I would totally do if I lived or worked nearby. We both got into handstands in the end, but it will take me a lot of practice to ever be as good as the teacher. I googled her and it turns out she also teaches Sadie Frost - who knew! I also found this, which gave me another good idea - flying trapeze, you will be our next just-for-fun exercise class.
Today's weird exercise was stand up paddleboarding. We had a two-hour lesson at Royal Victoria Dock with these guys, neither of us fell in and we are now allowed to just rent paddleboards whenever we feel like it. Great eh? They also do SUP yoga, which I can imagine from today is even better for your balance than normal yoga. James also volunteered us to try wakeboarding with them soon. I can't wait :-I
The dock was fun to explore, with a big old mill that is a favourite of urban explorers. It has a huge, 1984-style mural on the side (Britain's biggest, apparently) and it is also the place that the dream of London's Pleasure Gardens went to die (sad, I know - wonder who Newham council fired for that).
4. Reading more
I've been reading everything this week (thanks, time off!) - namely Vogue, Wolf Hall (still), various magazines and the Lonely Planet guide to New York (so much planning is underway it's ridiculous). James has been reading Gone Girl, and has finished a clean week in advance of its cinema release. Another thing I have had more time for because of Whole30? Culture. Feeding my stomach AND my brain here, guys. We are just back from the cinema, where we saw What We Did On Our Holiday - I cried my eyes out because I miss Scotland and Billy Connolly was in it and he is basically my dad's twin. I'm pretty sure I'll have to drag James away from London kicking and screaming but I'd love to go home.
Oh and look at that, it's nearly autumn in London and I swear it's getting colder this week, so I'm going to need more book recommendations please to read when I'm stuck inside this winter! I've exhausted Gillian Flynn sadly, and Wolf Hall is ok (the only trouble with history books being you KNOW what's going to happen - sorry Anny Boleyn, but you are for it) so I am looking at what is next - help!
5. Finishing Whole30
Finally, yesterday was the last day of Whole30! It was worth doing, and I feel great. No idea if/how much weight I've lost (we don't have scales, so I'll need to check at the gym) but my clothes are definitely looser and I feel fantastic. Now I get to reintroduce things one at a time now - I decided to do dairy first, because jeezo I've missed cheese (and chocolate). We went to Borough Market and Neal's Yard Cheese Shop after paddleboarding and got some Montgomery cheddar - I have definitely missed all the flavour cheese gives to meals, and will still be eating it even if it does make my skin a bit itchy. Just maybe less often than before. Peanuts next, in three days' time! The excitement (especially since in Whole Foods, you can grind your own peanut butter - thrilling!)
Next: updates on my ceramics class misadventures. And mum, you can look forward to a nice Christmas present, since you mocked me ;-)