One of my oldest, closest (and most gorgeous) friends Emma is in London from LA over Christmas so this weekend was all about quality time together, catching up face to face (Skype can never compare but helps since she moved Stateside), Christmas shopping and of course partying in sparkly London town!
Em and I met at Goldsmiths’, University of London in 99 and instantly became firm friends, bonding over our dual identities and backgrounds (Em is part American, part Swedish, I, a British Greek and both ‘survivors’ of our ‘much hated’ strict, all girl, private education)… More-so, I found a real soul sister in Emma who is the sweetest most humble girl you will ever meet and we totally connected over our shared appreciation of literature, film, Cosmopolitans and cute guys (hehe!). She truly made Uni life the most fun imaginable!
…I have so many incredible memories of us partying in Piccadilly before returning to her Dad’s place when he was away, in his staggeringly beautiful apartment, above, set in historic mansion the Albany in Green Park (so many past and present important people have places there as you can see below), and it’s a wonderful heavenly retreat from the madness of Central London…all-luxurious bubble baths, roaring fires and four poster beds…it reminded me of home when at Uni, a world away from student life and dreary New Cross accommodation!
True friendship endures over time and distance and ours has simply got stronger over the years.
Meeting up in LA when my short film Broken screened at the LA Harbour International Film Festival a few years ago, Em showed my brother and I round Los Angeles from dinner at Chateau Marmont (ooh la la) to booking us in at The Standard, she made sure we experienced a super glam side to the city. I’m so proud of Emma who runs her own successful PR firm Blink Creative Group (a real mover and shaker in LA) doing great things, and in fact, thanks to her induction, one day I might just well please my husband and agree to moving there!
…So Friday was all about non stop catching up and laughter (Em’s LA attitude in London was hysterical (“Are you kidding me, it’s ACTUALLY raining for the 10 days I’m here, people cancel everything when it rains in LA”), eating (ALL DAY), firstly sashimi in Soho, so authentic, the waitress actually spoke to us in Japanese the whole time (we just agreed), before dolling up and posing ( a lot) for pictures pre partying-above and below)! before more stuffing of faces with brilliant rare burgers at a cocktail bar off Regent’s Street we OF COURSE can’t remember the name of)! Hic!
Em’s fab friend Susannah, a BBC journalist who divides her time between London and LA joined us for cocktails so I was firmly representing Leeds with those two luscious LA girls!
Then Em and I headed through Soho touring many a pretty fairy lit bar from Floriditas to Hix and The Yard!
Oh, what a night!
The following morning was all about shopping for final Christmas presents (Hamleys, Fortnum & Mason (not Christmas without a visit) and hello(!) Uniqlo for the cheapest cashmere jumpers you’ll find in this country-please open in Leeds)…. and of course more child-free, silly, laugh out loud fun!
Oh, and it was wonderful getting time with Em’s darling Mummy ( who treated us to a scrumptious Swedish breakfast at nearby The Nordic Bakery) and of course seeing Em’s lovely, super beautiful, witty sister Anna.
I was so flipping sad to eventually say goodbye…
Later that day, I met another great friend, Ruth with her adorable daughter Rosa-Maria (born 4 days after my first son, Oliver), one of my loveliest Mummy friends in the world, (not sure I would have coped without her in those early, heady months when the baby arrived) over a late full English brunch, yes a second breakfast if you like, consisting of Cumberland sausages and perfectly fried sunny eggs before a rainy meander around the Christmas market on the grey but always picturesque Southbank.
The man blowing huge bubbles was a real treat to watch!
Before I knew it, it was time to catch my train home, feeling all warm and Christmassy inside. And lucky. So lucky to have been able to leave the kids with my capable (super handsome-he’s reading this) husband and incredible Mum who held the forte so I could have some much needed me-time with my friends.
It’s so life-affirming (really) to reconnect with old friends as the old-slash-new me…and as much as I missed my monkeys, I enjoyed getting my identity back somewhat and being around friends who know me best. You know precious time with those uplifting, unconditional friendships you can’t live without, that never change how far away you are from one another day to day (or how many kids you have)!
So rejuvenating, so refreshing, I returned home having had real time to switch off, appreciating my little amazing family even more than before.
It was the best Christmas present I could have asked for.