I’ve just been reading Elaine’s blog on business travel and it got me thinking…. Unlike Elaine, I do spend quite a bit of time travelling around – lots of London meetings means frequent flying in my case… but just like Elaine, I don’t ‘work’ en-route… Instead I escape into a world of Conde Nast ‘Traveller’, ‘Grazia’ or my latest ‘self-help’ book (I’m addicted… a strong passion to constantly improve myself renders me completely willing to buy the first book that Amazon recommends promising that I can create the life I truly want…).
I LOVE my trips to London. I find the city so glamorous these days. I lived in the big smoke for seven years, and loved it then, too, but for totally different reasons. This was at a time when I assumed that cuppa soups, veggie sausage toasties smothered in tomato ketchup, and silk cult accompanied by white wine was a reasonable diet. This was long before the realisation set in that healthy eating equalled healthy being.
London for me then, was all about working hard, partying hard and living in near squalor (one house-share saw me cohabiting with drug addicts, cats and where my bedroom was quite literally an extension of Queenstown Road platform 2… those city workers and the regular beep, beep beeping of the train-doors closing were familiar and somehow reassuring sights and sounds to me). Not to mention my always complicated love-life. Sadly, by the time I left London, I had grown to hate it – all the things that had made it special for me became nuisances and I was glad to go.
But recently I’ve been introduced to a whole new wonderful world – restaurants, hotels and shops that I didn’t realise existed back then. Steph and I ended up on Charlotte Street the other evening and ended up eating in a quirky Turkish restaurant which served fantastic vegetarian food. Later that week I read (in Grazia, of course) that Brad and Angelina had frequented the very same restaurant only that week! We didn’t even realise we were in a fashionable part of town.
And Carloline Pile (who runs Piledrivers with her sister Sue and who helps us build the Kiss Chase brand) took us to Sketch on Conduit Street – just a visit to their website is a gripping experience, let alone the real thing. I don’t want to say anything apart from you MUST go there the next time you’re in London. It’s surreal. Particularly when you venture to the loo…
But I have found my idea of pure heaven… VitaOrganic – a raw food, vegan restaurant on Wardour Street. Not everyone’s idea of a jolly night out (no alcohol served on the premises, but you can bring your own). The food is divine; not only is it all organic, full of nutrition and fresh, it’s also cooked at a low temperature so that it doesn’t ‘kill’ nature’s vitality… Perfect!
I’ve also found a set of business women in London, in the form of a rather selective business club, who are completely on my wave-length. I’ve joined Sister Snog – I cannot recommend it highly enough. All the women I’ve met so far at the lunches I’ve attended are smart, warm, successful, witty and honest. Run by Annie Brooks and Hela Wozniak-Kay, aka Violet and Lilac, (who at times are quite nutty, but lovely and extremely passionate about connecting people and ‘keeping it real’) it has enabled me to create a network of really valuable London contacts.
But more than that, I’m making new friends, and it feels great. I read recently (yes, in a self-help book) ‘where ever you are, there you are’ and I realised that what you feel inside is what is reflected on the outside. So now, London has come back to life for me again and the love I had for it has returned, just in a different form.