Happiness is…. Part 1

If you’ve been reading my blog, I think it’s pretty clear what brings me happiness! I’ve decided to write a series of blog posts around a few of those things and I am starting with one of my favourite things to do…. Going out!

I am blessed to have the fantastic city of London virtually on my doorstep and whilst my friends and I have our favourite places that we visit time and again, I’ve actually tried a few new places recently and now have a list as long as my arm of places that I NEED to try!! A few of my favourites haunts are:

Mabel’s – Covent Garden
Previously known as Jewel Bar, Mabel’s was recently the venue for a friend’s boyfriend’s 30th birthday. It was a Friday night so Maiden Lane itself was buzzing, the bouncer opened the door to let us in and we were greeted by people laughing and singing along with the band that were making their way round the tables singing modern classics like ‘Sex Is On Fire’ and ‘Mr Brightside’. I loved it immediately.

We made our way downstairs to the reserved area which was more of a club feel, with a dance floor, a bar, booth areas and later, a DJ. The staff were all fabulous and I was suitably impressed when after just a couple of orders, I went to get another and the barman remembered my order.

I recently suggested Mabel’s as the location for a little Thursday night soiree with one of my oldest friends. We popped along for a spot of food (which is DELICIOUS) and cocktails. It was a Thursday evening mid-month so slightly more chilled than my previous visit. We sat in leather armchairs and sipped our drinks, putting the world to rights. It was like sitting in someone’s lounge… just with a few more people!

I can highly recommend a visit to Mabel’s and my cocktail of choice was the ‘Ginchello’ – Gin, limoncello, homemade redcurrant syrup, lychee juice and prosecco. Divine!

Oyster Shed – City of London
I love a bar with a view, usually from a rooftop terrace, but there’s no need for a rooftop at The Oyster Shed as it overlooks the Thames with views of The Shard, Tower Bridge and some of the other fab buildings along the river. The Oyster Shed is a fave of mine and the girls during the summer months with long evenings spent there, soaking up the evening sun.

The Oyster Shed is a firm favourite of mine because it’s decked out (excuse the pun) in a beach theme, even the toilet cubicles downstairs are beach huts!! Combined with the fact it overlooks the water, I automatically feel as though I am on holiday without a care in the world, forgetting that I am in the City!!

The menu has a good selection of seafood, but if you are not a fan of seafood, there are plenty of other options so don’t let that put you off!

This is one of my favourite places to visit throughout the summer months when the sunshine is putting a smile on everyone’s face.

On the Roof – Selfridges
I love Selfridges, and I love rooftop bars. When I heard Selfridges had a rooftop bar, well that was it, I HAD to visit. I first visited for lunch last summer when the rooftop was branded as ‘On the Roof with Q’, a grill restaurant that had recently opened in Camden. I have to say that I was slightly disappointed with the view as mostly you just see rooftops, however, it doesn’t take away from the experience at all. The astroturf and cute furniture made me feel as though I was at a BBQ in someone’s garden which I liked a lot.

I visited again just before Christmas. I was worn out and chilled to the bone from a day of Christmas Shopping and a visit to Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park so decided to rest my feet . To my delight, On The Roof had been re-themed to ‘Le Chalet’ with patio heaters, warming cocktails and wool blankets on each chair. I’ve never been skiing as I love the beach but Le Chalet was exactly how I imagine après ski to be!

I can’t wait to see what the theming will be this year, it’s somewhere I would definitely add to a list of date nights, particularly in the winter months.

21 – Covent Garden
On to my favourite bar. The bar overlooks the piazza in Covent Garden, and when most people head to the Punch and Judy for an al fresco drink with a view, I will head to 21, where I can sit on their balcony and watch all of those people crammed in to Punch and Judy.

I don’t know if I can put my finger on why 21 is my favourite. It’s quite small but it’s also unpretentious, laid back and relaxed (so maybe because I feel it matches my personality)? I took one of best friends there last week and she also loved it. She said it reminded her of being on holiday and I wondered if that might be another reason why I like it so much.

I went again last week with some other friends and for the first time I sat downstairs in the restaurant area which was just as fab. It’s Italian, reasonably priced and it also had happy hour on cocktails, always a winner. I had the Alla Roma pizza and although I have not visited Italy, I can imagine that all the pizza’s taste that good!!!

I can’t wait to visit Rome in the summer, if the bars and restaurants are anything like 21 then I am not sure I’ll be on the flight home!!!

Adventure Bar – Covent Garden
Adventure Bar has a reputation of being my go to place now. When I turned up last week the bouncer said ‘You again?!’…. think I maybe need to find a new place to go! In truth, I have only been 5 times over the last year, I am clearly just very memorable!!!

It’s a party bar with an extensive cocktail list, random flavoured shots and probably the best catalogue of music available. The staff are all really fun, clearly enjoying their jobs and their happiness is infectious. They also serve the drinks REALLY fast which is a bonus.

I can recommend booking an area if you are planning a visit as it can get really busy and then if your names not down, you’re not coming in.

The Alchemist – Bevis Marks
I first visited The Alchemist at Trinity Leeds shopping centre whilst on a work trip and once I’d been, I was desperate for them to open one at the shopping centre I work at, or if not, then at least in London. Then, 2 years later, they finally opened one in the heart of the city. YES! I’ve not visited properly yet. I did go for one quick double vodka and DC en route to Liverpool Street late last week but I was quite well-oiled. I remember loving the high ceilings at the fairy lights but that’s about it.

I can’t wait to go and sample the cocktails with the girls. I’m not sure whether to try the French Martini, White Chocolate Raspberry Martini or the White Cosmo first!!!

Let me know if you’ve visited any of my favourites or whether you have any recommendations for me to try. As much as I love the classics, I like to try somewhere new once in a while.

Hugs, Katie xx

 

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The Effect Of #100HappyDays

The final stint #100happydays has been and gone….

Day 94 – Picked up the parents from the airport and although running in the terrible wind made me feel I was standing still at times, I managed my fastest 5km.

Day 95 – Purchased a new dress for Ibiza AND Chase and Status announced and Ibiza residency!!

Day 96 – Got a lovely new pair of suede boots in the River Island sale for £20!  Bargain!  Oh and Camilla made my day by sending me a link to the best mugs ever!!

Day 97 – Fab away day with work today, brushing upon Harrods history!  #Geek

Day 98 – 4 day weekend started with drinks in Adventure Bar….Fave!!

Day 99 – Nice evening seeing the best one and her little monkeys!

Day 100 – Well it’s been emotional, but here we are again!  Today’s happiness is bought to you by some random at Westfield telling me I was beautiful.  Always nice to hear!  Thanks everyone for putting up with my 100 days, good luck to those I’ve inspired and sorry to those I’ve annoyed along the way!!  Thanks for your support.  Love you all long time xxx

So we all know why I began this blog and embarked on my second round of #100happydays and it appears that I am not alone.  I thought I was a *little* crazy, the only one that thought doing this would make a difference but it appears I’m not the only one…I’ve been in touch with some other people who have also undertaken their own #100days and there are such similarities.  Knowing that everyone else has experienced the same feelings during and after completing their #100days is comforting – feel more normal now!

The situations that have bought on the need to seek some positivity in life have varied from depression and anxiety to splitting up with a husband, loss of a loved one and one the same as me… going from being a glass half full girl to feeling negative and unhappy.  Each person had been inspired to do #100days because they had seen a friend do it on social media and felt that it was worth a try.

It absolutely is worth a try. They have all. said how some days it can be a struggle to find a happy moment but as every day goes by it becomes easier…. perhaps because finding happiness each day actually starts to alter the way that you think eventually.  One person who was dealing with multiple heartbreaking and life changing situations said,  ‘I truly believe that life wasn’t getting better on its own, it just wasn’t seeming so bad anymore as I was having a shift in attitude.’  And I completely agree.

Everyone has challenges, problems and situations to deal with and whilst you may think that what’s happening to them is small, insignificant and unimportant it can be all-consuming and affect them in ways that they never felt possible.  It could also be one of many things that have happened to them – the final nail as it were – but talking to the other ladies that have undertaken this project has showed me that no matter what the challenge, happiness and positivity is always the answer AND you are not alone.

Coming soon – Marriage, What Happiness Is To Me and More Dating….

Love Katie xx