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 home straight of happiness… 

I’ve not written about my #100daysofhappiness since Day 56.  I’m now on the home straight of the 100 days (today is day 94) so thought now would be a good time to break my silence on the happy days. 

Day 57 – special memories made tonight in Liverpool with one of my bestests xxx
Day 58 – walk on the beach, shop at Cheshire Oaks followed by curry and wine. Perfect!!
Day 59 – love doing something nice for something when it’s unexpected
Day 60 – After 20 years, I finally got the photo…
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Day 61 – afternoon tea booked with my bestest, can’t wait for next week now xx
Day 62 – excited as today felt like spring is on its way! Woo!
Day 63 – out of the blue phone call from a lovely friend made my day!
Day 64 – really fun work night out
Day 65 – surviving work with a rather bad hangover thanks to Pizza Hut Express and a Reese’s Krispy Kreme
Day 66 – a year ago today my life changed completely.  The last 12 months have been a roller coaster but have been incredible at times.  Happy today because of my wonderful family, friends and everything I’ve experienced since that day xxx
Day 67 – V line up announced.  Can. NOT. WAIT.
Day 68 – enjoyed a little bit of baking
Day 69 – had a fab ‘Christmas’ day out with the best one.  Afternoon tea, shoe purchasing and then a few drinks with a new friend! Great day! X
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Day 70 – so happy that I created a beaut cake for a friend! No pics yet until it’s been given to the recipient.
Day 71 – evening of bubbles and lols with some of the best ones.  And my shoes were christened!
Day 72 – so happy that my 100 days have inspired Jo to do the same.  There you go, you finally got your own day!!
Day 73 – did a decent 5km run in the sunshine.  Happy days!
Day 74 – Sam Smith and John Legend.  Just amazing.  If you haven’t heard their Comic Relief single then get it in your life!!
Day 75 – picked up my spring coat from the dry cleaners.  Winter coat will soon be banished!! And while looking for something else I found this pic of me and a special girl x
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Day 76 – so thankful to be in my bed with fresh sheets
Day 77 – so much love for my best one Flamingo Monroe for speaking up about thyroid issues.  What an inspiration.  Proud is not the word! Check it out www.flamingomonroe.com
Day 78 – amazing fashion shows at work always make me happy!!!
Day 79 – fab night at Mangetout, highly recommend!
Day 80 – don’t know how, but managed to avoid a hangover!
Day 81 – found a way to laugh off a very ‘cringe’ situation
Day 82 – another happy cake delivery today, my very first Tiffany box cake! Bad picture. And I FINALLY got my eyebrows done!
Day 83 – a tough one today.  5am start, not a very nice experience in a meeting, looked at Christmas grottos, train delayed on the way home AND got a parking ticket.  BUT still smiling thanks to my gals and Thai noodles with fishcake dinner!
Day 84 – lovely wagas with my amazing friend Camilla.
Day 85 – today was apparently #InternationalDayOfHappiness – I am not so sure.  All I can say is thank god for my amazing friends and the strength I have learned throughout my life.
Day 86 – yes, the day is not over yet, but there is only one thing to say today.  I am so thankful that in my life I’ve learned when it’s time to step up and do the right thing.  Honesty is always, always the best policy.
Day 87 – finally, Mr Grey was ready to see me tonight. He was worth the wait!
Day 88 – feeling motivated in all aspects of life today
Day 89 – only one more sleep until I get to see the incredible Sam Smith! Excited is not even the word.
Day 90 – Sam Smith took my breath away tonight.  Incredible talent, what a voice!
Day 91 – lovely catch up with Mrs Hills tonight!
Day 92 – had a visit from a couple of dear friends at work and a fab night out in Covent Garden.  I do love that place!
Day 93 – had a fabulous night with the girls last night (including FaceTime with Vic in HK) after having the most chilled out day!
Rewriting just these 36 days has made me realise how quickly life can change sometimes for the better and sometimes not.
1. I looked back at how much my life has changed in the 12 months since Mr Long Term and I parted company
2. Two of my closest friends have told me they are expecting babies later this year
3. Mr (not so) Perfect’s deceit and lies were uncovered and realised by his wife
4. I heard about a friend’s plans to travel the world next year
Life changing situations for all those involved.
All I want to say is that life is short, you don’t know when or how things will change but they inevitably will.  So live life to the full, chase after your wishes, hopes and dreams, be honest, be kind and above all do what makes you happy.
Katie xx