Tag Archives: summer

Sunshine and happiness*

Last week was all about rosé, beer gardens, pavement cafes, and getting a little rouge on your forearms and foreheads. Us Londoners love the sun and we get all sociable – we suddenly want to meet friends for after-work drinks, lunch hours are extended and decidedly boozy, work left early. We chat and laugh, the volume on the streets is noticeably higher. Flesh is exposed, tan lines developed. We suffer and heal from flip-flop-toe. We buy Pimms, clean BBQs, scour London for appropriate beer gardens.

We know the science bit – sunshine increases endorphins and Vitamin D. But it actually changes the way we act, the way we are. For me I love the sun because:

  • I love the feeling of warmth on my skin and how my skin smells of sun and suncream and goes pink
  • Dresses and flip flops and wicker bags and sunnies and shorts
  • I like sitting outside, watching people, chatting. I suppose this can be summarised as relaxing in the fresh air and taking my time
  • I look better with a tan and feel healthier 
  • Its sociable – all your friends gather round while you take over a corner of a nice beer garden, its all about meeting in groups, friends appearing and disappearing and reappearing as you lie out all day on a blanket in the park
  • I like ice cold rosé, Pimms and cider  
  • Barbecues and picnics and al fresco dining and pavement cafes and eating on roof terraces, burgers and chicken wings and halloumi kebabs, greek salads and humous
  • Swimming and walking and tennis

This is Costa Del Brixton Lido in summer

What happened last Friday is the perfect example. The sun shone so much all morning my heart soared and I racked my brain for friends who worked near to lunch with. I found Mr Maxi and skipped to Charlotte Street, finding the last seat outside (hurrah) and ordering an ice cold glass of chablis (or deux) with lunch. It was lovely chatting outside in the warmth, everyone on the sunny side of the street seemed happy. Maxi was happy as you can see from the photo at the top. We wanted to take a photo of those on the shady side of the street to show how unhappy they were in comparison but were unable to find anyone looking suitably depressed. 

A pint of rose and some suncream please

Then on Sunday, I drank rosé and ate lunch by the pool at the Lido Cafe in Brixton (see above) and it felt like I was on holiday. Sod the diet, sod being sensible, lets just sit, let the sun shine on our faces and chat and get tipsy.

So summer is fab, we all know that. But how to get that summer feeling when the weather’s crap? Well, I suppose we need to bring a bit of holiday to your everyday life, no matter what the weather is like – take more breaks, get out for lunch, leave work early occasionally; wear bright colours, dig out your Thai fisherman’s pants and Beer Lao t-shirt; get a group of friends together for after work drinks and stop rushing around so much.

The happy (sunny) side of Charlotte Street

And if all else fails, keep your fingers crossed for more sun this summer (and if anyone is brave enough, Brixton lido is open for free swimming this weekend). Here’s some brilliant London beer gardens that I will hopefully be visiting a lot in the next few months:

  • The Lido Cafe, the Prince Regent, the Florence and the Duke of Edinburgh in Brixton / Herne Hill
  • The Landor, The Sun and The Falcon in Clapham
  • The Drapers Arms and The Albion in Islington, the Junction Tavern in Tuffnell Park and the Spaniard’s Inn in Hampstead
  • The Ship in Wandsworth, The Dove in Hammersmith and The White Horse in Parson’s Green
  • Vibe Bar on Brick Lane, the Boundary Rooftop in Spitalfields and The Scolt Head in Dalston

Any more?

*or….everybody loves the sunshi-i-ine

Advertisements

Isarn, 119 Upper Street, London

illustration5Went to Isarn with my friends Amy and Mathieu last night.  Been there before and can’t recommend it enough.  Fantastic decor which gives it the air of a really high class place, but the prices (£8 for a main) mean that its a very good value Thai.  Service is always friendly and unassuming, and little things like having your glass of water topped up repeatedly is really nice.  In the summer, it has an open garden at the back.  We ate duck red curry, steak, braised duck with shitake and swordfish – all perfectly done, delicate, intricately spiced.  Wine list is great and the viognier (£20 a bottle) went really well with the food.  The exotic fruit desert (£10 for two) is worth it – incredible fruits that you don’t get to eat often.  Apparently a lot of crappy restaurants on Upper Street, but this one’s definitely worth a visit.

Isarn on Urbanspoon