As I’ve mentioned quite a few times, I was really lucky to have Stacey come to stay at my mum’s house in Essex with me over the end of December and to see in 2013. We managed to cram a lot in to just 6 days – but also got the opportunity to spend some time curled up on the sofa watching some crap TV with my mum and stepdad. Here’s a quick roundup of our time together in Essex!
I planned heading into London to meet Stacey as she came off of her train down from Scotland – but my (typically) poor timekeeping coupled with the closure of the circle line meant that I ended up getting to Kings Cross late – but it was fantastic to walk across the concourse and see Stace standing there! We headed back to my mum’s house where we opened our Christmas presents to one another, in our Latemas Celebration!
I went completely overboard and bought Stacey FAR too many Christmas presents – including a new lense for our Diana camera, some really lovely designer shirts for work, a leather Filofax and a beautiful green satchel from the Cambridge Satchel Company. She was wonderful and bought me some heated rollers, an adorable little set of coffee cups and saucers, a watch, a little sea-shell charm for my charm bracelet and a few pieces of jewellery which I immediately fell in love with. It was so wonderful to swap presents and tales from our time apart, and it immediately felt like we’d never been away from one another.
The following day we took my mum into town to get a new phone, and do some shopping in Chelmsford. Stacey did quite well with vouchers over Christmas and managed to buy a new River Island coat in the sale, as well as buying herself a new wallet and me a purse as a late Christmas gift. We then headed down to the pub which my stepdad works in to have a few drinks with him after work, giving us all an opportunity to have a good catchup.
On the 30th, we headed into London to do a few touristy things before meeting up with some old uni friends. We had a lazy morning at home before getting the train to London and jumping on the underground to South Kensington and wandering over to the National History Museum. Stacey had never been to either the National History Museum or the Science Museum, whilst I absolutely love both, so it was really hard deciding which museum to visit. Eventually our love of ‘nature’ won out, and we made our way through the long queue into the entrance hall. We were sad to find that there was a one hour queue to see the dinosaurs, so we decided to give that a miss, but we thoroughly enjoyed seeing the giant fossils, the minerals and gems of the earth and the brilliant collection of different animals all grouped into their species and families.
After our museum encounter, we wandered across to Soho to meet up with our friends Katie and Simon. A few gin and tonics and a lengthy catchup session later, we’d put the world to rights in a (Scottish) pub in the middle of London’s gay village, and were all feeling pretty festive! We met up with Aisha (another friend) and then made our way to Wahaca for dinner. Wahaca is a brilliant Mexican restaurant which offers lots of small sharing plates – as well as some pretty potent cocktails, which we enjoyed whilst we were waiting for Katie’s girlfriend Sally. The six of us ordered an amazing amount of food and all chatted and giggled our way through our meal, and I genuinely could not have had a better time. I feel so lucky to be able to call them friends because they really are brilliant, hilarious people. After dinner, we even managed to meet up with one of my oldest friends from school who has since moved to London and is doing his PhD – and I hadn’t seen him in years. It really was a perfect day.
The following day was New Year’s Eve, and we spent the day in Burnham-on-Crouch, visiting my grandparents. I love their house, because for almost every summer from age 8 up to 14 or 15, my grandparents would look after my brother and I as well as my cousins whilst our parents all worked. We had so many good times there – from climbing the apple tree in the front garden to going to feed the horses at the bottom of the road or playing in the next door neighbours swimming pool. (My grandparents, as I’ve mentioned before, are some of the most amazing people I know). Anyway, Stacey got to experience the cold and windy seafront at Burnham, where you can see across the water to Southend, before heading to my grandparents house. We had lunch, played on the organ where I showed Stace my amazing talents (erm, well I thought so anyway) and then played a few rounds of the Yes or No game I was so terrible at when younger! It was a brilliant afternoon.
As I mentioned back here, we brought in 2013 with my family – first at my step sister’s 18th birthday party, before ringing in the bells at home, watching the London fireworks on TV with my last glass of wine for a month (Stacey and I are having an alcohol-free January and donating the money we save to charity). It was a nice evening and brilliant to have the people I love with me.
The next two days were a blur of watching TV, cooking and chilling with the family – but having first class train tickets back up to Edinburgh definitely made the journey more comfortable! We arrived back home at around 9pm and unpacked before falling into bed – ready to get up and head to work the next morning! It certainly was an action-packed few days, but I think it was so worthwhile to spend time with my family and Stacey – and it makes me hope that next year we’ll be able to spend Christmas together in Essex too!Carley