Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Fun Days in February 🌞

Hi everyone! I thought I'd chat to you guys about a couple of recent social outings I've had. The title is a teensy bit inaccurate as one of said outings actually happened in late January, but that's all right! Well, let's get into it.

Last month, I got together with Maddie and had a really lovely day out in a very chilly Oxford. I ended up somehow getting the train times wrong despite looking everything up beforehand online, and found myself rushing to the train platform, only to find I had plenty of time, and didn't even need to take the long winded route I'd initially planned in order to arrive at the correct time. Oh well-- better to have time to spare, I suppose! 

Oxford is a city I find to be far too busy considering how small so many of the eateries are, but Maddie introduced me to a café where we were able to get a seat, order some food, a hot drink, and talk in the midst of the hustle and bustle around us. I'd not had a proper catch up with her in so long, so it was great to talk in depth about life, our interests, things we've done, things we want to do, and everything in between. I went for scones with jam and cream, and some Earl Grey-- the perfect companion to a confab. The cream to jam ratio was incredibly odd, though (I got plenty of cream but only a dab of jam in a tiny packet), and I wasn't offered any milk for my tea. It's a good thing I like tea with or without milk!

After a while we decided to go for a little wander, visiting a cute sewing shop where we were complimented on our lolita coats, and into the covered market which I don't think I've ever been to before. Back on the street, I couldn't help finding the masks in the party shop hilarious, particularly due to the fact the Dumbledore one came with its own little spectacles. I was also very tickled by Voldemort's teeth.

Seriously.

We rounded off the day in the warmth of a Costa, drinking hot drinks to warm ourselves up from the cold, before heading back to the train station. 
It was a very relaxed, peaceful day out, and I am so glad I got to know Maddie better. Passing conversations at meets or events definitely aren't a patch on sitting down with someone one on one and sharing different aspects of yourselves. I am really looking forward to seeing her again soon, and watching where her artwork and creativity will take her. 

🌞     🌞     🌞

Last weekend brought more festivities in the form of a day out to London with a few friends whom, once again, I'd not had a real catch up with in so long. The wonderful thing about old cycles ending is the way new ones begin. Hindsight is a powerful thing, and I've been able to fully process the extent to which I had been held back. After feeling unfulfilled socially for longer than I wanted to admit here, or even to myself given how isolated and trapped I had been made to feel, I'm so pleased I've been able to begin building a real network of friends. I'm really excited to be reconnecting with some lovely people, deepening friendships I hadn't had the chance to before, and having more fun than I've had in ages.

Some bad luck
The day started out pretty terribly. I had issues driving down the steep hill that leads to my local station and finally arrived with the sense that I'd probably earned myself a speeding ticket (reviewing my dash cam footage later revealed it seemed unlikely, but I was too busy panicking about other things like being late to think rationally at the time!) I took too long parking and the parking payment machine was aggravatingly slow to process my card. I was just paying for my train ticket when the train I needed pulled up at the platform... on the other side of the bridge. I began running up the stairs and at the top step, my boot got caught and time seemed to go into slow motion. I saw my ticket sailing through the air, my keys springing from my unzipped AP bag, and I watched as I came crashing towards the gravelly ground. I stuck my right hand out, and my body twisted to the right. Most of the impact was caught by my right thigh and my middle finger.

Shaking, I scrambled to pick up my things, taking a split second to marvel about the fact neither my bag or Baby coat were damaged, and continued to run across the bridge, figuring it would all be in vain. As I hobbled down the stairs, the train conductor seemed to be stalling even though the train doors had shut already. "You getting this train?" he called to me. "Yes, please!" I said, and he unlocked the doors for me. Not quite believing my luck, I yelled out a thank you, and clambered on, before collapsing into the nearest seat available, and feeling so grateful that the conductor had been kind enough to wait for me to reappear on the other side of the bridge to make sure I wasn't about to miss the train I wanted. 

When I got to my connecting station a few minutes later, I hesitated on the platform. Maybe I should simply stay on the slow, stopping service, especially as the fast train would likely to be very full and wouldn't have seats available. I got back on my train and patiently sat through a long winded journey, googling to see if my numb middle finger was something to worry about. It wasn't, various websites assured me, and the feeling gradually came back into it over the course of an hour.

By the time I made it to London, I was running late to meet my friends. The circle line wasn't running to the station I needed, so I had to do a bit more long-winded travel. For all intents and purposes, I should have had a very easy journey that day but sometimes, things decide to work against you!

The good bit
Despite all these setbacks, like having an awkward limp all day, and spending the following day in bed to recover from the injury, I was so glad I went on this day out. I met my friends, Emmy, Sabeela, and Taylor, at King's Cross, before heading off to Bibimbap for some food. I'd never been there before and hadn't had much in the way of Korean food yet, so it was an interesting experience for me. I ordered tofu bibimbap, and when it came, I stirred it as instructed by Emmy so that the heated bowl it was served in could distribute the warmth to everything evenly. 
The tofu was cooked to perfection and the vegetables were delicious! I've often had really disappointing vegetarian meals in western style food places like pubs, so this was a wonderful change of pace, and I really enjoyed my food! The prices were also really good for London, and I'd definitely visit again.

Having a good old chat with everyone was so lovely. We'd been part of a lolita community together that sort of disbanded due to people leaving lolita or simply never coming to another meet. We ended up staying in touch, and have now vowed to meet up amongst ourselves as regularly as we can manage even though two of our group have moved to different areas. We reminisced about past meets and strange experiences we'd had in the lolita community, as well as updating one another on our work lives, love lives, and whatever else was new since we'd last talked. Chatting to them about even personal things felt natural and easy. It was really nice feeling so comfortable and un-judged.

After lunch, we headed to Japan Centre, where I thought it would be nice to get some matcha chocolate. I picked up a couple boxes of biscuits that looked promising, but were to turn out to be absolutely ghastly! I should have kept it simple and got some Pocky and melonpan instead!

Taylor, despite the fact it was literally snowing, decided to get matcha ice cream from a stall outside. It admittedly looked heavenly but it was way too chilly for me to indulge! Perhaps in warmer weather I'll give it a go! The colour looked gorgeous and she confirmed that the texture was perfect. 

We warmed up in a café for a little while, then had a look around Primark. Emmy walked past some band t-shirts and commented on how cringey it was the way these bands had essentially become brand names... before doubling back and buying two of them herself! I love it when people can poke fun at themselves! After checking out, we headed back to a tube station so we could begin to make our way home.

I loved how we all came wearing a different style! Sabeela looked super classy in her fluffy coat, Taylor went for a casual goth look, and Emmy went for a comfy alt outfit.

I suppose the feeling I have right now is gratitude. I'd gotten to a point where I was so afraid of trying to reconnect with certain people due to low self esteem,  and convincing myself I would seem strange... and yet so many people have welcomed me with open arms when I asked if they wanted to hang out, and I am overwhelmed by the love and support they have shown me. Yeah, not everything in my life is where I want it to be, but I feel so much better for having had a ton of fun, interesting conversations with some amazing people, and knowing that I'm finally in the place I needed to be to allow this positivity into my life. I've been kicking my anxiety in the arse and it makes me want to do a happy dance. I've got more days out to look forward to in the near future, and for now at least, things are good.

Had any fun days out recently? Ever gone through a process of rebuilding your social life? Do you like Korean food? How about matcha products? I'd love to hear all about you guys in the comments! Thanks for reading and I'll see you next time