If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen that I posted that my partner and I had planned a short trip to London during our birthdays in November.
This wasn’t just any old trip sightseeing…
this trip heavily featured the introduction of my partner, Malcolm to my family and friends.
Growing up my family and I often mimicked The Walton’s closing scene excitedly chorusing ‘Goodnight John-boy’ to one another on nights when we had stayed up late watching movies together and were retiring to bed.
I grew up in a very large extended family and the similarities between us and the good old Waltons end there. Aside from the overtly obvious – we are not quite them.
Although this isn’t my first relationship – none of my exes made it home and although my family knew of them through tid-bits of conversations here and there or the “hypothetical questions” where I sought advice. There was never the official parent/partner meeting.
I’m not quite sure exactly why a meeting did not take place before, the timing never seemed to be right or perhaps I sensed on an unconscious level that mum would see what time eventually proved to be right.
My mum is the ultimate Mama Bear, protective of all her cubs and holds no prisoners. Mum isn’t a people pleaser, (can be) quite cynical and doesn’t do pretense
very well .
My mother on the other hand will argue: she is a great judge of character and within a few moments of meeting someone…
can determine whether or not their intentions are true.
In her defence…
she has never been wrong.
Malcolm and I flew on one of Air Malta’s newest fleets evident by the cushioning of the leather seats and unlike their older planes included an in-flight USB allowing you to charge your devices. We didn’t encounter any hiccups, nor delay throughout our flight and there wasn’t even any turbulence! (Yes I know the airline doesn’t have any control over that!) I did wonder to myself whether the ease of the flight was an omen of some sort or a taste for what this trip would entail.
Or the calm before the storm…
What I particularly appreciated was the visibility out of my aeroplane window which meant I could see out of the window for the full duration of the 3 hour flight (to take awesome snaps of course )
We landed at Heathrow Airport at 10.30 and were scheduled at 100 Wardour Street by 1.45 for triple birthday celebrations (ours and a friend). It was here we would meet everyone for a ‘bottomless brunch’
Malcolm had yet to meet my friends in all their splendour and despite meeting one or two here and there. I say here and there but more accurately “there” as it were his stomping ground, his turf and essentially within his comfort zone.
100 Wardour Street
100 Wardour Street (based at 100 Wardour Street, Soho) is a swanky multi function venue serving as an eatery and as a club – and home to a live band! The venue holds 400 people and going by the many spontaneous renditions of ‘Happy Birthday’ there were several birthday bookings. As you can therefore imagine then, the vibe of 100 Wardour Street is loud and clubby.
Brunch and in particular ‘boozy brunches’ seem to be a popular phenomenon which has swept my friends (and London) by storm. Gone are the ‘ladies that lunch’ replaced with ‘groups that brunch‘ for the now revered weekend favourite meal.
Our birthday group had a pre-booked two-hour slot, during which we opted for a two-course set menu brunch for £30.00 with the addition of “bottomless prosecco” for an extra £20.00 per head.
I would be lying if I did not say I felt a murmur of trepidation in my gut as we hurtled along the Piccadilly line. My anxiety though, contained a mixture of excitement at seeing everyone again and worry that I wouldn’t be able to juggle the two relationships.
I worried that in my excitement to see everyone, my attention would become over saturated and poor Malcolm would be left in the background (and on his birthday for that matter!)
My friendship group contains a mixture of males and females and other couples which adds a lovely dynamic to the group and I needn’t have worried…everyone was much more interested in getting to know Malcolm!
It was beautiful watching my friends and partner interact so wonderfully over (quite) a few glasses of Prosecco. From the sidelines I witnessed the initiation of another member being planted firmly into our group. I caught fleeting conversations about family and of work and even stories about myself. It sounded like a sweet melody playing in the distance, a song you know will be a hit on hearing a few bars.
Come to Mama
Unsurprisingly Sunday came and went by even faster with our birthday celebrations taking hold until the early hours.
But we arrive as planned to my mother’s.
I was a little bit nervous because of the obvious build up but less so than the morning of Saturday.
Upon their introduction my mum stretches out her arms and they embrace and not one of them pointless pat on the back hugs, she cuddles him. I guess… she has already heard so much about him.
My mothers’ instincts tell her I am much happier now and she has previously remarked on my less anxious stance; half joking that our interactions in the past used to leave her exhausted as I flitted from subject to subject.
My mum leads us into her lounge and as we sit on the sofa together Malcolm’s hand automatically rests on my thigh as it often does and for a split second I worry what ‘mummy’ will say.
Before we visited I had run through a list of unacceptable things to do in her presence.
Crap I didn’t mention anything about touching
My panic subsided as quickly as it arrived and in that moment I instinctively knew my mum wouldn’t view this as disrespectful.
And I was right, she received the message for what it was. A sign of comfort and security.
In many ways my partner and mother’s meeting was anti-climatic because with most things we worry about… it never happens in the dramatic fashion we expect.
It almost seems silly now with me knowing them both that it wouldn’t have played out any differently.
(My mother, unlike me is not an over sharer nor does she like her photographs to be posted online.)
The meetings were a success (hurrah) and now it was time for some relaxation and a birthday treat for us in the form of The Manor in Hertfordshire for two nights.
Our stay at The Manor
The Manor is a 15th Century Tudor mansion which is the former house of Commander Sir Arthur Trevor Dawson and converted to a hotel in the 1960’s. Our double room looked out onto the beautiful landscaped gardens – all 10 acres of it and despite being only 25 minutes from London felt miles away.
We didn’t have private transport and wanted for our stay to be as relaxing as possible so opted for accommodation on a half board basis; to include breakfast and dinner at their two AA Rosette Cavendish Restaurant. The total cost of £289.00 with the inclusion of a delicious three course meal was exceptional value.
The Cavendish restaurant where we dined was wonderfully designed, elegantly dressed in Laura Ashley furnishings throughout (as is most of the mansion), yet not overdone. The decor does so in a way which is aesthetically pleasing to the eye and doesn’t take away from the all the historical features of the mansion.
On our first night we both opted for the duck breast which was delightfully tender and accompanied with seasonal vegetables which reminded me of being home. I can almost taste it now.
Whenever I go away I very rarely spend time in the accommodation and just use it as a base. Another first for me because we stayed in the hotel for the whole two days.
We relaxed in the comfort of our room, both agreeing we had the comfiest of sleeps and naps. We had a a meander around the beautiful grounds feeling lost amongst the English countryside and hung out in the common areas of the mansion, such as by the fireplace and by the bar.
The staff were all pleasant enough and despite there being other guests, we felt very much alone – I guess that is what 10 acres and a huge mansion does!
There were a few things I took away from this visit:
- A reminder of how blessed I am to have such amazing humans in my circle that love and care about my happiness
- How beautiful England is and why an earth have I not explored much more of it?
- How much I love exploring, being outdoors and taking photos in general and will definitely be doing much more and posting it here on “the blog”
- How many times I say “we” and quite like it
- How much time and stress you save when you plan a trip, having an outline of a plan did not take away any spontaneity but maximised the time “we” had
- The things you worry about, never actually happen the way you think they will
If you are still here, thank you.
Love and light,