Cygnets Came out to Play | 2704-030520


Highly recommend this chakra-activating energising, grounding start to the day. Great kundalini ROI — short and simple breath work, juicy stretches, good music. Wonderful before work or anything. We do it every morning this week (except for Wednesday, when we start cleaning the flat as soon as we’re up, and Sunday, when we do yin yoga), and feel the effect.

Sanoop’s green smoothie: a bag of spinach, a small handful of blue berries, a banana per person, a splash of tiger nut milk, a small dollop of coconut yoghurt per person, and generous amounts of ground ginger, spirulina, and camu camu. Yum!

Silver linings

  • Virtual tour of London
  • The sound of silence: cycling through London in Lockdown
  • It’s been 4 years since 3 of my close friends and I moved out of our Shoreditch flat share and spread across 3-4 countries, and only now, due to COVID-19, do we catch up regularly on group video calls
  • Bollywood Zumba on video call. When one of my colleagues offers to teach those who’d like to learn how to do Zumba (the main piece of instruction being, move as you’d like and SMILE!), and four of us get together on a call after work on Thursday, I realise, for the first time in this pandemic time, that I actually really miss all of them, and our wonderful office, and those small office momentsgetting tea together in thee micro kitchen, chatting at the desks, going out for a quick walk around Coal Drops Yard between meetings … hm, but I don’t think we’d ever have pulled ourselves together to do a Zumba class at the office gym, so we’ve got the lockdown to thank for that hilarious experience. As I’m jumping around in the bedroom in front of my laptop, Sanoop stops by and remarks, laughingly, that he’s never seen me have that much fun before. We’re dancing (and jumping) to a Bollywood film soundtrack, because that’s our teacher’s favourite dance music … it really makes you loosen up and enjoy the movements. And when it’s over, Sanoop has some freshly squeezed and mixed blood orange mezcal margaritas ready for us to sip while we make tacos
  • Never Have I Ever Netflix’s Indian-American version of Sex Education, equally as hot and saucy, modern and progressive, sweet and clever, is a treat … which, again, we probably wouldn’t have come across if it weren’t for this quarantine-induced browsing
  • Rainy fairytale land. For the first time in weeks, it’s pouring down in brief, hazy showers that accentuate the springy scents all across the Heath. Walks and runs are as enjoyable as always, only with a bit of a dramatic twist. One of the days, I sneakily meet my next-door neighbour for a stroll, both of us half-pretending to just happen upon each other outside our homes, and striving to keep a 2-metre distance on our long, chatty walk … she’s one of two people, beyond Sanoop, with whom I interact in person this weekthat is, other than the ‘morning’ exchanged with other runners on the Heath or the minimal exchanges at the local indie health store


1 May marks 4 years since TripAdvisor let me go and work from a tropical island, where I, besides travelling, exploring, and learning lots on and off screen, soaked up so much sunshine and met my love — and other loved ones. 🌴 I’m so grateful for that opportunity (and so sad that the company had to cut 25% of its workforce this week😦) and everything it led to. Here‘s what I took away from the first week of what would become a 2.5-year trip.

Weekend Vibes

‘Our’ cygnets, residing on the pond below our kitchen window, hatch on Friday-Saturday and are immediately ready to play, all 9 of them, with their proud papa looking out for naughty Canada geese (he hates them; and loves chasing them, and showing off his impressive wing span and force will doing so!) and cheeky coots, and stoic mama sorting brekkie when not cleaning herself. Attracting a larger crowd than what’s probably smart right now, they are so cute, and such a welcome reminder of everything that’s positive and natural. Already on Sunday, they head out for their first paddle ‘n’ picnic, floating along the edge of the pond, nibbling on grass and fluttering their soft, silvery down.

Making shakshuka with lots of garlic and turmeric, baking my mum’s date-sweetened carrot and oat muffins, which are free from gluten and dairy and make the flat smell of vanilla, cloves, cardamom, and cinnamon, tossing vibrant salads together, concocting vegetable stews, picking up a vegan nut roast from The Stag for Sunday lunch, brewing lots of tea and coffee, and pouring red wine. Our lush quarantine diet.

Allbirds have launched their first pair of runners, these elegant, tree fibre-based, wool-lined seamless things, which I order in soft red shades. I take them out for their first jog on Saturday morning, and a strange thing happens … it almost feels like they are taking me for a jog. Like they possess some sort of autonomous power. I set out the route, or maybe I’m hardly conscious of that either (all I know is I want to try and keep them clean, so I want to stick to the village roads or paved paths on the Heath), and they do the rest. Wearing these kicks feels like running on peachy memory foam clouds; they’re comfy and supportive even for long, narrow, flat, and generally troubled trotters with ginormous bunions. Later that they, and the next morning, they scream for me to take them out again, and as soon as we hit the road and I put on some music, off they go, with me willingly tagging along. The Heath and village is a wonderland, by the way: sprawling greenery and wild/groomed flowers everywhere, an abundance of new winding paths to be discovered every day, even now, however many weeks into lockdown.

A colleague, with whom I went out for an Ethiopian dinner in Tufnell Park pre-lockdown, nominated me to make injera. I had no idea that I you could just make it, but it seems to be fairly simple? Sourdough trends are abounding right now, and I think this variety could become popular — sufficiently exotic, yet relatively easy to make. Acquired taste, for sure, though. I really love its sour, rubbery quality, haha. And it’s SOOO healthy, teff, the grain used for it: brimming with protein, fibre, iron, zinc, and lots more. It takes three days for the fermentation to reach its desirable stage, and in the meantime, after setting the teff and water aside to start bubbling on Saturday, I make some teff porridge. Mixed with ground ginger and cinnamon, pieces of banana, blueberries, and a dollop of yoghurt. SO yum! And such a treat for your tummy.

Doing my friend’s body sculpt class on Saturday, and my other friend’s yin class on Sunday.

Eating Booja Booja ice cream while drawing.

Drinking tea and reading.

Drinking tea and watching Space Jam, a wave of nostalgia washing over us as we watch the new Michael Jordan documentary on Netflix.

Video call with my parents hanging out on the boat.

Exploring a charming chunk of Highgate, the Holly Lodge Estate, towering on a hill just across from the equally alluring Holly Village, neither of which we’ve ever ventured into before, what with both of them being gated private neighbourhoods🙈 — well, Hillway, the central artery running through the former, you can actually snoop around quite legally, even if you’re not a resident, at least so it seems. It’s such a grand, idyllic, and really wonderful part of London: long, steep street lined with manicured grass verges and gorgeous limes, behind which close to a hundred well-kept black-and-white timbered houses with each their pretty flowery gardens look like something out of a fairytale. From the top, there are sweeping views across the Heath and the city. As always, we’re totally high from having added another gem to the treasure trove that is the Ham & High hood.

Cycle via Holloway Road and Stoke Newington to Hackney Downs to go for a walk with a friend, 2 metres apart, of course, through Hackney and Dalston to London Fields and Broadway Market. It’s so lovely to see a real person, and even if I’ve gotten used to thinking that Hampstead is all I need right now, it also feels like a real gift to wander around one of my other favourite areas of a city I love so much, and which I’m reminded just how wonderful is as I cycle past the cool cats hanging in Clissold Park, along ever so many cute terraced houses, many of which are flanked by climbing wisteria, lilac bushes, and something as exotic as banana trees, and through such a hotchpotch of neighbourhoods, all the while listening to podcasts and music. The small indie delis and eateries on Broadway Market have of course come up with creative solutions for how to stay in business during this — creating hopeful life in the street by offering their goods in safe ways. Ahh. And yet, despite how wonderful my little outing is, I do also feel a sense of relief when I’m back home with Sanoop in the evening. Forced isolation has been good for me — made me reflect on why and how much I want to spend time with other people in various places. To which extent it is for external validation, or really to nourish my soul. I adore time spent at home, alone/with Sanoop, feeling happy and free and able to listen and spontaneously give in to creative impulses.


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