Zee recently had a birthday and to celebrate we went to B.Y.O.C. It was hidden, just like an old speakeasy would be, under a little juice bar in Covent Garden. It was incredibly intimate and down some ridiculous steep stairs. It was super small, with low lighting. Frank Sinatra was playing on a gramophone with an iPad stuck out the side. The tables were close together, and there was one bartender – in a bow tie, waistcoat and one of those funny cheese cutter hats.
The concept is simple, you provide the alcohol (we took Rhubarb vodka, and two small bottles, one of London Imperial Gin and the other a 12 Year Malt Whiskey) and the clever tender in his cheese cutter hat makes you a concoction with potions from his trolley. And oh-la, they are delightful. I had something with basil and strawberry to start, the boy a delightful old fashioned. Every drink was tailored to our taste, with gentle questions and much laughter.
By the end of our three hour slot (we got an unnecessary extra hour tacked on) we were well jolly. Almost TOO jolly, if truth be told (especially because they only serve snacks, not food). But oh! It was delightful. To spend a few hours sitting, and talking and sipping wonderful, tasty thing = brilliance. It was an easy way to pass the time.
It was £20 per person for a two hour slot, bookings in advance required. Loved it. Well worth a look in.
Today I moved out of my flat. It was a bittersweet moment – it’s the flat I’ve been in for the last three years. My first real London home. A place I made mine, a little cosy den in a city I didn’t know very well, and later a place to crash and sleep uninterrupted when the city and I were a little too well acquainted. A bolt hole that was all mine, and no one elses.
It was small, and comfortable. North London (I made the intentional decision to live somewhere that wasn’t a stereotypical kiwi borough), and central. West Hampstead is delightful. It has the best transport links (the underground, high five for the jubilee line, the overground AND the Thameslink), many cute little brunch and cocktails places on the high st (LOVED the Alice House), and just a stop or two away from either Regents Park or Hamstead Heath. Overall? A convenient half hour from most places I needed to be. Perfect, no?
Except then my lease was coming up with another rent hike, and all my friends were living South of the river and wanted to socialise down that way… and then of course, there was Zee, and all his delightful ridiculousness that was a 45 minute tube ride away.
Over the weekend I moved out, and now I’ve moved in with Zee. I moved down South, to the wrong side of the river. I’m apprehensive. I’ve gone from my space, and his space to ‘our’ space. Given up all the lines in the sand to recognise that I’m part of something bigger now. Oh god. What if it all goes terribly wrong? We’re all in now, I’ve given up my place and all my things are stored away in cupboards, all intermingled with his things. Our things, now I guess. If it all goes terribly wrong there’s no easy way to extract myself. And then I think, what if it all goes terribly RIGHT? I don’t expect it to be easy (is anything that’s worth the effort easy?) but I do think there is more joy to be found together than apart. I was ready to take the leap and go all in.
So I moved out of my flat and into Zee’s. I’m apprehensive, and worried and hopeful. Undeniably hopeful that I’ve set myself on a path that brings happiness and my own kind of bizarre fairytale.
I’ll let you guys know how it goes. It might crash and burn, or it might have been the best idea I ever could have acted on. Obviously hoping for the latter. Fingers crossed, you guys.