Sunday, November 24, 2013

A fortnight of red cup joy

My life doesn't revolve around Starbucks. Honestly it doesn't. I mean, yes, our friends Jo and Christian might have mentioned a Starbucks latte in the (somewhat customised) reading they did at our wedding. And, yes, I might have recently written a moany little blog post obsessing about how much I missed my daily Starbucks visits. But please don't judge me. I'm not fixated. Nor do I believe, as this article about the cutesification of society puts it, that civilisation peaked when it created the technology to make a red cup. I just really, REALLY love a gingerbread latte at this time of year. Am I a sucker for marketing from an evil capitalist corporation? Probably. But happiness is happiness however you look at it, right?

Imagine my joy, then, when I managed to get four (yes, that's FOUR!) gingerbread lattes in over this past fortnight. All of which, really, is a rather long winded way of saying that here is a catch-up on what I've been up to recently through the medium of coffee.

THE 'HUMOURED BY MY HUSBAND' RED CUP: We headed to Granny Pat's house in Sussex on Samuel's birthday, and whenever we venture that way, we drive past a tiny little Starbucks in a place called Hooley. After dropping several million hints upon approach to Hooley 'Oooh, we're almost in Hooley!', 'Am I mistaken or is there a Starbucks in Hooley?' etc), James rolled his eyes and very politely asked if I would like to stop there to get a gingerbread latte. He's a good man. And, cor, that coffee tasted good.

THE 'WE NEED TO GET THIS TEETHING BABY OUT OF THIS RESTAURANT BEFORE SOMEBODY KILLS US' RED CUP: The other week, Samuel and I set off on an adventure to London Bridge to meet L on her lunch break. Samuel was teething and a little bit grumbly on the train there, but I kept him nice and calm with my excellent mumming skills (that is, I kept throwing rice cakes at him and hoping for the best). Borough Market was bustling as usual. The last time we visited it was a scorching summer day and there were stalls selling cooling Prosecco spritzers, but this time the same stalls were selling steaming beakers of mulled wine. It was well festive. We didn't sample them, though, and instead headed to a Pain Quotidien to meet L and enjoy a nice tart. L was brilliant with Samuel and somehow managed to keep him entertained with her red fingernails and the super cute Spider-Man T-shirt that she's bought him for his birthday. Unfortunately, by the time the nice tarts were served up, Samuel's grumbles had turned to wails, the rice cakes had lost their magic powers, and we weren't the most popular of patrons. We had to take it in turns to bounce, jiggle and walk him around the place and then bolt down our lunches. We escaped as quickly as we could ... to the Starbucks around the corner where we got red cups to take out and strolled around the frosty streets trying to cram hours of gossip into the ten minutes that were left of L's lunch break.

THE 'WE'VE SURVIVED A LONDON TOURIST ATTRACTION ON A SATURDAY AND WE DESERVE THIS' RED CUP: Last weekend, my lovely NCT friend arranged a day out to the London Sea Life Aquarium for our whole group to celebrate all the babies turning one. It was a top adventure. Samuel loved banging on the tanks and getting up close and personal with the sharks and stingrays and speedy little fish. He was a bit non-plussed about anything slow-moving or the crocodile, which looked like it was playing musical statues. It's an absolutely massive place with so much to see, and if you have older children you could easily spend half a day there. We discovered, though, that with babies like Samuel who have specific nap-time needs, you kind of need to whizz around quickly, because by the time we made it to the penguins, Samuel was screaming with tiredness. We all ducked out before lunchtime, leaving the crazy-busy hoardes behind us and took a long and leisurely walk along the South Bank. We stopped off at Starbucks and treated ourselves to red cups to celebrate surviving our first big touristy outing as families. And yes, I may well have been the instigator of that stop-off.

THE 'YIPEE, I'M ON MY OWN AND WEARING DRY-CLEAN ONLY CLOTHES' RED CUP: Joyously, Brunch Club with C, L and V was on again this past weekend. Only it wasn't really Brunch Club at all. For one month only, Brunch Club became Afternoon Tea Club (it was on C's list of things to do before her baby comes along in March) and the destination was Brown's Hotel in Mayfair. I wore a silk top, a fake fur jacket, a smudge of eyeliner and not even a hint of baby sick. It was nice. It was great to catch up. We treated the unlimited nature of the afternoon tea as a personal challenge and wished that C wasn't the only one with an elasticated waistband. I rolled back to Victoria and saw that I had a while to wait for my train, so naturally, I headed to Starbucks to wait with a red cup. Every cloud and all that.

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