My gift this Valentine’s Day was a positive Covid test. I couldn’t believe it – having avoided the dreaded lurgy for almost two years, two lines were staring back at me. The day was spent under a duvet in front of Netflix and binge watching Emily in Paris. I did get a beautiful single red rose from my husband which cheered me up a bit though.
This year I really wanted to celebrate properly, after last year being in lockdown – was that lockdown part three? I lose track. So, it’s just as well we planned our celebrations for the Saturday before Valentine’s, after all who wants to celebrate on a Monday anyway?
Despite lockdown last year, we did make the best of it and still celebrate with an afternoon tea delivered from Cutter and Squidge in London. I wore a jumper from Oasis with heart buttons on the sleeves and was spoilt with my favourite red roses and some heart earrings from Pandora, so I can’t really complain.
I know a lot of people see Valentine’s as commercialised and so don’t bother to celebrate it at all, but I think any opportunity to celebrate love is worth taking. Having said that I do try to avoid restaurants with set Valentine’s menus, as it is usually inferior food and service at an inflated price.
This year, we did something a little different to the norm. The huge slide at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, ArcelorMittal Orbit, had been on my bucket list for a while and as I can see it from my new office window, I figured it was time to take the plunge. I’ve always enjoyed theme park rides so thought this would be great, until I read that the last part of the slide is corkscrewing in the dark that is! Flashbacks hit me of Space Mountain at Disneyland Paris, aged 13 – the only ride I’ve ever hated.
The slide is the world’s longest tunnel slide at 178m long. There are viewing platforms to take in the views across London before you slide and they are breath-taking. You can see as far as the Shard, the O2 and Canary Wharf. Once up there and seeing the slide, my nerve started to go. There are transparent sections of the slide to take in the views and I was watching people go down. Was I too old for all this now? Did I really want to be doing it? I figured the slide has been there for ten years now (how were the Olympics ten years ago?) so it must be safe and you are only on it for 40 seconds so how bad could it really be?
Anyway our slot came and we put on the head protection and elbow pads and joined the queue. I decided to go first and get it over with and I really don’t know what I was worried about – if anything it was quite tame and I really enjoyed it. My other half on the other hand wasn’t so keen!
Afterwards as we walked round the structure, trying to get a good picture, you could hear people screaming as they came down and we looked at each other and said we were glad we hadn’t heard that before we went on it or we may have chickened out!
We finished the evening with a more traditional celebration – a meal at The Real Greek with prosecco and cocktails!
It’s so easy for day to day life to take over and to stop spending quality time with the one you love, so Valentine’s is the perfect reminder to appreciate each other.
And Just Like That, the long awaited Sex and the City reboot is over, and I find myself disappointed, desperately hoping for a second series and wondering what I will now have to watch on a Thursday evening.
I have been a major Sex and the City fan for years now, as anyone who has followed my blog will know. I actually only really discovered the TV series a year or so before the first film came out, so long after it originally aired, but have since watched all the episodes many times over. I waited at the movie premiere to catch a glimpse of the stars, went on the movie tour in New York City, sought out the series locations when I visited Paris and even had Carrie’s blue Manolo’s as my wedding shoes.
I used to compare my relationship at the time I first started watching with Carrie and Big’s relationship, thinking that was an example of true love but actually I now know that true love shouldn’t be that hard. I am now happily with my Aidan and I had hoped we’d see the return of Aidan in this sequel and Carrie would see he was the one that got away, but sadly not.
Anyway, I was eagerly awaiting a chance to spend more time escaping to New York City and enjoying the glamour and the fashion with my favourite characters. The first episode however left me rather disappointed. For a start, the dynamic wasn’t the same without Samantha. Then there was the way they were trying so hard to be woke, making up for the inequalities of Sex and the City, that it was cringe worthy, and don’t even get me started on Carrie destroying her iconic blue Manolo’s in the shower whilst cradling Big as he died! How could they kill off one of the main characters in the first episode? Mind you given the revelations about Chris Noth, perhaps that may prove to be a wise decision for the future of the series. Should I continue investing in this, I wasn’t sure.
I am so pleased I did persevere though. For me the real strength of the series is the enduring friendships. They are there for each other no matter what and support each other even when they disagree. I hope I still have my same group of friends to go out to lunch with in my 50’s. The fashion is still a joy to see, showing that fashion isn’t just for the young, although I’m not sure what the thinking was behind the bright orange Valentino ballgown with pink elbow length gloves Carrie wore to scatter Big’s ashes in the final episode but I did love the diamond encrusted Eiffel Tower bag which contained his ashes! It was lovely to see the Versace dress of a thousand layers again when Carrie is going through archiving her closet, a nice nod to Sex and the City and that final episode in Paris. There were various nods to Sex and the City but I think they missed one opportunity to once again link back to Sex and the City in the final episode when Che asked on the podcast “What’s your worst break up?” and Carrie replied “My husband died” I was screaming at the TV, the post-it note!
So should we revisit other shows from the nineties and early noughties or should we leave them in the past where they belong and just remember them fondly?
I think the desire to revisit comes partly from our investment in the characters but more so as it reminds us of the happier, carefree times of our youth and let’s face it, most people view the past through rose tinted glasses. It’s also a chance to relive the things we enjoyed growing up, with our children or nieces and nephews.
I recently watched Mean Girls with my twelve year old niece and I think that film is just as relevant today as when it was made in 2004. Girl’s still identify with it as there are still the same cliquey groups and rules you feel you have to follow to fit in. “On Wednesday’s we wear pink.” There was a Mean Girls 2 in 2011 and the girls had a reunion in 2020 to encourage people to vote in the US elections and to celebrate the longevity of the show.
Pre pandemic in 2019, which feels like a million years ago now, my friend and I went to a themed evening of Mean Girls. A leisure centre in London Marylebone, was transformed into North Shore High School for a screening of the movie, with themed photo opportunities, food and drink inspired by the film, and our own Spring Fling after. In the words of Gretchen in the film, it was “so fetch”. You were encouraged to come dressed in pink or as your favourite character, so I wore a cerise pink dress from French Connection.
Last year we were treated to the long awaited Friends Reunion. I can remember watching Friends on Friday nights as a teenager and ever since the re-runs can always be found on some channel or another, ideal for a lazy weekend day, just like a comfy pair of slippers. It was another show I was a great fan of and probably where I first fell in love with New York City. So I was excited by the thought of revisiting Chandler, Ross, Joey, Rachel, Monica and Phoebe. It was nice in a way that it wasn’t a continuation of the story but more the cast getting together on set and looking back at some of the fun they had during filming and their favourite bits, plus interviews with the writers and other stars. It’s like one of the producers/writers said, this was a series about a time in your life when friends are your family and I sure remember that fondly. There are so many classic lines in Friends and it doesn’t matter how many times you watch it, it’s still funny. It is so sad when something that has been such a big part of your life comes to an end, after all it ran for 10 years and was the most popular sitcom for the whole six series, but time moves on and so too must the characters.
Christmas 2019, I had a great evening with a friend at Friends Festive in London. They mock up all the sets and there are loads of photo opportunities along with themed food and cocktails.
Today I finally started to build my Friends Central Perk Lego set that I bought in lockdown but never got around to. There’s something very relaxing in regressing to childhood and building Lego – trust me – don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!
Talking of reliving childhood, let’s not forget the remakes of the Disney cartoons with real actors/CGI either. I have enjoyed all of these just as much as the originals. Disney can be quite dark but there are always some great messages in their movies and I love watching them.
So what do you think? Are remakes and sequels a good idea or not? Maybe they sometimes take things too far – how many sequels of The Fast and the Furious have we had now? But ultimately I am loving the nostalgia, and for die hard (excuse the pun) fans of the originals there can often never be too many.
I loved Sex and the City and enjoyed both films, despite the second one being panned by many and also to my surprise enjoyed And Just Like that, once I took it as a series in its own right and stopped comparing to Sex and the City. So if the writers are listening, please can we have another series?