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TOWN MOUSE | TAKING THE WATERS AT BATH’S THERMAE SPA

Bath Thermae Spa

The end of last week was a bit of a roller coaster round these parts. Tragic news coupled with two very special christenings made for a weekend of high emotion, both good and bad. Lucky, then, that the sister and I had planned our Bath trip for the aforementioned christenings with a little R&R in mind.

After we’d checked into The Queensberry and sated our travel-induced hunger with sandwiches and tea in the lounge, we headed out onto the crowded streets of Bath armed with our spa packs (robes and towels thoughtfully supplied by the hotel so that we didn’t have to bring our own or hire them at the spa) and accompanied by our good friend, the fabulous Miss Mead.

Anyone who knows me can attest to my love for Jane Austen, so imagine my delight when discovered it was the day of a Jane Austen costume parade. Fine (and not so fine) muslins drifted by, accompanied by waistcoated men in top hats and whiskers. I was in Austen heaven!

When we arrived at the Thermae Spa there was a queue, it was Saturday afternoon after all, but what we were told would be a 30 minute wait passed in no time, and we were soon in the high-tech locker rooms changing into our swimsuits. We made a beeline straight for the open-air pool on the roof, stepping out into the mild autumn air and low afternoon sun. The pool was BUSY, but we weren’t put off, groups of friends bobbed together in the water, chatting and laughing, couples clung to the railings around the side, deep in conversation. We quickly found a spot and a couple of noodle floats to perch on and settled into gossiping, exchanging news and stories and ‘people watching’.

I absolutely loved the atmosphere, the constant chatter and laughter contrasted with the serenity of bobbing around in the hot water seemed to relax me in a way I hadn’t really expected. And it all felt very ‘Austen’, like we were in a modern day assembly rooms, taking in the scene and society of the day, seeing and being seen.

After an hour of bobbing we headed downstairs to the steam rooms, 4 self-contained pods centred around  a huge thermal waterfall shower. Each room is scented differently, and we chose our first room based on the green lights around the edge, guessing it to be a menthol-y room and we were right, eucalyptus and mint hit us with a refreshing jolt as we walked in. After 10 minutes we decided to try the other rooms, but found them all to be very synthetic smelling (I’m guessing they don’t use essential oils) one of which almost made me wretch the second I walked in, and decided to give them a miss.

Our visit to the Minerva Bath was also short-lived, the leisure centre atmosphere did little for us, and so we headed back to the roof for a final dip before we left.

All in all, I loved our visit. It was just the tonic for this frazzled mouse, and the buzz of the crowds, softened by the warm water and the pleasure of the conversation with my sister and Catherine was just right. At £26 for a 2 hour visit, the spa is not cheap, I’ll admit that I did baulk a little at the price when we first arrived, but as we walked back up the hill to our hotel, I was quiet content to have paid it.

 

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town mouse // crazy, sexy, cool…

That’s it! I want to learn to do this and I want to learn now!
via Jay Z’s Life + Times
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{ what doin’ } sniffle, sniffle and then sniffle some more…

Arrrrrrrrrgh life! Sure does get in the way of doing stuff, doesn’t it?!
You kids must think I’ve fallen off the edge of the earth! 
I come back from a loooooooong holiday, post 2 trifling posts and then vanish again. 
Truth be told, no sooner had I caught up with work and clients, than I was struck down by the London Lurgy. This things is bad people. I wont go into too much disgusting detail, but let’s just say that the amount of gunk my lungs and nose seem to be generating is rather impressive. In a gross kinda way.
Mix that in with a country that’s all but ground to a halt because of the snow and ice, resulting in missing packages, low supplies and ice-rink sidewalks and you’ve got yourself a right royal mess. 
I have retreated to bed with my umpteenth ‘Blackcurrant Lempsip Max Strength’, forget the Christmas shopping, people can have hugs this year!
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{ town mouse } country mouse & busy mouse…

{ yup, that’s where I’ll be spending Thanksgiving. Pretty sweet huh? }
Hi folks, you may have already noticed that things have been a little sketchy around here this last week. I’ve been working my little fingers to a nubbin. And there’s plenty more where that came from, so things are going to continue to be a little sketchy. And once the work subsides, sometime around midnight next Monday, I’ll be packing my bags and heading west for a couple of weeks. Some California sun, good food and good company is just what I’ll be needing after the next few days. That said, it’ll be a “working” holiday, so you can expect to hear the odd squeak from me!
Until then, gobble, gobble, gobble!!
x
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{ finger lickin’ } hot chocolate…

Never normally one for just parrotting other’s blog posts, I had to make an exception and share this one with you…
Victoria at Skinny Latte is quickly becoming my official London Tour Guide. I’ve lived in London for 11 years but am embarrassingly slack at getting out and about to discover new places. Victoria has no such hesitation, and is always posting about new foodie discoveries that go on the rapidly growing list in my Molskine of places I will visit SOON.
And this place just jumped right to the front of the cue!
There’s bit of running joke in my family that revolves around coffee shops. I hate coffee. And I am also very impatient, and don’t understand why we have to all get ready, leave the house, travel for an hour to go shopping, (be it high street, Borough Market, whatever), and then as soon as we get there we all have to stop, sit down and have coffee. WHY?!?!?! It drives me mad!! Why couldn’t they just have a coffee at home before we left?! My family think it’s hilarious and while I’ll never talk my mum and stepdad out of the habit, my sister is now kind enough to get a take out coffee and drink it while we shop. (She has to keep me on side or I wont pick pretty things for her to buy!)
I’m pretty sure I’ve ranted about this on the blog before, but I’ll shut up now and get to the point. Which is this, dear family, next time we go to Borough Market we’re going to The Rabot Estate instead, and I’m going to have a hug hot chocolate and that there chocolate mousse and make you all sit there waiting while I eat it at a painfully slow pace, slower than Liza!
So there.
Be sure to check out Victoria’s blog, it really is a treat for the sense, and even though she’s a vegetarian (not a bad thing at all, just a contrast to my meat loving ways!) I always want to go and eat at the places she discovers.
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{ town mouse } Hyper Japan…

At the invitation of a Japanese journalist friend, my stepmum and I popped into the Hyper Japan festival on Brick Lane yesterday and found ourselves in the middle of a Manga fan convention (Jonathon Ross was there, in his element!). There were Manga characters come to life (known as cosplay) and at every turn were stands heaving under books, action figures and costume accessories much to the delight of the eclectic crowds. I must confess that the main reason I had ventured that far east (and on a sunday!!) was the promise of sushi, so once we’d had our fill we wandered around some of the other stalls and I had my name painted onto a paper fan…
It’s actually the phonetic spelling of my name, so what it says is “kay tuh”.
I was transfixed by the calligrapher and her brush. The movements and strokes are so alien to the western hand, it was beautiful to watch.
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{ town mouse } enter stage left…

Having visitors from out of town always helps you to see your city in a new light. Maybe you stumble across a restaurant in your neighbourhood that you never noticed until now, or a bookshop/museum/theatre you’d always meant to visit but never got round to.
The V&A museum is my favourite London museum. It’s a beautiful building, conveniently located a short bus ride from me and within spitting distance of a very good sushi place, what more could a girl want? I’m a member of the National Art Library which can be found on the 3rd floor and where you can sit at ancient wooden desks, worn smooth by years of eager academics & designers, lit by  yellowed reading lamps while you peruse 100 year old copies of Vogue, design manuals for furniture designers in the 1800s or the entire catalogues of famous photographers.
Well yesterday I visited the V&A with my out of towner and while we did head straight to the Jewellery gallery, which is one of the most amazing rooms on the planet and always my first port of call, we broke my habit of heading back down the stairs to the fashion rooms and wandered the galleries of the 3rd floor instead. Cases and cases of tiny intricate portraits painted on slivers of ivory, banks and banks of intricate hand woven lace and embroidered jungles looming over you from the walls of darkened rooms. And then all of a sudden, like we’d stepped through the changing room door in an episode of Mr Benn, we were in a gallery dedicated to stage & theatre. It was amazing!! Intricate stage costumes from theatre, opera and ballet. Head dresses, hats, shoes, masks, warriors outfits, ballerina’s tutus surrounded us. In one corner we came across Kylie’s dressing room from her last world tour. The whole dressing room. The flight cases, wardrobes, dressing table, mirror, chair, shoes, dresses, notes, lipsticks, water bottles, make up, teddy bears, beaten up uggs… it was all there, like she’d just stepped out of the room to go on stage. Genius.  I had no idea that any of this stuff was there. Don’t you just love museums?
We walked on through to be greeted by glass cases filled with models of set designs…
Ring Round the Moon – Designed by Oliver Messel, 1950
Miracle in the Gorbals – Designed by Edward Burra, 1944
Long Day’s Journey into Night – Designed by Michael Annal, 1971
Rusalka – Designed by Stefanos Lazaridis, 1983
Tiny worlds within worlds, with a level of attention to detail that’s a little intimidating. We wondered around these rooms for hours.
And then we had sushi.
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{ town mouse } on the move…

“yes, I do need all this stuff. No, it’s not junk. These are my treasured belongings, thank you very much!”
Well folks, the time has almost come for this mouse to up stix and move into her new nest. Saturday is the big day, and with a make up job on an ad shoot pencilled in for Friday, things are about to get a little frantic around here. All of which means that the blogging might be a little thin on the ground, so please bear with me!
I’m so excited about the move, the new place is bigger than where I am now, with loads of storage space for all of my junk treasure and a spare room which will become my office/studio. I’ll be sure to post pictures of the best bits once the dust has settled. Best of all, my moving “team” is all female, so looking forward to a little bit of Girl Power (and tired arms!)
See you all soon!
x
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{ town mouse } sometimes…

Yes! Thunder & Lightening in London town! 
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I LOVE storms, the black clouds rolling in, the low guttural rumble of thunder, the flash crack of lightening. All that drama makes this girl happy.
And it always reminds me of the James song “Sometimes”, which I also love…
There’s a storm outside, and the gap between crack and thunder
Crack and thunder, is closing in, is closing in
The rain floods gutters, and makes a great sound on the concrete
On a flat roof, there’s a boy leaning against the wall of rain
Aerial held high, calling come on thunder, come on thunder
Sometimes, when I look deep in your eyes, I swear I can see your soul
Sometimes, when I look deep in your eyes, I swear I can see your soul
It’s a monsoon, and the rain lifts lids off cars
Spinning buses like toys, stripping them to chrome
Across the bay, the waves are turning into something else
Picking up fishing boats and spewing them on the shore
The boy is hit, lit up against the sky, like a sign, like a neon sign
And he crumples, drops into the gutter, legs twitching
The flood swells his clothes and delivers him on, delivers him on
Sometimes, when I look deep in your eyes, I swear I can see your soul
Sometimes, when I look deep in your eyes, I swear I can see your soul
There’s four new colors in the rainbow
An old man’s taking polaroids
But all he captures is endless rain, endless rain
He says listen, takes my head and puts my ear to his
And I swear I can hear the sea
Sometimes, when I look in your eyes I can see your soul
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{ town mouse } birthday bug…

Tomorrow is my God Daughter’s 1st Birthday. I am so excited, probably more excited than she is, after all she’s only 1 and probably hasn’t got a clue what’s coming tomorrow! She’s having two parties (yes, two!) A tea party tomorrow with all her besties and a special appearance from one of her favourite kiddie characters (OK, her dad in a suit, but shhhhhh…) followed on Saturday by a grown up bash where we will take her to the pub at lunchtime, oooh & ahhh over her cuteness (she has a lot of it) until she falls asleep and the G’parents take her home and we all carry on drinking and playing in her honour. Sounds good to me. I’ll be taking lots of photos, and I have my fingers crossed that  I can come up with something half as cute as this…
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