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Categories: Natasha

The North Downs Way

May 29, 2014 2 comments

The NDW. The Natasha Dara Way, obviously. James is even the one who said that 🙂 IMG_0659

I don’t think it’s that I didn’t have the foresight to track our 156-mile trek, it’s just that I didn’t have the faith that I would actually follow through and join James on all of it. Is that any better?? But I feel like I’m losing the ability to say ‘I’m a city girl’ even though I still feel that way because now we’ve done five sections of this guy! And I do enjoy it once we’re out there, but I am just never going to be the motivator. So I thought it was as good a time as any (famous last words, hope not) to start tracking the journey we’re taking on Pilgrim’s Way. James has been using a guide to take us through the path, so I’m going to use that guide as a frame for how I keep track. First things first (I’m the realest–though some of us think it’s ‘I’m a realist’ ;)) – The North Downs Way is a ‘long-distance path’ that runs from Farnham to Dover. I thought it was the same thing as Pilgrims’ Way, but evidently not. Still, I like the sign: IMG_9086

Farnham to Guildford

Date: 31/8/2013
Distance: 11.1 miles
Deets: Waterloo station to Farnham station; Guildford station to Waterloo station Walk 1 was great. Really fun, obviously novel for me. We walked 10+ miles today?! Whaaaaaaaat?! Cool!

Guildford to Gomshall to Westhumble

Date: 21-22/9/2013
Distance: ~15 miles
Deets: Waterloo station to Guildford station; Westhumble station to Waterloo station We actually camped this time, so we walked just 2.9 miles to St Martha’s Hill and stayed there overnight in bivvy bags and sleeping bags on sleeping mats (no tents!! “then we can’t see the stars” …mmk) and then started again in the morning, passing Gomshall on our 12ish mile way to Westhumble, where we stopped at a pub, The Stepping Stones, for lunch.

Westhumble to Merstham

Date: 21/4/2014
Distance: 11.6 miles
Deets: Waterloo station to Westhumble; Merstham station to Victoria station This walk started with the aforementioned namesake stepping stones!

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A Matter of Love and Death

March 7, 2014 Leave a comment

Grim, eh?

No pics to break up all the text, sorry. But this week, I saw two of the painful ways that the loving life of a couple can end. And it reminded me of the …vincibility? of youth.

I’ve always kind of been scared of getting old. Seeing Amour last year didn’t help. I think I used to think that dying young would be easier. But that’s selfish, because it would probably just be easier for me. Not so much for those I love that I’d leave behind.

Anyway. On Wednesday night, I watched the latest HIMYM episode [spoilers ahead] Read more…

Venturing to the Near East

March 3, 2014 Leave a comment

Last year, on our flight to Vienna, Sarah and I made a napkin list on our flight of all the places we still wanted to visit, especially because we hadn’t really done all that much traveling in 2013. I actually don’t remember if Tallinn made it onto that list, but whatever circumstances led us to book Tallinn, I’m grateful for!

Sidenote: If you’re on an easyJet flight with a flight number that starts with 8, your flight will leave from the North terminal and if it starts with 5, your flight will leave from the South terminal. I never remember this, so thought I might if I wrote it down here and then it might be helpful to others too. Note it!

I might have said that it was a short 3 hour flight from London to Tallinn, but a, I have been spoiled by short European flights and b, we had to spend those 3 hours with multiple groups of drunk, disgusting, loud, obnoxious bachelor parties. Apparently Tallinn, Riga, and Vilnius have become big bachelor party destinations. Some of the quotes I couldn’t get out of my head include:

“Yeah I don’t really remember the wedding. [My wife’s dad] was pretty pissed. When we watched the video, it was cringeworthy.”
The one next to me marvelled at my shuffling as Sarah and I readied for a game of rummy (yes, oldies next to rowdy idiots doesn’t turn out well) and told me to do it again. Instead I blanked* him and dealt the cards.
“Oh, it’s fine, I washed all the guilt off in the shower”
“I don’t know, that’s when she was putting her knickers back on”

And some of these losers had wedding bands on. Is anyone else vomming yet? Yes, I can be judgemental, I know you all think that anyway ;p
Thankfully, we didn’t run into these idiots again until our flight back, at which point they were a shade quieter, probably because they were hungover.

Anyway. Once we landed in Tallinn (the cosiest airport in the world), it was a short 2.5 miles from the airport to the Old Town (and only €10!). I would definitely award it most convenient airport in the world, to add to its cosy accolades.

We stayed at a place we found on airbnb, and it was convenient, secure, reasonably priced, and probably one of the coolest rooms I’ve ever stayed in since the ‘headboard’ was actually part of the stone wall that used to separate the upper and lower parts of the Old Town!

After putting our things down, we did a little foursquare research refreshing and headed to SfääR Cafe (but again, more on the food over on RostsEatLondon).

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It’s still Christmas in Warsaw

February 11, 2014 1 comment

This is what James the my Great gave me for Christmas:



Not only was it a great surprise that we were going away somewhere, it was a riddle!! I love riddles.

Unfortunately though, before I figured it out (because it was hard! And my Google skills are waning/I never went past page 1 on any of my searches, because I don’t remember the last time I went past page 1 on any of my searches…), I had a mishap and clicked a subscriber email from TripIt, emails which I NEVER open, when I meant to click something else entirely, and saw that ‘James has a trip planned to Poland’ and before I knew what was happening, it was too late. I didn’t even know James used Tripit!

The night before, I was actually so excited that I couldn’t sleep, so only ended up getting about 4.5 hours before I had to up and shower and head to the airport for our flight before noon on Friday. As we landed, we could see snow blanketing the ground. It was kind of the best because we didn’t have to stay indoors because of wet, freezing weather, but still got to walk around for the weekend seeing beautiful snowy whiteness and hearing the satisfying crunch under our shoes. We settled down at our hotel, (The Warsaw Intercontinental!) in our room with an amazing view of the Palace of Culture and Science:


aka best hotel room timepiece ever

and got ready and headed out for some drinks and the Polish National Ballet’s production of Read more…

State of my Shoenion

February 6, 2014 Leave a comment

Heel-o! A warning: today’s post is super frivolous.

Some people accuse me of being a shoeaholic (Hi Papa). This post will probably leave me no room to deny this allegation. But as I broke in my new Blue Shadow Supergas walking home the other night, I thought about how some of these guys have really stuck it out with me (and for some of them, the effort really shows…), so it might be fun (for me) to catalogue them. I do love them dearly after all. So here we go.

The Raindancers

Before London, I had one pair of rain boots that I can remember as an adult. My family definitely remembers those bright yellow guys and tried to pretend to forget me when I wore them. Then I came to London with one pair of rain boots. They were black&white checkered and I have no pictures. They are long gone. Since then, I think I’ve had 5 more pairs. Here are 4 of them, though half are semi-retired unless a guest is in town and needs to borrow a pair (Julie).


Birthdate, city/parents: January 2014, London/Kurt Geiger
Insp/Asp-irations: Sarah G’s wedge rainboots
Greatest accomplishment: trekking up Widcombe Hill in Bath very quickly and then walking downhill through fields #hikinginheels, as they say (Sarah L was simultaneously impressed and not impressed at all)


N is for Natasha, Norway and Nigardsbreen

Birthdate, city/parents: May 2014, London/Sports Direct
Insp/Asp-irations: Panic, emergency purchase before trip to Norway
Greatest accomplishment: CLIMBING A NORWEGIAN GLACIER! One of the coolest (lit and fig, obv) coolest coolest things they (and I) will ever do; getting engaged at the end of the North Downs Way! Are these my most accomplished shoes??

photo 3 (3)

Bows are cute

Birthdate, city/parents: January 2014, London/Dorothy Perkins
Insp/Asp-irations: keepin’ feet dry without hottin’ up the rest of the legs
Greatest accomplishment: having giant mouths but not letting water inside


Birthdate, city/parents: October 2013, London/Aldo
Insp/Asp-irations: people at work have told me I look like someone from some show, but it’s a reference that was over my head that I’ve now forgotten
Greatest accomplishment: attending The Limerick Show


Birthdate, city/parents: Unsure, London/Redfoot
Greatest accomplishment: Being foldable!

The Mile High Club

These shoes, quite appropriately, cradle my weak, weak Achilles heel.


Birthdate, city/parents: circa 2010, Austin/Strut
Insp/Asp-irations: to roam sexily a la Carrie Bradshaw, Season 4 finale en Paris, but without the dog poo
Greatest accomplishment: staying white

Birthdate, city/parents: circa 2010, Austin/Strut
Insp/Asp-irations: I hate peep toes but for some reason couldn’t resist these. Must’ve been a good bargain
Greatest accomplishment: attending a wedding in a Welsh Castle
Read more…


February 3, 2014 Leave a comment

I’m not complaining. Or bragging. Just noting my thankfulness for everything that I’ve been able to do and see, as well as for the fact that I got to spend some QT in my much neglected bed this weekend. And my room was even clean! Double win! (Or as I was reminded recently, I think C Sheen calls it bi-winning?) Here’s the best part:


Finally putting to use my Christmas present from Krishes that fully exhibits my ring addiction. The hand even thinks it’s doing a pretty A-ok job.

The last 8 weekends (and parts of weeks!) have been amazing. So so so so so amazing. But oh man was I glad to be back in Londy. Because it was the first weekend in London in way too long though, I had some difficult, but obvious (if I wanted to be a good human) choices. While I wanted to just lie around, I had made plans with Sharry, a friend who studied in Austin a few years ago and now lives in London, for Saturday, signed up to volunteer on Sunday, and as I belatedly realized, had also signed up for a trial run of a cycling class bright and early on Monday morning.

After brunch at Andina, Sharry and I headed down over Tower Bridge to the Scoop and had a quick look at the RNLI Courage on our Coasts – Photography Exhibition. Then we headed to Maltby Street Market for a Craft Coffee and Sharry got her first look at our little market and picked out what she wanted to brunch on next time. Then we made our way to the White Cube via a furniturey shop with a relic of Daenarys Targaryen’s and a little British shop with the cutest (and most expensive) little handmade baby shoes:

GoT    baby shoes 

I wanted to see the Franz Ackerman exhibition I’d read about, but ended up liking the He Xiangyu one much more. Check it out if you’re in the area! It’s on until April 13, 2014. And be sure to pick up an explanation paper at the front.

Sunday night and Monday morning were the two Cycles. Read more…