Wednesday, 25 December 2013

The Chill

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

He soothes me, settles me in a way no one else did, does, will ever do. His knuckles digging ever so slightly in my shaking shoulders, grounding, easing the mounting panic that shackles me, my throat, my voice, my heart. Making me think, genuinely believe, that I am going to die, when in fact it is but a figment of my vivid imagination. His blue eyes, frozen but not freezing, bore through my own, hazel, warm but not burning. 

In between is the chill, our winter beats, our beautiful everything, the frozen love that thaws and bleeds, as the warmth radiating from the pulp of my fingers settles on someone else's palm, which then incurves and closes around my hand. The closest we ever got to a lover's touch with none of the love and all of the touch, that is neither soothing nor settling; with eyes as earthy as mine, lacking the warmth but burning through my inner lens and then I think not now, not here, not like that, not with him, not fucking ever, and I sometimes feel sorry, and I am so so sorry, for the man I could've loved who is alone and burning and the man I should've loved, I love, who is with me and chilling and thawing in a never-ending state of perfect nothings, of us knowing that we soothe and settle and anchor our insecurities to let our beautiful everything blossom. More than a status quo, a state of mind, really. 

And then I close my eyes and shut out whatever maybes I had hoped for because the mind and the heart and the soul and the body are resilient, and mine even more so, a reminder of pain long lost and terrors long forgotten and the mounting panic that seldom gnaws at my core but still does, sometimes. And then your knuckles dig in my shoulders and your blue eyes bore through my own and I know it will be, not only okay, but pretty damn awesome too. 

Six years and seven Christmases later and the fairy lights in my head shoot through your sky blue and it means everything, every single thing, to me. 

I oh so love you even when I don't know how, but I always, always know why. 


Saturday, 30 November 2013

Restaurant: La Cosa Nostra

Saturday, 30 November 2013

My mom often says that there is a thin line between love and hate, which is true for (some) people like Gwyneth Paltrow or the moon-that-was (though if I were to compare him to a celestial body now, I'd go for a black hole), and of course green vegetables such as asparagus or artichokes. Firstly because I only ever indulge in roasted asparagus and marinated artichokes, in the same way I applaud Gwyneth's good looks but loathe everything she represents as a byproduct of the muddled thing we call beauty.

Same goes for Italy.

Yes, the country. Now, don't get me wrong, there are some things about Italy I would definitely not recommend: sitting across a hormonal teenager in the Circumvesuviana line while flaunting a budding cleavage; Silvio Berlusconi; or even, for that matter, the most densely populated volcanic region in the world. But, yeah, I mean, you know, Italy does have Tuscany. And spaghetti alla carbonara. And Moscato d'Asti wine. And calzone. And Parmigiano-Reggiano. And risotto. And arancini. I think you got my point: as the most French Frenchwoman ever to have Frenched, finding my "little Italian restaurant" is third on my list of priorities when crashing through someplace new (after locating the nearest charity shop and nearest wine bar). The UK, obviously, was no exception.

Coming after Bordeaux, which had its fair share of Italian gems, such as CPP ([1], [2], [3] and [4]) or Elio's Ristorante (which is actually Sardinian), I wasn't really sure whether the county of Hertfordshire was up to the challenge. 

I don't know if I'm getting there, but I sure as hell have not come across such a hearty, simple and straightforward place like that in a very long time. Lo and behold, minions, La Cosa Nostra, a brisk ten-minute walk from St Albans station. I, for one, loved it. The only criteria I deem valid for an Italian restaurant is simplicity, that lovely unpretentious flair one only finds in the very best. La Cosa Nostra was spot on.

Simple starter pizza: olive oil and tomato sauce. 

Back to basics: a lovely dish of spaghetti alla carbonara, because there's nothing like nummy carbs lathered in egg yolk.

Spaghetti alla bolognese, dubbed a "bold and adventurous choice" by my colleague Kristen. That man lives dangerously.

La Cosa Nostra
62, Lattimore Road
St. Albans
017 2783 2658

Friday, 22 November 2013

Event: Sigur Rós at Wembley Arena

Friday, 22 November 2013

I was first introduced to Sigur Rós by an old friend, dark and dangerous like only first-time lovers are. The slow, hypnotic beat of Ágætis byrjun rung through my ears and I loved, and still love, the song more than I'd loved the dark, dangerous friend, who was little more than infatuation fodder for my broken, bitter heart. Funny how, for all my efforts not indulging the darkness to which I am somehow drawn, I almost took the leap seven years later with someone equally dark and dangerous, the sun that was. But I digress.

Fast-forward two years and I make a new friend, fair and open like only kind lovers are. I am nineteen, a mere child, and I try very hard to be less broken and less bitter and more kind and more grateful. Sigur Rós follows every step of the way and it is no coincidence if my new friend, fair and open like the sun, decides he somehow likes me and likes that haunting music I listen to. Ágætis byrjun still rings through my ears and I still love it very much because it is the only music that genuinely moves me. My new friend becomes a friend and then an old friend and then my best friend, and stays by my side through poverty and depression and illness and expatriation and unemployment.

Still every step of the way, Ágaetis byrjun Von Samskeyti Glósóli Heima Isjaki ring through my ears and almost a decade later my lips emulate the lyrics without ever uttering a sound because Jónsi's falsetto is incomparable and gorgeous and loyal

it rings true


Friday, 15 November 2013


Friday, 15 November 2013

(A/N: A companion piece to Gone and Spark. Third and last in the series.)

As a woman, and a very much passionate, outspoken, opinionated, articulate, even sassy woman, at that, it seems my life ought to have been a succession of shoulds.

It seems I'm not really entitled to an opinion, let alone thoughts of my own, god forbid words of my own. Opinions and thoughts can be easily dismissed or invalidated as the mere trifles of a confused and over-emotional mind, some might say a female mind; but words are etched, carved, even, and they poke and nip and sting and bite and scrape and burn more than any sound escaping my lips ever did.

I should stop blatantly stating my opinion in public because "You don't need to be like that" and I should stop thinking too much because "It doesn't pay the bills" and I should stop writing because "It has no true purpose"—and by that they actually mean no other purpose than being, in itself. Of making something meaningful, something thoughtful, something beautiful, whether you reap riches or rags or nothing at all. What I call freedom of speech or kindness or creativity you call something that should not be. I should hold my horses and I should keep my own counsel and I should be able to choose the right time to say the right words because, for all my intelligence, it is baffling how little I conform to the expected norm.

My sense of timing is dreadful, but then again it seems I have wasted so much time, or rather, lifetimes, pursuing what I understood then as happiness with ugly people, inside and out. Thinking I didn't deserve any better. Thinking. But what was I thinking, exactly?

My love for most people was born from mutual friendship and affection, and in that respect it is a matter of choice. But sometimes my love stems from an ill-conceived sense of righteousness, the belief that there can be no desire without love, a matter of circumstance entirely. The belief that I am somehow better, too good, almost, for this; that I can only ever desire a person whom I love dearly. The people I love are easy to love, and difficult to lose; the people I thought, and still think, I love, are so difficult to love and so easy to lose. I am both, difficult to love and difficult to lose and I am purposefully difficult the way I was desperately easy when I was thirteen or sixteen or nineteen and didn't know, quite literally, any better. And so I indulged in loving people who did not deserve a tenth, or a hundredth of what I gave them, ugly people, inside and out, a mirror of my own self at the time. 

But then, I never was ugly, even at my fattest, even at my most bitter, I was just myself and doing the best I could with muddled choices and unfortunate circumstances. When I feel unloved or worthless, I relapse, I revert back to that other lifetime where I despised myself and despised others. It feels so far away and yet I am so familiar with the feeling that it almost feels like home. 

The only should I abide to, the only should there ever was, is the one where I feel and think and write, and where Aethe, that small measure of peace, that little piece of you, is brought to life by the words I etch.

Because there is no need to carve what is set in stone in my mind.

Quite the character. 

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Restaurant: Tarboush

Saturday, 9 November 2013

I often tell people, especially the French (who have no clue whatsoever about British geography), that we live in the Greater London area. The truth is, we are nestled in between that city of blinding lights that is indeed London and, I believe, the counties of Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire. If the London Midland trains don't go all TARDIS on us (i.e. if there isn't water, or worse, frozen water, falling from the sky), we're a mere fifteen minutes from Euston, and then another ten minute walk from King's Cross St Pancras.

It took me a little while to adjust. Switching from flamboyant Bordeaux to, in comparison, a rather dull commuters' town in South Hertfordshire is somewhat of a hassle, mainly because the local Sainsbury's offers very little in the way of wine tasting (read: "astringent crisp" Pinot Grigios). However, we decided very early on to tackle the prejudice which had been drilled in our French minds from infancy, and scour the area for decent restaurants. Now, British cuisine, unlike its French counterpart, steers clear from the wholesome, fairly traditional casseroles and is quite happy to include foreign or exotic staples in its repertoire, which makes for amazing culinary discoveries.

The Tarboush Mediterranean Cafe is Watford's answer to Bordeaux's gastronomic excellence. It aims for nothing less than pure awesomeness. First off, it's Lebanese, which is quite possibly my favourite nationality in the entire world. (Yes, I have favourite nationalities. People with whom it instantly clicks. Like the Dutch. Or the Swedish. Or the Portuguese Okay maybe not *all* Portuguese.) Secondly, their baba ghanoush sets a precedent for the way all baba ghanoushes should taste: beautifully silky and wonderfully smoky. And, last but not least, there's fezes everywhere. (And I guess we can all agree on the fact that fezes are cool.)

Anyhow, my point is, you should totally go there and stuff your face. Like, now.

Ayran, otherwise known as the most awesome dairy beverage ever to have awesomed.

Chicken taouk: Cubes of chicken marinated in garlic, lemon and olive oil grilled on skewers. Moist and tender. Like moose meat and a Swedish lady.

Tarboush veg. mezza: hummus, moutabal (baba ghanoush!), tabouleh, vine leaves, falafel and cheese sambousek. 
57, Market Street
WD18 0PR
019 2324 8898