Another month has gone and we’re now closer to 2022 than 2020. Where do all the days go?! Time flies so fast. Last month, I decided to post a summary of my highlights of June 2021. I feel like it’ll be nice to look back on in the future, so I decided to make it a tradition and write up an overview of July 2021 as well. In all honesty, things I did at the beginning of the month feel like such a distant past, I’m actually amazed with how much I manage to fit in one month. One thing’s sure – I’m really good at keeping myself busy all the time.
Let me start the story with the UK’s favourite conversation starter – the weather. After a fairly decent June with a short heatwave, July brought rain, clouds and much cooler temperatures. With an exception of around one week (covering just one weekend), the majority of the month was pretty cold for the middle of summer, with frequent, unpredictable showers of rain being the even more annoying part. Impossible to plan any longer outdoor trips when the weather forecast constantly claims there’s a high chance of rain at some point of the day. Even more annoying when you decide to stay at home and there’s no rain for the whole day in the end!
Anyway, because I didn’t feel like planning an outdoor adventure was wise with possible heavy rains, I decided to visit the Museum of London on the first weekend of July. It’s one of the more popular London museums I hadn’t been to before, despite it being located a very short commute away from my house and the entrance being free. Museum of London, as the name suggests, focuses on the history of this beautiful city from the ancient times all the way to the present day. If you’re ever in the city of London with around 2 hours to spare, definitely consider visiting the Museum of London!
Two weeks later was the only hot, summery weekend of the month. And let me tell you, I used it to the very last second. On Saturday, I set off early and headed to Brighton – a popular seaside resort, located around an hour south from London. It had been my dream day trip ever since I moved to London nearly 2 years ago, but a combination of bad weather and the pandemic made me postpone those plans for such a long time. I won’t spoil too much of that trip now (I’ll have a post dedicated to that adventure), so all I’ll say about it now is that it was an in-cre-di-ble day!
After walking over 33,000 thousands steps around Brighton on Saturday, I still wanted to enjoy the rest of the hot weekend and decided to visit Richmond Park on Sunday. I’m still yet to write a post about Richmond Park, but what I need to mention is that it’s my absolute favourite park in London, by far. If I lived nearer to it, I would probably visit it once a week at least. Unfortunately, living on the exact opposite side of London means the commute takes well over an hour. Why do I love this park so much? It has deer running around, completely unbothered by the humans. The best place to go to if you want to feel like a Disney princess for a day.
On one of the overcast weekend days I went to Wanstead Flats and Wanstead Park – two green areas placed near one another, about half an hour walk away from my house. I wasn’t sure how long this trip would be (the heavy clouds weren’t looking good), but I decided to risk it, thinking I could just head towards the nearest tube station to have a ride back home if it started raining. Luckily, no rain disrupted my walk, which ended up around 4 hours long. I can definitely recommend both Wanstead Flats and Wanstead Park if you enjoy urban hiking in a forest-like park.
All of the above day trips deserve their separate posts and they will get them, at some point. I’m incredibly behind with those – each time I go to explore a new location, I come back with hundreds of photos. It takes time to look back through them all, and then pick and edit the best ones – not to mentioning writing the descriptions!
Moving on from my July trips, I need to mention some of my new favourite foods. This month, the trophy does to two discoveries – Thai basil ketjap manis (otherwise known as sweet soy sauce) ground turkey and 2 ingredient oven-cooked pulled chicken. I will post both recipes soon. They’re both incredibly simple and versatile – you can use the cooked meats for salads, stir frys, as sandwich fillers, as a side and honestly, however else you like. They also both taste great hot and cold, so the possibilities are endless!
In terms of crafts, I did close to none in July. Summer feels so short in this part of the world, I always opt to spend my spare time outdoors, walking, exploring, and breathing in some fresh air. Even on overcast days with not so summery temperatures, I like to get out of the house – as long as it isn’t raining, of course. There’s one craft I have been working on though, and I’m only about half way through – an adult version of painting by numbers, with acrylic paints on a canvas. A really cool twist on a popular children’s activity, and surprisingly difficult and time-consuming!
On TV, I enjoyed watching the Euros in the first half of the month. Really happy with the outcome of the final game, I was rooting for Italy there and they managed to beat England! But shhhh… don’t tell my British colleagues, everyone was soooo disappointed. Currently, I’m enjoying the Olympics and wishing they were taking place somewhere closer to Europe – the timezone difference between Japan and the UK means I miss out on half of the events. August will be so boring after the Olympics have finished!
I’ve been enjoying a more structured fitness routine in July and it made me feel so much better, mentally and physically, after a really short time. (And as it usually is with my newly picked up hobbies, it drove me to purchase quite a variety of new fitness accessories. Opps.) Then, on one Friday evening, right before my big Brighton-Richmond Park weekend, my back decided to strike. I have a history of back problems, but I’ve managed to avoid larger issues in the last two years. I was so determined to go ahead with the planned trips though, I pushed through the pain and limped around Brighton on strong painkillers, with a heat pack stuck to my back. Turns out, walking over 55,000 steps in two days is the best cure for a back pain & spasm I’ve tried so far.
As an aftermath of my sudden back injury, I had to slow down with my training regime directly after the episode. Trying to instantly get back into strength training probably wouldn’t have been the wisest. Instead, in the week following the incident, I focused on walking and stretching. I continue to work from home, so I had to fit my walks either before, or after work. I decided to set my alarm earlier than the usual 8:59 AM (it takes about a minute to get from my bed to my “office” in the living room) and go on morning walks before work. The weather was pretty nice that week and the 8 AM walks to a nearby park were so nice and refreshing, it made me realise how beneficial it is to start your day with some exercise. It also switched my biological clock instantly – I was actually tired around 10 PM and for once didn’t struggle falling asleep until after midnight. I used this new evening downtime to introduce reading books into my routine, which hasn’t been a case for quite a long time. I decided to keep both the morning, pre-work exercise and evening reading time even after my back got back to normal.
And finally, to end this really long diary log, July included my birthday! With my family back in a different country, I celebrated that day by myself. I took a day off work and was hoping to explore a new outdoors space, mainly having my eyes on the London zoo, which I still haven’t been to. Sadly, the weather forecast was mixed and I ended up walking around the shops on Oxford Street – something I don’t ever attempt to do on a weekend. I think the last time I’ve been to Oxford Street was… a year ago, on my birthday. Argh! And I don’t even particularly like shopping! Why does the weather always have to be crap on my birthday? Anyway, at least I had some nice food. I woke up to a notification from Lidl’s app – a coupon for a free, triple-chocolate cookie which I redeemed right after breakfast. I also had my absolute favourite pizza dough balls with garlic butter and a pepperoni pizza for lunch. Yum!