That was the weekend that was

Admiring the Darwin Brasserie view and Brocks Hill Leicester – 5 things we did last week

sky garden and Brocks Hill


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Another week another round up. It feels as though we are well and truly in Autumn now. The long hazy days of summer, with their relaxed bed times and cheeky pyjama days, are well and over  – replaced with homework schedules, and violin practice and dinner table planning sessions about this year’s Halloween costume.

This what we got up to last week….


  1. Awed at the Darwin Brasserie view, in the Sky Garden in London’s Cheese Grater

    darwin brasserie view
    This needs a whole blog post of its own to do it justice – I say that about so many things, and end up with a long list of unwritten blog posts that I mean to get round to one day!

    I was incredibly lucky this week to be treated to a surprise night out at the Darwin Brasserie by my best friend (and godmother to my son). We had an amazing table by the window with a breathtaking view of London spread out like a carpet at our feet. We watched London turn from dusk to darkness, with dazzling lights appearing in the hundreds as though someone had taken a bag of jewels and thrown them into the night.

    The food was gorgeous – simple, unpretentious and flavoursome (my gnocchi was creamy and sumptuous). And best of all the service was attentive but not too attentive. I’m not one for pretentious restaurants that are all shallow style and no substance. Thankfully, the food and the service here was worthy of such gorgeous surroundings. It doesn’t try too hard – because with a view like that it doesn’t need to.


2. Went to our Holy Communion introductory talk for parents

When I arrived at our Lady of Grace’s communion talk for parents I couldn’t find the right room in the Catholic Centre. There seemed to be tap dancing upstairs, men enjoying quiet pints in the bar, and a room filled with 100 people on chairs in the main room, which I assumed was some sort of special event.

I’d expected there to be about 10 or 20 parents, so was a little bit shocked to realise that the room with 100 people in was the Holy Communion Talk.

When I made my Holy Communion there was no talk, and no fuss. You were frogmarched to one of the elderly, wizened nuns who measured you up for your frock, and showed you a book of samples that you could choose your fabric from. On the day the nuns ushered us neatly up the aisle in our demure white frocks, and then we all had banana sandwiches and lemonade in the school gym afterwards with our families.

Tiffany themed communion?

These days Holy Communion is not to be taken lightly – and I think that’s overall a good thing, making sure it’s cemented in its spiritual roots. But I was a little shocked when I googled First Holy Communion to find websites upon websites offering themed party wear- with photos of expensive cakes, and even a Tiffany themed spread!

Each to their own, but this makes me feel uncomfortable, it’s as if the growing capitalisation of Christmas has reached Holy Communion too.

We will be using my son’s first Holy Communion as an excuse to invite close friends and family to the service, and back to ours for a bit of a tea and a few drinks. But I’m going to stipulate no presents, unless spiritual in nature (ie someone might want to give our son some Rosary Beads which would be sweet – I still have mine that were given to me by a great aunt). I hope you don’t think I’ve gone all preachy pants – as I said, it’s each to their own.

The thing is, even as I write there is an inner voice whispering – ‘but wouldn’t themed First Holy Communion Cups and plates be lovely….’. So perhaps I will succumb to the commercialisation too… watch this space.


3. Went to the fair at Turnham Green

fair turnham green

This was a bit of a rite of passage, because even though we’ve been to this fair dozens of times at Turnham Green over the years, we’ve never been after dark – when it takes on a whole new life with dazzling lights and good natured screechy teenagers.

There are some rides I would never go on – like the one in the photo above, which takes groups of people and turns them upside down while lifting them to terrifying heights. Although it was entertaining to watch people’s faces as they were strapped in and then hearing them screaming as they whizzed past.

There’s lots to entertain Chiswick Boy though – not least the massive inflatable slide for kids. The house of mirrors is always fun, as are my perennial favourite – the bumper cars!


4. Celebrated my brother’s 40th

brunch in the garden

It was a low key affair – because unlike when we all turned 30, at 40 we all now have kids and less energy.

We had a few drinks and some unwrapping of presents on Saturday night (I think the *scalextric I got him was a success – with the kids at least!

On Sunday the sun was shining in one of those gorgeous days you get in September that surprise you with their golden warmth. We had brunch in the garden and then…



5. Went to Brocks Hill Country Park

Brocks Hill

This 30 hectare country park is a great place in Leicester to take the kids. It has wooden sculptures, a great adventure playground and a rather cool designated den building area. There’s also a cafe and a sweet little shop selling cricket sets, and slimy slugs and bubble mixture, and other pocket money toys.


Well that was our week that was. What did you get up to?


The week in lists



A really low week for films for us – what with going to the fair and going up to Leicester we didn’t get our usual quota in!

  • Top of the Lake China Girl – my own personal box setting via BBC IPlayer
  • Gilmore Girls – still boxsetting this with Chiswick Daddy (Netflix)


  • The Fair at Turnham Green
  • Brocks Hill Country Park, Leicester

Ate at 


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