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Vol. 34 - What An 'Off Week' Looks Like





When I was at school, we had ‘A’ and ‘B’ weeks, or at the time, what I liked to refer to as ‘On’ and ‘Off’ weeks. Our timetables would change depending on which week it was, with the idea being that on ‘Off’ weeks, we would finish school earlier in order to use our spare time for extracurriculars such as sports, volunteering, or studying. Of course, at that age, I was not using my spare time for any of the above, instead choosing to hang out with friends and get up to no good. Ironically, as a now self-employed adult, I’ve actually found some use in having ‘A’ and ‘B’ weeks (this has only been a recent addition to my life as I’ve lightly grazed on burnout a few times in this past year). My ‘A’ weeks are dedicated to as much work as possible. Whether it’s the things, I can do from home, such as my planning, writing, filming, editing, and completing brand deals or running around London for meetings, PR events, and other work obligations (networking is a big part of my job and the one I struggle with the most). In an ‘A’ week, I try and say yes to as much as possible and put work first. However, a ‘B’ week is for the things that serve me. It’s not necessarily all enjoyable, and there is a lot of life admin involved amongst the things that actually bring me joy, but even the annoying stuff is still important as, ultimately, it’s still serving me. I also try and prioritise my social battery — whether that’s seeing friends and going for dinners or knowing when to say no to spend some time recharging. Of course, nothing in life is ever as black and white as an ‘On’ and ‘Off’ week, and there is always going to be some overlap, BUT ultimately, the intention is there, and that’s enough for me. So, for this week’s issue, I’m going to give you an unfiltered look into what my version of an ‘Off’ week looks like.


 


I’m going to be honest with you: Monday was slow. I woke up early with an unexplained strain in my groin/hip area (get your mind out of the gutter) and saw it lightly drizzling outside. Past Tamsin had booked a morning session with the personal trainer, probably knowing that future Tamsin would need a push to leave the house and get moving. She was right but also fuck her. I always try to walk to and from the PT because it’s a pleasant 20 minutes of decompressing and getting lost in music, and despite the drizzle and the groin strain, I still really enjoyed it.



I have been seeing a personal trainer 1-2 times a week since last year in an effort to get stronger and become more in tune with my body. As someone who trained very competitively in more than one sport growing up, I now realise how much I took my body for granted. I also now understand how, during that period, I learned to disconnect from my body (which sounds counterproductive for someone training at a highly competitive level, but hear me out). As an acrobatic gymnast, my body had always functioned as a machine. It was there to be pushed, bent, starved, and manipulated in whatever way it possibly could to get to the end result. As well as it needing to be functional, it also needed to be as light as possible whilst still being aesthetically pleasing (a big thing with acrobatic gymnastics was the presentation, and it was something you were marked on alongside the technical). At the time, I completely dissociated from my body in order to make sure I could make it do the things it needed to do, and when I gave up all competitive sports, I had the same mindset but on the other end of the spectrum. I hated exercise and instead indulged in eating, drinking, and smoking, assuming my body would continue to serve me as it always had, which only continued to feed the unhealthy habits I’d picked up from years of training. Anyway, long story short, I’ve been seeing my PT for nearly a year now, and it’s the longest I’ve stuck to any consistent exercise since my days of competitive sport. I also combine this with reformer pilates, and I’ve noticed how beneficial it’s been to my mental and physical health. I still don’t particularly like working out, but I’ve also realised how much the social aspect has meant to me. Being self-employed can be pretty lonely, so even knowing I have a few hours each week where I’m going to a place to train with people I enjoy the company of has made a difference. It also helps me switch off from work and personal life for an hour so that I can just focus on what I’m doing at that very moment.


Afterwards, I walked off my session with a detour down Bond Street to do some window shopping. I still needed to find a dress for our engagement party, but being sweaty and red isn’t really the best condition to be in for trying clothes on. Instead, I went to Selfridges to pick up something small for a friend I was seeing for a birthday lunch later that day. Gift in hand, I trotted on home and made myself an omelette before having a call with a prospective accountant. I’m currently in the process of finding someone who can do it full time for me as for the last year, an old colleague/friend has been very kindly handling it for me. Being able to find a decent accountant is one of the many things that needs to be added to the school curriculum. Anyway, after a quick shower and a bit of blusher to look more alive, I took Rhubarb to Notting Hill for lunch at Buvette. The one in Paris is a favourite for Henry and me (and Rhubarb), so it is baffling that this was the first time I was trying their London branch. I love how cosy Buvette feels, and we were all one roaring open fire away from having a very long snooze with our napkins as blankets.


It started to lightly rain outside, which added perfectly to the atmosphere, and we shared a bottle of red wine whilst nattering away. I had the Brandade (mashed potato with cod and confit leeks), and the table shared some cheese and charcuterie alongside a tomato salad. Rhubarb sampled a little bit of everything. Afterwards, Rhubarb and I walked it off down the Portobello road towards Westbourne Grove before the rain scuppered our plans, and I succumbed to a black cab. By the time we got home, it was nearing 5pm, and we spent the rest of the evening drying off in front of the TV whilst watching The Bear.



Another skill that should be taught at school is how to stack your beauty treatments because, as I’ve come to learn, some interfere with others, making them entirely redundant. I woke up and headed to Hagen for an iced oat matcha with honey. When I’m on a time crunch, and I can’t get a Blank Street Matcha, Hagen is the second best. You’re just going to have to trust me on this. I had an early appointment at Iris Avenue for an eyebrow lamination, a treatment I’ve only started having in the last month and, annoyingly, it has been kind of life-changing. A friend of mine had been telling me to try it out for the better half of a year, but as those close to me know, I am horribly stubborn and will only do something once I’ve decided I’m ready for it. If you are Asian or you have very straight, long eyebrow hairs, lamination is a game changer. It really opens up your face, and you don’t have to faff with all of these brow gels that just make them crusty. Next to the salon is a place called Treadwell’s, which is one of the more famous bookshops in the UK as it’s known for stocking everything to do with magic, the occult, and witchcraft, as well as their world famous lectures and in-store tarot readings (rumour has it, JK Rowling used to go here and it was part of her inspiration for Harry Potter). I had planned to go in anyway to pick up a few books, but I saw that they were also doing walk in Tarot Readings and my curiosity got the better of me, so I booked one.



Whilst I waited for my appointment, I bought ‘Dreaming Ahead of Time’ (a book about whether dreams can predict the future), ‘Making Magic’ (a book about weaving magic, ritual, and tradition into daily life), and ‘The Hidden Lives of Dreams’ (a book about what dreams can tell us and how they can impact our waking life). I’ve always had very vivid dreams, as well as lucid ones, so the dream sphere is something I’m heavily interested in. There have also been a few instances where I have seen things before they’ve happened (nothing serious) but also entirely unexplainable. For example, I had a dream recently about my two childhood best friends coming over to hang out, and one of them randomly started projectile vomiting in every room and wall of my house. I sent said friend a text the next morning telling him about his antics in my dreams, and he told me he’d spent the morning projectile vomiting and that he’d caught some kind of bug. Most of my ‘psychic’ (for lack of a better word) dreams tend to be about those close to me and things that are happening to them. Anyway, I went into my Tarot reading with some hesitation as I’d never had one before and wasn’t really sure what the cards (or this woman) could tell me that I didn’t already know, but it kind of blew me away. I won’t divulge every detail as it’s largely personal, but during one part of the reading, we decided to look at the next 12 months, and the ‘cards’ had told me that there was a month I’d be moving (to be by water) and that it was going to have a big emotional and physical impact on me. The exact month it said this was going to happen is the month that Henry and I have to decide whether we want to renew our lease in London or not. As part of Henry’s new job, he can also work abroad for a month, and we had been discussing whether it was worth moving to another country temporarily once our lease was up. When I got home, I decided to crack out my tarot set and give Henry a basic reading, and when I did his next 12 months, he also drew the cards about moving and the impact it would have on him during the exact same months. It might all be a coincidence, but for all of those things to have happened in succession seems unlikely. For lunch, I went to The Life Goddess, which is a fabulous Greek restaurant also on Store Street, and I had a spinach and feta pie with a side of Greek salad. Delicious.



Rhubarb and I walked home, and after a quick change, I went to my physio appointment. I spoke about my first session with this guy in this Tiktok that ended up going viral, and I’ve been seeing him weekly since. He takes a more holistic approach to the body, and there’s a combination of soft tissue therapy as well as strength building exercises that I have to do in order to make my body a bit more functional. Since that first session where I ended up sobbing on his table, I’ve found that in my daily life, I’ve become more emotional and less prone to hold things in. I’ve also noticed a change in my body shape around my waist area, where my ribs are no longer flaring out as much because I’ve learned to breathe properly. There’s really something to be said about myofascial release, and it’s crazy to me that our fascia isn’t spoken about more. My post physio ritual is to go to the corner shop next door and buy fizzy sweets (I usually feel a little tired and depleted after a session), so I grabbed some sour patch kids before heading home briefly to get ready for my final appointment of the day. I headed to Dr Tatiana’s to see Dr Sepi for my botox top-up. I’m very overdue some in my masseters, but as I’m now exploring the idea of getting braces (more on that later), I couldn’t have anything injected in the lower half of my face, so I had my forehead and my brows done instead. The actual injections take less than 5 minutes, but I usually end up there for quite a bit longer as Dr Sepi, and I like to gossip about anything and everything before we actually get down to business. If you’re looking for someone to do Botox, she really is the best. She’s nice but no-nonsense and often tells me I’m being ridiculous when I ask for something she knows I don’t need. I then took my red, needle-marked face straight to an evening viewing of Barbie because 1) Henry hadn’t seen it, and I knew he’d love it, and 2) I wanted another excuse to see it again. You can’t drink for 24 hours after you’ve had Botox, so I nursed a bottle of water and a jumbo box of mixed popcorn. I still need to see Oppenheimer, but I also don’t have a spare 4 hour block in the day that doesn’t include looking after Rhubarb or going to one of my million and one self-inflicted appointments. I left the cinema with the reminder that I am Kenough.


 


You know how I said that a life admin week includes annoying stuff that I don’t want to do? That was mainly referring to Wednesday morning when I was sitting in the waiting room at the dentist, waiting for a filling. As many of you know, I have had an ongoing jaw saga, and I am currently trying everything to even my smile outside of just having double jaw surgery. I recently saw an orthodontist who told me we can achieve more symmetry with proper dental work (which sadly includes adult braces), but before that saga begins, I have to have my old fillings sorted and my existing metal retainers removed. He referred me to one of the dentists he works with closely, and nearly 2 hours and £399 later, my filling was done. The bad news? I need another two replaced (they are over a decade old), and at this rate, I am going to have to consider starting an OnlyFans to keep up with my dental bills. My dentist was also alarmingly stacked, and I was worried that he might accidentally dislocate my whole jaw with one wrong move. The radio was also playing a segment about how rampant depression amongst new mums is, with the interviews being badly cut with inappropriate songs (such as Call the Shots by Girls Aloud) during the hour and a half I had my mouth pried open. He also had to make a cocktail of numbing stuff to inject my mouth with because the first one he gave me wasn’t strong enough, so by the time I was done, I was giving Sloth from The Goonies. I actually fucking hate the dentist.



I was near Sloane Street, so considered doing some more window shopping in the hopes that I would find something new to wear to my engagement party, but talking wasn’t an option with my newly paralysed face, and I didn’t have it in me to dribble down myself in front of a sales assistant. I sought refuge in the Harrods food hall, hoping that an overpriced lunch might make me feel better. I went to the Caviar House & Prunier, thinking that everything would be soft and, therefore, easy enough to eat, but it was still difficult to chew, and I couldn’t taste a bloody thing. I feel like there’s not enough representation when it comes to these issues, but I’m hoping my bravery will inspire other people with time and money to be even more insufferable. Anyway, I made a detour to Starbucks on my way home for a Soy Caramel Frappucino instead and then decided to re-organise all of my products that were giving me anxiety every time I opened my wardrobe. I love these stackable Hay crates to keep everything in order.


After doing a little bit of work on this newsletter, my friend came over, and we hung out a bit before heading to an evening reformer pilates class at the Nobu Hotel, which was great in theory, but it’s also not the sort of class you can do with a friend who makes you laugh easily. I think I spent a good 80% of the class with my eyes closed, so we wouldn’t make eye contact and set us both off. When I got home, I took Rhubarb for her evening walkies and then popped into Bayley & Sage to pick up some small nibbly bits for dinner. As always, I got sidetracked and bought some Vanilla Latte Cheeky Nibble granola purely because I liked the look of the packaging. I wasn’t expecting a lot taste-wise as it’s gluten-free and vegan, but oh my godddd, it is actually delicious. I now snack on it dry because it’s so tasty. I also like to steal a bit of Henry’s salted caramel Huel and add it to the granola like a milk for a protein hit in the morning.



I started the morning working on this newsletter whilst listening to Taylor Swift. Over the last few years, I’ve played her very loudly in small increments with Henry around in the hopes that he will start to enjoy listening to her. The graft paid off because I can now play her songs for two hours whilst Henry and I work, and he will actually sing along. There’s something to be said for that analogy about the frog being dropped into a pan of cold water.



After a pretty civil morning, I took Rhubarb over to Knightsbridge around midday for a very overdue appointment with my colourist, Amie, at George Vallossian. She’s been doing my colour for the last two years, and it’s now reached the point where I just say, ‘make me look nice,’ and she does whatever she thinks is best. Halfway through, Rhubarb started whinging at me as she needed to pee, but that area of the world isn’t exactly flush with greenery (her loo of choice), so I had to spend an embarrassing amount of time walking around the main roads of Knightsbridge with a head full of foils and my hairdresser cape on. Eventually, Rhubarb got off her high horse and peed on a bit of abandoned astroturf in front of a closed shop. I ordered an Atis salad for lunch (the best in London that is also available on Deliveroo, The Salad Project is so shit in comparison, so please don’t believe the hype) and then walked the whole way home so that Rhubarb could have a proper run around in Hyde Park. Despite its flaws, London really is unmatched when it comes to walkability. There’s always something beautiful to look at, and walking from A to B never feels like a chore, especially when it’s a glorious summer's day.



It was 4:30 pm by the time I actually arrived home, and I had two hours to eat, change, freshen up, and get over to Battersea for my friend’s Birthday drinks. We started at The Pear Tree in Battersea Park, where it seems like every sub 25 year old who went to a public school and now works in marketing/property/finance goes and congregates. Despite it literally being some chairs and a bar next to a pond, certain days of the week there can feel like a mini-festival. There was even some live music going on amongst the chaos. After a few hours, Henry took himself and Rhubarb home, and a few of us carried on and headed to the Two Brewers (a legendary gay bar/club in Clapham) to party a bit more. We stayed until closing, and I got home around 2:30 am. I probably could have gone on longer if they hadn’t kicked us out at 2am - It’s nice to know that my advancing age has had no effect on my ability to dance until the small hours. There are very few people I will travel South of the river for, especially when it’s a night out in deepest, darkest Clapham, but I had such a great night of dancing and singing that I didn’t really mind. I did, however, pick up something that night, and I spent the next three days with a severe fever and stomach pains. Before you say, ‘Tamsin, are you sure it wasn’t just a hangover?’, I need you all to know that 1) my alcohol tolerance is alarmingly high, and 2) I always switch to water by 11pm so that I can stay up longer and not feel so gross in the morning.



As one does after going to bed in the early hours, I overslept. I had a call with another prospective accountant at 9 am that I missed as I was in the shower, attempting to both wake myself up and clean off the booze that had been spilled on me the night before. Luckily, I managed to catch him 15 minutes later, and I’m glad I did because I knew he would be the one to save me from HMRC. I have a few test questions I ask to test the waters as I need someone who really understands social media as a career. As it’s still a relatively new industry, a lot of accountants tend to lump us in with actors and the entertainment sector without understanding some of the nuances, so I’m glad that I finally found someone who seems to really understand that.



After the call, I headed back to Iris Avenue, this time to get my nails done, as one of my best friends from Uni wanted to have hers done for her birthday (Yes, I happen to have a lot of Leos in my life). For the last few months, I’ve had builder gel, which is SO strong and as a result, my nails looked like I was ready to swoop down from the sky and pick up a small animal with my talons. I went for a standard gel with a French ombre and finished it with a pearl and purple chrome. Rhubarb enjoyed a chilled puppycino. I was feeling slightly ropey, which I initially put down to dancing until the early hours of the morning, but as the feeling began to intensify, I knew I was coming down with something. As I sat and sweat through the rest of my appointment, I remembered why I’d vetoed nights out if they were south of the river. After our nails were done, we decided we weren’t quite ready to call it a day, so I recommended that we go to Ampeli on Charlotte Street for lunch. It’s a fantastic dog-friendly, Greek and Mediterranean restaurant which also serves delicious Greek wine. I’ve never had a bad meal here. After spending a few more hours chatting and nibbling, we went to Blank Street to get iced blueberry matcha as our pudding, and then we parted ways.



We were both incredibly eager to get home and watch the Season 2 finale of The Summer I Turned Pretty so that we could voicenote our thoughts afterwards (as we do in our group chat with my friend’s twin sister after every episode). I was personally quite disappointed with the finale, and aside from using some of the worst Taylor Swift songs, I also hated how lazy some parts felt where they just used song lyrics to explain what was happening in the scene instead of the actual scene itself doing the work. I also didn’t tear up once, so I knew I was definitely coming down with something. Unfortunately, I didn’t too have long to feel sorry for myself as we had dinner reservations with friends at Cavita, a Mexican restaurant on Wigmore Street. The good thing about this restaurant is that it’s kind of vibey and it’s dog friendly. The bad? Well, it’s horrifically overpriced for very average food, so it’s one you can certainly avoid. My fever had also ramped up, and I was experiencing sharp, stabbing pains in the upper left part of my stomach, which, after a quick Google amongst the table, we concluded was either an infected spleen or malaria. I basically just needed to change into something comfy and lie down flat with a cup of green tea. We decided to take dessert back to our place, where I did just as mentioned above whilst everyone else enjoyed some actual alcohol. I eventually took my infected spleen/malaria to bed at a reasonable time and slept like a log.



Despite feeling like warmed-up dog shit, I knew I had to persevere as I had one big, important commitment today that I didn’t want to bail on. I take plans pretty seriously, and I hate cancelling unless it’s something I feel in my bones that I have to do. Today’s commitment was a birthday lunch at 45 Jermyn Street for my best friends (the twins). The stomach pains had subsided, but the malaria was at an all-time high, so the most I could wear was a white t-shirt, which made me feel horribly underdressed, but at least I wasn’t sodden by the time our mains arrived. If you go to 45, you have to order the Beau’s Negroni (served in a ridiculously expensive gold-based tumbler) and their gigantic knickerbocker glory. I went for an entirely unseasonal hot toddy, knowing it would help knock some of my illness out of me, and it actually worked because I felt 10x better afterwards. I was, however, very aware that both my mental and physical faculties were depleting, so I knew that once the lunch was over, I was going to have to lay down with some tea and some bone broth and not move for the rest of the weekend. Henry was the only man at the all-girls lunch, but he said he didn’t remember the last time he’d laughed that hard. Lunches like those are my favourite because despite them being long and leisurely, which is enjoyable in itself, they are also full of history.



When you’ve known someone for over a decade, you also know those close to them, and instances like these are times to catch up and reminisce on everything we’ve experienced together (and apart) as a group over a long stretch of time. In particular, this girl’s lunch included the four-month-old daughter of one of the girls, with whom I’d shared many dinners and even a ski trip over the years, so seeing her now as a mother really made me reflect on the past. I thought about how I’d lived with the twins for a few years after uni and how amazing it was to have had that period of time where it was just three best friends, making fun snacks and drinks to watch terrible reality TV with and laugh about after a long day at work. Or having each other around during the highs and lows and various dramas that were going on in our early 20s, and here we were all these years later, celebrating a 30th birthday together. If you have the opportunity to live with your girlfriends, grab it with both hands(!!!) You will learn so much about yourself and each other. Don’t be in a rush to move in with a partner before you’ve had a chance to live with friends. Anyway, we headed home around 4pm, moved the sofa to create a big square (the perks of a modular sofa), and polished off Season 2 of The Bear. I had a few admin bits to sort out surrounding our engagement party, but I could do that from the comfort of the sofa. The main thing was figuring out how to get 20 tubs of the Anya Hindmarch Ice Cream without queueing at the store for two hours, only to find the flavours had sold out. Anyway, at this point, my brain had just turned to literal mush, and I don’t remember anything else, so I am going to leave you all with this terrifying photo of Rhubarb to close out this issue.



With Love,


Tamsin & Rhubarb

xoxo

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