My London Afternoon Tea Experiences in 2022

Saturday, 25 March 2023

Afternoon Tea has become a huge part of my life since 2006. It has been one of the things that's keeping me sane and happy, especially when life seems challenging and I need something to cheer me up. This is the reason why I didn't even realise that I may have actually overdone it last year. But I have no regrets because I enjoyed every single Afternoon Tea experience I had then, most especially because I shared those experiences with people who matter, old and new. In fact, I had some of the most memorable Afternoon Tea experiences last year, and I'm going to tell you why.

1. The Claridge's - Brook St.
- Afternoon Tea at The Claridge's was on top of my list last year and I am glad that I was able to share this experience with two wonderful friends, Damaris and Veronica. Perhaps I could say that this Afternoon Tea sealed our sisterhood. It's amazing because despite our huge age difference, we get on very well. And this is why this Afternoon Tea at The Claridge's is one of my favourite experiences of all time. My companions alone already made the whole experience an unforgettable one, however the experience was further enhanced by outstanding service and classic collection of sandwiches, delicious scones and delightful pastries by Thibault Hauchard. Our waitress Katya served us with warmth and smile. For tea, I had the rare Malawi Antler- a tea that is not from leaves, but rather from stem of spring shoots. Apparently, only a few kilos of them are produced each year. The traditional Afternoon Tea is served in the elegant and classy Foyer and Reading Room. It was An Afternoon Tea full of joy and laughter, and indeed a celebration of friendship. Afternoon Tea price from 1st of April this year will be at £85pp. The Claridge's doesn't have a dress code, however I would suggest smart casual.

2. The Langham- 1C Portland Pl
- It was long time coming, but I finally had Afternoon Tea at The Langham in December last year.  And it was not just any other Afternoon Tea, it was a very special one because the person that I was with was someone I only met in person for the first time. H and I were virtually introduced to each other by our mutual love, Farrah. So, when H told me that she was coming to London and would like to see me, I knew that an Afternoon Tea was the perfect way to get to know her. Luckily, she was also into the British tradition, so we both had a fantastic time getting to know each other over indulgent Festive Afternoon Tea at the Palm Court in The Langham. Their selection of sandwiches was served on individual plates and was accompanied by Christmas cheese scones with port red onion chutney and stichelton. Their exquisite pastries consisting of Christmas spiced financier, crunchy pecans, sable and mendiant were served as one in the form of a tart. Everything was delightful, a reflection of Michel Roux Jr quality. As this was their Christmas Afternoon Tea, we paid £100pp including a glass of champagne. Otherwise, the current price is from £75pp. Dress code is smart casual.  

3. The Ritz - 150 Piccadilly 
- Afternoon Tea at The Ritz will never grow old for me. After all, it is my favourite place for Afternoon Tea. So when my friend Claudia asked me to book an Afternoon Tea for her birthday last year, I suggested The Ritz. The Afternoon Tea at the time was served at the hotel's former Ballroom. It was apparently the first time in The Ritz's history that the Ballroom was opened for dining, and it was only for a limited time. We were priviledged as a matter of fact, to have experienced their Afternoon Tea at their rather grand Ballroom. As usual, the food was excellent however, we were not offered a refill of sandwiches this time which they have done during my two previous visits. Not that it mattered, but their sandwiches are actually my favourite because they use different breads- from brioche, tomato bread to granary and sourdough bread. The selection of tea has always been straightforward, so it was easy to choose. Claudia had their passion fruit and orange whilst I had Mao Jian. It was indeed a wonderful celebration of Claudia's birthday. Current price is £70pp. Dress code is formal- gentlemen are required to wear a jacket and tie.

4. Celeste at The Lanesborough- Hyde Park Corner
- When I left my previous employment in December 2021, there were a few people who I wanted to get to know more in a deeper personal level and one of them was Gino. Gino was one of the calmest and chilled nurse I have ever met and not only that, he is very capable and has big potential. Then there was Ken, whom I interviewed a few months before. Ken's interview was one of the most unforgettable interviews I've ever done as a manager because he exceeded my expectations. However, for some reason during that time, I didn't feel quite right that he was ready to work in the private healthcare. And I would like to think that I was right, because both Ken and Gino are now happy ward managers in the NHS. So, this Peggy Porschen Afternoon Tea at The Lanesborough was a way for us to get to know each other better and celebrate their success, over delicious finger sandwiches, pretty selection of sweet pastries and perfectly baked scones. I opted for the strong but overall refreshing Sencha tea. Afternoon Tea price was £53pp (current for their Meadow theme is £68pp). Dress code is smart casual.

5. The Tiffany Blue Box Cafe- Harrods, 87-135 Brompton Road,  Knightsbridge
- Afternoon Tea at The Tiffany Blue Box Cafe was part of my leaving do when I left Epsom, however this was only with a very small group of beautiful young ladies- Charisse, Jherlin and Jenny. It was an absolutely wonderful Afternoon Tea experience full of laughter and meaningful stories. It was also a milestone for Jherlin, as it was her first time to drink tea. Needless to say, she loved it. The Tiffany Blue Box Cafe is perhaps one of those cafes that brings me comfort as the cool blue colour has a very special meaning in my life. The minimalist approach gives an impression of calm and serenity. I have visited the cafe twice and I am lucky that each time I went, it was not very busy so it was a more pleasurable experience. The dainty Afternoon Tea selection of sandwiches, sweets and scones, and the aromatic tea were served on classic Tiffany & Co teaware. It was rather enjoyable and for £69pp, it was definitely worth it. As far as I know, there is no dress code specified on their website, however I would recommend smart casual to be on the safe side.

6. Kai Mayfair- 65 S Audley St
- The Chinese Whispers Afternoon Tea at Kai Mayfair is one of my favourite Afternoon Tea experiences ever. Shared with my soul sisters Damaris and Veronica, we were treated to an extraordinary Afternoon Tea experience. I knew it was going to be an unusual Afternoon Tea experience as soon as we entered the restaurant and I saw a shelf full of fresh apples. The smell reminded me of my childhood, when my father worked in Saudi and used to bring home a few. Downstairs is a cosy room, tastefully decorated with Chinese ornaments. Highly noticeable were "The Chinese Whisper Song Birds" on the plates and Kevin Kwan's books "China Rich Girlfriend" and "Rich People Problems" where the menus were tucked in. It was a rather playful Afternoon Tea in that we were presented with a singing songbird and a "jar of whispers and conversations" to start with. We then get to whisper our secrets to the songbirds. As usual, I was the only one who followed the full rule and wrote my name on the belly of the songbird and clipped it on the birdcage. Haha. The food was unique, each tasted wonderful. My favourite were the Macarons with Clotted Cream and the Bao sandwiches. The service was outsanding, very gentle and warm. The lady served us with consistent friendly smile. Kai is definitely worth its Michelin star and for only £52pp, their Afternoon Tea is definitely a treat you should not miss. Dress code is smart casual.

7. The Rubens At The Palace- 39 Buckingham Palace Road
- It was my first Afternoon Tea experience with our Poppylove and it was great. The Rubens at the Palace has a Prince and Princess Afternoon Tea (£35) which was perfect for Poppy. It was the first time I saw her since the pandemic so this Afternoon Tea was a reunion for us. I have been waiting for the moment when I get to have an Afternoon Tea with Poppy, and there I was, watching her hold her teacup like a real princess and listening to her amusing stories. Ah, how time flies. She is growing very fast. I truly cannot wait for more Afternoon Tea spent with this beautiful and very smart young lady. The Afternoon Tea at the Rubens is served in the Palace Lounge overlooking the Royal Mews of the Buckingham Palace. The food was delightful and the service was attentive and friendly. Although the location is busy, I would still highly recommend The Rubens for a classic Afternoon Tea experience. Royal Afternoon Tea price is £70pp and dress code is smart casual.

8. Corinthia- Whitehall Pl
- So, I went back to Corinthia for an Afternoon Tea because of two special visitors from the United States. It always humbles me when someone makes time to see me when they are visiting London, but it is definitely an honour to be invited to an Afternoon Tea. I haven't seen Mailah and Auntie for so many years, therefore this Afternoon Tea was also a reunion. Mailah chose the Corinthia and I could not be happier as I love the place and their Afternoon Tea. I was actually looking forward to seeing the Baccarat crystal chandelier again which is an attraction in itself, and their red and black striped bone china teaware. The food as expected was delectable, their selection of finger sandwiches are some of the best I've had in London. The sweet delicacies were beautifully created and arranged as always and tasted so good. The scones were served in their classic white box, however something has changed this time. When I opened the box, the message, "Let's have some tea and talk about happy things" was missing. I took the courage to ask our waiter and he said that apparently, one customer complained about the message so they had to remove it. Oh, well. All in all, Afternoon Tea at the Corinthia is indeed a luxury. Traditional Afternoon Tea is £65pp. Dress Code is smart-casual.

9. The Bentley Hotel - 27-33 Harrington Gardens
- My Afternoon Tea at The Bentley hotel was a very thoughtful gift from one of my former staff. It was my first Afternoon Tea at The Bentley and it was not quite what I expected. The hotel's lobby was nice, however it was evident that it is dated. The Peridot Restaurant where the Afternoon Tea was served was poorly lit. The food was basic, far from what the hotel claims that other hotels envies. The service was okay but nothing special. For a 5 star hotel, I guess I was expecting more. BUT, my company was perfect which made up for everything. Afternoon Tea price is £42pp, and no dress code as far as I am aware.

10.  The Ivy Chelsea Garden- 195-197 King's Road
- Perhaps the worst Afternoon Tea I've ever had, and this experience at The Ivy Chelsea Garden validated my lack of interest in The Ivy Collection restaurants. Luckily, I had one of my best friends with me so my time wasn't wasted. First of all, the service was slow, impersonal and haphazard. Secondly, the food was mediocre. The ambience was unsettling and the busyness of the restaurant was palpable. We had to ask for things multiple times. You can't of course fault the decor, however we were not there mainly for that. I guess that's what you get for £29.95pp Afternoon Tea. Dress code as far as I can tell is casual.

Indeed,my Afternoon Tea experiences last year were all about getting to know people, building deeper relationships and reuniting with old and really good friends. As I feel like I overdid Afternoon Tea last year, I am planning to calm down this year. Saying that, I have already been to two Afternoon Teas since January, so we shall see. :)


My London Restaurant Experiences in 2022

Sunday, 19 February 2023

Just the thought of writing about my London restaurant experiences last year makes me feel like a true food blogger (haha, who do I think I am?), when in reality, I am just someone who loves a meaningful catch up with friends over good food and enjoys writing about them. I am very blessed indeed to have friends who share the same passion for food, and who are willing to explore the London food scene with me.

In 2022, a few of my favourite restaurants sadly permanently closed following the pandemic, however I also saw the rise of newly opened restaurants and cafes in the capital. In fact, my list of "restaurants and cafes  to try" is growing rapidly as there are a lot of new restaurants that look really promising. And this is one thing I love about London - the restaurant scene is vastly diverse, you will never run out of options to choose from. Also last year, I revisited some of the restaurants that are close to my heart. I also managed to tick a few boxes on my restaurant list. And since J and I moved to South London in the middle of last year, we also explored the local restaurants in our new neighbourhood. So yes, my London restaurant experiences last year were definitely meaningful and worth sharing with you all.

1. Daphne's- 112 Draycott Avenue
- Daphne's in South Kensington was the first restaurant I visited last year. They're known for their authentic Italian food and spectacular display of seasonal ornaments. As it was the first week of January when we went, the restaurant was still adorned with some of the most beautiful Christmas baubles I have ever seen. It was our first time at Daphne's and the experience was great- from the ambience to the service to the food. For starter, we had the octopus carpaccio with pickled fennel and datterini tomato (£14). I didn't realise that my friend Damaris has not had octopus before, so Daphne's was the perfect place to introduce this delicacy to her. For the mains, I had the linguine- generously mixed with portland crab and perfectly seasoned with chilli and parsley (£22.75). Damaris had the delica pumpkin risotto with gorgonzola and sage (£22) which she said was good. For dessert, I had the pistachio ice cream with hot chocolate sauce which was divine (£7.50), whilst Damaris had the vanilla cheesecake with clementine (£8.50) which she said she enjoyed. Dinner at Daphne's was indeed a good way to start my London restaurant adeventure in 2022. I guess it is important to note that since last year, their menu has slighlty changed and their price has increased.

2.  Hakkasan, Mayfair - 17 Bruton Street
- My visit to Hakkasan Mayfair was to celebrate Chinese New Year with my friend Claudia. We opted for their Taste of Hakkasan three-course meal for £39pp including cocktail, which was definitely a bargain for a Michelin star restaurant. We had the steamed and baked dimsum for starter. The scallop and chicken siu mai I thought was an odd combination but they really tasted well together. I'm not a fan of venison, but I really liked their black pepper venison puff. For the mains, we had the stir-fry black pepper rib eye beef and the sweet and sour pork which were both really good. The signature dessert came with a candle as the waiter thought it was my birthday. Lol. And now that I have been to both Hakkasan restaurants, I think I'll give it a rest for a while because as much as I loved the food experience, I don't have appreciation for the very noisy atmosphere and kind of rushed service.

3. Marcus- The Berkeley, Wilton Pl
- I have been watching Marcus Wareing in Masterchef The Professionals for a few years now and I really admire his seemingly calm and positive personality on television. This is the reason why his Michelin-starred restaurant Marcus in Belgravia was on top of my list to go to last year. And to treat myself, I chose the restaurant for my post-birthday lunch. My friend Claudia and I had the three-course meal and every single dish that was served to us was memorable. The chalkstream trout with rose, cucumber, dill and gin was out of this world. The Herdwick lamb on a courgette, served with ricotta and sprinkled with pine nut and olive melted in my mouth- everything was simply perfect for me. For dessert we had the nutmeg and custard which was the best way to end an outstanding lunch meal. For £60pp, it was reasonable for such a truly wonderful food, impeccable service and elegant venue. My food experience at Marcus is definitely one for the books. Also, I was gifted with a signed menu by the chef, not Marcus though but perhaps next time.

4. The Foyer and Reading Room at Claridge's- Brook St
- It was a gifted voucher for an Afternoon Tea, however the Claridge's was fully booked for the days that I wanted to go. Luckily, I was able to convert the voucher to lunch. As Claridge's is a special place, I invited a special person to share this special lunch with me- my Manang Juliet. This was my way of expressing my endless gratitude to her for all the help and support she gave me whilst I was at Epsom General Hospital. So to celebrate, we opted for a three-course lunch from the A la Carte menu. For starter, Ate Juliet had their tomato soup which she said was delicious. I had their lobster bisque, one of the best starters there is- lightly seasoned and rich in lobster flavour. I went lobster all the way and ordered their lobster risotto for my mains. This was one of the best dining decisions I've ever made. The lobster risotto and the chicken pie are the most popular dishes at the Clardige's and I am definitely not surprised. The lobster risotto was superb, I could have had another bowl. Of course, our lunch wouldn't have been complete without treating ourselves to a Thibault Hauchard creation - the vanilla mille feuille was absolutely divine! The service was as always, outstanding from start to finish!

5. Winter Garden Restaurant at The Landmark- 222 Marylebone Road
- It was a reunion with my very dear childhood friend from California and her family, and it couldn't have been anywhere better than the Winter Garden Reastaurant at The Landmark. We were greeted by beautiful Christmas trees on each side of the steps to the garden. And then voila, the 24-ft tall Christmas Tree in the middle of the garden, flanked by palm trees under the glass roof- perhaps the only hotel in London where you can find this oasis. The sun finally came out at this time, so we had blue skies above us. The piano was played all throughout our meal and it was kind of magical. The staff were very helpful, but not intrusive. We opted for the 3-course set meal at £55pp (including a glass of champagne) which was really worth it. I had the butternut squash soup for starter which was creamy and sweet. Then for the mains, I chose the slow cooked short rib of beef which was so tender and juicy. The lemon thyme sauce complemented the whole dish. The dessert options didn't really catch my attention but I had the passion and mango opera which was just okay for me, but then again I am not keen on fruity desserts. Overall, it was an unforgettable dining experience because of the great food and even greater company.

6. Little Social- 5 Pollen Street
- It was I think my fourth Jason Atherton restaurant visit and my second time at the Little Social in Mayfair. I must say that the quality of food as well as the service in all Jason Atheterton restaurants that I have been to are consistently of high standard. Kuya Dennis and I were about 5 minutes early to the opening time but the staff accommodated us without hesitation. Yes, I often book the earliest booking available on weekends to avoid the crowd. The ambience was reminiscent of my younger years in the Philippines, with music from the 80s and 90s playing in the background. The staff was gracious enough to share the playlist with me when I asked. If you know Atherton's restaurants, you know that the quality of food even in his non-Michelin starred restaurants comes with a price. However, Little Social has been generous enough to come up with an affordable Pre-theatre menu which starts from £25pp for 2 courses. Kuya Dennis was all praises for his cured Loch duart salmon with salmon caviar (starter) and Little Social burger. I, on the other hand, was craving for some Italian food, hence I ordered the La Latteria Burrata for starter which was refreshing, and the Pasta Genovese for my mains which was al dente, and the peppery and nutty taste of the rocket went very well with the pasta. It was indeed another meaningful catch up with Kuya Dennis over excellent food.

7. The Ivy- 1-5 West St
- But of course. J and I have been going to The Ivy at least twice a year in the last 7 years. Last year was no different. This restaruant has been consistent on my blog since I started writing about my restaurant experiences because it's the only restaurant where everything has been consistent through the years. In fact, last time we visited the restaurant, we were sat across a man who has been apparently going to The Ivy for over 20 years, and he was still as happy as when he went to the restaurant the first time. Although there are now The Ivy Collection restaurants all over England, there is really nothing like dining at the original restaurant in Covent Garden. You must try it to believe it. Anyway, when we went in November, J had his usual Tempura Nobashi Prawns (£15.55) whilst I had the Bangbang Chicken (£12.50) - it was everything! We chose familiar dishes for our mains because we didn't fancy anything else from the menu. J chose The Ivy Cheeseburger (£17) and I had the Roasted Pork Belly (£25.50).

8. Applebee's Fish- 5 Stoney St, Borough Market
- Ate Elvie and I may not have found our perfect grilled crab, but we certainly have found the seafood feast of our lives! I basically came across Applebee's Fish randomly as I searched for best seafood restaurants in London on Google. Ate Elvie is my perfect seafood buddy and most (if not all) seafood restaurant experiences I've had in London have been with her. I chose to book for 12 noon (their opening time) as being located in Borough Market, I knew that the restaurant would be busier if we went later. The staff were very lovely and obliging. They seemed happy to be working there, and this added to our wonderful experience. Ate Elvie does not eat much but when she is with me, she has no choice. She's always wondered how I can eat so much. Haha. So, as we both love seafood, we ordered the Applebee's Luxury Platter For Two (£120). There is only one word for this- heaven! The platter consisted of 1kg lobster that was split into half, tiger prawns and scallops. The garlic and chilli butter was divine! The truffle chips and the samphire completed this truly amazing meal! This, I can honestly say, has been the best seafood experience I've had in London.

9. Aviary- Royal London House, 10th Floor Montcalm, 22-25 Finsbury Square
- I am not really keen on rooftop restaurants because I think they are overrated. Some of the rooftop restaurants I have been to in London before were very noisy, staff were unfriendly and the services were poor. Essentially, I paid for the view and nothing else. I suppose nowadays, it depends who's inviting me, then I will consider going. Just like when I went to Aviary with two of my closest friends in London- Damaris and Veronica. The experience was great because of them. I mean to be fair, the food was good. I enjoyed my roast chicken breast and the sticky toffee pudding. Damaris and Veronica also enjoyed their food. The view was beautiful and we had fun hanging out and taking pictures on the rooftop. So really, all in all, this restaurant experience was good, except for the screaming intoxicated youngsters on the other side of the room.

10. The Ugly Dumpling- 1 Newburgh St, Carnaby
- It was my friend Claudia who suggested that we should try The Ugly Dumpling as she apparently heard so many good things about their dumplings. And the rumours were true. The Ugly Dumpling is a corner restaurant in the busy Carnaby Street with only less than 10 tables. We made a reservation hence we didn't have to queue. The staff greeted us with a warm smile despite the fact that we were almost 30 minutes late. We were given a table in the basement, under the stairs. It felt a bit cramped and the table was rather small, but the dumplings and the service made up for this. Their menu is short and straightforward, with no fuss at all. We decided to order two platters, which at £15 each was reasonable. Their dumplings were nothing like the dumplings that I have tried in many Chinese Restaurants that I have been to in the past. Every single one of the dumplings were amazingly delicious, but it was the cheeseburger, the pork belly and the aromatic duck that stood out for me. Even the chips was good- it was crispy and I liked the sweetness in it.

11. Lahore Karahi- 1 Tooting High St
- This was my first experience with Pakistani food and I was not disappointed. J apparently has been there many years ago so he knew the quality of food. I loved their Chicken Tikka Masala, and for just £10.95, it was well worth it. Their Lahore Speciality dishes are actually all value for money, prices ranging from £10.95 to £13.95. Definitely one of the restaurants we would love to go back to.

12. Ghurkas- 1 The Boulevard, Balham High Road
- My first visit to a Nepalese restaurant and it was a good one. The lady who served us was very pleasant, she had a smile on her face from the moment we stepped in and until we left. As it was our first time at the restaurant, we asked the staff for food recommendations. For starters, we had the Momo Cha (£6.50) - apparently street snacks from Kathmandu. It's essentially steamed dumplings with some herbs and minced lamb served in sesame achaar. For his mains, J had the Rara Chicken (£12.25). It was a little bit too spicy for me but it tasted good. I had the Khasi Tang (£14.75) which essentially is a knuckle of lamb cooked for hours in their special sauce. The meat fell off the bone and the sauce was very tasty. 

13. Brasserie Zedel - 20 Sherwood St
- I was previously asked if it was still worth going to Brasserie Zedel and my simple answer is Yes. In my opinion anyway. Zedel was one of our local restaurants when we lived near Piccadilly Circus. Although we didn't frequent this restaurant, we always had a fairly good experience whenever we visited. Our last visit was unplanned. We just happened to pass by and saw their Prix-Fixe menu at £15.75pp for two courses. I had the shredded carrots for starter and on reflection, I actually think I never had carrots for starter. It sounded like a cheap meal (which it was) but it was actually okay. J and I both had the Chopped Steak Americain for mains which also was not too bad. I mean it was a cheap meal so we didn't have high expecations. We were satisfied to say the least, but perhaps won't have their Prix-Fixe again.

I also visited a few other restaurants last year but I didn't have a good experience. Perhaps I will write separately about them next time. 

I know this blog is very late for Valentine's Day, but you know, one does not have to wait for an occasion to celebrate in a good restaurant and have a beautiful experience. Remember, there are a lot of reasons to celebrate- small wins or big wins, friendships, love, create new memories, express gratitude and even self-care.


2022, Thank You For A Better Year!

Monday, 2 January 2023

And just like that, it's 2023.

It's amazing how 2022 flew by so quickly. As they say, time flies when you're having fun. Yes, I guess it's safe to say that majority of my 2022 was fun. However, there were also a few occasions where life hit me quite hard. There were times when I cried silently, in the shower, or in bed at night whilst J was in his office doing his own thing. There was also one time when I unintentionally showed my vulnerability at work. This moment was witnessed by one of my staff who without judgment, hugged me so tightly and cried with me. Whilst some people may think that showing your vulnerability is a sign of weakness, I have always seen it as a sign of courage and an opportunity for other people to sincerely feel me, to clearly see through me and deeply understand me as a human being. Vulnerability has allowed me (through the years) to be true to myself and in fact, fostered my personal relationships. My anxiety also flared up, causing me to suffer some physical symptoms that I mistaken for a medical condition. Without telling anyone even J, I subjected myself to some investigations for reassurance. I was very relieved when the results came back normal. Apart from that, my 2022 was mostly good.

2022 was the year when finally, harmony was restored within my family. For a while, my family went through a phase of instability, one thing that left me downhearted. Being too far away from home , I felt so helpless. All I could do really was pray that eventually, members of my family would understand each other and communicate more openly. And ultimately, my fervent prayers were answered. This really made me happy, knowing that there is finally peace and harmony in our household. I pray that the beautiful relationship our family now have will last a lifetime. I know our family will never be perfect and will always be a work in progress, but I am proud of our family’s journey in the last few years and the direction that it's heading towards. All is well that ends well indeed.

2022 saw me cultivate and strengthen meaningful friendships. At 46, I am very happy that I have friends who are constant in my life, and whose presence add value to it. I am blessed to have friends who are equally nurturing, motivating and inspiring. Every catch up with a friend last year was relevant and purposeful, just like how it should be. 

Opportunities also came my way in 2022. J and I finally decided to take adulting on a higher level and moved into a place we can now truly call our own. It took us years to get here, however I have always believed that we were prepared for this moment. In addition to this, another job opportunity fell on my lap unexpectedly. It's when you know that someone is genuinely looking out for you and wants the best for you. Basically, one of my previous bosses introduced me to someone who would eventually offer me a job that I couldn't say no to. Think about better work-life balance, 4-day week and less stressful job altogether (away from all the madness of acute healthcare)- sounds promising, right? Anyway, six weeks into this job and I can confidently say that all is well. In a short span of time, I met a lot of wonderful people- colleagues, patients and their relatives. I am most grateful for the opportunity to interact with patients at a deeper, less clinical level which is bringing me so much joy at the moment. Everyday, I learn something valuable. I learn something new about life. I learn something new about the world and other people. Most importantly, I learn something new about myself. The people I have met in the last six weeks have reaffirmed that I am here for a reason.

I am also very grateful for the people who stayed in my life last year and the new ones who willingly let themselves into my life. The people, who despite being in the background, made me feel valued and cared for consistently. Sometimes people don't need to physically be with you to remind you that you are never alone. Sometimes, it's those random check-in messages that make all the difference.

This year, I am making a pledge to continue finding that purpose in all the places that I go to, in every person I meet and in every circumstance that I find myself in. There’s this, and learning how to live that purpose wholeheartedly. I also would like to focus on taking control of my thoughts, to ensure that I am more present in the here and now and not worry too much about what could have been and what will be. I also would like to practice gratitude more than I did last year, paying more attention to the little blessings that I certainly overlooked before. Gratitude and contentment are perhaps my big words for 2023.

How about you? Do you have any big words for this year? Whatever it is that you have in mind, I hope that these words will inspire you to do the right things in life. May you continue to live your life full of positivity, kindness and hope. 

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