HarBar on 6th

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Very happy to report that we’ve had some brighter days since my last blog post. I’ve been trying to plan one ‘nice’ thing each month, to ensure I always have something to look forward to.

Last week we were invited along to sample the new spring menu at the rooftop restaurant of a local hotel. HarBar on 6th is located at the top of our local *Harbour hotel & Spa*, located in Southampton. We’re very privileged to live on the south coast, & this restaurant bar takes full advantage of its position on the edge of the Ocean village complex with stunning views across the solent.

Boasting both indoor & outdoor seating, this place feels cool but with a relaxed vibe, I noted that whilst we were there, families were sat alongside couples & all looked to be having a great time.

(This swanky end of HarBar on 6th is the entertaining space where a resident DJ plays!)

It’s very rare that we go out as a couple, to be honest we probably do it once or twice a year? We prioritise spending money on the kids, make excuses that we’re too tired & feel guilty that we’re relying on family to babysit.

But do you know what, I’m so glad we were invited out for this evening, we had such a lovely time, sharing each other’s company, the dim lighting was very flattering on my eye bags (& if you squint you can’t even see Nigels grease stained hands!).

We were shown to a table next to a panel of huge glass windows, looking out over rows of boats bobbing in the harbour, with the ocean in the distance behind the twinkling lights of the apartments lining the edge of the water. We definitely had the ‘if we win the lottery….’ chat!

Feeling immediately relaxed I ordered one of the ‘Crews Cocktails’ the ‘all on board’, consisting of Plymouth Sloe Gin, lemon juice & sugar syrup. It was absolutely delicious & a bit too easy to drink, I decided to try to remain sophisticated & ordered a bottle of Rosé to go with our meals!

As well as bites & starters, the menu had a good range of mains, with meat, fish &grains all covered. Prices started at £8, but none of the mains included a side, which were priced separately. I found this a little odd, once you added one or two of those, the price totalled around £14, which I think is very reasonable, I just would have preferred an ‘all in’ price, personally.

For starters we went for Giant Tempura prawns & whitebait, both were good sized portions & very tasty. I should also mention that the staff were very courteous & helpful-I’ve had feedback from friends that on occasion this was lacking during their visit, but I’m very happy to report we found quite the opposite. We don’t go out much, & when we do I really appreciate good service.

I was very tempted to go for a pizza as the outdoor pizza oven is renowned for its beautiful creations, but in the end I went for the pulled pork burger with Monterey Jack cheese. It was huge, & the coleslaw inside the burger was so tasty, it really finished it off perfectly.

Nige went for the flat iron chicken, not really knowing what to expect, I think the fancy shoestring fries it was garnished with were wasted on him to be honest, but he enjoyed it!

If I’m honest, our puddings were probably the part of the meal I was most looking forward to! I definitely have a sweet tooth & always look at the dessert menu before I choose a starter or main course!!

We chose to share the mascarpone passion fruit cheesecake & chocolate brownie with cherry compote. Now, I fancy myself as a bit of a brownie connoisseur, this one was good, but the cheesecake was AMAZING, so so tasty, the perfect end to a really lovely meal.

I really want to go back during the day to see HarBar on 6th in a different light, & to sample more of their menu(I think I’ll take the girls for afternoon tea as it’s been highly recommended to me!). We had such a lovely evening, I’ve already been googling the drinks menu ready to choose my next cocktail, do you think I can persuade Nigel to take me out again?!

We were gifted this meal in return for an honest review here on the blog, so as usual-all opinions are my own.

Many thanks to HarBar for hosting us!

Kirsty x x x

Where I’m at.

This blog post is certainly not how I wanted to start 2019. But these thoughts swirl constantly in my mind & so I thought it may be cathartic to get them out there. I’m not sure if I’m writing this for me or for you- if I’m honest.

If you haven’t experienced profound loss in your life yet, I’m so, so happy for you, & you won’t know that right now, you’re walking on air, bouncing from fluffy cloud to beautiful rainbow without even realising it. Sounds like a crock of shit doesn’t it. One day you’ll say ‘she was right’.

Sure, that £500 car bill is hugely inconvenient, & you may be facing redundancy from the job which pays your mortgage. But neither of those hiccups could possibly come close to the white hot burning pain of loss you feel in your heart & mind when a(very much) loved one is ripped away from you. Like an avengers movie, my life feels like it been smashed up by a huge robot, rampaging through every street, buildings burning, people running, screaming, crying, huge craters opening up in the ground as I try to walk through each day.

I definitely didn’t ‘appreciate’ grief(at least, not this kind)before now. Sure, my heart broke when I learned friends had lost a partner, when one of my best friends died in a car crash. Or when I read stories in the paper of mothers diagnosed with terminal cancer at 30.

But this? This is different.

This grief controls every moment-of every day as I live and breathe. I find it hard to quantify in words the pain I feel-all of the time. Sure, some days are sunny(metaphorically speaking) Some days, it pisses it down, & it feels like a lightening bolt will strike me at any moment.

I don’t just miss the little things, the ‘I saw your stories, your haircut looks gorgeous!’ Txt from her. Or the ‘shall I just clean your windows, you’ll never get round to it..’ (she was right).

But the fact that, she was like, a half of me? My children are all a little living breathing piece of me, but as my mother- she was a mirror image, inextricably intertwined. We shared the same thoughts, opinions, loved each other fiercely & would do anything for one another.

As you know, Nigel works very long hours on the farm-so in his absence she took the place of a partner. From the life changing-helping me make financial decisions, to the mundane, an extra pair of hands after swimming lessons or at the weekly food shop. She would stay here at least a couple of times a month, slating the stars of love island & helping me to keep Pringles in business in the process. It was so lovely to have another adult in the house with me.

So it’s almost as though I’m grieving a partner-In the sense I’ve described. And getting my head around the loneliness of those situations is immense. I’m not sure I ever really will. I just really fucking miss her.

My days are a constant battle to keep my head above water. ‘Don’t think about her, don’t think about her, don’t think about her’ I’ll tell myself when I look out of the window & see her car on the drive, hear her dog bark, catch a glimpse of her name on my iPhone ‘favourites’ list.

Not because I don’t want to give myself time to think about her, but because I don’t want to sink.

I’m a mother to four(needy!)kids, a housewife, a friend. And I still want to be all of those things, even though I’m carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. I don’t want to cry everyday (because it’s physically exhausting). I don’t want to binge eat on crap because I’m sad then regret it afterwards. I’m not saying this is the ‘correct’ course of action to take-it’s just the one which works for me.

Even though I was there, weekly, daily, watching her deteriorate over three months. Most days I still question ‘did that REALLY happen, have I ACTUALLY lost her??…’ I cannot make sense of it-I don’t feel like I ever will.

Those few months weren’t what you would expect after a cancer diagnosis. We didn’t talk about death, how much we’d miss each other, how mum felt about dying, because from the moment she knew-she became a different person. So delicate, probably terrified, perhaps in denial? She was very sad, but not in a selfish way-just with great dignity.

She didn’t plan ahead & buy me a Christmas card, a birthday card, take extra photos of us together because maybe, just maybe, they’d got it wrong, it happens doesn’t it? ‘…Man eats pineapple every day for a year & his cancer disappears…’ I can see the headline now.

But that didn’t happen, and now all I have left is memories, photos, videos, precious possessions.

I hear her voice in my own when i speak & it hurts so much. I ask myself questions which had never entered my head before. Should I have had children if they’ll have to go through this pain one day? Is this it-is this life?, you cruise along having a great time then suddenly, catastrophically-its over?

Should I not bother with opinions, to try to earn money, to look nice, because none of it counts in the end. Should I try to live differently, or just be grateful for everything I have & never strive for better??

I have no answers to these questions. I’m just writing down my thoughts so that some of you-who may sadly have asked yourself the same might feel some comfort that you’re not alone.

At the moment I don’t want to have counselling, I don’t want to speak to my best friends in depth about my mum.

The only people I really speak to are Poppy, Ruby & Nigel. They always say the right things, or nothing at all & just hold me, or listen to me, & once the floodgates are open, i do always feel better afterwards.

I realise this is just the start of a very long journey. I can’t promise to share every path I take, but I hope by reading this you take something away, whether that be to appreciate what you have today in a way you haven’t before, or the comfort of feeling you’re not alone.

Thank you for reading.

Lots of love, Kirsty x