february dances & parties

February was a busy month with lots of fun gatherings with friends, and three (!) dance weekenders - more on that later. My February started beautifully and hilariously with Anna's birthday party; a group of lovely people celebrating and playing silly games. It looked like this:

Yes, charades, obviously. :)

I so love this bunch of people!

The next weekend we went to Birmingham for Birmingham Swing Festival. I barely took any photos except these of Jon and Kathleen at dinner on Saturday. <3

Also on Saturday, the WEIRDEST THING HAPPENED. There was an Any Swing Goes (see what they did there?) contest. Liam and I were planning on entering dancing balboa, but he didn't feel his best just before the contest, so we had to pass. And then, when the people who wanted to compete gathered in the middle of the dance floor, and started to dance, I just felt (and said) ... oh, fuck it! And stepped out on the dance floor.

Everything after that is a bit of a haze. I know there was a tap out at some point, and I wasn't tapped out. I just continued dancing. And I know there was a tap in at some point, and Marie came up to me and tapped me in. And then was there another tap out? I can't remember, but I remember seeing the dance floor emptying around me, and I was getting really tired, but the music was great, and I kept on dancing, doing what I always do in solo jazz comps: All solo blues with a lot of fall of the log thrown in ...

And then there I was in the finals and everyone else around me had disappered except this fabulous couple, Stephen & Kathleen. I knew I wouldn't win against them (and I didn't - there was no way I could have outdanced them and I'm happy and honoured to place second behind them), but at that point it didn't matter - I just danced. And danced.

The rest of the weekend was so intense. I've never had this kind of response after a comp EVER. I got compliments on my dancing from everyone I met. Trisha Sewell and Marie N'diaye - the two judges whose opinion I, quite honestly, cared the most about; both of them people I look up to a lot - both came up to me and said that what I did was absolutely fantastic. But the most beautiful bit? People I've never met before came up to me and thanked me for sharing my dancing with them. As though I have something to give. I melted. I'll never forget it.

Photos by the fabulous Cheeky Rastall Photography.

After the weekend, Liam and I took the train to London - well, to Leavesden, to visit the Warner Bros. Studio Tour. I was crazy giddy and delighted, just like when I was first there seven years ago, and I took approximately one million photos; stay tuned for those, fellow nerds. :)

The day after we spent running errands in London and stocking up on UK essentials (squishy squashes, chocolate oranges, Matchmakers, Source shower gel (mint for Liam, lemon for me) - all the essential things for living). And we had scones at M&S. :)

I also went to House of MinaLima, which is a hidden gem in Soho; a member of staff at the studio tour told me about it the day before. It's the art gallery of the design duo behind all the graphic props for the films and it was so exciting!

Friday night in our kitchen. We had been dancing earlier in the evening, but we weren't feeling the music; neither were David, Tove or Karin, so I asked if they wanted to stop by at home for evening fika instead.

After posting about my puzzling last year, and how we would just have dinner at the kitchen table on top of my puzzles, my godmother gifted me this fancy puzzle mat (yes, that is how sweet she is). But when I came back into the kitchen from the bathroom, fika was already out on the table and no one had rolled up the puzzle mat. OH WELL. :)

Evening fika became night fika without us noticing, we just kept on enjoying each other's company. I love it when that happens, spontaneous guests who choose to stay.

Speaking of fika in our living room, here is a blues teacher meeting, in the middle of February. We had a lot of fun planning (even though it's hard work) and it's sad now that none of the fabulous courses and classes we planned will happen, as everything is cancelled - which is for the best, of course. There will be more dancing, some other time.

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