I’m used to being cooked for every day by my partner who is a food writer and cook but, abandoned to myself this week, I’ve taken to walking down to Islington Green with my Sealyham terrier, Lucia, and popping into Bellanger for lunch (the photo above is of another canine fan of the same restaurant). The restaurant quickly became my favourite in Islington when it opened a year or so ago. I love it because it’s spacious and comfortable, the food and the service are excellent, there’s no background music and – very important – they are dog friendly. Lucia loves the place too because they give her a bowl of water and a specially baked Bellanger dog biscuit whenever we visit – sometimes Lucia asks for two.
I’ve loved having lunch here every day this week and it felt as if I was retired and able to spend all my time eating – one of the many advantages of being freelance is that your lunch break is as long as you want it to be. It occurred to me though that it was just as well my partner wasn’t staying away longer because my lunches were getting bigger each day – I even began toying with the idea of a second glass of wine, which always sends me to sleep. It made me wary of how easy it is to slip into bad habits. Self-discipline is an admirable quality but it’s not much fun! So much easier to indulge. Many of my clients have told me that they’ve not done any exercise for some time, got out of the habit, intend to get back, but a bit busy at the moment ... Meanwhile the pounds pile on and the stress of life takes its toll on the body.
I’m back to light lunches now and my fleeting self-indulgence hasn’t inflicted any visible harm but I think another few weeks of Bellanger lunches and I would have been lost to the world of indolence and weight gain.
I had a client in Highbury this week who is a high-powered finance wizz. He's in his 30s and he told me the hardest thing about his job was staying trim while having to indulge in so many working lunches. He began each day at 5.30am in his private gym and sported an impressive six-pack to prove it. There is, you see, no such thing as a free lunch – one way or another we pay for it. Though I have to say, little Lucia is all for self-indulgence and two Bellanger dog biscuits for lunch each day.