On Friday the (self-proclaimed) Northern Love Machine and I handed our three year old over to her grandparents and drove all the way to London for a date night.
It’s the first time we’ve headed back that way since moving from Berkshire to South Devon and – once we’d got over the loooooong journey – we were very happy to find ourselves in the capital for a night at Live By The Lake.
When you have kids, the opportunity for an evening out together is a rare and very lovely one. It’s funny, I don’t think I’ve had a bad night out since becoming a mum and that’s partly because I’m so damn excited to be off duty that any night out seems pretty special.
That said, Friday night was a spectacular treat, because it involved a night in a hotel, drinks in a pretty pub AND the most stunning setting for a gig I’ve ever experienced.
Set against the rolling gardens and lake of Kenwood House in London, Live By The Lake is a series of concerts over a week. The line-up includes the likes of Suede (who we saw on Friday night), Keane (who played on Saturday), plus a whole host of classical music.
We started our Friday night in The Spaniards Inn, a gorgeous pub with the best chips I’ve ever tasted. A couple of gin and tonics with friends under the dappled shade of the leafy courtyard and I was more than ready to head over the venue.
Walking into the stately gardens of Kenwood House was a bit surreal. Couples, groups of friends and families lounged on the grass relaxing in the evening sunshine, soaking in the grand setting.
Despite taking about a gazillion pictures, none of my photos could do the place justice. It’s just so vast and green and beautifully kept, it felt a bit like stumbling across a secret place.
The NLM and I have been together for more than five years now, but we’ve never been to a gig together before. I know, ridiculous. Part of the problem is that we have really different taste in music.
Friday night was a refreshing change though, because we didn’t squabble over the tunes once. Both being kids of the 90s, the Britpop music of that era is about the only music that we both agree is good. We grew up on Pulp, Oasis, Blur and Suede. I liked Suede back in the day, but the NLM was a HUGE fan and still rates them as one of his favourite bands now.
There’s nothing that quite beats the excitement and anticipation of seeing a band play live, but the setting of this particular gig marks it out from every other concert I’ve ever been to. There was enough room to sit down or dance around without getting trodden on. Plus, the atmosphere was really relaxed – we even saw groups of families with toddlers chilling out at the back taking in the tunes.
Whilst the queue for the bar was hefty, once we’d made the decision to get in a couple of rounds each time, we didn’t need to worry about going back to join the queues again. I didn’t wait more than ten minutes for the loo either, which is a blessing when you’ve had a few drinks!
The NLM is a teacher and, although it’s been great having time together as a family over the last few weeks, I have to admit there have been moments recently where we’ve got on each other’s nerves. We’ve survived a huge relocation, my own stress over pending work deadlines and the juggle of life / kids / work / moving. It’s fair to say we needed a night off from it all, away from it all. And Live By The Lake provided that perfectly.
The verdict? Brilliant music + superb setting = happy mum and dad.
I was provided with four tickets to a night at Live By The Lake, for the purpose of this review.
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