May is one of my favourite months on the Dulwich social calendar. Not only does it play host to the annual Dulwich Festival and Festival Fair, but this year is also when a fabulous friend will celebrate the big 5-0 with a well-deserved big birthday bash.

There is much more to celebrate this month too – a new Fresh Food market launched in West Dulwich at the end of April, the popular Artists’ Open House event is returning over the two weekends of the Dulwich Festival, and the Brockley Max Arts Festival is back for a 15th year!

On a personal level, May is a big month for me as well. Some of you may know that in my other life, I run a small business called Yiayia’s Kouzina. We recently published a recipe book – Secrets from Yiayia’s Greek Kitchen – and will be launching our first range of authentic Greek dips at the Dulwich Festival Fair on Sunday 8 May.

We will also be the guest speakers at the East Dulwich WI AGM, talking about our book and giving a dip-making demonstration!

If you are planning to attend either event, please do come and say hi, as we would love to see a few friendly faces.

Looking back in my diary, I managed to eat out quite a lot last month. That Slimming World membership really does pay for itself…

To celebrate the tenth anniversary of when we first met, my husband took me for dinner at The Palmerston. I ordered the fillet of Cornish sea bass while my husband plumped for the grilled 32 day aged Galloway rib eye steak with wild garlic butter, green salad and chips. Both the food and the service, was exceptional and the wine went down a little too well too.

Another great local family favourite is Si Mangia on Forest Hill Road, who make their own pasta on the premises and much to my delight, this includes gluten free options too! These days, avoiding gluten does not mean having to miss out on anything – Brockley’s Rock even offer gluten free fish & chips on Tuesdays. If only it could be Tuesday every day…

I also had a great evening at Olivelli on Lordship Lane with a friend recently. The downstairs restaurant was booked out for a Labour Party dinner the same evening, so we were ushered quietly upstairs and enjoyed a great Italian feast.

I have given up pretending to be on a diet – I am just so rubbish at it! However, I am going to try to incorporate more exercise into my routine to try and balance out all the food and ahem… wine. To this end, Angela and I signed up for a studio Pilate’s class at The Pilates Garden on Forest Hill Road, and we are already hooked! Following a posture assessment, our instructor mapped out a personalized plan for us both and my muscles really felt the workout the next day. The classes are small and welcoming and the prices are pretty reasonable too.

Now, I just need to attend about another 147 classes a week to burn off all the extra calories.

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This article first appeared in the May 2016 issue of SE22 magazine.