Carnaby Burger Co, The Valley of Astonishment, Work playlists and being upfront and honest when dating.

13 Jul

I’ve been a bit rubbish with the whole ‘updating the blog’ thing; BUT that is because I’ve been doing a lot of the whole ‘having a life’ thing, which does mean I have lots to talk about and share with y’all.

EAT: It feels like months since I went to the Carnaby Burger Company and scribbled down my thoughts. Probably because it has been that long. Nonetheless I DO remember the burger and the place, so I promise you won’t be short-changed in terms of my review.

I’d heard very mixed things about the CBC. Those of us who know our stuff seemed to like the place but don’t consider it one of London’s top burger joints. However, the general public seemed rather impressed (that sounds snooty and pretentious and I’m sorry… but how else can I phrase it? ‘People who don’t chase burgers around the city’? Actually yes. That’s better.)

Firstly – they have a lot of variety, which is great to see. They have more than one veggie option (FOUR nonetheless!) and six chicken options. I went for the Melted cheese, Jalapeño peppers, crispy bacon and tomato salsa grilled chicken burger. Side-wise my friend and I shared ‘Posh Fries’ (Our original recipe of sweet chilli & ginger dressing and chunky guacamole).

photo 1

There isn’t a huge amount to say about the fries other than they’re tasty, but without a kick. They’re also quite fluffy, but soggy (due to the huge amount of sauce on them, which isn’t always a bad thing). I should also point out these are 100% NOT fries, but chips. They’re nice enough, but relatively lacking in flavour considering the number of condiments they come with.

photo 2

Onto the burger. The bun was good – held everything together, tasted nice enough, so they done good there. The guacamole was, like it was with the fries, quite lacking in flavour. I sense it’s in the burger to make it feel less dry and salty, considering the way the chicken is seasoned and the inclusion of bacon. I have toi say, the bacon was good – nice bite to eat, salty but not overwhelmingly so. The chicken was tender but not hugely flavoursome (again, the inclusion of the jalapenos in this burger was necessary to give it a kick). Cheese was forgettable.

Now, this sounds like a bad review, but it’s not all bad. The burger was ‘fine’. Not top notch, but it could have been worse, The meat was cooked very well and the bun held up. But compared to the big guns in London, this place doesn’t stand the chance. Which is why, nestled in Carnaby Street, it catches the people who will be impressed with this place. More so than I was at least.

In summary: good, not great. I can see why average Joe is impressed, but for me everything doesn’t come together, it just sits on top of each other. The texture of the burger was nice, but the flavour was lacking. And there you have it.

SEE: I went to see  The Valley of Astonishment at the Young Vic this week. It’s been running for a couple of weeks and I believe yesterday was their final show. I admit, that makes this review a little pointless as I’m essentially bringing something to your attention which you can no longer experience… but I enjoyed myself and I want to honour the show with a good write up!

“Imagine a world where every sound has a colour. Where every colour has a taste. Where the number 8 is a fat lady”. Synaesthesia is quite a remarkable condition, and one you’ll probably be aware of without knowing what it’s called. The most top line description I can give you is that synaesthesia is a neurological condition in which people’s sense get confused – they can experience more than one sensual response to a stimulus, rather than just one. So, someone with synaesthesia could ‘see’ colours when they ‘hear’ a number aloud. The number seven could be a blast of purple. The number three could have a green hue. The Valley of Astonishment sees a number of characters, all with varying types of synaesthesia, talk through their experience and how it affects their lives.

The cast are quite remarkable. Kathryn Hunter, Marcello Magni and Jared McNeill play, at different times, someone with synaesthesia, secondary characters and doctors conducting neurological research. Kathryn Hunter was absolutely superb. Her character doesn’t realise that there’s anything different about her, however her boss realises that her phenomenal memory deserves special attention. It transpires than her character is able to remember things with such pinpoint accuracy by assigning each thing she needs to remember with an imaginary form.


The comic timing of each actor couldn’t have been more perfect. Everything they said and did was on point, including the musicians who were tucked to the side of the stage. One played piano and a minor character and another simply played a variety of instruments. Music was deployed at just the right times – to the point where it lifted the stage action to another level and made me tingle (look, theatre is great ok? I’m allowed to tingle if I want to).

I imagine that The Valley of Astonishment will return to London as there didn’t seem to be a single person around me who didn’t enjoy themselves. It’s funny, poignant in places, beautifully directed and all on a sparse stage – the show did not require more than a few chairs as props – the effects of synaesthesia were brought to live superbly through the monologues by certain characters and the beautiful lighting.

The play is an hour and fifteen minutes long with no breaks, but at the Young Vic that’s fine. The seats are exceptionally comfortable, it’s easy to move around and as I’m under 26 I managed to get my ticket for only £10. So I have no cause for complaints at all – a wonderful show, well worth catching if you can. It’s moving, funny and a fascinating look at living with such a uniquely varied condition.

LISTEN: Where I work, we’ve set up what could wankily be called a ‘collaborative’ playlist. Basically, my boss sent an email round our floor inviting people to get involved with the playlist and people can add whatever songs they want to the play queue. You can vote songs up too – meaning if your favourite song is 20 down the song queue, you can bump it to the top. The playlist is continually playing – even when you close Spotify, the songs just play on rotate, meaning you usually get to listen to a nice variety of tunes.

So, how to do it? Firstly – get Spotify. Secondly, add  ‘Soundrop’ on Spotify (it’s a free app you can download, just search the app store). You can get Soundrop here.  Then – set up your playlist and invite people to it. Once you’re in, start adding songs!

Obviously on the playlist at work my songs are the best (am I joking? Probably not). But someone else added the song below and I’ve been loving it recently. Have a little listen, and then do the above and make your work a far more fun place.

LOVE:  I’ve decided to give up on dating. The reason? Well, there are a few.

Aside from the fact I’ve dated around 60 different people over the course of the past 2 years (by dated I mean, at the very least, I have been on one date with them. Also, for clarification, when I say dated I do NOT mean I slept with them, as some people seem to think…) The men that like me I’m usually not interested in. They either don’t challenge me, they’re not ‘interesting’ or they have no ambition. The men I like usually don’t like me either (of course I’m not sure why exactly, but I imagine it’s because I’m a bit outspoken and not a size 8, so no real surprises there). And the guys where there was a mutual attraction? Something always got in the way – life, ex partners, work etc.

But the main reason I’m giving up dating is because I am becoming increasingly frustrated at how difficult it is to be upfront and honest about things. When I’m honest about not being interested, I (basically) get ignored. One guy has been in contact with me for months now. I told him months ago I didn’t see us together and he’s nice, but it’s not going to be anything more than friends for me, so we should call it quits. I was ignored and he is still messaging me, asking me out on dates. Which at first was sort of sweet, but then… think about it. I said no. Bless you for trying, but I thought guys liked not being messed around and being told what’s what? Apparently they only actually take it in if it’s what they want to hear…

Ok, perhaps things aren’t quite as simple as the above, but if we lived in a world where it was that easy that would be just swell.


And on the other hand, when a guy isn’t interested in me, they don’t seem to realise that I’m a grown up and I can absolutely handle it. After all, if we’ve been on one date, why on earth would I get offended if they’re not interested? 95% of the time I’m not either, and when I am, I’m not emotionally invested in them in any way, so their opinion of me doesn’t actually matter. But instead they tiptoe around things, which I find very bizarre.

True, some women don’t like you to be too blunt. Their feelings do get hurt. But I am not one of those women. Not being honest wastes my time and that annoys me. Which is why, when I’m not interested, I just tell a guy. Some men appreciate this, and they listen, and don’t get in touch again. Others stick their fingers in their ears and keep pushing forward. Others respond very badly. I once went on a date with a guy and we, very clearly, has differences in opinion when it came to our views. I’m very liberal, him not so much. So, when he asked me out again I declined and said that I had a nice time, but we wouldn’t work. He asked why and I told him. He asked me to elaborate on the ;difference in views’ thing and I commented that I could never see myself with someone who doesn’t believe in equality for all, and I don’t want to be a stay at home woman who is looked after by a man.  He responded by telling me I’m a stuck up bitch who will never find a husband. I’m well aware that very few men are actually like this today. It’s usually the dickhead men who shout “nice tits” at women from afar who then call a woman a bitch for not reciprocating their ‘interest’.

But yes – it’s the fact I’m not able to be upfront and not play games which stresses me out the most when dating. Damned if you tell the truth, damned if you don’t is my experience. I think people need to realise that rejection after a first date really doesn’t matter.  And if you are rejected, don’t take it personally. Everyone is looking for something different – you can’t be all things to all people. However, until men in the dating pool catch up I think I’m going to bow out with grace.

Over and out dating, over and out.


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