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Evans and Peel, Much Ado About Nothing, Oddisee and long term confusion.

12 Mar

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EAT: Evans and Peel Detective Agency has been on my London to-do list since… well, since about 6 years ago when I moved here actually. So, I suggested a speakeasy style bar and restaurant where you have to make up a fake case for a detective before you’re allowed in and my friend Jude didn’t need any further convincing to come.

We arrived and buzzed: by the time we got let in (they open at 5pm – had to call for a reservation, old school) there was another 4 pairs of people waiting for their 5pm appointment. So, after waiting for the guys ahead of us to finish their chat with the detective, we were let in.

So, the story we decided to go for (I say we, Jude had nothing to do with it although he did a good job at playing along and not being embarrassed by me) was that we wanted the Evans and Peel to investigate the suspected Ghost Brothel next door to my flat. I was pleased to see a genuine look of confusion on the woman’s face when I presented this, but she played along well – asking how we knew they were ghosts and/or prostitutes, had we heard any noises coming from next door? Etc. When the play acting was finished (it lasts about 3 minutes) our case was taken and a bookshelf swings open to reveal a dimly lit, prohibition-era bar. In we went.


Jude and I went all out – cocktails, beers, mains, dessert. Mainly because the atmosphere of the place was wicked – fantastic music (instrumental of course and perfectly in keeping with the prohibition style of the bar) and we basically just wanted to hang around for as long as possible! The menus are delivered to our table by a server, in plain brown envelopes (but the fancy kind which you have to loop string around in order to close them) and you’re also kitted out with the likes of a magnifying glass too.

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For mains, we went for burgers. The menu is a little limited – but not bad at all (see above) – and standard London prices. We also had a couple of beers to see us through too – again, limited selection, but a GOOD selection, which is the key thing. The burger was good. The way it’s cooked (on an old fashion grill or something) means you can only have it medium well done. It actually comes out medium which I wasn’t loving, but I ignored as most people like their burgers this way and it was still a tasty burger. Chips were solid too, as were the sauces; nowt ground-breaking (Patty and Bun have nothing to worry about) but you do get bacon and cheese with it, as well as coleslaw. All in all, a good burger.


Where Evans and Peel really shines is the spirits. The cocktails are pricy (£7-£15) but worth splashing out for just once. I went for a fruity one (passion fruit, egg white, rum) and Jude selected a Bourbon from their EXTENSIVE whiskey and bourbon list. They have stuff on there which is £25 a shot (seriously), so make sure you grab the magnifying glass and have a look!

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When I said we went all out, I meant it. I also opted for dessert (as did Jude) and we both went for the ice cream cookie sandwich – blueberry ice cream with jam sandwiched in between two chocolate chip cookies. SO GOOD. I warned Jude not to try and bite the bloody thing because it would go everywhere… which it totally did. Tip: eat one of the cookies first and then you can bite your way through. Super simple, really yummy.

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Basically; I loved Evans and Peel. It’s a KILLER date venue –  a little bit different, off the beaten track and the vibe is perfect for some romancing. It’s also a great place to catch up with friends. What it’s not is a place to ‘go out out’ for pre-drinks. Just sayin’. Seriously – go. It’s a place you’ve got to try while in London; I’m gutted it took me so long to get down there!

SEE: My favourite Shakespeare play is Much Ado About Nothing. I’ve seen it performed countless times, abroad, in London, in Stratford. And the latest production, currently showing at Theatre Royal is a really strong production. I should know… did I mention it’s my favourite Shakespeare play and I’ve seen it countless times? Yup? Cool.

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The setting is Autumn 1919, with the soldiers (Benedict and Claudio) returning from the war. The staging is simple – all the action takes place in a few different sets and, I admit, it got off to a slightly slow start. Benedict was fantastic the whole way through though; the scene where he overhears that Beatrice loves him was fantastically funny and I think the actor carried Beatrice a little bit at times, to be honest.

That’s not to say Beatrice wasn’t good, but the comic timing just wasn’t there at some points. The actor totally nailed the ‘give a shit’ disposition of Beatrice, but the scene where she overhears that Benedict loves her was lukewarm, with all the actors not really going as all-out as the male cast members had done.

For £10 however (which is how much I got my ticket for) it was a fantastic production and I can’t recommend it enough. Go!

LISTEN: I went to see Oddisee at the Islington Assembly Hall last weekend. I’ve seen him before, a few years back at the Jazz Café, but this time he was playing to a significantly bigger crowd, with a live band and a kick-ass new album.

If you haven’t heard of Oddisee, how can I describe him? He’s for people who want Drake to rap about something meaningful and put some thought into his music. BURN. But seriously; Oddisee blends hip hop, soul, funk and thrown in a hint of pop on a track here or there.

His latest album, The Iceberg is fantastic. Stand out tracks include Hold It Back, in which challenges inequality between women and men in the workplace, which refers to the current political climate; “We gon’ push the demons deeper in the closet, It ain’t no secret they just seeping out regardless, We’re keeping logic hostage”. Another of my favourite tracks is You Grew Up, which tells the story of Oddisee’s childhood friend. His (the father’s) friend loses his job, blames ‘immigrants’ like Oddisee’s father for it and their friendship has to end. Forward a good few years and we learn that his childhood friend is another white cop guilty of killing an innocent black man. There’s some ACTUAL shit going on in this album, but it’s thoughtful. It hasn’t been thrown together in anger; Oddisee is interrogating the situation with his lyrics and putting them against a blend of funk, soul, hip hop music, all played by an actual band rather than a Drake 808.

Cannot recommend the album enough. And if you love The Iceberg and Oddisee, check out the rest of his tracks on Spotify. I have a soft spot for ‘Miami’ – an instrumental off his album Travelling Man. For now, I’m going to leave you with a recent track: Like Really.

LOVE: So, I’ve been on a few dates with a few people over the last couple of months. And something wasn’t sitting right with any of them. That was, until the last guy I dated – then boom. It hit me.

The guys I meet online and usually on Tinder (so you can never tell if they’re looking for anything serious, but they’re usually not). Or, they’re on OK Cupid and they’ve listed ‘Long term relationship’, ‘Short term relationship’, ‘New Friends’ and ‘Casual Sex’ in their ‘Looking For section to make sure all bases are covered. Which is fine.

But now, I’m filtering out the guys who include ‘Casual Sex’ and ‘Short term relationships’. Because I’ve realised I want something a little more significant than that. I only realised this when I was sat with a perfectly nice, attractive, intelligent guy on a date, but who I know has just got out a relationship and isn’t looking for anything serious.

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Which is fine. But when I left the date, I realise I just want someone I can rely on to do stuff with. Hence why I’m not removing ‘New Friends’ from my OK Cupid searches – I want someone who will go to gigs with me. While I vent about my day to. Who wants to explore new restaurants in London. And I either need them to do this as friends or as someone I’m in a more long-term relationship with, because that’s the only way you can totally be yourself, right? If you’re dating someone short term JESUS it’s exhausting. The conversation, having to rock up looking great, having to always plan ahead in terms of what you’re doing. Second guessing the way they respond to you or touch you. Take all that crap out of the equation and I want a friend with time for me to explore London or I need to get past all that stressful dating stuff and just be comfortable.

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So, all this dawned on me. And I turned the last perfectly nice, intelligent, attractive guy I went on a date with down when he asked for a second date because ‘we want different things’. At least he knows his thing is sex. Mine? As you can tell from my rambling, I guess I’m still not 100% sure. Ho hum.

Dominic Ansell Bakery, Stour Space Gllery, Ice Cube and the definition of pedantic.

9 Feb

EAT: At long last I made my way down to the Dominic Ansell bakery near Victoria Bus Station in London. For those of you not in the know when it comes to all things baked good, Dominic Ansell is a chef from New York who came up with the ‘cronut’ (croissant combined with donut). As a result of this joyous invention, his bakery in New York has now found its way to the UK.

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The seating area in the café if small (and it is a café, not a restaurant) but service is reasonably fast, depending on what you order. I went for a green tea, cronut and cookie shot cup. So worth all of the calories – totally could have gone for their banoffee paella (all sweet, no meat, don’t worry) if I felt I could have justified it!

The cronut was delicious. Flaky and sugar-crusted on the outside, soft and creamy on the inside. The lemon icing complimented the vanilla frosting on the inside perfectly and it’s basically as good as it looks/you imagine.

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And then there’s the cookie cup: a dark chocolate chip cookie turned into a gooey vessel, filled with vanilla milk. The cookie stays strong enough to hold the milk for a good while, but once the milk is gone it’s all nice and gooey. Yes yes, it’s essentially milk and cookie, but the novelty factor paired with the fact it tastes great make it well worth a shout.

I only have one negative about the experience (it’s absolutely not the desserts) – the service wasn’t great. Once you order, you’re given a number and your desserts are brought to you. I got my cronut right away and had to ask twice over the course of 20 minutes for my cookie cup. It rocked up, eventually, but only when I accidentally caught the manager and told her ow long I’d waited. That aside, I pretty much want to eat EVERYTHING there and I have no doubt that I’ll head back at some point to try one of their main dishes (macaroons, flowering hot chocolate) or one of their specials (the banoffee paella looks insane).

SEE: If you actually bother reading my blog on a regular basis (unlikely) you may remember that in my last post I mentioned Hackney Wick – I headed out there to visit the Olympic Park. Well, last week I went back out East again to go to an exhibition that caught my eye at the Stour Space – part creative space, gallery and café in Hackney Wick.

The exhibition was all about the song by Ice Cube, ‘It Was A Good Day’. Basically the song is about an amazing day that Ice Cube had, and someone actually worked out the only possible day Cube could have been talking about was January 20th, 1992. The blog post below is printed out for you to take, and also framed to start the exhibition.

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Essentially, a series of artworks which directly relate to the song have been curated and displayed. The song mentioned basketball, so there’s a fantastic screen print with gel of a basketball on display. I also really liked this ‘Saw the police and they rolled right past me’ print – there was also a collage about this particular line too. The blimp was represented too (in the song, Ice Cube sees a the Good Year blimp which says ‘Ice Cubes’s a Pimp’ (cue huge print of this blazoned on a blimp).


Most of the artwork was literal and it was quite an amateur exhibition, and I really enjoyed it. I admit, it could have been improved by having the song played in the area the artwork was presented in, or having the lyrics somewhere so it’s easier to understand the links between the artwork and the song. But, that aside, it was a different kind of exhibition and the Stour Space is a little hidden gem.

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In fact, I loved the café there so much I’m bunging my lunch into the ‘See’ section of this blog post. I had butternut squash and coconut soup with sourdough bread which was absolutely beautiful and SO filling. Amazing quality (and quantity!) for a fiver. I also indulged in a hot chocolate rather than going for one of the many delicious cakes they had on offer. The café space is a fantastic place to free-range too – people were in there working, reading the newspaper, stopping off on their dog walk… it’s well worth a visit. Especially when the sun is out, as they have a terrace right on the canal with a view of the Olympic stadium. GO!

LISTEN: Had to be this. Enjoy.

LOVE: I’ve reaslised I really like having my relationships defined. Not in a ‘so what are we, where is this going, wah wah wah’ way. It’s an internal definition which allows me know where to draw the line with guys and how to prioritise.

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Guys I date usually fall into the following categories:

‘Someone I’m casually sleeping with’ – regularly not leaving the house – to the point where we don’t ‘go out’ on dates. Super casual.

‘Someone I’m casually seeing’ – early on, may not have slept with them, but have been on more then five dates and we actually go out (restaurants, exhibitions etc) – making memories and having experiences together outside the bedroom.

‘Seeing someone’ – the above, with sex, but has been going on for months rather than weeks. Could turn into something, but not in a relationship (so can see other people but might not have the desire to do so’.

‘Boyfriend’ – the above, but monogamous (stop dating other people unless we’ve agreed to be in an open relationship) and don’t have to think twice about messaging them first and all that kinda dating crap you go through on dates 1-5.

Anyone else compartmentalise dating in the same way? I find I have to otherwise it gets too complicated. Especially if I’m ‘casually seeing’ two people, for example. I’ve only really had these descriptions set in my mind for the last year, but they seem to work. Plus, so long as I know where we’re at, I just don’t feel the need to ask the guy who the hell he thinks is going on until we’re verging on ‘boyfriend’ stage. Which NEVER, EVER happens. Pretty much gonna be in perpetual ‘seeing someone’ mode I reckon, haha.

Unlimited Tapas, basketball, trying to make a change and opposites attracting.

5 Feb

So over the last two weeks loads has been going on: I’ve been sick for starters. Kids: the flu SUUUUCKS. No longer will I avoid the flu jab (I hate wasting NHS resources if I don’t need to) but being confined to my flat for 5 days has made me think I should get vaccinated. Usually I keep the vaccinations or when I visit other countries (well exotic) but next year, Imma get a shot for the dangerous ol’ UK.

So, before I got sick (and part of what got me sick) I spent the weekend with my family – my mum is adopted and her biological father (Ken) and his partner (Merry) were in London to come and see us. Unfortunately, my biological grandpa got flu on the first day we met and was hotel-bound for the rest of the trip, which was SUCH a shame. Mum stayed in and spend a bit of time with him but his partner is a lot like me (redhead, colourful clothes, passion for travel) so wanted to explore London. Which I was than happy to help her do!

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We visited the Churchill War Rooms (not a fan of the man myself, but Americans LOVE him), and I learned a lot about Churchill’s life and learned more about the Second World War. We also went to a pub (well English), did a tour of Soho (showing Merry my usual haunts) and ate at Brasserie Zedel – always a big hit with parents and grandparents – plus did the following!

EAT: I found an all-you-can-eat Tapas place. Yes, you heard me. And not only was it a reasonable price, but the food was also good. MASSIVE WIN. (All photos aren’t taken by me because I totally forgot to take photos. So I’ve hyperlinked through to the owner of the photo – all photos show food that we ordered.)

Canas y Tapas does all-you-can-eat lunch for £14.95 and dinner for £19.95 and it’s a 5 minute walk from Angel tube station. This doesn’t include drinks, but it does include as many dishes of tapas as you want from an extensive menu. Only catch is that you have to order three dishes per person at a time (so if there are two of you, you can order 6 dishes at a time).

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We went for SO many dishes: padron peppers, chicken with caramelised onions, sauteed egg and patatas bravas, calamari, grilled vegetables, pork tenderloin and Iberian ham on flatbread topped with raisins, walnuts and drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette (this was a fave), olives, battered veg with aioli and MORE. The menu is here – as you can see, pretty extensive and the portion sizes are really good!

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The best bit? THE DESSERT. Omg the desserts were amazing. You can only order two types of desserts as part of the all you can eat and they were both absolutely incredible. Seriously; one day I’m going to go in there and just 7 portions of these desserts for 90 minutes. Dessert one is churros (donuts dusted with sugar and served with chocolate sauce) – the donuts were warm and the chocolate gooey… honestly, they were a total dream. The second dessert was pastry bas filled with cream and served with some cream and chocolate. The pastry was really light, the crème DELICIOUS (so soft and light and taaaasty)… seriously, don’t go and not get dessert, ok?

As for the restaurant itself – it’s fine. It’s not quirky or anything and the staff are fine, but nothing special. I can’t complain about the service at all, the music was fine… you’re really there for all you can eat Tapas. SO EAT IT ALLLL.

SEE:  as I’m writing this, it’s Superbowl Sunday. Now, I don’t really give a crap about the Superbowl (analysing the adverts aside) – and, of course, the tall, hot men running about. Another sport I’m also not hugely fussed about is Basketball… again, the tall, hot men running about are about as interested as I can get.

So why the hell did I go to see the London Lions play the Worcester Wolves a couple of weeks ago? Well, my grandparents are American and we had a museum-heavy weekend, so we thought it best to include some sport in the activities so that my brother and grandpa could enjoy themselves.

However, with my grandpa being ill the whole weekend I was left with 6 tickets to the basketball and a bizarre determination to go. So, me and my grandpa’s partner, Merry, decided to suck it up and see the game.

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The game took place in the Copperbowl Arena in the Olympic Park. I’ve seen the Bulls play in Chicago and the Nicks play in New York and this was nothing. at. all. like. American. basketball. I must stress, it WAS enjoyable – the guys playing are clearly passionate and the crowd were fired up. But at the end of the day, American sports are designed around adverts and entertainment, and neither of things were present at the London Lions game. Well, aside from some English cheerleaders who couldn’t bring themselves to be as, err, American as the American cheerleaders. Does that make sense? Probably not.

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HIGHLIGHT: the London Lions have a lion mascot. I got to give him a high-five (because Merry shouted at him to come over and see me, hahaha). The game got off to a slow start but there, genuine, flashes of brilliance from both teams. There were also some really stupid mistakes made… such is sport.

Overall, it’s £10 a ticket and it’s a different way to spend the weekend. I’d say it’s worth going to see for the experience – I actually really enjoyed myself – and I’m a fan of the Hackney Wick area, especially in summer, so even if you get bored during the game, there’s plenty to explore nearby.

LISTEN: Small hands, big lies, must lose.

Donald Trump has been President for less than 3 weeks and has already been a total nightmare. So, the first week of his Presidency, I went on a march in London to protest his scaremongering misogyny and racism. Since going on the Women’s March on Jan 21st, Trump has brought in the ‘Muslim ban’, there have been countless more protests and the Muslim ban has been declared illegal. It’s hard to say if the protests have made a difference, but I think it’s essential to stand up and make your voice heard when there’s injustice of this magnitude taking place.


So why am I putting this in the ‘listen’ section of my blog post? Because I want you to listen to Tupac’s ‘Changes’. Yes yes, I’m sure you’ve heard it. But this song, recorded in 1992, bears terrifying relevance today. Things have not changed.

“Cops give a damn about a negro, Pull the trigger kill a nigga he’s a hero”
– Despite the numerous killings and shootings of innocent black people over the last 12 months, Trump has not announced any plans to address the institutional racism in America’s police force. In fact, he’s easing laws on background checks, making it easier for people to wield guns.

“I see no changes all I see is racist faces, Misplaced hate makes disgrace to races”
– Trump’s constant scaremongering has made an enemy of innocent Muslims, and pits people against each other, rather than encouraging people to work to together. Misplaced hate is SO relevant right now.

“It’s time for us as a people to start makin’ some changes.
Let’s change the way we eat, let’s change the way we live, and let’s change the way we treat each other.”

– so that’s what we’re doing. We’re protesting. We’re trying to get those in power to change, trying to get the people who voted for them to change. Trying to make the world a better place.

LOVE: How many times have you been told that ‘opposites attract’? It’s everywhere – yet, when you actually look at everyone in long-term, solid relationships, they usually have plenty of similarities.

As I’m getting older, and dating more men, I’m realising that opposites can attract, but it doesn’t usually work out. Key word there: usually. I believe that people can absolutely get on if they’re different and that there’s more that unites us (as people) than divides us. But this doesn’t usually translate when it comes to romantic relationships.

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However. My grandpa and his partner, Merry, are SO opposite in all of the areas I consider important and areas where I’d usually assume I couldn’t compromise on. They’re on opposite ends of political spectrum. Merry loves to travel, Ken does not. Like… seriously, Merry spends her life travelling and Ken just doesn’t have much desire to do so at all. Merry likes dressing up and going to nice restaurants, Ken would far rather head to a sports bar and not don a suit unless he has to. Merry adores museums, Ken isn’t a fan. Ken is a massive sports fan and Merry couldn’t be less interested.

Recipe for disaster, right? Well… no. They totally work. I don’t know how to describe it, but they even each other out. She talks and he’ll happily listen. She gives great advice and seems to make decisions about what they should do, and Ken likes letting someone else organise things. It’s those really broad personality traits that means they work well together, despite their passions and interests being opposite.

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I guess I don’t have a specific conclusion to draw from my rambling. Just that I should perhaps be a little more mindful of the fact that despite differing opinions and opposite interests, I shouldn’t totally write someone off. Because when it comes to opposites attracting, it really works for some people.

Fish in a Tie, Make A Wish, Childish Gambino and festive hiatus.

10 Dec

LOOK. I’M WRITING A BLOG POST. It’s been ages since I’ve actually sat down (pfft, ‘laid face down on my bed’) and written anything, so as I’m a bit ill (yay) I figured it’s time to get back on it. I returned from India 3 weeks ago now and my next blog is going to be about my travels in India… need to write it all down in case I forget anything!

However, that will be a reasonably epic blog post, so for now, Imma do my usual thing (rambling on about what I’ve been up to in London).

EAT: I have walked past a little bistro called Fish in a Tie about 5 times a week for the last 5 years. And every single week, I swear, I’m made a note to head in and give the place a try. Well, at long last, I managed it! And I have to say, it was an absolute dream!

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Fish in a Tie is an independent restaurant sitting on a street corner, painted purple, near the back end of Clapham Junction train station. On chalkboards outside you’ll see too-good-to-be-true deals (£7.95 for a two course lunch set menu, £19.95 for a two course a’la carte).. I admit, it’s the price and the fact the place looks so lovely that’s had my attention all these years.

So, the other day, I went in for lunch with my Dad. We did the £7.95 for two course menu and MY WORD, the quality of the food, and the portion size, was absolutely incredible. My Dad has told my entire family about it (seriously: my nan, mum and brother all asked where I took him because he’s been raving about it so much)!

For my first course I went with goats cheese croquettes (below). They were beautiful. They packed a punch in terms of taste but weren’t too overpowering and the came with a light, fresh salad. My dad went for whitebait; he’s a big fan of fish and he said the bowl of them were the best he’d ever had. Me and Dad were also 99% sure that the tartare sauce used is home-made because it’s DELICIOUS and I usually hate the stuff… it’s worth getting a fish dish for their sauce, honestly.

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For mains, I went for battered cod and chips and it smelled so good I didn’t even bother to take a photo. But the fish was cooked to perfecccctiioooon – super-filling, batter wasn’t too thick, fish was fluffy and beautiful. My Dad went for a fish that neither of us had heard of before – and it’s KILLING ME that I can’t remember what it was! Basically, if you don’t recognise a fish on the specials board, try it, because this place has fish totally nailed.

Finally, for an extra £3.50 I went for dessert (obvs). Behold the Amaretto cheesecake… I mean, like I could pass that up? Very light cheesecake, all in all a solid choice. Not the best I’ve ever had, but as part of a three course meal which ended up costing me less than £12, it rocked.

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To put this place in perspective; two starters, two mains, one dessert, two beers and two coffees cost us £30. In total, NOT EACH. Not only was the food quality fantastic, but the staff were nice, the place was charming and relaxing and I can’t recommend heading here enough. It’s one of the only true hidden gems you’ll find in SW11.

SEE: I was offered a place at the Make A Wish Winter Ball this year (I did their social media in exchange) and had a fabulous time. If you’re not aware of Make A Wish, they grant magical wishes to enrich the lives of children and young people fighting life-threatening conditions. Some of the wishes granted to these children are a trip to Disneyland, to fly with Batman, to be a princess or to meet their football hero… all of which bring them SUCH joy, but, of course, cost money to create.

The Make A Wish ball was amazing. Hundreds of people turned up for an evening of fantastic food, drink, entertainment and to take part in various charity auctions. The auction was amazing – the man I was sat next to on my table had just retired from the board of directors at British Airways and had donated the chance to fly business class to LA and meet Al Pacino. HOW COOL IS THAT?! Jeffrey Archer played the role of auctioneer and all in all they raised an incredible amount of money for children across the UK.

Wish-granting aside, the Winter Ball was held at The Dorchester… somewhere I have never set foot in because I’m not a classy bird. The hotel is beautiful and one day I would love to go there for a meal just to soak up the atmosphere. In the main room (the event was in the ballroom and you had to walk through the main room off reception to get there) where Christmas lights, a grand piano and a lot of fancy looking people sipping cocktails. Meanwhile, there’s me wandering through in the dress below (£15 from ASOS and now too big for me, so being held in with a safety pin at the back). See? Classy bird.

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I could go on for pages about the entertainment, but I’ll keep it short and sweet; there were dances, sing-songs and one or two surprise acts! One was a guy who had just got booted off of the X Factor (he seems nice enough) and the other was Madness. Which was SO cool – cannot believe I got to see Madness so close up. I also got to meet the band backstage and take their photo to use on social which was pretty wicked too. All in all, a wonderful night. Thank you to my colleague at M&C Saatchi PR for the invite J

If you could spare even the smallest amount of money to help grant a wish child with a life-threatening illness then please, please do so. You can donate here by clicking here.

LISTEN: Childish Gambino dropped his latest album, Awaken My Love, the other week. It’s a move in a different direction – if you liked tracks like Heartbeat and Sweatpants then this won’t be quite what you’re after. It’s funk-heavy, lots of smooth soul and bass, and it’s great. It’s taken a few listen to really get under the skin of it, but some standout tracks to start with are ‘Have Some Love’ (SO funky), Zombies (“we’re coming out to get you, we’re oh so glad we met you, we’re eating you for profit, there is no way to stop it”) and Me and Your Mama.

It’s a record which looks 70s funk and soul music in the face and tries to get to grips with it in 2016. Have a listen to Have Some Love and get a feel for what I’m on about (“have some time for one another, really love one another, it’s so hard to find”):

LOVE: giving up dating for a couple of months. At Christmas I get chubby and busy. Plus, I’m super poor for some reason (can’t quite work out what I spent my cash on because at the moment it isn’t Christmas presents…) so having one less person to buy for never hurts. A Scrooge when it comes to Christmas and the world of dating, it seems.

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Granger and Co, Spiritland, Troy Bar and same old.

18 Oct

EAT: I‘m going to keep this one short and nearly as sweet as the glorious Ricotta Hotcakes from Granger and Company. I’m not joking – take a look at the bad boys below.

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So, these hotcakes are on the breakfast/brunch menu and it’s taken me ages to try them because I rarely wake up early enough at the weekend to get them (pre-12pm). However, get there before noon and you can get Ricotta Hotcakes with banana and honeycomb butter.

The hotcakes are SO light – totally beautiful. They’re basically cheesecakey-style pancakes… but they don’t taste of cheese. They’re just light, and when you cut through them you’re faced with more light, fluffy and tasty goodness.

The banana balances out the maple syrup and the honeycomb butter sweetness well and the whole thing isn’t *too much* at all. It’s just delicious and absolutely worth getting up early and £12 for.

SEE: I went to Kings Cross a few weeks ago and headed towards Granary Square – the bit next to Regent’s Canal and has seen a whole load of new restaurants and bars spring up.

Two things are here that you should see: firstly, the lovely light installation (see below). There are tables next to the light fountains and it’s really relaxing (even in the cold!) to just sit and get sucked in to the show.

Future garden water feature. #fountain #London

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The second place you should see is Spiritland. It’s a place for food and drink, but above all, music. It’s now got a long-term home in Kings Cross  (it was a pop up not long back) and it’s known for the increeeeedible speaker system that lines the main wall in the bar. Well, the bar/restaurant… but the lighting is sexy and the table are chilled out enough for you to not get a formal restaurant vibe.

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Honestly, the sound system is world-class and if you’re even remotely an audiophile, GO. They have trendy indie beers available, lots of wine and spirits and the DJ that was there on the night I went was SO good. A fantastic mix of funk, soul and almost tribal music… it’s the sort of stuff that creates a wonderful atmosphere and makes you stop mid-way through conversation to just chat about how great the song playing is. Really good date location, head there and see for yourself!

LISTEN: So, there’s a very unassuming place in Shoreditch. From the outside it sort of looks like a school cafeteria. Or a town hall… a small one, with those plastic chairs and mis-matched tables. However, Troy Bar is a hidden gem – seriously, I know there aren’t many hidden gems in London now, but this place really is.

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I went on a Friday when they hold an ‘open mic’ Jazz jam session. The jazz played was great! Honestly, really talented people who not only played well together but also were given the opportunity to play solo, and the trombonist and drummer were amazing. For the first hour or two (doors open at 9pm, music starts at 10pm) the music was just free flowing. After a 30-minute break, the cover versions started – Michael Jackson, James Brown and more. Again, great covers and by this time it was 1am and everyone was up and dancing… but there was still plenty of space in Troy Bar. Why? Because it’s honestly still a hidden gem. I’ll be going back soon, for sure.

LOVE: Need to stop meeting guys off of online dating apps (well… Ok Cupid and Tinder) and believing they have any interest in anything vaguely resembling a long term relationship (e.g. more than 3 dates).

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AMAZING burger pop-up, the history of the universe, Passing Clouds and what I don’t want.

9 Oct

Long time (well, kinda) no speak! I’ve been reasonably busy over the last few weeks… mainly heading on three holidays in September, so don’t feel sorry for me. But it did mean I was a bit slow updating the ol’ blog as I now have just TOO MUCH to chat about. So: I’m going to do a bit of a London update and then next week I’ll write up my September holiday highlights (Berlin and Barcelona – both places I’ve been before). Until then, enjoy reading about some of the things I’ve got up to recently!

EAT: A few months back I blogged about a Malaysian pop-up at Soho pub, the Sun and 13 Cantons. It was epic. And now, another can’t miss pop-up has taken residency in the kitchen of the Sun and 13. Chef Adam Rawson won the Slider Decider award and he’s brought his burgers to Soho for a limited time. And fuck me, they’re delicious.

If you’ve even read this blog ONCE you’ll know I’m a burger fan. So when I saw ks_ate_here (delicious food porn from around London) Instagram a gorgeous looking burger at the Sun and 13, my lunchtime was sorted. As was the lunchtime of half of the people of work with because we all follow ks_ate_here… and the Sun and 13 Cantons is about 30 seconds from my office!

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So, this is the deal: the burger above is the Pan Con Chicharron (Aged Galician patty, smoked cheddar, aji  rocotto ketchup, aji Amarillo mustard, salsa criolla & crispy pork ). The only side available (which OF COURSE I got as well) are onion rosemary and aioli chips. The chips were really good – very strong aioli, which I loved, and a generous helping of the stuff too, balanced nicely with the rosemary so it isn’t completely missed. Plus, crispy onions which are always welcome. True, no rosemary chips will ever beat Honest Burger’s in my opinion, but these were damn good.


The burger was one of the best I’ve ever had in London. The patty was thick and flavoursome – juicy so you can get a perfect bite with the brioche-esque bun, and it wasn’t overpowered by all the yummy extras. The onions were SO SO GOOD (plus, c’mon, really pretty) and the bun held together really well. One of my colleagues had the veggie options (Crispy aubergine, truffle aioli, wild rocket, gorgonzola & balsamic onions ) which looked packed and not the rubbish excuse for a burger some veggie options are – again, loads of filling and sauce, paired nicely with the right about of crispy aubergine.

Finally, anyone who tried both my burger and the Global Traveller said the Global Traveller was better. Don’t get me wrong, my burger (the Pan Con Chicharron was DAMN GOOD… but the Global Traveller is really damn good, basically. It comes with Aged Galician mince, truffle aioli, wild rocket, gorgonzola, Balsamic Onions & Pancetta.

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Go while you can, eat allllll the things and then go back again to eat everything you didn’t try first time around. It goes without saying I’ll be returning to feast on the Global Traveller burger! Burgers are between £7.50-£9 and chips are £3.50.

SEE: My Dad got me tickets to see Brian Cox live, and I found myself on a Saturday night learning about the cosmos, how many universes there are (hint: loads), learning about the big bang, how the universe is expanding and how bloody wonderful Einstein’s theory of Relatively is as a model. Plus, there were loads of stunning photographs and simulations of our solar system which I loved.

I was actually really happy to see a packed theater (about 1,200 people) paying £30 to sit and learn about physics on a Saturday night… it gives me hope that we’re not all happy with settling for dumbed-down X Factor as our Saturday night entertainment. And it WAS entertaining; Brian Cox is an engaging speaker anyway and he does a good job of making things simple enough for people to understand. I reckon I probably ‘got’ about 50% of it which, honestly, I’m very happy with! Plus, Robin Ince was there to break things up and give a little comic relief in parts, which worked well.

We were shown how a bowling ball and a feather fall in a vacuum (so, how gravity actually affects the motion of masses without pesky air resistance getting in the way). On top of this, we were told about how far back we can see in space (basically, no more than 30,8 billion years because before that point the atoms in the universe were opaque, and not transparent, so light couldn’t get out). True, I may never use that fact again. But that’s not why we learn – it’s to pique our curiosity and to have a better understanding of the world… galaxy… universe… etc.

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One of the highlights for me was the Cosmic Calendar. This is our universe, but shown as an Earth year. Basically, our galaxy has only been around since September (when Earth was formed). Complex organisms (predators, animals with eyes and teeth) evolved on December 17th (my birthday, whoop!) Dinosaurs became extinct on December 30th. And humans rocked up in the final seconds of New Years Eve. Which is a lot to get your head around and exceptionally humbling. It’s fascinating that our galaxy has been ‘stable’ (in terms of temperature and no supermassive black holes massively fucking things up) for billions of years, which is a key in factor in why life on Earth was able to evolve.

Anyway. I’m rambling and not explaining anything anywhere NEAR as clearly as Brian Cox did. But it was a great show which I’d recommend seeing – or, catch him next time he tours, for sure. It’s a great way to spend a Saturday night.

LISTEN: I went to a march a few weeks back to show Hackney Council, London and the rest of the UK that London cannot keep losing venues of such community importance as Passing Clouds. The venue was sold by their landlord to a developer who is going to strip away my favourite venue, a place with live music, poetry, dance classes, community projects, charity work and more, to be turned into yet more dull offices.

Trying to stop my spiritual home from being taken away @itspassingclouds #savepassingclouds

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So, I marched. I marched from Shoreditch to Haggerston, along with hundreds of other people, peacefully protesting the closure of the venue. We also marched to raise awareness of Passing Clouds, as they are trying one last thing: they’re applying to Hackney Council to become a listed place of community importance. Which, honestly, it is. They give up and coming artists and musicians a stage, they run soup kitchens and other charity initiatives and it’s the most inclusive and colourful/safe space I’ve found in London to go out.

If you would like to help, you can do so by simply signing the petition (for Hackney Council to list Passing Clouds as a place of community importance) here. Thank you. x

LOVE: So it’d been a fair few months since I’d been on a date (I decided to take a break and head to the gym instead), but in September I thought I’d give dating a bit of prioritisation (after food, sleep, holidays and work, lol) and I dating three different guys over the course of the month.

And in September, I realised a few things about what I want in a person. So, although I didn’t meet anyone who was right for me, I’ve learned some things which aren’t right for me. So, here those things are (mainly for my reference so I don’t make the same mistake again!)

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  • Much as I respect people’s choices, dating someone who is not only vegan, but also a tee-total anti-capitalist was a bit much, I Cannot stress enough that I have no issues with any of those things. And if he’d only been vegan/only been tee-total/only been anti-capitalist, I think it would have been fine. But as a meat eating, drinking woman who works in the advertising industry, there just wasn’t the meeting of minds that there needed to be to progress to a second date.
  • Dress sense matters. I happen to dress very colourfully and, much as I love a guy who embraces colour, I’m realistic and can happily deal with jeans and a white t-shirt. However, when someone rocks up to a date dressed like a pimp (velvet jackets, purple silk shirt, chain) AND then starts on men at the bar, it’s all a bit much. (This happened.)

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  • I hate the world spark. I really do. But if whatever physical thing you need to want to sleep with someone isn’t there, then it isn’t there. I think I have to admit that looks DO matter… what kind of looks I don’t know, but someone could have an amazing personality and want the same things as me in life… but if I don’t want to jump them, then there’s no point persevering with the dates.

So there we go. I learned a lot and had some interesting dates with some lovely men, but it just wasn’t going to work out. Onwards and upwards. Well… onwards, at least (I’m being realistic) 😉

Gail’s Bakery, Lights of Soho, RADIOHEAD ALBUM and vetting process

17 Apr

EAT: Gail’s Bakery has just opened on Battersea Square. That is where I live. So, feeling a little delicate, my friends and I dragged ourselves a full 2 minutes to Gail’s on Sunday where we were greeted with these scenes:

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Flour, glorious flour. To all you gluten-intolerant peeps out there, don’t worry, they have gluten free bread and flourless cake available too. (Apparently flourless cake is nice but I’m not willing to risk it. Soz.)

Not only are the cakes and breads divine to look at, but the café menu is also pretty badass in terms of carbs and flour. I went for the French Toast with berries and crème fraiche:


I. know, just LOOK at it. It was so good. The toast was THICK and perfectly cooked too (not burnt but not too light). There was enough berry compote and crème fraiche to have with pretty much every bite and it made everything feel lighter too. Not gonna lie, I could have done without the honey drizzled all over it as I think it made it verging on too sweet… but that’s my own fault for not asking to be removed, not theirs! All in all a SOLID and tasty  brunch.

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Sam had mushroom ragu which seemed to go down a treat (above) – very fresh and a gooood portion size too. I can’t remember what Tim went for but I remember eggs being involved – whatever it was, it looked good and came loaded on top of thick-cut, freshly baked bread. Nick had scrambled eggs on toast. It came 20 minutes after everyone else’s food and, bless them, after bringing the food and apologising, they also gave him two fully stamped loyalty cards, meaning he can get two coffees or two loaves of bread next time he visits. Plus, his scrambled eggs looked BRILLIANT (I consider myself a scrambled egg pro and these were fluffy AS and came on whole-seed delish bread).

Gail’s Bakery gets a huge thumbs up from me. It’s my new go-to place for hangover brunch and if I worked in the area I’d spend a small fortune on their lunch options. Definitely worth giving a try if you’re local – and still worth a punt if you don’t live closer to any of their other branches!

SEE: Oh god, EVERYONE has been to Lights of Soho (God’s Own Junkyard). I went there forever and a half ago, but just never got round to putting the photos up.

If you like neon lights, highly Instagrammable surrounds and want somewhere ‘quirky’ to take a date (they have a bar and serve coffee too) then this is the place for that. The downstairs area is cute – hidden and dark but, err… with neon lights everywhere. Downstairs is definitely worth a punt, feels far more seedy 😉

LISTEN: RADIOHEAD ARE RELEASING A NEW ALBUM IN JUNE. Obviously, as my favourite band and absolute dreamboats when it comes to making music, this is GOOD NEWS. I’m sad that I wasn’t able to get tour tickets *sob* but at least I’ll have more music to gobble up.

If you want to fall in love with Radiohead, here’s one of my favourite songs that I (somehow) haven’t yet posted on this blog. I always told myself that before I get a tattoo, I’d have to want it for at least 10 years first. I fell in love with this song when it was released in 2007 and I’m wanted to have some of the lyrics turned into a tattoo: “There’s always a siren singing you to shipwreck”.

I love it because despite being a pain in the ass and sharing my opinions too freely, I just like it when people to do the right thing.When they move away from the siren. People (myself included) never appreciate advice at the time, but I remain resolute in my belief that if people are making a mistake it’s good to try and guide them to safety, despite the fact they won’t thank you for it at the time 🙂

LOVE: Over the last week I have cancelled three dates. Reasonably last minute. Not to be a dick, but to save everyone a hell of a lot of time.
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Actually, I didn’t give them the ‘sick’ excuse. I just didn’t follow up with an exact time to meet, or I told them I was busy. The reason? If I don’t like them enough to be compelled to go and actually met them, then why bother? Yes, true, this is the perfect way to miss out on someone who could be crap via text message and glorious in person… but it never seems to work out that way. Without fail, every time I’ve found that if someone wasn’t much fun on a date I was surprised because the conversation flowed so well online.
Hence the problem with trying to get to know people while they’re hiding behind a screen I suppose. Can’t win either way. Sigh. My friend Laura (in her 50s and I met in Costa Rica, wise AF) said that I should always speak with a guy on the phone before I meet him so that he doesn’t have time to stop and think when I ask a question, and so that I can find out if the conversation actually flows.

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This idea seems hideous, but unfortunately does make a lot of sense. Might risk it.

Bound to end terribly, but that’s what makes it fun, right?