Monday, 25 April 2011

A weekend of good food, good drink & sunshine galore

If I'm to reach my target weight of 25 stone by July (she says sarcastically), I have to make it my mission to eat my way round North London....correction...round London.  The first Bank Holiday weekend of the year was bathed in ridiculous amounts of sunshine and it would have been rude not to venture out on at least 3 out of 4 days.

Today's blog will be concentrating on some of my favourite eating & drinking establishments - some of which you may know, some of which you may not!  I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone feels the need to eat in Pizza Hut when there is a wealth of yumminess to experience out there.

So we'll begin on Easter Friday with a lunch in the Mediterranean Cafe' in Berwick Street.  Whereas all the "cool kids" go to Flat White next door, I prefer this for cheap, cheerful greek & turkish style food.  I havn't had a bad meal in there yet and I would always recommend it to anyone.  A 3-course meal for £8.95 is a bit of a winner in my book.  I had Grilled Halloumi (king of all cheeses) to start, followed by Feta pancakes, and then Banoffee Pie.  Off to my new 2nd home, Bar Italia word...Martini.  'Nuff said.

Another sunny day on Saturday.  Whilst a lot of you night owls were sleeping off Le Beat Bespoke, I was up at the crack of dawn, heading for Muswell Hill, on a mission to check out an orange 60s coat/dress combo that had been spotted in a closed charity shop the day before.  A big fail on the clothes front but a big win as regards a new cafe'.  Swings & roundabouts and all that.  I'd heard about Nyborgs danish cafe' on Twitter and it's all that was promised.  As someone who has spent a lot of time in Scandinavia, Nyborgs is as authentic as you can get, due to the fact it's run by (I think) a dane.  We chose the danish bacon roll off the small but scrummy menu.  A lovely place for breakfast no doubt...which I will do one day.

More Bar Italia, more Martini & to end the afternoon, a trip to Zen Sai in Inverness Street, Camden.  Don't let any photos or music on the website put you off folks, this is one of my favourite places to hang out these days.  Happy Hour cocktails are a total winner - £3.50 each - the Mango Daiquiris are definitely recommended for a start.  Happy Hour tends to start whenever the management feel like starting it, and finish when they feel like finishing it....suits me!  Although I think late at night, this place generally turns into a bit of a house music bar, earlier in the evening, it's full of the most stylish 50s types, listening to great R n' B, Northern Soul etc.  I'm very much looking to next Sunday night where I shall partake in a Daiquiri or 3 myself .

Sick of reading about food & drink yet folks?  Worry ye not, nearly done!  Sunday was chores & baking day and neither of those things are interesting enough to write about on here.  The sun carried on shining today so we took a little trip to Primrose Hill, via Camden Market.  The market these days is beyond recognition and I had to get directions to a friend's vintage clothes stall, A Dandy in Aspic.  Get yourselves down there.  Today there were some particularly lovely shoes for ladies with tiny feet and some gorgeous dresses.  Unfortunately for me, my boobs didn't allow me to buy any of the said gorgeous dresses but I live in hope for my next visit!

Lunch in another favourite of mine - Trojka, the russian tearooms/cafe'.  On the menu for me today, Russian dumplings filled with mushrooms & sauerkraut, accompanied with smetana, and followed by baked cheesecake.  I love Trojka - it's particularly lovely first thing in the morning and the breakfast menu is lush!  A walk up Primrose Hill after lunch and then finally, as we'd promised ourselves as a treat before we go back to work tomorrow, a little trip to Marine Ices for a Knickerbocker Glory.

With all that talk of food & drink, I'm feeling positively STUFFED so I will love you & leave you.  I hope that some of you check out my recommendations & like them as much as I do. 

Monday, 18 April 2011

My previous life as a sex worker.....

I may have mentioned this before but I'm positive I was either a gay man or a sex worker in a previous life (or maybe both!).  I have a fascination with Soho & more specifically, sleazy Soho.  I feel more comfortable there than anywhere else in London and as I'm neither gay nor a sex worker in this life, I can only think I was once before!  I'm hoping that with the onset of lighter, warmer evenings, I'll be spending more time there - not perusing the adult shops but watching the world go by outside various drinking establishments.

I've joined the Society Film Club and I'm looking forward to many a night at the Sanctum Hotel.  Organised by Robert Pereno (once married to the so called wild child Emma Ridley), it's advertised as
the first independent members only film Club in Soho.  Films in the past few weeks have included Jubilee, Beat Girl and tonight, The Lost Weekend.  I was sorry to have missed out on what sounds like an amazing night watching Jubilee but was happy to have seen Beat Girl last week.  The films are shown in a room not too much bigger than my lounge and there's a feeling of being part of something quite underground.  Beat Girl completely sold out and the place was full of people who I imagine had amazing stories to tell - authors, actors etc, and Adam Ant!  Cathi Unsworth introduced the film and she reminded me how great "Sounds" was and how I met some of my oldest & best friends through it.  We got given a copy of her book "Bad Penny Blues" and I will report back on that at some point in the future. 

Lovely Bar Italia - a place that has such a lovely feel about it that it played a small part in my decision to move back to London.  It's amazing to think it's been open for around 70 years and is probably more popular now than it's ever been.  I love sitting outside in Frith Street watching the world go by and keeping one eye on Ronnie Scotts just incase I get an A list celebrity spot!  It's the perfect location really - over the road from The French House, round the corner from Pollo and a few steps away from that funny little coffee shop and AMAZING alcohol shop that fascinate me so much!  Bar Italia, I will be back sooner than you can say tiramisu.

Have had quite a civilised week really & am hoping for more of those.  The weekend finished off nicely with a little stroll round Primrose Hill and a glass of rose'.  When I win the lottery, expect to see me sitting on my balcony up there - after I've sorted out the properties in Stockholm & Brighton of course. 

Now...get out of here, you jiving scum x

Sunday, 10 April 2011

A VERY sunny Saturday

It's been a freakishly warm weekend - a weekend warm enough to leave the house without sleeves!  I won't go on about the weather however (ooh that rhymes) incase I tempt fate!

Yesterday was Tweed Run, something I'd been looking forward to for what seems like forever! This was the third Tweed Run held in London and it's basically an excuse to ride vintage bicycles around the tourist spots, dressed in tweed (obviously - hence the name!). As much as I would have loved to join in the dressing up and riding of bikes, I wouldn't fancy my chances on London's streets, having not ridden a bike since I was 12!

Everyone had obviously made a huge effort to look the part and if riders don't usually dress in the styles of the day, they did well searching out authentic items in readiness.  After seeing all the lovely photos that are floating around today, it seems Ewan McGregor took part too and he looked amazing.

It proved quite difficult finding out where Tweed Run started from but the organisers suggested good viewing spots along the way.  We headed to Trafalgar Square and just caught the riders going by.  I was hoping that they'd be stopping off there for photo opportunities but no joy on that front.  The photos I'll include here were about the best I could manage.

I finished off a sunny afternoon with a glass of rose' outside The French House.  Definitely one of my favourite little pubs - no idiots, no mobile phone conversations, and the aroma of gorgeous food coming from the restaurant upstairs.  Who wants to come and sample the menu with me?

Last night I resurrected Lipgloss.  I will say no more other than Lipgloss R.I.P!

Have a spiffing rest of the weekend x

Monday, 4 April 2011

I've got a brand new combine harvester....

I obviously don't but I was trying to think of a suitable title for today's blog!

I was in the deepest, darkest depths of Wiltshire for the weekend, in the village I lived in from the age of 2 until early 20s - Rushall.  My Gran still lives there so I venture back about 3 times a year. 

If you google Rushall, it takes you to a probably much bigger village 'up North.  My Rushall is really just a hamlet where there are no shops and you're very lucky if you see a bus once a month!  My school consisted of 32 children at most.  This made for a great education with lots of fun, nature walks, playing outside etc.  I smile when I tell the story of how when you are 7, you walk through the screen from the little kids classroom and are then a big kid!  I think I enjoyed my school years but it was a huge culture shock going from 32 children up to 600 or so at the age of 10 when I went to secondary school.  (I don't know if I was lucky or not but due to my birthday falling at a funny time and obviously because I was incredibly intelligent (!!!!!), I went to secondary school a year early).

A lot has changed in Rushall since I was small.  Our beautiful haunted house, located in a wood, with trout lakes, a river running through the bottom of the garden, and a hammock, got completely knocked down and rebuilt.  I wondered about the ghosts and worried for the tenants!  That house was so haunted, I could write a book on it.  The sound of babies crying coming from tvs that were turned off, lights turning on & off, my Katie Copycat flying across the room, and the little girl's voice saying "I'm 4" over Roger Daltrey's "I'm Free" track!  My second house in the village isn't recognisable these days either but there is so much more space for my two scooters that I owned back then!

Rushall is very, very pretty but a tough place to live when you're a teenager with no money and no transport.  My Lambretta gave me a lot of independence and I no longer had to rely on my poor Grandad to take me places and come out in the middle of the night to pick me up from Mod Nights in the back of beyond.  Rushall is still a tough place to live if you don't have transport & I can't see that changing unfortunately. 

If you happen to be heading between Swindon & Salisbury (or vice versa), take a detour through Rushall, have a look round the pretty little church, have a photo taken in the stocks, and...say hi to my Gran.