Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Fake Kay

This man was not Jamiroquai front man, Jay Kay, which I discovered only after I had followed him up the cereals aisle to the checkout in Tesco Express Hackney last night. Imposter!!

Monday, 28 March 2011

Angry Driver

I needed to get a black cab home from work this evening as I'm shooting tomorrow and had to lug the regulation 67 bags of 'stuff/hard drives/callsheets/laptop etc' home. I was pleasantly surprised by the cab that stopped for me on Wardour Street for a change, as this one seemed super polite. The driver saw me struggling with all my crap and got out of the car to open my door and let me in. What a gent I thought.  And I still thought he was a gent as we drove towards Hackney in the evening sun. How refreshing, I thought, not to have to listen to someone moaning about mini cabs or telling me what famous people he had driven around. he was simply listening to some kind of monk music on the radio and keeping himself to himself/

Then as soon as we turned onto the Queensbridge Road, something unsavoury happened. A man cycled past us in a pale yellow woolen jumper and pink cotton shorts. And the mild mannered cab driver turned into the most angry man I have ever had the misfortune to be trapped in a small space with. The chanting monks got abruptly turned off and the following conversation occurred. Well, I say conversation, but it was more of a tirade.

Angry Driver: I f*cking hate driving East at this time of day, doyouknowwhatImean? Its a f*cking nightmare. I always know its gonna be a f*cking hassle when I get jobs like yours.
Me: Sorry?
Angry Driver: All these f*cking cyclists, doyouknowwhatImean? Look at this one! He's got pink shorts on! They're probably f*ucking see through. You don't want to look too hard incase you see something you  don't want to see! DoyouknowhatImean? What's that all about?!
Me: Hmm. I...I don't know.
Angry Driver: I bet he wears a f*ucking a suit to work and this is his little thing at the end of the day. And look at his f*ucking jumper! Who wears a jumper that colour?! I bet it's his mum's. And he's got headphones on!!! Look! Can you see?!
Me: Yes.
Angry Driver: I bet he's listening to f*ucking Bronski Beat! Ha! Or Judy Garland. And if I had big fat white legs like that I'd stick some fake tan on 'em, doyouknowwhatImean?
Me: Mm, yes, I suppose they are a bit pale...
Angry Driver: Mondays are always the worst. I work 7 days a week but they all f*ucking come out on  a Monday. F*cking Boris Johnson. He gave everyone a hard on for cycling, doyouknowwhatimean?
Me: I'll just get out here thanks.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Friendly feeders + a birthday trip.

Not having a party just meant that my birthday became 5 days long instead of 1 long night. I am most certainly not complaining since I have had a wondrous few days but now I absolutely am the oldest I've ever been, probably the fattest I've ever been and pretty knackered.

Wednesday - The Birthday Eve Eve
Met an old chum after work at Pizza Express Baker Street for dinner and a chin wag. Despite me vowing to never eat again, I had a lovely Rustichella on a Romana base. After 20 years of Giardinera's with ham I thought I'd try something new. Also the thin base meant it was less calories I think. Received some lovely blooms and admired the Baker Street PE which I'd never been to before but will definietly be re-visiting. Great staff, lovely posh decor and not too rammed, a high 8 dough balls out of a possible 10 I think for this branch.

Thursday - The Birthday Eve
What a lovely day! I think we are out of the winter!

Met another chum after work at Mortimers (my old favorite place to go for the famous one drink which always turned into 3 bottles) for a swifty, then on to dinner at Dim T on Charotte Street. I love Dim T and was already planning to rate them 10 pork buns out of 10 just for letting us have a table and then an accident/ miracle occurred. The waitress smashed a glass on our table sending shards of glass all over the place and more worryingly into the direction of my face. For a split second I thought I had some in my eye so ran to the toilets where I retrieved a small glass splinter that was resting on my right eyelid. A couple of millimetres down and I would be writing this to you from Moorfields, but luckily I was able to finish my dinner with 2 eyes. Even luckier than this, Dim T gave us our dinner for free! Definietly worth being blinded in one eye during a period of freelancing in a recession for a free 1/4 crispy duck. I'm afraid I will have to mark them down slightly for the near blinding incident so Dim T can have 8 eye patches out of a possible 10 this time round but I'm confident they will score higher on my next visit.


One for the road at the Marquis of Granby on Rathbone Place and then home to bed. I really like this pub in the summer although its a bit tatty and you have to be the size of an 8 year old child to use the toilets, but it always has a good atmosphere and the prices are reasonable.

Woke up, opened some cards, opened The Wigs gifts ( a cycle helmet, a china bird and a mystery trip away for the weekend), put the regulation 'Happy birthday' specs on, walked to Hackney Central, got a coffee from the lovely Climpson's coffee man in Hackney Central then any birthday mood that I had managed to muster quickly disappeared as I had my 2nd session of 'Brain Re-wiring' at St Leonard's Hospital. Its actual re-wiring, its hypothetical. I'm not really sure what is going to be achieved my attending these sessions over the next 8 weeks but since it took 3 months to get a place on the programme I thought I may as well give it a bit of a go.

After that, straight to work and a lovely gift from my 'boss', beautifully wrapped in the pages of Campaign Magazine (an advertising mag) was left on my desk, its great to be working alongside such a creative genius.

As well as this gift (a cruet consisting of 2 wind up Robots) I was also being treated to lunch. Its hard to be on a diet when your friends are feeders. I had been looking forward to this all week as my boss said we could go to Bodean's on Poland Street. However we hadn't bargained on the rest of Soho having the same idea so couldn't get a table, despite me wearing my Birthday specs. Luckily I had a back up plan and we went to Cote instead on Wardour Street.


Cote is also a chain which seems to be popping up all over the place at the moment. I've never been to one before but was very impressed. The staff were friendly and attentive, the food was delicious and beautifully presented and the restaurant was smart without being stuffy. Also, it opens early in the morning so you can come early and try out the breakfast menu. Cote can have 9 dessert wines out of a possible 10.

Rather excitingly I have also managed to bag myself a 2nd hand birthday trip abroard in May. My best friend had booked a trip for her and her boyfriend in a few weeks time for his birthday but unfortunately he cant go! Step up me! I don't know too much about it but I'm really looking forward to it and I don't mind having a second hand birthday gift. The only slight problem with this is that the trip coincides with some possible work I had been approached about for the LA Art School which I will now not be around for. This is quite annoying as it was quite an interesting thing to be involved in albeit in a small way, and perhaps if I had known about it sooner things would have worked out but I guess thats what happens when you are freelance.

Finally, at the end of the day I met up with another friend for a quick 'cheers' at the Kings Arms on Great Titchfield Street. This is another great pub which is slightly tucked away but always packed inside and out with the people that work in the area. I had worked near it for years before finding it but now I know its there its one of may favourite pubs in W1. The landlord is a bit bonkers, in a good way, and the staff are always friendly.

Saturday - The Birthday trip day 1
I have been wanting to go to Holt in Norfolk for quite some time. Ever since my friend said it had a lot of juicy antique shops I have wanted to go. The (kind and thoughtful) Wig knew this, so my surprise trip away was a night in Holt. I was very excited, so we got up early, caught the train from Liverpool Street and set off on our journey. Going in the opposite direction to the sun. You can't get a train directly to Holt so we had to go via Sherringham where we had a quick look at the sea.

2 minutes later we caught a cab to Holt and as soon as we arrived to this beautiful little village/town I realised I had actually been there before with my Ex-boyfriend. What an idiot. My friends will confirm that I have the worst memory in the world if this incident didn't prove it.

Never mind. The Wig had booked us into Byfords which calls itself a Posh B+B and it was really super. There is a deli making homemade cakes, pasties and pies etc and a restaurant at the front of the building and 16 rooms at the back. The attention to detail here was extremely impressive and I wouldn't call it a B+B, its definitely hotel standard.


Extra little touches included:

* A complimentary coffee and cake from the deli on arrival.
* Heart shaped, homemade shortbread biscuits in the room alongside a very well stocked tea tray (Decaf coffee, tea, hot chocolate, horlicks, fruit teas)
* Train time tables and local information leaflets.
* Fresh Lillies in the bathroom.
* Well stocked bathroom items including cotton wool, ear cleaners + sanitary products.
* Bang + Olufson TV and stereo in the bedroom and study(?!) and connected to speakers in the bathroom.
* Jar of Communal Midnight Cookies in the hallway in the evening.
* Fresh fruit in the hallway.

Very impressive indeed and I would rate Byfords 9 cotton wool balls out of 10.

Our cab driver had said we must try Alberts Fish Bar for the best fish and chips is Holt. So we shared some haddock and chips and it was streets ahead of the fish and chips we had at Poppies last week.

Next onto some serious old stuff sniffing around and the purchase of an old wooden hanger (I have a plan for this so its not such a random purchase as one might think), a small portrait of Elizabeth II, a white glug jug, (I've never seen a white one before) and another old leather case. The antique shops here were good although I didn't like being followed around by the elderly owners each time we went into a different shop. I don't know if we smelt of out of town, or if its because we were under 50 years old (just) but it was slightly irritating. Like being followed around by  a 3D shadow with white hair.

We went back to Byfords for dinner and had a couple of delicious deli boards to share.

Sunday- The Birthday trip day 2
After an Eggs Benedict which I couldnt eat (not really surprising), we headed off to another village called Aylsham to go to an Antique fair. It was being held in a very dated hotel and had about 15 stalls but was just about worth the visit since we bought a lovely little desk calender, a victorian pewter snuff box and some unusual leather tools which we are going to use for printing when we finally get round to making our wedding invites.

A final pit stop off in Norwich and then back home to London for 5pm. All in all a really great few days but I'm worn out and it really isn't the best weekend to have an hour nicked off you. I'm going to nick it back in October and maybe squeeze in another birthday treat then.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

"I'm the oldest I've ever been".

Getting old stinks. In 2 days time, "I'm the oldest I've ever been". I like to say this every year on my birthday and it's become a little tradition of mine. Or a shit catchphrase if you will. My friend even painted me a picture once with this phrase on. Black type on a yellow background. It's lovely. No one had ever painted me a picture before and no one else has since, so I think this would definitely be something to save if Hackney suffered a flood of biblical proportions.

I've never really been that bothered about getting older before and actually quite liked it. Having spent a large part of my life being asked for ID I used to enjoy being asked if I was old enough to purchase a ten pack of growlers so I could respond with a cheery, "Why, yes my good woman, I'm 34..". However, I haven't been asked to prove my age in over a year now so its sad to know those days are definitely behind me. Its so sad in fact last night I cried onto The Wig and begged him not to put me in an old peoples home. (I am blaming wine for this). But the thought of getting old is really disturbing me at the moment for some reason. Time is passing by so quickly its extremely distressing and whilst there are lots of things that I have done in my life so far, there  is a ton of stuff I haven't done yet, like swum with a dolphin or been to a chiropodist.

So, there is to be no big boozy party this year which is the first time in 18 years that I haven't celebrated. Yikes. Even writing the "first time in 18 years" is giving me a hot flush. Where is my life going?! There will be no table football party, no Elton John Fancy dress, no East End Quiz party where my friend turned up with a picture of me on her t-shirt that took me 2 hours to notice, no Karaoke, no dancing, just a quiet night with The Wig and a herbal tea. Dear God.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Super Mega Moon + Super(size) Mega Me.

I've been avoiding writing for a day or so as I don't have anything to report apart from a lot of eating.  So I'm rather embarrassed. My Aunts words have been ringing in my ears about my food intake at the moment, and she is right.  If I'm feeling a bit tubby, I should just stop eating so much!  But I can't seem too! I have been wondering why this might be for a few weeks and was trying to work out why I love food more than appears to be normal. I wondered if it was because I was brought up by someone who's first years were spent on rations during WWII so we were always taught not to waste food. And then I thought about blaming The Wig. I often tell him he has made me fat but he just says we like eating because we are happy. But I really don't know what the answer is. I was thinking about blaming Saturday's Super Mega Moon, as it seems to be getting the blame for a lot of things at the moment, but I don't really think that would be very fair.

Friday night began with a date with the Wig and a few drinks at The Strongroom on Curtain Road. This is one of The Wigs favorite drinking holes since it's close to his studio, it has lots of outside space (he gets hot very quickly if he has to stay inside) and has normal pub prices. Its website describes itself as a "haven for those in the know" and I would say its a definite recommend for a quick no nonsense drink. You have to have your bag searched on the way in but as long as you aren't carrying any cruise missiles or live animals you shouldn't have a problem.

After that we popped into our favorite vietnamese restaurant on Curtain Road, the Little Hanoi. I say it's our favorite on Curtain Road but I think it might actually be the only one I've been to on Curtain Road. And maybe the only one on Curtain Road fullstop. But nevertheless its great. To be fair, I have only been there after a few wines at The Strongroom but I think its nice and I haven't died from eating the food so its probably ok. Or maybe the alcohol killed the germs. What a recommendation.

Saturday, we went and had lunch at our favorite Traditional Swedish Restaurant. It's not the easiest place for us to get to since we have to get an overland train and a bus but its definitely worth it. Its a really great little place, I say little but actually its quite big and we can always get a seat. We haven't had to make a reservation yet! Not only is the food extremely nice, but its also really good value. As a side line the restaurant sells a very good range of homeware's which is a bonus. So as well as having a real taste of Sweden I also picked up a new kitchen tap, a jug, a dish wrack and some plates.

In the evening we went to a friends for dinner in Charlton via the SUPER MEGA MOON, which was amazing and obviously my photos don't do it justice, but it really was a sight to behold. I cant wait another 20 years to see it again but I'm afraid I'll have to. The dinner at my friends was delicious but she was not keen for me to take photos unfortunately, although I will just say her mini stuffed pepper and chorizo platter was knockout.

Sunday, and I had a breakfast date with an Australian. (I'm starting to make myself feel queasy now writing about all of this food to be honest). Since visiting my brother in Sydney last year, I know how much they like their breakfasts so I felt slightly under pressure. My first idea was to go to S+M on Brushfield Street but as soon as we had sat down I had a bad flashback and knew we needed to leave immediately.


The Wig and I had been there before and had one of the worst breakfasts ever. The restaurant has the smelliest drain in existence by its front door, the menus are dirty, the service is not very good and there are far better places to go nearby. So as soon as we sat down we got back up again and went to Canteen.

We both had a delicious breakfast of sausage, bacon, tomato, poached eggs, green stuff and brown toast. The service was very good compared to my last visit, a good option for a nice breakfast although at £25 for 2, not the most value for money.

Today I'm on a shoot, so more food. I only had an open topped prawn sandwich but still feel guilty and embarrassed. I should really have just had tap water and a dry cracker, but prawn cocktail sauce is the shit.

Here is a picture of some prawns. I'm going to get my mouth sewn up tomorrow.