Tag Archives: postaday2011

Sightseeing My City – Cocktail Making at Battersea Power Station

28 Jul

What do you do in London when it’s the weekend and the sun is shining? Get down to Battersea Power Station and take part in an outdoor cocktail making master class, that’s what!

Well, that’s what we did anyway.

Because everyone loves food.

Because everyone loves food.

Battersea Power station is a monolith on the skyline of London; a testament to a different time, and now a protected building, well-known to Londoners. Having been derelict for years, it is now in the process of being turned into a new development of housing, and is set to regenerate the area.

.... has a silver lining

…. has a silver lining

So this summer is the last summer it will be free for Londoners, before the works are finished. Enter the Power of Summer.

Battersea Power Station in all its glory.

Battersea Power Station in all its glory.

The Power of Summer exists to toast a new chapter in the stations history, with a 100 people capacity street market going on all week and at the weekends, boasting stalls like Bob’s Lobster and Randy’s Wing Bar. They offer open air cinema to the masses, with Premier Pods if you fancy a little more luxury, and hug beanbags for those who just want to snuggle down and watch a film in the sun.

Graffiti art at the Street Feast

Graffiti art at the Street Feast

“London finally has a chance to get up close and personal with this iconic building for what will be a truly unique series of events. We’re very excited about bringing the whole Street Feast experience to Battersea Power Station, along with Everyman’s inspired selection of films.” Dom Cools-Lartigue

Bob's Lobster - London renowned

Bob’s Lobster – London renowned

We were invited down to the Indytute Cocktail Making Class which was run by Ping Pong (one of our favourite places for Dim Sum) so we were pleasantly surprised. The sunny day (not as advertised, weatherman!) only made the day better, and soon we were head to head in a mojito making cocktail off.

cocktail champs!

cocktail champs!

let the battle commence!

let the battle commence!

Through the two hour session we learned to make original mojitos, blackberry and Chambord lovelies and hibiscus coolers, all with the original mojito as a base. We giggled along with the other guests and got very competitive, stopping only to sample the wares of (first) Dogtown’s amazing hotdogs, and then later on, after a good few cocktails, a pulled pork bun at Miss P’s BBQ. We spent a lot of time talking to the guy working the stall who told us all about how they smoke the meat for 14 hours and the history behind smoking. It made us starving, and also looking to go try out the smoked turkey they offer in Brixton around Christmas!

Have you ever tried a cocktail making class?

Blame It On The Train But The Bus Was Already There…

12 Jan

When suffering from a bout of writers block between Christmas and new year the boy suggested that I write a post on trains. It was after he had just missed a train that had left the station two minutes before it was due to, and he was about as irate as he gets. At the time I laughed it off, unable to envisage getting to the platform late enough that I would miss the train if it was a mere two minutes early. Now, however, I feel his pain.

I have been commuting for little over a week, and have already amassed over 12 hours travelling by public transport. Be it trains, undergrounds or buses, I have become one of those people. A clock watcher.

I now live my life by the minute, and the second. I find myself tutting at people aimlessly wandering around Waterloo station in rush hours texting on their phones as I am dashing to the right platform, and have been known to audibly tut when someone just stops in front of me. You see, these people are determining the health of my social life. By stopping in the “fast lane” on the escalator they are endangering my dinner plans, by not having the right ticket at the barrier they are potentially ruining my evening. Those seconds mean everything when your next train isn’t for a half hour, and that five seconds extra that they dawdle in front of you in the ticket hall could be the seconds between me catching the bus or being smirked at by the bus driver as I run, arms flailing to catch his horrible gun bus, and he pulls off anyway.

Other than this I don’t mind the trains. The buses however are another matter and I would sell a vital organ to not have to get on one each night. The seats are so grubby that you can visualise all the dead skin and horrible things from all the people have sat there before, and after last nights journey when I watched the bus driver and his friend, who seemed to be enjoying going round and round circles of the town, leering at all the women get off the bus, I dread the walk of shame to exit.

When I get home I immediately get undressed and hop in the shower in the hope of scrubbing my skin back to its porcelain cleanliness. It doesn’t work. In still a bit grey and have an air of grub around me.

So next time you grab your phone out of your pocket and try to text on the move when in a busy station, think of me tripping over behind you!

How To… Learn New Names. Or Give People Different Ones!

9 Jan

Don’t worry, I haven’t turned all educational for 2012 and decided to bring you quick and easy how to guides on DIY and decorating and such. Release sigh of relief! But having made it through the first week as the new girl in a big office I have observed that I have unusual and slightly eccentric methods for remembering names.

It turns out that I make up little songs in my head. A lot.  It’s a bit of a baptism of fire when you are walked around the office on your first day and introduced to smiling faces. You repeat “Haaaiii! I’m Laura!” in your most faux laid back voice, while in your head you quietly panic that you can’t even remember the name of the girl introducing you to these people, let alone begin to remember their names. So, I panicked, and in my normal idiot fashion made a few comments that I wished I hadn’t said. I’m getting more comfortable around these people after a week, but a few faux pas’ still pop up and say hi every now and then. Its made all the more uncomfortable that there is one ever-so friendly guy who greets me in the morning with “Hi Laura!”lovely, but for the first three days I couldn’t for the life of me recall his name, so muttered something unintelligible into my scarf in a panic and sat at my desk.

The songs. For example…. I thought one guy was called Ed. The song went… Glasses on his head, he’s called Ed. Simple, and when I looked at him I remember his name. I’ll soon banish this embarrassing forgetting of names with a witty ditty! I thought.

Turns out it wasn’t. When talking to the marketing girls, they mentioned said Ed, and I responded… “The one with the glasses?” Cue fits of giggles from them, and the voice in my head sounding like a naughty little child shouting “WHAT DID YOU SAY WRONG THIS TIME??!”  To cut a long story short, actual Ed had just returned from holiday and had the classic sunglasses tan. Ed in my head actually wasn’t called Ed at all.

And then I noticed I do it on the train too. Spending 2 hours on the train every day means I look at people. It passes the time. In fact, I am writing this on the train now and currently sharing a carriage with Captain Beerswill, who looks like a pirate and is swigging fosters, fresh from a hard day pillaging and looting. Then there is Lord Totally-Shagging-His-Secretary; a man who is switching between two phones and looking suspicious, and Twitchy Twitcherson, a woman whose eyes are darting about at record speed. She clearly knows more about terrorism than we do…..

The key to naming your travelling buddies and new colleagues is fairly simple. A cardinal rule is to never call them another christian name. For example if the new girl you sit next to in the office looks like a girl called Jessica you used to work with, don’t nickname her that. Chances are you’ll call her it and embarrass yourself, plus it will get stuck in your head and you’ll find it far harder to remember her actual name.

There is an exception to this rule: alliteration nicknames. Take Harry Halitosis on the train or Betty Bounce-alot at the gym… There are no chances you’ll confuse them as their real names!

Try it out! Who are your nickname regulars?

Horatio the Hotty just got on the train…. This could make the journey quicker. But actually I think I’ll just call Anthony the Awesome, after all, that’s his real name.

I’m not the only one who nicknames either… Read BreezyK’s post Barb the Boozebag? Meet Larry loves everybody for some humourous nicknaming on the other side of the pond.

If you aren’t already, follow me on Twitter and Facebook for snippets of special!

*New Years Resolution Update: Played crazy golf this weekend, but not sure this counts towards my unusual thing for the month so im leaning towards a visit to the Ice Bar in London. Exciting!!

Lets Hit The Sales! I’d Rather Die

4 Jan

A lot of people love shopping in the sales. They eagerly wait for the January period to come, and then on Boxing Day they hit the shops like a tsunami on the shore; hunting down all the bargains and deals that they can find in an attempt to smugly inform their friends that they saved a bomb.

I, on the other hand, hate the January sales. In fairness, imp not a very good shopper at the best of times. I’m the kind of girl whose money burns a hole in her pocket, and for that reason I am always eager to get out and spend Christmas money on new bounty to feed the wardrobe monster and appease it for a few weeks.  But I can never find anything. Why is it when you have money that you want to spend you can find nothing that doesn’t make you look like you are wearing a potato sack or wearing something your Nan would dress you in, but when you can’t even find one more penny to keep the one in your wallet lonely, and the only thing there is an abundance of in your purse are moths, you see garments to fall in love with all over the place? Sometimes, life just isn’t fair.

Getting a bargain? It never works like that. My friend and I decided to brave the shops between Christmas and New Year, both of us with a view to get a new outfit for New Years Eve. He had rather more success than me as men’s clothes tend to stray from safe far less, but I walked in and backed out of shops at alarming speed, muttering under my breath about how I hated people en mass and sales in general.

I think the sales are out there to annoy me. It seems that through the year, eagle eyed sales assistants hook out the most offensive garments, and store them in a little hidey hole. It’s like payback for all those annoying shoppers who have time off when they have to work. Sure, you can come in and try to spend your money on new clothes, but they will try their very best to make the experience painful, finding all the alarming treasures that they have squirreled away all year and adorning the rails with them. Have you ever noticed how in the January sales there is a fright of orange, Lycra and tie dye that has been somewhat absent through the rest of the year? I think that some of the beauties that you come across on the racks at this time of year have been wheeled out year after year since the eighties, in a bid to not have to admit defeat and throw them out, but merely sell them to a poor unsuspecting victim who thinks they have found a bargain.

After all, there is nothing worse than going sales shopping and coming home empty handed, is there? It’s like admitting that there was nothing, however cheap that you liked or wanted, and for that reason we have ALL at some point or another purchased an item that will be fed to the God of the wardrobe, never to see the light of day again. Cast your mind back. This week I have gone through my wardrobe and donated a whole heap of stuff to the charity shop that has been hiding in my closet for years. Every time a friend asks to borrow something I hope they won’t come across said embarrassing item, and for this reason alone there was a high percentage of clothes that didn’t make the cut of moving to the new flat when I moved. Unfortunately I have now had to sort it all out on the way back in. What possessed me to but a T-shirt stating that “pale is the new tan” when I don’t wear t-shirts EVER? I don’t know. And we won’t even talk about the stripy jeans that made an appearance in the charity bag this year. I don’t even know where I got those from.

Have you got any horrific purchases too embarrassing to throw in the bin, for fear the dustmen might come and knock on the door and laugh? 


As Carrie Would Say…

3 Jan

“As we drive along this road called life, occasionally a gal will find herself a little lost. And when that happens, I guess she has to let go of the coulda, shoulda, woulda, buckle up and just keep going.” Carrie Bradshaw.

As an independent woo-mayn making her way through her twenties (YES, still twenties) one car crash at a time, I like to take some inspiration from unlikely sources. Sure, the Dalai Lama and Gandhi made some good points, but so have John Mayer (guitar God) and Carrie Bradshaw (totally fictional). I like to think that these two are the King and Queen of modern-day problemos, and for this reason I arm myself with their words in the stickiest of situations.

So today I am talking about the veritable minefield that is modern-day dating, and how at certain crossroads in your life you ever so slightly long to be your grandparents so you don’t have to worry about the are they/ aren’t they discomfort that people refer to as relationships.

I love to read posts by The Redneck Princess and Brooke and McKenzie about dating, nutters and loonies, and the ones that we sometimes happen upon that are actually worth the bother.

“After all, computers crash, people die, relationships fall apart. The best we can do is breath and reboot.” Carrie Bradshaw.

My friends have a metric to measure my interest in a man. They ask me “How is your boyfriend?” If I reply through gritted teeth that the particular individual that they are referring to is not my boyfriend then they know that I’m not particularly bothered, or will most likely lose interest pretty soon. If I seem a little more happy when I utter these words then it is assumed I actually don’t mind spending time with that person.

This was however, disputed, when I carried on saying “He is NOT MY BOYFRIEND!” until the week before I moved in with ex-boyfriend, when I had to concede he actually might be. And we all know how that worked out.

In olden days, dating was an easy subject. There was no awkward questions of exclusivity of how soon is too soon to introduce to friends, as you were only ‘courting’ one individual, if they were courting anyone else they were seen as a veritable cad, and the key to your chastity belt was released from the safe on the day of your nuptials, as you were passed from one man to the other. Thank goodness that’s over! And in times before that, you were clubbed over the head with a stone age baseball bat and dragged off to sweep the cave and arrange the pebbles so that the neighbours were jealous.

I recently read about a recognised dating technique adopted by the women of New York city. I’m not entirely sure how true it is, but it was called the Hob Theory, and the mentality behind it was that girls would have four different guys on the go. They would ‘move them about’ so that if one was a bit full on they would move him to the ‘back burner’, cooling things off and giving them time for someone else. I don’t know about you, but i find it hard enough to juggle my time to fit one lucky lad in, let alone have the energy, effort or bother to find FOUR eligible bachelors and fling them about the days of the week like a juggler. But then again, those girls have to cope with a lot in the city that never sleeps.

“Some people are settling down, some people are settling and some people refuse to settle for anything less than butterflies.” Carrie Bradshaw.

So people. here’s to 2012 – another year of walking down the streets that are all leading in the same direction, to Mr or Mrs Right. As I tell one of my friends, they might not be round the next bend or even within the next few miles, but one day you’ll be in the same postcode. And maybe you already are! Mr Right might currently be watching the football in your flat or Mrs Right might have cooked you dinner; wherever you are in your life, don’t take it for granted. Happy New Year!

Starting 2012 With A Spring Clean…

2 Jan

A spring clean isn’t the half of it. Who knew we had a chicken nugget graveyard in the back of our oven?

We had to give the keys back to our flat today (hence the silence on my part for the past few days) so my fingertips are now red and sore from bleaching and scrubbing and hoovering and doing all the hard work that you have to do before returning your home back to your landlord. I was amazed at the amount of rubbish I had accumalated over six months, and how much dirt builds up in that time. Our oven was horrendous, and at times I wished I was a witch so that I could charm the mop to clean the floors of it’s own accord!

Emma and I have laughed and cried this weekend (and one of us was sick after too much New Year’s fun!) but it’s finally done and I can return to a bit of normality. After all, as long as I have a plug socket and words flowing to the tips of my fingers, I’m OK, right?

So what does the New Year mean to you? I love the cleansing feeling you get of being able to shrug off an old year and relish the chance to rise like a pheonix from the flames and embrace all the new starts that this time of year gives you. I know Saturday turning to Sunday was just the same as all the previous weekends that have flipped over, but I love the blank canvas feel of January and all it has to offer. Although, if it could be a little less grey I would greatly appreciate it.

I am back living with my Dad and his wife for a few months, and as much as I was dreading the return (I hate to feel like I’m going backwards) I love the comfortable feeling of being in my bed, in my home and knowing that people are here to just give me a hug or make me a cup of tea if I have had a rough day. I’m going to miss living with my best friend and the freedom of coming and going as I please, but there is something reassuring in being home and not having to take too many changing factors into your stride. The new job starts tomorrow and I hate being the new girl, so the nervousness of that is assuaged by the comfort of knowing that it’s over 50% likely the milk in the fridge isn’t mouldy, there is a man in the house in case of a rampaging spider incident and if my alarm fails to go off for whatever reason I will probably be woken up nonetheless by an adult, rather than arriving twenty minutes late to work looking like a caveman has knocked me over the head and dragged me back to his cave to be his wife.

What are your resolutions? As well as Operation Kelly Brook (my endeavour that happens this time of year to shed a bit of weight and end up with a body like that) I intend to do something unusual once a month. Something that I wouldn’t normally do. These tasks include: more weekends visiting places in England (Bristol, Cambridge, Manchester), going to the zoo (I heart the monkeys!) and I would like to try indoor skydiving. I just think that I need to embrace what the world has to offer me, and this year is my year.

2012… I’ve been expecting you.


The Christmas Wilderness

28 Dec

At the moment I am sitting in the wilderness between Christmas and New Year, gazing at the twinkling lights on the tree and wondering if I can be bothered to take all the decorations off and take it to the dump. there is something depressing about the bare tree once the lights have been removed, like it has fulfilled its life purpose and knows it’s no for the metaphorical chop.  It’s a time when I would normally have headed back to work, but this year I start a new job in January so I have the time to myself. Bliss. An expanse of over two weeks to myself to sort out my life and plan the future. or so I thought.

Christmas is done. The presents have been unwrapped for another year, the goose, mince pies and cheeses are well and truly eaten, and the sales have been shopped. My Christmas money, burning a hole in my pocket, has been spent on a shiny new laptop and the box adorns the floor of the lounge like bodies in a battle; the proof of my win.

In reality, the sorting of the life ready for the house move is not going well. I have half heartedly packed a suitcase of clothes (in reticence of having to move from the flat I love) and a few of my least treasured items have gone on eBay. A charity bag has been filled (although im not sure how many orphans will want to be seen in a I heart geeks t-shirt which i found in a bargain bin in Hollywood, found funny, yet never wore. They will probably die of shame) and I am plonked on the sofa watching TV. I realised it was time to make a change just now when I finished my cup of tea, reached over the sofa and put the cup on the floor, only to have it clink on the last empty cup of tea that I still havent taken out to the kitchen.

So the blissful period between Christmas and New Year that you look forward to for a full twelve months turns out to be a bit mind numbing, doesn’t it? when I was a child I used to dread this no mans land. we used to spend Christmas at our grandparents, and in the car on the way home would be warned that when we got there we were to take our new toys to our bedrooms and find homes for them. we might even need to put old things in the charity shop bag! the horror across our faces was palpable. Give our stuff away?What a heinous suggestion! Nowadays I am the biggest anti hoarder, throwing away everything that isn’t nailed down. the charity shop staff near my flat know me by name such is my frequency to their store armed with bags full of bounty, and my flatmate moans that sometimes I bin things that were actually needed. Oops!

So today I begin the great flat sort out ready for the move. unless I get distracted by a Harry Potter marathon…

What are you doing between Christmas and New Year?

Stranger Than Fiction

27 Dec

Facts are things that astound me. I love finding out about interesting information that other people have been bothered to cobble together, that makes my mind blow, just a little. So I thought I would share some that I found on Quora with you, because I thought they were super interesting.

Did you know that the time difference between when Tyrannosaurus and Stegosaurus lived is greater than the time difference between Tyrannosaurus and now? Given that dinosaurs roamed the earth a really long time ago, this is awesome.

The bushes in Super Mario Bros. were just recolored clouds. This one made me laugh. It’s not the highest technology is it? But I still spend hours on my sisters DS jumping on toadstools and chasing stars.

Over 3 billion people live on less than $2.50 a day (in USD using purchasing parity power), roughly half of the world’s population. This is insane. Eighty percent of the world live on less than ten dollars a day, and it makes me think that actually, however hard it is to pay the bills sometimes, I’m rich.

About 1% of the static seen on old analog TVs is residual radiation from the Big Bang. (if it happened…..)

If Earth weren’t tilted on its axis, we wouldn’t have woodgrain, just “tree brown”.

And the most astonishing one to me… before the twentieth century it would have been virtually impossible for a cheeseburger to exist, due to the fact that tomatoes and lettuce are common in different seasons and we didn’t have all the preservatives and chemicals then that we have now. Who’d have thought?

Does anyone know any really good ones?

Its Not The Destination, Its The Journey

26 Dec

I’ve heard it said that the best things in life are free, and I’m starting to think that they might be right. Who are ‘they’ though? My mother references ‘them’ all the time. At the dinner table yesterday she started saying about how orange vegetables prevented cancer (my sister refuses to eat anything orange. You would think she was 12… she’s actually 23). “Who says?” enquired my sister. “Oh… they say!” replied Mum. I have visions of ‘they’ being a board of crones sitting around with their knitting, commenting on the lives of the rest of us and how we should go about them. Eat more vegetables / cover up your kidneys in the cold / get 8 hours sleep / drink 8 glasses of water a day…. They are so interfering!

Anyway, the best things in life are free. When did you last have the most fun? Was it at a music concert that you paid well over fifty quid for, or laughing with your friends till your jaw ached? Was it at the cinema or at the birthday party of your favourite four year old, watching her dancing with all her friends? I know that the times that I feel the happiest are when me and Emma are camped on the sofa discussing our day over a glass of wine, or feeding my darling Poppy a yoghurt and getting covered in it. I love cuddling up on the sofa and watching the TV, or simply just being with my sister and my Mum, drinking tea and giggling over jokes that we have had for years, like the fact that if you can hear my mother talking in another room it sounds like the clangers. Gone are the times where I will pay through my nose to get into a club or bar on new year’s; give me a quiet pub or a friends flat and people who I love and I will choose that any day.

As I get older I start to realise that it’s not about what you have or what you are doing, more about the people you surround yourself with and what you do for them. My darling Lou told me that she had the best night of the year at my house at the weekend, eating the three course birthday meal that I had cooked her, complete with comments from me…

“I’m so sorry that the onion soup looks like glue… I promise its nice!” or “the cheesecakes are cake-less because I forgot the biscuits, but I hope you like it!”

I am also starting to realise that it’s not about the destination, but the path that takes you there. It’s about stopping and taking in the sights on your way and appreciating the people standing behind you to catch you if you trip on an unsteady path, or fall and cut your knees in front of a load of builders on the way to somewhere posh.

Merry Christmas everyone.

What Do You Love About Christmas?

24 Dec

Merry Christmas one and all!

Last night I went to see the babies to give them their Christmas gifts, because children are what Christmas is all about. Lilly had written a letter to Father Christmas a few weeks ago, so I wrote one back and signed it with squiggly handwriting. When I arrived I informed her I had found it stuck to the back door and I wasn’t sure who it was from. She opened it and as Lou read it to her her eyes lit up and she danced round the room shouting “Santa wrote to me!!” at the top of her voice. It was the cutest thing ever, and made me so glad I had written it. We dressed Poppy in the Christmas pudding outfit I had bought her, and she sat on my lap while Lilly dressed up in her princess dress and sun glasses to do us a show. She shouted “don’t look!” for about fifteen minutes to work the crowd up for her big performance, while Poppy giggled away at the bells she was shaking, and then the show began. She danced around and then stopped, whispered “I don’t know what to say” in an unusually shy way, and then let out the loudest fart I have ever heard for a four year old. With that, she ran off to her room, laughing. The show was over. Hahaha! Only Lilly.

Christmas is magical when you are a child. I can’t wait to have children of my own and observe all the rituals like leaving out a carrot and a minced pie on Christmas Eve. When we were children my dad used to swear we had to go to sleep because he could hear the bells, and I read in the paper this week that Kelly Osbourne loves Christmas because Ozzy used to go up and dance on the roof so it sounded like hooves!

I used to love getting the tree down but always wanted a real one and this is the first year I got my wish. Our tree was a sparse stick of fakeness that used to drop more bits than a real one, and we used to decorate it with knitted father Christmases and paper decks. I used to envy my friends who had a real tree because their families made a massive day of it; going to pick the tree, putting the lights on it etc. we used to badger my dad until he eventually got it out of the loft! We used to look forward to going to see my granny as she had some glass stickers of show flakes that we used to decorate the doors with.

My granny still has a loo roll Father Christmas that I made her when I was in primary school. It’s covered in crepe paper and has a cotton wool beard, and twenty years on its looking a bit ropey but she still loves it.

Our Christmas isn’t conventional; we make a big fuss of Christmas eve and have German sausages and curly kale and mashed potatoes. It’s one of my favourite things about the festivities. Then on Christmas day we eat goose and red cabbage (no turkey or pigs in blankets for us!) and I get to spend time with a family that I simply don’t see enough. I love the apple strudels too!

What is your favourite thing about Christmas? What are you most looking forward to? Merry Christmas 🙂