Friday, 29 July 2011

Hopper Fitness

Average Tuesday night - arriving early for a new fitness class, we decide we do not fancy taking our Zumba lessons outside with people watching (Zumba is another one of our current endeavours - lots of fun) So, watching the ending Zumba class we see the balls arriving for Hopper Happiness, now I had wondered how the trainer managed to get 10 space hoppers to Highbury fields - turns out they are deflated and our first challenge was to pump them up!

So thinking that we didn't want to do Zumba in front of others in the park was soon dispelled when we had to race around cones on space hoppers! Then came squats - lots of them, holding the ball in the air, honestly the arms were killing! It is really a good work out, social and fun but more importantly I hurt for the next couple of days. We used the hopper like a Swiss ball but also the hopping (which is effectively squatting!) Oh and people were taking pictures and a small boy said 'my Mum says you're mad' - but it was definitely good fun. Usually Tuesday is Zumba night, and I've really been enjoying this of late, and obviously hopping in the park is very weather dependant. But I would do it again and recommend it!

The Vegas body is still in production, now if only I could work more on not wanting good food!

Find out more about Hopper Happiness
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Monday, 25 July 2011

Cartier International Polo - Darling

This weekend was the Cartier International Polo and 200th Coronation Cup. Following weeks of washout rain the sun did not disappoint! Although I did discover today to my dismay that one shoulder dresses and blazing sunshine result in some very dodgy tan (OK I mean red...) lines!

Champagne at the grandstand
Price Harry supposedly played in the morning match, although we were very far away at this stage and did not see.

What we ate:

Marks & Spencer did a blinder in sales this weekend judging by every ones picnic hampers. We had Lochmur smoked salmon and broccoli quiche, pimento and jalapeno stuffed olives, chicken breast and mozzarella in seeded baps, all butter chocolate chip cookies, an assortment of dips (garlic and herb being the best) as well as chicken liver pate, a cheese board. Phew and yum.

What we drank:

Pommery champagne
Jacobs Creek Sparkling Rose
Cordineu Sparkling Rose
Pimms...lots of!

One of my favourite sites from the day was the gentlemen hanging their coats on the white picket fence! What a wash of pastel. I do really love seeing everyone dressed up.
The Gents cooling off
For the Coronation Cup we managed front row grandstand seats. The sun really was baking at this point, I felt for the Guards, players and horses! Still it was a fantastic day. Definitely be going back next year!
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A weekend of terrible news

This weekend has bought a number of shocks to the UK news wire. The killings in Oslo have left shock waves around the world. A man who has gone on the biggest killing spree in modern times. Reading about it really is terrible. I feel for the victims, their families and the survivors. Quite how you get over something like that is beyond me.

Also this weekend news that was out of the blue, yet marked the end of the long and well documented demise of Amy Winehouse. It really is a tragic loss, she was so talented and now - no more. At this time it is unknown what exactly the cause of death is, although widely reported and highly likely to be drug related.

One thing about this weekend of dreadful news is the usual Sunday staple that would have reported these occurrences like no other is the News of The World. Ironically no longer in circulation - and also due to these incredible series of events, yesterdays biggest news (the phone hacking scandal surrounding the NoTW) is no longer news...Reading the Metro and Standard today it was barely mentioned at all.
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Friday, 22 July 2011

London Underground, Tourists and the summer...

I won't be the only person experiencing this problem. If you do not work in London or a big city you may as well stop reading this now. This is concerning tourists, holiday makers, families and school trips who insist on using the London underground during rush hour...without a clue.

We've experienced them all...the ones who stop. In the middle of no where. For no good reason. This can be on an escalator on the walking side, one of my personal favourites as soon as they get to the top of the escalator. The ticket barrier, as soon as they've gone through the ticket barrier, as soon as they see a sign, as soon as they see another person! Really just keep walking. The London underground is incredibly well signposted. It really is idiot proof. So why do so many people stop in the middle of a busy isle and get out a map?

One of my next favourite is enormous groups of (generally) French school trips who insist on making sure all 217 pupils are huddled together making one unavoidable, impossible to navigate around clump of idiocy. They are easily identifiable by the backpacks they insist on wearing really loosely so they hang roughly round their knees. One teacher is at the front dawdling, another at the back - aimlessly trying to make anyone move in any logical direction or speed.

I know people like this have to travel on the network, I'm just saying...why during the hours of 7.30 and 9.30 and 16.45 and 18.30?! there are plenty of quiet times of the day when yes, your enormous suitcase will fit on the tube, yes of course that double stroller / 2 bedroom semi will squeeze on!

And while in on the subject...people in the street who insist on walking 4 people wide when there is no room for anyone else to get around. The number of times I've risked my life darting into the bus lane to avoid this particular breed of muppets...just walk sensibly. Or if you see someone who is clearly rushing for a train just part like the red sea and be considerate - do not scornfully look at me when I have no other choice but to nudge your 2,000 Primark bags in order to navigate the pavement.

Rant's the school holidays (great now we also have 4-11 year olds to content with...)
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Thursday, 21 July 2011

11 Cavendish Square Christmas Launch

Christmas comes early in London...the 20th July to be exact. Last night was the launch of 11 Cavendish squares Christmas season and menu.

Greeted by a scantily clad dancer and 10th Christmas tree, this had the potential to be more than your average Wednesday night. Cocktails and champagne arrival consisted of orange mojitos and David sparkling wine...both fine but nothing to write home about.

The first canapes (table food, almost like peanuts and crisps) were breaded olives stuffed with salmon or feta. I've never had breaded olives before and I was excited. They were however decidedly average. No where near enough salmon or feta to appreciate it, bread coating overpowered any olive taste. Still I was starving...

When the canapes arrived there were nowhere near enough to go around. The alcohol to food ratio (although to some I'm sure was considered excellent) was poor. The can can girl waitresses didn't even have the chance to strut around the room like I'm sure they were supposed to with the trays of assorted quails eggs, foie gras and duck terrine...literally they would take one step in the room and assorted event organisers were pouncing like they had never eaten a meal in their life. It was embarrassing.

The venue itself was very nice, open feeling due to the glass roof, and although it was cold and raining (got to love London in midsummer...) it was neither cold or noisy. My favourite touch was the vintage umbrellas and staff waiting for you to cross the 12ft courtyard on either side. It was genius.

The wine and cocktails continued to flow long after the food had dried up, and this was all before 2030! I would recommend the venue for a party, but would insist on bowl food rather than sporadic canapes. Still not a bad night. Goodie bag left a lot to be desired. A piece of birthday cake was the highlight!

A swift trip to match bar after..absolutely years since I've been's still exactly the same! Overall a 6/10 night!

What will top Monday?!
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The highlight of the evening...Rachel Stevens appearance

So as I am sitting here waiting for a date I'm not really interested in meeting, I wonder why the hell is this appealing?! This will be my 3rd experience on a blind date. This is how the experiences have gone...

1) he didn't look like his picture at all. As soon as I seen him I wanted to leave. Spend rest of time wondering when is the appropriate amount of time until I can leave. I decide it's 2 excruciating drinks.
2) he although isn't exactly like his picture he was fine. We actually have an ok night...he is the one to suggest more drinks and keep the night going. I never hear from him again.
3) and so here I am. Arriving on time (it's a curse of mine, perpetually on time...) the bar is quiet and dark.

Finding someone you don't know...difficult. I decide he's not here and wait at the bar painstakingly combing through the cocktail menu to kill time. After brushing off approximately 26 staff keen for me to open my purse I sit down. I even take off my jacket. After scouring the room from my vantage point he's either 15 mins late or nothing like his pic and contemplating whether he wants to come over. I text him to inform him in here in case, you know in the last 2 hours since we confirmed arrangements he's had a lobotomy. 10 mins later and a grand 25 mins late he decides to reply 'ok coming' er what?! Were you only thinking about it before. And no apology. If that text had come 5 mins later I would have I wonder, why the hell do we do it?!?

At what point he decides to arrive, what do I do?!? Be frosty, er hi I almost left, you're a moron get a watch and a clue?!
On the upside the venue he chose is fine, somewhere I haven't been before and pretty good. . (and so he arrives....)

2 drink minimum is enforced. After 1 he asks if I want to eat...I start to think what take away I want when I make my escape.

So at this point I'm really wishing I was with the guy I went out with the other night...not a blind date. With him yes I would have loved to have tried the amazing smelling Japanese in the cocktail bar/restaurant we were in.
I create an excuse I even believe myself in order to leave. The only saving grace..the cocktails were very good. The guy was boring as hell and at one point asked me (seriously) if I spoke Latin! Suffice to say that's 3 disasters..dare I keep going?!?

The highlight of the night? (yes a slow night) As we were leaving Rachel Stevens arrived. Beautiful and so tiny! My only fear about going to a perfectly decent guy...running into him again!
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Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Review: Jose

On Monday night myself and date discovered a fab new restaurant which I've since seen everywhere (it was featured in today's Stylist and  Metro). Really I'm not surprised...probably the best tapas I've eaten. Anywhere.

Although it was a rainy Monday night and no where near payday, the place was buzzing. Really good atmosphere. We were stood (not seated, there are approximately 3 seats in the whole place...the standing really adds to the intimacy and atmosphere). The wine is well priced, starting at £18. We ordered a bottle of Rioja for a very reasonable £25.

The olives were the only food item that slightly let it down, they were all green and not very special, and the portion was very small. In the end it did not matter as our food arrived impressively quickly, considering how busy it was and the chef's are literally in a tiny galley smaller than my modest kitchen!

What we ate: Lamb meatballs were incredible, really distinctive tasting and although there was a lot of sauce it was not over bearing. The bread we ordered was not suitable to mop up this delicious sauce though. We had the tomato bread. I don't know why but I wasn't expecting it to be cold...still it was very nice and the tomato's were extremely fresh.

The prawns from the special board were delicious, there were 3 in the portion (and yes we split the third one!) They were immaculately seasoned with chili and garlic and tasted amazing. I wish I could have ordered take out.Sticking with fish the hake alioli was divine. The batter was light and fluffy and the fish flaky. The dollop of alioli made it very special indeed.

Chorizo in white wine was a hefty portion, but really well done. Another highlight from the board was the pea and poached egg salad, again with chorizo. Really the best way I have ever tasted peas. They were almost crispy with the seasoning (trust me, this is a good thing!)

Finally the patatas bravas were like no other potato in this style I've had. They also had a generous dollop of alioli and a kick of spice.

I would highly recommend this place to visit with friends or a date, probably not the parents if they are likely to want a seat!

Atmosphere 4/5
Food 5/5
Drink 4/5
Overall 4/5
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Tried and tested: Benefit Porefessional

Having woken up at the age of 25 and discovered my pores are the size of moon craters, I have been on a mission (and limited budget) to identify a pore minimising miracle, hopefully something that will reverse the process completely - not just cake my face in make up.

Yesterday (so far too soon to assess long lasting effects) I purchased Benefit Porefessional (£23.50) it instantly felt silky on my fingers and then on my face. The lighting was harsh in the shop (as ever) but with a bit of extra powder and blusher I looked miles better.

This morning after applying properly..aka after moisturiser but before any other make up it seems to have made a great difference, not only to the pores but to the way my make up appears - so a primer really.

Overall I'm pleased. I still have my beady eye on the holy grail of pore minimiser's from Estee Lauder, but I'm reluctant to shell out. Let's see how this goes!

Value for money 4/5
Effectiveness 4/5
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