Monday, 30 April 2012

A Senior Slumber Party

When we were younger sleepovers consisted of crowding round in our sleeping bags, eating too much pizza and chocolate, watching loads of movies and talking about boys. Fast forward 15/20 years and a sleepover with a few ladies in their late twenties/early thirties consisted of crowding round a few bottles of champagne, eating too much pizza and chocolate, watching loads of movies and errr...well talking about boys. Not a lot has changed...although now we have credit cards.

The occasion was a get together of the bridal party for the upcoming nuptials on the 29th September. Also it turned our to be a rather horrible wash out towards the end of April, and we really didn't fancy dragging ourselves around town hitting bar to bar. So staying in was officially the new going out.

There was of course a range of high brow entertainment laid on

Some good friends...

...and some even better ones
We ordered pizza from Domino's before we filled up on too much junk. When it arrived about an hour later it was freezing cold...the first time I've ever had a bad order from there. A persuasive phone call and 20 minutes later two new steaming hot pizzas were at the door. From a dissatisfied group of hungry girls to a satisfied and stuffed group of customers. Touche Domino's.

Breaking in the new champagne glasses

Some seriously cool gin
Once food and DVD's had been maxed out it was onto a bit of Wii. When turning on Mario Party 8 the date of last play was October 2010, seriously has it been that long? It came back ever so fast and of course I won! Great game, love a bit of Wii. We also had some competitive maraca shaking with Samba Di Amigo. Brilliant workout, not so good for the downstairs neighbours...

Highly recommend an adult sleepover - I certainly enjoyed listening to the rain outside with drink in hand, happily full on good food and good company.
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Sunday, 29 April 2012


OK, maybe that is a little bit of an over exaggeration, but Sen-Pretty Darn Good doesn't quite have the same ring to it. On Thursday evening I went to my first teppanyaki experience at Sen Nin in Islington. I had also declined to tell my dining partner that this was theatre dining and we were going to be expected to catch food in our mouths...

I wasn't as starving as I was aiming to be having had a whopping great portion of fish and chips (and half a battered sausage, but whose counting?) at lunchtime. I knew the menu was extensive as we had pre-booked the imperial feast.

We were the first of our 'bank' to arrive. With the live dining you sit in groups of around 10 at an extremely hot teppanyaki griddle surface and your waiter prepares the mains in front of you. First up being Japanese was miso soup (and a sake cocktail...). We also had the tapas of maki rolls, spring rolls, salad and dumplings. The sushi and dumplings were highlights for me. Unfortunately I didn't notice the regular wasabi until it was too late. The one which was served on a separate dish along with soy and chili was lacking seriously in consistency and heat. I seem to have neglected to take photos of most of this, must have been the sake...

You are kept all dining at the same pace so everyone can enjoy the cooking theatre. It started with the cooking of the rice. This arrived on a plate and was steaming so was obviously cooked properly before it arrived and then just finished off live. Now it is 100% clear to me why egg fried rice always tastes sooo darn good, an immense amount of butter, lashings of salt and pepper and a job lot of garlic. Job done. The way he just cracked the eggs on the surface and whipped them into a frenzy and whipped into the rice was amazing. I wish I could cook like that. My dining partner did point out I just need to get one of those teppanyaki ovens and a Japanese (or Filipino in our case) chef to move in.

This is where the theatre started. A few of us had a chance to try one of his tricks, flipping an egg into the chef's hat. He of course did this seamlessly and made it look easy. I did not. Luckily someone was on hand to clean up my mess. Apparently I missed by quite a long way. I also didn't fate very well the first two times I tried to catch the cooked egg in my mouth. One time it came tantalisingly close but bounced off my nose. Later on however - I would master this and by very proud of myself. Perhaps the 4 jugs of chilled Sake we drank gave me better mouth/eye coordination...

We had opted for mains to try the steak, tilapia and salmon. Boy am I glad. I don't know what the chicken tasted like but the beef was incredibly tender and perfectly coated in a teriyaki dressing. The tilapia was exactly as it should be, fluffy and white on the inside with a slight chargrill on the outer. The vegetables were delicious. Again this must have to do with the extensive quantities of butter, salt, pepper and garlic they were sizzling in. Our chef was also pretty creative, making me a heart and giving it a little beat with his 'flipper' (technical term).

Overall the meal was really enjoyable. Not the best food I've ever eaten but the entertainment more than makes up for it. We both said we'd come back in a bigger group, it would be really fun to have the whole 'bank' to yourself especially if you were celebrating a special occasion.

Atmosphere: 4/5
Food: 3/5
Drink: 3.5/5
Overall: 4/5

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Saturday, 28 April 2012

Alpaca es su Paca

These gorgeous yet confused animals cannot decide what they want to be, they look all cute and woolly like a sheep, but have elongated necks and spit (apparently) like a camel. The Alpacas are the newest residents on the farm that houses the mastering suite come podcast recording studio for work.
The poor little mites had gotten completely soaked in the (wonderful) British weather, luckily the sun had come out for our exit from the studio. Inquisitive creatures although not that sociable, one did a little skip backwards when I almost touched him...the best bit? Their names; Dalai Llama, Barack O Llama and Osama Bin Llama! OK so these aren't their real names, they have just been coined in the office. Their real names are equally comically Keith, Ralph and Alan. No I don't know which is which...a nice little escape to the country followed by a very city evening, best of both worlds I say

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Friday, 27 April 2012

Glossybox - Natural Beauty Edition

After the Harrods special edition I was expecting to be a bit disappointed by the April Glossybox. Oh how I (sometimes) like to be wrong.

As soon as I opened the natural packaging the smell hit me before I opened the paper. It smelt really 'fresh' and almost herbal. I was expecting it to be some sort of bubble bath that had exploded everywhere. Luckily this time I was wrong.

The first thing I noticed when I ripped inside was the size of the products! Much larger than last time. They all practically looked full size. The first product that caught my eye was the Figs & Rouge lip balm, it looked so kitsch and cute, looking quickly I almost thought this was the Burt's Bees product with its striking yellow packaging. Inside it smells minty fresh and although a little oily gave my lips a satisfying tingle. Will definitely be popping that in my handbag, and may try it on top of lipstick to see if I get a nice glossy effect. Also - this is a full size product worth £3.29.

Next up, was the actual Burt's Bees milk and honey lotion. I've popped that on and it smells almost good enough to eat. It has given a really moisturising feeling as well. I think I'll be using that for now instead of my usual cocoa butter, as I get a bit sick of smelling like Willy Wonka. This although pretty sizable is actually less than half size, so worth about £4.

Getting a bit more luxurious as we go another full size product. This time a fully certified organic eyeliner from Inika. My current eyeliners from Benefit and Bobbi Brown seem to last forever, however they are all black. This is purple (cue excitement). You really can't go wrong with an eyeliner, especially as this is natural so I won't be having any adverse effects to my eyes. This is worth more than the cost of the whole box - £11.75, oh how I love a bargain...

Monu collagen cream got some of my colleagues very excited as is supposed to be fantastic. It says it is for dry or dehydrated skin, which I don't actually have, but I am getting a but paranoid about lines so will add this before my normal moisturiser and see how it works. Going on the skin it feels quite thick, so I think I will minimise using it in problem areas (i.e. the creases above my nose!),I think this is what has made the whole box smell amazing as it does smell fantastic. At a whopping 50ml this full size baby is worth £17.50 (don't worry about the tallying up, I've done that for you later on!)

Last but by no means least is the Caudalie Vinosource Thirst Quenching Serum, now of course I'm thinking vino source? Thirst quenching? This sounds perfect for those less than fresh hungover mornings when you need a bit of help achieving that oomph. The applicator is quite clinical being a very fine nozzle, so I will use sparingly. This feels really rich quality - and will be reserved for those mornings when my eyes just have too much a third of its full size this exclusive sample is still worth £10. So for the whole box I have an amazing £46.54 worth of goodness.

I am still powering through the Burberry lipstick from last month, the perfume was gorgeous and was used up pretty sharpish! As this box was so late I'm hoping we don't have to wait too long for May, I can barely wait...
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Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Run, run as fast as you can

This weekend a good friend of mine completed the Virgin London Marathon - his first one, in an amazing time of 3 hours and 36 minutes. Now I have no aspirations to do anywhere near as good a time as that but man has it made we want to cross that finish line next year.

I always go and watch the marathon since living in London and it is such an emotional and inspiring day, however I've never been tempted to do it before. The furthest distance I have run 'competitively' (I use the term loosely, I am in no way competitive with my running, only against myself) is 5k. Last night I entered a 10k in under 8 weeks time. This is a big step for me! When I ran the 5k (over 2 years ago!) I was aiming for a time of 25 minutes. I was completely gutted with my time of 26 minutes. This time I am aiming for under an hour.

In the last two days I have run 9 miles and done a 30 minute swim. I am also going to do another 3 miles tonight. My back is aching but - no pain no gain right?

The Brighton Marathon is not ballot led, you can just enter, however I really want the prestige and support that I reckon only comes from London (any regional marathoners out there, please correct me if I'm wrong). I will enter for the London ballot and did think if I am not successful I will go for a charity place. PR (Pocket Rocket, pictured) ran for charity and doing so had to commit to raising £1,600. This year that figure has gone up to £1,800. The cancer charities I was thinking of running for are £2,000. I am not sure I can raise this sum (PR has some seriously good friends, and lots of them!) They must be in a really difficult position, obviously wanting to raise as much money for their causes as possible but that could deter me from raising anything for them.

So in the meantime, 10k training. I need to sort out a plan - not sure my 5k will just 'double up' but maybe...
And to any marathon runners out there - congratulations!
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Monday, 23 April 2012

The Big Easy; Restaurant Review

Saturday's are good fun when you have no time pressure to do anything. Lazing in bed and wondering where the morning has gone followed by a non pressurised trip to Oxford Street (there was a good reason for this, I haven't gone insane. Also were having an opening party of their new store. Attention must be paid). We then headed off to Chelsea for cocktails, champagne and a really good dinner. Or that was the plan.

When we arrived in Chelsea we headed to the Botanist for cocktails. It was as predicted really great. We got a good seat in order to peruse the clientele and the drinks were delicious. I opted for (I think) a longbeach martini. The menu on the website isn't up to date. It was passion fruit, basil, coconut and some other things that shouldn't go together but really did. One drink later and we were off to The Big Easy. It was a recommendation from a friend that the food was great and the atmosphere too. Expectations being high can lead to a let down...

I had a real hankering for crab. I seen on the wall they had a number of menu items listed (a la an American style restaurant that advertises their specials). Garlic crab was listed and my mouth started to water. When we perused the menu this was unfortunately not on there. The only dishes were a 2lb crab or a mix including mussels which I wasn't in the mood for. I opted for the whole crab. When it arrived the size did not disappoint.

I was given the walnut cracker to get started but unfortunately not a bib. I was most disappointed as a) that's half the fun and b) other people had them, why not me? The crab was not very meaty - and I was pretty disappointed. I asked the woman for some tips on getting some more meat from this beast, she basically mumbled something and walked off. Tres disappointing. My dining partner opted for the Lux Burger which looked great. For sides we went for half & half (steak fries and onion rings) which were nice but nothing to write home about. The macaroni cheese we ordered as a side was plentiful and tasty. Not as good as you get in other places that serve good old mac and cheese.

Overall I was pretty disappointed, mainly because the crab was such a let down and I didn't get a bib. Poor show! I'm sure there are better places to go on the Kings Road.

Atmosphere: 2/5 (it was quite early, pre evening rush)
Food: 2/5
Drink: 3/5
Overall: 2.5/5
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