Category Archives: What I’ve Been Up To…

Flesh and Buns: uncensored

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In all honesty, it felt like we were walking into a shady, underground nightclub. Pumping music (of the edgiest kind), a big video screen showcasing some strange cartoon character, and concrete steps leading down into a white-washed abyss… the signs weren’t good. The name, ‘Flesh and Buns’, didn’t help either. We were clearly entering a sweaty Soho strip club, where bun-shaking and flesh-baring are expected of all guests.

But we’re always told to ‘never judge a book by its cover’ (despite the fact that some covers really are rubbish, and that authors would have to be crazy to pick them), so this book was not going to be judged until we’d entered it. Maybe it was a gross misunderstanding; mutton dressed as lamb. So down we went, into the lamb’s lair, to taste the food it had to offer…

fleshand Read the rest of this entry

BYOC at The Juice Club

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Imagine a place where you can drink a free-flowing number of cocktails, for a fixed and marginal fee. Imagine a bar where you don’t have to queue to quench your thirst, but instead get offered a colourful array of refreshing drinks on a continuous basis, waited on at your very own table. Imagine a club hidden away in the depths of hustley bustley Covent Garden, which can seat just 20 people at a squeeze; 20 ‘in-the-know’ people, who all care about the experience just as much as they do about the drink itself. And all this, manned by one of the most inspired mixologists in the country, with an infectious passion for creating bespoke cocktails on the spot.

Well you don’t have to imagine all this anymore, because (in case you hadn’t already guessed) this mythological place actually already exists.

BYOC – which stands for Bring Your Own Cocktail – is a new and unique cocktail experience, blossoming at the heart of Covent Garden. You’ll find it hidden away down some steep stairs beneath the fresh and busy daytime ‘Juice Club’, though the ambiance down those stairs couldn’t really be much more different. It’s a totally different world. The room is 1920s styled, with little wooden tables, a grainy 1920s record playing in the background, and a waistcoated, smiling mixologist to-ing and fro-ing between his customers and an old laden juice trolley.

byoc

The whole idea behind BYOC is that you bring along a bottle or two of your favourite spirits (meaning that The Juice Club don’t have to fork out for an extortionately-priced alcohol licence), whilst they supply all the fresh juices, herbs, ingredients and knowledge to make you an ever-flowing waterfall of the most creative cocktails out there… Read the rest of this entry

We wheelie need to bring back the non-wheelie suitcase!

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I went searching for a non-wheelie suitcase this weekend. That doesn’t make for an interesting story, but what does is that – although I scoured the whole of Kensington High Street (a modern shopping street, if you will) – I just couldn’t find one. Not a single one. It wasn’t like I was being picky, either. In fact, I was willing to take anything that came my way. I was a self-proclaimed suitcase whore. But it was only non-wheelie suitcases I was going to go for.

travel suitcase

But I couldn’t find one anywhere… Read the rest of this entry

An endless worldwide treasure hunt..

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People often seem to think that if you want to have fun in London, it needs to be organised well in advance.  It needs to be planned, budgeted, and scheduled.  But the problem is that fun – when it’s too heavily organised – gets a bit stale.  I think that’s actually one of the down sides of living in London; from the outside, spontaneity seems to be dead.  Or at least all Londoners appear to believe it is.

Want a drink with a friend?  Busyness dictates that you need to schedule that in at least a week in advance, please.  Want to test out a new restaurant?  Well then you can put your name down for a table in three months’ time, thank you.  No wonder Londoners are always looking ahead and way into the future, neglecting the present.  They’re Half-Nelsoned into doing so.

But I’ve just discovered a new and exciting way to pass the time in London.  It may sound odd but, as with all suggestions, it’s not worth knocking till you’ve tried it.  The activity in question is in fact ‘geocaching’.

Geocache (1)

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A proper feast at Feast

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Feast Festival: a bit of an epic food festival, filled with a handful of the most talented chefs from the finest, most up-and-coming restaurants in London.  It was a triumph of simple deliciousness.

We went yesterday evening.  Held in the 19th century Tobacco Dock, near Wapping, Feast was filled with food lovers and chefs alike, all wanting to have fun and celebrate a common love of food.  The food heroes present included Hix, Dishoom, Pizza Pilgrims, Bone Daddies, The Wright Brothers, The Meringue Girls, Annie Mac’s, Spuntino and Caravan.  And none were a let down..

meringues home

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The real Hansel and Gretel

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I was given my first ever gingerbread house kit this December, by big sis Liz.  With gingerbread houses, you only get one stab, so I was determined not to waste that stab.  I therefore invited a few of my most artistic friends round to help with the construction work.  You’d think it’d take an hour or so at most; it actually took a whole weekend.

The reason was that we were determined to make this the most original and colourful gingerbread house out there. We’d waited 24 years of our life to finally be trusted to make something like this, and the time had now come… It’d have a door number, stained glass, a fishing pond, a snowman, a croquet lawn, a snowman playing croquet, a fire for marshmallow roasting…it’d have everything.

‘Twas a messy weekend, with regular trips back and forth, to and from Tesco, however we finally completed the masterpiece:

IMG_1685 Read the rest of this entry

Duck and Waffle

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You know those restaurants which you deify?  They’re not pretentious, they’re manned by fun, friendly people, they look damn cool from inside, and their food is mind-blowing.  Well it’s one of those that I’m about to write about. It’s not often that you find them, and even rarer that you can afford to return, but all in all, they need to be cherished.

The restaurant in question is Duck and Waffle, found hidden away in the heart of the city of London.  I say ‘hidden,’ but if you know where it is, it actually sticks out like a sore thumb.  A very welcome sore thumb…