Sometimes food, sometimes fashion, sometimes just life .................................

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Thursday, 18 August 2011

About my boy

The happy couple and the lovely man

I did briefly mention in my London visit, that my son had announced his engagement when we met up as a family on my birthday evening.  It's an item that warrants more attention, the meal in the Hansom Cab (pub not taxi) was rubbish, and the atmosphere was lacking, so I decided we needed a real celebration.

I spent Friday shopping and cooking ready for a special family get together that evening.  To begin with, we had lychee rose martinis which I cannot recommend highly enough (well actually to begin with we had TFI Friday G&Ts because we couldn't wait for the whole gang to arrive).  Then with nibbles, we cracked open the champagne and I produced the meal which I had modelled on my previous Friday night at Tom's Kitchen (ambitious I know, but I think it worked out ok).  We had 7 hour lamb with local leg of lamb (which I think was a bit of a waste, shoulder is definitely the better cut for cooking long and slow) on a bed of cannelini beans and garlic, and then my piece de resistance, and instead of an engagement cake was a heart shaped Baked Alaska!

We had a lovely evening, we all had a bit of a head the next day but it was well deserved.

It was a moment I would have loved to glimpse in a crystal ball 26 years ago when he was a very poorly 2 year old with leukaemia.  I love a happy ending don't you?

Should I get a dog?

Clyde in his favourite sunny spot
I know the answer to this question already really.  We had a lovely boxer called Clyde who was with us for 13 years, we have had a gap since he died of 3 years or more, and I keep softening.  After all I work from home now, so no problems with leaving a pet alone, I love walking, the company during the day might be nice ........but.......when I say lovely, we definitely had our moments Clyde and I, you know (or you do if you have had a dog) when they eat cow poo, when they snatch up your new purchase and dash into the road daring you to chase them, when they snore, when they fart in company silently, when they fart in company out loud (never sure which was worse), when you have to scoop the poop, when you know you bought bananas and courgettes but can't find them anywhere until they turn up half chewed under a bush in the garden months later, when your lovingly planted magnolia is uprooted and dragged around the lawn like a rag doll, when they sneak into a neighbours garage and snatch a full sized sweeping brush then toss it around near the pristine new car..................................Ok I think I may have talked myself out of it again.

Wearing a Damage T shirt to protect some stiches on his tummy

Then last week, whilst ironing I watched Marley and Me (my son describes it as a horror film for dog owners), and remembered how awful saying goodbye to your loyal friend always is (my first dog was a lovely alsation called Kim, I had him from being 7 to 21)......................and talked myself out of it again.

But I could have one of these

A bulldog and call him Gus
but what if I end up looking like my dog

Or another one of these - but we already know how much trouble these little boys can cause

Or what about any of these?

A cockapoo (hate the name)

A labradoodle

A cocker spaniel
What do you think?

Monday, 8 August 2011

Birthday Presents - lucky girl

On the day before my Birthday, because I was going to be away in London these arrived

with a bottle of champagne too!
Not even a special birthday (but aren't they all special?) and I had this beautiful Cartier Panthere Ronde watch from The Lovely Man, fits perfectly and I love it. 

A perfect colour match for my shoes

A Moorcroft "Foxgloves" trinket tray

The flash has faded the pinky shade of the foxgloves

which matches my vase

My old favourite with a new twist - even more feminine

My favourite room fragrance

Can't wait to wear this for apres-ski (I hope)

A Blumarine zebra print twin set (with matching hold-ups!!)
The shade is much nicer than on this photo

A Pure pale blue snakeprint cardigan

An enormous glass Kitchenaid bowl and ingeniously shaped spatula - now I can make humongous meringues and pizza dough galore without covering the kitchen in flour (Hestia - you need these for your shiny new machine)
How amazing that my family and friends know me and my tastes so well - very, very lucky lady

Birthday Weekend Part Two

So how well did I predict my Birthday surprises:

Champagne on the train (with strawberries, dark chocolate and Tyrell's hand cooked crisps)

 A Saturday morning browse around Borough market

 Lazy lunch at Wright's Oyster Bar - a dozen oysters with a black velvet then Cornish dressed crab and a crisp white wine and a shared creme brulee.

Sunday lunch in Osteria Basilica - Prosecco,  Burrata and Parma Ham,  Tagliolini with Chicken and Summer Truffle Ragu and a bottle of Sangiovese.

And I didn't have a clue about:

Where we were staying

 Fab location for Borough Market, lovely squishy beds and amazing rain shower and a London view from the bed.  With an outdoor terrace and a bouncing wine bar/cinema called Shortwave across the square.  Boy did we do some celebrating and it wasn't even my birthday!

Tom's Kitchen at Somerset House

 which was really beautiful, we shared 7 hour lamb between two of us, but truly enough for four - note to self for the next visit.  There were lots of revellers out on the terrace enjoying the summer evening (the music might not be to everyone's taste, but we enjoyed it).  For pudding we had an amazing Baked Alaska and some of us ended up smeared in meringue!

On the actual birthday, we had breakfast at The Garrison Pub in Bermondsey

 which was beautifully decorated.  The food was delicious (Eggs Florentine and a double espresso).

After Borough Market and Oysters for lunch, we had to make a decision - where to watch the rugby???!  We ended up in The Barrowboy and Banker on London Bridge, great atmosphere and a big comfy Chesterfield for a girlie gossip whilst the boys watched the match.

On MY BIRTHDAY!  Thank god for wine and Johnny Wilkinson

 We walked over to One New Change, planning on Lychee Martini at Ping Pong but because it was closed we ended up in Bea's of Bloomsbury for tea and cake - which seemed like a good idea at the time, but with hindsight more alcohol would have been a better choice.  The cakes were tasteless - just fat and sugar yukkk!  We felt as if we should go back to the hotel for a snooze and shower, but then decided once we got into those delicious beds, we would never get back out - so we headed on foot for

The Hansom Cab - Piers Morgan's pub (obviously we ended up getting a cab there - once we had discounted Boris's Bikes as far too dangerous) - this place is a real disappointment, sticky tables, grotty loos, terrible service and expensive but below average food - to be avoided.  It was a shame because we had a double celebration - my birthday and our son's engagement to his girlfriend E - which they announced over drinks.
Sunday morning was a day of recovery which involved another trip to the Garrison pub for breakfast, a turn on Boris's Bikes down to the Jubilee Market at Borough Market - fab band playing and a few foodie purchase to bring home.  Good job we didn't decide to bike to Notting Hill - the heavens opened and London was heaving because of Park Lane and Hyde Park being closed to traffic, our 15 minute cab ride took 45 mins and cost almost as much as our lunch (not).

So all in all a fantastic weekend, home early Sunday evening absolutely shattered and feeling as if we will never eat (or drink) again.  Big thank you and (((hugs))) to the Lovely Man, N and A, and my children for making it so brilliant.

I need to put a little foot note here about the rioting in Tottenham and beyond which began on Saturday evening - there was a huge police presence in central London when we were on our way back to the hotel, it is all very worrying and I hope that all of you London Bloggers are not affected by this frightening upheaval in our society.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Lipstick kisses - I love this story, sorry if you have already heard it.......

According to a news report, a certain private school in Newcastle upon Tyne was recently faced with a unique problem.
A number of 12-year-old girls were beginning to use lipstick and would put it on in the bathroom.

 That was fine, but after they put on their lipstick they would press their lips to the mirror leaving dozens of little lip prints

   Every night the maintenance man would remove them and the next day the girls would put them back.

   Finally the Head Teacher decided that something had to be done. She called all the girls to the bathroom and met them there with the maintenance man.

She explained  that all these lip prints were causing a major problem for the custodian who had to clean the  mirrors every night (you can just imagine the yawns from the little Geordie 'Princesses').

  To demonstrate how difficult it had been to clean the mirrors, she asked the maintenance man to show the girls how much effort was required.

  He took out a long-handled squeegee, dipped it in the toilet, and cleaned the mirror with it.

 Since then, there have been no lip prints on the mirror.

 There are teachers.......and then there are educators.

Birthday Weekend

It's my birthday on Saturday, and I have just been told we are having a weekend away in London!  Fantastic.  I was wondering if I would see the children, my daughter is prepping for the Pure Exhibition, and my son is taking his girlfriend to her parents for the weekend, but it turns out we are all getting together for a drink on Saturday afternoon.  How lovely for me.  I don't know any of the remaining details, we are going by train on Friday and our friends N and A will be with us - so I am speculating as to the possibilities:

Champagne on the train?

Dinner in Scott's

Breakfast at the Wolesley?

A Saturday morning browse around Borough Market?

Oysters and Chablis for lunch?

Courtesy of Wright's Oyster Bar

Or what about afternoon tea at Peggy Porschen?

Sunday lunch at Osteria Basilica?

All that interspersed with the odd cocktail to lubricate the shopping, or a stroll around the Serpentine?

Who can tell?

Watch this space for the details.

Lucky girl.

PS if we do eat in all those lovely places I will be living on celery and water for a week to shed the lbs!

Pps any alternative suggestions for a perfect London weekend would be very interesting.

Monday, 1 August 2011

A new discovery

When we were in London last time, I had this amazing drink, a Lychee rose martini, and this weekend I found Rubicon Lychee juice in our local Lidl!
I Googled recipes and had a dabble, and the first one tasted just as I remembered it.

In case you want to have a go:

2 measures gin
1 measure lychee juice
A squeeze of rose syrup
A dash of Angostura Bitters
A squeeze of lime juice

Shake over ice cubes, and taste before straining into chilled martini glass and top with a rose petal, or if you have them a couple of wild strawberries.


(and for the calorie counters only 59 in 100mls of  juice and full of vitamin C)