My Sunshiny Life











{March 31, 2009}   A sensible social butterfly

I’ve been a little social butterfly so far this week, raring it up on a Monday night no less. Last night was Sand’s birthday and we celebrated at the upstairs room of The Oak in Westbourne Grove. It has a fabulous ambience, with subtle off the wall decor that really gives the place personality and warmth.

the-oak-decor

I had been before but couldn’t recall the detail of the room, which is probably enough said about what state I must have been in not to notice anything.  It has a very cool almost library type feel to it, like a private members club.  The private dining room is so snug and inviting, that I think I may just have to organise a dinner there to fully appreciate it.

Getting to bed after midnight on a Monday is normally unheard of in my life, but luckily I had been sensible on the vino and had made sure I ate enough food (as if not eating enough has ever been a problem for me). The food was pretty amazing too, little tasting plates of delicious crispy squid and the most divine goats cheese drizzled in honey, served with thinly sliced toasted raisin bread.

It was a fantastic night and it was so lovely to hang out with Sand’s group of fabulous single girlfriends.  Most of mine are ‘one part of a two part kind of deal’ so it was a refreshing change.  (not that I’d trade my lovely one part of a two part deal girlfriends for the world!)

I was the only clear headed person to wake up in my flat this morning, judging from the hangover groans and complaints.  Maybe I’m getting more sensible as I get older!  Actually even the thought of that makes me want to have a couple of shots of Sambucca before I go to bed right now, just to prove I’m not!



The day of the Shoot Experience treasure hunt around Portobello had finally arrived and I was excited, but a little bit nervous as well. The theme was performance (go jazz hands!) and we were encouraged to bring props along, but lacking time and not knowing what to expect we just turned up and hoped for the best.

The Snappy Chicks team was comprised of Me, Koi-lee and Missy G. Before we set off we were shown a slideshow of the best photos from past competitions, and if we weren’t a little apprehensive about our lack of artistic ability before, then we certainly were now. With amazing photos like; a flying carpet (a stool and fishing wire used to excellent effect), a bus flying over London Bridge (a miniature bus thrown up in the air and captured at JUST the right second) and the picture that still has me puzzled is the ‘Back to the Future’ themed pic, where there is a car with a flame stretching out behind it. Perhaps lighter fluid on the road?… Health and safety issues people!!

We got our list of clues and looked at each other blankly.  Sheeeee-it, what were we going to do, these were a whole lot harder than we thought.  Even looking at a cryptic crossword makes me break out into a sweat!  Inspiration and shutterbug knowhow to make the shot ‘award winning’ had been a concern, but not having ANY idea about the clue answer wasn’t something that had crossed our minds. We sat and pondered, then we searched for the terms on google… then we rang Dan. He said he’d look into it on the internet. We went and bought a drink and stood there, undecided as to what to do now. Then inspiration hit! We headed off in the direction of the easiest clue – ok, now we faced our second problem. How do we make the shot look good? The prize (and let’s face it, kudos is the best prize) was for the best artistic interpretation of the clue answer, not just a point and shoot kind of random shot. Bugger.

We did our best and came up with this shot for the clue that lead us to the church by Powis Square.

snappychicks42

Channelling power (or something like that)

Channeling power was part of the clue and it might not be so obvious from this photo but there is water being channeled by the hands in a prayer pose. We had to borrow a ladder off a group of builders, who had been watching bemused as Missy G tried to scale the side of the building in a little dress.

Here is another clue – treading the boards under a Royal Albert.  It was the Gate Theatre in Notting Hill, above the Prince Albert pub.  So we’re treading the board, an emery board!  See what we did there, d’ya get it, do you?

Treading the boards

Treading the boards

 

The day was SO much fun and we did end up getting all of our clues solved, which totally caught us by surprise. Now we’re not saying we didn’t get help, but knowing who to ask is just as valuable as knowing the answer yourself. We had some great ideas that would have been great if they’d come off, like putting Koi-lee in a washing machine for the clue ‘in the round’. The other idea we had for this one was photographing a preggy ladies belly. We asked one and she wasn’t so keen. Then we saw these results on the slideshow of all the images at the end of the day. It’s a little harder to think totally differently to others – an idea that seemed unique to us had occurred to at least 5 other groups.

We thought some of our photos sucked and were heartened to hear from other teams that they weren’t so confident about their photographic ability either. Except the team that said that to us won the entire competition. Go figure. Here we are with that team collaborating on their performance photo – this isn’t the winning shot though.

Performance!

Performance!

We had a deadline of 4pm to get our memory stick with the 8 photo entries on it back to the appointed meeting place. Just a small problem. We were over the other side of Notting Hill, so Dan was called in to duty.  He posed as an extra in one of our shots and then he scootered the memory stick over for us, leaving us to walk back at a more leisurely pace. We got to the pub and sank gratefully into chairs with cold drinks to hand.  We were tuckered out after walking the length and breadth of Notting Hill.

It was now time to see the slideshow of images and the prize giving.  People laughed as some truly hilarious images came up, but no one made any reaction to ours. So I started to make comments about our own photos to try and muster some support. Truth is though, we were right when we said we sucked, BUT we know a lot more for the next competition.

Tips to remember for next time; colour works. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know the exact place of the clue – the overall interpretation of the clue is more important and artistic interpretation in it’s very nature is obscure. There were many sheepish winners who had to admit they had no idea what the clue answer was, so they’d just made something up. Big bold images are very well received, subtleties like reflections in glasses and distant reflections in mirrors are totally lost in the mix.

In the Round

In the Round

So we’re all amped for the next shoot experience and we’re going to get a much bigger group of our friends involved. The next experience is at the Tate Modern in May and the format is being turned on it’s head as we’re all given a part of the story to photograph, with the complete story being revealed at the end of the day. Check out the website at http://www.shootexperience.com for more info.

I propose regular committee meetings to discuss creative ideas and maybe even a few workshops. Until then my props bag and creative genius is on standby!



{March 26, 2009}   Tired, Dazed, Confused

I had a fifteen hour day at work yesterday preparing for a pitch. I was making quite good progress on my two powerpoint presentations, until disaster struck at 10.17pm. I was putting the finishing touches on them when the whole powerpoint system crashed. At first I didn’t panic. These things happen, sometimes it says ‘not responding’ but then it kicks back into gear. Not this time though. So I powered my laptop down, a little bit annoyed that I’d have to go back to the last saved version of the document – because it autosaves every half hour right? Well apparently bloody not, as I discovered when I opened the program back up again. I trawled through recent documents and nothing there came to my rescue either. It’s like the sneaky little bleep bleep files never existed. FARK! Tears were shed, swear words were uttered and I set back to work.

So five hours sleep later (I am so an 8 hour girl) and I was back at work bright and early trying to make up for lost time. The pitch went very well, thanks team for all the support! You guys rock! Especially when no one mentioned I was being a big whiny stressed out psycho before the meeting. It was another 11 hour day today (Mr Boss man, are you reading this?) and I am dazed, confused, tired and discombobulated (I love that word).

So this isn’t going to be a long one, because I haven’t actually done much else apart from work, and burn my greasy chicken samosa from my corner deli. I must buy groceries. My deli is exorbitantly overpriced, the food isn’t that great and I feel ripped off every time I leave.

So what is the reason for me posting when I’m so tired and have nothing much to say you may ask… Well I would like two things noted as a matter of public record.

1) A grey suit and brown shoes do not match, they do not work, they should not both be worn at the same time

2) Only wear trainers with a suit if you want to look ridiculous. Not even Angelina Jolie could pull off that look and I feel pretty confident it’s not a look she’d go for.

With that style advice dispensed, it’s time for me to go and eat my 2nd choice dinner after burnt samosa, only slightly burnt toast.

Bon appetit!



{March 24, 2009}   My version of insanity

Don’t worry, this isn’t going to end up being a blog about my weight loss journey or anything like that. Just this one post, promise. Actually it isn’t possible for this post to be about the journey, because I haven’t started yet. It’s like I’m sitting in the driveway still reading the map, the car keeps stalling, the train falls off the tracks and I just can’t seem to stay on the wagon. I think you get the point.

So, to keep me motivated I’ve devised a plan. I just buy clothes I can’t fit. I went to Primarni today – I have gotten over my snobbery about it and try not to think about the slave labour issues – and picked up a cute little black dress and skirt for about 10 pence. The issue is, I don’t fit either of them and holding them up against myself and assessing the results in the mirror at the shop, I already knew that. I knew there wasn’t a hope in hell I’d squeeze my body into them. Actually, due to my sheer determination and acrobatic contortions, I did manage to squeeze into them. However the seams were stretching, the zip was protesting and I looked like an overstuffed sausage.

That’s not even the insane bit. On the way home I stopped off and bought a toblerone. It gets worse. Before going to Primark, I popped in to Nandos for a chubby chicken chow down, with a coke.

But I have hope. Hope in a jar. I bought some Spirulina powder today to add to my smoothies and juices, it’s meant to alkanise your acidic body, making healthy eating just that little bit easier. So if we’re sticking with the same weight loss comparisons as before, me taking Spirulina will work better than a sat nav, will jumpstart my car, get my train back on the tracks and crane lift my fat ass back on the wagon.



This is a continuation from the scam baiting that I posted about earlier.  I LOVE the fact he has a lady pilot, not every man is so lucky.

Dear,

Send me the following information if you are serious to partner with me in this money transfer. This is a serious business and required full attention and your full cooperation. Originally, I am from Saint Vincent, West Indies. I am working with a bank in Switzerland, age 56, married with three blessed children, two boys and a lady pilot.

I am very well known in my country and abroad so my future, career, and reputation will be at stake if there is any illegal issue in this heritage transfer. Regarding the secrecy of the issue, Is rest assured that there won’t be any trouble either now or in future once you keep it secret? I want to know more of you because you know that this is a very large amount and I don’t know you before and we need to build trust, what is your work, Age?

I want you to repose your full trust and confidence in the success of f the matter of the moment as I am trusting you for the first time and believing in God that your will not let me down when the money goes to your account? As you can see from the web page below success depends on key information to affect transfer from the bank to your nominated account. Even if it is an existing empty account is OK, provided it is safe and still active, Beside, your cooperation as the acting beneficiary is highly needed..

. http://www.crt-ii.org/2001_list/publication_list1_A.phtm
 

 

Send the account information as below: with beneficiary address and phone numbers.

Bank Name: ———————–?

Bank Address:——————?

A/C No:————————-?

Swift Code No:——————–?

A/C Holder’s Name:———————?

Your account officers name ………?

Beneficiary address……….?

Your occupation………………..?

Nationality,…………………..?

Private Phone home /office/cell Number:————–?

Finally, after total transfer of funds to your account, you will take 40% of the total Sum and I will take 60%, I will send you account to wire my share or I will send a representative to you if I don’t have time to come because of office work.

Waiting to hear from you and keep it confidential pls.
Johnson

 Call me +41 615*****

So I didn’t respond to that, thinking it was just a bit of fun to bait him, but the novelty had worn off.  Until he started yelling at me! Young man, I don’t much care for your tone!

Date: Mon, 16 Mar 2009 00:33:58 -0800
Subject: Re: My Regard!
From: mrscammerscammer@gmail.com
To: littlemisssunshine@rayofsunshine.com

I AM STILL WAITING FOR YOUR RESPONSES, ARE YOU SENDING ME THE REQUIRED INFORMATION OR NOT?? IF YOU ARE NOT CAPABLE AND SERIOUS, TELL ME NOW TO LOOK FOR ANOTHER PERSON INSTEAD OF KEEPING ME IN A MUTE.

Well now, it wouldn’t be fair to keep him in a mute would it, that’s just cruel!  So I responded.

Mr Kennedy
 
I don’t think I like your tone.  Using capitals in an email is like shouting and to be quite honest I don’t like being shouted at.  I was taking some time to think over your offer and was very interested in moving forward with it.  I would very much have liked to meet you and your pilot wife, coming over to see you and celebrate our new found wealth.  However I don’t think you are the man you professed to be in your first email and I have no choice but to ‘keep you in a mute’.
 
You are the weakest link.
 
Goodbye.

 

Take that Scam Man!



As a broody woman, with a ticking biological body clock might dream about a newborn baby, I am dreaming about a puppy. A very specific kind of puppy. A little miniature schnauser. They are SO cute!

Mr Scruff

Mr Scruff

I have to say that my affinity didn’t always lie with this particular breed, I went through a phase where I was quite partial to a little Yorkie Poo. He would be called Scruffy.

Scruffy

Scruffy

This name doesn’t suit the more esteemed gentleman like miniature schnauser, so he would be called Mr Scruff. Or I could have a cat and dog combo, called Dolly and Kenny. Yes, I have spent time thinking about this.
 
While out wedding dress shopping with Missy G the other day I spotted a very cute little shop by Sloane Square called Mungo and Maude. This shop was a broody puppy girl’s dream. I entered, just as a newly pregnant mother might enter Baby Gap. I wandered around, trailing my fingers over little doggy treats, leather beds with big fluffy cushions, leads, bones and books -all products that celebrate the joy of puppydom.  There weren’t all aspects of the puppy experience there though, no chewed up shoes, or pee and poop on the floor – this was a zen puppy experience. The shop assistant was watching me like I was going to try and hustle the dog bed into my small bag. She asked if she could help but I replied that I was happy just browsing. She left me in my puppy reverie for another 30 seconds and then asked if I had a dog. Oh fark, BUSTED! I don’t have one, and she knew it! Was that a look of pity in her eyes? Does she know my lifestyle doesn’t lend itself to a canine companion? I blushed furiously and stammered that my friend had a dog and I was looking for a present. 

 

I gave the shop one last look, like nothing here was fit for my puppy gift requirements, swept my dignity into my handbag and walked outside into the sunshine. Back to my puppy-less world.



{March 22, 2009}   A good ole Kiwi roast dinner

If you’ve read my previous blog entries then you’ll be forgiven for thinking all I’ve done all weekend is eat.  You’d not be far wrong.  I was delighted to receive a dinner invitation from James and Matt and headed down there after meeting up with Ange at Wholefoods, for a wholesome juice (and a fatty boomba cake – but hey, it’s from Wholefoods, it’s gotta be good for you!) and a big girly goss session.

James and Matt were my dinner guests at the Asian Extravaganza (http://dinneratmine.wordpress.com) and James is now a fan of Come Dine with Me.  I LOVE that show.  Matt was a little more reluctant to confess his interest and says he only watches it because James watches it.  

Pat was the fourth dinner guest, he used to work in banking but we didn’t hold that against him.  It was a real group effort, except Pat and I were the part of the group that didn’t really do anything.  We watched James cooking up a storm and offered some bits of advice when needed.  Matt wanted all the vegetables cut smaller and he wanted the leeks cooked a la polly, so they were his tasks.  Ripping the chickens apart was also his job and to be honest I think he liked that a little bit too much!  I had the prime position by the chopping board and little morsels of cheese and chicken mysteriously found their way into my belly.  Life is strange sometimes.

Dinner was a resounding success on every front.  Light banter and fabulous food.  I had a big helping (why not, it’s been that sort of weekend) of crispy roast potatoes, kumara, parsnip, leeks a la polly, asparagus and roast chicken.  Topped off with cheese sauce and gravy.  YUM!  For dessert I’d bought a fruit laden cheesecake which was quite nice, but totally un-necessary.

In true Come Dine with Me style the evening needs a rating, so I give it top marks – two thumbs up to James and Matt for their sterling effort!



{March 22, 2009}   Margarita's at Crazy Homies

It was Saturday, the day of our last wedding dress appointment and I had a firm favourite.  This was pretty hard, as most dresses looked amazing on Missy G, who has the perfect body for them.  After five appointments this one was drawing to a close and we knew which one we wanted.  But then she spotted a dress and decided to try it on, just to see.  Well, blow us all down with a feather, this one knocked our socks off (insert any other suitable cliche here).  Talk about wow factor.  Ok, lets not build it up too much, but it’s pretty amazing.  So riding on a ‘thank fark we found a fabulous dress’ high we decamped to Crazy Homies to celebrate. 

Crazy Homies

Crazy Homies

Missy G, Lacy and I trooped down at 5 to get a table… what sacrifices we make for the team, as we sat there tucking in to some salt rimmed gorgeous margaritas. 

Sexy Salt Rimmed Margarita

Sexy Salt Rimmed Margarita

Crazy Homies is an eclectic slightly insanely decorated place and it is ultra popular, hence our early start.  That’s our excuse and we’re sticking to it.

Pam and La came down, with lots of exciting news.  Their sister in law was currently in labour at the hospital and they were on full baby alert.  Our yoga guru Dani made up the group, fresh from a yoga assessment that went very well.  She will be our private yoga instructor from April and it will be her mission to get us body beautiful for Missy G’s wedding. 

Crazy Homie Girlies

Crazy Homie Girlies

As always the food was delicious, although the taco salad – a salad served in a big taco bowl – isn’t as good as it used to be and Missy G had a bit of food envy.  I on the other hand, was very happy with my melting pork picadillo enchilada.  I couldn’t have been having a repeat of last night’s dinner where I was the one with food envy.  That would have morphed into a food tantrum if it was the second day in a row! 

Food was eaten, margaritas and beers were downed quickly.  Baby news arrived – it’s a BOY! (actually they knew that already).  Congrats Doug and Michelle on your new addition.  Good luck Pam and La, hope you made it into the hospital with your nurse’s uniforms to get around the late start visiting hours.  Then we started getting the pressure to move off the table, from the glaring prospective patrons, the flirty slightly mental prospective patrons and the ever so polite but firm wait staff who asked us every five minutes if we wanted another drink.  Time for the girls to bid a fond and full farewell to the Mexican magic of Crazy Homies.



{March 21, 2009}   Food Envy at Cha Cha Moon
Cha Cha Moon Whiteleys

Cha Cha Moon Whiteleys

Sam and I have been wanting to go to Cha Cha Moon in Whiteleys, Bayswater, since it opened and last night was the night.  We sat there before ordering, admiring the buzz and the decor.  It’s all very simple, with an amazing curved bamboo roof and walls and a big open kitchen down one end where you can see the chef’s busy at work. 

After much to and fro in my head I finally decided on my choice of Schezwan dumplings and chilli prawn noodles.  Sam ordered prawn dumplings and jasmine tea chicken noodles.  We watched the plates whizz past us and were pleased to see every single thing looked absolutely delicious.  That is until my plate came out.  The only thing on the entire menu that sucked and I ordered it.  A greasy congealed bed of thin noodles was the base, with four prawns splatted on top, accompanied by two random bits of vege.  This was smothered in an un-naturally bright orange sauce that was a cross between sweet chilli and sweet and sour sauce.  Too hot for me and just not very nice.  I was gutted.  I looked at Sam’s plate and her’s looked amazing.  I looked at the people next to me and their plates looked amazing.  I think I may have even pouted in disappointment.   I had a severe case of food envy.

As with all these wagamama-esque places the food comes very quickly and it comes as it’s cooked, so your main may arrive before your entree.  My entree arrived as I was pushing my main to one side, I didn’t even want to look at it anymore.  But my luck was about to turn, the Schezwan  dumplings (where the earthquake was the waiter told me) were divine.  They were steamed dumplings sitting in a bowl of yummy sauce with little fresh chilli bits floating in it.  Heaven in a dumpling.  Sam’s prawn dumplings were fabulous too and the ‘make up for the worst dinner in the restaurant’ spring rolls that I ordered were just ok. 

Cha Cha Moon gets two thumbs up for service, ambience, cost (£35 for 4 juices, 3 entree’s and 2 mains) their GORGEOUS juices (guava collins, YUM!), the lovely Schezwan and prawn dumplings and now I know for next time – don’t order the chilli prawns.

Simple but fabulous

Simple but fabulous



{March 18, 2009}   Ski Trip Wrap Up

I’m back from Chamonix now and I am SO happy to have made the trip and I feel quite satisfied that I did two things that were out of my comfort zone – 1) Ski (obviously) and 2) drive on the right hand side of the road.  It made me think I should try more things I’ve never done before, so I might make myself a little bucket list. 

Yesterday we went to Le Tours which is WAY WAY WAY nicer than Le Flegere, the food was miles better, the scenery was breathtaking, the green run was ACTUALLY a green run – not a death drop twisty turny hard ass mountain..  I didn’t fall once on the mountain yesterday, which was fabulous and I was feeling quite chuffed with myself.  That unblemished record was broken however when a certain someone (who likes to tell us how much control he has) barrelled into me and knocked me over, stabbing me in the leg with his ski pole to boot.  I have a big bump on my shin, which I will be bringing into conversation with him at every opportunity.

We didn't photoshop that background in, honest

We didn't photoshop that background in, honest

 There are so many upsides to skiing, the beautiful scenery, fabulous food, burning off fabulous food, apres skiing!  I thought Apres Skiing sounded so posh, but all it means is that you don’t shower before you go out.  Rock on stinky sweaty ski peeps!  Chateau Neuf was the place to be, packed to the brim with gyrating bodies, dancing hard out to the live band.  JUMP JUMP! 

We left Chamonix today and headed to Geneva for a little tiki tour before we had to be at the airport.  We left loads of time so we could make it without any stress, but had enough time for a leisurely lunch and a wander around.   Setting out for the airport we hoped that the hard ass skiiers from our group hadn’t left Chamonix too late as they were packing in as much time on the slopes as possible.  We had (quite) a few issues with directions to the airport but figured it out and pulled into the rental car place with a sigh of relief… until the rental guy said we had a french car and we were on the swiss side.  WTF!  So after receiving a garbled set of directions we set off again, but to our dismay we kept ending back up on the swiss side of the airport.  For the life of us we couldn’t work out how to get to the french side.  We ended up on the motorway going 20 km’s out of our way because we took a wrong turn.  The generous slice of time we had to get to the airport was dwindling quickly.  In the end I was dropped off and the other two kept trying to find it.  I only just made the flight, rejoining the others from the group who were already there.  My driver and co-driver missed the flight.  I was gutted for them.  I received a text saying they had booked an Easyjet flight and would be leaving 50 minutes after our flight departed.  Then another text arrived saying they’d missed that flight as well.  Don’t worry though, they’re safe and sound back in London now… just a little later than the rest of us.

It was a fond farewell to skiing for now but not for very long hopefully.  I’ve wrangled an invite to S & B’s swiss ski chalet and am spreading the word that if a ski holiday is being organised I’d be totally up for it.  So until the snow falls again and the mulled wine is hot, this little ski bunny is on a break.



et cetera