My Sunshiny Life











Our sales team has been at a trade show, Internet World in Earls Court for the last two days and last night there was a show party.  The show organisers didn’t come down in the last rain shower, they know that putting the party in the middle of the show means that the exhibitors aren’t going to cut too loose.   Unless you’re our team.

The party was at The Collection in Chelsea which is a stunning club/bar, with big ceilings, a mezzanine floor and some beds dotted around, with sheer curtains covering them.  To be honest the bed thing is a bit tacky but I was happy they were there, because that was our seat and I couldn’t bear standing for another second after being on my feet all day.  It’s not a place I’d go to by choice, very footballers wives, but it was great for the evening.  To every single male’s delight, we had the upstairs mezzanine floor and downstairs was a Formula 1 party of some description, filled with scantily dressed, heavily made up cheap looking girls. 

Drinking gallons of red wine on an empty stomach isn’t something I’d recommend to anyone and after 4 hours of drinking our stomachs were starting to eat themselves.  We staggered (literally) across the road to Bibendum which is in the old Michelin building. 

Michelin House

Michelin House

It’s a stunning piece of architecture, built in 1911 for Michelin.  When the building was refitted the Michelin facade and most of the interior remained and it’s now a listed building.  It currently houses a Conran shop and the Bibendum restaurants, which is comprised of a cafe, Oyster bar and restaurant.  There are three massive stained glass windows which still remain from the original design, and all feature ‘Bibendum’ the Michelin Man.  In the second world war, these were taken out to the Michelin factory in Stoke on Trent for safe keeping so they wouldn’t be bombed.  (I love Wikipedia).

photo-lrg-b-bibendum-kick

I love the little touches they’ve incorporated into the restaurant, like this butter dish.  A super cute Michelin Man.

Michelin Man Butter Dish

The wait staff were excellent and really knew their stuff.  Our waiter happily played along when I started the game ‘what would you have’ and he talked me through the richness of each course and how one course would compliment the next better.  That’s service for you.   I had scallops as a starter and then for my main I had skate, which was absolutely divine.  I was in fish heaven, which doesn’t happen very often in England.  It was even up there with NZ snapper, which is my favourite fish of all time.  The guys had oysters for a starter and they looked lovely, served on a bed of crushed ice.  Almost too good to eat, if you like oysters that is.

Demolished Oysters

Very very full, we decided to squeeze in some cheese so we could have lovely vivid cheese dreams.  If you’re in the mood for lovely dreams, chocolate truffles should be eaten as well, right?  Along with a fabulous glass of port.  Feeling a bit TOO full now, Little Heena and I giggled our way down the road to the tube.  After much debate about which one to catch, we got on the wrong tube and ended up in Victoria.  Public transport was not our friend, so we found a trusty black cab to get us safely home.  A much more refined end to a very unrefined evening, although in a very refined establishment.  The food was faultless and I shall be back the next time I want a little fishy heaven.

I woke up this morning at 5.45 and nervously opened one eye, trying to assess the damage of a heavy night of drinking (when I don’t do heavy nights anymore) and to my surprise I feel absolutely fine.  Although I think after only 5 hours sleep it’s because I’m still pizzled.  Today may prove very interesting, as I stand and talk to prospective customers for 8 hours.  The very thought makes me want to pull the duvet back over my head and go back to sleep!

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{April 27, 2009}   Weekend Wrap Up

Most of my weekend was consumed with my Come Dine with Me dinner on Saturday night.  My theme was Mystical Middle Eastern and the full blog, along with videos and piccies is on http://dinneratmine.wordpress.com

On Sunday, when my raging hangover had been tamed, I went down to Clapham to see Alex for one of her leaving drinks parties.  It was a gorgeous sunny day, with blue skies and not a cloud in sight.  We sat outside the Clapham North pub and I drank my first Pimms of the summer… the first of many I hope!   Nothing like hair of the dog to make your day look brighter.  The icy cold Rose wine went down a treat too!

Ladies who drink

Alex (front centre, with her lovely new hair colour) is leaving the UK to start her new life down in NZ with Dave.  Dave’s already down there and has sorted them out a house and everything.  So Alex is now enjoying her last few weeks in London,  as a lady of leisure catching up with all her girlfriends.

As we sat there we noticed a few things, sitting on a main road is great for people watching.  There was a guy that went past in a horse buggy, like a proper racing buggy.  Where did he come from, where was he going and where on earth did he get the horse from – his communal garden?

Then Miss Marilyn rocked up at the lights and she looked HOT!  She was driving a fabulous retro pink car and she was styled to within an inch of her life.  She looked uber glamorous and we were all waving and taking photos.  It must have totally made her day.  If you put that much effort into your appearance and pull it off so well, you deserve to have a little random appreciation!

Marilyn Monroe



{April 25, 2009}   Magic Cakes

I ordered these cakes for a customer meeting, personalised to suit my customer. I think they are SO cute!  They’re from Konditor and Cook.  They’re pretty pricey at nearly £3 each (they’re not very big), but the best thing was they tasted as fabulous as they looked.  It wasn’t like they were resting on their appearance laurels, like how a themed restaurant normally serves dodgy food because they rely too much on their theme to carry them through.

konditor-and-cook-magic-cakes

The wow factor from my clients was worth the effort I went to in ordering them.  Thanks Konditor and Cook icing lady, you’re a star!



In anticipation of the big Mystical Middle Eastern dinner party I’m hosting on Saturday night, I eagerly accepted Sand’s invite to dinner.  So it was six girls in a Lebanese restaurant, with a LOT of food and far too much garlic.  I love being single, I tucked into the creamy whipped garlic sauce with gusto. 

Delicious whipped garlic sauce!

Delicious whipped garlic sauce!

The food is pretty amazing at Maroush and the Maroush Gardens is a lovely location to eat delicious Lebanese food.  There are like a million Maroush restaurants on Edgware Road but this one is one of the best.  Our waiters were most attentive and blinded by our charms, so much so that we were the lucky recipients of a free fruit platter and baklawa – like we needed any more food, but since it’s sitting there…

Fruit Platter and Baklawa

Fruit Platter and Baklawa

As we were thinking about leaving, but still too full to do more than think about it – a gentleman of middle eastern descent approached our table (he wasn’t a waiter) and wanted to know whose birthday it was.  God knows where he got that from, but apparently they’d been taking bets at their table as to why we were all out for dinner.  How exciting must their dinner have been, honestly – to have a sweepstake as to why a group of girls are out for dinner!  Well the occasion was that it was Thursday night and we fancied Middle Eastern (and I needed to take lots of notes about the food presentation for my dinner party).  He said they’d like to buy us some champagne and beckoned his mate over to join him.  Now I’m not quite sure what the protocol here is, but we were stuffed and still had wine left over so we didn’t fancy champagne and couldn’t be bothered with small talk – we had GIRL talk to attend to, which is much more fun.  Was he waiting for a nod and a wink indicating if he bought us a bottle of cheap bubbly there would be some garlic scented lovin for him that evening – or was he just a generous sort of guy?  I think it was the former, he got no encouragement from any of us (what a surprise) so disappeared, along with our imaginery bottle of champers.

Thanks Maroush for a  lovely dinner, I’ve got some good ideas for my dinner party (put chickpeas, olive oil and paprika on top of the hummus was one little gem).

Check out this fish in the Maroush water feature, they’re all SO big!  They look bigger in real life too – Monster Koi! 

Maroush Koi

Maroush Koi



{April 19, 2009}   Weekend Roundup

It’s been a very long time since I’ve been to Busaba Eathai so thought it high time I paid it a visit.  I was meeting up with Sam and I decided to make a concerted effort to be early as I’m always late.  I got us a prime position in the front of the queue.  There aren’t many restaurants in London I’d queue half an hour to get in to, but Busaba Eathai is one of them.  Standing in the queue the aromas drift out, tantalising and teasing you.  When you walk in there is a distinctive scent that envelops you, like smoky incense and lemongrass – my taste buds stand to attention immediately.  It’s located in Wardour Street and has THE best calamari in London.  Their lemongrass tea served with a little pot of honey and a cashew and coconut cookie is pretty damn good too.   Actually I’d go so far as to say I’ve never had anything that I haven’t liked, which is praise indeed from a sometimes little fusspot.

Busaba Calamari

Busaba Calamari

Lemongrass tea with cashew/coconut cookie

Lemongrass tea with cashew/coconut cookie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Saturday morning I went for a long walk and stopped in to Running Shoes London in Paddington Basin.  This place is fabulous.  I went on a treadmill and the very helpful girl analysed my running gait to determine which shoe would suit me best.  I think I tried on half the shop and ended up with a pair of Adidas runners.  I left my old clod hoppers in the shop, I couldn’t believe the difference a properly fitted shoe made.  Unfortunately I haven’t had a chance to try them out running yet but they felt lovely to walk in.  I haven’t been for as many runs as I’d like, I went twice this week with a few walks thrown in too. 

I was meant to go today but have been quite hung over due to the first Come Dine with Me dinner.   All details on http://dinneratmine.wordpress.com    Tomorrow is another day however and I can’t wait to be out there with my new running gear, I’ve got my iPod shuffle, running shoes, thorlo socks, capri pants and sports knickers all ready to go.   I’ll be running for 5 minutes without stopping by the end of the week!  A big achievement, believe me.



{April 15, 2009}   As Alanis would say

Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think…

london-cyclist1

I spotted this news headline on the way into the office this morning – Boris: Let cyclists jump lights 

 

The next thing I noticed was this poor cyclist being given a ticket by a policeman… for jumping a light!   

 

Neither of them must be aware of the latest mayoral decree.  Surely there are more hard ass criminals the very industrious policeman could turn his attentions to, we are in London after all.

 

 



{April 14, 2009}   Training Session One

So today was the big day, my first training session. I went too, which is always great for the first day. There have been many ‘this is the first day of my new exercise regime and I’m really going to exercise every day come rain or shine’ days that I’ve missed before. 

I was most excited and woke up at 5am unable to get back to sleep. So many things to consider, which knickers to wear, which trackies, where is my iPod, lipgloss – no lipgloss? I went with the lipgloss, shouldn’t have worn trackies as they chafe (Sweaty Betty here I come, credit card out ready to buy some running gear!), the knickers were perfect and I couldn’t find my iPod so had to take my iPhone. Big and bulky, but it plays music and if I needed medical help at least I could have called someone.

All bases covered I set off, walking over to the running track, which is SO very close to where I live it’s slightly embarrassing I’ve never stepped foot on it before today. I actually ran the whole way around the running track the first time and was mentally high fiving myself.  I did a lot better than what I had thought I would do and very scientifically kept up the intensity using the following measures; make sure I’m puffing but not breathing so ragged that I can’t hear my music, breathing hard but not to the point of vomiting, slowing down if I feel a stitch coming on.  So with all that in mind I walked, shuffled and jogged my way around for 30 minutes. 

Feeling victorious at actually getting up and doing it, as well as not injuring myself, I climbed a little (very little) stadium with the tune of Rocky in my head to take ‘yes I did it!’ photos.  Physical evidence that Little Miss Sunshine is a runner in training.  Paula Radcliffe watch your back!

Day two tomorrow, fingers x’ed the enthusiasm and energy levels remain high.

running-trackthe-next-paula-radcliffe



{April 13, 2009}   Under the Influence

In my experience there are many things that should not be done whilst under the influence of alcohol and today I can add two more things to this extensive list.   Actually make that three, blogging is probably the third thing… 

Last night I cooked under the influence.  The more glasses of red wine I drank, the less I cared about the food.  Well the problems actually began before I started drinking, as I forgot to put the roast in the oven, which meant that my patient dinner guests didn’t get to eat until nearly 9pm.  Luckily it pulled together at the end and some bits were mushy, but covered in a generous helping of red wine gravy (theme of the night) nobody complained.  As long as it’s good ole kiwi leg of lamb and the potatoes are nice and crispy who cares if the veges are mushy.  The best way to get away with it is to make sure all your guests are as sloshed as you are – job done.

Masterpiece

Kiwi Roast Masterpiece

Who ate all the lamb?

Who ate all the lamb?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today was my second UTI incident.  I met Miss Nikki for a VERY lovely lunch down by the canal in Little Venice, we sat outside in the cloudy/trying to be sunny but in the end really sunny kind of day.  A few glasses of rose down and I was feeling brave.  We discussed what goals and plans we had for the coming year and I admitted to one that has been sitting underneath my lazy subconscious for quite some time.  I think I’d like to run a half marathon.  NO!  I AM going to run a half marathon!  So we left the Waterways and headed off down the road when Nikki said she had a proposition for me.  I was excited, next pub, another drink?  Ah no, it was more like, “ok so you want to run a half marathon, lets do one in September”   My reaction was something like “are you CRAZY, I haven’t got the right shoes, bra, outfit, I don’t run, I’ve never run, I don’t think I can do it that soon, it’s far too early, god I can’t even run for 1 minute on the treadmill.”  It all piled out in a panicked jumble.  It’s all well and good SAYING you’re going to do exercise, but actually following it through, jeeeesus, steady on!   I said that perhaps this time next year might be more in keeping with my hollow intention of actually get off my lazy unexercised butt.  I left Nikki with the promise that I’m going to start my training regime tomorrow morning, in fact I’m even going to send her photographic evidence that I’m out training and not lying in bed with the duvet over my head.

But now I’m home and the rose wine fuzz is lifting and I think that I should challenge myself a bit more than I do.  So, as a matter of public record I’d like to announce that Little Miss Sunshine is going to do a half marathon in September 2009.  To give this the gravitas that it deserves please read the sentence before about the fact that I cannot and under no circumstances do not run – except maybe for my bus.  I can’t run for even 1 minute on the treadmill, so this is a life changing kind of commitment.  One that will see me running the streets of London like one of those ultra fit people that I dream about being – ok it might take me a while to get to that level.  As Rachel says, it won’t happen overnight but it will happen.  So I have to do it in my daggy trackies with my retro ipod for now, but when I’ve illustrated the commitment to myself I’m going to be decked out ultra Sweaty Betty style.  I need SOMETHING to detract from my hot sweaty beetroot red face.  Some people look good when they exercise, I do not.  So anyway, vanity out of the way, my training schedule starts tomorrow.  Walk 1 minute, run 1 minute, for at least 30 minutes.  Or maybe walk 2 minutes, run 1 minute.  I’ll give it a go and will keep you posted.

Me training, yeah right

Me training, yeah right!



{April 11, 2009}   Another one bites the dust

I went walking around Notting Hill this morning, I haven’t had a proper look around the shops in that area for ages.  I was pleasantly surprised to see an Oliver Bonas boutique and thought they must have just opened, nope, they’ve been open five months.  That must be how long it’s been since I’ve visited – how time flies! 

As I walked to the next shop I wasn’t so pleasantly surprised.  Coco Ribbon has gone.  Gone under, kaput, vanished, had a big closing down sale and left the building.  Coco Ribbon is a boutique, oops, WAS a boutique that sold lovely girly things, pretty boudoir styley things.  All that is left of someone’s dream is a pile of boxes and a few for sale signs hung up.  Even the website has closed down and all they have is this sign. 

Coco Ribbon

Coco Ribbon

I loved Coco Ribbon and wanted a business just like it.  Coco Ribbon is what inspired me to build my little website Le Boudoir.   I abandoned the project some time ago.  It takes a whole lot of money and time to get a business like that off the ground, and I ran out of both.  With the recession creeping in like a dark financial cloud I’m glad I made the choice to close the door on Le Boudoir.  Making money out of something you love doing is fabulous, and I LOVED setting up my site. 

Le Boudoir

Le Boudoir

But would I have made a lot of money out of it?  I doubt it.  I don’t even think I would have made a living out of it.  Life unfolds perfectly though and I’m now working in a job I love, for a digital agency specialising in ecommerce.  I wouldn’t be in this role if I didn’t have the experience of Le Boudoir and now I can work with other companies (who actually have money!) helping to grow their online businesses.

A shopkeeper close by to Coco Ribbon said to me ‘what hope is there for us if Coco Ribbon have gone under’.  Well, I hope there is some hope out there and that the smaller retailers can weather the current financial shitstorm.  With that in mind I went off to the Farmers Market to spend some money and support the hard working folks who travel in with their fresh produce every Saturday.



{April 10, 2009}   Would you save a stranger?

I’m quite disturbed by a programme I’ve just watched. (Channel 4 catch up, love it!) The title of the programme was ‘Would you save a stranger’? This is something that I have thought about a lot, living in a big city and I feel very safe in London.  I actually feel much safer in London than I do in New Zealand, after all there’s safety in crowds, right?

Some of the stories documented in this programme showed instances where people were attacked in a large crowd and no one intervened. That raises the million dollar question. Would you? Would you step in, putting yourself at risk to save someone you didn’t know?  I know I would, well I hope I would but I guess it depends on the situation.  Two guys beating up one guy is a different scenario to ten guys beating up one guy – would I still put myself in the middle?

I’m the sort of person who asks people to turn their ipod down on the bus and who tuts in annoyance at people chewing their gum loudly.  After all, the fragile threads of our social fabric are held together by frowning upon and shunning anti social behaviour.

The most fraught experience I have had was when I challenged a teenager on the bus who had his ghetto bullshit music blaring tinnily out of his mobile phone. It was about 7pm and I was hungover, tired and cranky, having had my Xmas work do the night before and very little sleep. The bus was packed and I was about four seats in front of him, as he sat slouched on the back seat. I turned to face him and asked him politely to turn his music down. He adopted what he thought was a mean ass expression, but it was really a sullen teenager pouty face. He refused. I asked why. Just because. I turned around in frustration, then thought actually you know what, that isn’t good enough. So I turned around again, slightly self conscious and blushing but unable to stop myself, and asked how he’d feel if I got on the bus and played Dolly Parton that loud  (take that punk, I’ll 9-5 your ass).  There were a few sniggers but people were still desperately avoiding my gaze and pretending the situation wasn’t developing.  His response was to shrug with as much attitude as he could muster. I was on a roll now though,  telling him ‘no one likes your music’ and asking ‘why don’t you wear headphones’? I just received a glare in response. Then a guy a couple of seats away said don’t be a dick mate, turn it off. Nope, no luck. Well I needed some support for my ‘turn the music down you lousy taste in music little twat’ campaign.  So I asked for a show of hands for anyone else who wanted his music turned down. I raised mine high and got a couple of half hearted hand raises but everyone else steadfastedly looked the other way. I resigned as chairman of the ‘turn the music down you lousy taste in music little twat’ campaign and sat in my seat day dreaming about morphing into Angelina Jolie and kicking his ass, flicking his annoying mobile out the window.  It wasn’t until I got off the bus and started walking in the cold, dark and wet winter night that it occurred to me that he could be a knife carrying thug and may have followed me off the bus.  Well, luckily he wasn’t but it could have turned out a lot differently and would those people on the bus have helped me… I don’t think so.  They probably thought, gobby cow, should have kept her mouth shut.

The problem is, if everyone keeps their mouth shut society doesn’t work.  So I am going to continue to be that girl on the bus who tuts when people are chewing gum loudly, when they have their music blaring out and when they act in an anti social manner.  I would step in if I saw someone being bullied and I am going to keep faith in humanity that someone would do the same for me if I ever needed it.



et cetera