My Sunshiny Life











Most of our office went to Masala Zone in Covent Garden for dinner last night.  Even though it’s a chain and it’s not in Brick Lane, the Indian food here is great.  The place is massive, with hundreds of Indian puppet people hanging from the ceiling, and masks dotted around the walls.  The kitchen is open plan which adds to the whole ambience.  There were loads of us so we were downstairs, away from the main action. 

Masala Zone Kitchen

Masala Zone Masks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Masala Zone Masks1

Poppadoms are always a favourite and these were the best poppadoms I’d ever eaten.  Apparently Little Heena’s mum can make them like this too – I’m still waiting for my dinner invite!

Masala Zone me and H

First up I had something mash like with chickpeas, yoghurt and relish.  It doesn’t look very attractive but the subtle blend of flavours was delicious.   What was a bit weird and didn’t really work on it was the potato stick crisps drizzled on the top – most peculiar.

Masala Zone Mash

I’d spoken to some work colleagues who were born in India and they say they still eat Indian food with their hands, even though they eat everything else with knives and forks.  I was slightly bemused by the whole idea and thought it was a piss take to start with.  But no, they really do.  Getting into the spirit, I decided to give it a go.  A bit hesitantly at first and rather messy too!  There is a definite technique which goes something like, ball the rice up, drop it in your sauce or dahl or vege and then scoop it up, using your thumb to push the whole lot into your mouth.  Using the bread is loads easier than the rice.  Once I finally got the hang of it I really enjoyed it.  Although now I have yellow tinged nails from the spices.  Not such a good look.

Masala Zone Thali

Getting stuck into the Thali

Dessert was mango kulfi which was quite nice but very rich.  I dropped my spoon in horror when I heard it was basically made from clarified butter.  Four times more fattening than ice-cream.  Give me Ben and Jerrys any day.

I’m going to my favourite restaurant for lunch today, Hakkasan.  It’s Asian so I’ll be using chopsticks.  How very international of me. 

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{May 28, 2009}   Turf Wars

I caught up with Suse last night for a long overdue dinner date.  I didn’t know there was more than one Busaba Eathai, you learn something new every day.  We went to the one in Bird Street, by Selfridges.  Still the same look, feel, smell and most importantly taste – but you don’t have to queue to get in like you do at the original restaurant.  Total result. 

Suse was telling me about the turf war she experienced outside her home a few weeks ago.  You may think it was drug dealers and she lives in a crime riddled council estate.  Or maybe hardcore hookers and she lives in a dodgy red light district.  Well, you’ll be relieved to know she doesn’t live in either- she lives in a gorgeous house in Primrose Hill – with fabulous park views. 

The turf war is going on between the Mr Whippy van’s who sit at the park, as it’s the best spot to get customers.  The war escalated so much that these Mr Whippy men (3 different vans) got out of their vans and had a proper punch up.  HOW funny would that have been to see.  Well not all the blood and stuff, I’m imagining it a more G rated cartoon style, with biff, pow and stars in the air.  The police came and cordoned off the whole area, but the Mr Whippy men had fled the scene.  Adding to the turf war, there is another lady in Primrose Hill who makes her own natural icecream and she has her own van.  She has ‘allegedly’ had death threats – is that Mr Whippy taking it to the extreme. 

Mr Whippy may have a soft serve, but it seems like he is pretty hard core!

Mr Whippy

Mr Whippy



{May 26, 2009}   Silent Disco

There aren’t many things as lovely as long weekends and we celebrated the Sunday of May bank holiday weekend with a Silent Disco at the Metropolitan in Westbourne Park.  A roof terrace, tunes, headsets and lots of vodka made for a lovely afternoon and evening.

Sunshiney Sunday

Sunshiney Sunday - Bec & Tommy

Dan the DJ Man

Dan the DJ Man

Me, James and Matt

Me, James and Matt

Bahareh, party organiser extroadinaire

Bahareh, party organiser extroadinaire

The pace was just too much for some

The pace was just too much for some

Eddie Party Animal

Eddie Party Animal

Natalie and Adam

Gav, Chris and Sarah

 

Me, James and Anna

Me, James and Anna



{May 26, 2009}   A Squirrel Picnic

While the sun was out on Saturday, we went to the park for a picnic. There were a few very friendly squirrels that looked over at us but they kept their distance.  One cheeky little squirrel was very bold though and ran straight over to us, head cocked on the side waiting for his own picnic.  We threw him some popcorn, which he sniffed curiously but dismissed.  Then he left for a bit, but must have been thinking to himself, SURELY they’ve got something better than that!  He came back and hit the picnic jackpot with some pasta curls.  Much more pleasing to his picky little palate.

He was a like a park performance artist, paid in pasta curls.  After finishing his second pasta curl he scampered off again.  If he could talk, I’m sure he would have said ‘thank you ladies, it’s been a pleasure’.  He seemed like that sort of squirrel.



{May 23, 2009}   Balloon Magic

No alcohol, healthy dinner and rubbish tv were on the agenda for me last night, but at the offer of a free drink I mysteriously found myself at the pub.  Life is strange.

We noticed a group of girls sitting next to us and this girl had the most fabulous party trick.  She was making magical balloon creations for her friends – from those long balloons, you know the ones where you see a magician make a poodle out of them.  She didn’t just make a bog standard poodle though, she made a cute monkey and bracelets.

Cheeky Balloon Monkey

Cheeky Balloon Monkey

Balloon Girl

Balloon Girl

But her piece de resistance was her lovely ballerina, so I went back over and chatted to her (I’d already been over once to see the monkey).  She does this as a job and she does it amazingly well, her name is Sarah Thomas-Lane and she is posing with her ballerina in the photo above.  This talented young lady is available for hire, so if you have a special occasion coming up that warrants a cheeky monkey or ballerina she should be a number on your speed dial.  Her number is 07775 741 415

Balloonatic (where Sarah works) holds balloon making classes and I’m considering doing one, after all every girl needs a magical party trick!



We went out for dinner last night and it was lovely, so lovely in fact that I ate a little bit too much of it. You know you’ve eaten too much when you’re still full the following morning. The food was absolutely delicious though and well worth feeling like you’ve got a 6 month old food baby in your belly. The place was Roast, a large airy restaurant in Borough Market and we were there to see Claire and John who were on a flying visit from Australia. So lovely to see them AND to see people from London that I just don’t see enough of.

Claire and John's Dinner

We had the Toptable set menu – £26 for 3 courses, you can’t complain about that. We’d had to book in at 6pm  and they said they needed the table back at 8.30, but we were left in peace for the whole night.

The starters weren’t anything great, in fact some of the girls ordered herring (ew) roe (double ew).  I was sitting next to Veggie Becky who didn’t believe that the fish roe (they were huge fat rollmop looking things) wasn’t meat.  So in the spirit of friendship, I tasted it for her and nearly gagged. The taste was somewhat fish like, but the texture on the other hand… soft, squidgy and gross.  Like how I imagine the texture of kidneys would be.  My starter was safe and lovely, a walnut, stilton and chicken salad. I quickly tucked in, ridding my mouth of the yukky fishy memory. 

The main course was when Roast really showed their form, I opted for the slow roast pork belly.  I’m all up for supporting the swine community through their latest pandemic.  Say no to swine flu! Or fline swu as I said last night after one too many rather large glasses of red wine. 

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Veges

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rhubarb crumble sealed my fate of being hopelessly, uncomfortably full.  One day I will learn self control.

The restaurant was fabulous, the service nearly faultless – calling Bec sir probably wasn’t necessary and not playing the ‘which one is better’ game with me lost our waitress valuable points.  If I say to a waitress, which one is better – the roast chicken or the roast pork, I don’t want them to reply ‘well it depends what you like’. I like both of them obviously or they wouldn’t be part of the game.  You see the food coming out, which one looks better and which one garners the most compliments. It’s not rocket science!

Tuesday night I caught up with Sam for a long overdue dinner date and we went to a new Mediterranean restaurant in Westbourne Grove called Cyprus Mangal. These guys have spent a tonne of money on the fit out of the place, with big red leather booths, fabulous lighting and a nice ambience overall.  The little touches are important and they haven’t missed a trick, with really cool wave shape inspired plates and lovely big wine glasses.

Cyprus Mangal

 We shared calamari to start, which was light and delicious. My salmon main was great, apart from the fact that the whole thing was swimming in butter.  Halfway through I decided that Sam’s dinner was much better than mine, her lamb cutlets weren’t swimming in sauce for a start.  The richness of the salmon and the butter was too much by the end of the meal.  I will be back though and next time I’ll ask for the sauce on the side.  

Tonight I’m meeting up with the rest of Bec’s Bridal Shower Committee to start planning the big pre bridal bash. No nasty strippers or chavvy stretch limo’s feature in our plans so far – but Bec, you better be nice to us, as plans can be changed and the scope for chaos is huge 🙂



{May 17, 2009}   Social Butterfly Burnout

This little butterfly is very very tired.  It feels like I’ve been go, go, go for about a week.  I need some time off to clean my room and do my filing!  Actually I could probably be doing that right now, but you’ve really got to be in the mood don’t you.  I’m in social overdrive until next Thursday, but I’m very happy to be seeing all my lovely friends so I no complain (quoting Con the Fruiterer there for all you Aussies and Kiwis)  

Here’s my social agenda recap from the last week;

Wednesday night I caught up with Little Mel who has a little cute preggy belly now.  We haven’t seen each other for ages, so it was lovely to see her.  We met at Le Cochonet, my favourite local pizza restaurant.  Actually I never have pizza there, my standing order is prawns and garlic pizza bread.  Sometimes it’s good to stick with what you know.

Thursday night I caught up with Koi-lee and we went to her favourite cheap and cheerful Persian restaurant just off Edgeware Road.  A very rustic restaurant, where you’re close enough to the neighbouring table to eavesdrop on their conversation.  The meals were simple, the servings were generous, the place felt friendly and warm, the waiter was a willing photographer and the bill was ultra cheap.  The paper cups and metal plates added to the rustic feel.  Downstairs there were little yellow fake chickens stuck in the walls and the men at the bread ovens were smiley and friendly.  Amazing how much that adds to the allure of a place.  Check out this hunk of bread.

Table sized bread

Table sized bread

 Friday night was Freddie Belly’s birthday at the Waterways.  The food is always fabulous here and as always the company was too.  Nikki and I took far too many pictures of each other, then a few token ones of everyone else at the table so they didn’t feel left out.  I got the best dinner I think, even though Nikki ordered the same meal as me.  Her lamb was fatty and gristly, while mine was cooked to perfection.  I love having the best meal, lady luck was on my side.  I was in meat and three vege heaven with my lamb, aubergine caviar (sounds poncy, tasted lovely), roast potatoes and long parsnip chips.

Nikki and Bron

Chris, Freddie and Lauren

Me, Nikki and Justin

Happy Birthday Freddie Belly, hope you enjoyed your dinner and your Dallas vs Dynasty party on Saturday.

Saturday arrived and the weather was four seasons in one day – on a quick phase rotation.  Missy G dragged me out of the house to go for a walk around Hyde Park.  As soon as we left the house it started to rain.  Quite heavy too.  But then the sun came out and we dried off.  I sneezed my way around the park, bloody hayfever!  I did feel great for getting some exercise though.  I’m back into my running again tomorrow too.  Life/work/play balance is a priority!

We had a bbq to attend that afternoon and I was a little worried as to how we were going to fare.  I had visions of standing under umbrellas, while trying to juggle a glass of wine and sausage in bread.  We didn’t have to worry though, the weather kind of behaved and Michelle and Ruhan had every contingency covered.  A sturdy pagoda, patio heaters and a large indoor space.  We arrived five hours late, so missed the bbq.  Bummer!  Note to self: arrive on time to get food.  I made myself a stinky camembert cheese roll – it tasted good but smelt kind of bad.  With a thick coating of cheese and bread lining my stomach I let loose on a night of mischief and mayhem. 

Kat, Dippo, Bec, Me

Ruhan and Dan

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Shadow Girls

What an absolutely lovely bunch of people.  I hadn’t known many people before going, but everyone was SO friendly that I had a new social circle by the end of the evening. 

Ruhan and Michelle were fabulous hosts and I’m looking forward to seeing them again at the Silent Disco next week.

Ruhan and Michelle

I’m back now after a break from my blog, I just caught up with Matt for dinner at Thai Rice down the road.  My Pad See Eiw (spelling, no idea) was fabulous – like pad thai, but better.  We met to chat about our forthcoming trip to Sicily.  I was going to get him over and cook a full Italian meal, keeping in with the theme of the imminent Italian adventure… but I couldn’t be arsed.  I cleaned my room and did my filing instead!  A fresh clean start to an exciting busy week ahead.



I just couldn’t resist!  I drooled over a couple of items out of the latest collection online and before I knew it I was sitting on a bus heading down to the closest H&M.  Not the busy one, the quiet one on Oxford Street.  I scored two lovely pieces from his collection and I’m absolutely rapt with them.

The first is a peacock wrap dress.  I love wrap dresses and this will replace my favourite one that has a hole in it (very badly sewn back together by yours truly).

Ta Da!  Here’s the Matthew Williamson Peacock Wrap Dress!

Gorgeous Matthew Williamson Wrap Dress

Gorgeous Matthew Williamson Wrap Dress

Now I normally avoid bikini shopping, especially after eating an almond croissant for breakfast, but I loved this bikini and it was perfect for me! 

Hot Bikini

Hot Bikini

As soon as I put on the bikini I looked exactly like the model in the photo.  Matthew Williamson is a genius.

Note to self: Get up early and go running tomorrow and no more bloody almond croissants!



{May 14, 2009}   Matthew Williamson at H&M
This is the scene I captured from the bus this morning on my way into work.
Fashion Hungry Fashionistas

Fashion Hungry Fashionistas

There are three H&M’s down Oxford Street and this was the first one.  These girls are waiting to get their mitts on the new Matthew Williamson collection launching today in H&M.  The flagship H&M store, on the corner of Oxford and Regent Street, was even more manic but the bus was going too fast so I couldn’t snap a pic.

In contrast to this, at the third store there were only a few curious people looking in the window.  Note to self: if I’m ever overwhelmed with shopping desire for an H&M designer collection, choose the third store!  Actually, I think I’ll mosey on down at lunchtime – if these hardcore fashionistas haven’t cleaned out the entire store!

H&M

Check out the collection here http://www.hm.com/gb/#/startns/   Nice come hither look Matt.



I went to the wildlife photographer of the year exhibtion at the Natural History Museum a couple of weeks ago.  There were some stunning photos which captivated me and made me want to trek through Africa and take shots that were just as amazing.  Although I don’t think I’d be prepared to go to the lengths that these photographers did to get the perfect shot – standing waist deep in freezing water or hiding in a shelter for 8 hours isn’t my idea of fun. 

The shots below were my favourites.

Lunch

War

IMG_0256

Cheeky Chap



et cetera