My Sunshiny Life











{September 30, 2009}   Lucky 7 for Burgers and Beer

Lucky 7 Booth Sharing

Koi-lee and I went for a long overdue catch up, to eat burgers and gossip.  Lucky 7 is the natural selection when you think of the place to go for a good quality cheeseburger.   The sister restaurant to Crazy Homies and just as kitsch, with random decorations and booths that you may have to share with other customers.  We were lucky and managed to keep our booth to ourselves – having loads of bags helps deter would be table partners.

Decor

Kylie and her mini me cheeseburger

Unfortunately some of the other burgers looked better than ours, it was like we got the mini me burger.  Not that we didn’t leave stuffed of course. 

Kylie at Lucky 7

On to the upstairs bit of the Oak where we sat by a couple, who then proceeded to make out in front of us, just stopping short of ripping each others clothes off and really going for it.  A few awkward giggles later, we found another seat, just out of view of the overt PDA and finished our evening over red wine and rum (not together obviously).

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{September 27, 2009}   Sundae at The Icecreamists

The Icecreamists

The Icecreamists, self professed ‘Agents of Cool’, is the new pop up shop in Selfridges.  It has been all over the press, so not wanting to miss out, or the opportunity to eat icecream, the Dolce and I popped in today.  I thought it would be busier, but we got a seat straight away.  The prices are pretty outrageous, £19 for an icecream cocktail and over £7 for an icecream sandwich.  Ah, now I see why it’s not so busy, even on a very busy Saturday.

I tried the caramel flavour, it was ok.  My favourite (out of the massive selection of two that I tasted) was the milk chocolate.  Thick and rich milk chocolate flavour, with just the right creamy smooth texture.  Delish.

I don’t think the icecream is the main point however, the draw card is the decor.  Slick, black and sexy with bright splashes of neon pink.  It’s just a shame that this place isn’t a night spot, it’s a bit wasted on icecream.

Fetish Icecream

There are DJ’s, in house band, dancers and cat walk shows, just not while we were there.  Worth a look, but now that I’ve seen it I probably won’t go back.

God Save the Cream (love it)

God Save the Cream



{September 27, 2009}   Scrumptious Saturday

Some weekends you just end up eating a lot of food don’t you.  Or perhaps it’s just that it’s really good food, so it stands out in the smorgasboard of mediocrity.

Arancina Westbourne Grove

My culinary adventure began at Arancina in Westbourne Grove yesterday afternoon.  I’d passed this place hundreds of times and had never ventured in.  It’s eye catching with the little Fiat 500 buried into the wall.  I thought they only did pizza slices and it just never appealed.  Well, how wrong can one be!  Arancina in Westbourne Grove make delicious home cooked Sicilian food, with arancini ragu as one of their specialities.  If that wasn’t exciting enough, I spotted a cannoli in the sweet cabinet.  Sometimes life is so good.  I have to say that the arancini ragu (risotto ball, lightly fried with a mince and mozzarella centre) was absolutely delicious.  It was piping hot, with a lightly crisped coating and melted mozzarella oozed out gently when pressed into with my fork.  The cannoli.  Not so good.  Not really bad, but my cannoli standards are very high.  The shells need to be filled and served immediately I think, or they go a bit soggy.

arancini

After a nap in Hyde Park and Bayswater shopping, I ventured south of the river to see the Rimmers for dinner.  There were five of us that went to their local Bangladeshi curry house in East Dulwich.  The two Rimmer boys can eat a lot of food, but even they weren’t up to the enormous feast that was laid out before us.  We’d chosen more food than necessary due to the eating capacity of Matt and James, a banquet for six that would have been too much food for 8, let alone only 5 of us.  Naan bread and rice was pushed to one side as un-necessary bulk, who needs that when you can’t even fit in prawns, chicken and lamb in a selection of delicious dishes. 

The food was of a high enough level to keep eating, even after saying you couldn’t fit in another mouthful, three or four times over.  We finally had to admit defeat and and were left with a table full of half empty dishes, with enough food left for several more diners. 

If the starters and mains weren’t enough, we still had dessert to try and eat.  There is normally always room for dessert, but last night my dessert belly was very squashed, so I could only manage a few mouthfuls of mango sorbet.  A delightful evening, with fabulous company, efficient and super friendly service and delicious food.  Mirash Tandoori in East Dulwich, a little neighbourhood gem.

mirash tandoori



{September 23, 2009}   Bellisimo

The bride and groom

I’ve just come back from Maratea, a cute little hillside town on the coast of Italy.  Just down from the Amalfi coast.  A gorgeous little spot that was chosen by Mr and Mrs J to celebrate their nuptials.  The four day event was a fabulous way to hang out with a group of lovely people.  I haven’t had that much fun since band camp, when this one time… Or school camp even when the boys…  never mind.  It was a LOT of fun.

I was chief bridesmaid, which I thought meant I’d have some sort of special tiara, or maybe even a sash for the occasion.  That is Miss Universe apparently, and I have to say there were a few sideways glances when I paraded out after the ceremony in my very high cut one piece – apparently you don’t do that at weddings, that’s Miss Universe as well. 

As chief of the bridesmaids, what you do have to do however, is risk public humiliation by speaking in front of a room full of people.  To say I was nervous is the understatement of the year.  I was having anxiety dreams about it three months ago!  Two days before speech day, I was out by the pool, overlooking the ocean, trying to write out my speech long hand on some scrappy notepaper.  Then I practised in front of my huge crowd of six people.  I nearly threw up, developed an awful stutter and kept laughing slightly hysterically.  NO, the preparation wasn’t going well.  So I changed tack and told everyone at the wedding on a one on one level that I was beside myself with nerves and asked them to laugh loudly, even if bits weren’t funny.

The big day arrived.  Mrs J will remember it as her wedding day, I will always remember it as the day of the speech.  We had 5 hours to get ready, which you think would be ample time for us to put a bit of slap on and paint our toenails.  You’d be surprised at how quickly our prep time disappeared.  40 minutes late we sashayed down the aisle, to the relief of all of those who were assembled, as menacing black clouds rolled in over the hills.  I was given a bottle of Kalms, with the instruction to have 2.  Over the course of the evening I chugged back the entire bottle, they were natural and must work psychologically.  I was past the placebo effect, what I really needed was a valium.  In the absence of ‘mothers little helper’s’ champagne would have to do the trick.

Many glasses of champagne later, a little before dinner dancing and then it was time to be seated for dinner.  Speech time was drawing closer and my nerves were increasing by the second.  Normally an alcohol lightweight, I was chugging back full glasses of red wine, with it seemingly having no effect whatsoever – well in my mind anyway.  The bride did lean over at one point, shift my glass slightly away from me and suggested I eat more food and drink less wine.  Apparently slurring isn’t looked upon favourably in speech making circles.  The other speeches happened around me and I noted that the best man had props – he’d only brought in a toy trumpet that had to be blown at certain parts of the speech.  I didn’t have any props!  I was done for.  The best man’s speech went on for 40 minutes, prolonging my agony.

The result is a little bit of an anti climax really.  I got up, I spoke, people laughed and then I sat down.  No public humiliation, lots of positive feedback  and then on with a magical night of dancing under the stars.  In light of my success I might take up public speaking for a living, conquering your fears and all that.  I suspect I’d turn into a raging alcoholic however, so will stay on my chosen career path and give the bright lights and lecturn a miss for now.

Here’s a toast to the lovely bride and groom, thanks for a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful (there’s that stutter again) day, I had a fabulous time.  mwah x

Shy Flowers



{September 14, 2009}   Brick Lane Festival

I’d been looking forward to seeing Norman Jay at the Brick Lane Festival, but we arrived way too late, with only 20 minutes of his act left.  So instead of rocking with Norman, Dan, Kylie and I just walked around soaking up the atmosphere. 

These guys were fabulous and got the crowd going, a real ‘yay I love London’ moment.

I’m not sure if the ‘stalls’ are there every weekend but there are loads of people that lay all sorts of tat out on blankets.  I really mean it when I say tat too, I know they say one man’s junk is another man’s treasure – but really – who needs a second hand action man, one boot or some forlorn teletubbies!

Kylie considering an Action Man

Teletubbies past their prime

These guys embodied the feeling of the day.  They were stoked that we wanted their photo, happily busting out a pose.  They almost make me want to wear a hoodie and low slung jeans.

The friendliest hoodies in London

We’d left the food stalls too late and they were packing up, just as my appetite was kicking in.  Only one thing could tide me over until salt and pepper squid at the Drunken Monkey – Lip Lickers, they tasted as good as they smelt.

Lip Lickers Doughnut Heaven

 Next year we’ll come earlier, so we get to see Norman AND so we get to eat all the fabulous food.



Dolly Parton

If it’s baggin’, draggin’, or saggin’, it’s gonna get nipped, tucked, or sucked

 

Couldn’t have put it better myself.



{September 6, 2009}   The Romantic Gypsy Lifestyle

Little Miss Sunshine's Camper

The romance of a road trip, free to roam wherever you desire is a must do on my ‘things to do before I’m 40’ list.  A car doesn’t cut it, it’s cramped and fast.  I’ve never wanted to properly backpack around Europe in an awful combi van either.  I want to travel in style, in my own Little Miss Sunshine camper van.  I’ll travel at a leisurely pace throughout Europe with Dolly (my dog who is currently a figment of my aspiration), like a little snail taking in the scenery, with all my belongings, bed and bathroom safely stowed behind me. 

So, with this in mind I started researching camper vans. They’re actually not as expensive as you’d think.  Well you can get a pimping one for about £100,000 but there are quite decent models, about ten years old for around £10,000.  First of all I investigated the Winnebago, these things are bloody huge though and if I’d take out half a French village if I tried to drive through it.  The cute little four berth camper vans, with their own shower, toilet and kitchen would be the perfect size for me and my driving ability.  The chintzy fabrics will be ripped out and the inside decorated like a fabulous exotic travelling home, with rich jewel colours and an array of textures.

I’ll leave with no firm plans, final destination unknown, just the broad expanse of Europe stretching out before me like an open invitation.  I’ll stay in towns and villages a few days longer just because they have lovely croissants, I’ll wake up by the beach, I’ll camp in nature reserves and by lakes.  I’ll savour each experience, instead of a cursory glance and tearing on to the next attraction.  It’s a journey, not a ‘tick all the sightseeing boxes and let’s go home’ kind of adventure.  I’m a light hearted, happy gypsy filled with wanderlust.



{September 5, 2009}   A Random Saturday

Colin the juggler doing his thing outside the Burberry shop in Westbourne Grove

Colin the Juggler

Another visit to Artisan du Chocolat (and their fabulous loo)

Artisan du chocolat

Artisan du chocolat

A random piano at Maida Hill Market

Little Piano Man



{September 4, 2009}   Goldilocks

goldilocks

I wrote a blog post recently about my desire to become a writer. I’ve been studying the subject intently over the last few weeks by reading books on writing. Yes, I was reading about it, not doing it.

 The result?  By the end of book two, I was scared witless, had no confidence in my talent whatsoever and thought this mystical craft would be out of my reach forever.  Book two was ‘How NOT to Write a Novel: 200 Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs If You Ever Want to Get Published’ My self-worth as a writer was now directly connected to whether I’d be published or not.

I felt like Goldilocks, the first book was ok but focussed on the method, not the motivation and spirituality of writing. The second book was written in a funny, sarcastic tone – which scared the crap out of me as the ‘fabulous’ ideas I had in my head were massacared in the book as cliché and old. I’d never become a writer at this rate! Until, just like Goldilocks and her porridge, I discovered a book that suited me just right.

I’m half way through Julia Cameron’s book called the Right to Write and am picking up little gems the whole way through. Julia Cameron is my writing fairy godmother, she has a shining, optimistic and down to earth approach. Her supportive words revealed every writing insecurity I had, I didn’t think anyone else had an inner pessimist as loud as mine.  She gave excellent advice and workshop activities on how to overcome these, which acted like a balm to my scared little writers soul.  She sprinkles her fairy dust over you until you emerge, confident (well more confident anyway) in your own ability. 

What was stopping me writing then?  Well all these little obstacles that I’d placed in front of myself.  I wasn’t good enough, I didn’t have enough time, I’d never be published.  The list is quite long so I won’t witter on about it, you get the point.  But Julia blasts all these obstacles, with sound advice written from her own experience.  She doesn’t set aside blocks of time, she takes time as she finds it in her life. Obstacle one overcome. I’m writing this on the tube and will paste it into Little Miss Sunshine later. The other obstacles she helps you to overcome, is writing badly and writing because you enjoy it, not with the intent of being published. Well I felt a weight lift off me when I read that. I had to read it a few times before it really sunk in. What? Write just for the sheer enjoyment of it?  Well I never! 

I have finally started writing, being freed from the burden of needing to be published has helped me relax and find my writing tone of voice. Writing without ego and expectation is a wonderful thing and I’m now excited about my journey, not filled with trepidation and fear.

I am a writer.



{September 2, 2009}   Window Boxes and Terrarium Swings

I was walking past my stair well window the other day and stopped to admire the contrasting colours in the window box, bright cornflour blue, buttercup yellow, delicate fuschia and intense red.   I need to admire them now before winter comes and kills them!  I’m not sure who actually tends to them, whether it’s a resident or the body corp.  They are a sight to behold and make walking up my millions of stairs that little bit more enjoyable.

Contrasting Blooms

Fabulous Flowers

Then later that day I was walking down past Selfridges and their futuristic window displays.  Here’s what our gardens could look like in 2109! 

Glass Terrarium 2109 Styley

Life according to Selfridges



et cetera