Friday, 31 October 2014

A day in Cologne

“It is better to fill your head with useless knowledge than no knowledge at all.” 
― Jim HinckleyRoute 66 Backroads: Your Guide to Scenic Side Trips & Adventures from the Mother Road

This week I took a day out of the office and headed to Cologne for a work event.
I stupidly booked myself a very early flight and had to get up in the dark which was not ideal.  But after a flight shorter than my commute to Heathrow I found myself in the German city of Koln (to us non Germans, that's Cologne).

I checked into my lovely room at the Radisson Blu, had a very quick sit down and social media check (thank heavens for free wifi) and then decided to go for a wander round downtown.

I got chatting to a lovely receptionist who convinced me to take the tram to Neumarkt for a look round.  Normally on holiday I like to take taxis as a treat, but I thought i'd be brave and investigate the tram. Sadly the Christmas markets don't open for another month so I had to content myself with the usual shops, but I had a good gander don't you worry!
The main attraction in Cologne seems to be the Kolner Dom so I made sure that I (eventually) found my way there to have a look. I admit it was pretty special although it's a shame the sun wasn't out.

When it started to rain I admitted defeat and got a cab back to the hotel for a nap before my work evening out.  *Cabs work on a meter and were actually really expensive, so bear that in mind if you're heading to Cologne.
Then after a short snooze I got dressed up and headed out for my event.  I wore my trusty Aldo boots with an Oasis shirt dress.  The evening ended up a bit longer than I expected - perhaps down to these vodka injection shots!  Sadly I was still awake at 4am which was not what I'd intended... the morning after was a bit of a challenge.


Sunday, 26 October 2014

Blogtober - who'd play you in a movie?

“We're actors — we're the opposite of people!” ― Tom StoppardRosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

As you may have seen yesterday, I've hooked up with Helene for Blogtober14. Using her prompts to inspire daily blogging - which I can't imagine I'll be able to keep up but as I have a quiet weekend planned I thought it would be fun to join in.

Well this is an interesting one... Who would play me in a movie?

Now obviously first I'm thinking, what kind of movie would this be? A film of my life? 

In which case I'd like to go back in time and use Mayim Bialik circa Beaches... Obviously she's American and I'm absolutely not, but when I watch Beaches I feel like I'm looking at myself!
CeCe Bloom in Beaches
 If I was going for a grown up version of me (sadly I have to admit I am now a grown up....), then perhaps Bette Midler would give it a shot - red hair, big nose, likes to sing... sounds a lot like me!
Bette Midler
And if Bette was busy then perhaps I'd choose Christina Aguilera.. I can't pretend we look the same (apart from perhaps in the boob area) but I love her feisty attitude and she can sing up a storm - I loved her in Burlesque (what a film!) and obviously a movie of my life would be a musical, that goes without saying!
Christina Aguilera in Burlesque

Who would play you?


Saturday, 25 October 2014

Blogtober - My Favourite Book

“Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.” 
― Lemony SnicketHorseradish

I must admit I haven't taken part in Blogtober14, but having seen Helene's link up today and being such a book fan I thought I'd partake in today's prompt - My Favourite Book.
So, if I had to pick one favourite book (which now I think about it is quite a challenge) I think I'd have to go for The Girl in Times Square by Paullina Simons.
The Girl in Times Square by Paullina Simmons
The 'blurb' says 'Meet Lily Quinn. She is broke, struggling to finish college, pay her rent, find love...Startling revelations about the people she loves force her to confront truths that will leave her changed forever.'

Landed with rather dysfunctional parents, a political brother and a surly detective investigating her roommate's disappearance, Lily's life turns into a rollercoaster and I literally couldn't put the book down.  I first read this book years ago and I've read it many times since- always recommending it to friends on the way.  There's something about this story that totally hooked me and there's an underlying karma balance thing going on within it too which really intrigues me.
I love a big chunky book that I know will take me a while to read and this definitely fit the bill. I mainly read crime fiction and although this book has a bit of detective thing going on it's more about life, love and family than anything else.  I've read a couple of others by the same author but this is definitely the winner in my opinion!

As it's so difficult to pick one book I thought I'd share some of my favourite childhood books too;
The Runaways
Goodnight Mr Tom
Dancing Shoes
Drina Ballerina
So if you are, or know, a teenage reader send them to Waterstones immediately.

If I've inspired you to read The Girl in Times Square then let me know what you think of it.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Bars; the wish list edition

“Love is alcohol.” 
― Katherine Applegate

I've spent quite a lot of time recently going out and having fun, which is all well and good, but I'm already noticing that I'm getting a bit bored of my usual hangouts. So I've put together a little list of places I'm keen to visit soon. Might as well keep life varied!

Gong I'm fascinated by The Shard, I pass it every day on the way to work and I know that already everyone and their wife has been for dinner or drinks, but as yet I've not made it up to those gorgeous bars with amazing views for a cosmo.  I fully intend to rectify this in the near future.
Gong Bar Shard
Evans and Peel  I came across this on a blog a while ago and love the effort that's gone into the theme. Slightly out of the way of my normal haunts it remains on my list to visit.

BYOC A friend went here on a date and I think it sounds like a really cool idea, plus it's a bit different and who wants to go to the same old places all the time? You pay an entrance fee and take your own alcohol - then the mixologists make you a drink based on what you like! I'd totally take a bottle of Archers - don't judge.
BYOC Covent Garden
Hoxton Grill  I walked past this bar on the way to an art exhibition and immediately loved the vibe, before realising it was the bar and restaurant of the Hoxton Hotel.  I don't often go out round Old Street but I really want a pornstar martini here soon.
Hoxton bar and grill

Where's top of your list?


Monday, 13 October 2014

Friday Night in London

“To alcohol! The cause of... and solution to... all of life's problems” ― Matt Groening

On Friday night I had one of those spontaneous nights out that are typical of London.  After dinner and a show, we went for 'one drink' which ended with me in a taxi at 3am.  A great night!

We paid a fleeting visit to The Craft Beer Co in Covent Garden for a quick drink first. As a non beer drinker I stuck to vodka, but my companion was amazed and delighted by the choice of unusual craft beers and lagers on offer.  Plus it wasn't expensive either - especially for central London.  There was a great atmosphere inside, we got served really quick - props to the number of bar staff and there's a lounge area downstairs if you want to rest your feet.  They serve burgers too until about 10pm, which we didn't have time for on this   visit, but think i'd return to give them a try.

Then we headed to a local pub, which was bizarrely hosting Heat magazine a party so the DJ played 90s hits all night, which I loved.  After perhaps one too many vodkas and definitely too many selfies (which I won't share here!) the bar shut and we decided we were hungry.. well this is what happens when you stay up till breakfast time.

We headed into Soho, a very unlikely drunk trio, and headed to Balans.  As I've told you about before, I'm a big fan of Balans - mainly for their cocktails and their late opening hours.  Who doesn't love scrambled eggs at 3am?

After refuelling (and charging my phone up) I managed to order an Uber before anyone else and whisked myself home for some much needed sleep.


Friday, 10 October 2014

Wandering Weekend

“The only reason why we ask other people how their weekend was is so we can tell them about our own weekend.” 
― Chuck PalahniukInvisible Monsters

I spent a lovely sunny Sunday in Horsham this weekend, only an hour's drive from London it's pretty much halfway between mine and my best friend's house so we often meet up there for lunch and a gossip.  
No change this time; we settled down round a table at Strada for a pizza and some catching up and then after a short stroll followed up with huge chocolate brownie sundaes at Sugar and Snow.

We couldn't even finish them, but it was definitely worth the journey purely for that amount of icecream, it was also nice to see my godchildren and then watch them run around the park full of sugar - there was no way I was running anywhere after that much food!


Monday, 6 October 2014

A visit to Bodo Schloss - Kensington

“I believe when life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade...and try to find someone whose life has given them vodka, and have a party.” 
― Ron White

Last week I ventured out of my usual Soho and headed to Kensington to visit Bodo Schloss, a nightclub with a distinctly Austrian feel.
It's quite weird to walk into a club you know is popular with the glamorous Chelsea set and yet find bar maids dressed like you've walked on the set of The Sound of Music, but I was up for the experience.  There's a restaurant service until around 10.30pm then the 'disko' starts.

I was in a big group and we were lucky enough to have a private table reserved and Ciroc vodka on tap, which makes any situation more enjoyable.  When you order a bottle you get it delivered with sparklers and fanfare which is fun but made me feel a bit like a nitwit - I suppose some people enjoy the attention.  
The music was a selection of RnB so everyone got their groove on. The DJ sits in a cable car which just adds to the bizarre theme.  The party was a celebration for a group of performers so pretty soon everyone was dancing away to JT, Beyonce and the like.  I sat drinking (and chatting) as per usual!

I called it a day around 1am and headed back to my comfort zone, partying on a school night? Who do I think I am?