Saturday, 20 December 2014

Ice skating at the Natural History Museum

“The problem with winter sports is that -- follow me closely here -- they generally take place in winter.” 
― Dave Barry

On Saturday a friend and I headed off to Cromwell Road to go ice skating at the largest outdoor rink in London at the Natural History Museum.  There's a bar there too if you'd rather drink cocktails and watch other people fall over.
Ice skating at Natural History Museum
I'm a huge fan of ice skating, we used to do it as a family day out when i was younger, i'm no pro but I really enjoy it and go to Somerset House every year.  This week, as I was going to be further west we decided to head to the rink at the Natural History Museum and I'm glad we did.
Aside from the fact that Ticketmaster now charge you to print your own ticket AT HOME, which I think is a disgrace, it's a reasonably priced, festive thing to do.
I went with a friend, and we luckily had our own photographer too in the shape of my friend's boyfriend who had decided not to skate.  We had a couple of photo fails, but overall think we got a couple of good shots.

Sadly the action shots were too blurry to post, but we had such a great time (whilst avoiding the show offs, drunk people and completely unstable on their feet people)
I would definitely recommend getting yourself down there, it's open til early Jan so you've got a little while to get organised.

Hope you enjoy it.


Wednesday, 17 December 2014

A visit to Dirty Bones, Kensington

“If you’re a cannibal, an Olympic sprinter would be considered fast food.”
― Jarod KintzWhenever You're Gone, I'm Here For You

With a planned weekend away falling through only a few days ago, the London contingent decided to make alternative plans and finally try out Dirty Bones in Kensington.  As you may have realised by now I'm a huge hot dog fan and Dirty Bones is the gourmet version.  Set in an underground space, this vintage, eclectic diner and cocktail bar was buzzing by 7pm and we took or seats with anticipation.

After a quick peruse of the menu we ordered and I was very excited by my baileys/chocolate milkshake cocktail called The 101 Dalmations.  It tasted as good as it looks.

As for food, after being told by our waitress that everything was small portions we went a bit crazy and ended up with macaroni cheese galore.  It might look humble but it tasted delicious.  I also had a 'classic yankee' dog and some fries.

We'd been told we only had the table for 2 hours, but as we didn't get pushed out we ordered another drink instead.  Well my Christmas jumper was enjoying the occasion!

On the way out we tried to take a picture with the sign, unfortunately this was the best option.  The doorman offered his services, but after 5 minutes of posing for him, thanking him and walking off... we realised he hadn't actually taken one... so we're stuck with this!

I really enjoyed our dinner, it came to about £30 each, service included. It would be a great location for a casual birthday dinner too.  Let me know if you go.


Sunday, 14 December 2014

Brunch at Mel's Cafe

“I went to a restaurant that serves "breakfast at any time" so I ordered French toast during the Renaissance.” ― Steven Wright

After being sent the menu for Mel's Cafe I figured it was worth trekking across London for brunch; who can resist a fry up, pancakes and milkshake on a Sunday morning? (answer; not me)  
The decor is eclectic and quirky and I loved it - I only had brunch, but they also do a great cocktail menu; they even serve pornstar martinis, although as it was barely lunchtime we refrained.
We sent the lovely waitress away three times as we were too busy gossiping to choose our food.  However I eventually settled on The Veggie Works (with a milkshake on the side).

It was totally delicious and filled me right up - of course I'd saved some room because I'd seen Oreo cheesecake on the menu so I ordered one (just for the purposes of research of course!).  Afraid there's no photo of that as I wolfed it down in record time.

Satisfyingly the bill came to exactly £30.00 which made us both exclaim in glee as it was so easy to split!  Leaving the warm restaurant wasn't quite as enjoyable as it was near freezing and raining - but you can't win 'em all!
I'll definitely be returning next time I'm in SW London and if you live nearby then get yourself down there.

Friday, 12 December 2014

New Year's Eve plans in London

So after getting my own hopes up about a trip to Vegas for NYE I've now come to the realisation that I thought about it too late and it's way too expensive to contemplate... which led to a lot of research of fun things to do in London.

I've now made my plans, but wanted to let you in on a few options that looked good to me if you're still dithering about what to do (and don't forget the tube runs free until 4.30am, details here)

Bounce - For a ping pong experience like no other, head to Bounce in Holborn for unlimited ping pong and cocktails (that also totally counts as a cardio workout!)

W Hotel -NYE - For a very swanky affair, book yourself into the W Hotel and make the most of their onsite bars and NYE event - plus they're serving up a W Brunch on NY Day too

Roof Gardens - They've gone for a Vegas theme this year in Kensington - you even get to take a photo in their very own Wedding Chapel

Brooklyn Bowl - Based at the O2 this live music venue is serving a dash of Red Dwarf in the shape of Craig Charles

Gilgamesh - Camden's finest is hosting a circus themed evening with spectacular sights aplenty

If all of those options blow your budget then there's always the £10 option of the (no longer free) fireworks on the Embankment, but I'm sure those tickets are like golddust.  Whatever you're doing, be it fancy nightclub or dinner at home, I hope you have a fabulous evening.


Tuesday, 9 December 2014

One Night In Italy - review

“We read to know we're not alone.” ― William NicholsonShadowlands

On Thursday I took a work trip and upon arrival at Kings Cross realised I'd forgotten a book.  I decided to treat myself to a new story to pass my travelling time.  As I'm studying Italian I was immediately drawn to the title of this book and was pleasantly surprised it was half price (ker -ching). It was even set in Sheffield, a Northern town which seeing as I was off to Leeds felt serendipitous so I purchased it in record time and jumped aboard my train.
I finished it in record time - less than 3 hours and found it a great read peppered with the Italian phrases I've been learning, so I got a bit of homework in too! (Although the class in the story seems to be learning faster than we are in mine).

Centred around a beginners Italian class run by a local girl, Sophie, the story unfolds and we find out about the characters in the class and why they've taken up learning the language. (In my class I'd say 90% are there as they have an Italian other half but thats another story).  There's Anna a journalist with a missing family member, Catherine a lonely housewife looking for a new hobby and Geraldine the actress wanting to be fluent for her holidays.  I could really identify with the nerves they all had starting off in week 1!

It's full of twists, embarrassment and girl power and I have to admit I loved it.  Yes it's a bit girly and has a lovely happy ending which is perhaps a touch unrealistic, but what more do you want on a cold Winter night?

Let me know if you've read it.


Sunday, 7 December 2014

Dinner at Bianco 43

“With languages, you are at home anywhere.” 
― Edward DeWalll

Let's face it - using your newly learned language abroad is scariest because if they actually understand you they might respond - and then what would you do?
This week after a 2 hour lesson about ordering food in an Italian restaurant, I ventured to a lovely Italian place off Trafalgar Square called Bianco43 with a friend.   You might think I'd try out my newly acquired skills on the friendly Italian waitress, but I totally chickened and ordered in English... 

If I don't practice here I'll never do it in Venice, but as my Italian accent sounds as authentic as a Mulberry bag from the Egyptian market I get too nervous and don't try.
Bianco43 Trafalgar Sq

Bianco 43 restaurant Trafalgar Sq

What I had learned in class would have done me proud as I could easily have ordered a pizza....'Vorrei una pizza margherita per favore'... well I suppose it's a good excuse to go back!  We had delicious pizzas (I ate too quickly to take a pic, sorry), they definitely rival my current fave Pizza Pilgrim so a return visit is definitely on the cards - oh and I loved the menu - printed as a newspaper, great gimmick!


Thursday, 4 December 2014

Ice Skating at Somerset House

“Life is an awful, ugly place to not have a best friend.” ― Sarah DessenSomeone Like You

Sunday brought my best friend up from the coast for a day out in town.  We decided to go ice skating at Somerset House, where I go every year, but she and I have never been together.
Armed with extra socks (although we wondered whether this was an old wives tale as we couldn't find a benefit), chunky scarves and a pancake brunch under our belts we headed over at lunchtime, jostled with all the kids and put our skates on.
It's such a lovely, gorgeous festive thing to do, it was dry and bright and they played us some good tunes to skate around to - and don't forget - it counts as cardio!
We were doing quite well until right at the end when we nearly stacked it, but we managed to right ourselves before we smashed to the floor, so egos and bottoms remained unbruised!

If you want to go (and I suggest you do), get booking here