Sunday, 29 June 2014

I love my friends

The week kicked off with 241 burgers with Dan in The Great Exhibition pub, I had a craving that couldn't be satisfied and luckily Dan's always up for a burger.  A 45 minute wait meant I was grumpy by the time they finally arrived but they were really really good....expensive on any other day but Mondays mean they're £6 each and you can't really go wrong.

On Tuesday, Bex Liz and I went to see Limbo on the Southbank.  SO WEIRD.  It consisted of a contortionist, sword swallower, aerial hooper, pole climber and hand balancer along with some weird and wonderful interspersions.  The contortionist made me feel a little bit sick with the things he could do with his body, and I winced each time the lady deep throated a sword.  My favourite part of the evening was where they all climbed up onto bendy poles surrounding the circular stage, then bent back and forth, the momentum causing them to fly forward and backwards over the audience and then nearly causing them to hit each other in the centre.  It's amazing what people can train their bodies to do - the hand balancer was 'jumping' from one pole to another doing a handstand, he was solid muscle.

The entire theme was a bit eerie and freaky, set to interesting d'n'b style music created from the live band (tuba, vocals, harmonica and accordion amongst other home made instruments like a penny spinning in a glass bowl with some beat boxing thrown in for good measure).  It was clever and entertaining and shocking and wince worthy all in one, but I think I preferred A Simple Space - mainly for the fact that kept me entertained the entire way through, where as I was bored by some parts of Limbo.

stock photo from google

We went for a few drinks on Friday after work - the week had been long and stressful and filled with a billion powerpoint presentations with tight deadlines.  Ending up in The Folly via the Heeltap and Horniman, the night was livened up by Gemma's utter intoxication - her activities included climbing over the wall next to the Thames for a photo, getting our photo taken by a bunch of Japanese tourists, moonwalking across the road and singing "I just can't, I just can't, I just can't control my feet" continuously on the way home to the train station, accompanied by little foot dancing.  I could not stop laughing.  I also managed to get some lovely photos from Hays Galleria at dusk, it's very pretty round there at that time of evening and I would like to go back for an summer evening stroll.

"I love it!"

On Saturday I made my way to Becky's where she was making me and Lisa lunch.  There was loads of traffic meaning the bus that normally takes 45 minutes took nearly double that and I was a bit grumpy by the time I arrived.  Busting for the loo, I went for a pee as soon as I got in then wandered into the living room where I was greeted with the below!

I think my reaction was an exclamation of 'what the f**k' followed by 'what's going on' followed by bursting into tears because it was the sweetest and loveliest thing ever!!!

Bex had VERY secretly organised a going away party (I am only going for 6 weeks and she admitted that after she planned it she realised it was a bit weird because I am not going away for long) and had invited all my favourite people, put on an amazing spread and turned her house into a Thai paradise with paper cut out elephants and buddhas, flags, 'thai' related food (Lisa brought (thai)ger bread and (thai)ckle cheese!! oh and appleTIZer!) along with Thai music playing in the background.  My housemates were also there and had snuck out of the house half an hour before I did (really quietly, I thought they were in when I left so didn't bother locking the door, oops!).  Everyone had brought something along and then we played some games and hung out.   It was so sweet and the effort everyone went to was amazing - I was very impressed and overwhelmed!!

THANK YOU BECKY (and Lisa Kim Mark Rich Dan Liz Cesca!)

Me and Cesca then headed back to hers where we met up with some of her friends, watched the football, ate pizza and played home made 'The Cube' after David declaring that this show was the easiest on television and he could win millions off it.  I challenged him after he said 'throw anything at me and i will catch it'.  I threw a pot of nail varnish and he missed it and it narrowly avoided smashing a mirror, much to cesca's unamusement.   We decided to test him again by putting a cushion on the floor and blindfolding him, his aim being to walk up to it and step over it.  He failed, again.  Then we all had a go and we all failed too.  Not so easy hey David ;-) 

We then headed out to Dogstar where Holly showed us all her party trick of licking people's eyeballs.  Maybe she could go join the cast of Limbo!

Today's been a productive busy day of packing, tidying, collecting a bike and making a collage.  I am really sad it's 9pm already as I am so tired and still have lots more to do today, and all I want to do is go to bed....maybe I can save it all for tomorrow!!

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Zoo Lates

It was Samia's birthday this week.  Her housemate contacted me last weekend to see if I was up for a surprise visit to Zoo Lates for her birthday.

The surprise unfortunately didn't stay a surprise for long - mainly due to mine and Gemma's incompetence at keeping secrets....whoops!  Still, her brother and sister turned up which she didn't know about, so at least something was kept secret!

Zoo Lates seems like it's a good idea.  It's certainly popular - Gem missed out on coming because the tickets sold out.  It's overpriced though - £28 per person, though if you book through you can get tickets for £17.50.  You might think that's worth it to avoid children running about the zoo, but instead you have to contend with drunk young adults (i.e us) and there's not really much difference between the two!

I think it'd be good for a date, or in a small group, but unfortunately we spent a lot of time waiting for some people to arrive, then drinking in the bar, then we lost Samia for ages, then found her but lost her was a recurring theme...animal wise we missed the gorillas as they'd 'gone to bed' by the time we found them, we saw a cheetah in the distance, a reindeer on the way in, a llama (see below) a taipir, and a crocodile eating a rabbit.

I only have two photos of the evening, both stolen from someone else:

I left at about 9.30 as I was cream crackered by this point (a combination of early morning gym classes and being busy at work) but Samia and her friends stayed out ALL NIGHT, the dirty little stop out.  She's sent me some hilarious photos which I won't share but she must have had an epic hangover on the Saturday and has vowed to give up drinking for 2 weeks. haha.

The rest of the week has been fairly tame, starting with Breaking Bad sessions with Cesca on Monday (a regular until I go away next week and then she goes away forever in November) Becky's house for dinner on Thursday, and home for a BBQ on Saturday.

This coming week is going to be filled with last minute work handovers and preparations for my SE Asia trip, which is looming ever closer!

brewing elderflower cordial last weekend

a swedish torch at the BBQ

all gone

swan? lamb? dinosaur?

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Just hangin' around

Inspired by our trip to Wales a few months ago, David and I decided to try rock climbing.  I found a place near us and booked into a taster session - 2 hours for £12, not too shabby!

On the course was us, a pretty au-pair, a mum and her 11 year old daughter.  The 11 year old was the best of us - hanging off the holds like a monkey and with no fear of anything.  

We started with a bit of traversing round the wall which I found really hard but everyone else seemed fine with.  We then did a bit of bouldering (no harness) which again I found really quite hard.  I managed to climb up quite high but then I looked down and got a bit wibbly legs and found it hard picking a path to come down on - it would have been easier just to jump onto the mat but she wanted to teach us an important lesson that it's easy to go up but harder to come down!

We played a game where the first person started off in one position on the wall and had to add a move, then the next person copied and added a move etc. Foolishly I went at the end and had to have a million goes before I managed to finish and had to give up on the move David made.  I realised I wasn't trying hard enough on my first few goes, so I put more effort in and it worked -I got a little bit better.

The best bit was climbing up the wall with the harness on.   They are possibly the most unflattering things you will ever wear ever, especially for men whereby it very much draws attention to the crotch area and I couldn't stop laughing at Dave - he refused to let me take a photo.  We took it in turns belaying and climbing, David really looking forward to it and me bricking it.  However climbing with the harness was MUCH easier than without - the sense of safety plus the fact the rope was getting shorter made it feel like the others were pulling me up, and I nearly made it to the top :) I struggled when the wall started to overhang and couldn't get past it.  

It was fun - I don't know if I'd make a big effort to do it again, but I am glad I went and it was an achievement.  My hands were so sore though, the skin came off them and they were all swollen - next time I would wear gloves I think!!! 

on my way up - not looking very comfortable

nearly at the top

coming down - phew!

Sunday, 8 June 2014

A Simple Space

A Simple Space by GOM (credits - GOM)

On Friday I took my girl Samia on a date.  It was one of the best dates she'd been on she said. But she texted me at the end saying she just wanted to be friends, isn't that always the way! I didn't even get to 2nd base.

Oh well - if anyone wants to impress a special person in their life, this is what they have to do:

1) A nice stroll along the South Bank to Las Iguanas, where we had happy hour cocktails followed by dinner.  It helped the weather was absolutely gorgeous.

2) Impress the date by winning the Tour De France like so:

All the lunch time spinning has paid off

2) Book this - A Simple Space.  IT'S SOOOOOOOOO GOOOOOOOD!!!!  It was a last minute decision as we were both free on Friday and wanted to do something rather than sit at home crying we had no boyfriends.  I am so glad we went - it is absolutely incredible and I wish it was longer than an hour.

It's a troupe of 7 gymnasts from Australia called "Gravity and Other Myths", appropriately named for the shenanigans that they get up to.

The show started with them all tumbling over and catching one another, before the boys launched into a skipping competition. But not just any skipping competition - a STRIP skipping competition. Which delighted us muchly.  Whoever tripped whilst skipping had to remove an item of clothing, and one of them ended up totally starkers (unfortunately he then also stopped skipping, for it would have been amusing to watch a naked man skip).  Their bodies were insane and I would be lying if I said we weren't drooling a little bit.

The show was just incredible.  Their strength and stamina is amazing and an inspiration - I am happy I can do 10 press ups, they can stand on their heads and hands for ten minutes at a time.  They created two human towers, two men tall, and one of the girls climbed up the tower, stood on top of each guy's head and then the towers moved apart so she was doing the splits but balanced on top of their heads.

One of the guys stood on his head on a platform, then proceeded to solve a rubix cube that the audience had freshly muddled up.

They grabbed the girls and were swinging them round and round then used them as skipping ropes.

The boys had a back flip competition.

The percussionist came on stage and did a 2 minute skit using his own body as an instrument (and was very red after).

They got the crowd to throw plastic balls at them whilst they did handstands.

It was so amazing, the audience were literally gobsmacked for the majority of the time.  if you get a chance I really really recommend going - it's on until 6th July at the big purple cow near Waterloo.  Next on my list is Limbo - Becky we need to book that up!

On Saturday my travelling rucksack and coat arrived so I spent a good hour or so being entertained by them both and pretending I was hiking through the foothills.  Then we headed out to Rich's house as he was having a house warming.

It was really good - lots of people I haven't seen for a while including Rich's mum so was good having a catch up with her.

I instigated game playing (organised fun, yay!) including: blowing matchstick off pint glass (thanks Cesca), the which hand is the match in game, Fives, Ship Comes to the Harbour and my new favourite courtesy of Rich's uni friends - Waaaa Ching. Remember - you can't ching a chicken chow mein! I can't wait to introduce that one to Cesca and David.

Today I went to Greenwich, plan was to meet with family but plan didn't materialise due to poor planning and then me getting too annoyed to stay with them so I wandered round Greenwich on my own which was nice.  Managed to get a cracking sun burn on my back, it looks like angel wings.  I headed to the Royal Naval College which seemed to be free to wander around in - I was on the hunt for a toilet and found some beautiful buildings instead! (I did also find a toilet eventually, you'll be glad to know!)

Sunday, 1 June 2014

May Summary

I was very lazy blogging in May. I guess I have been busy with stuff, but not stuff worthy of blogging about - mainly gym and work.

The other weekend I went to Holland Park. The sun was shining so I got a book and sat in the park for a bit to read - it was lovely. I don't frequent that part of London much so decided to talk from there back to Victoria, taking in the sights as I went. In Holland Park there's a Japanese themed garden which was my main purpose for choosing the park, but I was a little disappointed by it - it was a small well kept garden with a waterfall, I guess I was expecting something bigger. Anyway I strolled back to Victoria via Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park, and discovered the Albert Memorial - I like walking places because you see things you'd miss on the tube.

Not a lot happened last weekend, I headed home to see family, went on a walk then headed up to Hatfield to see Jen & Leanne. I managed to convince them both to go to the vintage shop in St Albans that I love so much - we spent a good hour or so rummaging amongst the most random selection of stuff. I ended up buying a lovely 70s saucepan and umming and ahhing over lots of teapots and deciding against all of them.  When I was at home I went through the family photo album which is always fun, some of the best snaps are below....

On Friday I had David and Cesca round for dinner. I get a lot of ribbing for my dinners so this time decided to cook something 'proper'. To be fair, past dinners have consisted of 'home made pizza' on a tortilla wrap, a roast dinner that was so poorly timed we had roast potatoes as pudding, and turkey steaks with vegetables that left everyone feeling very hungry after. I cooked 'curried prawns with tenderstem broccoli and preserved lemons'. I wish I had taken a photo as it looked really quite impressive. Besides the fact that Cesca cooked the rice for me and when we sat down to eat I forgot to put cutlery out, and the prawns were still frozen when I started to cook them, it turned out really quite tasty and everyone was rather surprised. I had a bit of a smug face on for the evening.

Saturday Bex and I went on a trip to Winchester - we've not been before and the weather was nice so why the hell not, we thought. it's a lovely city - steeped in history and only an hour from Clapham. They had a market on which we perused (hog roast at £3, bargain!) then headed into the tourist office where they had free walking tours you could do at your own leisure. We chose the 'King Albert' tour which took you on a lovely route past the old mill, down by a river, past the ruins of Wolvesey Castle, Winchester College, the house where Jane Austen died, Winchester Cathedral and finally the masses of wartime museums. After the walk we did a spot of shopping before heading home again. I love exploring new places, and it's so nice ot get out of London once in a while, you forget how green the rest of the country can be!