Thursday, 18 September 2014

7 films from my youth

“I know the best moments can never be captured on film, even as I spend nearly half my life trying to do just that.” 
― Rosie O'Donnell

I've just got home from an exhausting training walk and have, by chance, turned on the TV to see one of my favourite films from childhood on Ch5 - Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  It made me think about how certain films fill me with memories of happy, younger times and no matter how many times I watch them I never tire of them.  I thought I'd let you know my favourites.

Annie- after appearing as Annie aged 7 at my local theatre, this film formed a huge part of my youth!  My Mum got me started on the musical films early.

Dirty Dancing - I definitely watched this, a lot, before I was probably old enough to appreciate it's adult themes.  The soundtrack was on repeat on my tape deck for many years. Jennifer Grey's career high was my teen dream.

Bugsy Malone - I fell in love with Bugsy Malone aged about 11 and watched it as often as I was allowed.  I so wanted to be Tallulah and the music is on my iPod still.

Death becomes Her - This is a firm family favourite. Again, perhaps a little grown up for my pre teen tastes but my siblings and I spent a whole summer quoting this film and even now, whenever it's on TV I'll get a text from one of them alerting me or quoting 'You pushed me down the stairs'.

Mrs Doubtfire - a great 90s film. I received this on VHS one Christmas and fell in love. Mara Wilson is the cutest and the Sally Field and Robin Williams magic is wonderful.

Miss Congeniality - Once I hit my late teens Miss Congeniality became my favourite film - I swear I used to watch it every day, a rom com classic. Sandra Bullock never fails as far as I'm concerned.

Willy Wonka - the whole inspiration for this post, Charlie Bucket and co made a huge lasting impression on me. The music is gorgeous, the story heartwarming and Gene Wilder is hilarious.  My best friend and I used to talk all the time about what a wonderful musical it'd make and then last year it opened in the West End! (also my nickname used to be Veruca Salt)

Other memorable films include Parenthood, Beethoven, Sliding Doors, Clueless and Beauty and the Beast, but we haven't got time to discuss all those too!

What are your childhood film classics?


(all pics from Google)

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Shine Marathon is getting closer....

It always seems impossible, until it’s done. 
Nelson Mandela.

The charity marathon walk I signed up for four months ago is quickly getting closer and I'm starting to get nervous.  The Shine Walk is a huge deal for the Cancer Research UK charity and I really want to do my part, but as it gets nearer I'm starting to get the fear.
Last weekend we did almost 16 miles, from Richmond to Harrow which was an epic walk. I was pretty nervous before we started, but I have started to see a difference in my stamina (finally) and managed a half marathon before I started to hurt.
I'm using the NikeRunning app to chart my progress and it's very satisfying seeing the final results.

What I'm loving is that I'm exploring parts of London I've never seen before.  The 5 miles from Richmond through Twickenham and Osterley were so gorgeous I almost forgot what a mission we had to achieve.  I don't normally take pictures as I think they'll slow me down, but perhaps I should start taking more as the scenery is sometimes beautiful.

This weekend we're aiming for 20 miles (route tbc) and I'm terrified!  With only 2 weeks left to go we need to break the 20 mile mark in order to feel like we're almost ready for the big night. Our team is raring to go and hope that the jellybabies can push us over the brink to success!
sweaty selfie
Wish us luck!


Saturday, 13 September 2014

7 tips for a novice boat passenger

“You can’t believe how bleeding scary the sea is! There’s, like, whales and storms and shit! They don’t bloody tell you that!” 
― Libba BrayBeauty Queens

Having returned from a successful sailing holiday in Turkey (surely 5 days at sea makes you a pro??), I thought I'd share my top 7 tips for a novice sailor.  I won't include the most obvious which is take someone with you (or hire someone) who can sail... I'll assume you're smart enough to know that's a necessity!

1) Leave your heels at home - I don't think I wore shoes for 4 days straight!  I practically lived in a swimming costume and a kaftan.  

2) Charge your phone, camera, toothbrush etc before you go - electricity on a sailing boat is a luxury that's not always available. (oh and be ready to miss days worth of Facebooking - there is no wifi at sea)
3) Pack light. I decided on a whim to take a carry on case instead of my normal big suitcase and I'm glad I did.  Storage is not often plentiful.
4) Seek the shade.  I liberally douse myself in Factor 50 on every holiday, but with little shade available when sailing you need to be extra careful. The water is reflective, you're in and out of the sea and it's easy to forget that you've been outside the entire day.

5) If you're feeling sea sick watch the horizon - it really helps.  We did one sail that was in 'moderate' wind.  It did not feel moderate to me!  Watching the waves move and the horizon bobbing about made my stomach settle even though I wanted to hide 'down below'.
6) Be ready to be brave if it's a new experience for you.  I had to really grit my teeth sometimes but I wanted to experience everything on offer.
7) Learn the lingo.  I feel like I've learnt loads about sailing, even just by watching my friends doing it for a few days. Knowing your 'tiller' from your 'cock pit' really helps when orders are being shouted along the boat during a sail.

I had such a great time - I'd definitely recommend it for an adventure. I won't lie, it's not always glamorous but it's an amazing experience and I'd happily do it again.


Wednesday, 10 September 2014

A trip to Turkey

When you spend money on a holiday you are essentially purchasing happiness: if you don't enjoy yourself you will feel defrauded.” 
― Alison LurieThe Last Resort

Last week I took a glorious four days off work and jumped on a glam Easyjet plane to Bodrum.  I have a close friend who, along with her husband, is sailing on a 30ft yacht around Greece and Turkey for 6 months.  What a crazy, brave thing to do!  They left the UK in April and have now journeyed across to West Turkey where I thought I'd join them for a few days of sailing.

Let me say now, I have a general fear of boats, water and heights, so sailing has never been top of my list but after attending their wedding two years earlier on a gullet I've managed to cure my fears a little and was looking forward to a relaxing break.
Sleeping on a rocking, very hot boat was my first challenge - I think the first night I probably got about 4 hours sleep and of course boats don't have hot water, or wifi, or microwaves... what they do have is AMAZING views, the clearest sea 'swimming pool' I've ever seen and if you're lucky some lovely company.
our neighbours
Turquoise seas in Turkey
After getting used to sleeping in secluded bays, rocking gently in the ocean open to the elements and having showers hanging off the back of the boat in my swimsuit, I decided I actually quite liked the low key vibe. I hardly looked in the mirror, didn't style my hair (there are no GHDs on a sailing yacht!), took no outfit shots and wore as little make up as possible. It was refreshing to just hit reset, chill out and fully relax.

We ate mostly on the boat, cooking in the tiny kitchen. It's amazing what you can rustle up with 2 hobs and a grill.  However we did have a couple of meals out, one which ended with a dingy ride back from the town to the boat in the pitch black (very scary let me tell you). It was really lovely to hang out with my friends and have some quality time chatting about nothing and making new memories.  One of my favourite moments was when a speed boat jetted into our bay which turned out to be an ice cream van - I was too busy running for my purse to get a picture, but you'll have to trust me that the double chocolate magnum went down a treat!
One day we decided to get up super early and watch the sunrise which was pretty amazing ( as soon as it was up we immediately went back to bed for a snooze).  I'll remember that morning for a long time.
6.30 am
Have you ever been sailing? Would you like to try it?


Saturday, 6 September 2014

Homeslice Pizza -London - Review

So apparently I'm addicted to pizza! Who knew...

Today's dinner consisted of a long overdue trip to Homeslice with two of my colleagues for a gossip/wine session along with a huge 20" pizza.  You can imagine how excited I was to get my laughing gear round that. I spied Homeslice on a wander through Neal's Yard months ago and due to my fondness for Franco Manca have managed to miss trying it out until now.

We had to put our names down for a table, the wait was about 20 mins (we passed the time doing an impromptu photo shoot against the brightly coloured walls of Neal's Yard).  

We decided on our pizza toppings almost before we sat down so ordered some white wine to be getting on with.  TIP; it arrives in a ginormous carafe and you get charged for what you drink- be aware as it's all too easy to keep topping up!

Then the main event arrived.  I was not disappointed, look at the size of this bad boy (I promise I shared it).  It comes with a pizza cutter so you can choose your own size piece, although basically each slice is large.  The dough is chewy and a bit salty which contrasts with the tomato.  I probably would have gone for some extra cheese, but it was yummy nevertheless.  I don't think they offer any sides or non pizza choices, not that that bothers me, but for you people who like salad etc you might like to know.
The pizzas are £20 for a 20" pizza which seems fair to me. They also serve slices of a couple of flavours which are £4, so perhaps good if you're wandering round Covent Garden at lunchtime.  The service was friendly and efficient although the pizzas don't arrive quite as fast as Pizza Pilgrim.  I think it'd be a lovely place for a work night out or casual birthday meal as there are long benches to sit at creating a nice atmosphere.

Have you been? What did you think?


Tuesday, 2 September 2014

7 Hand Luggage Essentials

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” 
― Lao Tzu

As I"m off on my final holiday of the year very soon I thought I'd run through a pre holiday hand luggage checklist, partly to remind myself what to take and hopefully to let you in on a few travel tips.

I like to take the biggest hand luggage I can get away with so that I can fit in all the 'essential' items I buy in DutyFree.  I usually take my Jocasi leather holdall and it always ends up stuffed full.
My hand luggage essentials are;
1) Passport and travel docs
2) Money- some GBP and some local currency
3) Emergency pants and toothbrush - in case of the dreaded lost luggage
4) A camera - I normally take 2 or 3 different cameras with me, depending on type of holiday, but I'll always put one in my hand luggage for any travelling snaps.
5) A book - at least one if not two
6) My door keys and travelcard - no one wants to arrive home and get stranded
7) Sunglasses - to cover a multitude of sins on arrival

My most frequent holiday companion likes to get to the airport at the last possible minute, I like to arrive in plenty of time so I can have a mooch round the make up department.  Once through security I tend to buy body lotion, a snack for the plane (god forbid I get hungry on board), any toiletries I've forgotten (there is ALWAYS something), perhaps some perfume or make up treats and on the way back from any European destination; chocolate covered Oreos - my absolute favourite.  Oh and most important, in an ideal world there's time for a MacDonald's breakfast too.

Then you can get on the plane, relaxed and ready for your break, be it city madness or beach side chill. I am so looking forward to a relaxing break this time round so look out for my post trip blogposts.

What are your hand luggage absolute essentials?


Sunday, 31 August 2014

Pizza Pilgrims, Kingly Court - Review

This week I had the BEST dinner at Pizza Pilgrim and I just have to share how yummy it was with you.
I've already told you just how much I love pizza and Pizza Pilgrim particularly, but now they've opened their swanky new location in Kingly Court with added menu items I was too excited to try it out and arranged a catch up date with a friend as soon as I could.
After passing Pizza Express and Zizzi on the way there, who both had a queue out the door, I was delighted to be shown immediately to a checked table clothed table at PP with a view out into the courtyard which is all lit up with fairy lights and has a lovely atmosphere.
Pizza Pilgrim, Kingly Court
I always order the margherita as I like my pizza without extra toppings, but this time instead of perhaps a casual garlic bread or salad, PP are offering mini deep fried calzone with porchetta and ricotta and fried macaroni balls on sticks as sides.  We ordered one of each and they arrived in seconds flat.
They were both, as expected, delicious.  I would go as far as to say the sides were better than my pizza (and that's saying something).  
Fried Macaroni Bites 

did I mention they were yummy?

Mini Deep Fried Calzone

Margherita pizza

After all that savoury food we decided to skip pudding, but I haven't forgotten their yummy salted ricotta and nutella pizza ring dessert and will definitely be returning soon.
All I can say is get yourself down there!  The service was friendly and quick, the toilets are clean, there's outside seating, the prices are reasonable (margherita £6.50 and sides @£5) and I promise you the food is worth the visit.
Kingly Court is fast becoming my fave place for evening food visits, so let me know if you go