Category Archives: London

Yummy Mac ‘n’ Cheese at Street Feast London’s first night in Dalston

Street Feast London in Dalston

A sunny evening in London, the start of the weekend and street food, honestly what more can you want! Well maybe a beer wouldn’t go astray … Which is exactly what I did today after work, I went to Street Feast London‘s first night in Dalston, where there were 16 different traders selling food from all around the world.

It was a long day and between going to work and a five hour client meeting I’d already been half way across London. However, that didn’t deter me from trekking all the way across London from West Kensington to Dalston Junction to check out the first night of Street Feast London in Dalston.

I arrived at the open air allotment quite early, just as the rain stopped and the sun came out. It was still pretty quite, with only a few people milling around and a few of the stalls, including Homeslice, were still setting up.

Anna Maes Mac ‘n’ Cheese stall

I took a look around getting hungrier by the minute as I passed the stalls, tantalised by the delicious smells of all the different flavours. There was a jerk chicken station, exotic flavours from Barbados, Korean Kimchi, hot dogs,

Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Mexican street food, divine looking pizza and Molly Bakes cupcakes, that I tried very hard to resist, to name but a few of the traders there.

It wasn’t really a hard choice for me – although I did want to try everything. Anna Mae‘s pimped up Mac ‘n’ Cheese stall just looked too damn tasty. There was a giant wok filled to the top with Mac ‘n’ Cheese, my idea of street food heaven. I’m a big fan of Mac ‘n’ Cheese and have my own special recipe with sun dried tomatoes, ricotta, wholegrain mustard and melted mozzarella to top it off, which I’m particularly partial to. I ordered the Spicy Juan which was served with red jalapeños, fresh coriander and a dollop of yoghurt on top. It was absolutely delicous and the generous portion was well worth the £5.50 I paid for it.

Spicy Juan

My visit was fleeting as I really just wanted to check it out and appease my hunger. But I’ll certainly go back another Friday evening – probably a bit later in the evening next time – and with friends when I have more time to eat, have a few beers and enjoy the atmosphere. The place was filling up when I left, the dedicated foodies trekking across London to enjoy London’s latest street food festival.

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The Jubilee weekend; street parties, rain, beer and Coldplay

OK to start with, the flag absolutely does not mean I’m becoming British, royalist, patriotic or anything like that, I just felt it was appropriate to include following the long weekend we’ve just had thanks to the Queens Diamond Jubilee!

As CBS news put it, there were a lot of block parties going on all over the UK this weekend, or as we say on this side of the Pacific, street parties. Typically after last weekend’s gorgeous weather, the entire Jubilee weekend was a bit of a wipe out.

However, despite the threatening rain clouds we did venture out on Sunday (with an umbrella, just in case) to join the throngs at the Book Club street party in Hoxton. It takes a lot to stop the British (and Irish) from celebrating anything in style! There was live music with a lovely old lady boogying away by herself and stalls of all sort so of food and drinks from burgers, Indian, curries, cupcakes, beer, you name it. Everything looked and smelt delicious and had my stomach rumbling.

Street party The Book Club, Hoxton

Street party

It wasn’t just the street parties that people flocked too, but patriotically attired (don’t worry I wasn’t) the English and tourists alike beelined for the Thames, parks, street parties or the pub to have a pint and watch the flotilla. The last few weeks has seen the entire country decking itself out in bunting, flags and anything union jack related and Jubilee mania has dominating the media.

I have to admit my interest was more in the long weekend than the Queens Diamond Jubilee. Partly due to the fact that I would have a lot of time to sleep, go out and what I was really looking forward to, seeing Coldplay at the Emirates on Monday evening.

Coldplay at the Emirates

My somewhat alternative childhood meant that I didn’t really start listening to music until I was a teenager. When I did, Parachutes was one of the first albums that I bought.

Coldplay at the Emirates

Monday evening was the last evening of the London shows and luckily for us it wasn’t raining. We arrived shortly before Robyn, who was supporting, started. I can’t say that she was particularly good, or in my opinion the best choice to support Coldplay, but hey the rest of the show was good!

Coldplay

The concert, in true Coldplay style, was pretty amazing and as to be expected everyone continued singing the Paradise chorus well after the encore and Chris Martin and the guys had gone. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t stuck in my head for the rest of the evening as well.

All in all it was a pretty good weekend and now I’m mentally preparing myself to go back to work tomororw, but only for three days this week. Ah, the hard life that we have!

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1.6 litre diesel engine, eh what?

Vauxhall Ampera, winner of the WhatCar? Green car of the year award 2011

I’ve always been one of those girls who would ask someone what colour their car was, nothing else ever made much sense to me. However, that all changed when I started working in PR and a few of my clients were fleet companies. Suddenly I had to learn all the jargon. I had to start paying attention to car models, engine sizes, mileage, CO2 emissions, you name it. Nowadays I can hold a relatively coherent conversation on these formerly alien subjects. I impress even myself sometimes!

I visited EcoVelocity 2011 at Battersea Power Station this afternoon to do a bit of research and to have a look around. To be honest, I didn’t quite know what to expect – apart from car’s obviously – but I really enjoyed it. All the big names were there displaying their eco friendly cars.  From the Evelio K1 electric Supercar to the Vauxhall Ampera winner of the WhatCar? green car of the year and the Nissan LEAF there was something for everyone.

There was even something for me. I’ve always been a bit of a closet Mini Cooper fan. Today I was allowed to sit in the Mini 1.6D Cooper and … I’m afraid there’s no going back for me now!

Mini 1.6D Cooper

Isn’t is gorgeous? Being quite small myself I thought it was a perfectly snug fit, I could definitely see myself driving one of these!

Maybe one day… I’ll just have to keep dreaming for now!

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London: it’s eerily quiet tonight

It’s only Tuesday but this week feels like it’s been going on for a very long time!

London, which is usually such a vibrant city, is eerily quiet. As a friend of mine said you can almost hear a pin drop outside. On my walk home from work this evening many pubs and restaurants, usually bustling on a sunny evening, were closed, shops had their shutters down and walking down New Cavendish to the tube, the streets were strangely empty.

Even though I haven’t seen any looting, burning, or rioting in my area, the fear that has gripped all of London, has also taken hold of me. Despite knowing it would be OK, I had to tell myself that I would be safe tonight to take my usual route swimming which passes through a residential area where a lot of young people always hang out.

Last night I stayed up late glued to BBC News watching the riots unfold across the city and tensing every time a siren passed outside. When I finally turned off my light I lay in the dark and realised that I was actually a little bit scared; it wasn’t something happening miles away, it was right outside! In a place like London where you almost take your safety for granted, it was scary.

In the bright morning sunlight everything seemed better. But when my two colleagues and I got off the train in East Croydon for a client meeting, we were met with the lingering smell of burning and the drone of police helicopters hovering overhead.

As 5.30pm drew closer, the atmosphere in the office was tense, people jumped at bangs and the constant updates on Twitter and other media outlets of riots breaking out all over the city made everyone a bit nervous. Most people left early and went straight home, something we rarely do in our office. As I walked home I found myself wearily observing groups of young people and walking past in a hurry.

Everyone is inside and waiting for something to happen tonight, but the thugs who have so mindlessly looted and damaged the capital over the last three nights seem to be lying low. Maybe that’s due to tonight’s greater police presence and the fact that they are ready to use rubber bullets, or because the rioters are waiting for another night to attack the city!

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Tapas, wine, Swedes and Bon Jovi

Bon Jovi, Hard Rock Calling in Hyde Park

I’m not quite sure where my gradual liking for rock music has come from. I think it started when I lived in Italy a few years ago and discovered Vasco Rossi, an amazing Italian rock singer, and I guess it grew from there. I have to admit I only realised on Friday night, while watching Glastonbury, that I really liked U2, a bit shameful being Irish and all that, but better late than never I guess!

When my friend told me a few months ago that she was going to see Bon Jovi at Hard Rock Calling and that I should come along, I didn’t think twice about saying yes. A few of us met for tapas and wine first, from there we moved to join the Swedes in Hyde Park who were celebrating midsummers day in Swedish style with flowers, a picnic and wine.

Bon Jovi was good, it was jammed with people. His three hour set was a mixture of hits and some I’d never heard before.

We somehow ended up in a club in Shoreditch after the concert. Lets just say it was a fun night, Bon Jovi was great and from what we all remember we had a good night!

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Harry meets the Chelsea Pensioners

Prince Harry greeting the hospitals oldest resident Joe Britton, aged 99

One of our clients at work is Royal Hospital Chelsea. The hospital was founded by Charles II in 1682 to house elderly and infirm war veterans in their retirement ensuring they enjoy their retirement peacefully.

The hospital is situated in stunning grounds in Chelsea in London. Every June the hospital hosts an annual Founder’s Day Parade in which the pensioners parade in the hospital’s Figure Court.

Each Founder’s Day the pensioners are reviewed by a member of the royal family. This year Prince Harry was the first serving officer to review the Pensioners’s Parade since HRH The Duke of Kent in 1974.

The Chelseas Pensioners standing to attention during the ceremony

Although I don’t work on the account I was asked to help out at the event. As you can imagine I did not hesitate in saying yes to helping out.

The weather was perfect and the hospital’s beautiful grounds looked lovely in the sunshine. The men in scarlet stood to attention as Prince Harry entered amid a fanfare of trumpets. The media scrambled for a good shot of the prince as he walked past speaking to a number of pensioners on his way.

Chelsea Pensioners joining the Parade

One bold pensioner, William Titchmarsh 85, asked the prince when he was getting married. A blushing Prince Harry replied “not for a long time” and then added “who put you up to this?”

Ironically this incident happened right in front of the media pen, and as you can imagine it was instantly jumped upon and got into pretty much every paper in the UK and further afield the same and the following day.

All in all, a fun day’s work and a great story.

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Part of the hood

There comes a time when you have moved somewhere new when you suddenly realise you have become a local. Mine came this morning (almost a year and a half into my sojourn in London) when I went across the road to get my Sunday papers and realised I didn’t have enough money. The guy was like, that’s no problem you can pay next time.

It was a perfectly normal thing to say, but it took me completely by surprise. Good surprise that is. I’m sure to them I am the annoying girl who always asks for a receipt (I need it to get my expenses from work) but nevertheless it was a pleasant feeling being seen as a local.

I guess being a bit of a traveller and never staying too long in one place, I’m not used to being recognised by people in an area.

What’s next in being a local? Free drinks, helping out at the community fete? I’ll have to wait and see I guess!

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