Sunday, 30 November 2008

Wales is Best (above the equator)

The autumn rugby union internationals have come to an end this weekend. I'll tell you, I have burned a lot of calories over the last few weeks shouting and jumping up and down in front of the tv

I am a big Wales fan. I'm a pretty big rugby fan, but I am a MASSIVE Wales rugby fan. My home team is the Ospreys and I am a huge fan of them too.  I have been to see them play and everything. I saw them lose against Saracens in the Heineken Cup quarter-final in April. That was a miserable day - the day it snowed all over London.

It was a real nerve jangler this weekend. Wales beating Australia 21-18, Australia scoring a try in the 79th minute to take them within a single try. I could've given myself a hernia if that was possible.

Last week against NZ I nearly peed my pants when the squad faced down the haka - it was so exciting. I wish they had another one before starting the second half because it clearly gave Wales a platform to go out and believe in themselves. I wish I'd been at the Millennium Stadium to see it live. 

I'm pretty excited about the six nations coming up in the new year, I'm definitely going to try to get tickets for the home matches - and for the others I'll get to a Welsh centric pub in London - somewhere like the Famous Three Kings

Friday, 28 November 2008

Lyrical Christmas

The Christmas show at the Lyric this year is a production of Cinderella directed by Melly Still (who directed Coram Boy at the National and the lovely Watership Down at the Lyric.)

I didn't see Coram Boy but it had terrific reviews. I did see Watership Down and it was a really great show - theatre at it's best really. Engaging, creative, imaginative, clever, well performed, beautifully directed.

Cinderella this year looks set to be a real Christmas treat for all the family (as long as everyone in your family is 7+).  I saw the first preview night and will be performing during the interval so I can confirm it's a brilliant show and will be especially brilliant when I am performing during the interval. 

Under 25's can get £10 tickets for most shows, and I'd say it's definitely a show worth seeing if only for the musician alone - who is INCREDIBLE. He plays instruments made of ice!

Wednesday, 26 November 2008


Why has it been so bloody cold recently? Is it global warming? Is it because high gas prices mean that everyone (including me) is not putting the central heating on, resulting in a lower overall temperature for London?

That sounds like laughably bad science. I hope it's true. 

So, I'm trying to think of where is good in London to go when it's cold. 

Well,  I think a hot chocolate at Paul in Holland Park is always a warming treat. It's so thick and chocolaty it feels like swallowing hot melted chocolate. Yum yum. 

On a particularly miserable day which does not encourage running or other outdoors exercise - I like to go to the Janet Adegoke swimming pool. It's a good place to work up a heart rate and stay under a roof and in a warm (although stinking of chlorine) environment.

Albertine's is another great place to avoid the cold outdoors - warm yourself from the inside out with a big glass of rioja and a hot pudding. 

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Is Christmas starting earlier or am I getting faster?

It's a big fat cliche isn't it? It gets whipped out every Winter - 'Christmas starts earlier every year'. Even in the belly of a monstrous credit crunch, the tinsel made an appearance in October and now, in November we are in full festive swing.

Westfield had barely been opened for a week before all the decor inside changed to Christmas decorations.

I don't mind it though. It's quite nice isn't it? When it starts getting cold, it makes you feel a bit warmer on the inside seeing all the sparkly lights above Oxford Street. It's certainly a better sight than the hoards of zombie shoppers underneath the lights. The Debenhams display went up quite early and I walk past it on my way to and from work. There are often tourists taking pictures of themselves in front of the dancing little reindeer. 

My boyfriend loves Christmas time - especially when Starbucks brings out the red cups. He adores their gingerbread lattes, which you can't get for the rest of the year. He bought one on the first day they started doing them (Nov 6th I think). And I reckon has probably had one every day since, though he won't admit it to me.

I'm actually quite excited about the Ice Fair that the posters all over Shepherd's Bush are promising for the Green. £1 entry (profits to the NSPCC- my top charity) and delights like a temporary ice rink, rides and stalls. I'll keep you posted - I think it's opening next week.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Venetian Highlights

the rialto bridge bathed in sunset (and tourists)

the 3rd day when the sun came out and with it, the gondolas
an umbrella using boat driver
sexy, mysterious bacaro

Friday, 21 November 2008

Ciao Bella

Ah. I went to Venice. I wish I was back there. What a wonderful city.

I can totally understand why so many writers choose to work in Venice, it's a place that commands creativity within it. I can also see why so many detective novels are set here - the place is so full of mystery and intrigue.

I had a pretty great time and did the thing of buying books set in Venice and reading them while in Venice. Daunt Books is a great place to stock up for that sort of thing. I read Death in Venice and also Don't Look Now. Every book I picked up seemed to involve some sort of death. But it never seemed like a dangerous or unsafe place, but it did feel like a place where strange things happen.

The main problem with Venice is that tourism makes up almost the entire business of the city - but the locals have a real disdain for tourists and will often try to rip you off. For example, we had a great time one night enjoying wine in Do Mori but then the next night the waiter totally shortchanged me and was pretty rude.

It has made me really want to learn to speak Italian.

Additionally, I think it would take years to review all the places in Venice. There's millions of tiny places everywhere, I think even if you lived there you would still discover new streets and alleys and churches and museums and shops and bars and restaurants and cafes....

Boom! Bang! Bleurgh!

Bonfire Night 2008.

Last year I had a tremendous bonfire night. Some friends of mine have kids and they live down the road from me and they had a big party with loads of kids and loads of homemade delicious things like soup, sausages and cakes. So I was really looking forward to it this year, perhaps a little too much.

We arrived and almost straight away I left again to go buy more marshmallows for the fire and more sparklers. You cannot begin to imagine how excited I was.

We return laden with marshmallows and sparklers and there are kids running around, dangerously close to fire and explosives. I am giddy with joy. I have some pumpkin soup. I have a sausage. I have a homemade toffee apple with a real stick in it (from a tree!) I have a brownie. I have some crumble. I have a potato. I have some marshmallows toasted on the fire.  I have way too much food. I have so much food that I am ill the next day.

Despite that it was still a great night. For the actual fireworks - being set off in a garden far too small to be remotely safe - the kids start chanting the names of the fireworks. So there's a gaggle of children all shouting 'Ring Shower Rocket! Ring Shower Rocket!' and we're setting off fireworks at an hilariously pedestrian rate. These are all things that I deeply love about Great Britain. Did you know you are not allowed to buy fireworks in the states? We're allowed to set them off in our own tiny gardens! And we're encouraged to do it every year!

Brilliant. I cannot wait for next Nov 5th