Saturday, 28 February 2015

Mindful Yellow Car

One of the reasons why I know I am more mindful than I used to be is that I am better at noticing things. Yesterday, I saw this car on my way to work and thought it was worthy enough to appear here. 

Fun number plate! 

Friday, 27 February 2015

The Mel & Sue Show

Over the last few weeks, Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins have hosted their own daily chat show in the late afternoon live on ITV. Last week, I was invited along to their last episode, which was being pre recorded. I was Ruby's guest - she was on their sofa promoting her upcoming run of Sane New World at St James's theatre (see what I did there...!) 

I've always been a huge admirer of Sue Perkins but wasn't so familiar with Mel Giedroyc (how do you pronounce that ?) - they were both incredible. They are probably most well known for presenting the Great British Bake Off.

I have been to TV recordings before - namely the Graham Norton show and Jack Whitehall's Backchat. But this was much more intimate as it was smaller and as a guest of a guest I was allowed in the green room...! Their tv studio was like a really cool studio flat - fun and colourful decor, lots of space.

The historian Dan Snow was the other guest - he was SO good looking. He slightly reminded me of Bear Grylls. Sadly didn't get a picture of him as didn't want to look weird....

The warm up act had us all dancing to Uptown Funk and the Overtones ended the show with a single from their new album. There was lots of dancing....

Another part of the show included moving to a little kitchen area where a young person (his family were sitting next to me) shows off their culinary skills. On this particular day it was George making Tiramisu (Mel said "Have you got a tirami-mel?"!)

We were allowed to take whatever we wanted from the hamper in the green room - I opted for green tea and Urban Fruit...

Here's hoping that Mel & Sue is recommissioned for another series - apparently it might not me. They were so so funny together. They ought to be on slightly later in the day as most people are working and can't tune in in the afternoon. 

The night ended with a take away from Westbourne Grove and Mindfulness cupcakes. Total joy. 

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Another Special Sunday

I had another one of "those" special weekends - this time I was away from London, away from disturbance, work, chaos.... all on my own - I've never felt so calm and well rested.

Keeping with the Sound of Music theme from my last post, these are a few of my favourite things, which helped make it so special. 

Not included here is the mindful meditation, ice cream, electric blanket, long walks, candle lit baths, newspapers, toasted bagels with smoked salmon, lie ins, two long phone chats with my grandmother.... you get the picture. I felt productive but not under any kind of pressure to really do anything. I only ventured out once to have my hair cut (£16 - I KNOW!) and go to the football and not even the frustrating result (of the football not the haircut!) could taint my mood. 

The hairdresser is not only brilliant because you walk in without an appointment, wait five mins and only pay £16 - but its also like therapy. You can say whatever you want and know that she won't open her mouth and gossip about whatever you have to say. She listens, empathises, laughs and generally makes you feel better and not only because she makes your hair look nice. Long live that little nugget on Hadleigh High Street in Suffolk. I'm also always up for supporting the smaller local businesses rather than the overwhelming, impersonal chains.  

Obviously, its not good to be on ones own all the time but learning to enjoy your own company is important and something I have definitely grasped. 

Here's hoping my family go on holiday again soon without me so I can do it all again. (I was invited but didn't want to take time off work so soon after Christmas)..

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

The Mumbles in Edinburgh

The first thing I did when I got off the plane in Edinburgh at nearly midnight was head to a bar - lead by my brother and his friends. I exclaimed rather loudly when I realised that a glass of Prosecco was only £3.25 and a Vodka and Tonic was only £2.50... Apparently this is normal.. In London, its about that much per SIP.

Not even the delayed Easyjet flight from Gatwick could wipe the smile off my face. I loved being a tourist - there was nowhere we didn't go. I hardly wanted to come back to London.

The thing about Edinburgh is that it's got everything that London's got and MORE. One minute you feel you are walking down Bond Street (George Street) and the next minute you are somewhere fun and studenty - the architecture was out of this world. The student flats were huge with high ceilings. The streets were all really wide. But everywhere is walkable.

We climbed to the top of Arthur's seat but the view was slightly ruined by the fog / cloud.

Had lunch in an adorable 14th century pub - 

Admired the Balmoral Hotel - where JK Rowling wrote some of the Harry Potter books. Where ever you walked, you could hear bagpipes playing and I could never tire of hearing that. We also went into the Elephant House - they claim Harry Potter was "born" there but I don't believe that is strictly true. 

There was an amazing atmosphere all over the city - partly because of the Six Nations Rugby, which is not really my thing but it was fun nonetheless.

This was the glorious view on the train back to London - 

I loved the Museum of Childhood at one end of the Royal Mile. I was hoping to buy some cashmere but I couldn't find anywhere that looked like a good bargain.

I'll definitely be going back - for the cheap Prosecco if nothing else...!

It's good to know the Tractor Boys are being supported from Scotland. 

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

The Hills are Alive with Lady GaGa

I LOVE The Sound of Music and was astounded when I heard that Lady Gaga had performed a medley of songs from this iconic film at the Oscars on Sunday. She did a very good job of it too....

(I'm struggling to find any good quality videos...)

I think it was a special performance for Julie Andrews (who comes on at the end) to mark the 50th anniversary of the film's release...

Monday, 23 February 2015

Mindfulness Prof Mark Williams

There were squeals of delight that could be heard all around Notting Hill last week when I was handed a box by Ruby Wax and told to open it... look what was inside!!

These are cupcakes... but not just any old cupcakes. These are cupcakes with Prof. Mark Williams's book on the top.

His bestselling Mindfulness book has sold more than 200,000 copies - and I think these were made to mark such a phenomenal milestone. 
There is only one way to eat them... mindfully! 
These ones were made by Crumbs and Doilies.  (Really wish Teenagers Translated had had them with their book on top at their book launch last summer!)

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Depression and Neuroscience video

I'm fascinated by the brain and am always looking to learn more about it. There are some great bite-sized / easy to understand videos out there - this one is my current favourite - 

If you are in London from 2 -14 March, do come and see a funny / insightful / "must not miss" show - its a visual manual about how to survive the 21st century. I love things that make you laugh whilst actually learning something useful. This is one of those.

The St James's theatre is so beautiful too - and in such a great location. Tickets are selling like hotcakes and can be found by clicking here.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Red Nose Day Statues

Today was the launch of the Comic Relief Statues - several comedian's in the form of a statue / cut out are now being stationed around the country.

You can pay £1 to Comic Relief by putting your card against the reader and having your photo taken with it. Brilliant idea which will hopefully raise lots of dosh. 

The Perfect Sunday

Some Sundays are good. Some are totally dreamy. Today was the latter. What better way to start than by pouring over newspapers - its not the news I like - its the theatre, gossip, reviews, comments etc. 

My day started with a quick stroll round Holland Park. It was too sunny and would have been rude not to. 

And THEN the day really got going with a trip to the East (again)... for Brunch. I was SO hoping to report back on brunch in Hotbox but I was too hungry to wait 90 mins for a table. That's how popular it is. Another time. 

So we headed to Canteen in Spitalfields and, again, I'm afraid I was too hungry to wait and take a photo of my delicious fried eggs, bacon and bubble and squeak. I KNOW. God it was good. That's not usually my thing but today was an exception. 

Brick Lane was just heaving and buzzy. I saw the queue for the new Cereal Killer cafe and can't believe the lengths some people will go to for a bowl of cereal. My favourite chocolate shop next door was just as busy. 

This is my favourite cafe in Shoreditch and as far as I can work out, it doesn't have a name. But it is next to the Whitechapel Gallery and Aldegate East tube station:

Columbia Road Flower Market comes alive on a Sunday. Its a tiny road, which makes it seem even more crowded than Portobello on a Saturday. I love Angela Flanders perfumery - even better than Jo Malone (soz Jo). Everything smells totally delicious. I refrained (with difficulty) from not buying anything.

And then HOME to the west, where I feel a little more... at home! There is no better way to end the day than toasted bagels with nutella, doritos and the BAFTAs. In bed. I'm not a great film buff - theatre is more my bag - but even I got excited about seeing David Beckham and Benedict Cumberbatch* on the red carpet.

*I spontaneously walked past Benedict Cumberbatch yesterday - he was dressed as Sherlock Holmes near Baker Street... filming Sherlock Holmes.

To top it off, TED have tweeted one of my favourite talks to their 4.3 million followers. And it was very well received. 

A thoroughly splendid day - the kind I looked forward to most when I was doing my degree - a year ago, one could never justify doing anything other than sitting at a computer screen and typing essays. But now.... freedom.... Which is still a novelty, even though I finished my degree 9 months ago. I'm doing much better at doing "nothing" - despite travelling all over London today - I proved I can sit still for about 5 hours straight this afternoon / evening. 

Not even the not so good football score could taint my mood. I'm on the count down to Edinburgh now. #4days 

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Better Blogging

There feels like a lot going on at the moment. 

I am finally heading to Edinburgh next weekend - it will also be Valentine's Day. Its taken me nearly four years to get myself up there to see my brother, who is at university there. To be fair, I was also busy doing my degree in much of that time and he spent his third year in Florence, and I did make it there. 

I'm an Edinburgh newbie so send me suggestions about where I need to go. I have no agenda other than will be looking for good tea and cake.

The film 50 Shades of Grey comes out on Valentines Day and although I definitely WONT be going to see it (never read the book - I think its an embarrassment that someone British could come up with something so horrendous) I am addicted to Ellie Goulding's new song Love Me Like You Do, which is the main soundtrack from the film.

I'm also working on being "better" at blogging. Its more complicated than you think and I still have a lot to learn. 

I am going to see Max Norman perform in The Importance of Being Earnest in March. Also starring Cressida Bonas. Don't miss out ! I have several other theatre trips planned including seeing Zoe Wanamaker in Stevie at the Hampstead theatre. 

Comic Relief is also fast approaching. Its one of my favourite nights of television and an amazing cause that I love supporting. Its all about doing something funny for money. This year I am doing something totally nuts and all will be revealed at a later date. 

Having read about Hotbox on The Londoner blog, I am going to try it out tomorrow. Not sure I can take as many beautiful pictures but will report back. 

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Say it with a Boomf

My pledge to blog more in 2015 is currently not going terribly well. But here is a fun post about Boomf, which if you haven't heard of - you NEED to know about it. 

Boomf was set up by James Middleton (The Duchess of Cambridge's brother) and in my mind, is completely genius. 

This 30 second video explains it in a nutshell:

I have sent a few Boomf boxes - this was the one to my brother for his birthday: 

In a previous birthday, I sent him a Gourmet Chocolate Pizza and he genuinely thought someone had posted him a pizza. 

Boomf boxes are too beautiful to eat. Boomf someone and I guarantee you will make their day. 

I sent one to Ruby Wax before Christmas as a "Welcome home from your month in America / early Happy Christmas" present and she had never seen anything like it. Nine simple photos from the fun we'd had on tour last year and one of her and Carrie Fisher, which she GAVE to Carrie Fisher. She said it was a work of art.

Marshmallows are amazing but in Selfridges you can get cupcakes and macaroons too (not so easy to post!).