Saturday 9 January 2010

(most of) December in pictures

Birthday Meal

Although you wouldn't guess from her Christian name, Joe's Mum's birthday is in early December.

His Dad's birthday is on Christmas day, which is just bad luck as far as I'm concerned... it's bad enough waiting the whole year to celebrate your day of birth, but to have it happen on the same day *everyone* else gets presents is just unnecessarily cruel!

I'm lucky that my birthday is late May so I get a break (almost) mid-year when I can have a whole day devoted to celebrating my birth ;-)

Joe and my offspring aren't quite so lucky as they share the same birthday - how random is that?!!

Anyway, so it was the birthday of 'My Other Mother', which has a very appropriate TLA so we'll call her 'MOM' :-D

As Joe's parents live in Essex (more about that in my Christmas post) the easiest place to meet is at Liverpool Street Mainline Station. My job was to find a suitable restaurant.

So, as per usual I popped over to the trusted and had a look at what was local and recommended by fellow diners.

I found a place called Kazan City, whose sister restaurant is actually close to where I work but I'd not yet had a chance to go there.

I don't want to go on too much as this is meant to just be a brief picture post but if you're ever around Liverpool St (or indeed just in London) and fancy an awesome Turkish meal then I'd recommend you head on down, it was superb!

Here's the address:
34-36 Houndsditch, London, EC3A 7DB

in short:
food - amazing and plentiful
atmosphere - wonderful with charming charismatic staff
decor - stunning, even the loos are lush!

in fact, you can read my review (left on 20/12/09) and many others here!

So, enough of that, here are some pics from the night:

Here's me and my wonderful MOM :-)

Joe displaying the usual amount of respect he has for his father ;-)

Joe's uncle was over from Finland and he and my son got on famously and spent most of the evening engrossed in conversation :-)

I particularly like this picture because, if you look carefully, Joe's older brother is mid-spilling his water... couldn't have timed it better if I'd tried!

Oh and here are a couple of pointless pics of restaurant paraphernalia that I liked :-)

I LOVE this, I just wouldn't put it in my house ;-)

Serpentine Running Club Christmas Party (aka "annual pissup")

The majority of the runners I have encountered tend to take their training quite seriously - this often makes for nights stood in pub, pint of orange juice and lemonade in hand.

However, if there's one night that runners and triathletes really let loose it's at their running club's Christmas Party.

Also, because of being in a relative state of abstinence or at least self-enforced discipline for most of the year, it doesn't take much to get them drunk.

Very fit people get drunk quickly, fact.

Some very fit people also have this ability to drink a lot without it (seemingly) affecting them. These people are called freaks of nature.

In any case, fit drunk people are hilarious and great fun to be around. I just wish I spent more time at my running club as they are a fab (very large) group of people!

So, the night started off sedately. I'd spent forever earlier on trying to find a dress which wasn't boring, but also not garish - didn't fancy digging out one of my LBDs.

I settled on a nice green number, here it is, and one of my very fast lovely running friends, Rach:

Me and my beloved, doesn't he scrub up well ;-)


Although I'm not too sure quite how sexy he looks here

Maybe not at all? ;-)

Joe and Rach's husband looking resplendent in their silly hats

I made this for Rach, I stuck both crowns together with candle wax, aren't I talented (ahem)

I forgot to photograph the main meal, but that might have been subconsciously deliberate as it was rather forgettable and bland

The dessert was rather lovely though :-)

Now of course, what party for fit running types, would be complete without a

Panto Horse

!!! (note the shades)

This was the front end of Panto Horse, we did wonder why he'd brought such a massive rucksack to a black tie event!

Ahh, the shades have been stolen as I obviously think I look better in them. Fliss to my right looks unimpressed and the waiter looks as if he'd like to spill my food over me.

I don't blame him

So, after you've stuffed a large three course meal down your gullet and followed/accompanied this with plenty plenty wine... what does any self-respecting reveller do?

Get up and dance of course!

Oop look, Panto Horse made another appearance (this was the first of many)

Here is the usual obligatory pic of Joe and me

And just one of me (aren't you lucky to have me all on my own! ;-) )

Ooh and there's one of Joe too for good measure ;-)

I'm not 100% sure but, and correct me if I'm wrong, that might be Blue Steel we just saw!

This is my friend Lou, she deserves a place in this post not only because she is gorgeous fabulous, and super fast, but also because she looked amazing!

Look at that hair!

She had a corset on too which made her waist thinner than my calf!

Ahh, and this is the back end of the horse (not Joe).

As I've already mentioned, Panto Horse made several appearances throughout the night, each time dancing furiously away...

This made for a rather sweaty rear end, I think that shirt was transparent but I guess it's hard to tell from the pic. Consider yourselves lucky!

One last pic for luck, I love this, it's hilarious! Pete's a legend. He actually works with Joe but is also a running club member and just all round top bloke :-)


...actually it wasn't the whole thing, just the reception, but it was superb. A really lush extravagant affair, but not too showy that you felt like you couldn't relax :-)

Initially I was a bit sulky at this whole wedding thing as I had tickets to see Florence and the Machine that night and I'd been really looking forward to it when Joe dropped the bombshell that that specific Sunday night we'd been invited to attend the wedding of his long-term colleague - dammit!

But c'est la vie, you can see bands many times over - how often do people get married?!

The wedding and reception were held in a rather grand hotel in London's Russell Square and I particularly liked the statues 'holding up' the ceiling

Pretty huh? :-)

This was the first Indian wedding I'd been to so I didn't really know what to expect food wise (don't say Indian food!).

I can safely say that it might have been the best wedding food I have ever eaten!

It was all vegetarian, all amazingly tasty with fabulous spices and so colourful to boot!

Here's the starter

and look at the main course - drooool

We were a bit too far back for my rubbish point-and-shoot to get a decent picture as the bride and groom came in but I got a quick snap later :-)

Obviously there was the cheesy dancing to disco classics after the meal:

And here's a silly pic to round off the night :-)

Alpha Meal

Some of you might remember that Joe and I did the Alpha Course

After it finished we went along to a Christmas supper with our group hosts who are the loveliest couple and are expecting their first child soon :-)

Here's my son and another from our group

While were were there Nicky Gumbel came over to talk to Joe!

He'd heard that Joe had enjoyed the course, but that his opinion on Christianity was unchanged and he still didn't believe there was/is this one almighty creator.

But Joe did say that he felt he'd developed a better understanding of the Christian faith, felt less ignorant about what it all meant and met a nice bunch of (not scary or strange) people to boot!

Nicky listened thoughtfully as is his way, and then asked Joe if he'd consider going up onstage and repeating what he'd said in front of everyone and he said yes!

How awesome, my boyfriend on stage at Holy Trinity Brompton, one of my favourite places in the world, talking to the legend that is Nicky Gumbel - woot!

Look, he even got on TV :-)

On a big screen too! ;-)

I rather liked this rose, for no reason other than it was pretty :-)

Work Christmas meal

I haven't got a lot of pictures of this as didn't take many, but in brief, I organised it (go me) and it was at our local Giraffe Restaurant.

If you have a Giraffe nearby and haven't visited it yet I would highly recommend you do as the food is lovely and very varied and well priced :-)

My meal consisted of:

'blue cheese, avocado & toasted pecan salad' to start (yes, I'd almost finished it before I thought pull out my camera - it was too tasty to resist!!)

followed by: 'double roast crispy duck' for main

and then finally to round things off I had: 'Steamed apple & toffee pudding' which was lush but I was quite full by then and had to share it with a colleague (obviously she was *devastated* by this ;-) )

Any Other Business

My son and I finally put up our Christmas tree (we forgot last year). It's one of those fake ones with 'snow' on the 'branches' which absolutely covers our floor with white powder (grr).

I think this year it might not make it back into the box if Joe's got anything to do with it...!

Saw this dude on a tube, thought him worthy of photographing (surreptitiously of course), love that he's wearing one green glove, a twig wreath and is carrying a paint stick - plus how retro are his trainers?!

The rest of the month was spent working and house-hunting! Well, I say 'house-hunting' but we'd already decided on the place that we liked and (more importantly) could afford back in November but there were quite a few weeks of uncertainty - mainly because it's a huge thing to take on when the country's in the state it is right. However I am more than confident that the house will be worth it, and then some - it's in a great area and it's large with buckets of potential... just needs a lot of TLC!

My son went over to Joe's parents' place early on in the week of Christmas as he'd broken up for the hols. So I thought I'd make use of us still having a little disposable income (before it all gets invested in this house!) and plan a nice evening.

It just so happened that the day coincided with the current owner of the house agreeing to our offer so it was definitely a cause for celebration!

I booked us into L Restaurant and Bar which is in Kensington. I'd found it on toptable (obviously!) and thought I'd try it out as it had such a high reviewer rating and had 50% off food (it still does at time of writing this!).

We weren't let down, the food was delicious, really stunning :-)

To start I had the "Crispy Goat Cheese served with Roasted Mixed Peppers & Pine Nuts Salad" which was just scrummy, and Joe had "Baby Scallops & Sobrasada Risotto with Manchego Crisp" which was also nice but not as lovely as mine - it reminded me of a sort of fishy rice pudding!

For my main I had the "Pan Fried Stone Bass with Spinach & Mashed Potato with Sauce Vierge & Chorizo Dressing". The fish was a good size and it tasted wonderful but I did get slight food envy at Joe's steak, which was cooked perfectly - but obviously I had some of this ;-)

We had to eat relatively quickly as I'd booked us into the Kensington Odeon to see a film that I thought sounded promising, Law Abiding Citizen.

If you've not seen this film before, don't.

It's the biggest pile of tosh I've seen in a very long time... predictable, boring and ultimately unsatisfying.

It was rated 18, why?! There wasn't that much gore, it was just stupid and unbelievable.

By contrast, if you've not seen Rein Over Me, starring Adam Sandler and playing the first straight role I've seen him in!

I *love* Adam Sandler, have done for years, so was worried about how he'd take to the part but he nailed it and I experienced something I've not felt while watching a movie for a long time - actual caring about what happened to the characters in the end!

So yeah, there's my tip on 2 'rent out' and 'see at your peril' films

But it's all subjective and you might totally disagree with me on both counts, which is fine, as if we all liked the same films the movie world would be a very boring place indeed ;-)

So anyway, back to the night...

After the (rubbish) film came the final surprise of the night. I'd booked us into a hotel for the night (naughty) and found a great deal on for one of their 'top secret 1/2 price hotels'.

The hotel wasn't as top secret as they'd have hoped because, although the description did its best to be relatively ambiguous, there are precious few 4* hotels in Kensington that have spas and gyms in them.

And that's your lot for December, well, apart from Christmas but I won't bore you with that right now ;-)

Hope you all had an equally lovely last month of 2009 and that January is going well for you already too :-)



  1. wow, that post was epic!
    This reflects poorly on me perhaps but the comment that stuck out most ( I mean besides the great pics, the awesome green dress, the handsome boyfriend and the mascot horse) was the loo comment.
    I think bathrooms are always a huge indicator in a restaurant or hotel.
    I like nice bathrooms lol.
    I almost, (and I say almost cause nobody needs to be arrested) wish you had taken a picture of the bathroom.
    The coolest bathroom I have ever been in was in the metropolitan museum of art in New york city.
    It was out of this world.
    You look like you had a great time and great food.
    Have a great night.

  2. Great pics. Joe's got some crazy looks!

  3. I love all your pics mate, it looks like December was an awesome month.

    You look absolutely gorgeous in your green dress


  4. Lol Chris I'm totally the same, it's terrible to admit but the loos can break a restaurant experience for me, to the point where I feel disinclined to revisit the place! But equally if they're great I feel the urge to tell everyone about it!

    Perhaps I should see someone about this, particularly as I just checked out the restaurant's gallery for pictures for you and I totally would have taken a pic if I'd had my phone with me at the time - ha!

    The loos at the last restaurant I mentioned (L Restaurant and Bar) were a bit of a let down, not because they were grim, just that they were freeeeezing, and given that as girls we have to sit down that's just not pleasant!!

    Dayne, thanks and yes he does - but those are his 'tame' looks, trust me, it gets scarier than that!!

    JAG, thanks :-) yeah December was pretty cool, particularly as November was a bit stressy to say the least with what happened to my son!

    I love the dress, can't wait to wear it again, bright colours are fantastic, they make you feel so much more confident, who wants to just be a wallflower?!! :-) xxx

  5. That green dress looks fabulous on you Tara!

  6. I was logging in to say how nice the green dress was too,, lol!

    ER...did I go awol for a few weeks as I am sure the last time I read your blog (maybe yesterday or at most 2 days ago) there was 1 post? Now there are a billion? Now I feel bad for not blogging tonight!

    PS...talking of frozen berries, have you had the whole 'OMG blood on the floor' episode yet? Or is it just me who skids on frozen berries and squishes them into a red skid mark across the floor?

  7. Thanks Foxy :-)

    and thanks GN too!

    don't feel guilty, your triple workout post made me tired just reading it - you truly are a bionic woman and I really am NOT worthy!!

    regarding berry spillage - nothing that lands on our kitchen floor survives long enough to be skidded on as our male cat (the feline dustbin) pounces on it straight away!! Yesterday he ate some garlic, very odd, at least I don't have to worry about him being troubled by vampires when out on his nighttime prowels!! ;-)

    oh, mind you, have you ever been arsed to add cherries to your protein smoothies? I've done it a couple of times and, as well as being incredibly tedious, it leaves your fingers (and nails!) stained blood red, like you've just been disembowling someone!!

    it's all rather lady macbeth as cherry juice is a bastard to remove from your skin!!