Strada Panton Street

writer's block and broken lenses

Being a blogger is pretty damn amazing sometimes. I'm not going to lie. Being a part of Bangarang is even better. When we were invited to go to Strada on Panton Street (courtesy of Erica) for their re-opening/we've decorated-ness, I obviously had to say yes... Italian is pretty much one of my favourite types of food and I don't think I had ever been to Strada before... Why the hell not?

When we got there, we expected a tasting menu, like so many other events we have been to before, but oh my... were we wrong...

We had the chance to order anything we wanted off the menu and the waiting staff treated us like absolute Queens. We are Queens, but still.

From the second I arrived to join Little Miss Katy and Erica, I was immediately offered a glass of prosecco and got the ball rolling with our pre-starters of garlic bread and tomato and pesto bread.

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When it came to the wine side of things, not only did we not realise we could have wine, but we also had no idea what to order. Our hostess (Sophie, she was an absolute legend) for the evening clearly knew the menu inside out which was amazing as it meant we definitely had something we would enjoy for once. I have been burnt too many times when ordering wine in a restaurant...

Erica and Claire went for white while Katy and I tackled the red. Not going to lie, I scoffed internally when we were given the usual spiel of how you can 'definitely taste chocolate' knowing that you don't put chocolate into wine. HOWEVER. The lady knew her shit. You could actually taste chocolate. I ended up ordering an extra glass that was the size of my face for when the bottle was gone... #Standard

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Aware I have already used this picture... but whatever
Being thee greedy buggers we are, and not really understanding the concept of 'eyes bigger than your belly', we were undecided even on starters so it felt like we ordered pretty much everything. Exaggeration but it was six starters is definitely more than enough for four people. We had two portions of Caprece (avocado, mozzarella and tomato salad), mushroom and truffle bruschetta, two portions of crispy squid and two portions of arancini - these are little fried rice balls and I'm pretty sure they are heaven in ball shape.

I can be quite funny when it comes to food. I have an irrational fear of seafood which I'm slowly getting over (I can't have prawns anywhere near me) but was a big brave girl and tried the squid. I was surprised that I actually liked it, it wasn't chewy and had a lovely flavour. I couldn't exactly eat a whole one to myself but well done to Strada for actually making me like it, even if it was just a little bit.

Another glass of wine down and it was on to the mains

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While we were all taking these pictures, the waiter (while opening another bottle of wine) joked that our food would taste much nicer while it was still hot... #LOL

I am a nightmare in restaurants because I never know what I want and tend to just see what I say when my order is taken and deal with it. It's not very often when I regret my choice but that definitely happened at Strada. Our hostess recommended the pumpkin ravioli, two of my favourite things. When I went on holiday to Italy as a teenager, I LIVED off ravioli and gelato... HOWEVER, I also really wanted the chicken and mushrooms... and Claire was undecided too so we ended up ordering a different meal each so we can taste a bit of everything. I avoided Erica's seafood linguine, because sea food, but trusted her judgement on how amazing it was.

My chicken and mushrooms was delicious, I can't really describe how lovely the sauce was but I kept dipping things in it because it was so good. THAT PUMPKIN RAVIOLI THOUGH. It was topped with amaretti biscuits in a sage butter sauce. It was divine and I really wish I had it. At some point it became a little too rich for Katy because butter, but the rest of us were there to help. Like the good humans we are.

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Another glass of wine later...

DESSERTS. Despite the fact I had to undo the button of my jeans (classy chick), everyone knows that your dessert belly is separate from your normal belly... FACT

Wanting something a little refreshing after all the richness and the fact I still had wine, I went for a mixture of lemon and mango sorbet. Simple pleasures but always wonderful. Erica had the tiramisu, there was cheesecake involved too. A lot of desserts. Obviously we couldn't eat it all but we did try and I had to proceed to undo the zip on my jeans too. Thank god for long t-shirts.

It's easy to go into a chain restaurant and just expect standard food and standard service, that didn't happen at Strada. As people who go to restaurants often to review, we're used to a certain level of service but Strada went above and beyond, giving us the V.VI.P treatment. BUT, looking around the restaurant during our visit, it wasn't just us. Every table was being treated wonderfully and receiving brilliant service and all the food came out of the kitchen looking beautiful, not just ours. A couple of times I did think that we were just being treated so well because we were there to review but it was clear that the staff at Strada really do look after each and every customer to a high standard so I told the cynic in me to shut the hell up. I will DEFINITELY be going back to Strada.

TL;DR Strada is awesome, the staff are awesome, the food is awesome and you should never underestimate how much Bangarang can eat and drink!

Many, many thanks to Sophie and the rest of her team at Strada. You treated us so well and gave us one hell of a night.

*Disclaimer: We were invited to dine at Strada but if I didn't like the scenario, I wouldn't write about it. All ramblings are my own.

Books to read again as a grown up

writer's block and broken lenses

I am an avid reader. I always have a book in my bag and I'm one of those people who will happily go back to books over and over again. I don't really juggle books like some people can but if there is a particular book I'm struggling with for some reason or another, I'll go back to an old favourite to get back into the 'swing of things'.

Ever since I was little, I have read a lot. For a long time I was happier to be up in my room reading than outside with actual people. So much so that my parents would TELL me to go out. A tad odd, really.

I've always found books the best way to escape. Whether I am stressed or sad there are a bunch of books that are guaranteed to make me feel better and, oddly, a lot of them are from my childhood. They're not necessarily 'kids books', mostly because I don't really agree with the phrase unless you're reading Spot the Dog or something (which is awesome). To a lot of outsiders, they SEEM to be kids books; whether that's down to illustrations or the element of sheer fantasy in some of them (I'm looking at you, Harry Potter haters), I just don't think they really are KIDS books.

With that mini rant, kind of thing over, here's a bunch of my favourite books that I read as a child and just LOVE going back to.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

This is pretty much a given... it is me after all.

Now, I don't for one second believe that Harry Potter are children's books, not only have I already said this (it's important, yo) but recently I also had to stop myself from threatening to hit someone in the face with my hard back copy of The Order of the Phoenix just for saying they are only for kids.


However! Saying that, they are books that GROW and age with the audience and I WAS a child when I started reading them. There is something so innocent and magical (LOL! WIZARDS) about the first one that, when I'm sad, It's always the first book I go to... and inevitably binge read the other six.


This one is in here because I actually reread it for the first time as a grown up very recently. I loved the movie as a child and have always been torn between which Roald Dahl story I love the most, The BFG or James and the Giant Peach.

The BFG never failed to make me laugh when I was younger and I was so happy to discover that it still made me grin from ear to ear. I even amused myself by thinking in the backwards way of the BFG for a bit, purely because it made my tube journey more entertaining...

Little Women

I think I first read this as I was approaching my teenage years... I think. It is now one of those books that I go back to and read every year without fail. It just never gets old.

As a grown up, I still get irritated by Amy, in awe of Jo, and Beth... well, just like Joey in Friends, I always want to put the book in the freezer for a bit.

I will NEVER be emotionally stable enough to handle the Beth scenario.

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Anything by Terry Pratchett

If you want to read something that will genuinely make you laugh out loud, Terry Pratchett is always the answer.

When I was growing up, my aunt had a massive picture of Discworld, on top of four elephants on the back of the great A'Tuin. It always made me smile and a love for the Discworld grew from there and the very moment my aunt lent me a copy of The Colour of Magic.

Note: This looks pretty much the same as the one my aunt had, I found it on Tumblr but there are so many versions/uploads that I have no idea who to credit. 
Now, if you have youngish children and are looking for new book ideas, the Discword novels aren't really for them until they get to around 12 in my opinion. Some of the humour may be lost as they are predominantly adult driven (with some naughty bits sometimes),

My favourites are the Death series which... obviously feature Death/the Grim Reaper/ Taker of souls. It's nice seeing Death being given an innocent and curious personality along with the power of HIS GREAT BOOMING VOICE ALL IN CAPITAL LETTERS. Just pick up Reaper Man and guaranteed you'll love it, If not, I'll eat my hat.

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The Wind in the Willows

The biggest regret of my life? Accidentally giving away the copy I have had since childhood to the charity shop. It had my name written in it and everything. I passed the charity shop, saw it in the window for a grand total of £3. When I got back to the charity shop when it was open, it had gone. Such heartbreak.

There are little things about this book that seem to come back to me at random points. Making (and drinking a lot of) mulled wine always makes me think of Rat and Mr Mole drinking their after a day of adventures, tweet jackets make me think of Mr Toad and all his shenanigans... and the same goes for yellow cars. It's strange to think that a book still affects the way I think sometimes even though it's 20 odd years later.

This was such a difficult list to put together. From the beginning I told myself I'd only do a 'Top 5' but now I already regret not putting a bunch of things in there. The Chronicles of Narnia, The Secret Garden and Peter Pan are three that come to mind but I couldn't exactly list ALL THE BOOKS IN THE WORLD! So there we have it.

What are your favourite books to read again as an adult?

Good things last week #3

Writer's block and broken lenses

Yeah, so remember that time I said I would do these things every week? And that it didn't happen? Well, to be honest it is pretty much a standard but I'M SORRY. I've been a little bit shit with my blog lately and this is down to a few things:

1. I didn't have a laptop and had been stealing Gary's for work stuff (guilty)
2. I have been busy as hell
3. I have been avoiding my blog a little because of internal crisis/I don't know what the hell I'm doing with anything nonsense.

Yeah, nonsense in the grand scheme of things but everyone has that little 'Goblin' as my wonderful friend KB says* and I have finally started to kick the bugger to the curb. Winner. He might come back a little bit but who knows! At the moment it's all started to be OK.

*(If you feel like this too and you haven't read KB's post. You really should. Every time I read it, I feel better and normal.)

To be honest, there isn't much to report on things I did last week as I was freelancing and caught a cold several times (helpful) so mostly spent a lot of time on my sofa wrapped in blankets. Awesome, I know. BUT good things still happened! Even if they didn't require me leaving the house a lot.

1. I played in concerts, yo

And they were awesome! Something I have always wanted to do is to play Star Wars in an Orchestra and I finally got to do it. Simple pleasures in life, eh? I wish I could have had some of it on video for you all but I was shit and forgot to ask people.


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2. I got to see my dad and Caroline

It's been a while since I have seem my dad and his girlfriend so it was so lovely to see them at my concert. I got to have all the cuddles and make all the jokes, Sometimes a girl just needs her dad, right?

3. Phone calls with my mum

My mum is my rock but, in case you didn't know, she lives in Scotland. I don't get to see her as often as I like and what with life generally getting in the way (rude) we don't always get a chance to talk to each other. BUT it does mean that when we do talk we can talk for longer, make jokes about everything and every one, have the odd bitch and just feel happy in each other's phone company. Love that woman. If you don't know her, you're seriously missing out.

4. Gary

This is kind of like a #SoppyTweetAlert but not really. He makes the effort to cheer me up everyday. I wasn't having the best of days today so he had a bath and a cup of tea ready for when I got home and when I genuinely felt like I was dying a snotty death yesterday, he pulled the sofa bed out and watched Gone with the Wind with me. Leg-end.

5. The Walking Dead

In case you hadn't noticed, The Walking Dead came back in February and it has just been awesome throughout. Last week's episode was so intense and strange that I felt, to use that cliched term, on the edge of my seat for pretty much the whole thing. We're just about to curl up under blankets and watch the next one and after Gary nearly stumbling/half seeing a spoiler, it better be good!

That's me in a nutshell over the past week if not more. Next week I have a lot more planned and more things in the pipeline so HOPEFULLY I will remember to do one of these next week and there will be more pictures.

LOVE x at the National Theatre London

Writer's Block and Broken Lenses

For my birthday last year, the wonderful Charlie, Distracted booked me tickets to see, the new musical by Damon Albarn (Blur... if you didn't know that). BUT THEN, we had the Great Crash of 2015... where the shelves my boyfriend put up in the kitchen fell off the wall and smashed all my Le Creuset so Charlie then bought me a new pie dish to make me feel better and the tickets became a Christmas present instead.

(TL:DR, birthday present became Christmas present. I went to the theatre, innit)

As you may be able to guess from the title, is another look at Alice in Wonderland... except it's set in present day... and focuses around the concept of being addicted to technology, especially our phones and the internet.

I'm a MASSIVE Alice in Wonderland fan and had been considering buying tickets to see this anyway until Charlie surprised me with tickets. I have the Cheshire Cat tattooed on the back on my neck, my mum's old copy of the book (kind of falling part due to much reading) and I even enjoyed the Tim Burton versions... #Controversial., however? Meh.

To be brutally honest, the most exciting part to me was the gift shop.

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Well, that's probably not exactly true. Around the theatre there are interactive experiences which are pretty cool but also make me think that the whole thing is trying a little too hard. I thought the script of the play was weak and the songs poor and the whole thing doesn't really make much sense so having these things (like a table you can whack to make noises, VR and selfie walls) are compensating for how weak the play was.

Nothing seemed to be quite in balance, and at some points we were all laughing at how ridiculous everything was. It's a real shame because I was really looking forward to it. The only things that had going for it were the costumes and set design. So much colour and glitter, it was amazing, it's a shame that they were overlooked/overshadowed.

I had a really nice time as a whole but I certainly won't be recommending the play to fellow Alice in Wonderland fans. However, this is all my personal opinion and there may be people out there who did enjoy it. It just really wasn't for me.


Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London

In October 2007, I made a big jump and moved to London to study film making at University. Before I came here I was adamant I wouldn't stay much longer than my degree and that I would be home every summer. Neither of those things happened (except for the odd week or two I was at home) and nine years later I am still here.

When I was at university, one of my lecture halls looked out onto the Tower of London. It was literally a stone's throw away but I never went. There was always an excuse not to go... like I couldn't afford it or because I was going to the pub and would much rather spend my last fiver there with my friends. Such a student cliche.

Last year, Gary and I finally got to go to the Tower with his mum and not long afterwards I had a message from Charlie, Distracted that she had already booked tickets for us to go to the Ceremony of the Keys in January 2016, that's six months in advance. Girl is good.

I'm sure like most people in London/the country/the world, I had absolutely no idea what the Ceremony of the Keys was or that it was even a thing. Turns out it's pretty damn important.

The Ceremony of the Keys is deep rooted in tradition dating back roughly 700 years. Little has changed over this except for the names of the monarchs who come and go. The Ceremony has never been photographed or filmed and is, in a way, super secret. We were in a group of about 20 people and tickets need to be booked months in advance because they sell out so fast.

Everything about the ceremony screams splendour, from the pristine uniforms of the beefeaters, to the dimly lit streets within the Tower's walls. Watching the Ceremony of the Keys makes you feel (well, me anyway) that you're a part of something truly intimate and I think it's amazing that something like this is still going today. I mean, they're just locking up the Tower but all the pomp and circumstance makes it more than that.

If you want to experience this for yourself, go right here just bear in mind that they're free so you could also be making plans for six months time too. It's worth the wait though!

Creed: Rocky is back!

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I have grown up watching the Rocky series. When I was little, my brother and I used to sit in our parents bedroom watching the Anthology on VHS, my mum would want to be watching Emmerdale or something so we'd go watch it on their TV VHS combi player thing (remember those?).

I'm adamant to this day that Rocky IV is the best and Rocky V doesn't exist. It just doesn't, OK?!

After the shiteness that was the aforementioned film that doesn't exist, I didn't see Balboa until some point last year (FYI, loved it) and that's only because the trailer for Creed came out and I was SO EXCITED.

I kept going through stages, similarly to when Star Wars: The Force Awakens came out where I was terrified that it wouldn't be as good as I wanted it to be. What if it was Rocky V all over again?

But it wasn't, it was brilliant.

It had all the elements that make a classic Rocky film, we were lucky enough to have TWO TRAINING MONTAGES and during the fight, the audience started cheering and applauding.

As with the other Rocky films we have to deal with some variety of emotional trauma... In Rocky II, Adrienne ended up in a coma, in Rocky III, Micky dies,  In Rocky IV, we lose Apollo and Rocky V almost killed the franchise by itself. With Creed we see the struggling childhood of Adonis (Creed's son), his desperate want to be accepted and, the turning point, his relationship with Rocky.  (shall not do the spoiler thing).

On a geeky side of things, the camera work is incredible with some parts being done in one take (cue the fight scene at Godison Park). The fight scene also represents more than just man on man violence. We can clearly see the differing relationships between coach and boxer (we've seen this before with Micky but this is different) and also the difference between a fighter who just wants a quick win, and one who wants to make a name on his own and not his legacy.

All in all Creed is a beautiful film, whether you're into boxing or not. AND WE FINALLY FIND OUT WHO WON THAT THIRD FIGHT BETWEEN ROCKY AND APOLLO! I will happily see it again and will definitely own it on DVD to keep our collection going.

Might be time for another Rocky marathon soon...

What's the best film you've seen this year so far?

(OK, so I actually saw this weeks a go but went through a 'I'm staying off the internet' phase. Oh well, the review is here now.)

Pancake Day at My Old Dutch

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OK, so after being a tad sad that I would have to wait until Ash Wednesday before I got to have any pancakes (I couldn't quite bring myself to make a whole stack just for me), at 10pm on Pancake Day we caved after many a cocktail and went straight to My Old Dutch in Holborn.

I LOVE me a pancake yet had never been to My Old Dutch before so couldn't really gauge how much food we would get. After much deliberation we went for four different varieties... and my god were they absolutely huge...

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Clockwise from left to right, we had cheese and mushroom, bacon and apple syrup, apple and cinnamon with ice cream and Nutella and banana. Turns out you have choices of whether you want a flat or stack of pancakes... I didn't even know there was a difference, I just wanted all the food!

Considering it was Pancake Day, we only had to wait for 10 minutes before we were seated and had our food within 20 minutes, this always feels like longer when you're hungry but pretty damn good when you consider it's a national day where a pancake induced coma is a requirement.

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Personally I thought everything was amazing but some of the girls said one of the pancakes was burnt, something I actually don't mind because I can't make pancakes WITHOUT burning them (because I'm crap) so I honestly didn't notice. My favourite was the cheese and mushroom but felt a lot of love for the apple and cinnamon despite me hating cinnamon. Looks like you've converted me, My Old Dutch.

The best part? All of this only cost us £9 each! I had eaten so much that at one point I felt like I was going to cry because I was so full. This feeling stopped rather quickly when Charlie, Distracted hit me in the face with a pancake... (see Little Miss Katy's YouTube channel for a clip of this very soon) at that point all I could do was cackle and struggle to breathe.

If you're after all the pancakes, sweet or savoury, and want to leave feeling so full you're going to burst without your wallet screaming at you for abusing it so much, go to My Old Dutch. Just be prepared to queue because there's clearly a reason why. And it's worth it.

What pancakes did you stuff your face with on Pancake Day?

Good things last week #2

Last week was a busy one! It was one of those weeks that was finished before I realised it had even started. In short, there was a lot of alcohol involved and I feel that I need a couple of days off! Days where I pretty much do nothing except drink tea and watch How I met your mother. I'm cool.

Here are the good things that knackered me out last week but were so awesome I don't really care.

LUMAS ART NOW - Art, cake and a night with the girls

The #Bangarang girls and I had an evening of chuckles at the launch of ART NOW with LUMAS, the gallery was filled with beautiful artwork (affordable too, yo), STAR WARS STUFF and all the cake. We had a lot of cake.

The evening ended with burgers, milkshake and dancing at Ed's Easy Diner plus having to deal with the horror that Milly has never seen Dirty Dancing. I mean, what the hell, Milly????

Potentially the best musical score ever

On Wednesday I finally went back to Orchestra after having some time off to deal with the shiteness that has been 2016 so far. When I got there I found out that not only is our theme for the term awesome (Heroes and Heroines) but also we will be playing a medley from Star Wars. As a brass player, this is fricking awesome. I've always wanted to play Star Wars with an orchestra and even after the first rehearsal it sounded amazing. 

First Waitangi Day

I had never herd of Waitangi day until this year. Our Kiwi friend is moving back to New Zealand at the end of the month so we thought we'd tag a long to help him celebrate his last one in the UK. That morning we decided to skip out on the big circle line pub tour because... liver... but went along to the mass gathering at Westminster where we found our Kiwi and headed off to watch the rugby.

The first pictures of me and Gary

For the #DebsFirstPhoto valentines campaign, I had to get involved. During this time I realised that there are very few photos of me and Gary where we haven't been drinking but also that some of them are down right hilarious. Just look at this one, It's not the first photo but it's still pretty awkward...

Not five like last time but this week isn't looking like it'll be any quieter.

What good things did you get up to last week?

Good things last week #1



So, 2016 has not been following the rule of 'Even numbered years = good' and I'm far from happy about it. 2015 ended on a shitty note and 2016 showed absolutely no sign of improvement for that first god damn month.

BUT it's over.

Hopefully it all goes up from here.

In an attempt to ignore the bad things and 'put a new positive spin on things, yo', I have decided to join the trend of THESE ARE THINGS THAT MAKE ME HAPPY blog posts. A couple of friends of mine do theirs SOOO WELL *cough* Katy *cough* that they genuinely do make me smile every week so I may as well give it a go.

So, here are some things that managed to defeat the odds and made me happy last week!

1. Gryffindoooooooor!

OK, so the Sorting Hat is now back on Pottermore. All my #Bangarang girls did it and there was all the excitement over what Houses we were in. I have always been Gryffindor, I have a Gryffindor scarf and a bunch of t-shirts and jumpers too (thank you, Primark!) and I had a ridiculous moment of doubt that if I was Sorted again I wouldn't be in Gryffindor. Retarded, I know. PANIC NOT! I am definitely a Gryffindor and my wand (Cedar with Phoenix Feather) essentially says 'don't fuck with people she loves because she will own you'. Totally true. You know me so well JK.

2. #EricaWatchesPotter

So a lot of you may have already noticed that the lovely Erica has finally given in and has started watching Harry Potter. I couldn't be more proud. Not only that though, she's also live tweeting the whole thing and sending us all the most wonderfully confused voice memos about it and seems to be making me laugh pretty much every day. I love her.

3. Katie B, Cabaret Queen

On Friday, we all went down to see the wonderful Bloody Hell Brennan perform her Quarter Life Crisis Cabaret again and it was just as wonderful as last time. Except with more tears.

She's performing again in March, go and see it. I will happily quote Bernard Black here and say 'You'll laugh you'll cry, it'll change your life'.


I love cooking, and I love beef. I have never actually cooked a roast beef joint though becuase I'm terrified of getting it wrong. But I succeeded and it was so bloody yummy.

5. Amusing myself at football

My boyfriend plays football and I foolishly agreed to go and watch one of their games at the weekend. In the wind and rain. It was cold. I amused myself by counting the number of times people fell over on the wet mud. It was 69.

Two of these things are a little bit simple and shit but they still made me happy. The other three... well, needless to say, the #Bangarang Girls are definitely keeping me sane. Thanks girls.

Looking back on 2015

So, this year ended on a kind of shit note but, to be honest, 2015 was quite good! A friend and I have a theory that even numbered years tend to be good so I am looking forward to 2016 and hoping it smashes 2015 out of the park.

This year I have done some pretty exciting things so I thought that, like every blogger on the planet, I would follow the trend (for once... Still not doing a 30 by 30...) and do a quick round up of the good bits.

New friends

I went through a period recently where I felt I only had a handful of friends in London, one who has been my partner in crime since we were teenagers, my boyfriend and a couple of people I genuinely haven't had time to see. To be honest, I was kinda sad about it. This year though, I made friends on the internet. This is a thing that genuinely happens! Not really sure how this year would really have gone without my #Bangarang Babes. Thank you ladies!

Two years with my boyfriend

A little bit lovey dovey but the past two years have been pretty damn good. He treats me like an absolute queen and is my ultimate geek out partner. Ta Gary. 


Yup. After years of nada I went on holiday this year. To Nice with Gary and then to Barcelona for his birthday with his friends. It's kind of given me the itch. Roll on getting a new job and I'll be getting off for another break!! At least for a weekend...


I've been to a bunch of them now but most importantly, this year one of my oldest friends got married. I cried a lot.

I have also been to one where this happened and I regret nothing.

Star Wars 

OK, this one isn't exclusive to me nor is it an achievement/milestone but this year has been full of it. Star Wars is one of my (and Gary's) favourite things. This year we got to go to Secret Cinema for Empire Strikes Back (the best one), seen The Force Awakens twice (I screamed and cried in joy and sadness) and we're currently spending our New Years Eve playing Battlefront on the XBox with friends. Geek Central down here.

There's definitely so much more I could tell you about but I did have to narrow it down. Plus, I'm writing this post on my phone so Lord knows what the format will be like etc. I'll fix it later if it's crap. (update: Blogger wouldn't let me change it...)

Happy New Year everyone! Roll on 2016 with more laughs, new adventures and who knows what else.


Glam Clam Blogger Christmas Bash

The #GlamClamMeatSlamSquad

This year I went to three Christmas Parties. Everyone loves a Christmas Party but,  let's face it, they tend to get a bit same-y. There are loads of 'safe' options that everyone goes for and (especially when you go to a couple a year) they all tend to get a bit repetitive. When organising a blogger Christmas bash we knew we had to take the whole Christmas Party shenanigans one step further. On an 'average' night out we tend to do the likes of Musical Bingo and Gospeloke... expectations are obviously high. We were stuck for a while but were luckily saved by Charlie, Distracted and her amazing list of restaurants to go to and awesome Googling skills. Some food and cocktails in Camden followed by a BLOODY DRAG SHOW! Hell yeah.

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Image courtesy of Little Miss Katy
No one likes organising a Christmas Party though, especially when there are loads of you involved. Not only do you have to find something to do (turns out a lot of our outrageous ideas either too expensive or had sold out months ago) but there's also the drama of the money. Either splitting a bill ten ways, much to the enjoyment of the waitress who has to do some intense A-level maths in her head, or work out who owes who money when you're already three bottles of wine in. This year w were able to take all that drama away with the help of Santander and their new App KiTTi. The app works just like an old-school kitty, you can all pop money into the KiTTi (ha!) and you can then transfer it straight over to the card they send you so you can spend it all easily using card machines, t'internet and even over the phone. One of the plus sides is that you can use the app to track exactly how much money you have left on the card. Awesome.

For the first half of the evening, we went to have much needed cocktails and dinner at Q Grill in Camden.

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There was much excitement over this and after out first cocktail and starters, it appeared we made a good choice. To start Charlie and I shared the Spiced Cornbread Waffle and Blackened Butterfish. Both were incredible and as I don't really eat fish, I was very impressed. I wanted more of it.

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Blackened Butterfish

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Cornbread Waffles
With this to set us off and how amazing the Smokes Beef Hash we had as a main sounded and looked, it was a disappointment. Soz guys!

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Smoked Beef Hash with Duck Egg
Next, onto the highlight of the night. The Queens of the Glam Clam, a pop up dining experience with food by Gizzie Erskine. Obviously, we were only in it for the drag though.

I'm a massive RuPaul fan (Sharon Needles is obviously the best winner) and love drag as a whole but had never been to a show. I expected a lot of 'lip sync for your life' moments and was not disappointed.

writer's block and broken lenses

writer's block and broken lenses

The evening was broken up into different musical numbers from Diva of the evening Colette Cooper, jazz from her band and, obviously, some drag.

Image courtesy of Little Miss Katy
The Queens themselves (I think) took a shine to us. Always making appearances at our table and, at one point, presented us all with shots. In between causing havoc around the room and making some of the clearly uncomfortable men in the room feel even more uncomfortable. One poor guy had one of the Queens clamber all over him pretty much naked. He took it well though!

Everything from the show itself to the decor just screamed glamour. With people around us enjoying their food while dressed to the nines, in evening gowns and tuxedos, with light up mirrors a la Hollywood dressing room all over the joint. It was just amazing

sneaky photo of me reapplying lippy by Captain Charley

Little 'n' large - a photo op too good to miss by Charlie, Distracted
Selfie with one of the Queens by Charlie, Distracted
One of the best pictures ever. Dancing with Captain Charley by Milly
A fun night of food, booze and ALL THE DANCING was had by all and I'm proud to say that our Christmas Party must have put so many others to shame. Massive thanks to Santander for letting the #GlamSlamMeatSlam girls kick off the party season in style.

#SquadGoals - photo courtesy of Little Miss Katy

*This post was sponsored by Santander and KiTTi.

Films they should not remake. Ever.

Earlier this week, news was announced that Christopher Nolan's Momento is going to be remade. And I was angry. It's barely 15 years old and it's already going to go through the Hollywood rehash.

Obviously, I'm not the only person in the world who expresses fury when someone decides 'well, we're out of ideas again, so let's redo something else'. Most recently, the American version of The Returned. Just no.

I did a shout out on Twitter and fellow film nerds started to emerge listing some of their favourites that SHOULD NOT BE TOUCHED! A lot of them are bang on point.
I clearly have a lot in common with a lot of people (especially my #Bangarang girls).  There are a bunch of films in this discussion that are pinnacles of filmmaking and to touch them would be the ultimate insult. As you can probably tell from my header photo I have quite an extensive lists of films that need to be protected. Somehow I have managed to nail it down to a top 5...

Gone with the Wind

Writer's block and broken lenses

Gone with the Wind has always been my favourite films. Yes, it goes on for about 4 hours but they are 4 hours of brilliance. Plus there's the interval which gives you the perfect opportunity to make a cup of tea in the middle.

Gone with the Wind is the best example of Hollywood at its finest. A not quite love story throughout the American Civil War. Scarlet O'Hara always throws aside her own happiness in order to save her family and home and it's not until the very end where she's experienced the greatest tragedy when she realises what will truly make her happy but unfortunately it's too late. Vivienne Leigh is absolutely perfect in this role and it's strange how much of the character is reflected in her real life. It's almost like it's a role that was MADE for her.

True Romance

writer's block and broken lenses

Christian Slater when he was still hot? CHECK. Written by Tarantino? CHECK. Stellar cast in general? ABSOLUTE CHECK! It's a love story with guns, people!

Seriously, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this film. From Samuel L. Jackson's grand five minutes on screen, Brad Pitt playing a stoner to Gary Oldman as a rasta pimp... it's just brilliant. Plus the score is by Hans Zimmer... all the win.

This is definitely one of my favourite films. And my boyfriend's for that matter. We both love it so much we went to see it on 35mm at the Prince Charles Cinema.

Please just watch this film.

The whole Harry Potter series

writer's block and broken lenses

Especially The Half Blood Prince. 

I'm counting these as all one film. I know that they will be remade at some point in the future because it is one of the most successful franchises of all time and it has gripped the hearts of more than one generation for nearly 20 years. It has certainly been a massive part of my life since I was 9-10 years old.

Yes, it's fun to go back and laugh at some of the bad child acting at the very beginning but there further along you go, the darker they get and all the more perfect. There are obviously a couple of things from the books I wish they kept and I am always a broken mess from The Half Blood Prince onwards but if anyone were to remake them, I will be beyond heartbroken. No one will ever be as good as Alan Rickman as Severus Snape and we all know it.

The Princess Bride

writer's block and broken lenses

Possibly one of the most quotable films and a family favourite. It's one of those films that takes the piss out of itself, so much so it has really stood the test of time and I will happily always watch it again. It's not to everyone's taste and I have noticed that unless you've grown up with it, you possibly don't 'get' it. That's how I try to justify people don't liking it anyway.

The Red Shoes

writer's block and broken lenses

We studied this when at Uni for our British Cinema module. It's a story within a story based on the Hans Cristian Anderson fairytale. There are many rumours around this film, like how Moira Shearer wasn't allowed to become Prima Ballerina for a leading ballet company because she made the artform available to the masses through a 'vulgar' film.

A triumph of Powell and Pressburger, The Red Shoes is an explosion of colour and art in a previous monochrome period of British Cinema. It was cited to be a failure but received a massive cult following and is as popular today. It's just beautiful.

The Labyrinth

writer's block and broken lenses

Dude. It's David Bowie in tights, as an adult I can now appreciate this (*giggle*). Similarly to The Princess Bride I think that unless you grew up for it, it's probably not for you. 

BUT! What's not to love, the aforementioned Bowie as the goblin king, songs you can actually sing all day, a Strong female lead who doesn't want to live up to everyone's expectations, or even the dark side of love? Well... obsession at least. It's kind of adult muppets with a dark twist and it makes me happy every time I watch it.

Plus, Bowie.

OK, yes. I'm aware that's not 5... I changed my mind so many times while writing this list that I just decided to go for 6. What of it?

What films do you think should never be remade, EVER?