Thursday, 18 August 2011

I've missed you

The view from my sitting room at 7.30pm this evening.  You can't see it here but it's absolutely pouring with rain.  It's been raining relentlessly all day long.

Firstly, I must apologise for being such a rubbish blogger.  There was a time when I was posting once, sometimes twice a day but at the moment I've managed one a week at most.  I've had too much on to be able to give it the time I'd like recently.  I've really missed catching up with everyone.  I'm still going to have a good go!  

I've had to take on a few jobs as money's tight at the moment.  Mostly I've been doing interior stuff - finding special pieces, shopping and dressing houses for sale.  All jobs I love doing, thankfully.

My house has been neglected - I have a mountain of washing to do this evening and friends staying on Friday so I need to get rooms ready etc.  My great friend Dom is coming early, he's an electrician and hopefully he'll sort me out as I have no lights working in the bathroom, hall, wardrobe or garden!  There are odd lamps on extension leads which I'm sure are illegal, we've just got used to tinkering about with switches and things.  I'm cooking them all a big slap up dinner in the evening, it makes a change for me to cook.

It's The Actor's Birthday on Saturday.  I want to buy him an iPad (he won't read this) but I don't have enough money yet, I'll have to put a picture in his card until I can get him one.

There have been a few spontaneous evenings -  we've popped round to friend's and before we know it we've been up all night.  We all get too over excited to see each other and don't seem to be able to have a quiet drink EVER.  Not that I'm complaining but it takes so much longer to get over these days.  At least we have fun, if we didn't we'd go to bed, which reminds me of this quote - 

"No one looks back on their life and remembers
the nights they got plenty of sleep"

Photography by Alfred Eisenstaedt
Sophia Loren and Carlo Ponti

I love this picture.  I'd be quite happy to stay in bed for a few days as I'm stupidly tired.  We're not going on holiday now as The Actor has landed another job, it's a very good one and the script is hilarious so I shouldn't moan.  We'll have to wait until the end of September to go away now.  In a way it's good for me as I haven't saved a bean.

I'm going to try and go to bed early and watch Celebrity Big Brother - I know... you just have to though!

I hope all my wonderful friends are good.  I shall visit you very soon I promise.  Also thanks so much to my new followers, please drop me a comment to remind me to come and see you.

Much love, Christina xxx

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

My week

I was very glad that everything seems to have calmed down in London today and I can ride my bicycle again.   I'm absolutely loving my new found freedom and I've been going all over the place.  The first day I rode it I didn't even like a car going past me!  I'm fine now although I'm steering clear of main roads, bendy buses and car doors opening!   I never took my driving test and haven't had a bike for twenty five years so it's brilliant having a form of transport at last.  I can't believe it's taken me this long to get one.  I can't even think of the money I spent on cabs...

I've been eating at my friend Elaine's restaurant A Little of What You Fancy SO much.  It's brilliant because you can go for breakfast, lunch or dinner and the menu changes every day.  The food is so fresh and delicious, I can't make anything as good.  It's more economical for me to buy soup, salad or one of Elaine's specials than shop and cook for myself.  

I've been finishing a work project so I've been a bit quiet and haven't been out that much.  Here's some of my week in pictures.  It's mostly eating!

David Waddington riding my bike, Phoebe Arnold and Giles leaving Elaine's restaurant after a long lunch.

Getting supplies

Drinks in Giles' garden.  David took this - he could have got one of us all smiling.  I have no idea why Giles is balancing on a milking stool on the grass

I've been working out new routes on my bicycle.  Here's De Beauvoir Square which is at the top of my street.  I thought it looked rather lovely in the afternoon sun with it's Victorian gothic houses

Take out from Elaine's - Lots of leaves and fresh herbs - I wish I knew what they all were - rocket, basil, amarynth, the best olives ever, vine tomatoes, caper berries, feta cheese and baby capers.  There's tons hidden under there.

I was having my breakfast in the garden when I spotted this little chap - I think he's adopted me as he's been back every day since - this was pre-lawn mowing.  Look at at the state of it!

The next day there were more showers followed by a double rainbow over my back garden

Take out from Elaine's again - the same but with roasted peppers and tomato.  I also had red pepper and chilli soup - amazing.

The Actor and I had our Sunday lunch at guess where?  A Little of What You Fancy.  He loves it.  It's too handy being up the road.  Plus we bump into loads of our friends.

I had a Bloody Mary (of course) and The Actor had a real ale, brewed in London Bridge.  We shared a ham hock terrine with cornichons, capers and caper berries.  He wanted another one but I stopped him as I knew he'd want pudding too.

Then we shared the rump steak with pak choi, chilli, spring onion and tamari dressing - so much lighter than a Sunday roast on a hot day

And roast chicken with puy lentils and chorizo with rocket - both fabulous.

I've been laying off the chocolate a bit recently (only so I don't frighten everyone on the beach) so this was a real treat - under all that vanilla cream and fruit is Elaine's flourless chocolate cake which is divine.

Then I was house bound because of the trouble and my lunch was cancelled.  Boo.  Of course I was glued to the news and didn't get much done.

Luckily it was a nice day but I looked grumpily at my bike sitting in the hall every time I passed it

It makes me happy see more flowers on my Magnolia Grandiflora tree

Isn't it beautiful?

Back to Elaine's today to have breakfast with my friends Pablo Flack and Hazel Robinson

I had the scrambled eggs with bacon, vine tomatoes with fresh basil and mushrooms - that's olive oil in the background in case you're wondering.  It was a perfect breakfast.

Pablo and Hazel both had the scrambled eggs with kippers.  I pinched a bit and they were lovely.

Here's me riding my bicycle out of the restaurant earlier.  I've been challenging myself to wear really bright colours - apart from today - and always a silly pair of sunglasses.  I'm hoping motorists will think I'm a) stupid and b) have no road sense - It's working as they're giving me a very wide berth.  Perfect!

I'm off to try and catch up on my blog reading.  Have a great evening xxx

Tuesday, 9 August 2011


Yesterday afternoon I was out running some errands on my bicycle when The Actor called telling me to go home as he'd just heard a riot had started in Hackney where I live.  I could clearly see the police helicopters but took no notice as they're out nearly every night and we're used to them.  There's a lot of gun crime round here and clashes between local gangs but there's problems anywhere you go.

I decided not to go the shopping centre in case there was trouble so I headed to Shoreditch.  I rode through London Fields where there were large groups of lads with their hoods up which is also normal for round here.  One of them shouted out "You look nice" and another said "I like your bike" without sounding like they wanted to steal it.

On my back from the shops I saw another big gathering.  A lot of them had balaclavas or bandanas around their faces.  I thought it was time for me to go home for the night.

Hackney last night

I'm shocked at how much mindless and widespread violence there's been in London, Birmingham, Liverpool and other parts of the country.  I know originally it's because the police shot Mark Duggan but it's moved on from that now.  This isn't anarchy, this is people trying to get themselves a new flat-screen telly.  The devastation and damage caused by the violence and fires is terrible and it's tragic that people have lost their homes and businesses.

I thought it would have calmed down today but they're predicting more trouble so now the police have shut all the shops - including my corner shop and my favourite restaurant, A Little of What You Fancy where I was due to have lunch with friends.  AND I'd agreed to go for a swim in the lido but that was shut too.  Typical.

It's a gorgeous sunny day and I really want to go out on my bike.  I'm not sure what to do now but at least I can finally do some blog reading that keep going on about!  I hope everyone's alright.  Stay safe.  Love, Christina xxx

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

The Gin Den at Bistrotheque followed by a reggae party

Last week I went to Bistrotheque to a party to celebrate their newly decorated bar which was designed by House of Hackney and sponsored by Bombay Sapphire gin.  I'm rather partial to a bit of Bombay Sapphire.

House of Hackney are an interiors and lifestyle brand described as "Colefax and Fowler on acid".  Run by partners Frieda Gormley and Javvy M Royle, they're based in a house in London Fields almost entirely decorated in their own creations.  The company makes wallpaper, fabric, and a huge range of matching furnishings sourced from the best of British manufacturers.  There are three collections so far - 

Hackney Empire

Dalston Rose

and Queen Bee

The Gin Den has Hackney Empire wallpaper described as "Luxury wallpaper featuring a carnival of animals amidst animalistic debauchery in a riot of colour featuring a midnight blue background"

A conversation seat in Hackney Empire fabric

The new lights with red background Hackney Empire print give it a bordello feel

Bombay Sapphire lamps

There were lots of different Bombay Sapphire cocktails

Alice Urquart and Bistrotheque co-owner David Waddington

I popped upstairs to the restaurant to see my friends Hazel, Pablo Flack, Jean Marc Masala and Sophie Damann.  Hazel's wearing a Giles dress from SS11.  

Dinner looks good!

They're serving pork buns downstairs

It was a warm evening so it was good to be outside

Here's Kirstie Fleck from House of Hackney wearing a silk dress in Hackney Empire print on a red background.  I saw lots of people I know, I remembered to take a few snaps

Writer Rocky Casale

Alice Urquart wearing a gorgeous leather jacket by Maia Norman's label Mother of Pearl

I like the back although I hadn't realised it was a gorilla strangling a parrot

I love these two - stylist Maddy Ostile and actress Jaime Winstone

The always fabulous Princess Julia who was DJing

This leopard print Beetle was parked outside as I got in my cab.  I was being good so I went home.

I'd been back a couple of minutes when my great friend Gina Gorman rang saying she was in the area and coming to get me.  Her boyfriend Chris is the music business and there was a little party going on.  I hadn't seen Gina for a while so it was lovely to see her.  She was cracking up about where she was taking me...

She took me to the Shacklewell Arms a pub I'd only driven past before

It's under new management but the decor hasn't changed for donkey's years.  How mad is this?  It's like going back in time or something.  I forgot to take a picture so I pinched this from the internet.  There was a few people having a drink in the bar and there was a reggae do in the back.  Oddly we couldn't hear a thing

It looked like this from where I was standing

You can see a bit better with the flash on but it was really busy in there and totally unexpected

It's Steve Mason from the Beta Band and reggae legend, musician Dennis Bovell who also produced loads of bands including Madness, The Slits and Orange Juice.

It was really good in there

Then they asked us up to the dressing room for a drink.  That's the lovely Gina on the right

Gina and I got a snap of the hospitality.  I love the smiley face candles on the cake!

I now have a little collection of Bombay Sapphire glasses in my kitchen cupboard courtesy of David

Thanks for a great night everyone xxx

I hope I can stay in and catch up with everyone tomorrow, it's supposed to be raining here.  I mowed my lawn this evening, I know I keep mentioning it but it's still only the fourth time I've ever done it.  I made a right pig's ear of it, I was just getting to the last bit and I swerved to miss some flowers and managed to cut through the damn lead!  My new neighbours were eating dinner in the garden while I swore over the hedge.  There's a six foot long bit at the front which looks really stupid.  Oh well, I'll be more careful next time.   At least most of the grass will get watered.

Have a lovely day xxx