Tag Archives: friends

Eating My Way Around – Cape Town Fish Market, London

30 Jan

This week, I met with one of my best gal pals, and we visited our meet up haunt, Cape Town Fish Market (Oxford Street, London). It’s a restaurant just off Oxford Street, and it does the most amazing seafood. It even has the tag line “any fresher and you would need a fishing rod”, and the fish swim around in massive tanks, which adds to the whole drama of the place. It’s lovely.

They have a great offer for card holders, so we often meet up on a Tuesday and gorge on the most delicious sushi; California rolls with tempura prawns and a mango wrap, melt in your mouth sashimi and all different types of nigiri, plus wasabi mayonnaise, kohlrabi sauce and of course, soy glaze. It’s a bit pricey, but with the deal card it makes it really reasonable for good sushi (and I am a massive sushi snob) and honestly, I would go on a non deal night, it’s that good.

IMG_20140129_164359

Sushi, it makes miso happy

They also have a fairly extensive menu, including my personal favourite, the surf and turf. You think you know surf and turf, right? Hunk of steak covered in prawns?

You can’t even begin to imagine.

This surf and turf is out of this world, and features a real twist on the classic. Instead of steak they present you with twice cooked pork belly, and replacing the prawns are some dainty little scallops. The whole thing comes with wilted spinach, and is by far my favourite meal out. in fact, I love to try different things if I go to the same place twice, but on this occasion, I JUST CAN’T. I fear that I might get food envy if anyone else chooses it and I don’t, so I hedge safely and choose my favourite. And I am never disappointed.

This is my local go to when guests from out of town visit as it’s a bit of a crowd pleaser, and although its busy if you book you are generally guaranteed a table. The staff don’t rush you (I was there 20 mins before my friend this week and they happily let me sit with my wine and browse Facebook) and the general feel of the restaurant is happy and chilled. Just my jam.

Have you been? What is your favourite place to take guests when they are in your town?

Biscuiteers Blogger Meet Up, Notting Hill

17 Dec

When Lauren from Aspiring Kennedy emailed me about a blogger meet up, I was dubious. I find these things really awkward, talking to people I don’t know and trying to find a common ground, when essentially we have all been grouped together over such an ambiguous love, words.

Capture

Biscuiteers, physical location in London’s Notting Hill

But when she mentioned biscuits, I was there. I mean really Lauren, you should just lead with that!

I’m so glad I went. What I experienced was the cutest little shop, Biscuiteers, and a collection of really lovely girls all icing biccies to their heart’s content, and getting covered in sugar syrup in the process.

There were pre-iced ones so we didn’t feel like total idiots, and we iced bauble and Christmas tree shapes, trying desperately to make them look even a little like the ones the lovely ladies who work there had crafted. Not so lucky in my case, but I had fun all the same!

Capture

DIY Gingerbread house. SHUT. UP

The shop is darling. They sell all sorts of iced cookies, from day of the dead masks, to Superman, to an entire nativity crafted out of buttery biscuitness. Sadly, my godforsaken iPhone has died since the event so I am having to borrow photos from the other girls there to give you a visual idea, but if you ever find yourself in Notting Hill, go forth and find them. You will be plunged into a biscuity heaven!

Biscuiteers4

Biscuitty montage courtesy of ruthlgarner.com, who is a whizz with a camera!

I also met some lovely girls there, including Ruth from The Planned Adventure, Becca from Urban Flipflops and Amber from Amber Nouveau not to mention the lovely-as-ever Lauren who writes over at Aspiring Kennedy, and orchestrated the whole event. Check them out, all well worth a read.

Happy Holidays!

Don’t Talk To Strangers! Unless You Happen To Live With Them

17 Oct

In the last ten years since I have dwelled with people other than my family, I have gathered a heap of stories and experiences, like a magpie with shiny coins. I’ve made some great friends, lost some good ones and learnt a lot about patience, virtue and picking wet towels up off the floor.

Living with boys definitely gave me some insight into the ways of the opposite sex. One house share that I lived in had a perpetual problem with dirty dishes and it was a constant power struggle of me cleaning the kitchen, going out, coming back and lots of dirty dishes being back on the site. Ex-boyfriend used to leave everything he owned on the floor, and one boy used to use a tea-cup, pour it out in the sink and then (without washing it, just in case this isn’t clear) PUT IT BACK IN THE CUPBOARD. His argument was that no one should take offence, give that it was his cup. Shudder.

Image

On the flip side, living with girls ain’t exactly a walk in the park at times either. Hair (fake or real, take your pick) in the plug hole causing the shower to fill up like a bath, using sharp kitchen knives to open tins (“we don’t have a can opener, I looked!” “it’s in the dishwasher……”) and taking clean washing out and putting it on the floor in the laundry room, so its gets all dirty again.

So male or female, living with other people is hard. And I’m no angel. In the past decade I have realised that there are definitely things you can do to minimise the awkwardness of living in a house share with a bunch of nut jobs…. Namely moving in with a friend of 25 years.

new20housemates

But when that friends circumstances changed I found myself in the position of having to find a new, STRANGER, to live in the flat I have come to see as a hidey hole from the rest of the world. It seems I fear change (and I know you are all having visions of Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory – I’m not that bad).

There were tears (“but I don’t WANT to live with anyone!!”) there were calculations (“but I can’t afford NOT to live with anyone!”) and there were viewings. Or as I like to call them, interviews.

Image

I put a chatty ad on a local room wanted site, stating that I wanted someone who was likely to not go all Single White Female on my ass, but at the same time not likely to be sitting in their room all night playing SimCity (or whatever the kids are playing these days) and speaking in only grunts. I thought this would weed the nutjobs from the normals and hoped that if you were too young to get the SWF reference, you may not apply.

Didn’t quite work. The first god knows how many viewings that I did I ensured the boy was present as I am an appalling judge of character. With hindsight, this was an utterly pointless endeavour, as his opinion, in all cases, was “seems alright.”

THANKSSSSS

I was desperate. I didn’t want to live with a crazy person or someone who might murder me in my sleep. I didn’t think that was too much to ask for, but the chances of me living with someone who wasn’t a serial killer were lessening.

And then I got an email from a girl. She is a student (didn’t want a student) she is a young person (didn’t want a young person) and she is a girl (wanted a boy). Despite this, she is super fun, likes all the same things as me, and doesn’t talk about young things that I don’t understand. She has rescued me from spiders, and drinks tea in the same quantities.

The moral of this story?

A stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet (harrumph).

Have you got any funny / horrible housemate stories?

Feasting At Shaka Zulu

3 Oct

Food is my thing. I’m not a painter, I don’t particularly care about festivals or live music, but I love food.

Everyone loves food.

Not like me. I dream in cheeseboards and rostis and I love to go to new places, try new foods and immerse myself in dips, sauces and spices. i get excited about a new restaurant and when a friend talks about somewhere amazing I stick it on my hit list.

I’m a secret not so secret eater.

So I don’t waste your time boring you about every place I have eaten, given that it wouldn’t be very exciting for you, but every now and then I find one that I just have to shout about.

And Shaka Zulu is one of those examples.

Image

A tiny door is nestled in the heart of Camden Market, and an escalator descents into what can only be described as an African Odyssey. The walls are adorned with carvings of scenes from the plains and the fabrics that cover the chairs are a blend of exotic colours and tribal prints.

Often these places are gimmicky; all style and no substance and I was worried that this might be the case with Shaka Zulu, but I was pleasantly surprised. We ordered to share; one Ostrich with roasted beetroot and plaintain puree and one Springbok with a rocket salad. The menu also offers Zebra and Alligator as well as potjie and bobotie.

We loved it. for a birthday treat it was something a little more exciting than Nando’s, and had all the glamour of a special occasion. If you are ever in London I would strongly recommend a visit.

What’s your favourite place to eat?

A Wintery Weekend At Borough Market

1 Nov

It’s a rare occurrence, but this weekend was mine and mine alone. No neatly penned scribbles in the diary, no vague plans with the girls carried away into the air when we previously parted – nothing.

Exciting. I love the thought of a free weekend spanning out across the horizon with nothing interrupting it as it drifts away, and so I went about that brilliant hobby of making last minute plans to fill my day.

On Friday evening we decided, out of the blue, to go out in Camden. There was a bite in the breeze as the season is turning, but we had great fun drinking and dancing and talking with strangers. It just goes to show that when you are with your best friend, time passes too fast and very happily. No fair weather friends, just me and my partner in crime, having fun.

My Weekend In Photos

My Weekend In Photos

On Saturday we went to Borough Market. If you are based in London and haven’t been, or ever get to London, it’s a must. Lane upon lane of food stalls, the hustle and bustle of people browsing butchers and fishmongers, and the delightful smell of food stalls whetting your appetite and tantalising your taste buds. It was so hard not to stop at the first stall and chow down on paella, but luckily we resisted as we eventually came to a hog roast stand with cracking and applesauce. Yum!! We finished wandering the market and found an independent cafe to have some tea and warm our bones before heading out into the sleet to go home.

I woke early on Sunday, as the clocks had changed and took the train home to spend the day with two poorly little girls. We had great fun making pizza faces, watching movies and playing, with the kind of clingy cuddles that only sick kids give you, when they don’t want to be out exploiting and discovering, just having cosy cuddles.

How were your weekend? Seems like an age ago now!!

Thanks Be

25 Nov

There are times in your life when you feel the clear presence of a metaphorical crossroads. Whether you believe in destiny and fate or think that the path that you choose is your own and there are no external forces governing it is regardless; you still will have felt that you have reached a curve in the road or a sign post that allows you to sit back and take stock of your surroundings. It might be a point in your life with a friend; you stand there together hand in hand and they chose the other path. You watch them disappear off into the distance before taking those first baby steps into your future. I felt like that when my substitute older sister went home. To Australia.

I don’t know what I believe, but right now I feel that the events of the last few months can’t be just coincidence. I have always been a firm believer in the “what will be will be” mentality, and today I find myself standing at the junction ready to decide to take the high road or the low road. No one is there with me to hold my hand and reassure me, but there is a quiet calm in being able to make that decision and do what I feel is best for me.

Yesterday was Thanksgiving in America. Millions of you gathered at your tables to tuck into turkey and all the other yummy goodies on offer, and I sat in my flat and pondered my surroundings.

Yesterday I lost my job. It’s a long story but the abridged version is that the contract I work on was not renewed, and therefore from New Year’s Eve I have no position at the company I have worked in for two years. There is a weird loophole in the law whereby I can start on the 1st of January with the new company in London, but essentially my day to day life will end from then.

Yet I feel a sense of serenity. Maybe I need a life break, or a career change, or both. What I do know is that I have a lot of decisions to make and I am lucky enough to have people in my life that will help me. My housemate and sister to pick me up like a small child who has grazed her knee, the lawyer to give me an emotional crutch and legal jargon and my parents to let me know that despite what I think, everything will be OK.

New Year’s Eve has always been my favourite night of the year; granted all the parties have so much hype and are never quite as exciting, but I have always thought it to be a mentally cleansing day; a time when you can rise like a phoenix from the flames into the New Year and start afresh. I love turning the pages in a new diary and feeling like the world is my oyster, and this year will be all the more poignant. 2011 has been a year of hospital visits, arguments and break ups, but 2012 will be my year. Forget the Chinese calendar; it’s the year of Belle.

So I might be a little late to the party, but a comment from a wise man yesterday gave me food for thought, and my reason to be thankful. OK so I may have reached a point of uncertainty in a lot of strands of my life (as John Mayer, life guru would say “might be a quarter life crisis, or just a stirring in my soul”. Profound :) ) but I have had the chance to do what I love and meet people for it. I’m always overwhelmed by the little community of people I have here so I want to take the time to you all for reading, commenting and following. The stats are pretty impressive; seven hundred and ten slightly crazy people around the world get my posts in their reader as I post them, so special thanks to you lot!

With positivity and new beginnings in mind, I would love for you all to head on over to imcookingnolooking.wordpress.com this weekend. It’s our new project!! I will of course remain here on a daily basis (I wouldn’t abandon you!) but Jules and I are branching out in our quest for world domination. It’s currently a work in progress with a working title but I would love to hear your feedback. I can announce it will be called ‘Tinkering in the Kitchen’ and is intended to be a collaborative effort with some of my favourite blog friends from around the world.  If anyone wants to participate, drop me an email at laura.tinker@hotmail.co.uk. It’s going to be a whole heap of fun and with a bit of luck and a lot of graft we plan to change the face of the ‘quick’ ready meal for a healthier future.

And with that, fair reader, I bid you adieu (for today anyway!)

‘Belle xx

Guest Post ~ Negative Nancy

21 Nov

Brooke and McKenzie have written todays guest post on friends and how different personalities have an impact on us. Read it and then head over to their blog because its jam-packed with fantastic posts about their mission to find Mr Right and the hijinks they get up to in the process.

I heart them, and I’m sure you will too.

Happy Monday :)

‘Belle xx

We are very excited to write a guest post for Tinkerbelle and although our blog is mainly about our dating and relationship mishaps, we are going to steer away from the opposite gender in this post and talk about platonic relationships. More specifically we want to share how important we think it is to maintain a positive attitude in life. After all, life is too short to waste it being miserable and trying to make others around you miserable as well, and the best memories we have are the good ones.

The Negative Nancy…

1.       Someone who commonly whines, complains, or looks at the bad side of things.

We have a friend who shall be nicknamed “Negative Nancy.” She has earned this nickname because by all definition of the word; she is a pessimist and views the glass as half empty all the time. There isn’t one day that goes by where we don’t hear from her whining or complaining about how every single thing in her life is unfair. She writes to ask how our day is but we feel that she does not even care for what answer we give because once she has your attention, she selfishly complains non-stop. She complains about everything from how much she hated her co-workers at her old job and how unhappy she is with her new job. She complains about any boyfriend she has had, her family and even daily routines like the coffee she is having and how she’s not enjoying it and how unhappy she is with her outfit choices. Because of her constant complaining, it has started to affect her daily life. Her constant Negative Nancy attitude has pushed away all of her friends and ruined her relationships. It seems that even when you try to show her some positivity she gets frustrated as if she’s happier being gloomy and wants you to sulk with her.

We had a girl’s vacation for a week to an all-inclusive resort with great food, beautiful weather, unlimited drinks at a 24 hour bar, one of which was a swim-up bar. What more could we want. The four of us were celebrating 10 years of friendship. Before going on the trip, 3 of us discussed how we were going to try to ignore Negative Nancy as much as we possibly could because by knowing her for 10 years we realized that a week with her was bound to create some issues.

It didn’t even take more than a day for Negative Nancy’s dark clouds to start looming over us. We were travelling overnight so that we would be there early in the morning an extra day of paradise.  As soon as we got in we enjoyed drinks outside, the ocean and the pools but as dinner rolled around Negative Nancy said she was feeling cranky because she was tired, to not let her gloom ruin our first day she went to bed early as we enjoyed dinner, made many new friends and went out to the clubs outside the resort. The next day when we told her about how eventful our first night was she was very upset that we did this without her. Apparently our world should’ve stopped because she was grumpy.

The negativity continued when we introduced her to the new friends we made as throughout the week she constantly criticized them and was anti-social. Out of the seven days we were there, we all can agree that we had fun with her on one day, the rest were made painful in one way or another.

There was days she was being “grumpy,” days she was being anti-social and days where she was disagreeing with the rest of us just because she was in a bad mood. We started to get more and more agitated with one another and whenever she wasn’t around was the times we were truly enjoying being on vacation. Overall, neither one of us would wish to ever go on a vacation or anything like that with her again.

That day we realized that having such a negative and selfish source in our lives would eventually start to turn us into negative and very anxious people. We then decided that we wanted to give her an intervention but where would we start? What would we say?

An idea I had was to ask her to write or talk about one positive thing a day. Or as a Christmas present I have joked about giving her a jar filled with positive things and what she should be thankful for.  We would love to give her an intervention. Bottling up so much negativity and anger cannot be good for anybody’s health emotionally and physically. As well by acting this way she is pushing away all the people who care about her as she selfishly refuses to get help and gets angry if it is offered.

What do you guys think, is an intervention necessary? What would you do if this was your friend? 

Brooke and Mckenzie

Zumba-licious!

9 Nov

There’s a new crazy taking the country by a storm… (well it’s not a new craze, but I never have been very quick on the uptake. Facebook? Nope. Skinny jeans? I don’t think so!) Zumba! And last week, I decided to try it, with hilarious consequences.

I had heard a lot about it, as most people you talk to seem to have a mother / auntie / gran who indulges, but you rarely hear anyone of my age admitting to do it. But gym-bunny housemate Emma, who will try anything that might mean that the words ‘fun’ and ‘exercise’ can go in the same sentence, has been trying to get me to go with her.

Don’t get me wrong, this girl likes spinning, so I wasn’t convinced that when she said “it’s a right laugh” that I would agree with her. I had visions of an ambulance being called as I suffered a heart attack, and Emma perspiring elegantly while bopping about with no trouble at all.

Actually, I was pleasantly surprised. We got to the school hall that it was being held in, and she said “ooh I’m not sure about this. The other place we do it has really dim lights. Here you can see everything!” and we waited in said gym hall while a strange caretaker who reminded me of Groundskeeper Willy out of The Simpsons, perved on us. There is no pretty way of saying it, that’s what he was doing.

My first giggles started way before the class, when I made the grown up decisions (I know, check me out!) to go to the loo. I felt like the BFG. The loos in an infant school are like something out of a dolls house! It was like trying to wee in an egg cup, and I don’t think Emma could work out why there were giggles coming from my cubicle. I dried my hands on the teeny tiny paper towels and made my way out into the white light of the school hall.

And then the dancing started. And it was really fun! We salsa’ed and zumba’ed and cha cha’ed to our hearts delight.

Let’s put it this way, if I was South American, I would be really embarrassed. Shakira makes it look so easy when she wiggles her hips and winds her body seductively. That’s the vision, isn’t it? Looking like a belly dancer with flawless skin and hips like you’ve been hula hooping all your life?

The reality was a little different. Think red faces and hips like robots that needed oiling. The faster it got, the more disjointed we looked until we resembled belly dancers having fits. I laughed so hard that I tripped over my shoelaces, sending the others into fits of giggles. And it looks so easy! But it’s not. My (little amount of) natural rhythm got the moves and I looked a little more like a pro, until my brain caught up with my hips, and I lost it totally.

Despite looking like I suffered from epilepsy and having no rhythm whatsoever, we will be going back next week. Toot toot!

Have you ever been to an exercise class and felt like a right wally?

If you want to read about other disastrous (and hilarious) exercise classes that the blonde one and I have tried, read these related posts:
Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting
I Can Haz Inner Peace
The One Where We Went To Aqua Aerobics

Ooooooh… Fanceh!

8 Nov

So a week has gone since the advent of the competition and you still have 5 days to enter! I did promise I would share some of the ones that featured highly on my faves list, so in no particular order…. (plus see if you can spot the glaringly obvious Where’s Wally/Wendy in this post!).

1) Marc Spine Chilling Horror. This one dropped into my inbox and filled me with jealousy. I wish I had come up with this one, they look so cool!

2) Patricia at Aniksrunn sent me this one of one of her kids. I loved it! She’s totally rocking the dead kid. Reminds me of The Ring. Creepy!

3) Charlet at DaintyC sent me a similar one of her and one of her students, dressed as Pikachu and Luigi from Super Mario. Totally adorable.

4) One of the first up takers of the game, Kathleen sent me pictures of the entire family dressed as the Rubbles. I always preferred them to the Flintstones anyway!

5) Tori – this one I think it still sitting in my favourite spot. She sent me a pic of her darling little boy dressed as George Michael from the WHAM! Days…. This is the sort of mother I am going to be. I sincerely hope these pictures are brought out every time he brings a girlfriend home.

But do you think your fancy dress outfits are better than these guys? Were you the most fly witch on the block? (See what I did there, I’ll keep the dad jokes coming….) did your zombie look have people running for cover? Some of the more creative entries are some lads dressed as bacon, and a lady in a fridge costume, but I want to see what you’ve got!!

It’s not me judging (it’s a woman whose alter egos include Dangermouse, Wally from Where’s Wally fame and a really chavvy looking golfer) so you guys have all to play for, keep them coming! Mainly because I love the creativeness, and feel special when I get emails :)

For more information, read these related posts:
Fancy Dress Update!
Competition Alert! Who Dresses The Fanciest?

Funny Friday ~ Hallowe’en Freaky Fun

28 Oct

What with Hallowe’en being on Monday, I thought it would be fun to make a little mischief and get you all giggling. So without further ado, please prep your sides for four of the funniest and most interesting blog writing women I know (plus moi). This had me in stitches, and I hope you all agree!

(Disclaimer… Although fabulous, we are not available for shows unless you are paying at least a million each. And then we will consider it).

Pay them a visit!

The Redneck Princess (@DoMaH64) aka Franken-rapper
Jules (@Julie_Davidoski) also known as Dracu-MC
Maggie Mae (@maggiemaesdays) – The Rappin’ Mummy
Karyn (@ KarynAPyle) also known as MC Wicked Witch.

Happy Hallowe’en everyone!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,948 other followers