So Pho from home…

Last week I returned from Australia. It was my first long haul holiday and also the first that I took all on my own. There are lots of stories I could tell you but I wanted to share one about human kindness.

In my last few hours in Melbourne before I flew thousands of miles home I wandered the streets looking for somewhere to eat. I stumbled across Pho & Co and since Pho (I’ve even made it myself before) is only second to ramen on my favourite foods I thought I’d treat myself.

I ordered summer rolls (chicken) and a bowl of their eye fillet pho. I had expected my started to come out first but they were both set down in front of me at the same time. No worries as I had some time to kill before my flight.

PhoNot the actual bowl of pho…

The summer rolls were lovely, fresh and full of soft herbs with a nice flavour from the pickled mango (which is a first for me). The dips were standard, sweet chilli and a slightly puzzling hoisin sauce (didn’t feel very Vietnamese to me).

Then onto the Pho. I was a little worried about the lack of inciting smells steaming from the bowl and when I took a spoonful of the broth I could taste why. The broth was very light and had very little depth in the flavour. I expected to be able to taste the star anise and touch of cinnamon I have come to desire. Alongside was a plate of accompaniments. Including fish sauce, more hoisin sauce and some crushed nuts (I think) and chilli if I wanted to add. I don’t react well to fresh chilli so I left that out and added all the fish sauce and a little of the hoisin. It still didn’t lift the broth. I ended up eating some of the noodles and the beef, which was amazingly tender but again lacked seasoning as it languished in the watery broth.

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Ears down for Musical Bingo

As a sporadic blogger I generally don’t get many invites to blogging events so I was pleasantly surprised to receive an email to Musical Bingo, an evening claiming to be an original, interactive club night.

The Musical Bingo stage

In keeping with my trying out new things and saying yes to life I jumped in with both feet and kept my expectations in check. I’ve recently kicked my meeting-new-people fear into touch so all I had to worry about was my normal going to a new place issue. In short I arrive early, cannot find the entrance (especially I find in Shoreditch, which seems to have abandoned the concept of signs on buildings…) then spend several minutes wandering round and round checking and re-checking Google Maps in case I have got the location completely wrong.

All invited bloggers were given the opportunity to Continue reading

Planning for skiing holiday

Last month I went on my first ever ski holiday. I had missed out on the school trips as a teenager and well the opportunity had never come up before. I have to say I was nervous, scared even but not of the idea of skiing (although that did spook me a fair bit). No, the first thing to cross my mind was “what the hell do I take?” followed swiftly by “will I actually need to take a full on suitcase?” as most of my previous holidays involved either hand luggage only or a shared suitcase.

Skiing in France

I had months to worry. All that time to try to research, I asked friends who had been before and spent hours looking at photos trying to figure out what people wore on these skiing vacations. To me it felt like I would need a massive suitcase and several bags. It all came flooding in and tried to overwhelm me. Packing for a cold weather holiday had never happened to me before. It was alien. Normally I would throw together a heap of sun-dresses, shorts and flip-flops and have plenty of room for goodies picked up abroad.

Other thoughts started to occur to me. “What would Continue reading

Time and social envy

Is it me or has time sped up since I was a child? We are now in February 2013 and it only seems like yesterday that I sat watching the Olympics…perhaps now I’m getting on a bit I walk around in more of a daze trying to get as much sleep as I can.

Wasting time

It’s a little like chocolate bars. As a kid they seemed massive, far too big to take a huge bite out of. Lion Bars were a scary thought but worth the possibility that your jaw would snap open forever once you took that first nibble. And Cadbury’s Creme Eggs are no Continue reading

Post everything slump…

Christmas, New Years and a holiday have all rushed past leaving me in a strange mood as I attempt to finish my first full week back at work since the beginning of December.

My overwhelming spending desire seems diminished and I am struggling to put together outfits for work from my bulging wardrobe.

This morning as I walked to work I tried to think what was causing this. Was it post-Christmas/New Year/Holiday blues? Then it hit me. I missed the simplicity of living out of a suitcase. It sounds a little odd but think about it for a moment.Living out of a suitcase

I try to travel light and take only the essentials. I long ago realised that packing 3 or 4 party dresses when I’m off to stay with relatives or in very cold weather just isn’t needed.

When I travel I pack only what I will wear and Continue reading

Envy and other women

Walking through the train station this morning I am faced with walking behind a woman who is immaculately turned out from top to toe. Her boots are the ones I would love to own, they scream sophistication and elegance. Her black jeans fit perfectly and have no creases. Her long funnel neck black wool coat tops off the look giving her a slick polished look. Feminine but smart.

The Devil Wears Prada

If someone were to edit her into the scene in The Devil Wears Prada where Anne Hathaway walks across the road in her variety of newly made-over outfits this woman would not look out-of-place. Do it with me most mornings and I’m sure people would stare and think “who the heck is the bag lady?” Continue reading

Listography – Top 5 songs I grew up to

Thanks to Kate Takes 5 for letting me into the world of list making.

Here are my top 5 songs that I grew up with.

Like a Virgin – Madonna

Madonna Like a Virgin Single

I must have played the album over and over that even to this day I still mentally hear the little beep at the end of the side one that used to remind me to turn the tape over if I listen to the album.

Like a Virgin was the song that I dressed up in my mum’s clothes and danced around proclaiming ” Like a virgin…touched for the very first time”. I was 6. Ah my poor mum. I imagine her face was a picture as she hoped I didn’t understand the lyrics.

Beach Boys – Good Vibrations

The Beach Boys 20 Golden Greats

Possibly the first album I ever played at the tiny age of two, my love of The Beach Boys continues to this day. My favourite as a child was Good Vibrations. I had no idea what the song was about but sang along anyway. It also didn’t scare me half as much as Heroes and Villains did…

Eagles – Hotel California

Eagles Hotel California

I was obsessed with the album artwork for the album and instantly fell in love with the title song. It transported me to a different world where I imagined a whole film that went along with the lyrics. The artwork is actually quite spooky and again I still love the song.

Frankie – Sister Sledge

I was given Now 5 as a present and Frankie by Sister Sledge just got rewound over and over. I remember dancing and singing along in my mum’s bedroom wearing as many plastic rings and bangles as I could find until my family could listen to it no more.

Lionel Richie – Dancing on the Ceiling

“H-whurt is happenen’ here”… the first ever album that I bought myself with pocket-money on a rare trip to Tesco. I loved the video for Dancing on the Ceiling and thought at the time it looked like the best party ever. Ha.

You can’t take that away from me…

So I have a problem. Sentimentalizing everything. I’ll give you an example do you can try to understand what I am getting at.

The Sentimental Agent

At Christmas I receive a gift card from my dad. For Accessorize let’s say. I deliberate over what to buy with the gift card because once it had been spent the gift becomes whatever I have bought. So I bought a pair if shoes. Lovely shoes. Shoes that I can wear whatever the weather, bar snow, and ones that are both Continue reading

Street art changes fast, if you don’t slow down you might just miss it

Last weekend, as a birthday treat for a friend, a group of us all met up in Spitalfields market for a trip round London. We were met by not one but two tour guides that day (Doug and Ben) to take us on a journey round the East Ends best street art.

The Alterative London Tour promised a day to open our eyes to what is really around us and help us understand the amount of work the artists put in and also teach us about the culture of street art.

All in two hours.

I thought I didn’t know Continue reading