Thursday, November 27, 2008

Cold is…

Being in London in October and November, I now know what “cold” really is.

Cold is when the morning breeze makes your eyes water.

Cold is when you wear three pairs of socks to bed.

Cold is when you spend 13 hours in a pub because you can’t face the below-zero temperature outside.

Cold is when it is pitch black at 4pm in the afternoon.

Cold is when, even though you are wearing a woollen coat, your nipples hurt.

Cold is when you leave the butter out overnight and it still rips up your toasted bagel when you try to spread it.

Cold is when you have to turn your scarf into a burka to keep your head warm.

Cold is when you go outside at midday and breathe fog.

Cold is when you get out of the bath and there is steam coming off your body.

Cold is when it snows in London in October for the first time in 70 years.

I don’t want to even think about what January and February are going to be like…

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Kids say the darndest things

The things I miss most about home are my family and friends, though I try to email or call as often as I can.

I love getting emails from my nephews Isaac and Joseph. Natalii, my most darling sister-in-law, types what the boys say verbatim, which makes for some highly entertaining reading. Especially last night when I got two emails – one from Isaac and one from Joe.

Isaac’s email had a background of rainbows, which he said he sending to me to help keep me happy. It made me so happy I actually got a little teary.

Joe’s email had a pirate background, and he told me about how he had been playing UNO and had fire money. Nat, what on earth is fire money! Then he went on to tell me that he wanted ping pong balls for Christmas! I laughed so hard even more tears came out.

After this I called Jackie on Skype and had a little chat to Ben about what he would like for Christmas. In case anyone doesn’t know yet (though I don’t think there are many people that Ben hasn’t told) he would like a guitar. This is better than when mum asked what Ben would like her to bring him back from England and he asked for a wrench and a coconut!

Oh boys, you make me laugh!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A quick headcount

And so Mumble Pants issued a decree that a census should be taken of her blog. This was the first census that took place while Mumble Pants was governor of MumblePantsVille. And everyone went to the comments page to register their name.

Because if you don’t then you ain’t getting no Christmas present...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Make sure you are sitting down

Because I have got some shocking news....

I actually went to the gym and did a work out!

Man, I can barely believe it myself.

I've been talking about it for months, to the point where I bought flashy exercise pants (but then stuffed them at the back of the cupboard). And it was lucky I have started my fitness regime now, before I couldn't fit in those pants any more.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I need to warn family and friends before I come home for Christmas – I have changed. Yes, I am not the same girl that left Brisbane back in April.

I have really long hair. Mum, you won’t believe it, but I wear my hair loose now – you would love it. My hair is the longest it has ever been, and I really need a haircut but am hanging out until I get home. I’m not a huge fan of "pretty" long hair on me, but it keeps my head warm!

I catch public transport now. Back in Brisbane, I drove my lazy-ass everywhere. I mean, I could have walked to work, but instead drove the five minutes there every day. In London, I spend up to an hour walking and catching the train to work.

I am fat. Despite prior warnings of the Heathrow Injection, and a personal commitment to not letting it happen to me, I got fat. Dad confirmed this with his taunts when he and mum came to visit. I’m just giving my friends a heads up, so it’s not such a shock when I get there.

I’m joining the gym. Refer to the above paragraph about me being a Fatty McLardbum. I’m going to the gym near work tonight and I am joining. Even though I’ve been saying this for five months now, this time I really mean it.

I am career focused. Back in Brisbane, I cruised through my job and made good money. My first job in London paid alright – £175 a day as an Events Manager. And it was boring. Then an Events & Marketing Manager role came up at The Government Agency which I accepted, even though it was only £160 a day, as I knew it would be a good move for my career. And it turns out it was! There is no way I would have gotten the job as Internal & Stakeholder Communications Manager (and the delightful pay rise) if I hadn’t already had my foot in the door.

I wear flat shoes all the time. I used to love wearing my cute little heels to work or going out. I think I’ve worn heels twice since I’ve been in London . High heels just aren’t appropriate given the cobblestone streets and the amount of walking I do each day.

I tell my mother and father so much more. With semi-regular blog entries and even more regular emails, my parents know so much more about what I get up to. I don't think this is a good thing. Hi mum, love you!

Friday, November 7, 2008

£ → $ = sad face

A couple of weeks ago the exchange rate was awesome. £1 got you AU$2.60.

Now that I am in a position to send some money back home to cover the mortgage, the exchange rate is crap. £1 got me AU$2.35.

Sorry, what did you say? That's not much of a difference?

Let me put it in these terms. Had I sent my £2,050 home two weeks ago, I would have gotten AU$5,330. I sent my £2,050 home this morning and will get AU$4,817. That's more than $500 difference.

Screw you exchange rate, screw you.


Well dad, if you don't read my blog then you don't have the right to advise me on significant expenditures.


I am writing this post on my gorgeous new Acer Aspire 15.4" screen laptop. *big smiles*

Thanks to the nerdy assistance of Matty, I have a dual core processor, lots of memory, three USB ports and lots of other stuff that I have no idea about. Though I did manage to install the anti virus software by myself.

Give me a couple of weeks and I will be writing my own programs, fixing people's hard drives, and hosting my own LAN gaming parties.

(Nathan, I hope you picked up on the reference to Moleface Jennifer Hawkins in the title of this entry)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Ups and downs

I find life in London is a series of ups and downs.

This morning I got up early because I was organising a staff presentation today and had to prepare a few things.

Side note – Dad, I had not left this until the last minute, and was actually at work until nearly 7pm last Friday. It’s just that I broke two printers on Friday afternoon, so had to wait for someone to fix them.

Anyway, I arrived at the tube station ready for my quick 11-minute train ride to work (now that I am living at Canada Water) only to discover that the Jubliee line is down. After waiting for 20 minutes with ne’er a hint of a train, I made my way back to the street and jumped on a bus to Waterloo. The 10 minute journey took more than 45 minutes. In frustration, I got off the bus and started walking, as I realised it was going to get me to work quicker. Stomping down the street, late for work, in the cold, I was not in a good mood.

Then, just as I neared work, a man with a huge moustache pulled up beside me on his motorbike, loudly pumping Lionel Ritchie’s “All night long” on his radio.

Oh London, even when things are crappy, you manage to produce something to make me laugh!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Approval process

Dad, is it okay if I buy a laptop? I really really want, nay, NEED one.

I used Amby’s ‘putie all the time when we lived together, and since moving out I realise how much I rely on having interweb access.

Reasons why I need a laptop:
  • I can’t email as often because I am so busy at work
  • I can’t blog as often
  • I can’t Skype
  • I can’t access Facebook (restricted at work)
  • I can’t access the Transport for London website to see if there are delays or track closures
  • I can’t do my regular weather stalk each morning so I know if I need an umbrella or my heavy coat
  • I can’t use Google Maps to find out where I am going
  • I can’t charge my iPod
  • I can't download episodes of the US series of The Office

So is it okay if I get a really cute, slim, lightweight, good brand with a warranty, fully loaded laptop for only £300?


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I folded

Okay, so I lied when I said I couldn’t write a blog entry.

Last night I was lucky enough to snag a seat on a packed train, and nearly nodded off on my journey home. Until I espied a guy sitting in a four-seater with a look of sheer disbelief on his face. Opposite him was a fairly good looking man in his mid 30s, with the fashionable three day growth and shaggy hair, teaching himself how to do origami. He had a step-by-step book open on his lap and was carefully folding a little piece of paper to look like a peacock. Everyone in his vicinity was watching with great interest to see how it was going to turn out.

Oh London, how you entertain me!

I’m all writed out

Someone at work started a vicious rumour that I have excellent copywriting skills. This someone being Keef, my previous manager. This rumour resulting in my new position in internal communications.

In a mere six days in the job I’ve done a communications strategy, a memo, the foreword from the CEO for a strategic consultation document, an executive summary brochure for the same, a couple of all staff emails, a PowerPoint presentation, and a novel-length email to Jaala.

I don’t have enough words in me to also write a proper blog entry. Give me a week or so, okay?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Luck is a vulgar thing

Except when it results in an extended employment contract, with a month off over Christmas, and a pay rise of £150 a week.

A couple of months ago my department moved offices to Canary Wharf. However, last Monday I was back at the old office as I had a meeting nearby. And while I was there the manager of the communications team – we’ll call her Lorraine – came past the bank of desks where I was sitting and asked my colleagues: “So who are Amanda and Josie?” I piped up and introduced myself, although we had met several times before. We had a little chat, a laugh, and she left saying it was good to know who I was.

Three days later my line manager (Keef) pulled me aside and said that Lorraine wanted to offer me a job with the internal communications team.

I know that this offer would have been based on the work that I have done at The Government Agency, and the glowing reference that I am sure Keef gave me.

But part of me wonders if the job was offered to me instead of Josie because I just happened to be there that day and Lorraine could put a face to the name?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Gainful employment

Want to know what I do at work? My colleague wrote a little story about it.

So how about a warm round of applause for our guest blogger, Josie!

Once upon a time there were two fantastic Aussie girls named Josie and Amanda who worked at The Government Agency. Josie, who doesn't like many people, thought Amanda was ok and they became friends. Amanda, who is in love with Alphabeat, thought Josie was the coolest person in the world and she followed her everywhere she went. This didn't bother Josie as Amanda walked faster than her so she was able to lose her on a number of occasions.

The girls did everything together. Laughed together, got lunch together, had hot chocolate, a latte with a shot of vanilla and panetone together, and they even did their time sheets together. So much fun to be had.

Josie and Amanda were managed by the big, bad, monster named Keef. Keef was nasty and made Josie and Amanda work. He gave them boring projects to work on like The Volunteering Program and The Website. Josie and Amanda couldn't take it anymore so they sent Keef to Spain and they all lived happily ever after.

Yeah, that pretty much sums it up!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Mum and dad

A big shout out to ma and pa for coming all the way over to London to visit me! Even though dad claimed it wasn’t the reason for the trip, I know it was.

In the five days we spent together we managed to fit in the London Tower experience, a bus tour, the theatre, Covent Garden, the Transport Museum, the world’s most expensive Thai dinner at the Sugar Hut, the Globe Theatre, a river cruise, shopping at Harrods, Tuesday night trivia, a slightly drunken dinner at the Atlas, High Street Kensington, the Thames River Festival and parade, and more public transport than my parents have ever encountered before.

We had a super fun time, and despite being a little tired and a little grumpy some days, I enjoyed having them here so so very much. I miss them already and can’t wait to see them in two-and-a-half months.

So, thank you mum and dad, love you hard…

So much fun, so little time

I have never been as excited about a trip as I was about our little sojourn to Copenhagen. Maybe it was because it was free, maybe it was because it was on the Continent, maybe because it was to go and see cheesy Danish pop. Whatever it was, I barely slept on Thursday night because I was so excited.

Amber and I got up super early on Friday morning, hauled ass out to Heathrow, and embarked on 24 hours of power. Copenhagen isn’t a huge city; probably about the size of Brisbane I guess. But Amber and I were determined to fit it all in.

We arrived in Copenhagen around midday, caught the metro into the city centre, withdrew some kroners from a cash machine, and immediately enjoyed the wares of a local hotdog vendor. Man, the Danes love their sausages. Fortunately, so do Amber and I. The next port of call was the House of Amber, where Amber bought herself a pretty little ring. With at least half a dozen HOA’s in Copenhagen, the Danes also love their amber. Then we checked in to the hotel and put on extra layers of clothing before hitting the city for some kitsch tourist action.

So, we braved the cold (about 14 degrees or so, but with a biting wind) and hit the main shopping precinct. Amber bought some new makeup (she abandoned all of hers at Heathrow customs for some reason) and we enjoyed our first decent coffee since Paris. There was just enough time for Amber and I to purchase a Viking and Danish puffing troll hanging mobile respectively, before we boarded the Hop On Hop Off bus tour. I love a good bus tour. And it would seem that the Danes love a good statue, as I have never seen so many in a city before. One of the highlights was the Little Mermaid statue, despite the rude and thoughtless crowds.

Back in the city centre after the bus tour, Amber and I thought we would check out the venue for the Alphabeat gig and pick up our tickets – our names were on the door you know. I thought that the gig was going to be in a club, but it turned out to be at the Tivoli Gardens, a huge amusement park in the middle of Copenhagen. Supa fun! Amber and I went on a chair-o-plane that was 80m high, and one of the scariest things I have ever been on. Just ask Amber, she still has marks on her arm from my fingernails when I thought my safety belt was undone. After that, we went on a much tamer triple loop rollercoaster to calm my nerves. A couple of amusement games later, I walked out with a stuffed hippo toy and Amber with an ugly rubber light-up alien bouncy thing. Honestly, I don’t know what it was.

We had a quick power nap before donning our party outfits, complete with our new black wool tights that cost us 135 kroner each. Or about £13 each. Or about $AUS30 each. Ouch! But damn were they warm, and we both agreed that they were worth every kroner! A quick tuk-tuk ride back into town (Amber and I’s favourite mode of transport), a pre-gig drink at a local bar, and then we made it to the Tivoli just in time for Alphabeat. Despite a crowd of thousands, we scored ourselves a fantastic spot really close off to the side of the stage. I think the reason we got such a good spot was because no one wanted to stand near the cranky old crab of a woman behind us. I stepped back to let someone through and she started yelling at me in Danish, despite my apologies. I felt rather bad, until she let loose with the same abuse to anyone who dared walk near her. Amber and I dubbed her "Crazy Mum" and tried to direct the moving crowds toward her for the rest of the night.

But Alphabeat were AWESOME! Seriously, so much fun! The male lead singer (who incidentally looked like Rick Astley) was absolutely crazy and totally entertaining. And for a pop group, they sounded really good, as good as on their album. Amber and I danced our little butts off, but were pretty much the only ones. Apparently the Danes don’t really love to dance.

After the relatively short gig (they have only released one album) Amber and I tried to suss out where the after party was, to no avail. So instead we found ourselves at a cosy little bar with a live band. Their white wine went down easily and Hoegaarden was served in a glass as big as your head, literally, so we decided to stay. Over a course of several hours we befriended some brewers from Sheffield and Italy, a middle aged man and his tango partner, and a kid that sort of looked like Perez Hilton. As anyone who has met us can attest, Amber and I know when to call it a night, so we hailed another tuk-tuk driver who tucked us in with a blanket and whisked us home.

However, there was a rather enticing little bar at the end of the street where we were staying, so Amber and I decided to have a nightcap. The hostess asked if we where on the list, and Amber tried to convince her that I was. I think she liked our cheeky attempts, because she let us in and encouraged us to spend big at the bar. Which we did, although it was only on one glass of champagne. Amber and I put on a show for the punters by doing shadow puppets and dancing behind a back-lit curtain, before stumbling down the street and into our hotel.

We awoke early in the morning to the most horrid of hangovers that god has ever cast upon a drinker. It was truly awful. We showered and packed before heading down for a life-saving buffet breakfast. Oh, there was cereal and fruit and cold meats and several cheeses and pate and bread and frittata and eggs and delicious crispy bacon. We left for the airport feeling much better.

There was the obligatory duty free shopping, before boarding a plane back to London at midday.

Best. 24-hour holiday. Ever!

But now I have Post Alphabeat Depression. Sigh…

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Oh we do like to be beside the seaside

Last Sunday Laura, Mark (aka Spark), Matt and I grabbed our bikinis and went to Brighton for the day. As it turned out, we didn’t need our swimmers after all. Brighton put on a typically British day for us, with grey skies and intermittent showers. Perfect!

We arose at an ungodly hour for a Sunday morning, packed our sandwiches and scarves, and caught the 8:30am train to the beach. The train was fairly empty but we managed to pick a seat near the grossest passenger who kept coughing up his left lung. The first time he did it we all looked at each other with surprise, the second time we looked at each other with disgust, the third time we all grabbed our bags and ran to the next carriage without saying a word to each other.

The first port of call in the little seaside town was a café so we could all get a hit of caffeine. After that we trundled down to the pebbled beach for the obligatory dipping of our toes (in this case finger tips), skimming of rocks, and photo opportunities. Then we hit the shops to buy Sparky a coat, as the flimsy little jacket he had been getting around in for the past few months was not going to cut it against the ocean breezes.

A trip to Brighton would not be complete without a visit to the pier and it’s rides and amusement arcades. We went on a tame looking little rollercoaster called the Crazy Mouse, which was actually rather terrifying given its rattling rails and lifting carriages. I screamed the entire way, it was awesome!

Another compulsory tourist activity is chips’n’vinegar by the seaside, which of course we had to partake in. With bellies full of warm carbohydrates we hit the Crazy Golf course (are you sensing a theme here? Crazy!). Being a semi-frequent visitor of the Victoria Park mini golf, I have to say that Crazy Golf left a lot to be desired. The green was concrete rather than grass, and clearly built in a time before spirit levels. I managed to putt the ball about two feet away from the hole, but the uneven green and the wind ended up blowing it in for a hole in one!

By this stage we had pretty much exhausted all of the possibilities Brighton presented to us on a dreary day, so hosted our own pub crawl on the way back up the hill to the train station, stopping in at the Varsity Bar, the Fishbowl, and Quadrant. Though to be honest the only reason we stopped at Quadrant was because Sparky and I have bladders the size of thimbles and needed to use the bathroom.

We collapsed into our seats on the train with rosy cheeks after being windblown all day. I fell asleep about 10 minutes into the return trip, only to be woken up as the muscles in my neck relaxed in my slumber and I smacked my head on the window. Ouch.

All in all, a lovely day!

Monday, September 8, 2008

I won!

I won, I won, I won!

Despite the disappointment last time I entered a London Paper competition, I went back online and entered others.

And I won one!

They called me to let me know that I had won tickets to see the band Alphabeat.

That's pretty cool!


That's pretty effing awesome!

They are covering the tickets, air fares and accommodation!

So Amber and I are jetting over to Copenhagen Friday morning, returning Saturday afternoon so I can spend the rest of the weeekend with my parents.

I am predicting another Best. Weekend. Ever!

PS. Apologies for the excessive exclamation points, but I am really really excited.

Just another manic Monday

It’s been a while since I’ve shared tube stories, but there were some crazies on the train this morning!

There was the guy standing on West Brompton platform practising his balancing skills by artfully and subtly standing on one leg for about a minute, then swapping. This went on for nearly five minutes.

There were the hundreds of people crammed into the Edgware Road train, when the Upminster train two minutes behind it was half empty.

There was the Rolf Harris lookalike sitting opposite me on the District line.

And then there was the girl on the Jubilee line who decided to clean the sleep out of her eyes and wipe it on the magazine she was reading. Eww.

Friday, August 29, 2008

That's romance

This blog entry is dedicated to Nathan, my darling hopeless romantic....

Whenever he comes across something sweet he declares "that's romance".

Here is a list of things that I think are romance:

The old fashioned train schedule signs at Earl's Court tube station
Pencils rather than pens
The pond and accompanying bridge at Brompton Park Crescent, which I have dubbed "bridge over troubled water"
Hand written notes
Plastic cup to go with my bottle of San Pellegrino on the Eurostar
A fresh London Paper - not picked up off the floor of a train carriage
The single rose on each table at Me Me's vietnamese restaurant
Gotye's song "Night Drive"

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Exhibit C

We have further evidence in the case of Amanda vs. her own idiotness.

I won tickets to The Last Days of Summer music festival, featuring Supergrass, Richard Ashcroft, Black Kids, Fun Lovin Criminals and more.

However, the above sentence is missing the exclamation mark that should punctuate it because I didn't check the mail and only found out that I won the tickets the day after the event.

My stupidity really hurts sometimes.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

V Festival

V Festival was fun.

If you are not my mother and would like the full rundown then let me know...

Friday, August 22, 2008

Office jargon

In addition to scheduling pointless and tiresome meetings, the Brits also like to use a lot of wanky jargon around the office.

"Let's discuss that offline" means we'll talk about that later.

"Marginal hours" refers to your spare time.

"Managing expectations" means you don't want people to expect too much of your work.

"Pen portraits" is the new way of saying case studies.


Friday, August 15, 2008

How do I do it?

So, I am sitting at my desk enjoying my takeaway coffee out of one of these…

When I take a sip and suddenly there is a back-splash out of the 1cm sipping slit and I end up with coffee UP my nose?

How does that happen?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

To paraphrase Sally Fields...

They like me, they really like me!

Dear Amanda's recruitment agency

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. As discussed previously Amanda is doing an excellent job and although the permanent member of staff starts next week I have asked her to stay on to manage a couple of specific projects. Initially this extension is until the end of September. However; depending on the level of response to one project this may be extended until the end of November. Hope this makes sense. Obviously drop me a line if you need anything else.

Amanda's manager

Thursday, August 7, 2008


I know hate is a strong word, but it is completely justified when talking about...

... those effing Ray Ban Wayfarers that everyone's wearing at the moment.

The are ugly, they are over-rated, and they are annoying me big time.

I swear, the next time I see a person wearing them I am going to rip them off their face and snap them over my knee.

Let that be a warning.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Very mild super powers

I found out today that a girl at work has an amazing affliction. She has incredible hearing.

We were at lunch and the sound of coins on a tray caused her to shudder. Then she admitted that she can hear really high pitched noises.

Whining computers and printers? She can hear them.

Ultrasonic pest repellent machines? She can hear them.

Dog whistles? She can hear them.

Electronic devices on standby? She can hear them.

Whales talking to each other? She can probably hear them.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Lovebox, exciting and new…

I loved Lovebox!

I’ve never been to a multi-day music festival before, so really had to pace myself. Amber and I got to Victoria Park around 3pm on Saturday and headed straight to the chair-o-plane. Once that was out of the way, we grabbed ourselves some cider and fronted up to see The Black Seeds who were awesome! I can’t believe they are from New Zealand… We mooched around a couple of other stages, befriended some Aussie girls who were attacked in a free merchandise scramble, and somehow managed to miss the Midnight Juggernauts. Instead, Amber and I wheedled our way to the front for Groove Armada, who again put on a fabulous performance. It was the showmanship that really made the set. There were fireworks and confetti and ping pong balls and super-sized balloons – all my favourite things! After Grove Armada we met up with the Barley Mow crew, who had scammed themselves backstage wristbands for the day. Ever the gracious hosts, they took turns in slipping their bands off and letting Amber and I have a look at how the VIPs do it. Laura took me to the back of the stage for Manu Chao, hiding behind the curtains and looking out over the audience. Loved it!

I sensibly packed myself up and trundled home at 11pm, wanting to get a good night’s sleep for day two. Whereas Amber went hell for leather and partied all the way through until the next morning, therefore piking on Sunday’s festivities. Piker Amber!

Sunday I met up with the Barley Mow crew and headed in with them early in the afternoon. I was totally rocking it out in my boots, skinny black jeans, leopard print top, and cardigan – “granny rock” I dubbed it. Sunday was super fun, as I played Eddie’s wingwoman, mislead rock magazine marketing peeps, rode the chair-o-plane again (without hands!), played a lot of leg guitar, and performed some utterly elegant dance routines. Goldfrapp were gorgeous, the Flaming Lips were a lot of fun, Pnau were pumping, and the Dandy Warhols sucked because every schedule had them on at a different time so we missed them. Pthbbbbb! I ignored Greg’s argument to call in sick on Monday, and instead took myself to bed at the rather reasonable hour of midnight.

It was very difficult getting up Monday morning to go to work, but totally worth it.

I love you Lovebox!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Gay Paris

Where to start?

Well, our weekend in Paris was brilliant! Four girls, three nights, too much wine, in one fabulous city…

Jennifer, our delightful little Parisian host for the weekend, met Amber and I at the Eurostar terminal on Friday night and took us out for mojitos while we waited for Charlotte. Then we all went to Chez Papa’s for dinner – I had an omelette (the beginning of my egg filled weekend), and the three girls had gizzard salad. Yum. Jennifer performed the most amazing reverse parallel park that I have ever witnessed, perfectly in line with the kerb and with less than half a foot between her and the car behind and in front. Amber was so impressed she took a photo, while Jennifer nonchalantly told us that that’s just how you park in Paris!

Knowing that we had a big day ahead of us, we started Saturday with a French brunch. Best. Brunch. Ever. We had croissants, granola with yoghurt, hard boiled eggs (that’s my 4th egg so far), crusty bread, ham, prosciutto, cheese, salad, and an espresso. Jennifer and I nearly had food babies afterwards, but it was worth it. Then we hit the shops, before climbing to the top of Montemartre. We barely had enough time to get home and change before heading out for dinner with Charlotte’s brother and cousin. Dinner was at a restaurant that specialised in wine, cheese, and processed meats – all the good stuff. However, I was still rather full from brunch, so just went with a salad (including my 5th egg of the trip). While the food was great, the amenities left a lot to be desired. The French refer to it as a Turkish Toilet, to Amber and I it was dubbed the worst toilet in Paris – a hole in the floor that you sort of squatted over and tried not to splash your shoes. Awful. We barely made it on to the last train of the night, with Charlotte fighting with a vending machine on the platform while Jennifer and I forcibly held the train doors open. I thought I slept pretty well on Saturday night, though apparently my teeth grinding and sleep talking woke Amber up several times.

On Sunday Amber, Charlotte and I caught the train to Versailles, where Charlotte grew up. Charlotte gave me a brief history lesson while we had brunch at a terrace café, where I had my second omelette for the trip, bringing my egg total to seven (for those of you playing at home). Then we skipped over to the castle where Marie Antoinette once lived. There was a massive line up to get in, and an even longer one for the toilet, so Amber walked the perimeter of the castle trying to find a fence to jump, but alas they were all too high. Needing sustenance to get us back to Paris, we found ourselves a little café that served nutella crepes, and I managed to order a cup of tea in French. After a quick (two hour) nap back at Jennifer’s, we got all dolled up ready for a big night on the town. The girls and I had dinner at Tokyorama, complete with a complimentary round of sake shots. Nice one! By the time we met up with the rest of our French friends and made our way to the Firemen’s Ball (the highlight of the trip) the line was all the way around the block – I had never seen so many people! Instead of waiting on the street, we had a few drinks at Coolin’. Ironically the air-conditioning at Coolin’ wasn’t working, so it was stinking hot. But the champagne was chilled, the music was fun, and the glow sticks were flying, so we stayed for a few hours. Finally, we made it to the Firemen’s Ball around 1am, but only after some devious line-cutting by Amber. It was wrong, but it had to be done. The Firemen’s Ball was actually just a massive open-air party in the courtyard of a block of buildings, and was packed with thousands of people. Within minutes of arriving, the group was separated and lost in the crowds. However Amber had the ingenious idea of standing/dancing on one of the bars, so we regrouped. Charlotte and Jennifer tried to set me up with one of the fire station’s captains, but given that he didn’t speak English and I didn’t speak French it was never going to work out… After a hilariously fun time drinking and dancing and making friends, the girls and I stumbled home just as the sun was starting to come up.

Jennifer had plans on Monday, so dropped Charlotte, Amber, I and our luggage off at the Jardin des Tuileries, a huge park in the middle of Paris. We spent the afternoon lying in the sun, drinking sparkling mineral water, sneaking into the Louvre to use the loo, and rehashing our adventures from the weekend. At 5pm we boarded the Eurostar and headed back underseas to London, marking the end of our trip with a bottle of red on the train home.

I can’t wait to go back!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A tough decision

What was the best part of my lunch break?

Was it the fact that I actually had to leave the office, and face the rain and cold?

Was it that one woman refused to use any less than the entire width of the footpath, forcing me into a puddle, which filled my shoe with gross puddle water? Ugh, puddles.

Was it having to pay for 49 envelopes that I will never use because the Post Office only sells them in packs of 50?

Was it realising that the hem on my good work pants (and incidentally the only pair that fit me at the moment) had come undone and was dragging on the ground?

Was it that my cheese and tomato baguette looked great, but it was actually made with a stale roll?

Was it returning to my desk to find it surrounded by one mother, one baby, and 11 clucky women?

Ooooh, I just can’t pick it!

Monday, July 7, 2008

OCD, me me me

It would seem that I have a mild case of OCD. Amber raised the issue with me a while ago and I laughed it off, but it’s true.

In my notebook at work, I have to have red margins on every page. One afternoon I sat down with a new notebook and ruled red margins on every single page. I also have to have the date written at the top of the page in red pen, and underlined. Not so bad, you’re thinking. Except that each day I have to alternate between blue and black pen.

When stepping off the escalator I have to lead with my right foot. I’ve never thought about it or done it intentionally, but realised this the other day. And sometimes I will do this funny little dance of tiny steps so that I get the timing right.

I always shave/dry/moisturise my right leg first.

Walking along the footpath I sometimes have to dodge cracks. Because if I step on too many cracks with one foot then it feels heavy, so I have to purposely step on cracks with my other foot to even it up. And then Mark went and put the idea in my head that I can't step on cracks or gum. Do you know how hard that is over here? There is a serious gum problem - Amber went to a seminar about it. Apparently it costs £2 to remove each piece of gum from the pavement. Did you know that?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A promise is a promise

Okay, so I said that I would try and do some more exciting things in an attempt to stop blogging about tubes and trivia. Well, I’ve come through with the goods. A little recap of the last week and a bit…

After a long week at work there is nothing better than a couple of drinks. And when drinking with work colleagues there is nothing better than knowing your limit and going home before you get stupid. And when going home there is nothing better than stopping in at the Atlas to have a nightcap with your roommates. Just don’t try and steal the glasses, okay? The night ended with Amber, Matt, Spark and I having Wii dance-off in the loungeroom. I’m pretty sure I didn’t win.

As a rule of thumb, Saturday’s are for sleeping in, cleaning, washing, and shopping, and this Saturday was no exception. I also got my fringe trimmed - anyone who knows me understands what a process this is. Saturday night Amber, Matt, Spark and I got all dolled up and went to the Sugar Hut for a couple of drinks. The boys kept to those plans, but Amber and I stayed out to the early hours of the morning dancing (moi) and fighting off Irish men (Amber).

I was surprised that we managed to get out of the house at all on Sunday. However, Amber and I made our way down to the Spanish restaurant for some late afternoon sangria. The sangria agreed with Amber, not so much with me. The rest of my afternoon was spent napping on the couch, while Amber and the boys returned to the Sugar Hut. I admire their commitment.

A nothing day, not worthy of more than this sentence.

Another sad loss for the Facthunt team. I’m not quite sure where we are going wrong, though dad is convinced Amber must be having a flat couple of weeks as he thinks she is the only one that answers any questions.

On Wednesday night I went out for some drinks with a boy. We did a pub crawl of Camden Town , Shoreditch, and Nottinghill, via Liverpool Street to check out these cool lights.

A truly horrid day. Work was crap, I was crap, Thursday was crap. The only highlight was Katie Price and Peter Andre’s reality television show on Sky. They are my friends on Facebook, did you know that?

Remember the time that we went to the Bon Jovi concert?! Amby scored some free tickets from a girl at her work, so we organised a girls night out with Charlotte and Mel. I had the gurgly wurglies, but pushed on for the sake of this blog. We got a little lost on our way to Twickenham, so missed the first two-thirds of the gig. Amber kept reminding us – it’s the journey, not the destination! Mel and I stayed on to hear ‘Bad Medicine’, ‘Have a Nice Day’, and ‘Keep the Faith’ before we hightailed it out of there in an attempt to miss the crowds. A great night was capped off with the purchase of a cowboy hat, and the Best. Kebab. Ever. on the way home. Amber and Charlotte’s trip home was a lot more eventful, with missed trains, numerous night buses, near stabbings, and another visit to the Sugar Hut.

We had a quiet morning at home before heading out for drinks at Embankment with the boys, and Dom and Jodie. Everyone was on the Queen Mary, a rickety old boat moored on the Thames that has been converted into a bar/restaurant. The sun was warm and the Magners were cool, though the rocking boat gave me a nasty case of vertigo. We were lucky enough to be surrounded by not only a hen’s party, but by a stag do. The groom-to-be cut a dashing figure in denim jeans with a Borat mankini underneath. Some of the guys that we were with were mocking his hairy chest, so Amber felt the need to stick up for this macho specimen. Then Dom’s boyfriend, Amit, layed an offer on the table that couldn’t be refused – if the groom took off the jeans then Amber would lick his chest. Amber, a woman of her word, carried through on the offer – absolutely hilarious! I’ve never been more proud of her. There was a little bit of mischief on the way home, as we were the only one’s on the train carriage, but I don’t think we need to go into detail as my nephews are reading this. The obligatory hamburger on the way home, before we all retired to bed at a rather respectable hour.

I woke up early on Sunday morning to phone the fams in Townsville. Oh, and Jackie, I’m still waiting for those photos! Amber and I decided to venture out of South West London, so headed North East to Brick Lane . We had an awesome curry taster plate at The Spice Brick Lane, contender for Best. Curry. Ever! Fuelled up, we hit the Spitalfields indoor markets and had an hour of power shopping. So many bargains, so little time. I bought a scarf, some earrings, a kimono skirt, a beaded bolero jacket, a star shirt, an animal print jumper, a top for Jaala, and the most hideous dress you could ever imagine. Phew! We were in the general vicinity of Shoreditch, so decided to drop by our favourite non-local pub, the Barley Mow, and visit the gang. After a couple of extremely well priced Magners Amber and I made our way back to West Brompton . And as a bit of a pat on the back for getting out and about on a Sunday, we decided to have a jug of sangria on the way home. Such a lovely way to end the weekend really!

And that brings us to today. A day when I normally make grandioso promises about joining the gym and eating better and going to bed earlier. HA HA HA HA HA!

Longest. Blog. Ever.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Good and bad

Things I like:
Pimms o'clock
First dates
Ribena poppers
Marks & Spencer
San Pellegrino
Eyelash curlers
Peppermint tea before bed

Things I don’t like:
Revolving doors
Stupid people
Dogs on trains
Christmas carols
Inconsistant document formatting
Olympia trains at Earls Court
Walking down stairs
People who complain about speed cameras
Other people's feet
Midweek hangovers
Losing trivia
Tepid drinks

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Working 9-5

I absolutely LOVE my new job! It is interesting, challenging, involved, and busy. My title is Events & Marketing Manager (everyone in London is a “manager”) and I run large events, review grant funding applications, write newsletters, and have a surprising amount of responsibility. I’ve warned my manager not to tell me the name of the girl that I am filling in for, as I would probably hunt her down and buy her off.

Some interesting/funny things about my job…

The office is very open plan. I can see you picking your nose from five rows back. And the person sitting behind me can see this blog, Hi Hannah!

It is all about sustainability. People look at you like you are the devil’s spawn if they think you are unnecessarily printing a document. And that had better be fair trade, locally produced, seasonal catering for that event you know.

My manager will sometimes take off his shoes and sit cross legged on his chair. Whilst in a meeting. He's cool!

Speaking of meetings, let’s organise a meeting to discuss the issue that could be resolved with quick chat at your desk. Actually, let’s have a meeting so we can organise a meeting. Yeah.

I just went to the bathroom and found a pregnancy test kit on the floor. Uh oh, someone’s been makin babies!

Government takes security very seriously. I have a swipe card to get in and out of the building – okay, I can understand that. But do I really need a swipe card to go to the toilet? When we move to our new office at Canary Wharf they have to x-ray my handbag! What are they going to think when they see the 63 hair clips, the spare pair of underwear, the Frisbee, and the mobile phone charger?

An open letter

Dear Mum, Jackie and Natalii (the only people who read this thing),

Apologies for the lack of posts lately. All I seem to write about is the tube and trivia.

I promise to go adventuring and/or drinking this weekend so that I have something interesting to write about next week.

Love ya hard,

Tube stories

The past couple of weeks have been quiet, hence the lack of blog material. Though in the past fortnight I have collected enough silly tube stories for a post.

Most people, myself included, would find it very hard to believe that I catch public transport. Once dubbed Evie, the environmental vandal, I have since changed my ways. A change that was forced upon me, but that I have rather quickly adapted to.

Over the past two weeks, these funny things have happened while I was on the tube…

On a rather packed Picadilly line train to Covent Garden one Saturday night I saw a young woman dressed ready for a night on the town. Except she was carrying a car spoiler.

On a District line train home one afternoon I offered my seat up to a (rather hot) young man on crutches, only to have him declare that he was fine and refuse my hospitality. “You are on crutches!” I argued. Me thinks the crutches were a sneaky ploy to summon sympathy and attract young women. Can’t believe I fell for that old trick.

On a District line train to visit the Barley Mow gang in Shoreditch one night a rather large, hairy, tattooed and inebriated young man commented “nice hair!” to Amber as we alighted the train. See, I told you it was a good haircut woman!

On a District line train home from Putney Bridge last Saturday night, I just made it onto a carriage as the train was about to pull away. Yay, I thought. Until the train was held between stations and I realised that there was a homeless man with two dirty dogs. BoJo (Boris Johnson, Mayor of London) has recently banned alcohol on public transport; maybe he needs to think about banning stinkin mutts as well.

On the District line train pretty much every morning there is a different couple sucking face in my carriage. The jolting train ride is enough to unsettle one’s stomach, so your smooching noises really make me feel nauseas. And it’s not just because I am single that this offends me, I don’t think any of the middle-age suits are too impressed by your display.

At Westminster Station one Monday morning I found the “Tube Character of the Week”. A 70 year old man that looked like Albert Einstein dressed in a three-piece pinstripe suit, carrying a brief case and umbrella, and wearing a bowler hat. Brilliant!

On a Circle line train one afternoon a man dressed as a pirate was going around collecting money to feed the homeless. I gave him £2 and said “that’s just for your hat, love it!”

Thursday, June 5, 2008

To paraphrase Paul Keating...

It was the loss Facthunt needed to have.

For the first time in history (not to be over dramatic or anything), Facthunt lost the King's Arms trivia competition last night. It was a draw between us and another team, so "Quizmaster Liam" decided to have an utterly confusing and unprofessional tie breaker. We were beaten by a smidge.

But it was a good thing, as the hype was getting a bit too much to live up to. And at the end of the day, you know, trivia is the real winner.

Though I place the blame on Hugh Grant, who walked past the pub halfway through the second round and distracted us. True story!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Welcome to Idiotsville!

Population: me.

Silly little me got on the wrong train when I left work today, didn't I?

I don't know left from right, and it would seem that I don't know east from west either. It was only at the second stop that I realised, so I quickly alighted, changed platforms and squeezed myself on to a west bound Jubilee train. Only for it to be removed from service at the next stop because the Jubilee line was now closed. So I changed to the Northern line, amidst a crush of people, past a bagpipe player, and alongside a woman hell bent on elbowing me out of the way. Another packed train and another change over, and finally I was heading home on the District line. And then the hens party got on, with their too-short dresses and their cork wedge heels and their shrieks.

I'm not as smart as I look. Nowhere near.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Snaps to Facthunt, for our SIXTH consecutive trivia win!

Snaps to Tesco Direct, for delivering my new mattress! Sayonara crappy old mattress with the springs that nearly dislocated my shoulder, oh, you shall not be missed.

Snaps to the Barley Mow, our new favourite (non local) pub! It was well worth the three-tube hour-long trip to Shoreditch just to enjoy the generous hospitality of Eddie, Laura and Greg. Magners for £2, unlimited credits on the jukebox, free run of the place after 11pm, hilarious foreign accents, and ridiculous card tricks – you know I’ll be going back.

Snaps to me for getting a new job! A 10-week contract with a great company and the title of ‘Marketing & Events Executive’. Best part is that I don’t have to do another Birmingham conference with my current job. I am fabulous in London, Birmingham not so much.

Snaps to Marks & Spencer! I will never tire of their chicken laksa noodle salad. I’ve had it at least a dozen times since I’ve been here, and it just keeps getting better. M&S, you don’t put a foot wrong.

Snaps to The People’s Post Office! You may make me wait half an hour in the queue, but it only cost me £6.45 to send a large package to Australia.

Snaps to Mark and Matt for giving us a Wii console! The dance mat is super fun, even if Amber is mega competitive and won’t tell me how to use the hand controls so she can be the best at ‘Rhythm is a Dancer’.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Sunny Sunday in South West Londy

So, it was my 25B (I refuse to say I’m 26) birthday on the weekend. We went out in Soho on Saturday night and had a bit of fun. There was French champagne, my faithful partner in crime, old school friends, new gay husbands, jugs of cosmopolitans, dancing with bathroom attendants, aviator sunglasses, stacks on, long stemmed roses, posed photos, Jazzify street performances, cold samosas, a sea captains hat, and a fry up when we got home. And that’s all I am going to say about that.

I'm not a huge fan of birthdays, but this one was pretty good despite being so far away from my family. I loved all of my cards and flowers and presents, thank you all so much!

As for what we did on my actual birthday, I'm going to let Amber tell that story. So how about a warm round of applause for our guest blogger, Amby!

London days begin early in May - sun rises at around 5 am and doesn't set until nearly 10 pm. An unseasonable week of fantastic weather sets the scene for last Sunday which was a long day full of observations of life in the capital Britain.

After returning home rather late the previous evening (nudged Cinderella out of the way as I made my way through the door), Amanda, Matt, Mark and I ventured down to 'The Slug' to watch a much anticipated Brisbane Broncos vs. Manly Sea Eagles match. As we were all feeling the effects of the previous night (Mandy's 25Bth birthday) we kicked off the morning with some grease (big burger with lots of lard) and a pinch of the hair of the dog (in my case a pint of Magner's Irish cider). The weather was absolutely glorious (27 degrees and sunny), so not surprisingly, all of the pasty locals and their mangy dogs had also ventured out - the fact that there was a Chelsea vs. Bolton football (soccer) semi also added to the colourful delights that filled the streets of Fulham. As the Brisbane Broncos descended into a fiery ball of failure, the 'Slug' slowly filled itself with rowdy soccer yobs either dressed in non-flattering costumes, too tight jerseys or, worst of all, the teams' 'away' jersey (featuring bare chest, beer belly and hairy sponsorship). As the game wound down I had the good fortune to comment to a middle-aged Bobby about my preference for rugby league over the wussy round ball sport. He agreed and we launched into a great conversation about Wigan and the glory days of Ellery Hanley - he asked me if I was going to be back at the pub 'tonight' - he was concerned about my safety I think. So I assured him I would be staying out of the way of any riots, chanting or police violence - he looked disappointed.

Mandy and I left the Slug (the crowd had become suffocating and Matt and Mark had already deserted us in favour of Sunday lounging at home). As we made our way down the street we were greeted by more and more 'away jerseys'. Disgusted by the lack of dignity of these football fans, Mandy reported her concerns to some young cops keeping an eye on proceedings. "Is that legal in this country?" Mandy asked pointing at a particularly large white specimen whose chafing could not only be seen but heard. One of the cops looked at his fellow countryman with a wry grin before replying "Yes ... but it shouldn't be!". The freak show didn't stop there. Between Farm Lane and Brompton Park Crescent is a small green space - good for exercising dogs or having a snooze or a read on nice days (it's just a shortcut to me). As we entered the green space a man (in a Chelsea jersey of course) walked past us with his young son and wife and other child trailing. As he passed he suddenly jerked his head to the side, placed one finger over his nostril and blew as hard as he could. Yes folks - he pulled out the bushman's hankie!!! On the ground. In front of his family. In front of us. My stomach lurched and I looked at his wife wondering how she ever mustered the courage to produce those two children with that man.

Probably should have stayed in after the morning of atrocities but it's rare that the weather is that good so M&A&M&A headed out the park adjoining our estate. We spread out some sheets as a makeshift picnic blanket and celebrated Mandy's birthday with some Marks and Spencer salad, Mumm champagne and some games of Uno. Luckily I had finished eating when three fat and rather white flamed-haired teenage girls entered the arena accompanied by a skinny little turd of a boy kicking a soccer ball. Two of the 'rangas' were holding hands and I thought it lucky that biology will prevent them from producing a child with both of their genes. The foursome began to kick a soccer ball around the park (even though it was clearly signed that ball games are not allowed!) and every time one of the ten-tonne trio 'scored' she would put the shirt over her head and run about like seismic occurrence. Needless to say this was just gross and like a car crash we all just couldn't stop looking. Eventually the sideshow had to end and the feral foursome walked towards the exit of the park. Two rangas holding hands again, third ranga third wheeling but then things got just that bit worse. The turdy kid walks over the ranga lesbians and proceeds to put his hands down the back of one of their pants. I think this was in a wedgie attempt but instead he just pulled this unfortunate girl's shorts down far enough for most of the park's inhabitants to dry-retch.

Meanwhile, a 'gentleman' entered the park wearing jeans, a button up shirt and carrying his lunch and a newspaper. He sat down approx ten metres from our party and proceeded to eat his lunch. Lunch eaten - check. He then took his shirt off. Shirt off - check. He then proceeded to read his newspaper. Newspaper read - check. He then lay down for a nap. Nap - check. He then not very subtly took off his jeans to expose a pair of non-elasticised Primark jockey shorts and flashed all of equipment in our direction. Who does that????????????? Lucky for us Mandy took a photo.

Time to leave the park and indeed the day behind. After an obligatory evening of delivered oriental food and Sex and City, the sun set on the longest Sunday in South-West Londy.....

Saturday, May 17, 2008

I'm in love

I've fallen head over heels in love!

I met him last night at a pub just around the corner, called The Farm.

His name is Jasper.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Things that are giving me the shirts this morning....

Dear colleague, why did you ask me to order packaging for a poster? I spent nearly half an hour finding the right tubes, writing the purchase order form, getting the purchase order approved, and calling and ordering them from the supplier. Then I phoned you to let you know, and you said you had already done it.

It is an open plan, yet relatively small office. Keep your yapping voice down when you are on the phone please. There is no need to project like you are down at Speakers’ Corner at Hyde Park on a Sunday afternoon.

The previous events manager just left boxes of stuff for me to unpack, without any instructions as to what to do with it. I can only assume you want me to do an event analysis with all these feedback forms, but don't worry, I’ll trawl through every file on the computer to find the template.

If you fill in a form asking me to send you something, then make sure your handwriting is legible. No one can read that blerrie chicken scratch.

Feels better to get that off my chest!

Friday, May 9, 2008

I take it all back

The tube sucks.

After getting on a super packed train this morning the stupid thing broke down. In between stations. In a tunnel. On a 25 degree morning. For 20 minutes. On my way to work. In a suit. It was then that I realised, hey, maybe I am claustrophobic.

And a lesson for any men reading this. Even though today was hot and you have to suffer through public transport, under no circumstances are you to wear a short sleeved business shirt under your pinstripe suit. Not ever. Okay?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Tube characters

There are some funny people on the tube, such as....

The four year old girl who shmushed her banana and then peeled it and licked it like an ice-cream.

The young man who hadn't removed all of his face paint and was singing to himself.

The fabulously dressed young woman who thought it was okay to wear tan coloured stockings with strappy sandals.

The guy dressed in acid wash jeans. With matching jacket.

The attractive young man with a bottle of vodka and two bottles of coke, enjoying a few drinks on the way into the city.

The 65 year old woman in leather pants.

Amber's Grumpy Hot Tube Boy who begrudgingly gives up the fight for an empty seat - "Just take it!"

The many midgets in London. Sorry, I mean 'little people'.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Did somebody say roller disco?

Amber, Gioele and I headed out to Vauxhall on Thursday night for the roller disco. Here's what happened...

Amber disinfecting her hands with waterless hand cleanser before our dinner at the local chippie in Vauxhall.

The hall was a blur of disco lights, mirror balls, leg warmers, and too much fluro clothing on the heterosexual men for my liking...

I don't even have to ask Amber to pose any more, she's such a natural model!

Amber and Gioele showing off their skates as they check out the fire exit.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

It’s all good

Things are going great guns at the moment!

Firstly, Facthunt won trivia for the third time last night! Alex joined Amber, Juliet and I for our least convincing and least profitable win yet. However, we are starting to get a bit of a name for ourselves at the Kings Arms, so the manager gave us a free bottle of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc (AU$50) when we got the hat trick.

Secondly, I received the best compliment from a girl at the pub: “I love your fringe, it looks sexy hot”. Ha ha ha!

And finally, I got a job! Although it is only a short-term contract position, it is a good organisation, interesting role, great money, and they want me to start straight away.

So yay for me!

Monday, April 28, 2008

The week in review

We’ve been without internet for a week, so it is going to have to be a brief roundup of recent adventures...

I helped Mandy and Benny move into their new apartment, so I am now officially living in West Brompton. Happiness (for a Taurus) is a bed and a cupboard in which to hang my minimalist wardrobe.

I had an interview with another recruitment agency, and they were really positive about finding me some work that would make me more than £400 a week (damn you Michael Page!). Thursday afternoon Amber and I met up with Sarrah in Chancery Lane for some drinks with her work colleagues. After several glasses of cheap sav blanc we went to the trendiest thai restaurant in Soho called Busaba Eathai. I can’t believe I ate the whole pad thai! Anyone who knows me knows that I never finish everything on my plate – that’s how good the food was.

Amber wrote to the Australian Embassy and got us tickets to the “Service of Commemoration and Thanksgiving to mark ANZAC Day” at Westminster Abbey. I’ve been there before as a tourist, but to actually attend a service was amazing. The place was full of Australians and New Zealanders (and Peter Garrett), the choir sang beautifully, the organ music was haunting, and the service extremely moving. And clearly I wasn’t the only one affected, as Juliet noted on the way out “don’t you sometimes wish you were a nun?” Friday night we went to Mary Janes at Tower Hill for Amber’s work colleague’s 30th birthday drinks. I was very responsible, and caught the tube home with Juliet at 11pm. Amber managed to finish our bottle of champagne before catching the last tube home, so snaps for her too.

The weather on Saturday morning was GLORIOUS - sunny and 22 degrees! I decided to do a fry up for brunch, so Amber donned her new playsuit, I put on my funemployment dress, and we walked to the Sainsburys at Fulham Broadway – along with the throngs of soccer fans going to Chelsea stadium for the game. Saturday afternoon we met up with Dom, Alex, Cat and Nicki, and went to an ANZAC Day BBQ at Maida Vale. The apartment had a huge back yard, with grass and a dog! There was two-up, snags, chocolate crackles, and Josh Pyke playing on the iPod. We met two girls from Sydney – Cate and Melissa – who were supa-fun. So much so, that I abandoned the BBQ and went out dancing in Putney Bridge with them! Don’t worry mum, I was very well behaved.... ;)

Sunday was dad's birthday Jackie, did you know that?! And I have to admit, when I called dad in the morning it was one of the first times I've felt really homesick. Sunday was also grey and rainy, so we stayed in and ordered pizza and watched the Last of the Mohicans. Sunday night Amber and I took Charlotte to the Sugar Hut for a belated birthday dinner. The Sugar Hut is this hole-in-the-wall thai restaurant in Fulham, where you have to ring a doorbell to get in. Inside, it is rather cosy with big lounges, dim lighting, candles everywhere, and funky thai statues around the place. The Sugar Hut now ties with Busaba Eathai for the best thai I’ve had! Amber told me that on Friday and Saturday nights the place turns in to a supa-fun club at 9pm, when they push all the tables to the side and bring out a singer called Christina and a few bongo players. Expect a blog entry about that in a couple of weeks once I’ve been back!

Not as brief as I promised actually, was it!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

To paraphrase Kylie Minogue...

... we did it again!

Facthunt won the King's Arms Trivia Competition AGAIN this week, despite a bunch of skanky fashion students trying to cheat their way through.

31 points got us £27.

Forget full-time employment, I am going to hit the trivia circuit and earn my living that way!

Monday, April 21, 2008

J’adore France!

What a weekend! Nicole declared our little sojourn to Dinard, France to be the best weekend ever, and I would have to say that it is up there on the list.

Amber, Nicole, Charlotte and I flew from Stansted to Dinard on Friday afternoon for Charlotte’s 30th birthday party. The Ryan Air flights only cost us £60, which is a bargain. Though you have to put up with vinyl seats and a horrid yellow and blue interior, which Amber said screamed emergency. Amber also said that the bottle of red wine she bought to help calm her nerves (she hates flying) tasted like pigs blood. She has such a charming way with words.

We all stayed at Charlotte’s family’s summerhouse, a huge place that sleeps 14 people and has a brilliant little cubby house. Charlotte made us Brittany crepes for dinner, and then we headed out to La Palm for some drinks. The night was fairly quiet until Amber and I decided to move from vodka cokes to champagne. A few more of the party guests turned up, a few bottles of Mumm were purchased, a few too many in the car, a few mispronounced French words, you know how it is.

Saturday morning we went to the local markets, which sold fabulous fresh produce as well as clothes and crafts. I bought a scarf, some suspenders and a gorgeous vintage handbag that reminds me of Murder She Wrote for some reason.

The weather in Dinard was just as crazy as it is in London. On Saturday afternoon we were going to go down the beach and enjoy the sun, when it started to hail. Yes, people, hail. Small pellets of ice. Crazy.

Saturday afternoon everyone helped get the food ready for the party, which incidentally didn’t really get eaten until 6:30am Sunday morning when we got home....

About 20 of Charlotte’s friends came from Paris and London for the party. They were the nicest group of people I have ever met and have all been added as friends on Facebook. As the red wine started to flow, so did the conversation, and the giggles. Amber’s French is pretty good, but she took delight in misinterpreting for Nicole and me. At one stage Amber told a group of people that I was actually raised by wolves rather than people, and so to excuse my behaviour. I retaliated by telling everyone that Amber was actually a mermaid. Even stevens. The joke of the night was from Amber’s speech: pardon my French, but you’re an a**hole! The Frenchies LOVED it, and I cannot tell you how many times I heard it over the weekend.

Amber and I started cracking open bottles of Mumm around 11pm, as the red wine was putting me to sleep. And that’s when the fun really got cracking! At midnight we all piled into cabs and went to a club high up on a cliff overlooking the ocean. The 20 Euro cover charge per person was a bit of a shock until I found out that it also included several bottles of vodka for the group. We took our ticket up to the bar and walked away with three bottles of vodka, a stack of glasses, a bucket of ice, and bottles of juice and softdrink. Then we set up our own little bar in the corner and proceeded to get messy. Knowing that my mum and dad read this, I will omit any incriminating details (*cough* Nicole *cough*), but I will say that there was a lot of drinking and a lot of dancing on tables. There was also a cat fight with a 50 year old woman, after which I had to play the “oh, we don’t speak French” card with the bouncer to distract him from kicking Amber and Christelle out of the place. It was a fabulous change of scenery from London though – the French, especially the men, are absolutely gorgeous!

Sunday was spent cleaning, sleeping, comparing stories and war wounds (an 18 year old kid pinched my arm in the club), and making plans to see our new French friends again.

J’adore France!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

And the winner is...


Facthunt took honours in their debut performace at the Kings Arms Trivia Competition last night. The £19 purse bought us a round of celebratory drinks and next weeks entrance fee.

Game on!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


We're off to Alex's local pub for the regular trivia competition tonight. Amber and I are renowned trivia nuts, and have pulled together a fairly solid team...

Name: Amanda
Age: 25*
Trivia areas of strength: nature science, 80's fashion, algorithms, trouser styles

Name: Amber
Age: 30
Trivia areas of strength: natural disasters, serial killers, 80's music, politics, tube facts

Name: Juliet
Age: 28
Trivia areas of strength: Anne of Green Gables, charity shops in London, the society murders in Melbourne, popular 70s soul singers

Wish us luck!

* Childbearing age according to Amber, who removed my date of birth from my CV

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Don't leave home without it

Okay, three days in and I've realised that there are some things that you just don't leave home without...

Oyster card. A weekly card that costs about £24 and gives me unlimited use of the tube and buses. This is ESSENTIAL. I miss not having the convenience of a car, but the tube system is pretty good, and where I am living is pretty central.

Waterless hand cleanser. Amber bought me a little bottle of this and recommended that I use it after touching any of the handles on the aforementioned tube. *shudder*

Gloves. My poor circulation means that I haven't really taken my gorgeous purple leather gloves off since I arrived.

iPod. You do a lot of incidental walking in London - walking to the tube, from the tube to where you are going, up to the local Marks & Spencer, down the road to the local pub. The iPod keeps me entertained during these times. It is also a mood enhancer. I had a little moment on Friday where I caught the tube to Piccadilly Circus to get my HSBC card only to realise I forgot all the paperwork. So I put on some happy music and trundled back home. It's also like a personal soundtrack to your life, so I've been listening to a lot of Brit rock to get me in the mood.

Lip balm & hand cream. The cold dries your skin out like nothing else. Gross.

Umbrella. London weather is bi-polar. Sunny one minute, raining 10 minutes later, sunny again in half an hour, no it's raining again now. JUST MAKE YOUR MIND UP, AUGH!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

I've arrived!

After way too many hours on a BA airplane eating vegetarian low-fat food (don't ask), I finally arrived in London on Thursday morning.

Darling Amber met me at Heathrow and took me back to her apartment in West Brompton for a crash course in London 101. I now have an oyster card for the tube, a poster-sized tube map, and an A-Z Guide. What else do I need?

Amber had to go to work in the afternoon while I unsuccessfully tried to get some sleep. I decided to push through the jet lag and caught the tube all by myself to meet Amber at St James's Park for some drinks with her work colleagues. Everyone was extremely impressed with my staying power and my relatively perky appearance (thank god for Laura Mercier's secret concealer is all I can say). And Juliet was impressed with my tan - HA HA HA!

The night ended up at Reflex, an 80s disco with a light-up dancefloor. I have to admit, that was what kept me going when I started to fade around 8:30pm. Fortunately I pushed through so I could enjoy £30 bottles of Moet, £3 pairs of aviator sunglasses, Amber wearing a plastic Madonna cone bra, Rohan having a serious dance off with some random, a man in a suit strip down to his birthday suit on the dancefloor, and my new mate Dave the DJ who I tried to convince that I was an extra on The Bill.

Good times people, good times...