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...