Thursday, November 26, 2009

I am London

The past couple of weeks have been busy, as I get a final dose of all things London and English: Bonfire night, my third favourite night of the year; Blood Brothers musical theatre show with none other than Mel C from spice Girls (who was actually rather good); dinner with work colleagues at Ping Pong dim sum restaurant in Waterloo; a weekend away in Portsmouth with Bondy and Beavis and a fabulous three hour long lunch; and ice-skating in the shadows of the Tower of London last night.

And the next few days are going to be equally as crazy, with the movies with Amber tonight, work farewell drinks tomorrow night, moving on Friday, dinner with Kasia on Friday night, Camden Markets on Saturday (Angela, we are definitely going this time), a quiet night in with Angela and X Factor on Saturday night, before we head off at sparrow's fart on Sunday for Amanda and Angela's Wild European Vacation for two weeks.

Toot toot!

So this is probably the last blog for a little while. Later skaters...

Friday, November 20, 2009

I miss you already!

I am really going to miss the people that I work with. I have made some fantastic friends here in London, that I will miss terribly.

And it looks like they will miss me too!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

What do you think?

So, a new girl has started at work this week, and she is quite nice and friendly.

However, I have two issues with her.

1. She wore a black sequin blazer and red snake skin stilettos on her first day. I thought that this was appropriate for a night out at a bar in Soho, but slightly inappropriate for starting a new job. You should always be rather conservative on the first day, until you know what the office is like.

2. She is hotdesking and her monitor went blank so she swung it back and smashed it against the desk dividing wall. On two separate occasions. I hate people who smash electronic items when they don't work. In this case I thought it showed a level of disrespect, especially as it wasn't her computer. However, she should get on well with another colleague who takes to kicking the printer when it gets a paper jam.

As per usual, I emailed Amby, Matt and Mark to get their thoughts on the issue.

Amber's response:

1. The British workplace is a free for all as far as dressing goes so she will get away with whatever horror outfits emerge.

2. That's' just wrong. Perhaps she is trying to get noticed so everyone knows her name by Friday drinks where she will overconsume, flash her chest to senior executives and mistake the front door for the latrine...

Matt's response:

1. I concur. Conservative until you know ur place.

2. While it does feel good to throw/kick/smash electrical items, there is a time and a place. Me, I would have wriggeled the cords, tried degaussing the screen then tried monitors and checked out the graphic card drivers :)

Friday, November 13, 2009

I like a woman with spirit, I do, I do, I do*

Amber, Matt, Mark and I took a little trip to Belfast last weekend. Why Belfast you ask (as many of you have)? Because we got £15 return flights.

Just to put things in perspective, the very very very early morning cab to Stanstead Airport on Saturday cost us £58, or approximately £15 each. And the Stanstead Express train from the airport to Liverpool Street on Monday morning cost us £17. Apparently airplanes are cheaper to run than trains.

Belfast is an interesting city. The city centre has a brand spanking new shopping centre, complete with glass dome roof and viewing platform, and filled with higher end high street shops. However, the outer suburbs are run down, cement clad, and generally grey.

Saturday we started off with brunch at the local farmers markets, where we ate our way through olives, tapenade, sausage rolls, pig on a spit on a roll, lollies that looked like a cooked breakfast, and some oysters. Matt didn't realise that he had to shuck them himself, which he tried to do with Amber's contraband nail file, before admitting defeat and sheepishly going back to the vendor to open them for him.

From there we made our way to the aforementioned shopping centre so that I could purchase some new boots, as mine were falling apart and about two hours away from an Angela-at-Oktoberfest-esque gaffa tape fix. We went to every store in the centre without any luck, and as a last resort I went to the Puma shop, where I fell in love with some black leather biker boots. Of course I bought them, and proceeded to sing an amended version of a Calvin Harris song for the rest of the time: "oooh, I've got new shoes and I'm ready for the weekend!"

As international lovers of the Hoponhopoff Bus Tour, we decided to do a big bus tour around the city. We saw the dry dock where the Titanic was built, lots of murals commemorating the Troubles, Falls Road (dubbed whores road by Amber) where the Catholics live, Shankhill Road (dubbed skanksville road by Amber) where the Protestants live, an abandoned courthouse, a converted prison, and learnt a little more about the history of Belfast. We also froze our freakin arses off. We were sitting on the open top of the bus and the wind chill factor brought the temperature down to about zero we reckon. Matty and I snuggled together in a feeble attempt to maintain core body temperature.

After the tour we decided to warm ourselves up in a nice pub down a random alley way with some wine for the ladies and Guinness for the gents, and some Wallabies rugby union action for everyone. The drinks and the early morning meant that we all required a little nap (two hours) before dolling ourselves up and heading out to experience Belfast's nightlife.

The cab driver that took us from the airport to the hotel had suggested we go to a bar called Kelly's, which we found and quickly walked past. After a fantastic dinner at an Argentinean restaurant we sought out a couple of bars that Mark's friend had suggested. It was at this point that we decided not to listen to anyone else's suggestions. The bars were packed to the rafters with middle aged women wearing sequin minidresses on hens parties and deeply unattractive men over the age of 40. We didn't even finish our drinks before high tailing it out of there and heading to a younger part of town ("somewhere that doesn't have a median age of 55 please cab driver!") and found ourselves at a bar called the Spaniard, which reminded me a lot of Ric's (my favourite bar in Brisbane). While we were wedged between Amber's new best dreadlocked friend and freakin couple's make out corner, we had a few drinks and laughs. Around midnight I decided to leave the others to it and head home, after which they hit the vodka redbulls and then went to some underground club that didn't serve alcohol but actually did serve alcohol. I recall Amber stumbling in around 4am, animatedly telling me about the club, and declaring that possibly she had had too many redbulls.

Unfortunately Amber wasn't so animated on the Sunday, so we left her in the room to watch television and order clam chowder from room service, and the boys and I went out to find some brunch. We then realised it was nearly 1pm, so turned our attentions to lunch, and boy did we find it. The only place we could find that was open had a three-course Sunday pub lunch on, which we enjoyed whilst reading the papers and listening to Matt's stories about his hilarious and embarrassing childhood.

With the afternoon to fill we decided to do a black cab tour, which was promised to be more informative and personal than the Hoponhopoff tour that we had done the previous day. It would have been if the driver hadn't spent so much time slagging off the bus tour and telling us that he wouldn't be telling us this or that because we didn't have time. It was still interesting as he took us to different parts of the town, though Mark and I didn't like it when he made us get out of the cab to look at a mural because there were some nasty looking women with tattoos staring us down. Fortunately though, we survived to make it up to Belfast Castle with it's beautiful views over the port.

Back at the hotel we rustled up Amber and headed out for dinner. A local information computer kiosk thing in the reception listed a modern Irish restaurant called Tony Roma's about 0.4miles from the hotel, which we thought would be perfect. Tony Roma's turned out to be an American restaurant about 2 miles from the hotel. Whatever, we still ate there and were reminded of why American's have the highest rate of obesity - the servings were unnecessarily huge. After dinner we went back to the hotel to watch X Factor (go Jedward), pack, and prepare for our early morning departure.

It was really interesting to spend a weekend in a rather non-destination city, and find out a bit more about it's turbulent history. I can't say I would go back again, but I definitely enjoyed it.

"Oooh, I put on my shoes and I'm ready for the weekend"
Calvin Harris

* Amber's catchphrase for the weekend, from Monty Python if I am correct

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Overheard in London

Amber and I have some rather silly conversations over email. In fact, most days there are group emails bouncing back between Amby, Matt, Mark and I. This is one of my favourites, and has become a running joke.

Amby: Am going to the movies tonight with Charlotte. I want to see that teen vampire flick but I think she wants to See Fantastic Mr Fox or Couples Counselling ...anyone else keen?

Moi: I'll go see the teen vampire movie with you next Wednesday Amby

Amby: You cant get out of it now you have promised Mandy. Plus I know you are on Team Edward... and Team Jedward...

Moi: It's a date. I'll wear my Team Edward shirt and be all broody, and you can wear your Team Jacob shirt and not brush your hair.

Amby: Just our usual modus operandus then.

On second thoughts, probably not funny to anyone but Amber and I, and all those little tweens that read Twilight...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Catch up

It's been a busy last couple of weeks, and while I have lots to share I also have lots of work to do. Damn career getting in the way of my personal life.

Last Wednesday Angela and I went to see Phoenix at Brixton Academy. It was all a bit Three Stooges getting there, as we completely missed the stop, were laughed at by some 13 year old girls, and then had to make our way back. However it was all worth it as Phoenix were AWESOME! I have to admit that I wasn't the biggest fan of Phoenix, having only heard their old album thanks to Nathy putting it on my iPod, but agreed to go and keep Angela company. But the venue was fantastic, the sound and lighting were amazing, and Phoenix just bloody rocked it. To top off the night Angela saw a drug deal on street as we were waiting for a bus!

Last Friday we went to Wimbledon dogs for Matty's 35th birthday. Happy birthday Matt! And apologies to dad for waking you up super early Saturday morning to get your advice for race seven. I was drawn to #3 Barney's Giggle, but then saw #1 - Graham's Gooch. So I called dad, was given a quick lesson in reading the form guide (never go for the dog that has consistantly run 2nd as they don't want to win, instead go for the dog that has had a 1st recently). While everyone else went for Barney's Giggle I backed Graham's Gooch, who romped it in and won me a nice little purse! I bet on seven races, won three, lost four, and managed to come out £1 up overall. After the races Amber and Stuart and I went to the local pub - The Corner Pub - for a nightcap, while Charlotte and Jack retired for the evening, and the mo's went to a mo club in Clapham. Well, didn't they miss out! At the Corner Pub there was a 50th birthday party complete with a table of nasty cold party food (garlic chicken balls, mini sausages, stale chips) and karaoke. We enjoyed the atmosphere and cheap drinks before making our way to the station and catching the train home.

Saturday I was planning on going to Camden markets, but only made it as far as Clapham Junction with Angela. This was okay though, as we found the most delicious markets and enjoyed some cheese and ham and potato tapas goodness.

Saturday night was Hallowe'en, and Amber and I were excited about the opportunity to dress up like idiots. Amber was a nun and I was death by mirrorball, with (British teen favourite) dark eye makeup, bits of mirrorball scattered across my face, and a bleeding wound on my forehead. After X Factor we made our way to a party being held by my old manager at The Government Agency, Keef. There were costumes and spider webs and Bundy Rum and monkeys and carved pumpkins and Monster Munch chips, and it was honestly one of the best house parties we'd ever been to.

And this week is another big one, with Model Mondays last night, movies tomorrow night, Bonfire night (my third favourite night of the year!) on Thursday, and then packing Friday night because this weekend I am going to Belfast with Amber, Matt, and Mark!

I think I need a nap...