Sunday, March 30, 2014

Franco Manca

My Paris girls and I were a bit more organised and didn't wait 6 months to get together this time. We took our very organised selves out for pizza in Clapham Junction at a place called Franco Manca.


It's little and busy, cheap and delicious!


We ordered a bottle of organic red wine which was amazing, and waited for our pizzas.


We were right next to the kitchen, which was fun because we could see the dough being rolled but kind of torturous after we ordered our pizzas as we could smell them all cooking...


When the pizzas did come, they were pretty sharply devoured. They were so tasty and huge, so even though I was pretty full I ploughed through, no piece was going to waste. The dough base was amazing.


Happily stuffed, we wandered off to get cocktails. I fully recommend this place for dinner though - I'm going back as soon as I can. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

"Her"

When I told my sister I was going to see this film, she said she hadn't heard about it. When I explained it's the one where the guy falls in love with his computer system she responded with "Oh my God, I thought that was an iPad advert, it looks awful!". Fair enough it's not a usual concept, but I always like those films that are a little bit different.



Sadly, I've had some rather disappointing trips to the cinema of late. The Grand Budapest Hotel did not live up to my expectations...and I forget what I saw before that, but it suffices to say that I haven't been overwhelmed. I'm a big Scarlett Johansson fan and very much enjoy Joaquin Phoenix, so I made sure to see this film before it disappeared from cinematic viewing.

"Her" did not disappoint. But, I will stop there because Ben decided to write me a little film review for the blog and I thought it was perfect and better than anything I would have written. So here you go...

Her is the new film from Spike Jonze, set in a tech-topia (technical utopia) this hipster film follows the romance between quirky Theodore, wondrously and emotionally well played by Joaquin Phoenix, and his operating system Samantha, played by the diverse and brave Scarlett Johansson. The fact that the film leaves you believing in this blossoming relationship is down to the witty dialogue and the honest portrayal of emotions in a relationship, and the comedy moments allow for the break up of the slow pace of the film. The only downside is the film's unsurprising and inevitable ending, with its social dialogue of where a society of technical advancement is moving towards. This is a film that you and Siri can enjoy together...


I didn't find the ending a 'downside' at all but each to their own opinion I guess. I do recommend this film so long as you don't mind something a bit 'different' that's more character focused than featuring a fast paced storyline.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Alounak

Sarah and I were way overdue for a catch up. I did a bit of a google to find something a bit different for our dinner date, and found this website listing some good places to eat in London without spending a fortune.

Alounak March 2014

Sarah and I went to Persian restaurant, Alounak. One of the main bonuses about this place was that you could bring your own alcohol, as they don't serve it on their menu. They charge £2.50 for corkage but you're looking at saving a bundle on a nice glass of wine with your meal!

Alounak March 2014

I'd read good things about the bread, they make it fresh at the restaurant.

Alounak March 2014

Alounak March 2014
Alounak March 2014

So for starters we ordered some bread with what looks like two plates of mush. It was in fact, a delicious houmous and an aubergine..thing. I can't remember the name of it, but it was really good. After a brief chat with the girl on the table next to us, we decided to share a main, which turned out to be a very smart decision.

Alounak March 2014

It was very good and, though the service is a little 'hurried', you can forgive them since they run a very busy restaurant. I don't think I'll be heading back anytime soon, not because I didn't have a fantastic meal, but because Persian food isn't really my thing. The starters were really delicious but meat and rice isn't my favourite meal, even if the meat was really good. But it's definitely a good one to try for something a bit different! 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Rugby and Jenga

Last weekend was so much fun and depressing all at once. If you're not a six nations fan, you won't get the depressing bit but, in a nutshell, England had a chance to win the six nations, and in the final minutes of the France vs Ireland game, it looked like France got a try which would have meant beating Ireland, and England winning six nations...but it turned out the French had passed forward, and the try was no good...so, no win for England, never mind.

Drinks and Jenga Mar 14

Sunday, with the weather being so lovely, we did the British thing.

Drinks and Jenga Mar 14

Pimms! And then, we played, a very good, very tense, game of Jenga...

Drinks and Jenga Mar 14
Drinks and Jenga Mar 14
Drinks and Jenga Mar 14
Drinks and Jenga Mar 14
Drinks and Jenga Mar 14
Drinks and Jenga Mar 14
Drinks and Jenga Mar 14

We later got a pub dinner and did our local pub quiz...we dropped only six and a half points and came SECOND. The injustice of it all! This weekend will be a different story...

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Crêpe Day

How did everyone enjoy pancake day? I never normally subscribe to it, it passes by unheeded. But this year, for some reason, I got caught up in the hype and decided, not to make pancakes, but to make crêpes.

Pancake Day Mar 2014

I love a French twist. So, Ben had had a hard day running up 42 flights of stairs to raise money for Shelter, so his dinner came first. Ben likes proper pancakes, but I'd made crêpe batter, so I did what I could.

Pancake Day Mar 2014

Hmm, it doesn't look like much but Ben appreciated it. So that's what counts. I decided I would have a savoury crêpe for dinner, followed by a sweet crêpe for dessert. I know, genius.

Pancake Day Mar 2014

So, crêpe done first and put to one side, then we fry up some mushroom and spinach.

Pancake Day Mar 2014

Place it in the middle of the crêpe.

Pancake Day Mar 2014

Add some cheese, I went with emmenthal because it's my favourite.

Pancake Day Mar 2014

A-yum.

Pancake Day Mar 2014

I even managed to fold it up all nicely.

Pancake Day Mar 2014

And added more cheese, mwahahhaahhaha!

Pancake Day Mar 2014

Then I added bacon, because I could.

Pancake Day Mar 2014

Dessert crêpes were the classic lemon and sugar. I was so pleased with how these turned out. I had to have two.

Pancake Day Mar 2014

Even looking at this makes me wonder if I have enough eggs left to make some more...

Reading Half Marathon 2014

This is the third time I have run the Reading Half, and my fifth half-marathon to date. It was also meant to be my first half marathon completed in under two hours...but five miles in I suffered from numb foot and spent a good five minutes stretching/flexing/kicking my foot until I got the feeling back. So that ruined that plan.

Reading Half Marathon Mar 2014

Anyway - a couple of months ago I posted something on Facebook about looking forward to the Reading Half, and my Action Man Uncle spied it and dropped me a little text asking for the info. So it soon turned into a bit of a family affair with my Uncle and Aunt signing up to run too (my dad's brother and sister, to avoid any confusion).

Reading Half Marathon Mar 2014
And as such, their respective partners joined them, my Dad (who for the purposes of this post shall be dubbed 'the lazy one') and Liz joined us, as did the matriarch of the family, my Gran. Ben was there too with his good boyfriend hat on, getting up early to go to the race start with me and hanging around until we finished. Very nice of him to persevere without company for the two or so hours that I was off running. Everyone else did arrive at the stadium to cheer us on but bad phone signal meant that poor Ben was stranded without company. He found other distractions though.

Reading Half Marathon Mar 2014

Now that's a good breakfast!

Reading Half Marathon Mar 2014

Sad for me, everyone missed me as I ended the race in the stadium, but never mind, I'm just telling myself I must've been a blur as I used up all my remaining energy to sprint to the finish line.

Reading Half Marathon Mar 2014

That was not my time.


This was my time - well, the race recorded me at 2.05.58. So close enough. My Uncle smashed it in 1.32.28 and, I'm told, danced his way into the stadium, and my Aunt wasn't far behind us with 2.18.02, a little spy on marathon-photos tells me she waved to the adoring crowd that was my family cheering her on. Are we a good little family? I think so. After eventually managing to find each other (damn phone signal!) and posing for a fair few photographs...

Reading Half Marathon Mar 2014
Reading Half Marathon Mar 2014
Reading Half Marathon Mar 2014
Reading Half Marathon Mar 2014

...we joined the queue for the shuttle bus back to town. Now, this is where I can actually give some advice for anyone else participating in this event in the future. If you can, get yourself a car space. The queue for the bus was epic. I think we queued for longer than my Uncle ran! And it was cold, and drizzly and some of us weren't wearing many layers and starting to feel muscles stiffen!

Reading Half Marathon Mar 2014
Reading Half Marathon Mar 2014

I ended up in Ben's scarf and hat, my Auntie Kay's gloves and my Uncle Jame's jumper! Once we eventually got on a bus some of us ran back to the hotel for a shower and then out again to celebrate with the best Chinese food in Reading! Of which there are no pictures because I was exhausted, starving and too busy chatting away to the family I don't see as often as I'd like to. It was an amazing day preceded by an amazing weekend which I will come back to soon.