The Smokehouse

Yesterday I met some friends for brunch.  Except two of them didn’t come – one because her baby kept her awake half the night (fair enough) and the other because someone had pranged her new car.  I got mildly ratty by the time the second person cancelled, partly because I was off to go for a run and every time I thought I was ready to head off, there was a PING! from my phone.

Plus, I’d messaged them all the night before to say “RIGHT, YOU ARE ALL COMING, AREN’T YOU?!?!?!?”   Also, I ended up changing the booking at the restaurant three times (which was embarrassing) – the first time was to increase the number of people and to make it a time that would suit one of the group better, the second was to reduce the number of people from six to four and the third was to say that, actually, there were now only going to be three people.  The lady on the phone was kind and said that it’s only a problem if I wanted to increase the number in the party – they get so busy on Sundays that having fewer people is no problem.

Thankfully, the other two people still came and we had a lovely time.  We ended up drinking two bottle of English sparking wine, had roast beef / lamb and we all had pudding.

This was so delicious

Hidden City

On Saturday, we went on a treasure hunt across London with our friends B and M.  These are run by HiddenCity and they text you clues, which you have to solve based on your surroundings and then text back the answers.  This one was called “Mind of the Maker” and it started off in Kings Cross and ended up in Islington (nearly Hackney) at a pub called the Narrowboat.

It was a bit wet (I wore my Seasalt raincoat and my wellies) but definitely worth doing.  We came first for that day (2 hours 9 minutes) – my husband said that we could have done it quicker if we had run everywhere but there really is no way I am running in my wellies.  As it was, it took me ten minutes to get them off.

Afterwards, we went to a tiny restaurant on Upper Street called Rok.  This was utterly delicious and I got rather plastered.

Kings Cross - this used to be a DIVE
Kings Cross – this used to be a DIVE
The canal
The canal
As part of our hunt, we found a frog (just outside Culpepper Gardens).  I know that loads of you live in places where frogs are commonplace but this is EXTREMELY exciting in central London
As part of our hunt, we found a frog (just outside Culpepper Gardens). I know that loads of you live in places where frogs are commonplace but this is EXTREMELY exciting in central London
Dusk at the canal
Dusk at the canal – put your phone away (kids on bikes snatch them round here)
Nighttime!
Nighttime!
Mead was our prize.  It was surprisingly delicious
Mead was our prize. It was surprisingly delicious

The Bleeding Heart

A little over a week ago, it was our wedding anniversary.  We ended up going out this week because our babysitter cancelled a couple of hours in advance on our actual anniversary and, being the IoW, there were no other babysitters around.  So we went out in London instead.

This was delicious
This was delicious

We both had the foie gras to start, with a glass of Tokaji.  We also had a bottle of the Gimlett Road Chardonnay – it was a lighter wine than the ones that had come out of there a few years ago but it was still very good.

Then we shared the chateaubriand, which was extremely delicious.

Meat!
Meat!

We had a bottle of the Givry, which you don’t see very often.  It’s a bit lighter than the Gevrey-Chambertin but the region is very close.

At the end we had cheese.  They have a really, really great cheese trolley.  You should go there for the cheese trolley, it is probably the best in London.

They also have a terrific pub (The Tavern), which is right round the corner and has great beer.  We started off there.

Sorting through the ottoman

My tidy up continues.  Tuesday was a busy(ish) day – plus incredibly hot – so I didn’t achieve all that much.  We met M at Dinings for lunch and it was just the thing for a very hot day.  If you get the chance to go there, I recommend it completely.

So my job was to sort through all the stuff in the ottoman.  It’s small so didn’t take all that long.

Piles of stuff taken out the ottoman - some forking, some for putting elsewhere and some for Save the Children
Piles of stuff taken out the ottoman – some forking, some for putting elsewhere and some for Save the Children

Quite a lot isn’t suitable or big enough for the children so that stuff is going to the charity shop.  I found a mosquito net that is meant to go on my old buggy (which I’ve given to someone so I’ll post it to her.  I’ve never been aware of babies being bothered by mosquitos in London but I need to post it.  For completeness).  I found a load of baby swimsuits, baby hats and a broken under-the-buggy basket that we kept for some reason.

There were a few things I wasn’t sure what to do with – I have a bunch of socks that my Mum knitted out of rainbow wool that I don’t want to get rid of but which I don’t need immediate access to at all times.  Those I put in a carrier bag, which I shoved at the top of a wardrobe we have at the top of the stairs.

Organised ottoman
Organised ottoman

In the end I put the hats, gloves, scarves to the left, the fleeces and sweaters in the middle and the hats, gloves and scarf that are included in my son’s uniform to the right of it.

I’ll start sorting out my clothes soon.  In the meantime, check out these tacos.

These are so good
These are so good

Crocker’s Folly

The other evening we went to Crocker’s Folly with our friends B and M.  This is basically a very nice restaurant which pretends that it is a pub.  They do awesome cocktails but I stuck to wine – I’d already had a playdate at my son’s friend’s house and his mum had had the good sense to ply everyone with booze.

Crocker's Folly - the ceilings are awesome
Crocker’s Folly – the ceilings are awesome

We all had the beef tartar to start and then I had guinea fowl.  So good.  If you are in St John’s Wood, I do recommend this.

Scott’s

On Wednesday evening, we went out for dinner with B and M at Scott’s.  This is a place I hadn’t been to before and I liked it a lot.  I haven’t spent much time in Mayfair before – it’s quite different from the rest of London.  The shops and restaurants have fantastic flowers outside – and because they never look skanky, you know that they hire firms to make sure that they always look fresh.  I don’t think people in Mayfair (and other areas of west London, as far as I know) tolerate shoddy flower displays.

Lovely blue hydrangeas
Lovely blue hydrangeas

To start with, I had Jersey rock oysters and then I had lemon sole.  Both utterly delicious, although I was rather jealous of M’s monkfish and tiger prawn masala.

Lemon sole
Lemon sole

For pudding, I had bakewell pudding.  B had that too.

Bakewell pudding
Bakewell pudding

Afterwards, we all went for cocktails at Mews of Mayfair, where I had two massive gin and tonics.  My husband went on to meet some other people after that but I was done and wandered off home to watch series 5 of the Walking Dead.