JezzWarren.com

I would like, if I may, to take you on a strange journey.

wayne alton

Ramsay's

Around Christmastime 2014, our gardener Barry and his wife Mel kindly gave Wayne and I a gift voucher to dine at anyone of the Gordon Ramsay restaurants. We chose the one situated in Chelsea. We booked it sometime ago in April and finally the day has arrived to dine and enjoy the Gordon Ramsay experience.
If you are not used to fine dining it can be a little daunting and sometimes a tad intimidating. Understandably, as soon as your escorted to your table you are aware that the dining room is full, all be it that there is only fourteen tables. Any awkwardness is quickly diluted by the friendliness of the waiting staff. The tables are dressed beautifully and yet simply. There is ample space between tables and you certainly do not feel that your are sitting next to strangers on another table.
I could try and describe how everything tasted, but its an experience only your own tastebuds can experience.

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Pea mousse was an hors d'œuvre served with a homemade ricotta and is presented with baby spring veg and flowers.

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Agnolotti served with young peas, broad beans, St. George, mushrooms, mint, majoram and sariette de banon.

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Fillet of Cornish Cod wrapped in kombu, sesame with shiitake mushrooms and grilled onion.

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Roasted rabbit loin with Bayonne ham, baked turnips, toasted hazelnuts and pickled mustard seed.

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Roast pineapple with coconut parfait, coriander, rum and lime sorbet.

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Strawberry ice cream coated in white chocolate and served over smoking dry ice. Also served with a chocolate peanut brittle and elderflower Turkish delight.

Would I recommend you visit a Gordon Ramsay restaurant?  Hell yes but maybe only as a treat due to the fact that it can get a little exorbitant when you start adding bottles of Ermitage Cuvee Cathelin at a eye popping £2,450.
You would think that having a meal of such small dainty portions that you would be left feeling hungry, but the fact the food is so exquisitely rich, you find yourself enjoying every last mouthful and yet feeling pleasantly full.

Cheam Meal Out

You either get it or you don’t, but Wayne’s sense of humour can be quite something at times and tonight Wayne found his perfect partner in crime when he met Harrison.
I picked Harrison up at his place and drove him back to our home and then after a brief introduction and a cuppa tea we headed out in Wayne’s car to Beijing Gardens for and all you can eat buffet. I think the best introduction to someone is when eating out as it breaks down so many barriers and we all have to eat at some point.
On route we thought it be really funny to do a little detour and see how Harrison got in with the ridiculous speed humps on the Park Road, Cheam. That proved to be a joke all of its very own and set Harrison off laughing, I am not sure if those speed humps are not there just for the amusement of the pub on that road, as patrons watch from he beer garden to see unsuspecting drivers and passengers get thrown from pillar to post as they drive over it, certainly started the night on a funny note.

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The food was great as usual and we had the restaurant to ourselves so the sound of laughter filled the room.
Harrison and Wayne laughed most of the night over silly jokes and things that they had done in the past in the way of practical jokes done on others and I also ended up being the butt of many a joke that Wayne had recorded and posted to YouTube.
A great night and boy do I feel stuffed after the all you can eat buffet and many a chuckles.

50% Off At Tattenham

Have you every been approached to take a store discount card and all the company needs is your email address. I often avoid such card schemes for two reasons, one I do not know who will end up with my email address, will it be used for the right reasons or will it be sold on and secondly not another card I have to carry with me because it is not one of those scale cards that I can add to my stocard app.
However I am glad I decided to take on the offer that Beefeater had as my first reward was 50% off any main meals in January. So the weather was not nice but the food was as both myself and Wayne decided to take up the offer and head over to the Beefeater at Tattenham Corner for a late lunch.
The service was cheery even though the weather was not and the endless plain or spicy fries was a great bonus. We both left full and for once not wanting or needing a dessert.

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Frank B's

Wayne had promised his sister Nikki that he would take her shopping in Kingston and buy her a Pandora charm and normally I leave them to go and have brother and sister time, this time I was invited and it was a nice change.
When we are out it is hard to please everyone in where to stop off and have a bite to eat, you know shopping can be real tiring work. We had passed by Frank B’s every time we headed to the Centreview restaurant and thought of it as nothing more than one of those fun themed restaurants, we took a brave leap and was pleasantly surprised, it was more than just an American diner.

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The theme of the restaurant was as you would expect in a recreation of an American diner, some can be a bit over done but this was just right and they managed to capture the ambience just right. They did the usual array of burgers and fries, cokes, floats and shakes, stuff for the kids, the vegetarian option and then a few extra things you would only find in an American diner. The food was cooked to order and though this made for a slightly longer wait, it was worth it as you knew the food was not only hot but also fresh, this a key component to a good restaurant, people do not mind waiting a little longer if the food is freshly cooked rather than on a keep warm quick blanch basis, nothing worse than double cooked food.
Wayne and Nikki decided to share a burger and order extra fries and I had a burger to myself, who would have thought beetroot in a burger could be so refreshing.
If I was to be asked “would you got back again” then my response would be “yes”. The food was great, the choice was varied and the combinations of extras was better than I have seen in most places, overall a good place to eat unless you are not into the American diner experience.

Thud

All I remember was being in the bathroom sitting on the toilet and then telling Wayne I felt faint. My intention was to make my way to the bedroom and lay down until the dizzy feeling had passed, clearly I did not make it to the bedroom, instead I awoke with paramedics looming over me as I came to. I had blacked out, fallen to the floor and on my way down I hit the back of my head on a door handle.
Is it just typical that I have treated myself to a trip to the barbers with a new hair style only for it to be ruined with blood and shredded flesh.
I was told that Kelly, Wayne's daughter went into first aid mode whilst Wayne felt helpless to what he could do, it was only yesterday that Wayne had been watching a documentary on JFK and seeing the head injury was all he could think about and panicked as it was not just but blood he was faced with but flesh to.
I was rushed to A&E in an ambulance where I was treated for a head injury and lacerations to the scalp and once cleaned up I was glued back together, medical advances mean no more stitches.
I have just got rest up for the next 72 hours and make sure in that time I do not spend to much time watching the TV, being on the iPad or iPhone and drinking lots of fluids whilst being watched over.

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Before The Bangs

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For the last few years I have been incorporating my birthday with bonfire night and this year was no exception, however this year both my mum and sister came to stay and joined in with the party celebrations and fireworks. For some reason less and less places were selling fireworks and my regular places that I bought fireworks from in past years were not doing them this year, so I had to look for another supplier and so to buy in plenty of time I thought it best to go to an all year round firework specialist, thankfully we have several in the area to choose from.
I have been buying Kimbolton fireworks for the last couple of years and this year I changed over to Bright Star and was pleasantly surprised, not only were they cheaper (and we got a good deal on what we bought) but also the array was more spectacular and varied, it was not all about cheap whizzes and pitiful bangs but great big bursts of colour, huge explosions and sounds that everyone including the neighbourhood could hear, overall Bright Star were the better fireworks.
My mother suggested that we cut down on what food we did this year and was not going to over do it as that left it wide open for error, this year we did homemade curry and chilli with rice and good old Jacket potatoes with the choice of cheese or beans, or if you wanted curry and chilli, the jackets went down a storm this year.
Even though we had a light mist of rain it did not spoil the night apart from one fireworks fuse that got a little damp and did not go off, other than that a great night enjoyed by Wayne, Kelly, Debbie, Nikki, Anthony, Michele, Dean and this year also my mother and sister.

Vicki Wig-Do

Every year you have that choice of what to do for your birthday, do you go out for a meal with friends and family, do you take a days trip out, do some exciting adventure or throw your own party?
When it is one of those big numbers like 18, 21 or 40 then most make it an event to remember, Vicki did just that last night.
Vicki was celebrating her 40th birthday with a themed night, it was not surprising that she kept the theme in close keeping to her work, so being a hairdresser the theme was all to do with hair, in particular wigs.

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A complementary drink was served to guests by a door whore as you entered the village hall and then a numbered tag was stuck on you, this was all to do with Vicki offering a prize for the best and worst wig.

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Food was provided by the way of a burger van that Vicki had hired for the night so chips, burgers and hot dogs were being served.
A photographer was there with a backdrop and props. It was a good night that everyone participated in, even Irene and Brian from the Isle Of White had made the long journey to be there.

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First For Fireworks

Last years firework display was great but as I left buying fireworks to almost the last week the choice was not there, but the prices were better than half price.
This year I wanted to have the choice and as two of the garden centres were not stocking fireworks this year I had to make alternative plans to get great fireworks at a good price but maybe to use another brand or supplier.
Buying direct from such specialist companies has been known in the past to be fairly expensive and with hefty postage fees due to the fact of high insurances costs it puts a lot of people off, luckily in Morden there is a fireworks specialist stocking Bright Star fireworks.
In past years that I have been having fireworks I have been using the Kimbolton brand and have not used Bright Star before, but the choice that was at 'The Firework Factory' in Morden were very reasonably priced and they did some special offers too.
Harvey served us and after we told him what we wanted to achieve and our budget, he then gave us good advice and also they had a DVD of all the fireworks they stocked, so we could see what we were letting ourselves in for before we committed to buying anything.
I started off with buying an aerial selection box that Harvey said was very popular and that gave you a great bang for your bucks, he pointed out that some items he had in stock were BOGOF and so made even better value, that meant I could get some fountains and a few ground display fireworks.
Last year I started the firework festivities with everyone playing with sparklers as it gave me time to set up the display order and a firework display is not the same without a few sparklers, this years sparklers are a lot larger, I have chosen mammoth rainbow sparklers.
Harvey suggested some rockets that would create a massive aerial explosion and also sound great, so Wayne treated me to some.
I wanted this year to have a finale firework and we settled for thirty-two shot barrage display, these are great fireworks as all you have to do is light it and walk away, the display takes care of itself.
Harvey looked after us by adding a free Kimbolton firework reminiscent of the sort of fireworks I had last year and a pack of firework lighting rods.
I felt well looked after and got what I wanted and more, looks like I have found my future firework supplier and because they are an all year round company, I do not have to rush out mid October with everyone else and be at the mercy or supermarkets and garden centres with their limited displays and high prices.

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Centre View Fish And Chips

Today I had to visit the Apple store in Kingston as my iMac had a part that was recalled.
Once I had handed over my iMac, Wayne thought it would be nice to find somewhere to have a meal out and we thought that we would give the Centre View cafe at Bentals a visit.
I was pleasantly surprised that the cooked to order service was swift and food tasted great, cooked just right.

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Great Bakes

Normally a Wednesday is a day for Wayne and I to go out and spend some quality time together and visit either a historic location, clothes shopping or take in the sights of a new surrounding. Now all this is all well and good if the weather permits, but the typical British weather can be so unpredictable, take todays forecast, the weather was in no fit state to be leisurely strolling about town or countryside.
So today Wayne and I took the opportunity to do some home baking together. Today we jointly made some Florentines and for the first time, some Beetroot bread.
Now all we both have to do is wait for the results.

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Italian Meal Out

The restaurant was Il Laghetto and there was no celebration. Just a spontaneous evening meal out with Wayne's sisters Nikki and Michéle and of course Wayne. The restaurant was excellent, not too big or small and the clientele were all quite refined and lovely. The service was faultless and the food was even better. I would defiantly recommend this restaurant for those meals out that you do not want screaming kids running about or background music overpowering the art of conversation.
I have a feeling I will be coming back here again very soon.

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Champagne Tea

Over the bank holiday weekend, other than setting up mum and Hayley's new iPads, we all took a breather from the iPads and did the rounds of the local charity shops in Banstead and Reigate. We had mainly good weather apart from one slight down pour that gave us the perfect opportunity to grab a cup of tea and a hot buttered toasted tea cake.

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The day was finished off with a fish and chip supper.
Being the bank holiday we all knew that where ever we decided to go on the Sunday it would be packed and after a failed attempt to check out the new refitted Woodcote garden centre I decided to put on a posh Champagne afternoon tea with sandwiches cakes, tea, coffee and champagne, it gave me a chance to use the superb cake stand that had been bought for my birthday last year.

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The Visit

I had not seen my mum and sister for quite sometime and missed the christmas break time last year to see them, so an overdue visit was in order.
Hayley was excited because she was waiting to visit so that she could go to Apple and get her iPad and one for mum too, what they did not relies was that I was going to treat them to an iPad mini each.
After picking them up from Morden, we decided to have a quick break and then head off to Kingston to buy the iPads as this was a bank holiday weekend and getting it done today was the quitest of days to do it, also it would both give them a chance to set up their iPads on the day they needed to rest up after their journey.
After getting mum and Hayley their iPad minis we headed over to John Lewis to get them a case for each of their devices as Apple only sell the smart covers and no protective cases that cover the whole device. Mum at the moment is really into the colour pink and she found the perfect case, Hayley also got the same case but in a nice bright green colour.
We turned this day from just a trip to Apple into a Kingston shopping trip but first was a visit to Montazuma's for a tea and in mine and Wayne's case, a hot chocolate break.
A shopping trip with mum and Hayley would not be complete without Hayley going into two or three shoe shops, strange this time round she did not buy any, she must be to excited about her new iPad.
After doing the usual mooch about the shops in some rather hot weather, we decide to head home and set up both their iPads and give them a chance to rest up before Ian made his debut, oh I do hope Ian remembered the promised peanut brittle for Hayley.

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Believe It Or Not

It was that time of year that I wanted to get away and have some fun time with Wayne. I was planning on going to Madame Tussauds but, when we got there prior to the opening time we saw the massive queue running down the entire side of the building. I knew that this attraction was popular but did not relies just how popular, I am so glad I did not commit myself to advanced tickets as we would have had no choice but to have waited in the very long queue and on a day that was not particularly warm, if anything it was bitterly cold. I have discovered that this attraction it one of the biggest tourist attractions that London offers and with over 200 people queueing outside before opening hours then I can now see why.
Wayne and I headed to Fortnum & Mason's Fountain restaurant for breakfast, so this minor setback in venue choice meant that breakfast was just a few minutes drive away.
The food was great and the service just as good and though the food was a little expensive it was great to have had the experience to dine at Fortnum & Mason's.
So with Madame Tussauds being off the list of places to visit, I knew of a place just a hop, skip and a jump from Fortum & Mason’s that would be just as adventurous.
A trip to the museum; Ripley's Believe It Or Not.
After a few hours at Ripley's we all headed for China Town for a late buffet lunch.

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MBW

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I think by now we all know how much Wayne loves his cars and at any given opportunity that he gets to test drive a new car he jumps at the chance, this gave me an idea for last years christmas present as buying gifts for Wayne was getting evermore harder to find something new and original.
Last year I thought that getting Wayne a driving experience at Mercedes Benz World would be just the ticket, but not any old driving experience, I had to get him the works, the complete package with all the circuits, skid pans, wet straights and above all for the whole experience to be recoded all in a sporty AMG.
Even though today was cold, it was a nice clear and bright day and from the short themed video I put together you can see that even the cold weather did not stop Wayne from enjoying himself.

Lunch At The Well House Inn

Wayne and I many years ago had by accident found a little pub called the Well house Inn in Mugswell. From what I remember the food was great, the welcome was friendly and so today we decided to visit it again to see if it was as good today as it was back then.
This place has not changed, its as welcoming and as warm as the real log burring fireplace and the food is great with the extra additions of the chef specials.

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The Boy's Christmas

Christmas day started off with a nice creamy latte and a toasted 'New York Deli' onion bagel filled with salmon.

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I needed to make sure that the right presents were opened in the right order and big main presents left till last, so I distributed the presents out from under the tree and laid them out in groups, this made unwrapping them still fun and exciting but in a way that meant the lead up to the larger presents did not contain any spoilers.
Right, unwrap time.

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Advent Day One

Today we are also going to put up the tree and decorate it and this year I have opted for a small table top pink tree, something to add a bit of campness to an already camp household. At the moment the tree looks very bare, but I know that with a few tree decorations and the gathering of all the presents it will soon look very festive.

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iSunday Roast

I think when someone decides to treat Wayne and myself to a home cooked Sunday roast as a part bribe for wanting some technical Apple support, I am quite happy with that.
Michele and Anthony have always put on a great Sunday roast and from the remains of what was left on my plate, you can see why.
You can win me over any day with bread sauce, stuffing, pigs in blankets and roast potatoes.

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Birthday Bash

For the last few years birthdays have been a restaurant affair where a group of us get together at a local Beefeater for a few hours of food, drinks and merriment. This year however I changed to a more personal affair and kept it low key.
After my 40th birthday last year with those great fireworks I wanted to blend bonfire nights and my birthday for the forceable future, so this year I made use of the great garden space we have here at home it was the perfect space to have a few fireworks and then a cosy surroundings to have a bite to eat and a drink, far more personal than a large typical birthday gathering, that in its own rights can be fun for bigger birthday celebrations.

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Though my birthday was not until the 6th, Sunday was a day that would make it easier for everyone who could attend without the worry of it being a school night, so Sunday lent itself to being more of a relaxing environment rather than an extra commitment.
I invited Anthony, Michele, Kelly, Debbie, Simon, Andrew and Wayne and started off the night with a few drinks whilst everyone was arriving and it also gave me some time to set up the fireworks.

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Organised as ever I set the night out starting off with getting into the spirit of it all with everyone playing with sparklers. It is funny how waving a few sparklers around in the air reduce adults into a child like state.

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I have discovered that if you go to smaller garden centres and leave it until a week before bonfire night, that fireworks on sale become so much cheaper and in many cases better than half price, okay yes you run the risk of not getting the best choice but if like me and you are prepared to visit several garden centres then you can get a good selection and varied display. I did get one selection box of fireworks from the supermarket just to space out the display with colour and more ground level fireworks but the rest of the display was going to be big bangs and explosions with a final dramatic firework to finish the night off.

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In todays day and age it seems to be geared towards barrage style fireworks that you light, stand back and let them do all the work. They contain a selection of bangs, explosions, bright lights, whizzing sounds and usual consist of a dozen or more rounds, ideal for home use but with the performance of a professional display.
This year I never did the party bags that my guests have come to love, but instead I made sure that the fireworks would be accompanied by lots of sweet treats, cake and some classic old school treats, toffee apples aways go down a treat.

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I defiantly got my moneys worth of fireworks and next year when I have another display I will know what fireworks to look out for, what ones turned out to be the real crown pleasers. I will certainly look out for the 'Devils Wrath' and the 'Spooky Spiders and Snakes', they really filled the sky with lights and bangs.

Shanghai Acrobats

Borrowing heavily from traditional Chinese circus but projecting a modern twist with its marvellous two hour extravaganza, originally directed by Cirque Du Soleil’s Guy Caron, combines acrobatics, modern dance, original music, martial arts and many other Chinese elements in an amazing adventure, with plenty of gasp-worthy moments for the audience. I can only put it into words as a total experience.

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The story centres around a little girl who awakes to the sound of a noisy Shanghai street. In a half-dreamy state, she starts to imagine being an acrobat and gets taken into the world of the acrobat and begins to participate.
Because it is Cirque du Ciel (circus of the sky) then there is a lot of aerial stuff going on I particularly loved the dramatic silks where a girl just plunges from the gods down towards the stage, a drop of 30ft or more, just fantastic stuff.

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The show used a mixture of recorded music and an onstage drummer, I thought the choice of music really helped the show create an atmosphere and the energy of the drummer was brilliant.

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We sat there stunned to see the talents of a girl who contorts and stretches her body through yet-to-be-invented angles while supporting herself on one hand at the top of a six-foot high pole; a ballerina who stands en pointe on top of her partner’s head and then the skills of à la the Guandong Acrobatic Troupe; a posse of young men who leap through hoops and fling each other across the stage with somersaults, twists and impossible landings and who were an inexhaustible supply of wonder.

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More sedate, but arguably the highlight of the whole evening, were the charming canton of girls with their diabolos. You’ve probably seen buskers at Covent Garden hurl their overgrown yo-yos high in the air and catch them on their bits of string to great applause. But have you seen them do a bit of skipping and a couple of somersaults while waiting for it to come back down and more breathtakingly in unison?

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The whole show just took my breath away and left me wanting more, a great afternoon spent in Kingston Rose theatre with Wayne.

Wisley Gardens

Wayne and I spent the day at Wisley Gardens, near Woking in Surrey.
It was a great day out and the sunshine was with utmost of the day and I got to build up my portfolio as I just took lots of photos as usual. We had a bite to eat in a cafe prior to visiting the glasshouse and after a long enjoyable day we headed back via the gift shop, of course a day out would not be complete without a wander or purchase or two.

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Brighton Day Trip

Wayne and I, along with his sister Nikki drove down to Brighton for the day.
We had a fabulous time and the day started off with a drink in the Poison Ivy in St. James Street. This was then followed by a stroll through the North Lanes and also some time down by Brighton Marina, we built up a right appetite and so stopped off for lunch at Carats cafe in Shoreham.

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Brighton is not Brighton without a walk on the Pier and some time spent popping a few pounds in the arcade, much to the delight of Wayne as both Nikki and I was feeding the slots to win prize tickets for Wayne and also to hear the sound of coins dropping over the teetering edge.
Had hot donuts and a refreshing cup of tea finished the day off nicely.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Today Wayne and I visited Woodcote nurseries to see its yearly show of classic and vintage cars. This particular show has gone from strength to strength and is now firmly established as a friendly event for local car enthusiasts and anyone else with an interest.
The show is free to attend, so even more of a reason to get a chance to see vehicles from throughout the ages, there is a few local stalls selling cakes and drink with all proceeds going to the aid of St. Raphael's Hospice.
So all in all, a good day out.

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From Bracelet To Necklace

For the best part of last year, both Wayne and myself started to collect Pandora bracelet charms and it was not long before we had filled up one bracelet and started on another.
I had been collecting silver charms for my first bracelet and then on my second bracelet I had decided to only collect Murano glass, so as to have a bracelet with a splash of colour.
To my surprise, today Wayne bought me a Pandora necklace with a selection of charms to add to my collection.

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Three Men In A Boat

Today Wayne and I saw the play 'Three Men In A Boat'.
The three men in question are J (Jerome.K. Jerome), George, and Harris. Archetypal ‘home counties’ chaps in blazers, the three pals plan to take a boating holiday, along with Montmorency the dog (who is played by an ornament, brought occasionally to life by a canine sound effect).

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The quite original premise of this adaptation is that the characters are aware of the audience’s presence, as we are there to listen to a talk on the River Thames. Throughout the production, there are several knowing looks and comments to tell us that the characters are aware they are in a play.
This production of the story also adds an extra character in the form of Nelly the pianist. Played by Sue Appleby, who is also the Musical Director, Nelly is vocally mute, but provides music throughout the story, effectively reflecting the mood and pace of each scene or anecdote.
Alistair Whatley plays the character of ‘J’ and is interestingly also the founder of the theatre company, and the Artistic director. Whilst the other actors play a variety of roles Whatley plays only this character, and acts as our main narrator. Whilst not the strongest singer of the trio, Whatley has a commanding stage presence.

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Christopher Brandon plays George, and is notable for his strong singing voice and hilarious character acting, including his portrayals of both the whistling old man at the graveyard and the snooty German cat. Lastly, Tom Hackney’s Harris is the endearing and rather simple member of the group. His physicality and facial expressions were very amusing, as was his melodramatic Scots landlord character.
Despite a few small stumbles over the words, the production was generally well rehearsed and choreographed, with the inclusion of some physical comedy. The set stays same all way through, with imaginary changes of scenery aided by props. This works very effectively, and includes the boat made out of pub furniture, and a shared bed created by holding up a large sheet in front of the actors.
The music hall songs in the production were very good, but it would have been nice to hear some more in the first act. Thankfully, there were a few more in the second act, including a beautiful song about a lost love, that is sung when the body of a woman is seen on the bank. This is a total change of tone to the rest of the play, but works incredibly well, with just Brandon’s voice at first, then with an accompanying accordion.
This production tries to mix the traditional with the modern. Sometimes this works, and sometimes it does not. Some of which are very funny, such as a ‘generation game’ style memory game or the ricochet bullet that hits Nelly. However, others strike the wrong tone. The ‘Titanic’ spoof did not work. The end of the performance was camped up to the song ‘Rock the Boat’ which was a great finishing touch.
This production works best when it celebrates traditional roots, whilst remaining knowing and tongue-in-cheek. Overall, it is a highly enjoyable play, but it is a strange hybrid that does not seem entirely sure what it is, and sadly in some places not all the different elements quite fit together.
Nevertheless, the cast and company are undoubtedly talented, and this adaptation is largely successful. I would certainly go along to another of their productions with interest.

Chessington And Chinese

After last Saturdays trip to Chessington Garden Centre, I was so impressed that I suggested that Wayne should visit there for a good look about and also a spot of lunch.
Other than garden essentials, there is also a big range of car things to, Wayne was in his element.
Kelly came over tonight for a Chinese takeaway and for us to show her that Chinese food was more than just chicken ball in sweet and sour sauce.

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Grow Your Own

A few days ago Ian brought round two terracotta pots filled with a variety of herbs to get us inspired to grow our own. It was first a thought for getting an allotment space close by, but after discovering that there was a waiting list of over two years we thought about could we grow our own in a space in the communal garden area.
As luck would have it we have a space near to our bedroom window that is secluded enough to be our own space but also an area that the sun light and other weather elements can get to, with the exception of the wind, as this area is protected by the high walls of the flats.
I really wanted to get Wayne on side and interested in growing something, I know he is not the best at growing anything, normally anything he grows or plants he gets as gifts tend to be dead within a week, but with some expert help from Ian and lots of enthusiasm I think a few herbs and hardy vegetables will grow.
So with that in mind, yesterday we headed off to our local garden centre and browsed pots and containers, seeing what would look best, be practical and not look out of place. We also looked at the vegetables and herbs in the grow your own section, so we had an idea of what it would look like once in the pots, kind of a visual head start.

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Broken Link

Both Wayne and myself have been collecting Pandora charms and jewellery for best part of a year now and with that we have also been introducing our friends to the collections.
The Pandora bracelets and charms are something that makes a very personal gift that can be quite individual by the way of arrangement of certain charms and also can be as extravagant or subtle as you so wish.
We have introduced Anthony into the leather bracelet range when it was his 16th birthday, Kelly's birthday and christmases have been easier to buy for.
So far to date Pandora Kingston has been our dedicated store and they have had a pretty penny or two out of us, with that in mind we have been known as exceptional customers and likewise have been treated well.
With Kingston Pandora, transactions have been pleasant and the staff there have looked after us well, even down to the point when on the odd occasion we have had to return items due to the rare occasion of a faulty charm or of recent faulty bracelet.
Today I had to return the bracelet as a fault had developed in one of the links that then affect the rest of the linkage, I guess a chain is only as good as its weakest link, never a truer word.

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Matt, the manager at the Kingston branch made an easy and no fuss transaction to simply exchange it with a new bracelet as he pointed out it was something they do for exceptional customers. Normally it would be a case that they would send the product back to Pandora and await a refund before exchanging items or refunding the customer, guess being an exceptional customer has its advantages.

Four For Lunch

Today Wayne and I caught up with Nick and Michael for a spot of lunch at one of our favourite Beefeater over at Combe Lodge and a catch up on what had been going on since we last met. Seems that it is same old same old.

Beefeater

Room For One More

It has not taken me long to fill up my Pandora bracelet and so I have started to make another bracelet with just Murano glass beads. My friend Colin started me off with my first Murano glass bead all the way from Italy and now I have an addition and my first one off of my wish list; the 'Cinnamon Ladybug'.

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I also had to shift around a few charms on my silver charm bracelet, as Wayne bought me the 'Camera' charm.

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Tea For Two

We all have our own ways in doing things and we have our own luxuries. For some a mug of tea or coffee is how we like it and for others it is something more traditional. One thing Wayne and I do not own is a tea set and so today Wayne and I decided to buy a full tea set for those times when it would be nice to have friends over for a slice of cake and a cup of tea.

tea_set

An Apple A Day

Undoubtably the best decision I have ever made was ditching the slow non progressive tech world and opting to jump into the fast pace that Apple sets, always being ahead of its competitors on so many levels. I have never looked back since and as a result so many of my friends have followed and also wondered how they ever lived without their Apple products. I have said in the past and I am saying it again, "Apple are the king of interfaces."
With every device that they turn their hands to, for some reason the designs are seamless and the product is made to take out of the box and just use with ease and simplicity.
I think anyone who is into their Apple devices, such as myself soon become akin to only expecting the world around them to be just as stylish a chic and as a result my desktop area reflects that; nice clean cut lines, minimal surroundings and a nice stylish slick look.
Now with an addition to my working desk space, bought for me today by my very lovely Wayne.

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More Walking

Yesterday's trip around Sainsbury's was about as much as my knee could take and todays plans are not going to let me off lightly. A trip to St.Georges hospital in Tooting to give moral supports to my dearest Wayne, who today was having and Endoscopy.
So I sit here happily typing away on my journal and occasionally looking up to adore the eye candy (some gorgeous clinical staff), walking the corridors in their flowing blue gowns and lose fitting bottoms. Oh I knew today would have it's benefits.

Late Latte

Thinking I would have nothing to write today, Wayne gave inspiration as today he showed an interest in my Nespresso coffee machine.
I explained to Wayne how to use the machine and suggested what coffee strength to use, he then set out in making himself a tall latte.

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Côte

David was excellent for educating Wayne and I with his plethora of knowledge but also he had a taste (no pun intended) for all things culinary. David took Wayne and I for lunch to the French restaurant Côte in Brighton to excite our taste buds to somewhere and something new. Wayne and David both had the Steak Frites and I had Poached Egg and Lentils with an infusion of herbs and oils.

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Sakura

Not long in from a great meal out, it was my first visit to the Sakura Indian restaurant situated in Carshalton. The food was bursting full of flavours and spices and it was a warming atmosphere on such a cold night.
Wayne had been there on many occasions with his daughter Kelly and tonight both Wayne and Kelly were present as well as Anthony and Michèle. I would highly recommend this restaurant for a nice weekday treat, even better when you have great company to enjoy the experience with.

sacura_meal

Friends Think

You know when you have a good friend as they listen to what you have to say, they instinctively know your mood and know how to deal with it, they can say what needs to be said and you view it as guided loving advise. They are right there for you when you need them and they can keep a distance when you need to be on your own with just your thoughts. A good friend also knows, without having to ask what to buy for you on your birthday and Christmas and your be guaranteed that what they get you is just so personal and right from the heart.
My good friend Colin, I can only describe you as a charming prince that can see both sides of the story and I feel so lucky to be able to have your warmth and friendship. Colin you are so thoughtful that on your trip away you thought of both me and Wayne and we just wanted to say how we love our fun and casual bead bracelets, ideal for when you want to wear a piece of simple jewellery that goes with everything.

bead_braclets

I was truly gobsmacked when you bought me my first Murano glass bead for my next Pandora bracelet and you added your own finishing touches with the personalised presentation bag, I am going to use that to store my new bracelet in.

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You surprised me once more with a gorgeously engraved glass that is just right for my evening tipple, but I am also aware of just how special that glass is and I may well have to just keep it on show in my display cabinet of treasured gifts and keepsakes.

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Thank you once more Colin for my delightful gifts and for our friendship that can only grow bigger, stronger and closer.

Christmas 2011

For the past 10 years Christmas has been spent with Wayne’s side of the family but this year broke that mould as Wayne and I entertained my mum and sister to 11 days of rest, food, drink, fun times and a good catch up. Nothing was really planned other than the Christmas Day meal and it was nice not to have to stick to any schedule. After a few days of eating and drinking the next thing to do was treat ourselves to a bit of pampering as we all chose what face packs to apply whilst watching the telly. It was so funny because Hayley decided to have a mud pack and she looked like one of the Minstrels off of the black and white minstrel show.

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hayley_facepack

I was treated to some wonderful gifts ranging from items that were so personal to some totally upbeat tech. Kelly I love my charm and I think it may well be the last one I can add to this bracelet as it is now full. Wayne you so know how I love my tech and the sound from my Beats headphones is out of this world, crystal clear yet full of those sounds you would have otherwise missed.

Snake

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Other than racking up a few trophies on the PS3 playing family games in teams of two, we also had a breath of fresh air as we all headed down to Reigate on the 28th December. As usual went through the charity shops and then went for some lunch at The Bell pub in Reigate village. We all had a different burger meal with a different specialty filling, I had a bacon and brie. They also do a great range of ploughman’s lunches to suit every taste ranging from the traditional cheese ploughman’s to a Parma Ham & Salami ploughman’s, oh and don’t be fooled by the size of the outside as this pub is like a tardis. On route home we also stopped at the charity shops in Banstead.

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Seeing the new year in was great to, a nice selections of cheese, biscuits and Port then later at the stroke of midnight a few glasses of Champagne.

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No Agenda

With all the Christmas shopping out of the way, I now have a whole week of doing nothing, no agenda, not a jot until the arrival of my mum and sister on Friday. So it was nice to be able to head into KIngston Upon Thames and meet up with a few friends for a spot of lunch and browsing. Both Wayne and I met up with Nick, Michael, Jamie and his girlfriend Natalie. I must be getting old because whilst shopping Jamie and Natalie made a beeline for ‘Superdry’ and once in the store all of a sudden I did not feel so hip and trendy, I looked at what I was wearing and just thought that I dressed for comfortability, now that is a sign of old age for ya. Is it me or are clothes in stores like this just a label and a rather large price tag or is this the going rate now? I browsed through the racks of clothes and stumbled on a selection of knitwear that would suit me and then only to be confronted with the price, £99 for 100% acrylic top, you having a laugh or what? I know we are in a throw away society but a £99 for something that is gonna last less than a few washes before it goes from a sweat top to a jumper dress, it is nuts.
A visit to kinston would not be complete without a browse in the Apple store even if I did not buy anything. I also had to take a peek into the Pandora shop where my senses overwhelmed me and I just had to have another charm.

Angel

At least one thing that was value for money and worth every penny, lunch at Caffé Castello.

Sunday Lunch

There are some traditions that happen once or twice a year but there is one British tradition that most grow up with and happens weekly, it is the good old Sunday roast.
I was lucky to have grown up with this weekly ritual and on some lucky weeks to have also had a mid week roast. More often or not it was a roast chicken with stuffing, several types of vegetables including the ever feared Brussel sprouts which I actually loved, a Yorkshire pudding accompanied the meal and then covered in lashings of hot meaty gravy made from the juices of the chicken. Wow what lucky child I was.
Remembering back to my childhood, today I am carrying on with the tradition myself still in love with a good Sunday roast but now being much older I sometimes end up being the one slaving in the kitchen doing what my mother used to do and what I took for granted, oh how I hate the preparation. You spend hours in the kitchen slaving over a hot stove and for what? Less than an hour of joy covered in gravy.
Today I still managed to have a Sunday roast but was treated to someone else doing the Sunday ritual as both Wayne and I joined Michèle and Anthony at their place for a gorgeous all the trimmings homemade roast, unfortunate because I was so looking forward to the meal my only photo of Michele and Anthony’s efforts was the empty plate, mind you that goes to show just how much I enjoyed all their efforts. Well done you two, I had a fabulous time.

sunday_roast

Spa

My birthday was on the horizon and it was no ordinary one, it was the big one, my 40th. I thought that I would take some time out and relax before the weekends birthday celebrations and take a nice day out and some pampering at a spa and a spot of light lunch. I thought at the time I would nice to have some spa treatments at one venue then afterwards head over the Brighton’s marina for lunch. Wayne pointed out to me that we would be feeling a little to chilled out after the treatments that we might want to find a venue that could cater for all our needs. I am glad he suggested we do just that as I then discovered the absolutely gorgeous Lansdowne Place Hotel.
I invited some very dear friends to join me for a facial, hot stone back and neck massage, head massage and then a spot of light lunch at Doyles. It was also an extra treat for two of my guests who could not make Sundays birthday party, well at least now they would not miss out on the birthday celebrations, if anything they were now having some extra special.
My friend Colin who is such a hard working butler and at best of times on days off or booked holidays finds it hard to relax, so I am glad he could make this spa day out as I knew it would be the only time he could truly relax. For the record I had to take a photo just to prove that at times Colin can relax.

colin_spa_treatment

David has been one of my closes and dearly loved gentlemen in my life and with his on going battle with cancer and treatments this was an ideal opportunity that I could spend some time with him away from all things bad that were going on in his life. Unfortunately David had decided that he did not want any treatments as he felt quite fragile but little miss food connoisseur would join us for the luncheon side of things. I am glad he joined us for lunch as I knew he was not eating to well as the cancer treatments he was having were suppressing his appetite.
Thanks to Wayne this little extra treat meant that the five of us could chill out and dine with all the time in the world at something that was exclusively for us to enjoy. I say exclusively as the treatment rooms and dinning area were just for us to enjoy as throughout the whole wonderful experience it was just the five of us. Doyles food was beautifully presented as you can see from the photo below.

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For those that want a little time out and maybe only have a day or so to relax and recharge then I highly recommend a a few spa treatments and a spot of light lunch as The Lansdowne Place Hotel.


Ventricolee

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Had a great night out with Wayne as he managed to get tickets for Paul Zerdin who was starting his ventriloquism show ‘Sponge fest’. Was a nice and relaxing yet entertaining evening as Paul’s show was starting off at Epsom Playhouse which is a nice sized theatre, not too big and not too small. We had tickets for a box so our seats had plenty of leg room and just added to the comfy experience of seeing the characters of Baby, Albert and the very rude Sam. Paul is a great entertainer in his own right but loves to get the audience involved and at one point Sam was talking to me, even though it is a puppet you are compelled to answer, but Sam being Sam you can expect to get a reply that makes you the joke.


An Apple A Day

I so love my tech! I think I am way ahead of the Smiths and Jones of this world, possibly could have been born a few hundred years too early.
I am finding that slowly but surely I am once again reverting back to my old ways of when I once used a Mac in the publishing field.
One good thing about Apple that has never changed is the ability to take massive technological leaps that leave others standing in the past.
So going back to Apple products, albeit that they are more advanced than ever before, I do not feel that I have to start over again with learning how to use them.
Apple have got it sussed how to use tech in a simple and yet intuitive manner, the iPad is living proof of this in the way children as young as a few years old can just pick up the device, touch and swipe and use applications.
You can see why so many people who have used Apple devices end up being addicted to them. They just feel so right when it comes to practicalities and are also perfectly designed.


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My obsession started with the iPod, then it only felt natural when the iPhone came out, then came the iMac (Intel) and now to add to the collection, the iPad2. This slight obsession has rubbed off on Wayne, who was always so anti-Apple and now he is also slowly but surely being converted to the way of the Apple; he cannot live without his iPhone and now his iPad.
So what is next?