Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Grange - Ealing Common

I've gotten a lot of s*** from my friends for living in Ealing the past couple of years. If anyone asked if I lived in London and I said yes, a friend would undoubtedly add "well, almost." However, one of the things that makes Ealing very much worth living in - is The Grange. A lovely little pub a short walk from where I live (for only two more weeks) with a gorgeous garden area.

Today, some friends and I went for dinner there...we started out with some Pimms in the garden

And when the rest of our group arrived - we moved indoors to order our meal, it was a little chilly without my cardie!

I had flat bread mushroom with chorizo and goats cheese as a starter, the guys had calamari and baked camembert.

Most of us had the lamb burger for our mains, which we agreed was very nice - though not the best burger we'd ever had - I wish I'd gone with the sausage and mash I saw someone order outside...

The company was brilliant, the wine was lovely (we opted for the second cheapest - Australian Shiraz) and the food was great...we waited a long long time for it though and it was a good two and a half hours after we first sat at the dining table til we were paying our bill...I'll put it down to the fact they had another big party in...but, gun to my head, I'd recommend Charlotte's Place next door for food!

Shoe Shopping!

Today, Claire and I went accidental shopping - where you step into a shop for two seconds and end up in there for gone an hour? Come on, we've all been there! Anyway, I also took the opportunity to play with my new camera - it's just a digital, but I'm trying to get a bit better at taking pictures and this camera is my first step!

Now, New Look is my first choice for shoes! The designs are awesome and they're cheap as anything! Generally they're about £25 each and I'm enjoying them muchly!

I tried so hard to resist buying a pair, with my impending move to Paris I'm trying to save, but somehow these beautiful shoes made it onto my credit card!

The recent realisation that I can walk in these big shoes has opened up a whole new world to me so these shoes are just the perfect addition to my shoe collection, and though it breaks my heart to put them in the second wave of shoes that are coming to France, they are totally and entirely worth it - they'll add a much needed statement to a plain black dress and they are just simply...HOT!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Who are you visiting? - Myself!

I am happy to report that after being rejected entry to a bar last Friday evening, Fiona and I were much more successful this time around!
We started the night as last time, though minus the extended party, at b@1 in SoHo where the barman was...slightly irritatingly attentive - no, I don't need to know what Greek God my index finger represents, thank you very much! We headed off, fingers intact (barely), to the invite only bar with a healthy amount of trepidation. After getting lost briefly, my fault, and accidentally uncovering the only casino in London that has a craps table (that's for another night), Fi and I sauntered down the familiar alley way that lead us to the bar.
On our way home

There was a little crowd standing outside and we watched as a girl attempted to open the closed door, unsuccessfully. It was soon opened from the inside and the hostess asked 'who are you visiting?' - the answer, in my case, was myself. We were expected (this time), and Fiona and I found ourselves on the other side of the elusive door.

The place itself is tiny, but well decked out and only mildly imposing, or was that just the deer head on the wall?

(not my own picture)

 Fi and I ordered some cocktails and,I must say, a 'Hard Day's Night' has never tasted so good!
Downstairs a girl was nice enough to let us sit at her table where there were spare seats as the small cellar room was jam packed, people were perched on steps and sitting on the floor to watch the bands performing on the small stage.

We enjoyed our drinks and listened politely to the band. I wondered if I were sat where John Lennon sat when Jimi Hendrix wandered into the bar and asked to jam with the house can hope!

The band finished and were followed by The Magic Numbers. We listened a while but it being a school night, us not being huge Magic Numbers fans and being four cocktails down, decided it was best to head off.

Mission accomplished! Though I don't think I did enough networking to be able to saunter straight in next time!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I love it when a plan comes together

And it has all come together so very nicely!

It began when I started fretting about how I was going to get my quilt and pillows over to Paris. I was thinking, oh no, that's going to take up a whole suitcase! How will I get the rest of my stuff over to Paris?!
No sooner had I paused from my (ahem) constant hardwork, continually applied when I'm in the office, when Kate turned to me, holding a plastic miracle, and said, vacuum bags, you'll be needing some of these!
I was relatively jubilant the rest of the day and promptly ordered some!

The good news keeps on coming though! Today I received two very similar texts:

Edouard: Hi. It's Edouard for the flat. I've thought this through I think. No need for me to do extra visits if you feel like staying in the flat.

Samantha: Hello! Just wanted to let you know I've decided not to bother with more viewings tonight as I'd be delighted to move into the flat!

Some background - Sam was our first choice for new flatmate into the mini haven that is Flat 8.
Edouard is my new future flatmate in Paris.
That's right, the hunt is over! I will be sharing a very, well, it's unusually decorated but it has none of the big issues I've seen with so many other Parisian flats i.e. the living room is just a living room - not someone's bedroom, and, miraculously, it has a proper oven - pizza is once again an option!

The only problem with the flat is that there is no bed frame - it is a very hippy mattress on the floor but it seems from the French ikea that I can get one pretty cheap!

I should also warn anyone thinking of visiting me that it is on the fifth floor of the building, and, like so many other Parisian buildings, there is no elevator! Exercise anyone?

Edouard was nice enough to give me a laptop tour of the apartment - it's cute! The room is bigger than it looks in the picture so I'm quite excited - Edouard himself was lovely as well!

I might have to mention la pièce de résistance - it's 900 frickin metres from the Eiffel Tower!

Oh happy days!

Shove me on the eurostar with a baguette in my hand and beret on my head and I will say à bientot with a smile on my face!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Swinging London - last few weeks!

Well, if all goes well, I should be moving to Paris on the 14th July - either way I will definitely be out of London by that date so I am resolved to make the most of these last few weeks. Which is how Ben and I ended up swing dancing in Waterloo.

We went to the absolute beginners class - check them out here - the class was good and basic and though I haven't tried the next class up I would suggest if you've got any dance experience, or just a natural rhythm, skip the absolute beginners and hit the beginners class (level 1.5). The instructors were good and friendly and don't worry if you can't find a willing boy to bring with you - you swap every 30 seconds!

The weekend proceeded with a cocktail night out...our plans to hit a very exclusive club were thwarted (even more exclusive than we anticipated - but we had some fun anyway - b@1 in SoHo is a brilliant cocktail bar to hit on a Friday night - the barmen themselves are entertaining enough to go, the cocktails will have you staying though...

Chris suited up for the occasion

I wore my new super high shoes for the occasion

And my sister looked beautiful - as per usual!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Back to the hunt!

Well, May is a busy month - between countless birthdays and my trip to California and Nevada I put the whole Paris thing on the backburner - but now I'm back!

And rapidly running out of time to find a flat so I am officially subscribing to and hoping to find a flatmate and alternatively looking for short term lets (two weeks/one month) which will do me while I get out there and flat hunt for a long-term let!

I know in my last post I had decided on the studio flat but after trying to go ahead with what was the perfect little studio flat, I realised I really couldn't afford it. For anyone's future reference, with the average letting agency you are looking at up to 800 euros in agency fees alone, on top of that they asked for two months rent (1400 euros) as deposit and THEN you've got to pay your first months rent. Sooo - I had to revisit my, the flat I was eyeing up was a minimum year let and it would probably be better to properly view the flat before I commit to it.

But I've got all my contract stuff through for my job so it's time to get a move on - the flat is up for rent and viewings scheduled for next week - I'm out here latest 15th July so time for the usual cull of useless crap I won't be keeping!

Maybe I should start by tidying my room in preparation for these visits...