A Birthday in Barking – 23/02/16

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I have a habit of going to slightly random places on my birthday. There was Bethnal Green in 2012 – not so random now but a bit out of the way when you consider we were living in South London at the time – followed by the Zoo in 2013. Then two years of unfun-quarantine-birthdays and so this year, a birthday jaunt was well overdue.

I met Bob over my glamorous birthday dinner at McDonalds, London Wall (“The Happy Meal makes it fancy” according to Reuben) and from there, we ditched the kids and made our way through some confusing backstreets and Victorian markets to Fenchurch Street station. Don’t worry, Nathan turned up some time between the Happy Meal and the station, to usher the kids away. And to buy a Happy Meal for himself, bizarrely.

From Fenchurch Street, trains to Barking go every three minutes or so and that’s where we were headed – for another relaxing spa session at the Abbey Spa, where I’d previously been with the HP mothers’ collective. I’d spent most of my birthday doing payroll, so I deserved a good soak in the jacuzzi. And Bob has a toddler, so she always deserves a soak in the jacuzzi.

Once again, I will not be posting any pictures of me in swimwear. You’ll have to make do with the birthday card Bob got me, which was pretty accurate:

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Last time I’d been it was an exclusive hire, which meant it was just people I knew. This time, it was a public and mixed session, which had a slightly different feel to it..but could also be entertaining when men started trying to out-macho each other by doing martial arts in the sauna.

I felt almost an old hand at this spa thing this time round. I knew which steam room was the hottest – the vapour room -and it was there that we started, sweating out all the McImpurities we’d just consumed. It takes a little while to acclimatise in there but the shorter you are, the easier it is. Heat rises yknow…physics, right there. So what feels unbearable when you walk in is actually bearable when you’re sitting down.

Still, it was pretty toasty and we well appreciated a cool down and relax in the jacuzzi afterwards. We spent ages in there, enjoying the bubbles and reminiscing about some of the dodgier swimming pools we’d been to. Then we went into the salt inhalation room, where I was amazed to discover that Bob didn’t remember this “Friends” moment. Surely everyone of our generation knows every episode of “Friends” off by heart?

Then , jacuzzi, sauna, jacuzzi, relaxation room. It’s a hard life hanging out at the spa. We had the relaxation room all to ourselves and it was lovely to just lie down and not have to deal with piles of laundry or washing up or any of the other things that appear in my peripheral vision when I’m trying to relax at home. Like the “Magic Trick” Eva is currently performing with four chairs and her duvet. I’m trying not to look.

So, it was a very relaxing and calming two hours and perfect for an end-of-birthday treat. Back in the real world, everything seemed a bit harsh and loud compared to the surreal serenity of the spa but we retreated the The Chequers in Walthamstow for a comforting post-spa cider. I could get used to this lifestyle…in fact, I’m going back in a week or so with the HP Ladies. Bring it on!

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Rave-A-Roo – 19/02/16

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image credit: Simon Jacobs

Three days of school and it already feels like half term was an age ago. But it did happen, the kids did disappear for most it and I managed to squeeze just one Day of Fun with them. Our destination was the Rave-A-Roo launch party at the Ministry of Sound. We were hoping to see our friends Big Fish Little Fish in their takeover slot but I got a little confused about where the main room was and so we missed it. Boo! Instead, we amused ourselves in the bar area, with neon clay modelling and an inflatable thing that blow out jets of air so you could make a ball hover.  Ooh, magic-y.

I was solo with both kids so didn’t manage to get much in the way of photos. My hands were kinda busy grabbing onto marauding children. But look at the quality photography I did manage when we eventually found the main room:

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In case you can’t tell (and you probably can’t), this was Go!Go! Go! of Nick Jr fame. Their glittery costumes and wild moves wowed the kids and we all had a bit of a boogie, all the while careful to obey the Ministry signs that told us not to dance on the speakers. Sadly, I think my speaker-dancing days are long gone. I might have done that on my 25th birthday,  but my 35th was much more about sitting around and drinking tea. Still, this was rock n roll, right? Going to a superclub in the middle of the afternoon with some kids and an inflatable flamingo or two? Plus, Reuben was excited to see the word “Roo” pretty much everywhere he looked. Rave on!

The kids were keen to find the soft play area and we headed back through the bar to the “Baby Box”, where there was a giant ball pit-slash-bouncy castle. They could entertain themselves quite happily in there and Roo barely even stepped on any smaller children. He did almost fall on one while scaling the wall, but that’s the risk you take with extreme-toddler-rave-sports.

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It was pretty hard to peel them away but the party was finishing soon so, like hardcore clubbers, they were dragged out into the unforgiving daylight, clutching their glowsticks and complaining that they could keep going all day if they wanted to. I sensed that they still had energy to run off, so we swapped the glamorous surrounds of the Ministry of Sound for a scrubby park behind the Elephant roundabout:

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Like the nearby roundabout, it had a huge and inexplicable silver feature in it, which Reuben obviously wanted to climb:

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While Eva was busy saying “Giddy up, Fishy!”

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And they both enjoyed a snuggle on the climbing frame, though all of us were unsure about why there were random items of clothing draped around it. Sometimes it’s better not to ask. Especially in Elephant & Castle.

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Oh, and there was a nice wooden assault course bit too:

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After that, Roo needed the loo and it started to rain and it all went a bit downhill but let’s leave it there…an afternoon of raving and playing. Pity they had to go back to school. Well, kinda…

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Some Lovely Businesses I’d Like To Tell You About

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The title says it all really…this is a post that I’ve been meaning to write since Christmas but, yknow, life and meth labs got in the way. Essentially, it’s me bragging about what amazing Christmas presents I bought my husband and kids and telling you where you can buy similar, to emulate my amazingness.

So, what prompted me to write this post today? Well, Nathan sought to emulate my amazingness…and won. A birthday present turned up today that was pure awesomeness but I’ll start from the beginning so you can truly understand it all.

Nathan loves 2000AD and in particular, the superhero Zenith. So I commissioned artist Joe Gatford, the husband of a weaner friend, to create a piece for me and here it is with one happy geek on Christmas morning. Look how well his t-shirt co-incidentally matches!

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Apparently I vaguely mentioned that I would like something similar for my birthday…and what did his get me? Only the most freaking awesome portrait ever!

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…and a pack of baby wipes, natch.

They match beautifully. Wanna see them together? Of course you do!

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Epic!

While we’re on Nathan’s Christmas pressies, here’s another beauty. Years ago, Nathan met Mark Morriss of the Bluetones and he’s carried this around in his wallet ever since:

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So when I noticed that Mark was selling handwritten lyrics on Facebook, I couldn’t resist. I sneakily asked Nathan what his favourite Bluetones song was and then I totally un-sneakily got it delivered to our old house and had to enlist Auntie Savage’s help to go and retrieve it. It was a little after Christmas that it arrived but it was worth the wait:

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“With love and thanks”- isn’t he like the nicest pop star ever?

And that brings us onto my last recommendation – the kids’ Christmas presents from Nathan and I. As you may have noticed, Reuben is *still* in that superhero phase, so what better than his own Reuben 2000 cape from Crafty Kilner?

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Designed to his own specific specifications (again, I found out sneakily), it’s made beautifully and swishes well in the wind. Of course, Eva 2000 is not one to be left out. Here she is, modelling her cape at a bus stop in Hackney Downs just last Sunday:

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Martha of Crafty Kilner is a friend of mine and, like Joe, quite sickeningly talented. Have a look at her website for other crafty goodness.

Why yes, I did do well on present-buying this Christmas even if it took me seven weeks to write about it. Order now in time for next Christmas!

 

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London Without a Toddler – ABQ

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Did I mention that the kids are back? We’ve had them back for five days and, honestly, it’s like they’ve never been away. But they were away! For most of half term…and while they were, Nathan and I partied hard. Cinema, board games, works, contemporary dance shows..somebody stop me! And we went out for Valentines for the first time in living memory.

Where did we go? Well, that’s the question Nathan was asking as we boarded a train to Liverpool St, clutching a 70cl bottle of vodka. I spun him various yarns about bivouacing and rough sleeping and I’m not sure he believed me until we turned into a yard in a shadowy corner of Shoreditch with not much but a battered RV in it. He still hadn’t worked it out until I tentatively knocked on the door of the RV and a man in full yellow Hazmat suit and mask answered it.

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Have you worked it out yet? Nathan had. We were 20 minutes early for our timeslot, so we sat on a sofa at the end of the yard protected from the freezing cold by only a thin sheet of tarpaulin. Maybe we were bivouacing after all.

Of course we weren’t. That would be a terribly outdoorsy thing to do and we were sissy hipsters for the night. What we were doing was “cooking” our own cocktails at ABQ London – an RV mocked up to look like a mobile meth lab. If you haven’t figured it put by now, you’re probably not conversant with Walter White’s finest work and so this whole experience may be a bit lost on you.

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Cause trust me, it’s the experience you pay for. You bring your own alcohol, you have to do most of the work making it…it’s unclear exactly what your £25/head gets you. True, there are some fancy cocktail ingredients but essentially you’re paying to hang out in an expensive part of London in a theme bar.

But a cool theme.

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And, of course, you get to drink the cocktails. It took a little while for things to get started on that front and I was never exactly sure what we going on as Jesse took our vodka and then he and Gale kinda jigged about a bit, looking very busy but not actually bringing us anything that we could make into anything drinkable. Our slot was 8-10 and we were still waiting for cocktail ingredients by 8:30. Still, they did turn up with everything we needed to make a 505 – the one with the dry ice. Woooo….effectsy….

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So, if you’ve ever wondered what Cliff Richard’s stage set tastes like, it’s vodka. And rose and lychee. Strong but pretty drinkable. We moved hastily on to the Fly, a cola-caviar- and-nitrogen infused drink. I can safely say I’ve never had one of those before. This time, we had to infuse with the laughing gas and then let it sit for 5 minutes.

I should probably explain a bit about how this works – you had your base alcohol over, choose your cocktail and the guys in the yellow suits mix it up with the rose and lychee and whatever, yo (is it just me, or did that sentence not work too work? I don’t think rose and lychee are very gangsta, yo).  Then you get the mix back in a shaker and you get to do the showy bit at the end – the dry ice or the infusing etc. But it comes with a small risk that your alcohol might get mixed up with someone else’s, which I think might have happened with the Fly. My first clue was the people next to us complaining that their drinks tasted of vodka, not gin. My second clue was our drinks tasting of gin, not vodka. We only realised once we’d done all the infusing and waiting stuff so we didn’t say anything, we just sucked it up. Well, Nathan did. I don’t like gin.

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Two cocktails down and we reckoned we could fit that last one in before kick out at 10. Time for Tripped, a flavour changing cocktail that promised to send us out happily into the night. This one came with a slightly suspect bag of white powder but I’m assured it’s all legal. Again, it made for a strong cocktail and I wasn’t totally sold on the soluble-aspirin feel of the powder-in-liquid so I poured some of mine into Nathan’s when he wasn’t looking. I was also having some logistical difficulties. As my father would say, I had a drinking problem:

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But it’s OK, I worked round it:

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Nathan, meanwhile, had gone Full Heisenberg:

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It was a fun evening and definitely different to anything we’d ever done before. There were a few operational things that made it feel a bit hit and miss (though it’s a meth lab staffed by a junkie…what dya expect?) and considering how much you pay, it’s not amazing value for money. We were probably making and drinking for an hour and a bit so there was a lot of waiting at the start and then we were aware we had to get out at the end. But hey, it’s an Experience in Shoreditch – they’re not famed for their cheapness.

So, I’d recommend it if you’re a big fan of the show and want to surprise a loved one with a unique night out (trust me, the look on Nathan’s face was worth it) but don’t be surprised if you come out feeling a little dazed and confused. Those were very strong cocktails after all…

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35 Things I Thought I’d be Doing at 35

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So, in a few days I celebrate my 35th birthday. It’s not one of the biggest birthdays, but it’s a handy midway point between 30 and 40 to sit and reflect on my life and the things I haven’t yet achieved. If you’d asked my 25-year-old self what I’d be like in ten years’ time I probably would have had a fair stab at describing my actual life – house in the suburbs, couple of kids, some kind of job -but the devil is in the detail, and there are so many things that I’d hoped to be doing by now that I’m just not. So, I give you 35 Grown Up and Sensible Things I Thought I’d be Doing at 35:

1. I thought I’d have invested in some decent make-up by now instead of using blunt eyeliners
2. I thought I’d be using decent make-up remover instead of water and toilet roll
3 I thought I’d be separating my whites and darks in the wash.
4. I thought I’d have a special place in my handbag for my keys and not have to go through the emptying-it-all-out charade on the doorstep every day. But no, it still takes as long to find them as it did a decade ago but no I have a couple of kids commentating as I dump huge piles of stuff onto the garden wall. And they often need a wee.
5. I thought I’d choose shoes for practical reasons
6. I thought I’d understand mortgages
7. I thought I’d have a skincare routine.
8. I thought I’d understand the American Electoral system
9. I thought I’d clean the car regularly
10. And the house
11. And the kids
12. I thought I’d have clean clothes put away in drawers and I wouldn’t just snatch clothes from the drier, willing them to dry as I walk to work.
13. I thought I’d know what I wanted to be when I grew up
14. I thought I’d use shoecare
15. I thought I’d descale the kettle more often
16. I thought I’d like the kind of films that win Oscars
17. I thought I’d dismiss all modern music as either tuneless or derivative (Oh wait, I do do this one)
18. I thought I’d be able to drink coffee without a shedload of sugar in it.
19. I thought I’d know how to cook a roast dinner
20. I thought I’d throw away tights that had holes in them, instead of keeping them “just in case”
21. I thought I’d learn how to garden
22. I thought I’d eat my 5-a-day,every day
23. I thought I’d separate my recycling properly and wash it out, instead of just flinging it from afar and hoping for the best
24. I thought I’d like olives
25. I thought I’d be able to shave without cutting myself
26. I thought if I didn’t learn to shave properly, I’d at least have reconciled myself to waxing
27. I thought I might be over my dentist phobia by now
28. I thought I’d be able to throw away old handbags as soon as the handles broke and wouldn’t have a cupboard full of old handbags, which are themselves full of old receipts and fluffy chewing gum.
29. I thought I’d remember my reusable bags every time I went to Tesco. Dagnam, if the 5p bag charge hasn’t made me do it, what will?
30. I thought I’d stop liking Monster Munch and Space Invaders
31. I thought I’d clean the bathroom with something other than baby wipes
32. I thought I’d be responsible when choosing baby names, and not give my son a middle name he won in a bet
33. I thought I’d drink wine that wasn’t prefixed by “house”
34. I thought I’d change all our bed sheets every week and not just when a child is sick on them
35. I thought I’d give out all our Christmas Thank You Letters before Easter.

So, that’s a lot of things to work on before I consider myself a Proper Grown Up. Ah well, still 5 more years before 40….

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London Without a Toddler – Resolution Festival

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Forgive me, my smogging is going out of sequence. I haven’t yet told you about Nathan and I having a romantic Valentine’s in a dark Shoreditch alley but I’m going to skip ahead to Wednesday night’s childfree excursion to The Place, a theatre in Euston. It was a contemporary dance triple bill, as part of the Resolution Festival and some friends of mine were involved in the first piece. I’ll be honest about that now, so you know I’m biased from the start. On the flip side though, it’s the first piece of theatre I’ve been to in a long time that I’ve actually paid for, so there’s neutrality right there.

Let’s start with Group 11′s “Searching for the Dead” then , which was choreographed by our friend Temitope Ajose-Cutting and featured another friend, Adam Liston, on music and vocals. I believe he composed the score as well as performing it. So that’s my bias-disclaimers out of the way. On with the show!

The theme of “Searching for the Dead” was that we carry around with us traces of those we have known and lost – not necessarily through death, but also through friendships that have withered. The very truth of that makes for uncomfortable watching, as it makes you think about the people you’ve lost contact with and the reasons why. The performance was a mixture of dance, music, mime and spoken word with each performer contributing some of their personal “junk”. For example, singer Susie Doyle listed the women she no longer sees, with some notes on each (“Laura…I really should apologise to her…”), while the dancers acted out the feelings of loss and rejection that comes with those broken relationships.

At one point, it was curiously similar to the last mime show that I went to (“Kite“) – a dancer pulled out a suitcase and the items in it that reminded her of the past – drawings, a babygro, a scarf and (I think) some perfume. It really evoked the way that certain fabrics and smells can make someone long gone feel alive again. Then the dancers asked audience members for the names of the people they’d lost – I have to admit it was a touch too personal at that bit and Nathan and I got all British and embarrassed. But I was glad to hear Bowie and Rickman both getting a mention.

The piece concluded with a hauntingly beautiful song by Adam and Susie. I don’t know what it was called, but I’d be surprised if it didn’t get another airing very soon. Susie has a fragile kind of voice, which well suited the emotional rawness of the show. Adam’s vocals provided a rich counterpart and the two blended beautifully. It was the only show of the night to feature live music and it gave it a  magical edge. It was probably my favourite but,as I said, I’m biased.

We were out for the night so we were more than happy to get a drink and enjoy the two other pieces. When we came back in from the interval, the dancers of “Far From the Norm” were already in position, backs to the audience, in the semi-dark. This was “Rek”, an exploration of revolution and how people come together to break out of their status quo.  They started on the floor, showing off some very muscular back-movements, and went through a kind of awakening until they were firing on the audience. After the whimsy and delicacy of “Searching for the Dead”, it seemed far more primal and brutal but there was a certain beauty in the sheer physicality of it. I did worry for a girl in a backless top doing some very energetic moves, but it all held together so that was OK.

The third company – Co-Motion Dance – was different again. It was, I suppose, the most conventionally dance-y of the three pieces, with the four girls performing gymnastic leaps and lifts in perfect sync. For some reason, it reminded me of PE lessons at school, where we would try and lift one another up in various showy ways…but trust me, Co-Motion did the moves a lot better than my friend Naomi and I ever did. Their stage costumes of polo necks and jeans also looked like what everyone wore in the mid 90s so it made me feel terribly nostalgic. For those without weird memory associations though, you could just been impressed by the fluid and energetic moves, with the dancers falling off podiums to be caught with split-second timing. Again, there seemed to be a theme of separation and reunion, gaining friends and losing them…but I may be reading too much into that.

So, it was a very enjoyable evening at the theatre. Contemporary dance isn’t necessarily the art form that I would choose straight away but it was all very well done and, obviously, it’s always good to see a friend’s work. Sadly, it was for one night only but there’s more information on the Resolution Festival here.

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Pantry & Co Giveaway – Winner Announced!!

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It’s Friday morning, Pantry & Co is open for business and I’m pleased to announce that one lucky reader will be claiming their FREE coffee and pastry this weekend. Yes, we have a winner of our Pantry & Co giveaway and it is…

DANIELLE HART!!

Congratulations Danielle, you’ll receive your voucher very shortly. Thanks to everyone who entered – why not pop down there anyway for a Friday pick me up?

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Millie May’s – 13/02/16

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It has been a busy week. The children are staying at the grandparents’ and Nathan and I have been living it up, childfree style. I’ve got so many things to blog about and they will all be achingly smug. There should be a word for smug blogging – “smogging”? First though, let’s rewind to before we left those kids in a car park in Whitton and a trip out to Toys R Us on Saturday. Yes, we wanted them to remember how lovely Mummy and Daddy were before we threw them out of a moving car on the A316.  Also, Eva had managed 39 marbles’ worth of good behaviour (I think we lost one under the piano) and Roo had a tearily good school report so they deserved a toy or two.

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Pity Eva was so overwhelmed by the Princess Tat aisle that she couldn’t even speak, let alone narrow it down to one piece of tat. She got so confused that I got away with spending just £12.99 on this rather overpriced Ariel doll:

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Roo scored a Hawkeye costume. I think he won.

“But wait”, I hear you say. “Where is the prettily-clothed table that Ariel is perching on?” Well, ask no more. It’s in the title. It’s Millie May’s Cafe in Chingford. It’s where I’m having my birthday gathering very soon, so I thought I should at least go and see what it’s like. It was mine and Nathan’s treat after braving Toys R Us and trust me, we needed it.

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It’s a nice space, is Mille May’s. There’s a little play area at the back and a garden that I assume would be open in nicer weather than the sleety-rain of Saturday. The kids ate pombears and played with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles while I nursed a cup of Red Berry tea. I was full of cold, ysee. Any spare sympathy  you have is very welcome.

I also had some rather lovely Red Velvet cake. It’s always good when your cake and your tea match:

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Sadly, nice as it was to have a sit down, I really wasn’t feeling amazing and Nathan and I had a full week of rock n roll ahead of us. So, it was a short stay and I went home to have a nap. But we will be back very soon and then maybe I can relax and enjoy a bit more.

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One thing to note is that Millie May’s doesn’t take card, so make sure to bring cash with you. As ever, I’m a big supporter of local, toddler-friendly cafes and I’d encourage you to go and check it out if you’re in the area. And, on that note don’t forget to enter our Pantry & Co giveaway. It ends tomorrow!

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London Without a Toddler – Ashes to Ashes

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A Wednesday night out on the town? How very daring, hey? But don’t be too impressed with me – I bailed out at an un rock n roll 10:30 in order to get home and relieve the babysitter. So this is a pretty uncomprehensive review of the Double R Club’s “Ashes to Ashes” Bowie tribute but it was impressive that we got there at all…so bear with me.

I may have mentioned before how Nathan and I were quite into glamrock as teenagers.  And he can still fit into his shiny purple coat and Goblin King-esque shirt but me…I still own that sequin miniskirt from 1999 but I’ve had two kids and aged a fair bit since I last wore it. So, DIY tribute t-shirt it was:

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It lost a fair bit of glitter shortly after I made it, when Reuben put his fingers in it to see if it was dry yet. It wasn’t. By the time we left the house, it had lost yet more glitter. Running for the train in an un-Bowie-like way didn’t help. But damn it, we were out of the house and we didn’t even have any kids with us.

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We got to the Bethnal Green Working Man’s Club just in time for the show to start. It was packed with beautiful people and Bowies of all eras. I began to feel a little underdressed but it was so dark no-one would be able to see anyway.

The spoken word of “Future Legend”  echoed around the room and our host Benjamin Louche stepped out, resplendent in red suit, lightning flash and feather earring. He opened the show by singing ”Diamond Dogs” and already we were grinning. Ever since Bowie died, this has been what we needed – to gather with the other freaks and ageing glamrockers and just enjoy the music of the Man Who Fell to Earth.

There was to be a series of scenes from Bowie’s career, in no particular order, but the first was Tricity Vogue’s recreation of Bowie’s very first gig, around a campfire as a scout. Apparently he didn’t really sing “Oh You Pretty Things” as he played the ukulele, but it was ever so cute and Nathan and I have been humming it ever since.

(Incidentally, if anyone has any photos they’d be OK with me using, please get in touch at londonwithatoddler@gmail.com. Among other fails, I failed to take more than one photo of what was really quite a visual night. Look here’s one more for luck…)

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I might have the order wrong here but I *think* the next act was Josephine Shaker’s amazing tap dance to “Hello Spaceboy”. Tap is an underused art form nowadays but this girl was easily as good as Vera Ellen in “White Christmas” and that’s saying something.  I’m going to give up on trying to remember the order now, but let’s pick out some highlights, like Champagne Charlie getting us all to wave our mobile phone lights as he sang “Time” and then a cheery singalong to “Changes”. And the surreal coat-dance of Rhyannon Styles to “Rock n Roll Suicide”. We’d been primed to expect some flesh on show – it was the “All-Nude Cabaret” that gave it away – and the first bit of nudity came with Lydia Darling’s reinterpretation of the 1996 “Outside” album. I’ll be honest  - it was a little disturbing. Not the boobs, but the self-mutilation-as-art. Call me a square, but live bleeding has never been quite my thing. To be fair to her though, self-harming was a pretty 1990s thing to do so she really captured the moment. And it took a while for the menfolk to notice the sharp things sticking out of her arms – apparently boobs are quite distracting.

There was a bit more burlesque before the interval – Bettsie Bon Bon’s cheery take on “Rebel Rebel” and a Goblin King who turned out to be not quite as “blessed” as the movie version. But never let it be said that these performers let their natural disadvantages get in the way of donning skin-tight leggings… On that subject, Abnormalik’s mime routine didn’t quite hit the skin-tightness of the Bowie original but in every other way was a faithful tribute to “The Mask”.

During the interval, I happily stumbled upon an old friend in the basement, which was lovely. But time was ticking on and once interval and raffle were done we didn’t get to see much of the second half unfortunately. We saw another Benjamin Louche number, the short film of “Rock N Roll Suicide”, directed by Nathan Evans and left just as Laurence Owen was on. The babysitter had to up for school in the morning, ysee. I’ve heard that Clifford Slapper was brilliant and I’ve seen a video of the raucous “Starman” encore that looked entertaining but damn  it, I’m just not rock n roll anymore.

Luckily for us those, Bowie was…right until the end. And this motley crew of Bowie-lovers really summed up his life’s work with passion, humour and some beautiful music. Thank you Double R Club for making this happen and for raising so much money for Cancer Research. It was a great tribute to a great man. I only hope Major Tom could hear it…
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Pantry & Co Giveaway!!

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Now, those of you who don’t live in Highams Park may not have heard this particular piece of news, but for you local types there’s no excuse….unless you’ve been living under a rock. So, for the sole benefit of those people who live under a rock in Highams Park. here’s the E411…there is a new deli and cafe open on Winchester Road, just a hop and a skip away from the station. It’s called Pantry & Co and it’s run by local mother and excellent baker Pei-Chin Lee. You may not know her by name, but you may have well sampled the delicious breads and pastries she’s made for Indulge Cafe these last few months.  Now she has her own shop which at the moment is only open Fri- Sun but that’s a lot more pastry-eating time that we had before. And look how yummy those pastries are:

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I can’t quite get the scale here but some of those croissants are the size of a child’s head. And I know, because I tested out the deli with not one but many children last Friday morning. Look at these stock-image-perfect mothers, drinking coffee and networking busily:

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And the amazing thing is that you could be one of these mothers – or fathers if you’re so inclined. Or, quite frankly, just anyone who likes coffee. Because LWAT is offering one lucky reader a FREE coffee and pastry at Pantry & Co. All you have to do it share this post on Facebook or Twitter and then comment below to say you’ve done it….and you’ll be entered into the draw. It will be open from now until this time next week, so get sharing and commenting for your chance to win! The winner will be announced first thing on Friday 19th February.

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Trust me, it’s good coffee. They even do soya milk. And they also stock cheeses, cured meats, preserves and juices…and I’ve heard even locally produced ciders. But don’t just take my word for it, pop down tomorrow or over the weekend from 8AM. It’s 7 Winchester Rd and there’s more info on their Facebook page here. Leave them a review if you’re feeling lovely, and don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

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Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post in the traditional sense. It is a commercial partnership but I am hosting the promotion out of the love for local business and pain au chocolat. I am not receiving any remuneration for hosting the promotion. Except a warm fuzzy feeling. All opinions most definitely remain honest and my own.

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Posted in Cake and the finest wines known to humanity (eating out) | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments