Category Archives: England

Venice via Newcastle

Ivan, Lil Dave and I had to wake up early at 9:30 am on August 23, 2012. 

We packed up which took quite a while as all of our stuff was spread around the room as if an explosion had gone off in our suitcase.

So by 11am or so we were done. I realised that I had way too much stuff-before I had about 10kg in my bag but now I’ve got 13kg and that is just way too much for a little girl like me. Before we go to South America, Ivan’s going to get rid of a whole bunch of his smarter clothes and I’m going to get rid of some clothes as we are not going to need these while overlanding on the Oasis truck.

We got the train to Newcastle from the main Edinburgh train station. The train took an hour and an half and the journey flew by with the help of a tasty crayfish and noodles salad, and a couple of episodes of weeds and beaver falls on the laptop.

Once in Newcastle, it was another metro ride that then took us to the Newcastle airport. We were flying from here to Venice rather than from Edinburgh as it was much cheaper. The line for check-in was deserted and security was pretty fast as well – always the great thing about small airports I guess!

The flight was pretty uneventful…I just worked on the blog and read a bit of my book. Once we arrived and had got our luggage we headed towards the boat station to get our boat into the centre of Venice. Its always nice to get off a plane and onto a boat rather than a bus or taxi isn’t it!

We were staying on the Lido rather than the main island of Venice and luckily the boat we were on took us right there. A short taxi ride then took us to the Airbnb place Ivan had booked for us. We were greeted by a lovely Italian lady called Gabrielle who was quite the character and fun to talk with. We were staying in a room in her house along with her and another lodger. She recommended a local Italian restaurant, and due to the fact that we were pretty hungry , we ignored Gabrielle’s requests for us to ‘relax and maybe take a shower ‘ (in fact she was very insistent that we SHOULD take a shower – did we smell or something?), and headed to the local restaurant nearby called Ristorante Tizano.  The tuna and onion pizza, cod dish (which was creamy) and a pasta with olive oil, garlic and chili.  I don’t know how they make pasta so simple, but it tastes delicious.  The pizza was amazing and the cod dish was really good. 

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The cod looks like a penis and balls though haha… I think the chef has a sense of humor.

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Mussels in Brussels

On July 17, 2012, Ivan, Lil Dave and I woke up at 9 am.  Ivan and I packed everything up and left the very orange Easyhotel. 

We got took the train to King’s Cross and left our baggage there.

Today, we were doing the Street Art London Tours in Shoreditch.

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Ivan and I love graffiti and it’s always evolving in London. 

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We went to many places and saw lots of cool graffiti. 

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We recognized a couple of graffiti pieces that we saw last time on a different graffiti tour we took. 

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The tour guide showed us a Banksy, but it was covered by glass and it up high where my short self couldn’t see it. 

After the tour, we headed back to King’s Cross to collect our luggage and then pick up tickets for the Eurostar train.  I was hungry, so Ivan and Lil Dave stayed with the luggage while I got some food at Marks and Spencers.  Ivan also bought some food.  It still hurts when I swallow – even just water.

Then, we left on the train at 2 pm from London to Brussels, Belgium.  The train is very cheap at 49 Euros each and it goes under the sea for an hour.  We fell asleep the whole time though. The train arrived at 5:05 pm in Brussels.  Ivan tried to find the bus at the airport, but the one we needed didn’t stop there.  We were too tired and decided to get a taxi cab to the Airbnb apartment. 

We were welcomed by this sign next to our room. 

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How cute!!  We met Carine and her son.  Carine is a friendly Belgian lady.  She had a map for us and we talked about our honeymoon and Brussels.  Her son made us tasty mint Moroccan tea.  I need to learn how to make it!  Carine is always smiling.  Ivan asked why mussels is so famous in Brussels.  She wasn’t sure.  Ivan reckons it’s because it rhymes. 

We took showers and then walked to the city at 7:30 pm.  Along the way, we saw Brussels Cathedral.

Ivan showed me the main square la Grand Place.  He said it looks a lot better at night.

We found the restaurant Chez Leon on a very busy street filled with restaurants.  Ivan read online that this is the best place for mussels. We shared a good white beer.  Lil Dave got a banana pasta.  Ivan and I each got a 800 gram bucket filled with mussels: one with white wine and one with celery, onion and butter.  It came with pomme frites.  The mussels with celery, onion and butter was the best one.  The mussels were real good, but not the best we’ve had. 

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Ivan and I prefer the mussels at Comme Ca in The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.  I’ve never eaten so many mussels in one sitting in my life. It really was a LOT of mussels!

It was 9:30 pm and it was still light out.  There are many statues of the Pissing Man statue.  Ivan thought he’d get a drink.

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We went to the main square and then headed to the real Pissing Man statue. 

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I thought he would have been a lot bigger than he actually is.  I think he’s less than a foot tall. 

We walked across to the bar Poechenellekelder (say that three times really fast!!).  This bar is connected with the Pissing Man statue.  I think about 12 times a year this bar changes the outfit of the Pissing Man.  I wish he wasn’t naked and had an cute outfit on.  Oh, well next time.

We wanted to try a sour beer, but they didn’t have any.

Ivan remembered a cool bar with 250 beers nearby.  We went to Delerium and ordered two beers.  One beer was honey and the other was cherry. 

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I really liked the cherry one.  The beers are really strong here.  It’s best to ask how strong it is before drinking too many!

We saw the Pissing Woman statue in the courtyard of Delerium.  I couldn’t get a good picture of it since she’s behind a gate. After drinking our beers and realising that there is no way we could drink more than 4-5 of them because even just one (at 9% alcohol) made us feel tipsy, we jumped into a taxi and headed back to the apartment.

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Harry Potter Tour

I woke up at 11 am on July 16, 2012.  We packed everything up.  Ivan’s mum Denise made us hot tea with lemon (for my throat) and poached eggs (for my hungry stomach).  There was also bread but I couldn’t eat it – it hurts my throat when I eat hard foods.

Ken drove us to the train station nearby at noon.  We said good-bye to Denise and Ken.  I told Denise that I would hug her, but I didn’t want to get her sick. That and the fact that I am not comfortable with physical contact with mother-in-laws (joke).

We got the train to Victoria in Central London.  Ivan checked us in to the Easyhotel.  It’s a cheap hotel place similar to Tune Hotels where you have to pay for everything.  It’s run by Easyjet….so everything is orange..the walls, the floor…the beds…the people…

After placing our bags in the room, we went to get lunch at Pret a Manger and shopped at Boots. We then headed to the bus station nearby to board the bus for the Warner Brothers Studios tour.

It was an hour and half drive to Watford.  On the bus, we watched a video where it said kids can get a passport and get stamped throughout the tour.  I wanted a passport.

I went to the info desk and asked for a passport.  They asked how many and I said two.  I’m glad they give these out freely even to adults.

We had to wait awhile before standing in line for our tour.  I checked out the cool gift shop which is very well decorated.  You can buy everything here from sorting hats, wands, a Gryffindor notebook and scarves. 

Ivan got us the audio tour which is only 5 Euros.  It’s well worth it.  The tour is on an iPod.  It’s great because you can listen to the videos at your leisure which is great when you are waiting in the queue (line) to enter.  There’s also behind the scene pictures and sketches of costumes and wands.

The Warner Bros. Studio Tour – The Making of Harry Potter is amazing.  These are the actual studios where every single one of the Harry Potter movies were made!

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It’s very detailed and includes original sets, props and costumes.  You HAVE to go if you’re a Harry Potter fan.  Even though Ivan’s not a big Harry Potter fan, he enjoyed it.  There’s so much detail that go into making a movie.  Lil Dave wonders why there aren’t monkeys in the films.

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You can buy Butterbeer outside. 

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The Knight bus, the Weesley’s car, 4 Privet Drive and the house where The Potters lived are also outside.

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We walked down Diagon Alley.

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There’s a cool BIG model of Hogwarts at the end of the tour.

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The tour ends in the gift shop.  We got the bus back at 7 pm headed back to Victoria station.  The bus arrived at 8:40 am.

Once we arrived in the room, I took a shower.  We then went to Embankment station to meet Neal.

Neal wanted to check out a Mexican restaurant, but it was a bit overpriced.  Ivan thought Wahaca would be a lot better.  Ivan and I shared guacamole, broad bean and feta quesadilla, MSC ceviche salad and courgette & cactus burrito.  It was a tasty meal.

Ivan and Neal thought we should get a drink somewhere.  Neal said if I wanted to rest we didn’t have to get a drink.  I figured we wouldn’t see him for awhile, so we should spend time together.

We went to Gordon’s underground wine bar for a drink.  Ivan and I shared a tasty port.  Ivan, Neal and I chatted about life. 

We walked back to the station.  Neal wanted to give me a handshake – I gave him a hug, after all he’s family now (that the fact that unlike the mother-in-law issues, I don’t have them with brother-in-laws..joke again). Oops, I forgot I was sick – hope he doesn’t get my stupid sickness.

Ivan and I headed back to the hotel where I worked on the blog before we went to bed.

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Loughton Tea Party

Ivan, Lil Dave and I said good-bye to Charisse and Noelle on July 15, 2012.  We left the apartment at 9:30 am for the bus headed to the airport. 

Our plane left at 10:55 am.  Ivan and I slept on the plane.  We arrived at 1:55 am in Stansted airport in Essex, England.  Immigration went by pretty fast for once…I guess they recognized my face seeing as I have entered England (not an euphemism) many times….not or the fact that I said I was married to a Brit.

We got our luggage and then went outside to meet up with Ivan’s parents and his brother Neal.

We started driving to Sopwell House in Hertfordshire.  Today was the celebration of Ivan’s great aunt Aunty Nancy’s 100th birthday.  She was having a tea party being put together by her nephews and nieces.  It took us an hour to arrive.

We arrived there and the place was very posh…way too posh for my backpacker-fashion outfit I was wearing, so I changed my shirt into something a bit more ‘tea-party-ish’.

The grounds were very pretty with greenery, a red bridge and a pond filled with huge Koi fish.

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I met Ivan’s family which were his second cousins, their kids and grandkids.  Some were very Jewish looking since Ivan is Jewish.  I’ll leave it up to your readers to decided what I mean by ‘very Jewish looking’.

I met Aunty Nancy for the first time.  She’s 100 years old and she’s totally there – she has an amazing memory.  She remembered how Ivan wore old time clothes at school when he was a young boy. She was most unlike other 100 year olds I have met.

Ivan and I checked out the cool birthday card from The Queen herself. 

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She even signed it!!  They could have picked a better picture of the Queen though – she looks like she’s been there all day trying to take the picture and she just wants to get it done with ASAP.  You only get a birthday card from The Queen when you reach 100 years old.

David, Ivan’s second cousin, talked to the group about what Aunty Nancy said about her life.  Aunty Nancy worked in a sewing shop and later worked in a jewelry shop.  She retired at 71, but continued working as a volunteer at a Jewish charity shop until age 96.  Next, David sang a song that he wrote which was quite cute. 

The tables were each given a few tiers of cakes and scones and pots of tea.  Sheree sang a few musical songs like Memory from Cats and a song from Les Miserables.  She had a lovely voice.  There was a request for more songs, but she didn’t have the music for them…I guess they weren’t paying her enough money, or giving her enough tea, or whatever it takes to get her to sing. (Maybe the scones – but I don’t think the issue was with them, as there were tons to go around, and she could easily have had her fair share plus more if she had wanted to.)

We talked with Ivan’s family about the wedding and our honeymoon.  Sheree sang two more musical songs that Aunty Nancy likes. (This time she had the music and/or the tea/scone consumption was just about right).

The cake came later on which was a cool customized cake showing all the things Aunty Nancy’s loved like a hat, cheese and sewing. 

Aunty Nancy made her first speech.  Ivan’s second cousin Peter made a speech which everybody stood up and toasted us for our wedding.  That was very sweet of him, but also a little bit embarrassing.

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Ivan and I talked to Aunty Nancy again.  I can’t believe how active she is.  Ivan interviewed her to get the 10 secrets to a long life.  Check out the list here. 

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I better start doing some of these!

We said good-bye to everybody.  A lot of people were leaving before 6 pm.  We left at 6:20 pm.

Ken drove us to Loughton where Ivan grew up.  He hasn’t been here in 5 years.  We drove around and saw his primary school, Epping Forest and his old house.

Denise and Ken thought we should try a pizza place for dinner.  It’s called Tuscany which serves Italian and Japanese food.  I had a miso soup and a penne arriabata with tiger prawns (the prawns were super tiny!).  It was pretty plain.  Ivan got some sushi and a noodle soup, which he reported was also very plain. 

Neal decided to take the train back to Stratford.  Ivan, Ken, Denise and I headed to Ivan’s parents house in Southend-on-Sea. Once we got there we just chatted to Ivan’s parents, used the internet and then went to sleep.

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Off to Ibiza

Ivan, Lil Dave and I woke up at 9:40 am on July 5, 2012.  We packed everything up and left the Airbnb apartment in Limehouse. We don’t think the lady who owned the house liked us too much – she seemed rather keen to ‘get the door for us’ as we were heading on the way out. I think its because every time she looked in our room it was in a mess- well not messy in our eyes, but messy compared to the rest of their ‘everything has its place’ flat.

On the way to the airport, we went to the Wahaca located in the Westfield mall in Stratford.  Ivan and I shared lots of great Mexican food like broad ben and feta burrito, guacamole and a big salad.  Lil Dave had a banana burrito. It was all really tasty and made a nice change from standard Mexican fare.

We headed to the bus headed for the airport.  We had to wait awhile until the 3 pm bus.  The bus left at 3 pm.  There’s free wi-fi on the bus, but for some reason it stopped working after a few minutes.

At the airport, we had to try to get our luggage to be 15 kg – we only had one suitcase between two of us.  We transferred lots of stuff to our carry-on, but we still had too much.  We ended up paying for the extra weight…..not a good start to our Ibiza vacation…

We boarded the plane and left at 5:20 pm.  Ivan and I didn’t sit by each other since the flight was sold out.  I ended up sitting in between an English guy and a South African guy.  The plane was filled mostly of British people…just like Ibiza really….

I tried to sleep, but I couldn’t for some reason.  I kept reading Now You See Her by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge.  It’s so good, I couldn’t stop reading it!  I was trying to think of ideas for a book.  I would love to write a book, maybe a detective novel.

I’ve never seen so many people drink on a plane.  Girls were singing and saying ‘Woo Woo’ like people do in nightclubs.  It was a party plane.  Most of the plane clapped when the plane landed.  I’m just glad we didn’t land early or the stupid horse finishing music would play – Ryanair always plays it to congratulate themselves for being on time. 

Our plane arrived at 8:50 pm with Spain being an hour ahead. 

Immigration was easy for the Brits – the officers were looking that their passport was EU and just waved them through without stamping it.  I’m surprised the Spanish were even awake to stamp passports – usually we land in Spain and there’s nobody at the Customs booth.  I had to wait in the No EU line which wasn’t long.  The officer didn’t even say anything to me.  He just took my passport stamped it and then scanned it.  I would have done it the other way around.. but no biggie. 

Ivan already got our luggage so we headed outside to find the bus waiting area.  Unfortunately, the next bus to San Antonio wouldn’t be coming for 30 minutes.  Ivan thought we should take a taxi cab instead.  A guy asked if we were headed to San Antonio as well.  We said yes and he asked if we could share a cab.

So, we got a cab to San Antonio.  The guy was from Tenerife, but he lived in Kent, England.  He was speaking to the cab driver in Spanish, and spoke to him like he was a long lost friend who had lots of catching up to do …oh if only we understood Spanish!

We checked in to our room at Hostal Mari.  It was a basic room with free wi-fi. 

We got ready and then headed out for dinner. 

We walked down West End street which is filled with young people and so many bars.  I saw lots of muscles and scantily clad British girls.

We walked along the water and found Stephan.  I’m sure we’ve been here before.  Ivan and I each got the special of seafood paella with sangria. 

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The paella was lovely!

We walked around Ibiza recognizing all the places from last time like Café Mambo and the square where we watched Spain win the World Cup.  It was lovely night with great weather.  So many girls where really short shorts showing their butt cheeks.  Some shouldn’t be wearing them.  I felt overdressed. 

We headed back to the hotel to get some rest.

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Indian Rain

Ivan, Lil Dave and I took the train into Central London at 1 pm on July 4, 2012.  We had lunch at the healthy restaurant Leon. Ivan loved it – I wasn’t so much of a fan.

We went to see the musical Singin’ in the Rain

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The story is about 1920’s Hollywood and the silent movies are very popular.  Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont are the biggest movie stars.  But, the talking movies are new and gaining popularity.  So, the studio decides to make a talkie with dancing and singing.  It’s a great story and the dancing and singing are wonderful.  I would definitely recommend this musical.  When the actors dance in the rain.. at the end of the musical, it seemed like they were splashing the audience on purpose too much.  Ivan thought that they should just dance and sometimes the audience would get splashed.  He thought it was a bit too farcical that they were splashing the crowd so much. 

After the musical, we rushed to the tube to head to Liverpool Station.  We walked to Spitalfields Market.  We’d be making our own Gromit from Wallace and Gromit.  Gotta love these cool free events!  We all got some white, brown and black clay and an instruction sheet.  Jim Parkyn from Aardaman Animations was there telling us what to do. 

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I was having a bit of trouble making the clay look like the clay in the instruction sheet.

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My dog was starting to look like AT-AT Walker from Star Wars.  Lil Dave was helping me, but he wasn’t really being much help.  He wanted to make a banana instead. Ivan was doing pretty good though.  Our friend Jo met up with us late and started making his own dog without following the directions very closely.  Ivan’s Gromit turned out the best.

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We started walking towards Brick Lane.  This street is filled with great Indian restaurants.  Its literally Indian restaurant after Indian restaurant….We went to Aladin for dinner since Ivan saw it was highly rated on Tripadvisor.  For starters, we got poppadums. 

Ivan and I shared balti fish curry, and a vegetable jalfrezi.  Lil Dave got a banana poppadum, banana naan and chicken jalfrazie.  Our waiters were all so very nice – I thought they were over the top nice which was a bit annoying.  We chatted about life, traveling and our first honeymoon in Alaska.  I thought the food was quite tasty, while Jo thought it was just average. 

Ivan thought we should go to a pub and have a drink.  Jo was feeling tired.  We said that he should get a coffee to wake up.  We started walking around.  I saw Dirty Dicks pub and thought we should go there.  Jo ran into an old schoolmate that he hasn’t seen in 15 years.  This guy right away told us that he ran a hedge fund.  I had no clue what that was.  He kept saying it over and over.  Nobody was impressed.  We met Raul and his friend Aristotle.  Ivan and I thought it funny that his name was Aristotle.  Who names their kid Aristotle? That’s like naming your kid Zeus or Hercules.  Aristotle looked Indian, but he was Venezuelan. 

Ivan asked if Raul had a Facebook and he said he couldn’t have one because he owned a hedge fund.  What does that matter?  Jo asked what he does with the hedge fund, but he said he couldn’t say.  Ivan asked what he are is it in – he said Futures.  Ok, what does that mean?!

Raul was full of lies.  Jo tried to get his phone number and he mumbled something.  Jo ended up paying for Raul’s whiskey.  He asked for his e-mail and he stormed off.  He was drunk and a pathological liar.  Some people have problems.

Jo reckons that Raul has been jealous of Jo since school and he felt the need to lie to make himself look better.  All it did was confirm that he was a big twat.

We chatted about our upcoming Ibiza and Barcelona trip and drank cider.

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Ivan, Jo and I get along really well.  I really wish Jo lived in Las Vegas.  We’d have so much fun there!

We walked to the bus stop.  Jo had to go the other direction.  When the number 8 bus came, Jo had to hurry across the street.  We said good-bye and waited for our bus to come which took awhile for some reason.

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Jersey Birthday

On July 3, 2012, Ivan, Lil Dave and I went into Central London at 12:30 pm.  Ivan picked up theatre tickets at the box office while I had an interview on the phone for a magazine. Our wedding is going to be featured in a UK women’s magazine called Chat. Oh yes…we are going to be famous!!

We met up with Ivan’s mum at Princi for lunch.  Ivan and I had pasta salad, aubergine and roasted pumpkin.  We also shared a brownie for dessert.  Lil Dave got a banana pasta salad.

We all went to see the musical Jersey Boys.  It’s the story about Franki Valli and The Four Seasons.  The story was great featuring many of their hits like Sherry, Walk Like a Man, Dawn, Rag Doll and our favorite Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You.  The cast had amazing voices.  I don’t know how Ryan Malloy hits those high notes so well.

Ivan and I said bye to Denise.  She was off on a ghost tour while we went to dinner.  We only had to walk two doors down to Tapasia from the theatre.

This Japanese restaurant is offering the 50% deal still before 6 pm and now they’re doing 2 for 1 cocktails from 5-7 pm.  Ivan got a tasty mango chili cocktail while I got the Pink Pokemon which has lychee and raspberries. 

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We enjoyed the tofu salad, seafood okonomiyaki and sardines. It was all really yummy and very cheap with the discount!

We got the train to Sloane Square.  I thought of the Morrissey song “Hair Dresser on Fire” with the lyrics Hair Dress on Fire, All Around Sloane Square. 

We had tickets to see a play called ‘Birthday’ at the Royal Court Theatre. Ivan and I got an espresso as we were feeling like we needed a ‘pick me up’ and headed inside the theatre.  Birthday is about a man who is having a baby. 

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The play has some funny moments when the man starts moaning like a woman and the midwife has to give him a suppository.  But, there’s a lot of waiting since the NHS (National Health Service) wants the birth to happen when the time is right and gives emergencies top priority.  The play was alright. Not the best…not the worse we have seen either.

Birthday Photo Credit

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Sunshine Graffiti

Ivan, Lil Dave and I woke up at 8:30 am on July 2, 2012.  We chilled in the apartment using the internet and I worked on the blog.

We went to Central London and had lunch at Whole Foods.  The new store in Piccadilly Circus has fresh food, health and beauty and a grocery. 

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Ivan noticed some cool window displays at Selfridges.  We also noticed a sign saying there’s a Big Rooftop Tea & Golf Party on the roof.  So, we headed to the roof to check out the mini golf course.  The course has cute things like Big Ben or Tower Bridge on the golf holes. 

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Ivan thought we shouldn’t play golf since it wasn’t anything special.  We chilled on lounge chairs and then headed downstairs.

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We got the bus to the Old Vic Tunnel.  It’s the only place in London where it’s legal to put graffiti on the walls.  The tunnel is filled with graffiti, some of it good, some of it amateur crap. 

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It’s sad that people will scribble their name on top of a good work of graffiti.  I think they’re just jealous.  I love graffiti.  I wish Las Vegas had some great graffiti.

It was raining and overcast – definitely a typical London day.

We got the bus to Oxford Street.  Ivan and I did a lot of shopping in Primark and Top Shop.  I love Primark since you can buy lots of cool clothes at a very reasonable price.  I wish Las Vegas had a Primark.

We walked to Covent Garden.  Ivan noticed that Jaime Oliver was sitting talking to three other people.  He has a new restaurant called Union Jacks opening up right in Covent Garden. 

We are still a bit jetlagged.  We don’t feel like zombies, but we go to sleep early around midnight and then wake up around 8 am.  Ivan thought we should stop for an espresso.  We went to All Bar One.  Whenever you order a hot drink here, you get a free shot glass filled with smarties.  Smarties are different in England – they’re similar to regular M&M’s. 

It was time for dinner.  We walked to the Thai restaurant Busaba Eathai.  Ivan got salmon curry while I got cod filet.  Lil Dave got banana stir fry.  The food was tasty.

We walked to the Savoy Theatre to see The Sunshine Boys.  We had great seats in the 2nd row.  The Sunshine Boys stars Danny DeVito and Richard Griffiths (Harry Potter movies).  It’s about two comedians Willie Clark and Al Lewis aka ‘The Sunshine Boys’ who haven’t spoken in years.  CBS wants to bring the duo back together for a tv show and that’s when things go wrong.  The old men fight and they really don’t like each other.  Danny Devito and Richard Griffiths were very funny.

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Japanese Hair

Ivan and I chilled at the house on July 1, 2012 before heading to lunch.   We went to check out The Grapes which is owned by Ian McKellen, otherwise known to me and you as Gandalf from Lord of the Rings.  The pub looked alright.  There was a little statue of Gandalf in the back of the pub.  Ivan asked for the menu and the bartender said it was only roast beef and pork for Sunday Roast.  That’s not good for vegetarians or pescetarians like us…but obviously its good enough for Gandalf.

So, we walked over to The Narrow pub which is owned by Gordon Ramsey.  (oh yes its all celebrity restaurants around here).

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Ivan and I ordered salt and pepper calamari, salmon pot and herring roe on toast.  Lil Dave got banana pot and banana lasagna.  Ivan and I also shared a banana bread beer which actually tasted a bit like banana. 

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Lil Dave really wanted one for himself, but Jen wouldn’t allow it.  Shhh, this is Ivan – When Jen went to the loo, I let Lil Dave have a few sips of the beer.  The food was tasty.

We went back to the apartment and I used the internet – uploading pictures to Facebook and working on the blog. 

Ivan, Lil Dave and I got the train into Central London around 4:40 pm.  We met up with Ivan’s mum, dad and his brother Neal at Whole Foods.  There’s a bigger Whole Foods now in Piccadilly.  Denise (Ivan’s mum) looked around the store before the store closed.  I’m not sure why they close at 6 pm on Sunday. 

We walked to Tapasia to check out the menu.  Ivan’s mum is vegetarian (and on top of that she is a fussy eater also), so we weren’t sure if she’d be able to eat there.  It turned out to be alright, so we got a table upstairs.  We ordered lots of Japanese tapas: edamame, beef skewers, aubergine, seafood okonmiyaki, scallops, tofu salad, Chilean sea bass, vegetable tempura, sweet and sour mushrooms, sardines and crispy summer salad.  Ivan, Neal and I shared a bottle of rose.  The food was so very tasty again.  It was great to see Ivan’s parents again and catch up. 

We walked to Piccadilly Theatre to see the musical Hair

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This musical was going to go touring around United Kingdom, but the production company went bankrupt.  Tonight, the cast would be doing a performance to raise money for the charity Help for Heroes.  We got a goodie bag, but somebody had stolen one of our bags before we sat down.  The bags contained a Hair program, donation envelope for Help for Heroes, poppy flower seeds, a pen and a Help for Heroes bracelet.

Two celebrity hosts talked about Help for Heroes.  A war veteran with two artificial legs came on.  He told us how his legs blew off.  He joked that his bollocks (balls) weren’t blown off.  It was a really sad and touching story.

The musical Hair was amazing.  It’s about hippies in New York during the 1960’s who are against the Vietnam War.  Amy Diamond who plays Sheila can really sing.  There was a celebrity appearance by Hugo Harold Harrison who was played Tick in Priscilla Queen of the Desert.  He played a funny Margaret Mead.  At the end of the first act, the whole cast takes off their clothes and are naked for 2 minutes.

We met up with Denise and Neal at the interval.  Denise liked it.  She saw the musical in the 60’s in London.  She said it was good, but it was different from seeing it back in the 1960’s then now. She remarked that it was the first musical like that.  I said yah, it would have been controversial.  It was the first time anybody took off their clothes in a theatre production. 

There are so many good songs in Hair.  I bet this is a fun musical to be a part of.  The cast came into the audience, climbing on the theatre seats and passing out flowers to the audience.  We’ve seen this once before in London and I’m glad we got to see it again.  Now, the lovely songs are stuck in my head – time to listen to the soundtrack.  Long, beautiful haaiiir…

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Sardines and Fireworks

Ivan, Lil Dave and I went to Tapasia on June 30, 2012 for lunch.  It’s a new Japanese tapas restaurant that’s offering 50% all food for the month of June to bring the customers in.  Lil Dave got two portions of the banana okonomiyaki. 

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Ivan and I shared the salmon tartare, seafood okonomiyaki, aubergine with yoghurt hummus, sardine salad, fish of the day with shrimp and octopus and chilled tofu salad.  The food was very very VERY tasty.  We will definitely be going back there again as they are running a 50% off promotion right now (for dinner only in July) as it’s a new restaurant. The kind of deal where if there was no promotion it would be expensive food, but with the promotion its very cheap!

I noticed the giraffe BT Artbox we noticed the other day.  It’s so cute!

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We had some time to spare – so Ivan thought we should get a drink at a pub.  Ivan and I shared a fruity cider.

We saw T for Telephone artbox in Covent Garden. 

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We want to do a walking tour and take pictures of some of the cool artboxes.  Hopefully, we can do that next week!

Next, we went to see the farce Noises Off.  Ivan said this was the FARCE of farces!  It stars Robert Glenister from the tv show Hustle.  It’s basically a farce about a farce.  We see the cast rehearse the play Nothing on.  It’s so very farcical because there’s so much drama within the cast in normal life.  Everything really goes crazy when the cast has a big fight during one of the shows.  The cast move around so much with opening of doors and doing different things like moving around a plate full of sardines which is one of the play’s catch phrases. 

We went back to the apartment for a nap.  Ivan and I are still jetlagged so we slept an hour and a half.

We met up with Neal and his friend Dee at the Limehouse station.

Ivan, Neal, Dee and I went to the Pleasure Gardens Festival.  The festival had a few different tents where different music was being performed.  I noticed a silly Hokey Pokey tent.  Everybody was starving so we went on a search for dinner.  Ivan and I each had a Mexican veggie burger.  Ivan was still hungry after the burger, so he got an aloo tikka wrap.  I got churros with chocolate. 

We met up with our friend Andy near the entrance.  It was nice to see Andy since we haven’t seen him online.  I would love to chat about mailart and projects with him.  He’s always so busy with mailart exhibitions and projects.  I gave him a mailart project that I finished and had to pass along to a friend so they can contribute their layer.  He brought mini Andy which is a mini toy version of himself.  He’s going to travel with us on our honeymoon – Lil Dave is so excited to have a friend along on our trip.

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Ivan tried to buy drinks at the bar, but there was a massive queue (line) of people waiting to be served. 

We went to go see Silo D by The World Famous.  It’s was a 20 minute pyrotechnics tribute to the Silvertown Explosion.  The show was done on the Silo D building that’s located on water.  There was some talking about the explosion with some small fireworks. 

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We also saw workers of the munitions factory working.  There was a Catherine wheel that took ages to go off (which was one of a few technical difficulties).  Images were projected on the building by The World Famous, the same company who did the special effects on Buckingham Palace for Madness’ performance at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee concert.  It was artsy and a nice tribute to the explosion that killed 73 people and injured 400 people in 1917.  There was lots of fireworks which was nice since I won’t be seeing any 4th of July fireworks here in London.  Neal wasn’t impressed abut it – but he seems to moan about most things. 

Neal and Dee said good-bye.  Andy said he was going soon as well.  We said good-bye and headed to the dome to hear dubstep.  We had to actually exchange our tickets for wristbands.  It took a few minutes and then we entered the dome which kind of looks like half of a golf ball.  The dubstep show hadn’t started yet, in fact they were still setting up for it!  We waited a few minutes before deciding that we should just leave.  If they weren’t set up, all the shows would be moved back an hour. 

We took the train back to the Limehouse station.

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