Sunday, 26 September 2010

Hannah is 30....

....Today we celebrated the lovely Hannah Martin's 30th birthday. Dinner for 20 people was had at Hel Yes, with drinks afterwards at the Wenlock Arms.

The food, (as per last week!), was very tasty and as we've grown accustomed to, the company was exceptional.

We filled the cavernous space with a wonderful rendition of Happy Birthday before retiring to the pub. Perfect. Happy birthday Hannah!

The full reel:

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Leah of London....

....Kelly's niece, 12 year old Leah, came to London on a lone visit this weekend. On meeting her from the train on Friday we went for some above average American fast food at the Diner on Curtain Road. We all had burgers, plus a notable banana & peanut butter shake for me and an introduction to the coke float for Leah.

On Saturday, we began with a late breakfast at Hackney Farm.

We then decided to do the tourists guide to London, walking from Trafalgar Square to visit Buckingham Palace, Downing Street, Big Ben, the Southbank and St. Pauls.

On the way home we stopped off to buy the ingredients to make the famous 'Angela' brownies. Leah and I got to work in the kitchen and came up trumps.

The scrumptious result was eaten during a nail biting X Factor!

A really fun day and great to be reminded of just some of London's incredible sites. Next time Leah, if it's a shopping trip, I'll happily do that too!!
Full reel here:

Sunday, 19 September 2010


....Kelly and I had lunch at this pop-up restaurant in a disused warehouse in East London.

Hel Yes is an amalgamation of design and food from Helsinki, Finland, that is relocated here temporarily to coincide with this years London Design Festival. It is a cavernous space, filled with abundant tables and an open kitchen.

Sunday's brunch menu was limited in choice, but not in character and wonderful in taste - all served on mis-matched, reclaimed iittala crockery. (Previously, plates were traded in, in return for a free dinner. These plates were then used in Hel Yes.)

Our starters were a 'surprise', (not listed on the menu), but were fantastic.

Whitefish tartar with radish and rye bread croutons.

Roasted beetroot with sour cream and dill.

For main I went for Gravad lax - smoked salmon, potatoes with sour cream & fennel and cabbage. Kelly ate poached egg on 'mushroom hash', (which was a base of root vegetables and wild mushrooms with watercress).

Gravad Lax

Poached egg on mushroom hash.

Both were absolutely fantastic - nothing too fancy, simple Finnish food, well presented and well tasty. Regardless, however, it was the dessert I was most looking forward too - particularly as on this occassion one seemed so unusual to me. I chose the liquorice creme brulee and Kelly the whipped raspberry manna with vanilla milk.

Liquorice pudding

Raspberry Manna

The liquorice was incredible - much more subtle that I thought it might be. Like a creamy creme brulee with a wonderful aftertaste. Kelly's Manna was simply a mousse / sorbet with the slight quirk of a touch of milk added. It was really good too.

A fantastic meal, unique in it's taste as we had never eaten Scandinavian food before, but also unique in terms of the environment, We're very glad we got here before it vanishes again. Excellent.

Nicky & Phil Westbury's wedding....

....Kelly and I were invited to the reception of Nicky & Phil's wedding, at the lovely Peasant public house in Clerkenwell. It had relocated here after their marriage at Islington Town Hall earlier in the day. A complimentary mojito on arrival was seen off as the wedding party finished their banquet upstairs. On descending to the bar, we were almost immediately afforded the first dance - which was very tastefully to Blur's The Universal.

Amidst the chatting, drinking and dancing that ensued, the happy couple found the time to cut the cake.

The other happy couple.

As the night drew to a close, sweat was wiped from dancer's brow and Nicky grabbed the bouquet to chuck at the crowd. I missed who caught it. It wasn't Kelly.

A fantastic evening that followed a superb day. Congratulations Mr & Mrs Westbury.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Great unexpectations....

....Simple pleasures. Sometimes I forget what wonderful resources London has - particularly in the vicinity of my home. I guess I just take it for granted. Today, Kelly and I stepped out, 'for a walk' and had a wonderful time. We mosied on up to Spitalfields, where, unbeknown to us, the second Japan Matsuri, (festival of culture), was in full swing. Music, demonstrations of traditional combat, rows and rows of food stalls. The lot. Our quest for lunch suddenly became a great deal easier as we settled on takoyaki, (dumplings with octopus in the middle), and then teriyaki chicken curry. Brilliant.

We then walked around the corner to see if we could find a new bike for Kelly to buy. This one seemed to be the answer, which she is test riding next week. Following a coffee and brownie at our favourite, Nude, we headed back home via the always brilliant, Labour & Wait, (at it's new location), where I got myself a great new 'cologne' - Musgo Real - a Portuguese brand founded in the 1920s. It's oaky, that's all I can say!

Collection of bags, (proudly, yet coincidentally none plastic), plus my new cologne.

We also visited the old Tea Rooms at the Truman Brewery, now an antiques / vintage market which was fantastic. There I was introduced to the work of Kitty Valentine, a burlesque lady who doctors Victorian portraits wonderfully.

c/o Kitty Valentine

Finally, we popped in to Le Grenier, a great flea market bunker right by my house. The owner, a super nice Frenchman, even gave Kelly a beautiful tan leather doctors bag for free. Sure, it was pretty knackered, but it having come back from a shoot in such a state, he was willing to offload it at no cost. Marvellous.

Free of charge

It sent us both home with a smile on our faces. Two hours spent within a few hundred metres radius of the house had suddenly become more fruitful than we had imagined - embracing everything from Japanese culture, antipodean coffee and English antiques, to a very, very nice Frenchman. And the weekend has only just begun. Wonderful.

Thursday, 16 September 2010


....Yer what? Well, I was only introduced to this supercalifragilistic word when reading Richie's blog. He is super in to type, whereas I only dip in and out. But, in a nutshell it refers to the 11 meter wide typographic wooden wall that legendary designer Lou Dorfsman, art director for the CBS Network, created and installed at the CBS offices in 1966.

To celebrate Dorfsman's work, with this as a centre piece, (a reproduced section at least), Kemistry Gallery are also exhibiting his original art directed work for CBS. Kelly and I popped along to the Private View tonight to check it out. And to sup on a free beer of course.

Although obviously no substitute for the real thing, to see a reproduction of the wall was fantastic, but I was more impressed by the newsprint pages upon the wall, each showcasing ad after ad that he created for CBS. Each one typographically and art directionally thought out. Negative space as key as positive. Bold and to the point. Basically, unlike any advert that you will see now, because clients are too scared to buy them.

A small, but perfectly formed show and certainly a must see for any media savvy type, or those with even a passing interest in typography. Lovely.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Edward Crutchley's 30th birthday....

....Last night we celebrated Ed's 30th at the George Tavern. A black, blue and even tie dye theme was well observed, (note Ed's tie and Lynn's hair!), and much drinking and dancing was done.

Ed opens his present from Doug, Liam and I.

Ed blushes, as we sing Happy Birthday and he cuts the cake.

Plenty of self congratulation ensues.

It was a great evening - both to celebrate with Ed, but also to get so many good friends together again in one room.

(Full reel):

The birthdays of Matt & Wolfe Crowley....

....Yesterday we celebrated little Wolfe Crowley's 1st birthday and Matt's 30th, with a double celebration at their lovely flat, hosted by Matt's partner Fiamma, and his parents Mick & Mary.

Mick, Matt, Wolfe & Alfie Crowley.

There were presents a plenty and a home baked spread to rival any others. Alfie the dog was determined not to let Wolfe steel the show, but was outdone by the latter's incredible balloon bursting skills.

Happy birthday both.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

The boys of 69 Goldman Close....

(Courtesy of Hilary Walker)

Hilary Walker....

....I was introduced to Hilary and her photography, through Joss. It led to her coming over to 69 Goldman Close to shoot some of the idiosyncrasies around the house. Including me of course. Here are some of my favourites and you can see more of her great work here.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Kelly cut update...

....Here's how the five stitches in her hand look a few days after the misdemeanour.

Friday, 3 September 2010

KC Bday....

....Kelly's actual birthday was yesterday, but tonight she celebrated over a meal with girlfriends. And a lone man of course. Me.

We had a really good meal at Viet Grill, before heading over to the Scolt Head for a few more.

(full reel)

La Boheme....

....For Kelly's birthday, (29 yesterday!), we went to see La Boheme at Soho Theatre.

I'll be honest, I'm not big on opera, but I am a sucker for a good review. This English speaking, contemporary version of the show by Robin Norton-Taylor, had been very well received before reaching Soho, so it seemed like the ideal opportunity to wean ourselves in to the genre. Puccini's four part classic has been translated in to three here, with the middle section relocated and played out before us in the downstairs bar.

We found it quite hard to grasp initially, simply tuning our ears to the voices of Rodolfo, Mimi and the cast, so we could make out the words. (Which we needed, being virgins to this story and opera on the whole). Yet the set was simple. A typical student flat, with no money in the electricity meter and solace found in a drink down the pub, or in a burgeoning relationship.

It was the middle act, performed in the bar, that was so compelling and convinced me of what a good, unique version this was. To be so up close to the performance, and then, suddenly, realise that 50% of the bar are cast extras playing along.

We were suddenly submerged, within La Boheme. We felt part of the scene ourselves, as though we were having some direct influence on how these young love relationships would transpire.

(Cock Tavern example, Kilburn, 2010)

The third and final part took us back to the traditional stage, as Mimi's death was played out, superbly and rather emotionally. I have written before about my love for music, but never thought it would transcend to opera. Certainly with this version of La Boheme, it has. At times the vocal arrangements even reminded me of Radiohead songs, bestowing power, then extraordinary elegance on the listener's ear. A thoroughly enjoyable show - perhaps not one for opera die-hards, as it is deliberately rough around the edges, (charmingly so), but to the uninitiated or curious, this is a belter.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Vacances Cranhouse 2010....

....A while back, it was conceived that we would try and reproduce our France holidays from yore. I'm not sure where it originated, perhaps Andy, perhaps Ian. Maybe even Dad. Not me. But it was a brilliant plan. To recreate one of those numerous summer holidays where the Palmer and Barker families joined and retreated to a deserted French Gite. We had to compromise a little to achieve this - well, a lot - the country for a start. We settled upon Suffolk and The Cranhouse in Elveden.

The Cranhouse

So not France at all. Not that we noticed. The two famelies were united once more, a mile down a gravelly path in a detached cottage, reminiscent of every French trip we could remember. And this time, an added bonus - each of the 'kids' brought their respective partners. Ian brought his wife Susie on the eve of their first wedding anniversary. Ruth brought Andy, James Theresa and I was with Kelly.

All of us, mid walk.

Twelve family and friends to spend a long weekend together, to reminisce, to play games, swat flies, argue, drink wine, eat cheese. More wine and a bit more cheese. It was set to be perfect. And it was. We all arrived on Saturday afternoon and quickly set about watching videos of old holidays. There was a particular year most anticipated - that of 1991, Chateau Renault, when extreme boredom, (no doubt) and slight lunacy led the kids to perform a music video, of sorts, to a Jive Bunny medley. Oh how we laughed. And oh how we recreated it.......that's right. As punishment for losing the Ian & Susie hosted pub quiz, Dad, Kelly, James, Ruth and Joan put on something, erm, special for us.

Dad even marked the occasion, (back to the holiday now, rather than that performance above!), by handing out some mugs he'd got made which became the only place from which we'd drink our hot beverages, (see slideshow below). On that first night we had a takeaway and played games. It was to be a familiar but welcomed pattern for the rest of our stay. We had intermittent walks. A couple of BBQs. Perfect. Oh, but there was one misdemeanour too - Kelly managed to accidentally slice her hand open on a broken glass in a washing up bowl.

Cut under cover

After turning green and fainting, (not to mentioned me flustering and panicking), Eric & Ian held her together with tape before she slept painfully on it. The result was going to A&E the next day and 5 stitches in the wound. A painful blip that didn't even deter Kelly from having a great time, nor the rest of us.
Our final morning had the lovely coincidence of falling on Ian & Susie's first wedding anniversary, so a champagne breakfast was in order.

It was a holiday to remember and one that reminded us, (if indeed we needed it), why we're such good friends, what great fun those annual France holidays actually were and that we'd really, really like to do it all over again. Please?!

(the slide show)