Travelling on the tube seems to turn humans into vultures. Okay, so maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but there are clearly three types of people who inhabit the underground. You get the predators, who have a eagle eye for an empty seat and pounce across the carriage as soon as one becomes available. Then you get those who seem to be wrapped up in invisible bubble wrap – no matter what they won’t move down into the space in the carriage. And finally those who clearly want everyone to know they exist. They will sprawl their paper across their lap (and mine), or irritate the entire carriage with their own music.

Last week I found myself in an awkward situation. I was on the Metropolitan Line, travelling home after yet another long day. Tired, hungry and did I mention hungry. Anyway, I’m sitting on a three-seater seat, perched next to the window. There’s a fairly large man, six foot five to be exact, who I’ll call Aisle Man sitting on the aisle seat. The space between us would fit a small child.

Man Number Two enters. He sees the small space and is determined to fit. Here we go, I think to myself.

Aisle Man points out: “I know this is a three seater seat, but I’m big, you’re not going to fit.”

Man Number Two replies: “This seat was made for three. I will fit.”

Typical male characteristics may I just point out. Too much testosterone and lose of common sense as you will soon realise.

So in Man Number Two climbs in, with his numerous accessories; bags, umbrella and brief case.  He squeezes. At this point, the way it was going, he might as well sit on top of me!

I turn to him: “Excuse me!”

He continues to shuffle himself on the edge of the sit pushing against me and Aisle Man. I couldn’t move. He was so close I could feel his body heat.

Finchley Road felt like the longest journey ever and he didn’t seem to be bothered at all. As he read his magazine I could hear peanuts being crushed by his teeth. Yes, he really was that close.

Finchley Road arrived and Aisle Man got up: “I told you I was big and there wasn’t enough room. The poor girl in the corner is squashed.”

Man Number Two turns and sees me, for perhaps, the first time in the journey. He moves over oblivious to the previous 15 minutes and continues his journey.

The end of that journey as you can imagine was a relief. Getting off that train, I walked home, taking in the fresh air and came home and immediately showered. It was definitely one of those journeys I was glad to see the end of. And as for Man Number Two – Think before you act!

Jay-Z, Rihanna, Bono and the Edge have joined together and created “Stranded (Haiti Mon Amour),” to support the victims of the Haiti earthquake.

Left a frog in the back of my throat this morning.

So the other day, me and Seher were on a trek and a half. Interviewing at Cyprus Kitchen, getting frozen on Green Lanes and when we finally made it to an area we both knew again I could hear Seher’s heart relax. No, I’m being seriously. The girl was like a fish out of water in North London.

Anyway, as we were coming out of Angel tube station, I realised for the first time, how long the escalators actually are. Wow, I thought, these are really quite the height! Seher, knowing all the random facts she does, then told me these are the longest escalators in Europe AND wait for it, there’s actually a guy who skied all the way down them.

So here I present to you, the guy who skied down the Angel tube station escalators.

While my cousins from New Zealand have been staying with us, they have brought some unusual recipes. Baked beans Toastie – yep baked beans in a toasted sandwich. Nice but a little messy to eat with all that sauce oozing out.

With time running out, before they fly back home, Sheetal promised to make Afghans Cookies – a Kiwi favourite. A chocolate and cornflake cookie topped with chocolate icing and a walnut. You’ll only be able to eat one at a time, because they are incredibly rich but absolutely divine.

The best thing was that they were so easy to make. I’ll quote Sheetal on one thing – “You have to use Kellogg’s , they have the perfect crispy-ness”

While the origin of the name is uncertain, there is one thing for sure, the biscuits are delicious and really easy to make. Just remember that it’s important to use unsweetened corn flakes otherwise the biscuits will be too sweet. I use the Kellogg’s brand.

Ingredients:
• 200 grams of butter, at room temperature
• 1/2 cup of castor sugar
• 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
• 3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
• 1 1/2 cups of unsweetened corn flakes (Kellogg’s)
• ICING
• 1 cup of icing sugar
• 2 Tbsp of unsweetened cocoa powder
• 3 Tbsp water
• Walnut halves

Preparation:
1. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4 (180C). Line a baking sheet with baking paper. Set aside.
2. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
3. Sift together the flour and cocoa powder and mix into butter mixture with a wooden spoon. Fold in cornflakes and don’t worry if they crumble.
4. Roll or press 1 1/2 teaspoonfuls of the dough into balls and flatten them slightly. Place them about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.
5. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.
6. Prepare the icing by combining the icing sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder and water in a bowl. Mix well until the mixture is free of lumps and of a creamy consistency.
7. Spoon a little icing on each cookie and then decorate with walnut halves

Enjoy!

A new year, a new decade. 2010. What we plan on calling this decade is a little unknown at the moment – Tens, Tenies, Teenies. I’m going with the latter, but I’m sure some more ideas will emerge soon.

Well, what does this year hold? Graduation – Eek, that means making a big step into the real world. Lots of hard work will go into the next few months and to help myself keep on top of things here’s my New Year’s resolution, plus a few extra. Being in black and white, hopefully it’ll help me keep them going further than 10th January 2010.

1. Stay organised – I need to create my own deadlines to ensure I meet the real ones
2. Do not panic – This is usually something I tell Kavita, but I think it’s going to apply to us both this year.
3. Have fun! – Even though this semester going to be tough tough tough, (yes I do have to repeat it) I need to enjoy it because it’s not going to last much longer. And that last one goes out to everyone.

Happy New Decade

Let me introduce you to La Creperie de Hampstead. Take a small hut, two master chefs and the finished masterpiece – a delicious crepe.

The tiny vendor tucked away in on Hampstead High Street seems to attract a long queue every weekend. If it’s cold, word of warning, wrap up, but it will definitely be worth the wait. In fact, the wait only builds anticipation for that first taste.

The best thing is that once you’ve placed your order. You have the pleasure of watching master chefs whoop up your treat. That is an art in itself. Then it’s a case of indulging into that banana and milk chocolate crepe. Melted chocolate oozes as you bite through the crispy shell, and taste warn chocolate and lots of bananas.

And if you looking for something a little less sweet, don’t worry. From sweet to savoury, thin crispy crepes are made to satisfy your taste buds. Asparagus and cheese, mushrooms and cheese, chocolate and banana (my personal favourite) and chocolate and crème are to name a few.

The average price is about £4 and the portions are pretty huge. A two-minute walk from Hampstead Station its open till 11pm. It’s the perfect stop, whether you’re ending your day, or just starting your night.

Jay Sean is at his all time high. Although I’m not a huge fan of his, hats off to him, he is flying high!

Down is his first number one single in the States. A very catchy song and yes, I do sing along in the car. But found this remix and I like it heaps more. You can actually hear how beautiful his voice really is.

Me and technology aren’t the best of friends. We probably the kind of friends that only make small talk. But I was heartbroken to hear about the death of my iPod.

Okay, so you could call me a little dramatic. But there’s a collection of over 4000 songs that has kept me going on those long train rides for years. After the hearing the bad news the Apple Store swiftly lifted my spirits by telling me I can get a new iPod was £30! A shiny new iPod for £30. Where’s the catch I thought. Nikhil asked: “A brand new iPod?” It was too good to be true. The small print arrived. They’ll give me a refurbished iPod, with a 90 days warranty.

Another distressed woman caught me eye. Her iPhone had frozen. After assessing it an Apple technician broke the bad news to her. The hardware had broken inside. He then quickly put a smile on her face by saying: “We will replace your iPhone with a new one.” Nowhere did he mention it would be a refurbished iPhone.

As much as Apple is a very cool brand, shouldn’t they be a little more specific when helping their customers. Giving customers a false sense of hope, is not the way forward.

Boxing Day. There are two extremes: More TV, more overeating and even more relaxing. Or early awakening and out to hunt for a bargain.

Lucky for me, John Lewis are not open on Boxing Day. But wow, when our clearance started, customers sprawled into every square inch of the store in search for a bargain. News has it that within the first hour of Sunday a record 16,000 eager beavers came to Brent Cross Shopping Centre.

Now, you are probably wondering the reason for this post. First of all I think alongside many partners, I thank John Lewis for staying closed for one extra day. But second of all, I’m confused. Confused by those customers who expect short queues and stock in perfect size order. One customer yelled: “There about 100 people in all the queues to pay!” I think to myself, it’s the first day of clearance.

Now I’ve never actually ventured out shopping on Boxing Day. I’m terrified of getting trampled on. Perhaps after working in retail for six years I’ve gone off shopping. For me, sales equal stress. Though, I’ve got to admit, I do envy those who find real bargains: Was £150, now £10!

If you’re not in the Christmas spirit yet, Winter Wonderland is where you need to go. Take a break from shopping and head to Hyde Park where Christmas cheer is all around. Back for the third year, this is sure to be a top attraction this December.

Outdoor ice-skating is a must – even if, like most of our group, you’re not too steady on the ice. After the hour’s skate, with the festive music, you’ll feel like you’ve been in Dancing on Ice. (Okay, so, maybe that was just me, but it will definitely grow on you.) Though, it is advisable to book your tickets in advance as peak time sessions can fill up quickly.

You are sure to build up an appetite on your visit, and there is plenty to eat whilst wondering through the Wonderland. You could head to the Fish and Chips stall, an indoor café if you want to get out of the cold or the pizzeria. Or if you’re just looking to satisfy that sweet tooth, there are fresh crepes, candy floss and sweet stalls everywhere. The Magical Home of Sweets was my favourite.

Then, there’s the German Market. This is filled with endless stalls selling unique gifts. So if you have lots of difficult people on your Christmas list, the market has dozens of stalls selling handmade gifts for everyone. From garden tools, to salt power lamps and handmade jewellery, you’ll probably end up secretly shopping for yourself.

Another popular attraction is the Giant Wheel. We didn’t go on it, but the general vibe told us we weren’t missing much. It lasts about ten minutes and is just a smaller version of the Millennium wheel. Though, if you are thinking of going up for the view, they advise to buy tickets in advance.

There are lots of funfair rides too. I was actually amazed to see quite so many. Word of warning – they come at a price. And on the whole, the day can become quite costly, but entrance to the park is free.

There is so much to see and do, you could spend the whole afternoon there and be lucky enough to see the action through the day and night.

Nearest Station: Hyde Park Corner (Piccadilly Line)

August 2017
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