4 Girls and a Boat…

IMG_1297Last week a few of my netball girls and couple of our male cheerleaders decided to spend a saturday afternoon on the River Thames, Sophie had booked us a small boat for 6 people through Ditton Cruisers & Harts Cruisers based at Taggs Boatyard in Thames Ditton.  It was easy to get to just a 20 minute train ride direct from Clapham Junction to Thames Ditton, followed by a short walk to the river.  The boat hire cost was £110 for a half day of 4 hours, working out at £18.33 each, not a bad price for spending the afternoon on the river.

If you don’t have any formal boating experience or a license you can only hire a 6-person boat, but there are larger options if you have your RYA powerboat level 2 certificate or proof of something similar.  Once we arrived at the boat yard we signed in, left a cash deposit and was shown to our boat, and after a very quick introduction we were sent off alone to explore the river.

IMG_1298IMG_1299IMG_1300IMG_1302Coming from London we decided to head in the direction further away from London, we sailed past Hampton Court Palace and up to Sunbury on Thames.  We started off letting the boys drive whilst of course the girls played… but it wasn’t long until equality prevailed and the roles were reversed.

IMG_1303IMG_1304IMG_1313IMG_1314Having prepared for being on the boat the whole afternoon we each bought some bubbles and food for a picnic as well as portable speakers so we could play some good tunes whilst taking in the sights from our boat.

It was such a nice afternoon with good friends, at times we were so absorbed in our gossip and chat we forgot we were on a boat, well until who ever was driving made an erratic steering choice which caused the occasional food or drink to be spilled.

IMG_1307IMG_1308IMG_1305IMG_1306As you can imagine, four very excitable netball girls meant the bubbles didn’t last too long so when the opportunity arose we stopped a couple of times at a few pubs with moorings outside to refuel and make use of their facilities.

IMG_1316IMG_1315IMG_1317This part of the river Thames was very scenic and diverse, as you can see from the two photos below one second you could be passing a magnificent riverside home and the next a boat graveyard, definitely worth exploring if you haven’t done so already.

IMG_1312IMG_1310It was such a fun afternoon out and thoroughly recommend it to anyone looking for something different to do in London, I certainly will be going back again… in fact McD and I were so hooked we have gone and booked on a RYA level 2 powerboat course so we can hire a bigger boat next time, or maybe if I get my own way, we will buy our very own boat to cruise the Thames on!

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Wedding Jewels

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So the finale to my 3 weddings in 7 days was a pretty spectacular big fat greek wedding at The Dorchester, London… I had to break out my old faithful Gold Jigsaw dress, I don’t love wearing the same dress twice but I have a personal rule if you are going to an event that everyone in attendance hasn’t actually seen the dress then it’s perfectly fine to wear it again, of course to try to make this special you need to accessorise it differently.

I accessorised my dress with the diamond earrings McD bought me for my birthday, an amazing necklace from Zara, I bought this when I was in Lisbon, I haven’t seen it in the UK but its colours are so dreamy and perfect for me. I finished the look off with a vintage black opal cluster diamond ring and nude court shoes.

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The wedding was so much fun, the bride Natasha looked amazing in her fairytale gown and the grand ballroom of the Dorchester just left me and McD speechless.  Their wedding band, The Gilev Showband had some serious stamina, they played non stop from when we entered the room until carriages at 1am!  McD and I lasted the whole night on the dance floor, it’s amazing how much effort you go to to look good for a wedding, but by the end of the night your hair is always a mess, make up has faded and your dress a little creased but strangely enough it is these pictures at the end of the night after the fun times that I cherish thanks to the memories created to get to that point, rather than the posed ones of you looking perfectly turned out at the beginning.

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Body Shop Hair Chalk

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I absolutely love body shop makeup – see here my review on their mascara!!!  So when I discovered their coloured hair chalk I couldn’t resist buying it and giving it a try.  My first impressions were really good; it’s affordable (only £5) and easy to apply; simply rub your hair along the pot and it picks up the colour, you will need to set with hairspray and wash your hands after.

I found with my brunette hair the blue showed up a lot better than the pink, but the pink looked awesome on my friend’s blonde hair.  This is only chalk on your hair remember so don’t be surprised when if your hair rubs against your skin or clothes and a little chalk will transfer over.

I mentioned already I recently had 3 weddings in 7 days so to mix it up a bit I tried these pots as part of my wedding hair, for one of the weddings I was an evening guest and chose to wear a black dress with a pink print kimono so decided pink tips would suit it perfectly, the pink was actually quite subtle as you can see in the photo below but maybe that was a good thing?

IMG_0995Another wedding I attended I had a gold dress with a blue swirl so thought I could dye individual waves blue to add a bit of contrast to the hair, and as you can see from the photo below it applied really well first thing, but unfortunately that was as good as it was going to get.

IMG_0993By the time I had got to the church it had faded significantly and lost its vibrancy, it even began to react with the lighter shades of my hair and give me green tinted ends, which was embarrassingly asked about by a few wedding guests, the photo below was taken after the church service on the way to the reception, if you look you can make out a blue/green tint at the ends of my hair but not the bright defining streaks I had added in the morning.

So what’s my verdict???  Give it a miss, it’s a great gimmick but doesn’t really hold and transfers too easily off on to your skin and clothes, I imagine it would be great on a photo shoot but for everyday use I just don’t think it works.

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Debbie Does… The Old Crown

IMG_0996I am ashamed to have to write that I would not have known about this pub if it wasn’t for their darling PR company writing to inform me of their existence and inviting me down to review some dishes from their menu.  Now I am quite a lazy blogger but The Old Crown is actually a very short walk away from The British Museum (corner of Museum Street & New Oxford Street), somewhere I had already planned to visit so I thought I could combine the two visits, and as you read on you’ll understand why I now would recommend everyone should find an excuse to visit this quaint little pub too.

We arrived just after lunch and found they had reserved me a table big enough to hold court, unfortunately it was just McD and me but after reading the menu we wished we had more people with us so we could have ordered more food and tried more of their amazing sounding dishes.  Immediately the “You’re pulling my pigs legs” dish stood out to me; pulled pork, baked beans and hand cut chips, what could satisfy a hangover any better?  We were told the burgers are amazing here too so we took our server’s suggestion and opted for the Philly Cheese Steak Burger to try.

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Whilst waiting for the food to come out we took in the great pub atmosphere listening to their jazzy soulful background music; The Old Crown is furnished with wooden tables, well-worn seats and fairy lights giving an overall nice rustic quirky pub feel.

Whilst watching other tables receive their food orders McD and I suffered serious remorse over our choices; we spotted an epic looking hot dog and some tasty looking chicken wings but before we could salivate too much over the other diners’ choices, we too were blown away with presentation and awesomeness of our choice.

IMG_1002IMG_1001IMG_0999I loved the presentation of the BBQ pork in a brown box, the hand cut chips at the bottom were smothered with juicy BBQ pulled pork and tasty boston beans… heaven in a box.  The Burger not only looked immense, it tasted immense too… it had the right mix of cheese and spice, McD thought the patty meat could have been seasoned a little more but as a themed burger it hit the right spot for both of us.

Not that we could fit any desert in, but I was shocked to learn that there was no desert menu, their amazing American style BBQ menu really would be complimented by a dessert offering of warm brownies, homemade fruit pies or ice cream.  We visited on a sunday and there was no sunday roast option too, which might disappoint some people but with so much awesomeness to taste on their menu save the sunday roast for your home ;)

Feeling guilty that we didn’t have to pay for this meal I left a generous tip to our servers and headed home knowing I will certainly be coming back again to The Old Crown as a paying customer.  Now before I leave you here is a shot of their mighty Philly Cheese Steak Burger again, enjoy the #BurgerPorn

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The British Museum

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Can you believe having lived in and around London all my life, I only just got around to visiting The British Museum for the first time this past Sunday!?!  I am so ashamed and definitely plan to head back there more often in the future.  The reason for McD and my visit was to check out an exhibition they currently have on, called Ancient Lives, it’s a look in to the story of 8 very different lives told through the discovery of their mummies, you can’t take photos in the exhibition but the website goes into a lot of detail if you are interested, it was well worth the £10 adult ticket to see it but if you didn’t want to pay £10 there are plenty of free exhibits to see in the museum too.

If the artifacts inside the museum aren’t your cup of tea it is well worth going once just to see the grandeur of the building and modern design of the Great Court roof.

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After the exhibition McD & I headed straight over to see the Rosetta Stone, probably one of the museum’s most famous and important artifacts, after a few minutes of battling the tourists to get a close up glimpse we decided to explore more of the Egyptian artifacts, you probably knew this already but The British Musuem has the most comprehensive collection of Egyptian antiquities outside of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

The selfie of McD and I below was with a Green siltstone head of Pharaoh, 26th – 30th Dynasty, 600-340 BC!!!! Below our selfie are snaps I took of various busts and statues of Rameses II and Amenhotep, it was mind blowingly surreal when you think how many years ago these statues were created and what life must have been like back then.

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Below is a peak of what I wore to the museum… it was a sunday hangover kind of day so I just threw on my Dr Denim jeans and Villa jumper from last year, accessorising with my classic Chanel handbag, gold Louis Vuitton scarf and my new look flats… which were not a wise choice, we did so much walking I wish I had worn converse or trainers!

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IMG_1016It was such a great afternoon, not only had McD and I learnt quite a lot from the exhibits we had also reignited a lost love of exploring London… watch this space for plenty more “I have lived in london x years and I can’t belive it’s taken me this long to discover…” blog posts ;)

Having worked up quite an appetite we left the museum to dine at this amazing gastro-pub called The Old Crown, it was just a short stroll away, but more about that in my next post!

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Netball Girls Gone Wild

IMG_0826Last week after a stressful afternoon at a board meeting, yes I do work sometimes ;) I rushed back to town to meet some of my favourite netball girls for a night out in Balham… I know that’s twice in a week I ended up in Balham for a night out (see Lamberts post).  Our night started in Be At One with happy hour and quite a few Pornstar Martinis, it doesn’t take much imagination to figure out how our night ended…

IMG_0827Sophie organised this night out and she called time after about our 5th / 6th cocktail and led us to The Paddyfield, a BYOB Thai & Vietnamese restaurant, I can’t find a website link to share with you but it was really nothing to write home about… huge portions and average tasting food but it was perfect for what we needed, sustenance and catch up time before we hit our final spot of the night!

IMG_0828IMG_0834IMG_0835After dinner we walked in a not so straight line to the Three Moneys Bar, where Sophie had booked us the Monkey Lounge, a private karaoke room; many photos and videos of the night were taken and shamefully shared amongst us all the next morning, but most were unfortunately not suitable for public display.  I highly recommend booking the Monkey Lounge if you are ever in need of a karaoke night or private drinking den in Balham, it wasn’t expensive and was extremely entertaining.  So there you have it another great night out spent in Balham… maybe I need to think about moving there?!

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The perfect wedding guest dress?

IMG_0701This past weekend I had two weddings to go to, and with another one this coming saturday I was panicking a lot about what to wear… I have a trusty wedding dress I blogged about before but I couldn’t wear this to all three weddings so last week I was on a desperate hunt for a new wedding dress.

Finding a dress is particularly hard at the moment, even though McD and I have been together for over a year and half I am still blaming my weight gain on our “happy weight”  but this happy weight isn’t very happy when I have no dress to wear and feel fat and frumpy in any new dress I try on.  Having exhausted the postman with my endless ASOS deliveries in search of the perfect wedding guest dress I turned to the high street and last Friday found myself in Debenhams, where I found the one:

IMG_0694On the hanger I thought it looked too old for me and a bit mumsy but being desperate at this point I added it to my pile of dresses to try on hoping it would look better off the hanger and on me.  This fit and flare Coast dress fitted me like a glove and the colours meant I could pretty much match any of my accessories to it.  It’s a Debenhams exclusive and a little pricey for a dress I hope to not fit into by December but looking good on McD’s arm at his friend’s wedding meant it was worth it.  I thought it was worth sharing this dress on my blog in case anyone else is on a drastic search for the perfect dress too.

IMG_0700My hair was done using my Babylis waving wand which I shared this instructional video with you all before and I accessorised the dress with black heels, a blue blazer I bought last year from ASOS, my trusty Chanel bag and a very handsome McD ;)  I paid a small fortune for my Chanel bag but you could hire one at a more reasonable cost for a wedding or special occassion from my very own business if you wanted…www.TheBorrowersClub.com

The wedding was so much fun too, thank you Matt & Carina… you both looked fabulous; your venue was outstanding, the food was amazing and as for your wedding band – well, I blame them for the sore feet I had the next day from all the dancing I did to their music ;)

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Debbie does… Lamberts

IMG_0627Last week it was one of my best friend’s birthday (HAPPY BIRTHDAY BETHAN!) and she organised a meal with just a few of her closest friends at her local Balham restaurant… Lamberts.   I had never heard of the restaurant before, London is so big and I never really had much reason to visit Balham until Bethan & Rachel moved out there but I am glad I have discovered this place, as it’s a great little gem for a date night or catch up with friends.

IMG_0628The decor isn’t particularly to my taste but it’s not overly offensive, I am just not a huge fan of the colours brown and yellow, but in my opinion the menu and food makes up for this.  The food is served as if it’s a piece of art and as much of it as possible is made from local seasonal produce, making you feel a little less guilty about the indulgence ;)  Below are a few snaps I took of the dishes that came out to our table; crab salad, a salt beef starter, a cobb chicken and a lamb dish.

IMG_0626IMG_0625IMG_0624IMG_0623The food went down as well as the wine we selected from their impressive wine list. We had very attentive service staff looking after our large party… it was a great night celebrating a great friend’s birthday, I certainly will be coming back to this restaurant again, especially to make use of their amazing mid-week £20 priced set market menu for three courses!IMG_0629

 

 

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Back to the future…

IMG_0593Following on from my Secret Cinema… TELL EVERYONE post I finally got the photos developed from the disposable camera I took along to the event.  The organisers had put a ban on mobile phones and cameras, so only legit pictures you were allowed to take were with an instant camera… I have had a chuckle reliving the date night whilst looking through the photos.  The pictures have sparked a new found love for digital photography, especially at night as half of my night shots failed because the camera couldn’t pick up enough light, starting to think maybe £5 for a professional photo on the night wouldn’t have been a bad shout after all!

As soon as we arrived at the event (at the Olympic Park) we were invited on to the school bus for a ride to the High School and the school dance… we had a drink, watched the band and had a little boogie, although was shown up by same amazing dancers… my night was immediately made when McD asked me to go steady with him ;)

IMG_0604IMG_0592IMG_0596IMG_0599IMG_0597IMG_0605After the dance we had a nice stroll around Hill Valley, taking in the fun fair, McD showed off his shooting skills with the cork gun and won me a prize!  We then walked around the local stores, talked to some of the local residents before we watched the parade around the town square.

IMG_0603IMG_0595IMG_0594IMG_0600After the parade the film was projected on the Hill Valley clock tower and we all sat on the square in the middle of the town to enjoy the outdoor showing of Back To The Future.

IMG_0601IMG_0598It was an amazing date night, and really good fun leaving the mobile phone at home, it was so surreal to immerse yourself in to the 1950s but thanks to the talented actors and amazing set design it didn’t feel awkward or strange all night, really good fun and I would wholeheartedly recommend going if you get the chance, I will most certainly be interested in going to Secret Cinema’s next event, whatever it might be!?

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Secret Cinema… TELL EVERYONE!

IMG_0477**SPOILER ALERT** If you have tickets or plan to attend any of the remaining Secret Cinema: Back To The Future performances please do not read this if you wan’t to be totally surprised by the event, but if you are like me and absolutely hate surprises then read on ;)

OK disclaimer over let me tell you about the BEST DATE NIGHT EVER… I know that is a very bold statement, eh!? But it truly was!  I bought tickets for the Secret Cinema production of Back To The Future months ago, it was purely on a whim after I had heard so much of others’ enjoyable nights at their previous more low-key productions and I wanted to experience it for myself, a few weeks ago I thought this was the worst decision of my life given the bad press they received for not opening on time but with money already invested we were commited.

The theme was 1955, they had actually recreted a replica Hill Valley from the film, with all the iconic buildings and events from that era… given the usual secrecy of their productions and theme, Secret Cinema’s decided to ban all modern cameras and mobiles, that was going to be the most testing part of our experience no mobile phone… LOL! So with my Amazon purchased pollyester 1950s dress on, McD & I went to the 1955 Hill Valley Fair (via 2014’s London’s Olympic Park n Stratford, UK).

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Once we arrived we were greeted by an epic set design of Hill Valley 1955, in which we just wandered around and sokaed up the vintage atmosphere.  McD and I took the school bus to the school dance, where we listened to an amazing live band play 1950s classics (as well as throwing a few 80s classics for good measure too.)  We then took a stroll around the fair, shot some cork guns where McD won me a prize and watched a parade… ALL BEFORE we actually sat down and enjoyed the film.

During the film Secret cinema surprise you with a whole lot more special additions, but that’s sharing too much, I need to leave you with some surprise in case you ever plan to experience a secret cinema production yourself.  I know quite a few people who went back to Hill Valley and not one person reported a bad experience, so if you ever find youself pondering going to a secret cinema showing I would say do it, you will not regret it, I am sure you will encourage others to do so afterwards too!

IMG_0478UPDATE… You can see the photos taken from my dispoable camera I took to the event on my next post… BACK TO THE FUTURE!

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