You may of noticed the last few weeks have been a bit sparse in terms of posts and so I wanted to take the time to fill you in on the notable goings ons. In making comments like this, it reminds me that blogging can sometimes be a bit of a self- indulgent sport, I mean, it is of course very likely there will be many who accidently land on the site and think, ‘I really couldn’t care less what this Pink Tartan Doll has been up to’.
Most ‘lifestyle’ blogs start as a kind of diary, with no main focus on fashion, beauty, eating out, travel or home – rather they showcase a kind mash up of everything in the writer’s life, with each author having various different reasons for launching them. I am an avid fan of the lifestyle blog, when you land upon a good one the ideas you can take from them are often invaluable and what is an easy deduction to make when reading blogs, is the importance to write directly to your reader. As opposed to it all being ‘I did this. I went there’, a blog should inform the reader why they too should ‘do this’ or indeed ‘go there’.
For me, it is more the love of writing, along with a passion for sharing ideas and tips which has spurred me on with blogging. One of my biggest aims in life is to write a book and so I am also using the blog to see if people actually enjoy my style of writing. And having had over 5000 readers thus far, really has left me feeling rather humbled and that bit more confident to finally put a pen to paper/ digit to keyboard to get cracking with this book.
Any feedback on the content or writing you find in this blog then please do let me know, I would be grateful of any thoughts and indeed criticism, in order to help the blog progress in its style.
Been to Hanoi?
The past couple of weeks have passed in a flash and to be honest eating out has been the major focus. It is therefore little wonder, the diet has gone from hero to zero with the scales showing an incredible jump of 7 pounds! Before the wedding I very much so lived by the mantra that ‘nothing tastes as good as skinny feels’ but ever since, the eating obsessed side of myself has been questioning this ethos, arguing that there really are some things that taste better than skinny feels…curries, cakes, to name just a few that come to mind…
One such edible treat that fits the latter are the Sweetcorn and Coconut fritters (honestly, their taste could surpass that of pakora and that is a hard thing for me to say) served at the Hanoi Bike Shop. Located in the eclectic Ruthven Lane (that lane across from Ashton lane), within the original Ubiquitious Chip building and formerly Stravaigin, this relatively new restaurant has a focus on all things Vietnamese.
I had heard that when Beyoncé was playing in Glasgow she hired out the restaurant and so the thinking on route to the Hanoi Bike Shop was very much so, if it’s good enough for Beyoncé, it is good enough for Lee and I…
As you approach the restaurant an understanding of traditional Vietnam envelops you. Everything from the pictures, décor, style of bar and very fresh gingery and even faintly fishy smells, all add to the atmosphere which has been cleverly orchestrated by the owner (which I hear is the same owner as Stravaigan).
The waiting staff explain the style of eating lends itself to you selecting a few dishes and these will simply be brought out when ready, so no clear courses. What I love about this more relaxed format for eating, is that you can get away with over ordering on the food. The lovely waitress did of course warn the Prawn Crackers (served with peanut satay sauce), Sweetcorn and Coconut fritters (served with gem lettuce, mixed herbs and chilli dip), the Seared Mackerel (with caramelised pork belly and spicy pickled cucumber), Seafood Pho (King Prawn and squid served in chicken Pho broth), and jasmine rice, did amount to ‘alot’ of food, and why it did not even phase me when Lee responded ‘don’t worry about that, you’ve not seen how much she can eat..’ perhaps will highlight to you my rather insatiable appetite since the wedding.
Aside from the fritters, the Pho was a stand out dish. Said to be the dish of choice in Vietnam it was served with fish sauce, chilli and lemongrass oil alongside fresh basil, mint and coriander, enabling you to flavour the broth as you wish it to be.
The food is undeniably fresh, delicious and nutritious and add to our order a diet coke and ginger beer, our bill came to only £38, which I think is completely reasonable for what was a unique dining experience on a Saturday night. So if you have a fondness for oriental food or if you are simply looking for something healthy and that bit more authentic, then you have to give the Hanoi Bike Shop a try.
The following week I travelled to London for work and stayed a night in the rather elegant Grand Royale London Hyde Park Hotel, which is centrally located in the Bayswater district. Like any other major city I have visited, I adore London. I love the electricity of the capital, its cosmopolitan atmosphere, the shopping, the dining out and the uber cool attitude adopted by most who live there.
Having finished work, I was delighted to meet up with a couple of my lovely new colleagues for a cocktail at the Ham Yard (a rather swanky bar / restaurant which ajoins to the even swankier Ham Yard Hotel). If you are in London looking for a cocktail in the Soho area, go to the Ham Yard, it’s a firm fave with celebs and the cocktails were delish!
A wonderful meal in Balans ensued. Described as serving contemporary global cuisine, I would also recommend a visit to this eatery located in the heart of Soho and just a stone’s through from the theatre district.
From there, we journeyed onwards to a bar which is fondly referred to as a ‘tranyoke’ bar – that is a karaoke bar with a transvestite host, who I have to say was absolutely gorgeous and adorned a glamorous wig that would rival even the prettiest of hairstyles. Finally, we rounded off the evening in the legendary Madame Jojo’s, a club which finds its history in the 1950s and 60s eras of burlesque, sex and cabaret and to this day, still oozes an old-school soho glamour, and of course glitters with the style of its most colourful of clientele! The DJ in drag, was of course spinning classical disco tunes, the atmosphere was buzzing and I couldn’t help but notice the beautiful art deco interior of the club with plush red velvet seats and gold gilded features – most of which had an impressive array of drag artists casually lounging over them.
What’s more, we even got the chance to enjoy a drag cabaret show, which was a real eye opener. So if you are looking for a night with a fun twist in London town, be sure to pay a visit to this exotic little club on Brewer Street.
I love a right good impromptu night, especially those that involve going somewhere as unique as Madame Jojo’s. For most of the time in the club, I found myself drawing parallels between the drag stars, and dare I say it, regular women who were dolled up and on a night out. One of my observations, when helping one of the transvestite dancers fasten his suspenders in the toilet, was that men, when dressed like women, seem to take on all of our traits including the insecurities. You have the sexually charged more predatorial drag artists who are on the prowl for a man and then the more reserved girls who constantly fiddle with their outfits in a very insecure way, who you can tell are just that little bit uncomfortable but want to put themselves out there anyway. On the reverse, you then see the women in the club, much like myself, who stare at the drag artists who have figures to die for…comparing legs, bums…we ladies are never just satisfied with our lot are we?
Stripping (and not that kind)
From the fantastically vibrant and deliciously indulgent we move to this weekend, which included stripping the wallpaper in the kitchen, touching up the paint in the bathroom and completely deconstructing the bedroom. House renovating, as exciting as it is will be the focus of the next post…until then x