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    Before I Go To Sleep – Reading Recommendation

    “As I sleep, my mind will erase everything I did today. I will wake up tomorrow as I did this morning. Thinking I’m still a child. Thinking I have a whole lifetime of choice ahead of me. . . .”

     

    I couldn’t put this book down. It literally went everywhere with me. When younger I was a Koontz fan and this reminded me of him – without the Sci-Fi. I enjoyed the almost disembodied-ness of the book; it really adds layers to how Christine feels. Whether it’s intentional or unintentional as some reader thought, I enjoed it. Reading is definately a willing suspension of disbelief, and I’ll admit that the twist in this book I didn’t see coming, though I probably should have. The insular world that Christine lives in is very intense, and there were a few coincidences, but I’m willing to forgive them for the overall story.

    The only problem is it finished. I could have kept on reading.

    Before I Go To Sleep S.J. Watson

    Definitely a compulsive read, and a great debut novel. A fantastic commuter read, and the cover is just beautiful.

    (Please note any links to Amazon are through
    my Amazon Associates account, which means I make a little money (less than 5%)
    from any purchases made after clicking through these links without adding any cost. This helps support
    my book addiction, so if you are interested in buying the book, please click
    through the top link)

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    Kiwi Care Package

    It’s funny the things that you take for granted when you live in your home country, that become more sought after once they aren’t within a 10-minute walk to the nearest supermarket. I have quite a sweet tooth anyway, but sometimes there is a longing in my eye for the tastes of home that are a struggle to get, or are eye-wateringly expensive.

    Take for instance the humble Squiggle. One of my childhood favourites, there isn’t quite any replacement capable of giving you the same hokey-pokey induced sugar coma.

    TimTams, even though mentioning these Australian biscuits make me feel a little like I’m betraying my Kiwi roots, are another such item. Hubby staunchly defends P-P-P-Penguins, and although they are ok in a pinch, they don’t quite measure up to lovely Timtams. In the name of research, extensive blind taste-testing has been done by NZ based Kiwis, UK based English people, and a few random friends, and Timtams come out on top 8/10 times. Fact.

    Just recently I have been lucky enough to recieve goodies from the fair Kiwi shores, and I’m happy to confirm that since I was last home, they haven’t let the quality slip, thankfully.

    My cousin who has recently come to the UK is missing proper Vegemite -the UKs version “is weird tasting and the texture of honey, just not proper tasting.”

    I have to admit the UK does a mean biscuit – Jaffa Cakes, Viennese fingers and Chocolate Fingers to name but a few, but sometimes there just isn’t anything like a taste of home.
     

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    Sunday Brunch at Kopapa

    To round off the weekend, brunch was arranged with a new friend at Kopapa. I have to confess, we definately were keen to check it out, not only as the reviews are great and chef is Kiwi Peter Gordon; but also as afghans, good coffee, date scones and spirulina were calling – a varieties of good Kiwi fare.

    We really enjoyed it; great food, good company and all out of the pouring rain.

    Hearing so much about them, I couldn’t not order the ‘Turkish eggs’ from Changa restaurant in Istanbul – 2 poached eggs with whipped yoghurt, hot chilli butter & flat bread. Delicious. I liked it so much (in between gossiping), I made my Mum try a mouthful over the table. Though not to her taste, I loved this twist on poached eggs. You dip your spoon into this warm concoctions of lovely oozy-ness, the chilli not being too hot but just enough for a zing (I don’t think I’ll ever be a food writer!).

    Sumptious Date Scones – the winners of the day – piping hot from the oven. These were like mana.

    And a divine Spirulina shake. Spirulina, oh, how we’ve missed you! I’ve now found a couple of recipes and will be trying to recreate these little green machines.

    The rest of the table ordered various forms of fry-up which were very much enjoyed – reviews were simple, delicious and great flavours; but possibly needed a wee bit more substance to be a ‘proper kiwi fry-up’?

    I must say I’m intruiged by Spiced banana French toast with grilled bacon, orange blossom labne, tamarind raisin relish & orange vanilla syrup and will definately have to go back soon to try it.

    As an ex-hospitality worker, the service at Kopapa was great in some respects – the manager caught one of our table sadly eyeing a table empty of Date scones and nipped over to reassure us that more were in the oven; but patchy in others, being a little slow and the server getting one of the orders wrong and not being too happy. It’s so so busy in there with hungry brunchers it can be forgiven to some extent, but it let down an otherwise delectable dinner. If you want to go for brunch on the weekend, pre-booking is pretty much essential.

    The decor is very modern trendy, but fairly clean; and suits both brunching and evening soirres – and we were eyeing up their champagne cocktail list.

    I love that the below greets you as you walk in – people gathered at the breakfast bar, drinking lovely flat whites, eating eggs, reading newspapers and generally catching up.

    Right, I’m off to the gym now – I’ve got some work to do to make up for this weekends indulgence!

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    Posh Afternoon Tea

    Saturday was lovely. Champagne, tea, dainty treats and a lot of laughter (excuse the blurry photos, I didn’t want to get my camera out as I felt enough of a berk with my phone on the table…)

    Afternoon tea was a last minute decision, and as they go, sometimes they can be the very best. My mum and I have been saying for a long time that we should treat indulge ourselves. Through a series of tough eliminations (read: a quick read through website listings) we decided on the Reform Social Bar & Grill, in Marylebone Village.

    The “50 Shades of Earl Grey” cocktail we were greeted with consisted of an Earl Grey tea infused bitters and sloe gin topped up with Champagne and elderflower. Oh my. Subtle, sweet and lucious.

    We then picked Tea from the large range of loose leaf teas – Mum ordered the Whole Rose Buds Tea, and I opted for the Black Vanilla. Thankfully this was the hardest portion of the evening – deciding which Tea you had to leave off trying.

    So, armed with individual pots of tea, our slowly disappearing cocktails and very refreshing champagne, we settled in for the afternoon, nattering and catching up. A really lovely Mother/Daughter afternoon – still buzzing about the musical we went to last night.

    You are offered two menus – the Vintage Afternoon Tea Menu, and a Gentlemans Afternoon Tea Menu. As we are ladies of a delicate sensibility (and didn’t fancy the idea of the hanger steak & Herefordshire snails sandwich which comes with the Gentlemans’s Afternoon Tea) we picked the Vintage Afternoon Tea. Quite simply delish. After a wee delay much to our servers dismay and apologies (honestly we didn’t mind as we had unlimited Champagne with our Afternoon Tea deal) came out the following lovelies.

    Favourites you ask? The Salmon Sandwiches on Pink bread were scrummy and not just because they were on pink bread, the quintessential Cucumber sandwiches and the scones. Just delicious – so simple and presented so sweetly, what more could you want? Mum loved the Battenburgs, the wee Apple Pastry & the Scones.

    We also made a couple of new friends – two lovely ladies whom I will definately remain in contact with. We ended up chatting so much, we scooted our tables together in order to speak – the only complaint I have about the restaurant was about halfway through our afternoon tea, the music was turned ona wee bit loudly – and you know ladies, we like to chat but we struggled to hear each other a bit.

    I simply wanted to share what an awesome time we had, two Kiwi lasses on the lash in fashionable Marylebone. We had a lovely time. Great staff – attentive, friendly but not hovering, delicious food, flowing champagne and lovely surroundings. I will definately be back.

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