Monday, July 18, 2016

Disco Yoga, 9th June

Having not done yoga for so long I can’t remember the last time, I was a little nervous about signing up to yoga of the disco variety.  Yes – disco yoga. Bit of an oxymoron? Well, it worked surprisingly well.

In fact, they had started doing it last year in a place that only held 10 people but it was so popular they had to expand. Despite Disco being quite an upbeat genre, this class was quite relaxed and I would say acts as the perfect introduction or reintroduction to yoga.

You’re encouraged to go glam and wear your sequins and glitter – if you don’t have any on before you get there, a glitter station is there to kit you out. And you get to pick a cocktail to sip on at the end of the session. I chose the Yogi Pear which was served in a carved-out pineapple and was absolutely delicious – the perfect pick-me-up after all that strenuous stretching.

So, after you’re all glittery and have taken your places on your mats, the class begins. All the while disco has been pumping out and this continues throughout as you’re taken through various poses. Most people these days seem to have a passing acquaintance with yoga and will be familiar with some of the terms even if not how to do the poses they refer to – there was a lot of downward dogging I’m sure you’ll be happy to know.

None of the poses were held for an agonizing amount of time and at about three points in the sessions we paused for a ‘dance party’ where we got to shake it all out and dance to the disco. At this point the music was more energetic but it undulated throughout the event – there are more chilled out disco songs than you might realise.

I found the whole thing really enjoyable and quite relaxing and a good boost to motivating me to get back into my exercise. If you like the idea of yoga but feel that it maybe takes itself too seriously then try this one out for sure.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

SS Atlantica, 28th May

I have been wanting to go to SS Atlantica for yonks – probably since I set up my Meetup group four years ago, but as it’s a once-a-year deal, getting to it proved tricky. I always seemed to have plans by the time they released the date. Not so this year.

So on a balmy evening we dressed in our finest evening wear and boarded the SS Atlantica for a jaunt along the Thames or two. We sipped champagne and enjoyed the views, and then spent some time in the belly of the boat drinking in the live hot jazz and taking part in illicit gambling. Which was all very fun. But this entertainment was short lived and soon it was general drinking and dancing and I must admit, we got a little bored by it. At midnight the boat docked to let people off who wished to disembark early (the night finished at 2 am) and most of my crowd agreed we should have got off at that point rather than go another lap onboard. While being on the Thames is always nice, I’m not sure it was worth the slightly elevated price compared to other B & H events, and I don’t think I’ll bother with it next year.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Club Rub, 21st May

So many fetish events, each offering something slightly different, but mostly to the same fun and friendly naughty crowd.

And so I went to one of the longest-running fetish events last month, Club Rub – also touted as one of the friendliest. It’s certainly one of the smaller ones, held upstairs at The Garage, making it quite intimate and meaning you can chat to people quite easily. (I rather enjoyed being at a kinky party while there were people in the very same building beneath likely having no clue as to what was going on above them.) 

They were celebrating their 19th birthday and it really did feel like a birthday party for the hostess, the lovely Miss Kim – a doyenne on the fetish scene – and her friends. For the special occasion there was an Animal theme, and the end stage, normally reserved as the play area, was decked out with a paddling pool and dog bowls containing doggie treats for the pet play people that had been hired for the occasion.

We also had the wonderful world pole dancing champion doing several pole dancing shows throughout the evening which were truly outstanding. How she can manipulate her body around that pole, sometimes hanging vertically beside it, was jaw-dropping.

So there was perhaps less play going on at Club Rub (and certainly no sex) but it was a lot of FUN. Slightly unusually for events of this ilk, the music was fantastic – slightly mainstream dance tracks that you’d definitely recognize if you like that kind of music and that would probably sound familiar even if not, and people actually did take to the floor to dance. 

Well done Miss Kim - keep it up!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Date Lab, 10th May

Date Lab aims to take the psychology behind why people end up with matches at traditional speed dating and mess with it to level the playing field. So there are some rules to abide, and things are done a little differently to shake things up.

Women cannot wear red and are encouraged to wear black and something that shows off their figure. Men should dress smartly but not ridiculously slow. The amount of time you spend talking to the member of the opposite sex is short. Very short. Unnervingly short. It is only three minutes and by the time you’ve sat down and said hello you feel you’ve barely said anything before you have to move on and start again. It certainly keeps you on your toes and goes far too quickly for you to really make any judgments about anyone, let alone write them down.

But you don’t have to – yet. Another one of their rules to be broken is that instead of just getting one shot at someone, you speak to them twice. The first time, the men stay in their seats and the women move round. Turning another speed dating paradigm on its head. But for the second round women get to rest their feet and the men come to them. And, I suspect, we had a little longer to chat. This makes sure the power dynamic stays even, as apparently when you’re the stationary one, you are more critical of the people coming to you to be passed judgment upon. Makes sense I think.

In case you run out of things to say, they helpfully provide conversation starter questions. At first we weren’t sure if we were supposed to be using them or not but realized that they weren’t mandatory. Sometimes we used them, sometimes we didn’t. Sometimes I was very grateful for them, even if I did end up answering the same questions a couple of times.

It seems to be a generally accepted truth that more women sign up to speed dating events than men, for whatever reason that is. And that when men sign up the calibre is… let’s just say… uneven. Well, I don’t know how they did it but Date Lab managed to get the basement of The Coin Laundry (a bit of a retro-themed new bar in Exmouth Market) full of people who were pretty much all the right side of attractive, and mainly a young, 20sish kinda crowd.

I don’t go to speed dating to find the love of my life. I go for something fun to do, hopefully to chat to some entertaining people and if anything else happens it’s a bonus. I did actually get a few matches out of the event… they boast a 90% success match rate…but none have turned into anything. Perhaps that just means I need to return. 

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Rudies, 9th May

Rudies…. A message to you Rudies…. And that message is: Nice one.

On a Monday I went down to sample a new jerk chicken joint in Dalston. Two days after my superb fried chicken meal at Chick ‘n’ Sours might have been overkill but I figured the two types of cuisine were different enough that I wouldn’t suffer chicken fatigue.

Just to make sure, we started with some fried calamari with a coriander and lime dip. Oh my. I would say these were the best calamari I have had. The batter was so light and crisp with the squid being a little chewy within, but not at all rubbery. The pop you got from the dip was incredibly moreish – this is a spicy one! Great start.

On Mondays they do 50% off the half jerk chicken, so who’s gonna order anything else? Jerk chicken it was. I am certain I can polish off half a chicken whenever I used to order from Nando’s but these ones must be more plump than others as I was struggling to finish it. Of course – we also had sweet potato fries and an avocado, mango and onion salad to contend with too.

The sweet potato fries were pretty good and the salad which was a little superfluous was fresh and sweet. The chicken came with a sauce of your choice and not only did papaya sound the nicest it was also the hottest. The chicken was nicely charred on the grill (although seemed to take so long to come out we actually thought they’d forgotten about us) and had solid jerk flavours.
Of course, I couldn’t not try a cocktail. The Governor General which was rum orange curacao, vermouth and sorrel. A subtley Caribbean influence, though there was nothing subtle about the amount of alcohol in it.
An all-round enjoyable meal out. 

Rudie's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Square Meal

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

eatbrunch, 8th May

Apparently there are people out there who do not spend their Saturday nights out on the town until about 6 am and, therefore, are able to get up and go a-brunching at a reasonable hour on a Sunday. But what if you are not a part of this odd demographic? What if you really, really want brunch (complete with Bloody Mary hair of the dog) but you also really, really do not want to get out of bed?

Well, in that case, let me present to you EatFirst. They are a meal delivery service and as of May, they have added brunch to their offering. Bingo. I was invited along to a recreation of what a home-delivery brunch could be like when they hosted a pop-up at The Little Yellow Door in collaboration with Brünch who are doing a guest Berlin-inspired brunch with them. 
The food was amazing. All very fresh and healthy, with vibrant colours. Brünch seems to have handpicked some of my favourite foods and combined them to make them even better. The rosemary infused butternut squash and feta was probably my favourite but a surprise hit was the smoked mackerel pate with grated apple, horseradish and lemon juice. I normally find mackerel too fishy for my tastes but the additions cut right through that. I had several helpings! You can choose your dishes and they will arrive in prettily presented packaging for you to decant onto plates (this would also be perfect for brunching with guests if you can’t be bothered to cook) and you can even choose to have the ingredients for a bloody mary delivered! I was very impressed and have been telling all my fellow reprobate friends who can’t make it out of the house before 3pm to go to a restaurant.

A more traditional brunch comprising things like Asparagus Frittata, Eggs with Italian etc is also available and they will have other guest chefs creating menus for them along the way. Genius!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Chick 'n' Sours, Feeling Gloomy, 7th May

Chick n Sours. Oh yes. Oh yes yes yessssssssss.

I’m a fan.

It took me a while to get here, took me a while to try any of Carl Clarke’s food in fact but it was worth the wait. This place is chicken heaven and we loved everything. Except the fries. The fries were way too ordinary. But everything else was fabulous. Stephen and I shared a chicken burger between us (which is a monster of a burger) and a plate of the guest fry chicken – black bean and ginger, spring onion and pickled bamboo shoots, plus the aforementioned boring fries, and the charred hispi, kimchi salad cream and bacon salad. Plus a bit of bone marrow BBQ which was delicious but in some ways superfluous because the chicken was delicious enough on its own.

The ‘salad’ was a well needed bit of crunch and freshness to act as a counterpoint to all the fry going on elsewhere. It also packed a welcome poke!

The chicken was definitely the star of the show and we couldn’t help remarking to each other as we ate how much we were enjoying it. That burger! Firstly, it was a behemoth. One of the biggest burger specimens I’ve seen. And secondly, it was just delicious. Crunchy, spicy, well balanced in terms of meat to topping to bun. A joy.
The plate of fried chicken we equally well received, with the Asian, slightly sweet flavours really complementing the juicy, crunchy chicken. I’m salivating just thinking about it now. I need to get more in my person as soon as possible. 

Chick 'n Sours Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Square Meal

I then went out to Feeling Gloomy to dance to 'miserable' disco. I seemed to pick a bad night because the place was rather empty but the night itself was fun. Of course, the songs aren't all downbeat and miserable at all - the lyrics might be but the music is still danceable. They played The Smiths and The Cure, a bit of Kate Bush, and that was all good fun. Just a shame it wasn't busier. 

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I work as an editor in educational publishing by day, and then spend most of my spare time discovering interesting things to do in London, and taking people there with my own Meetup.