Xmas, and Shopping, and Gifts! Oh My!


Now that I have your attention.

Chocolate has now accounted for about 40% of the presents I am giving this year.  And when did chocolate get so expensive?  Or so intricate?  Chocolate Lindt Easter Bunnies this ain’t!

I should mention the chocolate from the guys and girls at The Amazing Chocolate Workshop is, well, amazing!  And they are currently in the Westfield Stratford City shopping centre.


How Do You Solve a Problem Like…

It has been a few days since returning from Vietnam, and it has been more of a heavy landing then smooth sailing back into everyday life.

Mainly for one reason:  Diet

Most people when they go on holiday they come back any amount of pounds heavier (although Kath Eats Real Food has a great article about how this is a temporary thing – unless you went to the buffets at Vegas).

I came back 10 lbs lighter (about 6.3 kgs, or 0.75 of a stone)

Again, as I have mentioned any number of times of the last few posts, the food in Vietnam has been great.  Not just tasty, but in general a lot healthier for me.

And I returned home to a minefield of cakes, biscuits, and chocolate.

I mean, when we got into Dubai for our layover I saw more chocolate in 30 mins, then I did in the entire 3 weeks in Vietnam!

During my first full day back in England, I went to my GP to get my thumb seen to (which I fell on 3 weeks ago).  He sent me to get it X-rayed so I decided to get some pho from the Vietnamese takeaway down the road for lunch before heading over to the hospital.



What would you have done?  At this stage, my options are a kebab roll, or fried chicken with fries (I ended up with the kebab roll).

What I would have given to have someone selling meat skewers at this stage.

At least I could count on some good old-fashioned Filipino home cooking, right?

Well, it was sausages and fried onions.

Not exactly what I expected.


Wednesday Is The New Friday!

A week of Christmas events starting with the Office Christmas Party.  Who on earth decided Wednesday was a good day to throw a party?

I mean, Wednesday is my Tai Chi day.  If anything, I was looking forward to getting back into class that evening.

So I did and suffered the vitriol that comes with everyone at work saying that you should be going to the party.

Of course, I did end up going.  After the first half of the tai chi lesson, I made my “jet lag” excuses and went off to the bar.

Best.  Decision.  Ever.

Far too much dancing, which is never a bad thing.  And I think I finished a lot of the bar’s bourbon (I know I finished the bottle of Maker’s Mark).

I paid for it the next day (3 hours sleep), but I did get into the office on time, unlike some other people.

Lunch this time was going to be Pho, and I headed to Viet Eat, with a friend in tow.


Saturday Is…Well, The Same

A great thank you to all the friends who made our annual Christmas Lunch as much fun as possible.

We all descended on to The Sun Pub in Carshalton.  A cosy pub with a bookable private 1st-floor dining room.

They also have 70 types of gin.  70!  Gin!  I mean, they have rhubarb gin.  Why is that even a thing?

I just wanted a bourbon!

Special shout-outs to the Sarshad combo who made sure everything was booked on time and dealt with all the logistics for us.

To Leon who drew the short straw and played Santa for the kids this year.

And to Sis and the family who set up the impromptu afterparty at their house.  Espresso Martini for you.  Espresso Martini for you.  Espresso Martinis FOR EVERYONE.

(side note)  It is a mixture of being odd, and yet logical at the same time.  But because I do not get to see my friends as often as I would like, it is always a little shock to see how much their kids have grown.

Yet, I get to see my niece and nephew on a very regular basis so I should really know how much they would have grown  (Note I would love to see my niece and nephew even more).


17th is the new 25th

It is the day after Expresso Martini after party.  And we have our family Christmas Lunch.  Mainly as my sister and her family (including kids), are going skiing over the Christmas period.




Not the most “traditional” as Christmas Lunches go, but who cares when it tastes so good!

There are biscuits, chocolate, and Filipino rice cake


There went any chance trying to eat healthy this week


Thanks, Mum!

I have to give my mum the biggest props for being able to have this all set up every year.

The plan was to lend a hand, and usually, I get put on vegetable peeling, and chopping/slicing duty.  But this year I was distracted by Espresso Martinis.  Poor excuse I know.

I am reminded of being a kid and how Christmas magically caused a load of presents to appear.  To this day I still do not know where they managed to hide all of them from my sister and me.

And also a massive meal would appear from the middle of nowhere.

It is only 20 years later, with the advent of my sister’s family, and a few of my cousins settling in the UK with their families, that I understood the immense undertaking to create a lunch of this scale.  Especially by one person. My mum!

Thanks, Mum!


Food got obliterated.


Poop Goes the Weasel

The lovely guys and girls who allowed me to tag along with them to Vietnam bought for me a bag of Weasel coffee.

Yes, Weasel coffee.  The stuff that is made from the part-digested coffee beans that said weasel has pooped out.

Huong Mai Coffee – Vietnam Weasel Coffee

Wikipedia Entry – Kopi Luwak


What’s Next?

One of the girls on the Vietnam trip mentioned how she always booked her next holiday as soon as possible on returning home.  So I booked a trip to New Orleans this February 2018, with a few days in DC to catch up with some friends

Cannot wait.

I will sadly be missing Mardi Gras by a few days.  I would have liked to have been there, however, the accommodation prices were just too expensive at this point in time.

Without overthinking, I need recommendations of where and what I should be eating while there.







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