Alphabet Dating - G Date Ideas

Alphabet Dating – G is for Gigs and Geocaching

So it wasn’t only this blog that took a bit of a back burner over the last month or so, but we stretched our imaginations a bit when it came to Alphabet Dating and the letter ‘G’.

Originally we had considered Go Karting or Go Ape. Not sure what happened with the Go Karting idea but the Go Ape ended up being a girl’s weekend away at Centre Parcs for me where I tackled their Aerial Adventure among other things. I’m adventurous in the ‘jetsetting and exploring’ kinda way, not so much ‘hauling my ass up a tree and trying not to lose my footing’ kinda way.

Zipline at the end of the aerial adventure at Elveden Centre Parcs
I’m the grey dot on the zipline

Of course, Geocaching makes for a perfectly good ‘G’ date and we have done plenty of that over the summer. We’ve even hidden our first cache! If you’re interested in the idea of the world’s largest treasure hunt, then check out my beginners guide to geocaching.

A perfect example of a Geocache

Another suggestion for a ‘G’ date would be to go to a gig. Fortunately for us, we won tickets to see Robbie Williams at the Apple Music Festival which we now deem to be our ‘G’ date. I’ve always quite liked Robbie but never enough to deal with the stresses of buying tickets. I HATE buying concert tickets! You know the whole, will I get a good view? how much?! What’s this extortionate booking fee all about?!

Apple Music Festival 2016 - The Roundhouse in Camden, London

Anyway, the Apple Music Festival took place at The Roundhouse in Camden over a course of several nights (10 or 12 I can’t remember). Each of their selected artists would be performing for one night only. If I’m honest, I had wanted Britney tickets but no such luck. Still Robbie put on an awesome show and I will never forget singing along to ‘Strong’ at the top of my lungs! Robbie even brought his dad out on stage and they did a duet which was cute.  Predictably he opened with ‘Let me entertain you’ and closed with an encore of ‘Angels’ followed by a new track he was promoting, but it all made perfect sense. Oh and incase you were wondering, he didn’t strip to ‘Rock DJ’ but he did show us his tiger pants! Grr!

Robbie Williams gig at The Roundhouse in Camden, London

I gotta say, The Roundhouse was a pretty good venue too. Although it did get quite squashy and there were some annoying people watching the entire experience through their phone screens (see my earlier rant about mobile phones). We did get a pretty good view of The Entertainer himself so all in all a good night and a grrreat ‘G’ date!

We’ve picked up the slack a bit with ‘H’ and ‘I’ so stay tuned folks!

Alphabet Dating - F is for Friends Fest

Alphabet Dating – F is for Friends Fest

aka The One where we went to Friends Fest

OH. MY. GOOOOD!

Could I BE any more excited?!

Yup that’s right, we only went and got much coveted tickets for Comedy Central’s Friends Fest. Touted as “the ultimate celebration of the world’s greatest tv show”, Comedy Central UK are embarking on a six week tour bringing all things Friends to a selection of venues across the UK. We managed to bag ourselves tickets to one of the first dates which was at Haggerston Park in Hoxton, London.

When you book tickets you have to pick a time slot for your visit to Monica’s apartment and as we already had tickets to see Aladdin the musical that afternoon (a belated birthday present for me!) we decided to go as early as possible and opted for the 9.30am slot, which was shortly after the event opened. It was actually a good thing we tagged Friends Fest on to our already planned London visit as we were only there for around two hours.

The basic set up of the festival is that you get to see some of the sets and props (quite possibly replicas) and have your picture taken with them. There was the sofa and umbrellas from the opening credits, Monica’s apartment, some items from Joey and Chandler’s apartment (La-Z-Boys, foosball and that canoe from when all their furniture got stolen – episode ‘The One with the Cat’).

Friends Fest - Haggerston Park, London

Monica's apartment at Friends Fest in Hoxton

Montage of Monica's apartment at Friends Fest

Joey and Chandler's apartment at Friends Fest

Comedy Central's Friends Fest

The rest of the sets at the event didn’t require a time slot and there were always staff on hand to take pictures of you. Sadly, there was no opportunity to grab a coffee in Central Perk – every single prop was stuck down! But you could get a picture on the famous sofa and also do your best Phoebe impression by singing ‘Smelly Cat’.

And yes I did sing ‘Smelly Cat’.

And no you can’t see the video.

Friends Fest - on the sofa at Central Perk

Central Perk montage - our F for Friends date #AlphabetDating

There were some Friends themed eateries such as the Moondance diner that Monica worked at (that was really more of a burger van than a cool American diner) and also a crepe wagon called Mockolate but we didn’t eat at any of them. I might have had a cocktail at the Chick & Duck bar but it was probably too early for booze!

The other bits that were there (besides a small gift shop) was Phoebe’s famous yellow taxi, a Vegas type set with props you could pose with such as the Roman gear that Joey wore and bridal clothing, plus a silent disco where you could recreate Ross and Monica’s “routine” if you so wished.

Posing with props at Friends Fest in Hoxton, London

The chill out area consisted of deckchairs and a stage with a screen showing some of the funniest clips of Friends and as the weather was good, we sat and chilled for a bit. A friend of mine who had gone the day before us said that while she was there, they had some people entertaining on stage too.

The stage at Friends Fest

All in all we had an enjoyable morning and I absolutely love the idea of a festival based on a tv show, however I was expecting a bit more… more props, more sets, perhaps some lookalikes? Maybe I had been slightly spoilt by my visit to the Warner Bros Studios in Los Angeles (which I will write about as it was AWESOME!) but I was expecting to be at Haggerston Park a little longer than we were and not so rushed through Monica’s apartment. Still, I would say that if you are a Friends fanatic then Friends Fest is a must!

So what I want to know is, who is your favourite character and what is your favourite episode? I’ve always liked Phoebe as she reminds me of me and I think my favourite episode is ‘The One where the Stripper cries’. Leave me a little comment below. 

Right now I fancy sipping on a giant cup of coffee and watching my Friends box sets so, see ya pals!

Alphabet Dating - B is for Bridges and Beckett (and Bowie and Beehive and Burgers!)

Alphabet Dating – B is for Bridges and Beckett

Ok so we cheated slightly with this one in that we already had 2 events booked that would fit in with our ‘B’ date, but y’know, April was quite a busy and expensive month anyway so worked out quite well.

The o2 Academy in Brixton, London. Leon Bridges is playing.

First up was a Leon Bridges gig which just so happened to be in Brixton at The o2 Academy. We arrived early and decided to go for a drink beforehand. And whaddyaknow the local Wetherspoons is called The Beehive – couldn’t have worked out better if we had planned it! The Beehive was buzzing (LOL sorry!) so with no tables available, we had one quick drink and departed.

A pub called The Beehive. Perfect place for a drink on the letter 'B' of Alphabet Dating. Entirely accidental.

Leon Bridges and his support act, Andra Day, were both fantastic! Such perfect voices. Andra’s vocals reminded me alot of Amy Winehouse and Leon was the perfect soulful gentleman.

I didn’t know much about Bridges before we went to his gig but hubby has his album which we played alot in the car on our New Zealand road trip – so the music brings back good memories.

Soul singer Leon Bridges performing at The o2 Academy in Brixton

After the concert, we had the munchies so grabbed ourselves a Subway sandwich each, where I found outside painted onto a wall, this beautiful tribute to David Bowie.

Tribute to David Bowie. Brixton, London.

Beehive, Bridges and Bowie – 3 B’s and it was only the first half of our alphabet date.

Our second ‘B’ date occurred 2 weeks later when we went to see comedian Rob Beckett on stage. There were no other ‘B’ coincidences this time around and photography wasn’t permitted so I can only really show you this flyer.

Rob Beckett Tour Flyer

The show was funny but I didn’t do my cry-laughter thing until right near the end when he told his “Ed Nohead” joke (I won’t spoil it).

I appreciate that Bridges and Beckett are quite tricky ‘B’ date options if you’re reading this for your own ‘B’ date inspiration, so I do have one more…

Burgers. We went to our nearest branch of Gourmet Burger Kitchen because I was missing those delicious New Zealand style burgers and a refreshing can of L&P, and hubby had never even been to a GBK before so I had to take him. Oh my, L&P you are definitely in my top 5 things I miss about New Zealand!

What would you do for a ‘B’ date? If you missed  it, you can find our ‘A’ date here. Oh and stay tuned for ‘C’ – I promise it’s a good one!

Ripley’s Believe it or not London

Ripley's Believe it or not London
Vampire woman and Lizard man

If you’re in London and looking for something weird and wonderful to do then look no further than Ripley’s Believe it or not at Piccadilly Circus.

Ripley’s is home to over 700 artefacts, many of which were collected by Robert Ripley himself who was an explorer, collector, presenter and cartoonist! Ripley travelled to 201 countries collecting exotic treasures – everything from tribal masks to shrunken heads – all on display right here!

Portrait of Robert Ripley made from candy at Ripley's Believe it or not London
Portrait of Robert Ripley made from candy

There are also many modern exhibits such as a portrait of Kate Middleton created from lipstick kisses on canvas, Michelle Obama from bottlecaps and a portrait of Amy Winehouse produced from broken CDs which actually looks alot like my A level art project (just the concept, that is, Amy wasn’t famous back then).

Amy Winehouse - A Shattered Life by Victor Ramos. Portrait of Amy Winehouse created from CDs on display at Ripleys London.

You can also find a recreation of Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Last Supper painted onto a grain of rice, images created on burnt pieces of toast and there’s even a painting done by a horse – it doesn’t get much more random!

As well as quirky art, there are also animal oddities such as a two-headed calf. Plus there’s a chunk of the Berlin wall and the world’s oldest beer, brewed from 5000 year old hops found in an ancient Egyptian tomb!

The World's Oldest Beer - brewed from 5000 year old hops found in an Ancient Egyptian tomb!

There are wax figures of astonishing people like Johnny Eck – a talented man whose torso ended just below the waist, Earl Hughes – the heaviest recorded man in history and Robert Wadlow – the tallest human being ever.

Figure of Ribert Wadlow - tallest man ever. Ripley's Believe it or not London.

You can also find a container filled with ice cold water which you can dip your hand into to experience the temperature of the water when the Titanic sank, which I mentioned in my Wonderworks Orlando post. Another thing similar to Wonderworks is The Black Hole, which is basically a tunnel you walk through but while the bridge is still, the surroundings spin making you feel all kinds of dizzy and sick.

Ripley's Believe it or not London

There’s something for everyone at Ripley’s, one of the coolest things in the culture collection is the Eagle Coffin. In Ghana, funerals are colourful celebrations of the deceased person’s life and coffins are custom designed to represent a person’s hobbies, job or even status. Eagle coffins are reserved for the most honoured chiefs.

Eagle coffin from Ghana - on display at Ripley's in London.

There are many many other weird and wonderful things to see here which I haven’t mentioned but I will say, make sure you visit the Mirror Maze and the Impossible LaseRace at the end!

Mirror Maze at Ripley's London
Mirror Maze selfie!

Also, before you go, check out some different ticket websites online as there are discounts to be had!

If you liked this post then I guarantee you will want to know about Wonderworks Orlando and Puzzling World Wanaka.

Inamo London – the future of restaurants

Inamo is an Asian fusion restaurant situated in Soho, London. We went there for my birthday because –

a) I love Japanese food

and

b) They have an interactive ordering system – this is the future, people!

It might not be a new thing, but I certainly haven’t seen it anywhere before. There are no printed menus at Inamo, instead it is all projected onto your table and you can place your order digitally. You can also keep tabs of exactly how much you have spent, which is particularly handy if you are dining in a large group, rather than dealing with the whole messy splitting the bill situation. The only annoying thing about the interactive function was that I kept accidentally adding things to my order that I didn’t want, but it was easy enough to remove them again before ‘sending’ our order.

Cocktail and beer on the interactive tables at Japanese/Korean restaurant, Inamo in Soho, London

The other awesome thing about the interactive tables is that you can change the tablecloth, so to speak, by choosing different funky patterned backgrounds AND you can play games on your table – hubby and I had a couple of games of Battleships and Ping. Good fun while you wait for your food!

Funky patterns as digital tablecloths - the future of restaurants at Inamo Soho
Funky digital tablecloths

To begin, my husband ordered a Japanese beer while I decided to try one of the cocktails. I ordered the Ringoberi Mojito – rum and apple juice muddled with mint, sugar and blackberries. Yum!

The food at Inamo is kind of like Asian tapas, in that they bring it to you when it is ready, rather than the whole starters followed by mains deal. We decided to order the weekday set lunch menu of 2 courses for £10 and then share them so we get to try different things, as well as some tempura prawns from the normal menu because I discovered in Japan that I only really like prawns when they’re in a Japanese tempura!

We went for the rainbow maki (beetroot, pepper and cucumber sushi), which was alot smaller than sushi I’ve had elsewhere, but oh so beautifully presented!

Rainbow maki and a game of Battleships. Interactive dining at Inamo in London
Rainbow maki over a game of Battleships

We also ordered the Korean chicken wings which had a bit of a kick to them and were quite messy. If you’re going to Inamo on a first date or for a business meeting, do NOT order the chicken wings, there is no way to eat them in an attractive or professional manner.

The chicken wings were brought out alongside the tempura prawns, kind of as a second course after the maki. The tempura prawns were delicious and presented in a little wooden box with a side of Thai mango relish.

Tempura prawns and Korean chicken wings - Inamo Soho, London - an Asian fusion restaurant with a twist!

For our ‘mains’ (for lack of a better word), we both chose the teriyaki salmon which came with rice. The salmon was nice but I didn’t think it was that special, I think I was expecting more flavour. The funny thing was, when the waiter brought over our dishes he handed us one salmon and one curry, apologising that the kitchen had made an error, the curry was on the house and our other salmon was on its way. I think I actually enjoyed the curry more than the salmon! I don’t know what was in the curry as we couldn’t find it on the menu but we got lucky there!

Teriyaki salmon at Inamo in London
Teriyaki salmon
Curry from Inamo in London - Asian fusion restaurant
Our free curry!

Even though the dishes appeared to be small, we were absolutely stuffed afterwards so didn’t get to sample any of the restaurant’s dessert menu which sounded quite interesting – Baked Alasparkla in particular – baked alaska with a sparkle, hello!

Inamo Soho, also has a sister restaurant in Covent Garden, but both restaurants can get quite busy so it’s best to book in advance. However, we didn’t find it too busy visiting on a Friday lunchtime.

Inamo London - Asian fusion restaurant in Soho

Good food, good service but the winner was the futuristic and funky tables which I reckon will be everywhere before you know it!

If you liked this post you might enjoy my others about food, London or Japan.