Jazzed for jazz @ Ronnie Scott’s

Jazz, jazz, jazz. I like jazz, not all the time, but a lot of the time. So I was jazzed for it when I was asked if I wanted to go to Ronnie Scott’s to see Mingus Big Band play. Having never been to a jazz club, I was pretty excited, and I had visions of a dimly lit space, frequented by jazz lovers; reclining on seats covered in red velvet.

I had to get the train straight after work, meaning I had to interview a potential candidate at the speed of light to make sure I got out in time. Fortunately we rattled through my set of interview questions pretty quickly, although, I made sure I saved time for my fave question “what would you say is your biggest failure?”… awful, aren’t I?!

As soon as we were done, I legged it out of the interview room, grabbed my rucksack and raced to the car. I drove as fast as was allowable and parked up near the station. Because I’m tight, I refuse to pay for parking, so I parked away from station, meaning a walk up the dreaded hill. I was running a little late by now, so I picked up the pace and started on up the hill. I was really running late now, so my fast walk turned into a bit of a trot and I imagine I looked like a ginger Shetland pony making its way to an evening of jazz.

Legit me

I arrived at the station, grabbed my ticket and raced down the stairs in time to meet the train as it was arriving at the platform. Seated on the train, I thought it wise to make myself look somewhat presentable by putting some makeup on. Due to some recent late nights, I was sporting a bit of a panda look. I got as far as putting on a lick of mascara, before a man in an interesting fleece sat down in front of me, and proceeded to stare intently at me whilst I was coating the lashes of my left eye. That put paid to the application of makeup, so I stared out of the window instead, trying not to catch fleece mans eye.

I get off the train at Tottenham Court Road and begin to wind my way through Soho. Obviously I get lost, because if you don’t get lost in Soho, did you even go to Soho?


Eventually, after walking around in a bit of a circle, I meet Gail, Les & Co. outside Ronnie Scott’s. We go in, and it is EXACTLY how I imagined it. The lighting is low, everything is intimate, with dimly lit corners and the seats are upholstered in red velvet. It’s the best when things are exactly how you imagined them to be.

The classic bathroom selfie

We take our seats on the lower level, right in front of the stage. I quickly nab the seat facing the stage as close to the middle as I can get (sorry, not sorry). We order some food and drinks, and at this point I must mention that the prices are a tad on the high side. I had a cocktail called a Watermelon Man, which, surprise, surprise, had watermelon in. This cost £11 (ouch) and I had the cheapest thing on the menu what wasn’t a burger, which was tofu, at £17.50 (double ouch). I know you need to expect these things to be expensive, but still, £11 for a cocktail is a killer.


Anyway, minor moan over – lets get to the music. It was SO GOOD!! I knew it was going to be good, I had never doubted it was going to be good, and yet I was still surprised at how incredible Mingus Big Band were. And to make a great night even better, the guy on alto sax was pretty easy on the eye. Oh, and he had the BEST facial expressions – I spent more time than I should have done, watching his sarcastically raised eyebrows.

Such a hunnaaaaay

I’m always in awe of anyone that can play a musical instrument (as you may know, I certainly cannot) and I love watching people do something that they so clearly enjoy. I love live music in general, and I will listen to pretty much anything, but listening to these guys (and girl) do their thing, was absolutely incredible. I enjoyed it so, so much and I will definitely be going again as soon as I can.

Take a look at what is coming up here – I might see if I can get tickets to go and see the Blues Explosion! Can’t wait!!


Bonnie

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Review: The French Table, Surbiton

We went to The French Table in Surbiton for my birthday; my mum, my dad, Claire and me. It’s turned into a bit of a yearly pilgrimage, and this place is my Mecca. My mum had told them it was my birthday and when we were shown to our table, there were menus printed with “Happy 23rd Birthday Bonnie” at the top [insert grinning emoji here].

The lady who showed us to our table was very attentive and made us feel very welcome and she took the time to find out whose birthday it was and wish me a happy birthday. Before going, I had pretty much decided I wanted to sample the tasting menu with wine matching. I hadn’t looked online at a sample menu as I didn’t want to ruin it, but I’d never experienced wine matching and I wanted to see if it was all it cracked up to be.

The classic awkward “at table” pic

And boy oh boy it was. The food was incredible (as always) and having the wine matched with the food made such a huge difference. I’m not always the biggest fan of wine, but all of these were spot on and I enjoyed each of them. They taste of them also wasn’t majorly altered by the food – I seem to find that food just makes wine taste YUCKY, but not these ones! So kudos to whichever aficionado selected those. There was even a wine from Kent, which was super tasty and I will definitely be seeing if I can buy some in the shops.

The set menu

Each course was absolutely insane, but if I had to choose one, I’d say the cod was my favourite. The cod was accompanied by brandade, peas, romanesco, caviar and a lobster and miso sauce – and it was on point. I couldn’t get enough of it. And when our dessert came out my plate was decorated with “Happy 23rd Birthday Bonnie” and candles. Yay!!


They really know how to look after you here; the service is excellent and the food is incredible. I can’t wait to go back! I’ve heard that lunch is amazing too, so maybe I’ll give that a try next.

Bonnie

 

Lunch @ The Estate Grill, Great Fosters

So, we all went for lunch at The Estate Grill at Great Fosters for my birthday. When I say “we”, I mean the work lot, and when I say “for my birthday”, I actually mean for a new starters welcome lunch. But I kind of upstaged him – sorry Ross!

We wanted to go to Great Fosters for a bit of a change. We always go to the same places when we lunch with work and we fancied something a bit more up market than the local Italian and I can tell you now, it didn’t disappoint.

The building itself is so beautiful and the fact that you get to go through a tiny little door on your way in, completely floated my boat. It basically felt like stepping through to Narnia, but with exemplary service and impeccably seasoned food. I got sat down at the head of the table because it was my birthday (again, sorry Ross) and a napkin was placed in my lap. I love it when they do the napkin for you, it makes you feel like literal royalty.

Seeing as it was lunch and I was driving and I had to go back to work, I settled for a Diet Coke to drink (boo). We were brought some bread for the table and it was literally the tastiest bread I have ever eaten in my life. There was some amazing bread with rosemary that was absolutely delish, and I am not ashamed to admit that I had both pieces before anyone else could get a look in. 


We had pre-ordered from the set lunch menu, so I eagerly waited in anticipation for my fish. When my plaice was set down in front of me OMG it looked incredible. It was accompanied by new potatoes with caviar, samphire, cucumber and brown butter. I mean… WOW. This plate of food was to die for – it was absolutely delicious. I love samphire so much and I never seem to manage to cook it for myself, so whenever I have it is such a treat, the same with plaice as it goes. There is nothing worse than eating a plate of food that you could have cooked at home yourself. That was not the case here and the whole thing was delectable.

For pudding I had Ivore mousse which was equally delicious. I don’t normally go for a pudding as I tend to prefer savoury; but everyone else was having one so I bent to their will. The mousse itself was seriously luxurious and it melted in my mouth. It was surrounded by shards of bitter chocolate and was accompanied by kumquat and orange. It looked so beautiful on the plate and I wish there was double portions!

Then they bought me out a little birthday cake with a candle in it and “Happy Birthday” written on the plate. Obviously I absolutely loved all the fuss and lapped it up, completely upstaging the new guy again (sorry Ross).


After that I took a it of a tour round the gardens which are so beautiful. There is a amazing little wooden bridge over the water in the main gardens, covered in wisteria which smells glorious and the rose garden is equally as beautiful. You can have afternoon tea here as well (and I LOVE an afternoon tea), so I will be taking my mum here as a treat for sure.


All the staff there are great and so well mannered and welcoming and it was genuinely a great experience. Considering the quality of the food here, 2 courses from the set menu for £19.50 seems all kinds of reasonable to me. To top it all off, on my way out I spied that The Tudor Room is now Michelin starred – I absolutely will be trying this (if the bank balance allows).  I can’t wait to go back!!

Bonnie

Madrid: Day Two

We were going to go to the park today but when we woke up it was properly overcast and I had a strong intuitous omen of rain coming (my intuition helpfully provided by the weather app on my iPhone). So we changed our plans and headed for the Chocolateria San Gines which is supposedly THE place to go for churros in Madrid. The churros typically come with this really thick and luxurious hot chocolate for you to dip them in. They looked incredible in the photos and the place gets some really great reviews online, so we thought ‘why not’?

I’ll start off by saying the experience wasn’t great from the off. We arrived and there were tables and chairs outside like your usual café type place, so we naturally assumed we could take a seat and someone would come and take our order. OH NO. We tried to sit down and promptly received an ear bashing in Spanish from a lady clearing one of the tables. Now, I have very limited knowledge of Spanish but I am 90% sure I heard the word ‘caca’ in the torrent of aggression that poured forth from her mouth, but I couldn’t be sure. Eventually a man in a chefs hat appeared next to us and lead us toward a counter where we were to place our order. It turns out you have to order first, get your receipt and a ‘ticket’, find a seat and then someone collects your ticket and brings your order to you. Self explanatory it was not.

#sauce
We ordered 6 churros and hot chocolate and 2 ‘porras’ which are basically churros but the size of a babies arm. They turned up at our table really quickly, accompanied by what looked to be the worlds tastiest hot chocolate – such anticipation – we were practically foaming at the mouth. What ensued was not the delectable assault on the senses we had been anticipating. I’m not over exaggerating when I tell you that they were genuinely disgusting. They weren’t light and crispy as we had imagined; they were dense, doughy and chewy. They tasted of overused cooking oil and essentially how I imagine a part cooked doughnut to taste. The hot chocolate wasn’t much better, it was oddly tasteless and bitter and didn’t do anything to enhance the greasy batter sticks we were attempting to enjoy. We were disappointed to say the least. When you read reviews that say things like ‘the place to go for churros’ and ‘best churros ever’ you expect at least half decent product. I have made churros in my own kitchen that were 10 times better than these horrors.
The offending ‘churros’

Just to top off the event, the woman that had shouted at us earlier was lurking nearby desperate to be rid of us so she could clear the table so the next lot of tourists could consume the disappointing fare. My arse had barely left the chair before she swooped in and cleared away the remnants of our ‘churros’ (they are not worthy of the name). The only redeeming factor for the whole affair were the rather gorgeous guitar-playing buskers who were in my eye line the entire time. I even gave Enrique and Jorge (assumed names) €2 for their troubles, and possibly also so I could hide my blushing face in my bag under the pretence of ‘searching for money’ when they came round with a collection box.

My Spanish stallions
Somewhat deflated but equally inflated, we went back to the places we Segway’d to yesterday for some pics with less chins in them in front of varying ‘places of interest’, where we were mobbed by groups of British tourists asking us to take photos of them. My mum says its because I look ‘approachable’, but we all know they look me up and down and are so sure that they could catch me and beat me in a fight if I ran off with their phone, that they are quite happy to take the risk and place their £700 worth of tech in my hand. But whatever, my face is just so approachable. We nailed the awkward arm poses in our very own photo shoot and even swung about a lamppost like we were in the cast of Singin’ in the Rain – it was a glorious feeling (damn right I did).
Couple of swingers
Bonnie

Review: Pink Floyd – THEIR MORTAL REMAINS exhibition 

So this was incredible. Far and away the best exhibition I have ever been to and I would thoroughly recommend you go. It’s at the V&A museum (get off at Knightbridge tube station and walk for a couple of mins) and it’s pretty busy so I’d suggest you book online beforehand and pick a slot. I went for the 11:30 slot and I was a bit late, but fortunately they give a 15 minute window for each time slot to give everyone a chance to queue up and get a headset. 

‘Oh god, a headset!!’ I hear you cry. But don’t worry, it’s not THAT kind of exhibition, it’s not one of those ones where you have to type in the number of the display you are looking at to hear an electronic voice drone on in your ear about a particular 16th century piece changing the face or modernism or something. Everything is automatic; I’m assuming it’s done on sensors or something and when you walk past a display or a screen you hear what there is to be said about it. Coupled with the fact, that there is Pink Floyd in your ear hole pretty much all the way round. 


So let me give you a quick walk through the exhibition. There are crazy painted telephone boxes throughout with all bits of memorabilia in them, there are photos, album covers, videos and props from their shows. The exhibition walks you through the age of Pink Floyd, starting at the first concert and ending with the last. It talks you through the changes in the group and all of the incredible artistry that went into producing their great works. 


In the final room you take your headphones off and you can sit and watch their last creation on big screens with a psychedelic light show. Everyone lays on the floor and looks up at the screens and just enjoys the moment. As it says on the website, it’s an ‘unparalleled audio-visual journey’ and I couldn’t agree more. 

Bonnie 

Review: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in Concert 


Last Thursday I got my nerd on. I went to see Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in concert at the Royal Albert Hall. The film was accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, who were of course, absolute perfection. 

For the first 10 minutes I could not take my eyes off the orchestra and completely ignored the film! I always struggle to stop watching the orchestra and pay attention to what I’m supposed to be watching, I’m constantly astounded by their skill and how goddamn easy they make it look. I am forever jealous of anyone that can play an instrument, unfortunately it is not something I excel at. 

I spent a good few years attempting to learn the piano. About 2 years into the lessons my piano teacher clocked on that I couldn’t read the music and it all went downhill from there. I used to drive old Dorothy absolutely potty – she used to ask me where I was on the page and I never could tell the poor old love. She thought I was making mistakes when I hit the wrong notes, what was actually happening, was that I was sounding out the notes until it sounded right to me. I think she deemed me unteachable and my lessons ceased not so long after. 

Anyway, I digress. After I’d got used to the orchestra being there I finally managed to concentrate on the film. I’d forgotten how tiny Harry, Ron and Hermione were! They were so unbelievably little and I have to be honest, their acting certainly improved over the years. But nonetheless it was really enjoyable to see a film that I hadn’t seen in years and relive my childhood accompanied by an incredible orchestra. Definitely a evening well spent and I would recommend it to anyone if there is a film showing they enjoy. 
Bee. 

Review: Beauty and the Beast 

So I went to see Beauty and the Beast at the cinema the other day. Yes I know it’s been out for months and months, yes I know I should have been to see it sooner – you don’t need to tell me, I know how rubbish I am without you reminding me thank you very much. 

Anyway, so I went to see it having absolutely no idea what it would be like, having not seen any of the Disney classics with the real life humans in them before (yes I know, and I’m sorry). I’m going to admit it straight away, because the first step is to admit you have a problem right? I cried, A LOT. There I’ve said it. I’m not ashamed, there was a girl at the front dressed in a Belle outfit that felt similarly, she was 6 but whatever. 

In essence, I loved it. The fact that Emma Watson was in it helped I think, because she is perhaps one of the most wonderful people on the planet and I could listen to that beautiful voice of hers forever. She is a modern day Goddess without a shadow of a doubt. I’d forgotten how down right hilarious Lumiere was and I also had no idea Ewan McGregor would make such a convincing French candelabra. 

As with all Disney films, they make you think and they have a theme that runs throughout that makes you start questioning whether you are a good person or not. The theme of selfless acts is prevalent throughout Beauty and the Beast and it’s made me think, that to experience a selfless act is such a rarity in this day and age. I should definitely work on my selflessness, but that’s a job for next week I think, maybe. 

I LOVE YOU EMMA WATSON  YOU ARE MY QUEEN (such a fangirl) 

Bee.