People that Inspire me 1 

Jack Reacher

I know he is a fictional character but that doesn’t prevent me from in some way wanting to be a bit more like him. Maybe in some way Lee Child, the author, has a desire to be like his character also. Could be a great motivator to develop a character in fiction.

First of all, Jack Reacher has something that very few of us in life do. Freedom. He isn’t tied down by anything at all. In a way this has left him to be alone but he never comes across as lonely. He has affairs of the heart on occasion but his desire for freedom never allows these to last. He is comfortable with walking around with absolutely nothing but the clothes on this back. Pretty much all of us have family, loved ones, dependents, responsibilities so this is probably completely unachievable today but it doesn’t stop me dreaming about living his life sometimes.

Something that I always admire in people is strength. Not physical strength, although Jack Reacherthat can often be quite impressive but strength of the mental variety. I, for many reasons that I don’t really want to get into right now, believe that I have a fair amount of mental toughness but Reacher is a whole new level of impressive. If he thinks something up he just goes right on and does it. I let so many things get in the way of my dreams that I am sometimes surprised I get anything done at all.

Honesty is something that I value a great deal in life and something you don’t come across too often. Reacher doesn’t mince his words and it is fantastic. I love meeting people in the world who are like this and hopefully am a bit like this myself.

Brains are dead sexy. I’m not exactly dumb but Mr Reacher has the ability to assess a situation, predict people’s actions, talk or act his way out of any horrendous situation and find solutions to every dilemma. As a military police officer and a civilian following that, he manages to solve every case he works on no matter how difficult. It’s a little far fetched but I don’t know that there aren’t real people out there in the world with the same capabilities.

Possibly when you put all these things together you get a guy who doesn’t take s**t from anyone. This for me is something I wish I could mirror more as I am not all that great at standing up for myself. It is not only for himself however, he sticks up for anybody that seems to be mistreated and that is incredibly admirable. I always try to help people and often wish I had the strength to work so much harder for those who are not as fortunate as myself.

Everybody loves a hero.

Review: Sodo Pizza Cafe

Sodo Pizza Cafe, hidden in the George & Vulture pub, N1 6BU.    8/10

This is a quick one. I am always on a quest to find amazing Italian pizza in London because well Italian’s make the best food in the world!! I am very lucky to live a 2 minute walk from this pub that has the Sodo Pizza Cafe hidden inside as the pizza here is great! Quite possibly the best I have had in Central London. If you know of somewhere equally amazing please do leave it in the comments, it would be much appreciated.

I only have one picture because my phone failed me this evening. I opted for a ‘Dirty Boy’ pizza and not because it was fun to say 🙂  The pizza pictured below is ‘Cured Meat’ which is a selection of amazing Italian meats with some chillis added for fun. You can taste the real Italian ingredients used to make these pizzas. You know when you catch yourself making that mmm sound when eating? This happened.

Sourdough makes it lighter than your average pizza which is always welcome. For gluten free folk they offer a base of cannelloni beans baked with the toppings which I thought sounded like a tasty and inventive pizza alternative. Once again mmmm.

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Review: GoGo Pocha

GoGo Pocha, Waterloo, SE1           7/10

This is one of those places where you stand outside and toss a coin to see whether you will risk spending the rest of the evening on the toilet. However it is fairly common knowledge that so many of the places that seem like this often have the best tasting and/or most authentic food. My chair was falling apart and there was a piece of plastic digging in my thigh but once the food came along I quickly forgot all about it.

When you go into a Korean place and the clientele are mostly from that country that is definitely a great sign. Having only chopsticks on the table also gives you a clue of authenticity. Service is efficient but not unfriendly. The guy leaned over the bar behind my head to take my order and to give us the bill. To be honest this is ideal, I don’t mind having a chat with a waiter/waitress if it is truly genuine but you know most are just working for tips, which is understandable but I can live without it. Unless service is terrible I’m going to tip regardless.

This place offers a set lunch menu for just £6. What a bargain! When we sat down we were given a beansprout salad and a seaweed salad, yum! Also with this welcome treat was a small cup of miso soup each which was totally divine. I ordered kimchi stew with pork and tofu. We also had some BBQ pork belly and rice. The food is tasty and fills you up, really what more do you need for that price? It is tough to find quick, fresh, healthy and affordable food in the city, particularly within zone 1. I always love to try local beers and I tasted Korean beer Cass for the first time. It’s typical of a beer that reigns from a hot country and I must say those are my favourite.

I love it when you happen upon these hidden gems while wandering around and hope there are many more to come!

Loss

It’s crazy how the little things set you off. Earlier this evening I got a little tipsy and somehow the topic got on to West Ham (a British football/soccer team for those that may not know.) I started singing their anthem ‘I’m forever blowing bubbles’ and by the time I was finished there were tears rolling down my face. Music has always been able to stir up my emotions. It is a very powerful thing. My dad was a big West Ham fan, he even took me to a few games. Although at that time I was a teenage girl and was more interested in watching David Beckham run around the pitch. Despite being almost 13 years on I am still weeping over the loss of my father and still miss him like crazy. Is this normal? If it is I guess it is true you never really get over something like that.

He was the one I talked about my hopes and dreams with. He was the guy I wanted to make proud of me. Hopefully I haven’t let him down so far. This is a tribute to a great man who left this earth too early.

Cancer is a bitch.

I love you dad

I’m forever blowing bubbles,

Pretty bubbles in the air,

They fly so high, nearly reach the sky,

Then like my dreams they fade and die.

Fortune’s always hiding,

I’ve looked everywhere,

I’m forever blowing bubbles,

Pretty bubbles in the air.
I’m dreaming dreams, I’m scheming schemes,

I’m building castles high.

They’re born anew, their days are few,

Just like a sweet butterfly.

And as the daylight is dawning,

They come again in the morning!
I’m forever blowing bubbles,

Pretty bubbles in the air,

They fly so high, nearly reach the sky,

Then like my dreams they fade and die.

Fortune’s always hiding,

I’ve looked everywhere,

I’m forever blowing bubbles,

Pretty bubbles in the air.
When shadows creep, when I’m asleep,

To lands of hope I stray!

Then at daybreak, when I awake,

My bluebird flutters away.

Happiness, you seem so near me,

Happiness, come forth and cheer me!
I’m forever blowing bubbles,

Pretty bubbles in the air,

They fly so high, nearly reach the sky,

Then like my dreams they fade and die.

Fortune’s always hiding,

I’ve looked everywhere,

I’m forever blowing bubbles,

Pretty bubbles in the air.

Review: Duke’s Brew & Que

Duke’s Brew & Que, N1 5AA.       7/10

Another American style BBQ place in London. The place is quite small and you pretty much have to book to get in the door. With fantastic reviews I was quite looking forward to eating here.

First impressions are the staff are very friendly. The furniture is all odd random second hand type stuff but actually doesn’t seem to clash at all. At an early 6pm on a Saturday night the place was already full.

The Brew in the name refers to the extensive list of craft beers available which take up 80% of the drinks menu. I opted for the only cider on draught and was pleasantly surprised by how delicious it was. Also on tap they have a Beavertown beer at 9.4% which they only serve in half pints with it being so strong. Very responsible of them. This beer has an incredibly chocolatey flavour but I wasn’t so keen on the after taste.

As you would imagine there is a lot of meat on the menu. Also on offer is a selection of veggie dishes which actually sounded very appealing. I was very tempted by the description of the veggie chilli but decided going to a BBQ place for the first time and not trying the meat seemed a little outrageous for a carnivore.

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We ordered a 10oz flat iron steak and ‘Duke’s greatest hits’ which included a giant beef rib, pork ribs, pulled pork and a thick chunk of garlic bread. Most dishes also came complete with pickled red onions and coleslaw. The sauces are very much mustard based and not being much of a fan I ate my steak as it came. Their BBQ sauce is also very much on the sweet side and not really to my preference. I have to admit to being a little disappointed. The steak was cooked well but just slightly over, it was a lovely piece of meat though. The beef rib seemed to lack flavour but the pork was just fine. The steak was served on a wooden board and at one point the blood from the steak was leaking everywhere. I also managed to accidentally cover myself in BBQ sauce that came flying out of the bottle but had it been on a plate rather than a wooden block I feel like my clothes and the chair would have been saved from disaster. I’m all for food looking good when it is served to you but these wooden boards to me are unhygienic and completely impractical. The fries had a Cajun seasoning but weren’t anything to write home about. I am a fan of the pickled onions but I’m not even sure the coleslaw was homemade it tasted so bog standard, which is quite shocking really.

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For the same price we could have gone out and had some really amazing steaks so I doubt I would go back, except maybe to try that veggie chilli! I am not sure how old the place is but I feel like it is just another restaurant jumping on the trendy bandwagon. For me eating out is mostly about the food and that is what I want to spend my hard earned cash on. Everything else adds to a great experience but the food has to be the foundations. This place for me didn’t live up to expectations or perhaps my expectations have just reached an un-achievable high.

If you have been yourself please share your experiences with me 🙂

Review: Verona Italian

Verona Italian, Morden SM4. 8/10

Super friendly service.
The food is delicious! Fresh and tasty ingredients.
The wine is lovely, even the house wine.
Surprisingly not busy on a Saturday night so probably don’t even need to prebook.
The price is a bonus! It is in my opinion underpriced so absolutely great value!

 

Otters

I have to say otters are one of my favourite animals. The photos I snapped of these cheeky baby otters say it all really.

Otters 2

Watching them play games and entertain each other you can see how they clearly display a fair amount of intelligence.

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When it was nearing feeding time they started to cry out for their tea!

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****All photos are my own****