Relaxing Games

It was an easy, relaxing day in Southend on November 19, 2011.

We had lunch at the house.

Ivan, Lil Dave and I chilled out and used the internet.

Neal came to stay the weekend.  We had a big dinner and cake for dessert.  Denise always spoils us with lots of food.

Later on, we played the board game Cranium Wow.  We made two teams: Denise, Ken and Neal against Ivan and me.

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The game has many activities like guessing a song by a person humming, sculpting with Play-Doh, charades and drawing with your eyes closed.  It’s lots of fun!  Unfortunately, Ivan and I lost the game.

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Winter Wonderland

I had my first Christmas pudding on November 18, 2011.  Christmas pudding is usually served on Christmas day.  It’s dark in appearance and filled with fruit and sometimes alcohol like brandy.  It’s so very tasty!!  I wish this was a tradition in the USA.

Ivan, Lil Dave and I headed up to London by train.  We checked out one Vans store.  I wanted to buy pink Hello Kitty shoes that I saw listed in a magazine.  Unfortunately, they didn’t have the shoes – but an employee told us that the Covent Garden location has it in stock.

We walked to the Vans in Covent Garden.  We met up with Ivan’s brother Neal there.  I found my pink shoes in size UK 2.  I have really small feet.  The shoes are soo cute!!

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We walked to Hyde Park for Winter Wonderland

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It’s a big area filled with food and retail stalls, carnival rides and an ice skating rink. 

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We had a tradlnik and a cup of hot honey mead.  It definitely warmed us up! 

I was still hungry and bought some french fries.  Lil Dave couldn’t find any hot banana mead, so he was a bit bummed.  Ivan signed us up earlier for a time slot for ice skating.  Ivan, Neal and I each had a cup of mulled wine while we waited.

We waited in line at the ice skating building.  We got our ice skates and headed to the rink.  There weren’t any monkey sized ice skates, so Lil Dave rode on Ivan’s back.  Good thing Ivan didn’t fall! 

There was a band playing in the middle of the rink.  It was fun skating around the rink.  I was really getting into it.  It hurts my ankles after awhile though. 

We all walked to Nando’s for dinner.  Ivan and I each had a delicious beanie pita while Lil Dave got a banana burger.

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Ideal Mexican

I woke up at 1 pm on November 17, 2011 – for some reason I couldn’t wake up.  Ivan was already awake.

Ivan, Lil Dave and I had lunch and got ready to head out.  We headed to London by train at 3 pm.

We went to the Ideal Home Show at Christmas at Earls Court.

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There was lots of things there like fashion, health and beauty, jewelry, home stuff, furniture, food and beverages and hot tubs.  We walked around the big exhibition venue sampling food and drinks.  We bought curry sauce, jam and bamboo socks for Ivan.  Lil Dave bought some tasty banana jam.  Our feet were so tired from walking around so much.  We left around 8 pm.

We went to the city.  We walked to the Mexican restaurant Wahaca.  It was really busy inside the restaurant.  A guy told us that there was a 30 minute wait.  Ivan put his name down and told him we’d be back in 30 minutes.

We walked around and came back 30 minutes later.  We told a lady that we were waiting for a table.  She said the wait wasn’t that long, but she didn’t give us a buzzer.  The guy from earlier was calling people and setting off the buzzers.  I was sat down while Ivan was standing.  Ivan noticed that the guy was calling people ahead of us.  He told the guy we needed a buzzer and that we were waiting for awhile now.  He finally called us and said that he thought the party wasn’t ready since he only saw Ivan and not me.

We sat down and checked out the menu.  A manager came over and asked us what happened.  Ivan told him.  He apologized for the misunderstanding.  He gave us two free mojitos.  The mojitos were lovely.  Our waiter was very friendly.

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The food was delicious as usual.  It’s always great food and service at Wahaca.  I really wish we had  a unique Mexican restaurant that was cheap in Las Vegas.

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Carpet Beat

Ivan, Lil Dave and I met up with Ivan’s parents in London on November 16, 2011.  We bought tickets for the musical Backbeat.  Ivan and I got closer seats in the front row this time.

We went to eat at the organic vegetarian restaurant Vitao.  It’s buffet style.  The food was good.  Denise didn’t think it was that good though.

Ivan and I stopped at a store to buy an inflatable booster seat for me.  We walked to the Duke of York Theatre to see Backbeat.  Ivan’s parents were sitting in the royal circle seats while Ivan and I were sitting in the front row.  The musical is about the early days of The Beatles.  It was our second time seeing it which was even better in the front row since it was really loud.  Ivan and I agree that you feel so attached when you’re sitting in the royal circle.

We walked to Princi to get dessert.  Ivan wished that he thought of this restaurant earlier for lunch.  Ivan’s mum really liked the selection. 

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The restaurant has pasta, pizza, breads, cakes, tea and wine.  Denise and Ken shared dessert with tea.  Ivan and I shared a pear tart and a chocolate cake with some tea.

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It was so very tasty.

We said goodbye to Ivan’s parents.  They were headed back home. 

Ivan and I went to see if there was any tickets for the play The Lion in Winter.  There wasn’t any available, so we walked to Leicester Square Theatre. 

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Ivan bought tickets for Stewart Lee – Carpet Remnant World.  Stewart Lee is a comedian.  The show was rather boring.  Stewart Lee even admitted that he didn’t have good material since he doesn’t do much anymore since he has children now.  There were two people sat next to Ivan who thought it was the funniest thing ever.  It wasn’t funny at all.

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Cutting Cheese

On November 15, 2011, I woke up at 12:05 pm. 

We used the internet.  I also worked on the blog.

We got the train into London.  It was really icy cold and windy. 

It was time for some cheese and alcohol.  We went to Gordon’s Wine Bar.  Ivan and I had port with cheddar and gouda cheese with jam and bread.  It was tasty!

We met up with Neal at the Indian restaurant Dishoom.  Ivan and I shared bhel, salmon tikka and lentil soup.  Lil Dave got banana soup and banana masala.  The food was great.

Ivan, Lil Dave and I went to The Comedy Store to see The Cutting Edge.   It’s a comedy night where the comedians talk about current events.  It was really funny. 

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The best two were Paul Thorne and Ian Stone.  Ivan picked a topic of Occupy and the comedian who got it won.  So, Ivan got two free tickets for The Cutting Edge.

Source: Paul Thorne picture

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Wedding Beans

Ivan and I decided to relax in Southend on November 14, 2011. 

Ivan used the internet while I was looking up things online for our upcoming wedding.  We will have lots to do when we get back to Las Vegas.  I worked on the blog.

We walked to ASDA to pick up something for dinner. 

Ivan and I had tortellini and baked beans for dinner.

I continued to work on the blog.

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Later that evening, we watched the shows Pete Versus Life, The Office and Parks and Recreation.

Source: Pete Versus Life photo

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Thai Comedy

On November 13, 2011, Ivan and I had lunch at the house.

We got the train into London late.

We went to Gordon’s Wine Cellar, but it was packed as usual.

We walked around Covent Garden and got a mulled wine. 

We waited in line to get tickets for the comedy tonight.  We saved seats in the front row for The Comedy Store Players.

Ivan and I walked down the street to Busaba Eathai.  Ivan and I shared tofu and spinach. 

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Ivan got tilapia curry while I got a tasty soup with chicken.  Lil Dave got a fried banana dish with a spicy sauce. 

We walked back to The Comedy Store.  The Comedy Store Players were hilarious tonight.  We love good improv!!

Ivan sent a text to Neal to see if he wanted to meet up.  Ivan and I went Spuntino. 

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We ordered soldiers and eggs, fennel salad and a mackerel slider.  Lil Dave got two banana sliders.  Neal arrived and we chatted.  The food was great.

We all walked to the train station.  We said good-bye to Neal and headed to our train.

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Mexican Shopping

Ivan and I woke up at 10 am on November 12, 2011.  Jo was already up since 6 am since he’s so used to getting up early for work.  I don’t understand why he doesn’t just sleep in during the weekends. 

Ivan arranged to meet up with his brother Neal at the Westfield Mall.  Neal lives in Stratford where the mall is located.  Jo needed to buy a power lead for a monitor, so he said he would drive us there.

We drove to the Westfield Mall which is the largest mall in Europe.  We walked around.  This time Ivan and I got to walk around.  There were ots of people in the mall.  We said thanks and good bye to Jo.  He walked into a computer shop while we walked to Wahaca. 

Neal arrived a few minutes later.  We all had lots of tasty Mexican food at Wahaca.  I wish they had a restaurant in Las Vegas.  The food is always good at very reasonable prices.

We said bye to Neal.  Ivan and I shopped awhile at Primark.  This huge store has clothes, accessories and shoes for very cheap.

We got a train back to Southend.

Ivan and I used the internet.

Later on, we had dinner with Denise and Ken at the house.

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Ivan and I took it easy the rest of the evening – we watched the tv show Life’s Too Short on the laptop.

Source: Life’s Too Short picture

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Greek Dance Party 4000

Ivan was up early on November 11, 2011.  A courier came early to pick-up Ivan’s birth certificate and financials, so it could be delivered to the U.S. Embassy. 

I worked on the blog.

We had lunch with Denise and Ken.  There was lots of food: potato latkes, fish cakes, naan bread, soup and fruit salad.

Ivan and I used the internet for awhile.  It was late at 6 pm when we headed to London.

We went to get dinner at The Real Greek.  Ivan and I shared a few different items with a special. 

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We got Greek flatbread with olive oil & dukkah, taramasalata, halloumi skewers, Greek coleslaw, tiropitakia and grilled halloumi.  Lil Dave got some banana Greek dishes made up like banana dip and banana skewers.  The food was delicious!!

At 8:20 pm, we met up with our friend Jo at Liverpool Street station.  We weren’t sure what pub to go to since everything seemed crowded.  We walked around and talked about traveling and life.  It was great to catch up with Jo since we haven’t seen him in since April.  We still couldn’t believe that Jo quit his job and will be doing independent contract work.  Hopefully, he’ll be able to go travel more.

Ivan told Jo we were taking him to an event.  Ivan asked if it was okay if we spent the night at his place since the trains don’t run all night.  Jo said that was fine.  We started walking towards Bethnal Green. 

We went to the Bethnal Green Working Man’s Club.  Jo thought the place looked weird and asked the guard what this event was all about.  It wasn’t open yet.  Ivan said it would be a unique event.  It was Time Out’s Alternative nights out event for the week. 

We stopped at a coffee shop. Ivan and I each got an espresso.

We went back and got tickets for the Dance Party 4000 event.  I placed my bag in the cloakroom.  We were given a pack of tissues with the Dance Party 4000 logo on it.  Jo was freaking out and saying What do we need these for?  He didn’t know what was going to occur at the event. 

Cardioke was happening when we walked in the big room.  It’s karaoke while on an exercise machine.  Whoever has the most calories at the end wins a prize.  It looks really hard!  I think picking a long song helps while pacing yourself, so you don’t get too tired early on.  It was funny watching people run out of breath while trying to sing.  I was telling Ivan that he could win.  He doesn’t really like karaoke though.  The winner got a robot.  Ivan really should have tried to beat the highest score.

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The Dance Party 4000 started.  We were being taught different aspects of interpretive dance.  Duotard were hosting.  They’re a husband and wife team named Mike and Jennifer from Canada.  Duotard were both wearing leotards.  The leotard doesn’t leave anything to the imagination if you know what I mean.

We danced around and learned the interpretive dance moves.  Duotard gave out a limited amount of free glow sticks with a ribbon attached to it.  It was fun waving it around like a gymnast.  Lil Dave had fun dancing on Ivan’s shoulder and jumping around.

A dance competition was coming up.  Ivan said I should enter.  It would be 12 different music genres in 7 minutes.  So, the contestants would have to use their interpretive dance skills for each music genre.  I raised my hand so I could be one of the contestants.  The host Mike asked me Can you dance to heavy metal?  I said Yeah!  I was one of the contestants of the contest.  There was lots of different music genres like heavy metal, pop, country and even a song by The Smiths.  I lit up when The Smiths came on (I love Morrissey.. he’s my favorite singer).  I tried to dance like he does with the flowers in his back pocket. I tried to be funny dancing with one of the other contestant and spanking his butt.  I really danced my butt off for those 7 minutes.  I was so knackered afterwards.  Unfortunately, I didn’t win.  I didn’t even get a vote from the four judges.  The guy who won did the Morrissey flower thing.. not sure how he got a flower though.  I was totally robbed of winning the dance competition.  I was screaming FIXED because I think the winner knew one of the judges.  The prize was a super soaker filled with Jagermeister.  I won a red Hot of Hot Breath fanny pack. 

The winner was giving people squirts of Jagermeister from his super soaker.  I got a squirt.  I was bummed that I didn’t win.  I did a unique dance for every music genre.  I’m known for it!! Ok, maybe in my own head..

Jo was really having LOTS of fun.  He told us that he was reborn and that he felt like he was now living his life.  I think he may have had too much wine.  I’m glad that he was enjoying himself. 

Dance Party 4000 is known for spinning a big wheel with different music genres.  Then, Duotard plays a song or two from that music genre.  We heard Surf Garage and it just sounded like Surfing Rock music.  We danced for awhile.  It was pretty fun.  The only problem was that they played too many songs of some music genres like 2 songs for Hip Hop… no thanks!! 

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The event was lots of fun.  We’re glad Jo seemed to REALLY enjoy it.  He needs to go out and enjoy London for that it offers. London is filled with many cool events every day. There’s many things to check out like museums and theatre as well. Time Out magazine is a great resource. Ivan told Jo he needs to pick up a copy to find more events like this one.

Ivan thought we should go check out the nightclub Fabric.  We got a cab there.  There was a massive line outside.  Ivan checked out to see if the line was moving and it was not even budging.  There was a big DJ on which explained why it was so busy.  Ivan asked one of the bouncers if he knew any clubs nearby that would still be open. 

We walked to a club nearby, but it just closed a few minutes ago.  We walked next door to a bar, but the music didn’t seem that good.

We walked to Jo’s place in Bow.  We got back around 4 am and went to sleep shortly after.

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Crazy Mark

Ivan, Lil Dave and I left the house at 11:30 am on November 10, 2011 headed to London.  We picked up sandwiches at Pret a Manger.

We went to the Criterion Theatre to see Lunchtime with Mark Rylance.  Mark Rylance is a wonderful actor who stars in the awesome play Jerusalem.  An interviewer was asking him questions about acting and his roles.  It was hard to hear the interviewer.  He definitely needed a microphone.  At the end, people were allowed to ask questions.  Ivan wanted to ask if he gets distracted by the audience.  But, people were asking sophisticated questions.  The one hour talk was really good.

We went to see the movie The Adventures of Tin Tin: The Secret of the Unicorn.  We ate our sandwiches during the movie.  The movie was alright, thought it would have be funnier. 

We walked to Covent Garden to check out the Real Food Market which is every Thursday. 

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Christmas lights and decorations were up.  There was free spiced cider at a wagon near the tree.  It was really tasty and warmed us right up.

We saw a busker playing a tuba with fire coming out.  I don’t know how he makes the fire come out. 

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It looks really cool though!

We walked around and popped in the Kidrobot store.

We went to eat at Busaba Eathai.  Ivan had the butternut squash curry while I had the cod fillet.  We shared a side dish of vegetables.  It was really tasty.

It was time to see some theatre.  We saw the musical Crazy For You.  We sat in the 2nd row in the dress circle.  Ivan and I think sitting in the dress circle isn’t as good as the stalls since you seem so detached from the action, plus it’s a lot louder in the stalls.  The musical was okay.  The songs weren’t that good with too many slow songs.  The story was lame and not very exciting.

We got the train later on back to Southend.

Source:  Tin Tin poster

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