Aknita is running a little raffle as fundraising for Race for Life. If you sponsor her for the cost of a morning latte, you’ll get entered into a draw for 2 £10 vouchers for Socktopus and for one of Ambermoggie’s femmes. Read more here
I also came across the letter game on her blog. The idea is that you ask in the comments for a letter and one is sent to you at random. You then blog about ten things you love beginning with that letter. So I asked Aknita for a letter, and I got D. I’ll bet you can guess the top two –
1. David. My DH. Sometimes I want to strangle him, but then I would miss him terribly so I resist. I met him when we were starting our training contracts at a City law firm. Oooh how naive and shiny eager were we back then! I loved the City – the big buildings, the shiny glass, the marble and expensive fittings…. for a brief period I even loved wearing a suit and actually ironed my shirts (with cufflinks I might add). That got old quick.
DH and I started dating just before he headed off to HK for a 6 month secondment. We managed to get into an Aston Martin parked in the forecourt one night after a particularly heavy night drinking at the bar under our building. Lovely car! I think though I threw up on the train ride home.
2. Deuce, my little black monkey. He is a sweetie and I never want to be without him. It took me a year and a half to convince DH to get a dog – he was quite afraid of them and said, I quote, “If you get a dog you will find him at the bottom of the Thames in a bag of bricks”. Right. I’m not one to listen that closely to DH and I find that persistance and determination are a very effective combination. Good thing too, because if you could see DH with the little monkey, you would have thought he was the one who wanted a puppy to begin with!
3. Downhill Skiing
I used to be on the Norquay RD ski team in high school – my best friend Cam was on the team, having started in Nancy Greene (a ski team for little kids) and moved up to RD (racing development). I didn’t start learning to ski until I was 10 so I had a lot of catching up to do. I remember joining the team and the first thing we did was head on to one of the lifts. Half way up there was a sign saying ‘experts only’. The top proved to be the summit of a sheer and very steep slope, filled with massive moguls. Cam helped me down, I think I slid down part of the way, and skiied horizontally across the moguls the other part.
My dear mom was tireless in ferrying me back and forth – every weekend we trained at Norquay, and we had regional races at the local ski resorts. We had to be there early so we’d leave home at 7am to get there ready to ski for 830/9am. On race days, my mom had to volunteer and would spend the entire day stomping up and down the piste timing events, carrying poles, etc. We usually finished around 3 or 4pm. I also spent most of the weekday evenings at Paskapoo our local mini-ski hill in the city limits. My mom was a star taking me back and forth.
I got to be a better skier really quickly (logging that many hours I would have to have or I would have had to quit) and by the end of my second season I had decent enough racing form, but never agressive or confident enough to actually smack any of the slalom poles like they do in the Olympics. Great fun though and definitely one of the highlights of my high school years. I miss skiing hugely.
4. Dinner (at a fabby restaurant!)
One of my favourite things to do is dine out with good friends in fabulous restaurants. We’re really lucky in London – there are some absolute gems out there. There are lots of crappy places, expensive or rude or both, but I take it as a given in a city of 8+million and loads of tourists, and a little bit of research can help me avoid the pitfalls. A lot of restaurants can get by on tourist trade, knowing that even if most customers never come back, new ones will keep coming and keep them in business. Still, there are the great and the fun.
I love Gordon Ramsay’s Royal Hospital Road – I’ve heard nasty things about Monsieur Ramsay and his temper, but I’ve been lucky enough never to have encountered him. I think going as a group of girls also helps – the staff are invariably incredibly indulgent with us. But 3 star dining isn’t the be all and end all (it would be the end of all if I made it a habit! My poor wallet would never live through it). There are gems in London that I keep going back to – because they are reasonable, and the food is fantastic.
Saran Rom in Imperial Wharf has the best Thai food I’ve had in London – absolutely exquisite and delicate and delicious. I try to eat there whenever I can because it is often very quiet (rather out of the way). I hope with the summer and their thames-side terrace they will come into their own. For the experience of it – I want to go to the pitch black eat in the dark restaurant. I think it would be rather fun. I love the little vietnamese place near us, because they are the only little vietnamese place near us. I could go on, but I won’t cause it is making me hungry.
Am an oenophile. Not a terribly knowledgeable one, but definitely an enthusiastic amateur. I love a well balanced Riesling (Tricia you and I need to share another bottle of Loosen!) – crisp and fresh – and one of my favourite easy drinking wines is Domaine de la Tailles aux Loup’s Sec Les Dix Arpents. The Chenin Blanc is deliciously sweet on the nose, but is a dry wine. Absolutely gorgeous and too easy to drink. I love a gorgeous delicate Fleurie, or a robust wine from Cahors. Love Primitivo (aka Zinfandel). Yum yum. Pairing with food is also hugely fun, apples with riesling, cheese and red wine. I’m very bad at that but it is fun to experiment.
I also find the obscure grapes really interesting – I have yet to try a vitis labrusca wine (like concord or other ‘foxy’ grape). I want to know what ‘foxy’ is supposed to taste like. Sounds a little gross.
Whilst on drinking, I also love cocktails too – Porn Star from Mao Tai on the Fulham Road is quite the drink. Watermelon martinis (yum!) and lychee martinis too. All good.
Okay not really Dracula but am having a hard time getting Ds – but am totally loving the new vampire series True Blood (when is the next series coming out?? The next book isn’t out until end March. ARgh. And Twilight. Edward Cullen… swoon)
7. Dawn in Kensington Gardens
The first time I came to London I was working in Hong Kong, and I was heading a Chinese delegation of steelworkers. Our first stop was London, and we stayed at a hotel right next to Ken Gardens. We couldn’t check in when we arrived (like 5 am or something) so we left our luggage and went for a walk in the nearby gardens. Walking through the trees, by Kensington Palace, we watched the sun rise. I had as close to an epiphany as I have ever experienced – it felt right, and that I should be there. So I headed back to HK, quit my job despite a bribe/threat from my then boss – he asked me to the Jockey Club, treated me to lunch, asked me to stay, offered to pay more, then when he saw that I wasn’t going to change my mind, said that I could/would never return to HK. At the time I took it as a threat, but now, am happy to acknowledge it as truth. He was right – I would never return to HK to a dead end job. Got into law school, got a training contract (which included school fees and a stipend) and moved to London.
We now walk in Ken Gardens once or twice a week with the monkey and on cold mornings we stop for a Green & Blacks Hot Chocolate by the Elfin Oak.
8. Deer in Richmond Park
I love the deer in Richmond Park. DH and I used to live in Richmond and I had a scooter I would drive through the park on the way to work and the way home. Very calming to see them hanging out in the park.
9. Driving into Banff
I love the drive from Canmore into Banff – approaching the Rockies and then finding yourself suddenly surrounded by them. Totally amazing.
10. Decent Coffee
I am indentured to caffeine. I love lattes but have low tolerance for sloppy ones – a shot pulled too short or long, a coffee puck not properly tamped…. eurgh. Can’t stand Caffe Nero or Coffee Republic – too bitter, to acidic, Starbucks I favour because of the syrups but if I’m totally honest it is because the coffee is made in a Marzocco and the coffee itself is neither bitter nor acidic (actually a little bland unless you get a double shot) (but as such rather inoffensive on the whole). Ahhh to live in Italy where even a secondary road gas station has a baristo pulling magical yummy shots.