31 October 2013

Calling Londoners! Wrap Up London 2013 is here!

I need your help bloggers and readers!

London needs your old coats!  

And I need some people to volunteer with me and keep me company!

As we are all very much aware by now, winter is approaching. The temperature has cooled, the trees have changed to beautiful autumnal colours and we've already been hit with our first storm. Inevitably the snow will be here soon.

If you're a bit of a shopaholic like me then you'll probably openly admit that there tends to be at least one new coat in the cupboard each winter. A girl has to keep it fresh!

But what about the old ones?  The ones you hardly ever/never wear any more, gathering dust at the back of the wardrobe?

This is where London needs you!

I'm getting to the point, honest...

Hands On London is an amazing charity in their 3rd campaign year, collecting unwanted coats from the generous public and distributing them to London's most vulnerable - homeless shelters, centres for the elderly, youth centres, women's refuges, refugee support groups, care homes and food banks.

This year they are aiming to distribute over 10,000 coats to over 100 charitable organisations across Greater London.

So your help is needed in one (or both!) of two ways....


Grab those unwanted coats, stick them in a bag and bring them along with you on your way to work - volunteers will be collecting them at the following tube stations on 13th, 14th and 15th November, 7am until 11am:

Kings Cross
Charing Cross
London Bridge
Liverpool Street
Baker Street
Canary Wharf
Highbury and Islington

Volunteer with me!

I'm going to be doing a bit of promoting (11th & 12th November) and coat collection outside one or more of the tube stations listed above (13th, 14th 15th November).

I know many people's days are already packed to the brim but if you can spare an hour or two on any of the above dates, then drop me a line at cocktailsandcaroline@yahoo.co.uk or comment below and we can discuss times, places and quite possibly, lunch afterwards!

I hope to hear from you 

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28 October 2013

6 Things My Dog Does That Are Weird

1. Whereas most dogs get fabulously excited to be given their dinner, Jimmy will take his composed position on the kitchen floor and observe as I prepare his food. Upon placing the bowl down, Jimmy will remain in this spot for a good two or three minutes, quietly reflecting over what culinary delights might be waiting for him just a yard away (NB: 100% of the time it's dog food).

2. Once a month we have to give Jimmy his flea and worm treatment. This comes in the form of a painless but slightly smelly liquid that has to be placed on the back of his neck. Each time we do this he decides to sulk for an entire day, refusing to accept either affection or treats (I imagine he suspects the latter to be arsenic-laden). If we open the back door he will sit in the garden away from us for hours and generally fear the world that quite blatantly has it in for him. Poor Jimmy Chew!

3. Having pawed, stared and generally bugged me for an entire morning, he will then resist going for a walk if it is wet out.

4. Whilst most normal dogs will immediately demolish treats such as a piece of steak, bacon or ham, Jimmy will take the snack slowly and carefully between his top and bottom set of teeth so that the unidentified food makes no contact with his tongue. He will then move forth to the 'investigation mat' by the front door to look into the item thoroughly before making a decision as to whether it's at a high enough standard to eat or whether the humans are attempting to poison him again.

5. He likes to sniff other dogs bottoms but will run away when they try to sniff his.

6. He barks when Carol Vorderman comes on the television.
Yes folks - my dog is officially North London's biggest diva!

(and I wouldn't change a thing)

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23 October 2013

Cocktails & The Roof Gardens

Following our delightful visit to the world of French cheeses at Champagne + Fromage, Laura and I headed over to meet Helen and Teffy for a couple of mid-afternoon cocktails at Dirty Martini.

Situated on Covent Garden's bustling plazza, this New York style cocktail bar is intimate, buzzy and dimly lit.

For this reason, at 3pm it felt like we were in the throes of a big night out!

The drinks menu boasts a great number of delicious cocktails - almost too many to choose from! But if for whatever reason none of them take your fancy, apparently your friendly bartender will knock you up whatever your heart desires!

Not a bad way to spend a couple of hours on a Saturday, I'm sure you'll agree.

As we sipped on our fancy martinis we discussed going out on the town later that night. I dropped Carolina at London Lux Guest Lists a line and before we could say "party!", we had a last minute table booked at The Kensington Roof Gardens. Sadly, Teffy couldn't make it along but Laura, Helen and I headed home to freshen up!

You may remember a previous post I've written on Roof Gardens. It's a very glamorous affair like many of the London clubs but what sets it aside is its large outside garden area which is fully heated in the cooler months. 

Thanks to Lux we were treated like VIPs as soon as we arrived - no queuing, warmly greeted  by our host and settled at our table. Half way through the evening we were even presented with a huge watering can full of a fruity cocktail! 

The last minute nights out are so often the best!

No, I don't know what I'm doing in that last picture either! 

Lux Guest List is one of London's premier nightclub and event organisers. They're great for getting you on a credible guest list (and you usually need to be on a guest list when clubbing in London), booking you a table or taking the stress out of arranging a birthday do. Highly recommended.

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20 October 2013

Champagne + Fromage

There aren't many things in life that I like more than cheese.

There aren't really many things in life that I like more than champagne.

Bring together those two superpowers of pleasure and you're left with something quite wonderful. My month-long detox had come to a close and I was off to taste some delicious French cheeses with fellow blogger and food enthusiast Laura.

I wore my Love Moschino top (an Asos sale purchase) my L'Agence black skirt and ankle boots from Dune.

French Bubbles hold champagne and cheese tasting classes at a little shop and bistro in the heart of Covent Garden called Champagne + Fromage.

We arrived for our class right on time at 12.30pm. We were all guided down a steep stairway to a small room where ten gorgeous cheese platters were set out on a table waiting for us.

We had eight French cheeses to taste on two separate platters alongside three different champagnes.

Our French tutor briefed us on the cheeses as we tasted - or more accurately, 'demolished' - each one. 

Our champagne was introduced and regularly topped up!

There were suitable accompaniments matched with the cheeses such as quince jelly, liquor-soaked cherries and lavender. A few cheeses, such as the delicious Comte Extra, were just perfect on their own; others like the Paulinetoise tasted much better when spread on a piece of fresh bread.

After we had tasted and judged all of our cheeses, the session was perfectly rounded off with a dessert: a chocolate fondant made with Bleu des Basques blue cheese.

It was divine! It was soft and gooey inside just as a fondant should be. The blue cheese flavour was subtle but still managed to give the dish a really unusual punch! Definitely a recipe I'm going to give a go at home.

The atmosphere in the class was very informal and friendly. We had lots of time to chat away to each other in between our tutorials.

Our afternoon of cheese tasting at Champagne + Fromage was really enjoyable. The two hour class is £45 and I have to say that I was very impressed at how generous they were with the number of cheeses and the amount of champagne each of us were given. 

We certainly didn't leave that little bistro quite as sober as when we arrived!

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