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Showing posts from 2019

Ms Humdrum reviews: B Afternoon Tea Bus Tour around London

Family and friends, tasty tea, cute cakes, succulent sarnies, scrumptious scones… what more could you ask for? Some sightseeing around Central London please. Oh, and on a vintage red double decker bus, if you don’t mind. What I’ve described is exactly what you get from the B Afternoon Tea Bus Tour. Priced at around what I paid for the Ritz afternoon tea some five years ago, you rock up at Victoria bus station and check-in to board the bus. The waiting staff guide you on and you find your booth. I manged to get a photo before anyone arrived.  The tea is set up for you and is sort of stuck down on the table with a little bit of material! Note the nice touches of the flowers adorning the sides of the bus and the tables with natty bus and shopper images. You settle in and order your first (of many) drinks. I had in my head that I’d be supping loose tea using a strainer out of a bone china cup and saucer. However that just isn’t going to work on a bus, I realise. So you are given

Ms Humdrum reviews: The Taken escape room from Escape London

YES we found Bob! Escape rooms seem to be the new thing. You pay to be locked into a room, with your goal being to escape! But it’s a little more than that. Teamwork aids the solving of puzzles and challenges, with clues around you, be it icons or codes. There is not always just one room; often a second room is there for the finding. Based around a theme, this immersive style of game has really taken off, with even my mum completing one! I was imagining a quiz based on general or specific knowledge, but no, it’s not necessary to have any prior information. Anyone can take part. Last week, on a family day out, I “Escaped” with my mum, cousin and her daughter. The rules were explained to us before we entered and we were told that while there was a camera, there was no audio. If we required help (yes you can ask for help!), we needed to dance in front of the camera and help would come via the TV screen in the room. Our theme was “Taken” - our good friend Bob had gone missing and we we

Book review - The Artificial Anatomy of Parks by Kat Gordon

I had loaded up my Kindle with books I thought I'd be interested in before my week long trip to Menorca in the summer, during which I managed to finish a record six books! As I'd chosen this book months ago, I hadn't actually remembered I'd already read An Unsuitable Woman by the same author until I came to write this review. The two novels share similar themes, but are different enough not to have noticed the link, unlike my Liane Moriarty book, which, having read four of hers now, all tend to be feature similar characters (good reads though they are). The Artificial Anatomy of Parks is Tallulah's story, past and present, starting in the present in her early twenties, called to the hospital as her father has had a heart attack. We learn how she grew up in a family filled with secrets (whilst obvious to us readers, not to the tender Tallie) and how she coped with personal tragedy. Not a likeable character at first (like the main protagonist in An Unsuitable Wo

Ms Humdrum recommends Clean Deodorant Balm, available at Southsea Bathing Hut

Mmmmm, smells good (Pic from www.southsea Let me start by saying I'm a Mitchum Girl. Those of you who recognise the name will know the safety promised (and delivered) by that green container. You won't sweat. You won't smell. Most of us probably aren't sweaty Betties, but the confidence offered by Mitchum keeps us purchasing. It's actually an antiperspirant-deodorant, a deodorant hiding BO and an antiperspirant preventing sweating. These green (ironic) scent-sentries lining up are recyclable in most areas, but still they add up. I am not an eco-warrior as such, but I am trying to be aware of what I consume. But I don't want to smell. So it was with a heavy pit that I made the decision to try out a natural deodorant brand which didn't contain nasties, was ethically created and, most of all, worked.  I love Southsea Bathing Hut 's own facial oil (reviewed here ) and the chocolate lip balm they sell. Mr Humdrum loves their stuff (

A walk from Portchester Castle to Salt Cafe

Well we just had to choose the worst day of the year to walk. The date had been set weeks before - who knew there would be the worst winds of the decade almost on this very day? But we didn't want to be beaten. We will walk to the cafe. At least it wasn't raining! Parking is free next the castle and obviously, it wasn't busy this day! We set off around the outside of this medieval monument. The sea wall affords views across to Portsmouth and Gosport, and Portsdown Hill if you look behind. You can see the Spinnaker Tower in my photos, but you'd have to zoom in. The sea wall leads to a walk along a path, switching between grass (a much more sheltered area) beside a playpark, and the beach. It is an easy, flat walk, made slightly harder in the wind. After 1.75 miles, you reach the Salt Cafe (@saltcafe66). This took us one hour - that wind did slow us down! I've had a breakfast bap there before and remember it being delicious, but slightly expensive. But today, we

Book review - Big Little Lies (and other books) - Liane Moriarty

"Oh, she 's very popular this summer," a Waterstones assistant tells me as I go into try to buy this for my friend's birthday. I end up choosing Nine Perfect Strangers for her instead, which I've also read, along with Three Wishes. I am a ex-booker, now a Kindler. (I have long since abandoned my crowd-led exclamations of "Oh it's just not the same as holding a book in your hands" etc. In fact, I've come to realise that I don't want to store another book in the house, or pack it off to the charity shop/save for the next car boot sale - I just want to READ the bloody thing. And my latest infliction, an arthritic thumb, sometimes makes holding books very painful, believe it or not. And I do buy the books that are important to me - like the latest Harry Hole or Rebus books. OK why did I need to justify all of that?)  One of my things with being a Kindler is that I just find another book from the same author, purchase, rinse and repeat. I ende

Ms Humdrum recommends... The B-52s

The B-52s - Hurry up and bring your jukebox money! London Apollo, Sunday 30 June 2019 It's been a week since we saw them and my opinion is still the same - one of the best live shows I've ever seen. Here's why. I first like to explain what sort of a fan I am. Mr Humdrum is more the fan that I am, although I'm quite familiar with most of their albums. I knew (and loved) Rock Lobster and Planet Claire from my local nightclub in the 80s and much preferred the earlier stuff to the poppier Love Shack/Roam singles. Off we popped last Sunday to the Hammersmith Apollo, via the Rik Mayall Bottom bench. What a venue (the Apollo not the bench!) - art deco, built in 1932 and currently in a gorgeous shade of green. A stunning bar leads into the (last week seated) venue. Late tickets equal restricted view, but we found a spot between two pillars and I managed to see quite a bit more than I usually can at gigs, being of slightly smaller stature than the majority of the audien

New plan - eating earlier?

Reader, it's been six weeks since I last blogged about my Slimming World journey. I had great plans for the Summer 1 term - I was going to get ON IT and get down to that stone. But, no. Oh well, onwards and ... sort of downwards. I am slowly getting there. I have bought another 12 week countdown which ends when I go on holiday to Cornwall in the summer. I ought to get to 1.5 stones at least by then. That's my aim.  Here's a pic of my dad's famous leek and potato soup and it is delicious. The only thing with soup is that you need to eat it with bread! I don't like not using my HEB for breakfast, so I can't switch around the bread then, but I suppose I could eat an omelette or bacon and eggs for breakfast!  I have just spotted another recipe for spicy chicken and veg soup, and I have decided to make it on a football day. If it's on a weigh-in day, I could also sneak in some no-knead bread that I fancy making. Watch this space ... My (small) health con

Cold water immersion, one year on

A year ago, some bright spark decided we should dip in the sea for fun. I blogged about it here . A year on, what have we learned? This is what we'd learned three weeks in - let's update! We have learned that you need to boil the kettle before setting off to swim. Yes, that's a habit now. We have two cups of tea (she a lemon and honey tea, me a Dorset). You need a hat afterwards, Ms Humdrum needs to remember!   I haven't worn a hat for a few weeks, but yes it is important to keep warm. Even when you think the sun is out. We also have rugs, courtesy of my mum, to keep our legs warm. "Old lady slipper boots" are excellent too. Whatever the weather.  You need gloves as it's FREEZING and your hands hurt like HELL. Luckily, my friend bought us gloves and we have worn them ever since, except in high season. No more pain. You also need to remember, from yesterday's swim, not to gossip too much on the way and have to make a triangular reroute on the wa

Tub Club and school hols don't mix

Hmm. I took a week or so out of the plan when we had to visit family. It was such a difficult time that I wasn't really bothered. But, and this is the big but, I didn't get back on plan when I came home. I continued eating wildly for another week. I then found I'd put on 6lbs in three weeks aarrggg. I've since lost half that, but because I'm on Easter hols and off school, being out of routine has meant I've put that back on (I think). I just can't focus when I'm not in my normal weekend. Today, I've tried to start off well - poached egg and avocado. I'm liking my group more and more because there are some real people there, people like me, people who exercise (more than me obviously!) but don't want to eat the crap that SW puts out there (with Quark, Frylite etc). I actually heard someone in group suggesting another member eat avocado as a good way to use up syns (that person wasn't losing weight at all despite being very strict). I

Mrs Humdrum recommends Dice, the board game lounge

Mr Humdrum said he couldn't see how it could work. He sees now.  Saturday afternoon. How to resuscitate your 13 year old son from asphyxiation from XBox? Tell him to get ready to meet up with some of our friends for a games afternoon? Hmm let's see. Board games. Now don't get me wrong, we play board games. We love a spot of Would I Lie To You  and Killer Ludo is always a favourite with his grandparents (his grandad cheats and usually wins). But to meet up with friends, who have a teenage daughter, yes a GIRL, to play boardgames in a cafe on a Saturday afternoon, well that's just not cricket.   I can report that the said teenage boy smiled and, yes, laughed within ten minutes of arriving. We had booked ahead and were taken to our table, introduced to our (what do I call him - not just a waiter, gamer? Instructor?) "helper" who said he could not only take orders for food and drinks, but also recommend any of the 500 games that are available there. We saw

Ms Humdrum recommends Let's Paint Pompey

Don't mention the mountains! After a friend announced that she "just wanted to do stuff", the usually irritating Facebook algorithms threw up a Let's Paint Pompey advert and I signed up immediately at the Wine Vaults.  Having just celebrated its first anniversary, Let's Paint Pompey is a fun, relaxing painting evening set in various pubs for a reasonable fee, where you need neither experience nor materials, and you get to bring home your creation and, hopefully, a budding new skill.  We pitched up slightly early as my friend wanted to grab a bite to eat first. I drove, so there was no partaking of alcohol that night. Looking around at the other painters, you couldn't specify a particular "type", but we fitted in. Some had been before, and some were newbs like we were. I admit I was nervous. I'd never done anything like this, well not since my CSE art in 1987! I love to think I'm creative and I do have a sketch pad, but I don't

My month - March 2019

I'm a little late with this one this month. We've been all over the place metaphorically speaking, well and physically as well. My mother in law passed away and we all had quite a difficult month or so, what with nipping down to visit plus feeling guilty that we were all up here. Anyway there were some nice moments. Master Humdrum and I stayed in a local hotel and spent two nights together on our own. We managed to have fun despite it being a really sad time. We watched a whole (rather inappropriate but what the heck) series on Netflix, plus reviewed the whole range of fast food eateries in the area. It was, in fact, quality time spent together which we rarely get these days. And I know his grandma would've liked that very much. We Humdrums love our live music. We've decided, as it's our 25th year together, to attend 25 music gigs. This is number 5 so far. (For our own benefit as much as yours: 1 Shiiine Weekend, 2 Don Letts DJ set, 3 Fantastic Fug Ban

Ms Humdrum reviews: Dub Pistols, Porstmouth 28.3.19

I have to start every review by saying what sort of fan I am of the band's music. Well, I'm not actually. This is not my kind of music really, but I've gone with Mr Humdrum. I missed Dub Pistols when they played Victorious in August 2018 - after a heatwave, they played in the worst rain we'd ever seen in this city. It was not due to the rain that I missed them; rather I was escorting my moaning son home in a taxi before returning to catch The Bluetones. The energy on stage is apparent from the start. You know how most bands, and audiences come to that, reserve most of their effort for playing/singing/dancing to their last track or two? This was full on from the word go. I was mostly impressed with watching the band play live. I honestly never thought that this sort of music (rap/dub/ska/ragga/jungle?) was played live. Did I think it was just sampled or did I never think about it? Who knows. But watching their drummer, guitarists and horn player was awesome (I do l

More SW updates

Since half-term in February, I've sort of been on track. We are currently on week 3 of the term. I did put on a teensy weensy bit of weight after all my cake-munching, but I then worked my a** off the next week to lose it plus a tiny bit more. But then I went away with my bestie. We had a long awaited, and much needed, spa night. Lunch was a buffet; we went with salad, but with a few extra bits. Plus two puddings. Two SMALL puddings mind you. Dinner that night was three courses, yes another pudding, plus a bottle of prosecco each. We aren't called the Prosecco Pigs for nothing.  Upon my return, I have tried to keep to plan. I didn't go all SP, mostly due to being too tired to organise myself. I've had another issue with my throat and without wanting to go into detail, I've come off some tablets, which mean that some foods may trigger unpleasant results, so I've been aware of that too. It didn't stop me from scoffing a chicken sandwich when I came home from

My month - February 2019

Half-term holidays have begun to mean the boy lurking around in his room during the winter months, and out and about with his mates in the summer ones. Not with me. However this time, he spent time four days in a row (yes FOUR). Here he is at the beach hut, with his mate. He's about to break a chair of mine and spend the rest of the afternoon destroying it fully. Happy days.  This cake signifies all of the cake I had at half term. I certainly made the most of all of the catch-ups with my friends. With cake. And gossip.  This is Killer Ludo. My dad is the world's meanest Ludo player and he cheats to win. He usually does win to be honest. But he's not honest. The boy loves playing with him, trying to be the alpha male and not let him win. Over the years, the boy has become less likely to get upset when his dear mother gets him out. He's even trying to cheat now like is grandad, but not as successfully. We catch him! Another day spent with the boy a