Breast Cancer Care – Pink Ribbonwalk

If you follow me on one of the many social media platforms, you’ll know by now that last I have had my final Herceptin injection and that all of my hospital visits have now come to an end. If you haven’t heard the news, then clearly you need to up your social media game. Anyway, hurrah for final injections!

You don’t know how relieved I am that I can finally move on and never have to hang out in hospital waiting rooms again. If I’m honest, I feel like  a bit of an anomaly – It seems that a lot of the blogs and comments that I read  from other younger Cancer patients, seem to portray a struggle to move on after treatment, but (oddly?) I feel completely healthy – It’s almost as though it never happened.  I’m sure there must be other people like me. Please tell me there are. I really wouldn’t want anyone to find it a struggle to move on.

The way I see it is that if we worry about cancer coming back, then it has won. If I think about it daily, then it has won again. It’s just not going to happen. I’m going to live my life, and if it does come back, then I’ll win it all over again. There is plenty for me to be getting on with and cancer isn’t one of them.

Speaking of getting on with things… I recently did the unthinkable and walked ten miles for Breast Cancer Care. I know ten miles may not seem like a long way to a lot of people, but this is coming from a bit of a lazy slug, who struggles to keep active because I’m drawn to sitting in front of my laptop and working. Things are slowly changing, and on a whim a while back I signed both myself and Alex up to do the Pink Ribbonwalk. He loved it… in the end!

Anyway, thanks to family and friends, I managed to raise £384.77 and even though we were a little sore from trying to complete it as quickly as possible, we came away happy that we’d done it. I’m sure it took us a little longer than necessary because of all the pictures we were taking in the first part of the walk, but what kind of blogger would I be if I didn’t do that, eh? ;)

Pink Ribbon Walk

London Tower Bridge London

Alex & Zoe

City Hall

The show must go on

Until next time x

 

Grey Goose Taste By Appointment

Last Monday I was lucky enough to win a fabulous treat via the Grey Goose vodka Twitter page. I simply had to post a message saying who I’d like to take out with me that night and I was picked to be the lucky winner of a Taste By Appointment event at Rhodes Twenty Four.

I’ll be honest, I was considering not actually going as I was pretty tired, but Alex persuaded me to get myself dressed for the night and off we went, without much of an idea of what I had actually won!

We arrived at Rhodes Twenty Four at 6.30pm, seated ourselves in a spot with spectacular views over London and were handed a delicious Grey Goose Le Fizz – A cocktail that was made up of Grey Goose vodka, elderflower and Perrier water. Now, you all know I’m a gin drinker, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from Grey Goose Vodka, as I’ve only ever bought it for DJs that I’ve booked in the past. DJ riders eh?! I was genuinely surprised by how much nicer it is than Smirnoff, which I used to consume by the truck load before I became a much more civilised drinker!

While we waited for all the guests to arrive, we were offered an abundance of superb canapes… A few cocktails down and we were seriously getting into the swing of the Grey Goose taste, but it was time to be escorted into the private dining area, where our host Joe McCanta chatted to us all and gave us a very informative introduction to taste. Meanwhile we were still being plied with more cocktails –  Now, that’s my idea of a good chat!

Next up our tastebuds were to be challenged by a serious of taste experiments, where we learnt how to identify our  own personal taste. We each had a tray in front of us, as well as a taste profile card and worked our way through the taste tests covering bitter, salt, sweet, sour and umami (savoury) flavours.

 

 

Time for more taste testing… Don’t let the look deceive you though; these flavours were not what they seemed!

During the night, Rhodes Twenty Four Head Chef, Andrew Barkham, discussed his own personal taste preferences with us and we had the chance to ask him questions as well as taste a cocktail that he had specifically created alongside Jo, our host. Unfortunately this was one cocktail that my taste buds did not approve of, and I was left red faced with a burning mouth. The cocktail was pretty hot (due to the chilli) and I appeared to be the only one unable to consume it. Apparently the layers of flavour in the drink took you on a taste journey, but my mouth wasn’t having a barr of it!

Once all the testing was over, we were left to our own devices and given the chance to mix up our own cocktails (with a little help) based on what we had learnt about our personal tastes.  Over the last hour, we were whisked off to a bar in pairs, where Joe made us our own bespoke cocktails. Very merry by this point, we were relieved to be offered even more delicious canapes.

What a fabulous night we had! On top of all the food and drink we also met a lovely couple who were just fantastic to chat to. They had traveled to London for the evening and were delightful company. An inspiring couple that made me more clear of what I want from life in the future.

Now, that’s what I call a successful evening!

The Grey Goose Taste By Appointment Events will set you back £75. I certainly think it’s worth the money if you are thinking of treating someone, but if I’m honest, I wouldn’t have initially thought about doing it before winning the prize. £75 for a Monday night out is a bit steep, especially as it appears to have been £15 last year. (Id’ say we consumed about £50 worth of drinks). We however loved it and if you are looking to impress, then this is certainly the one. Our location unquestionably won us over…

Hurrah! I made it … Dinner By Heston Review

…Well almost. It’s not the best looking blog (yet), but that is going to take me time and time is one thing I haven’t had for a while. Maybe the upcoming long weekend will give me a few days to work this thing out. Let’s see.

I also don’t have a great camera and all the blogs I seem to be reading at the moment have great pictures. There will be a bit of beg, steal and borrow involved for a while, but I’ll get there in the end and you will just have to put up with me!

DINNER BY HESTON:

So, it’s old news (great start to a fresh blog), but a few weekends ago our long-awaited booking at Dinner By Heston  finally came into play. I booked our table way back sometime at the beginning of this year, and it was more than well worth the wait. Getting dressed for the occasion wasn’t easy. I mean… What does one wear to dinner in Knightsbridge? As usual I settled for one of the three same outfits I always wear. So, yes. Sort of easy then. But also a bit depressing.

Our booking was for 9.45pm and by this time we were obviously starving. I did try to plan not to be too hungry as I’m not rich enough, or silly enough, to allow Alex to walk in to any food place other than somewhere en par with Pizza Express (with a voucher) and order on an empty stomach! Once we found our way into the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, we were taken to a table tucked away by the window with a view, albeit a dark one, of Hyde Park and handed the wine menu. Always a terrific start in my books.

The wine menu was immense and way out of our price range. We had to skim a few pages before we hit a bottle that was around £20. It was pleasant enough but obviously not what everyone else was drinking. Scanning the tables it seemed most people had glasses of champagne, bottles galore and then some. Jealous, me?…never! We were quite obviously the poorest people there that night, but we were extremely lucky to have been there at all. The atmosphere and decor of the restaurant was lovely – High ceilings, Jelly mould shaped lamp shades and just the right level of noise to make it enjoyable and relaxing.

The FOOD:

I already knew I was going to have the meat fruit before we arrived. I’m a sucker for anything  liver that spreads on bread as I’m meant to be on a wheat free diet and I obviously don’t like to follow the rules. It was an amazing choice, the smoothest chicken liver parfait with a coating of Mandarin Jelly and plenty big enough to nearly half it with Alex. Lucky him! Alex opted for the Hay Smoked Mackerel which was served with a Lemon Salad and Gentleman’s Relish. He loved it. He loves expensive food as do I. He loves to be thought of as a gentleman even more so. At some point the waitress asked him if he’d like more bread and this is something he will never again agree to after the bill came in at £9 – I mean who pays £9 for 4 slices of bread! …Us obviously.

The mains all looked fabulous but after MUCH deliberation I opted for the Black Foot Pork Chop  with Pointy Cabbage and Robert Sauce. It was delicious but not as amazing as the starter. Alex went for the Powdered Duck with Smoked Fennel and Potato Puree – Quite a rich dish that had been slow cooked for 9 hours.

I had to order my Tipsy Cake at the start of our meal as we were informed it took a while to cook. THE most amazing pudding I’ve ever eaten which consisted of spit roast pineapple and brioche (soaked in a cognac infused custard) cooked in a tiny cocotte. No wonder this is the restaurants signature dish. I’ve recently read that the giant metal clock gears that turn the pineapple spit were designed by a watchmaker friend of Heston’s. Nice little fact there for you.
Alex had the Brown Bread Ice Cream which also delivered the wow factor.

Just when we thought we could eat no more ever again along came a final treat of a white Chocolate and Earl Grey Ganache with a caraway biscuit.  Pure Heaven!

I for one will most definitely return to eat here again. The service was impeccable and one thing I liked about the place was that the waiters seemed to know we were one of their lower budget visitors and treated us just as well. We were quite careful about what we ordered (apart from the little bread faux pas) and ended up paying around £75 per head (inc service) which I thought was fantastic given that the size of the dishes were pretty hefty and that we had nearly a good 3 hours in a wonderful setting. Without the wine and extras you could do this on a minimum of £42… Which is not bad going for the quality.

Starters were priced from £12.50 – 16.00. Mains at £20.00 – 32.00. Desserts were a pretty reasonable £8.00 – 10.00.
I’d advise you book your spot now – You will have time to save as they are taking bookings a few months in advance.

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal at the Mandarin Oriental
66 Knightsbridge,
London
SW1X 7LA
020 7235 2000