Thursday, 17 March 2011

Bags bags bags: Mimi Berry

When it comes to bags I have said before and I will say again that I do not like bling, no sir, no thank- you. I like classic with a twist, a look that says I was made with love and skill by an actual person.

When it comes to bags I therefore like Mimi Berry's handbags very much indeed. Mimi's bags can be found in her (as nice as on the inside as it is on the outside) perfect, Cheshire Street shop. I think for very stylish, well made, real leather, not mass produced, British designed bags they are hard to better for the prices they are. Of course they are still not inexpensive because they are leather and not mass produced but they are far, far cheaper than many designer bags that I would never want.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Interactive dinner at Inamo

I'd read lots about Inamo, the fusion restaurant with an interactive ordering system. I thought it sounded cool but perhaps a bit gimmicky and I'd never managed to get there.

Last night I went to their second branch on Lower Regent Street (the original being on Wardour Street). As soon as I walked in I realised I'd be mistaken not to come here straight away. The interactive system is genius- you can order your drinks, your food, call the waiter, check the bill and, perhaps most importantly, play battleships (other games are available). Sure the need to constantly change your table display or re check the menu for the fifteenth time might slightly affect the quality of the conversation but our party was a mix of old friends and new faces and the entertainment was a welcome talking point (and frankly if you were going on a date and weren't sure how it would go this place would be brilliant).

The food is very good too- I had seafood gyoza which was delicious and pork with spicy chocolate sauce, I'm still not sure about the whole chocolate with savoury things trend but the pork was very gingery and nice- as were the salmon, cinnamon chicken, seabass and duck that fellow diners had (and there were veggie options too- although really this is a Pescatarians paradise).

So in short Inamo has good, healthy food and is lots of fun.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Criticism on a sunny day

The sun woke me up this morning- it’s been months since that happened and not to sound like a total hippy it’s a simple but happy little present from nature. It makes you smile inside and out I think- and I'm sure my toes smiled as they stretched and thought about wearing sandals soon.

So I’m sorry to talk about criticism but sometimes we must be critical- and I find it very hard. On a face to face basis or in a business environment I can appraise someone well and mention problems in a productive way but I find it much more difficult to write reviews of a play, music or a new perfume for example. I believe in finding the good but sometimes when something is either fantastically mediocre or just not very good that does have to be said and I struggle to do that well.

Actually that isn’t true, I don’t struggle, I’m just afraid to- but I'm more afriad of not being honest. I don’t want to trample on people’s efforts, I want to find the good in what they do and if there isn’t good to find move on. For the most that means that I only write about what I love but that can make for writing that starts to sound too similar and I can bore myself with the same superlatives.

So what to do- how do other people cope with the problem of having to say this is not for me?

Friday, 4 March 2011

Tumbling roses

I've copied Liberty London Girl's excellent idea of having a Tumblr for excess photos because I always have nice pictures I can't seem to find a way of sharing with my writing.

If you'd like to have a look please go to the A Rose Beyond The Thames Tumblr- I can promise interesting staircases and dough balls in funny shapes, what's not to like?

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

The ghosts of recent past lives

I took my old train journey to my former home last night.

Making a trip you used to make everyday as a tourist is like walking in a life you once had. Where this trip had been my little kingdom I now felt like a guest in other people's commutes and lives. The ghosts of that life were friendly of course, they even felt famliar, but I didn't belong in their world anymore.

It's the little things that are different when you don't belong to a place in the daily sense. Trains hurtling West tend to contain upmarket shopping bags with ready meals as expensive as eating in some pubs, they contain more free papers, the constant burble of i pods is slightly less than on a journey East and the chatter about train delays and meal times is greater. The clothes are more sensible and the people keener to fit in than stand out. The night time you ride through is greener, darker and quieter and when you exit the train you walk next to trees and woods with earth straying onto the pavement under your feet.

Your feet know every step of the journey but today they notice making the journey and today it's interesting. Before it was always just a chore, a means to a homecoming, now you are going somewhere to be hosted and entertained. Today this isn't really your place but it recognises you and smiles fondly as you come and go- and you smile back and say thanks for the good times, I'm sorry if I didn't always love you as much as I should have.

Then you go to your new home and love that too, as much- taking the time to notice it more.