It’s, once again, the wonderful and challenging NaNoWriMo – that’s National Novel Writing Month – during which time one tries to write 50,000 words in 30 days.  The premise is that, without writing something down, you’ll never write anything down. So it’s better to have 50,000 words of relative crap that you can edit into a decent sounding story than no words and a good idea. Fair point.

What this does mean, however, is that while I’m attempting to do NaNoWriMo, my blogging will suffer even more than it already has. I’ll do my best to get some good posts queued up for the month and add in some backlogged stuff I’m still hoping to write up, but if I’m not around, it’s not because I’m not writing!

If you want to track my progress, you can check out my NaNoWriMo profile page.


Last week I had the opportunity to see an absolutely breathtaking performance at a tiny fringe theatre in South London.  I wrote a review of the show for Spoonfed:

“Did you think poetry was harmless?” Lord Byron asks rhetorically to his unfortunate biographer, made the unwilling participant of the games of the literatti he has been charged to record. Yet Byron’s question is directed just as much at the audience of the White Bear Theatre who are also held captive despite being much more willing to take part than the tussled-up journalist. It’s also a thinly veiled warning that the idyllic theatrical depictions of some of the most famous literary minds of the Romantic movement may soon be taking a more serious turn.

Read the rest here: Bloody Poetry at the White Bear Theatre


Red Red Wine

This weekend, myself and a friend of mine from my trip to Greece trekked to North London for The Wine Show at the Business Design Centre (which you may or may not remember was also the location of last year’s Beer Show). Despite a rather stunning lack of wine knowledge, I managed to fully immerse myself in a wine-tastic afternoon and learned quite a bit about the different styles available.

The format of these shows is a bit like a car boot sale crossed with a tasting session.  Upon arrival, James and I were given wine glasses with which to sample the wares of the various wine vendors who had sent in their stocks from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Portugal, Spain, France and, of course, California (I was quite pleased with myself for recognising the Kendall Jackson brand as a California wine). James was much more wine savvy than I was, but even his knowledge was put to the test by the range of Merlots, Shiraz, Roses, Pinot Noirs, Nobels and more available to sample.

We were particularly impressed by the Wine Tasting Case or, as it was much less elegantly called – box of wine in a tube. Although the idea of wine in a tube seemed more appropriate for a college test tube/mad science themed party, in fact the idea of a series of fine wines for tasting, a guide book for how to best enjoy the samples and a taste of the most expensive wine in the set won us over pretty quickly.

We were also fans of the variety of Nobel wines, created from grapes affected by nobel rot.  The saccharine dessert wine tasted more like sugar water than alcohol but was quite a nice alternative to the heavy reds and crisp whites and roses.

We even found a couple of stalls showcasing their non-wine products. Buffalo Trace distillery from Kentucky gave us a taste test of their whiskeys.  The whiskey was lovely but not nearly as nice as their homemade whiskey barbecue sauce which, after demanding a sample of that as well, we decided would be delicious on just about anything edible. Although I was content with the whiskey and sauce, James noticed some rather poisonous looking bottles of Absinth and, after being provided with a sample of that as well, just barely had the self restraint to keep from buying one of the 40 quid bottles.

We had a fantastic time at The Wine Show and although I came in knowing very little about wine, I found myself picking up the lingo fast enough. Now, who’s up for a glass of earthy, nutty, full-bodied, oak-aged red?


Footie Footie Footie

Before I break my record for longest amount of time ever without updating my blog, and at the same time get massively behind in all of the amazing things that have been happening here in London and at The Top Floor Flat, I’ll try to get caught up with an event from last Monday.

In what was perhaps the second-most quintessentially British evening of my stay in London to date (following last year’s last night of the BBC Proms), last Monday Alex took me to see the Fulham Football Club’s premier league match against northerner team Hull.

Although I would call myself a football fan, I can’t say I had done much about following the sport.  But I knew enough to support Fulham (my local team) and had walked or jogged past their stadium a couple of times so I was quite excited to see the inside of the grounds and support my team.  Although they haven’t been performing particularly well this season, they promised to be fairly evenly matched against Hull.

The stadium is a fantastic old pitch right alongside the river.  The south side of the grounds opens out onto a walkway along the Thames which must be fantastic in the summer and spring, especially for afternoon games. Although it was already dark by the time we arrived, and getting a bit chilly, the crowd was well up for it with both Fulham and Hull supporters turning out in force – especially considering it was a Monday night.

It ended up being a fantastic match, with Fulham taking the lead right at the end of the first half and scoring a second halfway through the second half to beat Hull 2-0.  I was so excited to have the opportunity to see a match and really look forward to going again soon.

A fun bit of sports trivia that I happened to discover the same day – Fulham Football Club and the Boston Red Sox will be pairing up to do some cross promotional marketing. I knew I had picked the right footie club to support ;-).


Another insanely hectic week – astute readers will note the complete lack of promised editorial about London Restaurant Week.  I’ll see what I can do this weekend but will be slightly distracted in a hunt for a Halloween costume – I’m aiming to go with homemade Halloween costumes this year and my friend and I are off to trowel vintage shops.  Hopefully a lot of pictures will follow that excursion!  In the meantime, take a look at Carey Jones’ slideshow from London food markets on SeriousEats.com and keep an eye out for her decidedly more professional reviews.

In the meantime, however, the Spoonfed office received a surprise this week in the form of some incredible urban art to jazz up our workspace.  In a secret project that lasted from seven in the evening until three in the morning, the office was transformed by graffiti artist Inkfetish.  Take a look at the final outcome:

As my desk is smack-dab in the middle of the mural I’m hoping a bit of the cool will rub off on me over the next few weeks.  In the meantime, it’s pretty easy to agree that Spoonfed has become pretty much the coolest place to work in London.

As if there were ever any doubt ;-).