Narrowboats rock!

3 12 2009

With this year’s flakey economy, and a growing alternative lifestyle movement, the appeal of boat-living seems to be on the increase.

I moved aboard over 3 years ago, at a time when i wanted more independence but within the realms of affordability. The romantic notion of heading off into the sunset, a beer in hand and a Jack Russell at the helm were also mixed up in my vision of a boating future.

This year i’ve been along the Thames, up the River Lee, down the Grand Union and across the Regent’s Canal. I’ve learnt about oil filters, engine mounts and fuel pumps. I’ve got stuck in the mud, driven over my barge pole and waded the canal in ill-fitting Wellingtons.

And with every experience and story – i’ve grown to love it even more (although there are some things i’ll just never learn to love)…

Read the rest of this entry »


(Slipping) Evening Standards

13 07 2009

renaissancechambara flickr

I think it’s a sad time we’re living in when something – once the symbol of London pride and the mark of a bowler-hatted gentleman – is visibly crumbling before us.

I’ve seen them selling the paper for 10p at Paddington Station, i’ve seen them bribe us to purchase with a free Oyster Card or ruck-sack, i even picked up a free copy when it was relaunched – But this evening it was being handed out gratis because it just hadn’t been sold. The vendor, stood at his umbrellaed metal box, distributed freely from a 3ft pile of unwanted Standards. Read the rest of this entry »

Pepsi Raw

23 06 2009

For someone who likes to simultaneously keep an ear to the ground and an eye on the ball – it’s sometimes possible to miss a few things (and get a stiff neck).

Yesterday is the first time i’d ever heard of Pepsi Raw.

4 brown bottles hanging on a wall

4 brown bottles hanging on a wall

I was ordering a drink at Brown’s on West India Quay and saw the Pepsi Raw logo and description printed in the menu –

pepsi raw menu browns

“made from lightly sparkling water and ingredients from natural sources, to create a delicious and distinctive tasting, premium cola “

I was intrigued (but not quite enough to steer me away from my already chosen ‘happy hour’ cocktail – which i drank happily for an hour, but was then charged at non-happy hour prices, making me distinctly unhappy…)


So – having not come across Pepsi Raw since its release LAST YEAR, imagine how bizarre it was when an hour later in the Tesco Metro on Commercial Road, i spy cans of the stuff in the fridge! (And so i bought one – and it tasted nice – not amazing – but still nice)

Anyways – the point is – I think this is quite a savvy move on the part of Pepsico.

In the alcoholic drink’s trade you have ‘premium’ spirits and fine wines. Even with water (the most basic of all drinks) you have luxury brands but i’ve never really seen a premium fizzy drink – possibly because the very image of fizzy drinks is artificial colours, plastic bottles and kids.

With Raw however, it seems things may be changing.  Pepsi are actively tapping into the consumer desire for healthy, real ingredients and also in this time of the credit crunch, it’s all about the little luxuries – the ones we can afford but still feel decadent whilst doing so.

What does the word Raw connote to me?

  • Raw = Fresh vegetables, macrobiotic diets and Gwyneth Paltrow
  • Raw = Raw cane sugar (which i think is actually one of the ingredients replacing corn syrup)
  • Raw = New, unmoulded talent
  • Raw = Meat (I doubt what Pepsi were hoping for but its strong in my mind)

Bruno Gruwez, Pepsi’s Marketing Director was quoted in a Metro article as saying –

“By launching Pepsi Raw in bars and clubs, we hope to engage with customers in a new way and are confident that they will enjoy its sophisticated cola taste.”

If i’m anything to go by, i think that marketing strategy works….

And so i’m curious –

Give me some feedback on the poll and feel free to comment on what ‘RAW’ means to you…

Still my favourite kinda raw

My favourite kinda raw


19 05 2009

So the other day a lovely person from Streetcar called me to say –

“Hey, hope you’re enjoying our service, can we give you £10 worth of driving?”
“Thanks” i say, “I’ll take you up on that.”
And so this morning i did…

streetcar logo

I think Streetcar is totally brilliant! It makes something usually so hassleful – ie hiring a car – into something totally seamless.
Joining is a breeze. You don’t need to send bits of paper, prove where you live or sign on the dotted line.

  • You just call them up
  • Talk to a human being
  • Have a 3-way conversation with the DVLA
  • Tell them your bank details (Streetcar, not the DVLA)
  • Wait for your smartcard key to be delivered

If you want to drive one of the cars before that – it’s not a problem. You just book your car (either online or over the phone), turn up and then call them so they can unlock it remotely. Once inside – open the glove box and there’s your key!

The VW Golfs are £5.95 an hour and you can also hire a Streetvan for £8.95 an hour.
They do special deals on the cars – recently you could get one from Monday-Friday for £99.

Extra info –

  • You don’t pay for petrol (after 30 miles per day you are charged 23p per mile)
  • If you need to fill up you pay with a special card they send you
  • If you drive through the C-Charge zone they just add it onto your bill

The best bits –

  • You can plug your MP3 player into the stereo
  • The car has its own telephone number so people can get in touch with you whilst you’re out driving!!
  • Streetcar will reimburse you up to £7.50 if you take the car to be cleaned AND give you an hours free driving!
  • AND when i called them this afternoon a friend of mine actually answered the phone! You can’t get much better service than that…
    Exactly what i think!  I wanna be in their advert...

    Exactly what i think! I wanna be in their advert...




Hama Beads

12 05 2009

andyhay - Flickr

With the economy in freefall and the future looking bleak – it’s no surprise that people are going back to a time of simpler pleasures.

Hama Beads are small plastic beads that you arrange into a particular design.  Once happy with said design – you then run a hot iron over them which sticks the beads together.  After that you then have your plastic design which you can wear round your neck, on a keychain – wherever.  In itself it doesn’t sound that exciting – but people are getting really excited by these plastic, pixel-thingys. Have a look at some great Hama Bead designs that are available to buy.
Read the rest of this entry »

A++ Student Accommodation

9 05 2009
When i was a student, i had to live in Catford for 6 months.  Our house was a three storey monstrosity with foam wallpaper, dead mice and a man living in the dining room.

This morning (in the Metro) i saw that students nowadays get a much better deal when it comes to accommodation.  With more (older) people deciding to retrain, it seems that student housing has had to up its game.

It's got a window and everything!

It's got a window and everything!

This is one of the bespoke rooms offered by Hive Residencies.  They are opening their doors later this year in Hoxton and Bethnal Green, with plans for Shoreditch, Southbank and Tower Hill over the next few years.

As well as built in appliances, flatscreens and on-trend furnishings, rent also includes landscaped gardens, utility bills, broadband AND a free folding bike!

Rents start at £210 per week – which does sound a bit steep if you’re a student – but it does mean zone 1 living and guaranteed parties!

<HºtИât – consulting the HotCourses guide for London as she types>





Choose What You Read

8 05 2009

Earlier this week, outside Liverpool Street, 2 girls and 1 guy were proffering free reading material for the passing commuters.

Granted – nothing new in that – not exactly a HotSpot when you consider how many “free paper” calls you deflect each afternoon on the way to the tube.  But these guys weren’t giving out the London Lite – they were offering books!

Choose What You Read - Liverpool Street

Choose What You Read - Liverpool Street

Proper books – with pages and everything!  Free!  A little present to read on your way home – and when you’re finished – to return to them to be read by someone else on their journey homeward! 

CWYR is the – “reaction to the tonnes of free newspapers dished out and thrown away every day.”

With their books stacked high in wheelie bags, these culture monkeys rock up to a London station, lay out the goods and wait for passers-by to pick one up.  

It’s a traveling library with no late fees, losable membership cards or dusty librarians!  
Admittedly there’s a smaller selection of books – but with a drop-off box at the Curzon Soho and more planned for the future – i can see CWYR really taking off – especially as there’s a growing band of Londoners beginning to rally against the freepapers thrust upon them each day.

If you don’t wish to partake in the freepaper celeb-fest and shoulder the burden of recycling their waste – Choose What You Read.

They’ve currently set-up libraries at Liverpool Street, Westminster, Waterloo, Euston and Paddington.



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