Haidilao Hotpot 海底撈火鍋- London, Piccadilly Circus (@Trocadero)

Made it to my 1000th Post!! 👏👏👏 Well done to me!

However I’m beginning to really dislike WordPress’s Block Editor, because I can’t seem to get the pictures to look the right size or resizing seems to be difficult and trying to centre is just a nightmare! It’s an annoyance for a long-term blogger who used to be able to control how a blog post should look like rather than the blogging site making you write a blog post in a certain way… Such an annoyance! Grrr.

(A few moments later after fiddling so much…)

But now after a few trial and errors, things seem to have worked out, I hope! (This was probably why I stopped blogging for a bit, as the picture/image issue was my major problem – how to edit them!). 🤓

Mr Sensible said he was disappointed of me and Miss Money, because we didn’t introduce him to Chinese hotpot. 🤣🤣🤣 I actually thought hotpot was already a famous method of cooking/eating in the cooking. I guess not! Shame on this geek for making assumptions. So it was decided we go and try out a popular hotpot place amongst the current Eastern Asians living in London – Haidilao 海底捞 (Canto: hoi dei l海底撈火鍋海底撈火鍋

Haidilao is popular and infamous for their polite service. It was defo polite service! I guess better than some other Chinese restaurants I’ve been to. Got complimentary dishes of strips of tofu skin and spicy peanuts.

At Haidilao you get to choose more than one soup base for your food to boil in (up to four soups I think). So the ones we chose were the ones on discount – Mala (麻辣) – a very spicy soup that burns your mouth for a short of period of time compared to other spices, and the other was Tomato – a milder flavour.

Miss Money and I decided on getting ourselves a bubble tea each, whilst Mr Games and Mr Sensible went for fizzy drinks. I don’t think my Thai bubble tea was sweet enough. Oh well.

There is also an area where you can create your own sauces to dip your food in after boiling – see my two little plates next to the drinks?

Haidilao basically asks you to order your ingredients using an iPad. So all the ingredients you order are raw.

Once the soups start boiling, start putting the food in, boil it for up 5 to 10 minutes, then scoop, dip in your sauces and eat. And that’s we did all night! Well, for a couple of hours… You can keep ordering more food using the iPad if you feel you haven’t had enough.

Mr Games wasn’t impressed with having to constantly cook, wait and then eat. Mr Sensible seemed to enjoy it – I think he would go and eat this again. And Miss Money and I were just used to eating this way. LOL!

After eating and leaving the restaurant did I realise that they really did offer a free manicure! Wow!! That’s called SERVICE!!!

Did you know that you can buy the soup bases for hot pot in a Chinese supermarket? MummyGeek and I spotted the Haidilao brand in New Long Moon Supermarket in China Town!! You can easily make your own hotpot at home. ^_^

Total came to £102.46, that’s with drinks, some other extra food not pictured about (some fish and hand-pulled noodles – which are pulled right in front of your table!).

My geeky rating: 4.7 / 5 (it didn’t impress Mr Games so much, so knocked off a 0.3 points)

Address: Unit 4 Trocadero Centre, 5 Piccadilly Circus, London W1D 7DH

Tel: 020 8150 0616

Website: https://www.haidilao.com/en/index/index.html

OutFry Vauxhall – Takeaway Korean Fried Chicken

I was really craving Korean fried chicken, but I just didn’t want to always go to Cheemc everytime I craved it, so I ordered from another place on UberEats. I ordered from OutFry Vauxhall.

I ordered a couple of items on the menu. Sweet potato fries and some boneless chicken strips. They arrived on the lukewarm side which was one disappointment… The chicken strips tasted bland and even with the spicy mayo, it just didn’t give me a good vibe. The sweet potato fries was just lukewarm, and I just didn’t enjoy eating them.

Overall, it was a disappointing takeaway. Maybe the cardboard packaging just doesn’t work for food travelling a slightly longer distance. Oh well!

My geeky rating: 3.5/5

Website: https://outfry.com/en/

Eastbourne Summer Break

Not much to blog about these days… so now I’m going back to the summer time. Finally got time to finish up a few more posts before the end of the year. Might skip the Christmas ads this year, as I don’t think Christmas will be the same this year.

We were all cooped up for a good 6 months. No travelling. Not much walking and exploring going on and Miss Money kept talking on our group chat about hiking so much during the lockdown. She misses the socialising (she still does). I’ve not missed as much as I have so many colleagues, and still trying to find my ground between working from home and when to go in to work!

So during the summer bank holiday, our last holiday of the year (I’m hoping to at least travel somewhere next year!!) we went hiking in Eastbourne.

Miss Money was supposed to plan this trip BUT she didn’t do very well!!! We started off from Victoria Station, and then headed to Eastbourne Station. Once we arrived, Miss Money said we had to walk to a car park area before we actually were going to do the hike… It was a long walk!

I thought the hike started from here… we were all wrong!

On we walked. The cliffs are quite dangerous, so I would advise not to go too close to the edge! Apparently there have been many deaths in the past. 😦

We walked on past the lighthouse and finally into the car park where we had a short break but were attacked by bees because of the food we had bought from the shop. Mr Sensible took a really cool picture of the bees attacking his food… I wish I had the chance to do that, but was scared of getting a bee sting.

After our short bee encounter, we carried on with a lot of hill walking and sheep poop. Sigh. It was painful.

And then, we went into a passage onto the right side of us where a few people were heading towards…

Hehehehehe, so Mr Sensible said we should stop off at the pub (which I think is a tourist spot) – I think it was an excuse to stop walking… Well, we saw where “Sherlock Holmes” once lived. Amazing find!! We had a bowl of cheesy chips and an alcoholic beverage. I felt like poop after all that hill walking.

Well after this walk, we headed back into town… I pulled a muscle, and I was determined not to walk anymore. (I got a bit moody… LOL! But surprisingly, the others didn’t say anything.) Thankfully we were on a bus route, so I took the bus, and the others walked to the town centre. The bus ride was fairly quick, and I know that I would have slowed everyone down if we rested (Mr Games agreed – LOL!).

Anyway, I managed to go into Wilko and buy some yarn whilst waiting for the group. It didn’t take them long…

Then it was homeward bound. Games, Sensible and Money were pooped out. HAH!

We somehow ended up eating in Bill’s Restaurant and Bar in Victoria. Games and Money ate the chicken burger… They didn’t think it was that great. Sensible ate the steak and eggs (I don’t think it was enough for him). And I had the mac n cheese – it was good stuff! Mr Sensible should have stuck to his original choice as the mac n cheese had enough cheese and bacon… Very filling!

Well, that concludes our “summer vacation”. I hope I get to go somewhere outside of the UK next year. My fingers are crossed… Let those vaccines commence!

Big Town – London, Walworth Road

Should apologise for being lazy at typing blog posts. Have got trapped into the world of WFH (working from home), virtual meetings, audits and NOW I have started learning Korean, AND trying to finish up projects for Christmas. PLUS partially worrying about the second wave… THEN some colleagues decided to break my desk at one site… And last but not least, just want to say, we have a bunch of hyprocrites and liars governing the UK (the England part that is)!

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to write about a restaurant. This trip happened post lockdown in July. Miss Pinky needed time out from rearing my goddaughter Baby B and (now my one-quarter godson… long story put short, I was doing more than his own godparents) Master B.

We ended up in Big Town, a Nigerian restaurant. Miss Pinky wanted to go this restaurant last year, but we couldn’t find the time! I think lockdown made me really concious of eating in restaurants at the time, but thankfully I have passed through that paranoia.

The interior looks very neat… I can’t remember the original layout from the previous café owner who I previously blogged about a while back.

Miss Pinky ordered bits and pieces as we didn’t know what to expect.

We had some stewed fish which is a little spicy but went well with the rice we had. I know Miss Pinky likes fish, so I thought she would eat most of it (she did).

Jollof rice, plantain and salad went with the stewed fish. Baby B seems to like plantain a lot … just like me!!

And we had a plate of the Big Town Suya Mix… basically some marinated meat and grilled and then powdered with spices. This was extremely spicy! The beef was a bit tough but I did enjoy this dish.

Forgot what the price came to, but it wasn’t that expensive. We got free chin chin (mini biscuits) and Baby B got some more (but spilt some)… Well that was our first outing for months…

My geeky rating: 4.5/5

Skipping the good and bad points… let’s just focus on getting the economy back to normal and FIGHTING this damn PANDEMIC!

Address: 302 Walworth Road, London SE17 2TE

Tel: 020 7358 4327

Website: http://www.bigtownrestaurants.com/

London China Town – Outdoor Eating

Have you been to China Town recently?

I know it’s a bit too scary to actually eat out… I’m afraid too. So most of the time I buy takeaway.

Photos were taken at the end of July, but all this Geek can say is, to remember to wash your hands before and after eating, and remember to keep your distance from passerbys and the next tables.

*Now that daily cases are going up, be ABSOLUTELY CAUTIOUS!!

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What did The Geek do during Lockdown?

What have I done during the lockdown? That’s the question to myself.

I’ve knitted, I’ve crocheted, I ate a lot, cooked a lot, went to work (workplace and home), tried to be flexible and traveled between work sites, invested in a lot of masks (disposable and reusable), bought a new laptop – so disappointed that I had to spend a tiny fortune, a new hand blender – needed a new one anyway, a nail cutter and various circular needles. Did my tax return from when I worked as a freelancer for a short period of time last year, watched a lot of K-drama, J-drama, variety shows and also listened to a few books on Audible……. (and now listening to Finding Freedom, which is about Harry and Meghan’s fight to freedom from Royalty. It reminds me of the book/movie: Crazy Rich Asians; it also makes me think that not everyone in this world is perfect). 

I attempted to knit socks on 2 needles but I hate sewing, so I attempted about 3 times to make socks for Baby B. I’ve now knitted/crocheted 4 scarves, 1 snood, 3 hats and 2 pairs of socks, all in four months. (Also just finished 1 pair of baby booties).

Computer breakdown. 😦

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Out with Miss Pinky during lockdown eating ramen at Koi Ramen in the new Elephant and Castle site.

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Cooked a lot… I made more than this (mostly noodles, heheheheh).

After breaking my beautiful black shot glass, I was in search of another. I didn’t the cheap ones in Poundland and most came in sets, so in the end I went to Japan Centre and bought a couple of pretty shot glasses… When I was going home, I realised that there was going to a Black Lives Matter protest in Westminster! The crowd was incredible…

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Thought I would throw in this funny street art poster which I saw on Walworth Road. I guess it’s representing the lies about coronavirus… 😦

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I also went to Miss Pinky’s and celebrated Master B’s first birthday! It happened just after lockdown was lifted. This was an amazing cake made by Miss Pinky’s sister-in-law. So tasty!

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Well, that sums up what I did during lockdown. What did you do?

Thank you to our NHS Adverts

Working in the public sector is not an easy job (have experienced it, still experiencing it, you feel like you can do more but you can’t). 

We’re seeing more digitized adverts across the UK. They’re even digitizing their thanks to the NHS! 👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏

This advert is quite clever! Reversing NHS to SHN and hash-tagging it to “Stay Home Now”. 

Not a fan of this ad from HM Government, looks grim, too much red – maybe it’s supposed to scare people. Reminds me of the horrific cigarette packaging campaign to stop people smoking. I guess the government think using those similar colours will make people think twice. Maybe.

Let’s praise the NHS and to the people who are sticking to the social distancing rules!!!!  👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏 Far too many people are still not listening … 

Just remember to keep washing those hands, stay indoors and remember to social distance yourselves…

Simple Pizza Toast

In times of being cooped up during a pandemic (of Coronavirus), it’s the best time to start learning to cook and finding out ways to use up your leftover bread, vegetables and other things that have a short shelf-life. Here’s a very, very simple recipe that you really can’t go wrong with.

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 Slices of leftover bread
  • 2 tablespoons of Tomato paste
  • 2 tables of Tomato ketchup
  • Olive oil
  • Cheese (mixture of mozzarella and cheddar)
  • Basil (optional)
  • Other toppings (optional)

How to make:

  1. Pre-heat oven to gas mark 7.
  2. Mix the tomato paste, ketchup, basil and a teaspoon of olive oil (basil and olive is optional here)
  3. Bring over your leftover bread and place onto a baking tray. You can add a baking sheet on top of the tray to avoid getting the cheese stuck onto the tray. Using a knife, spread the tomato sauce mix.
  4. Add cheese on top (and any other toppings you like)
  5. To get the slightly toasted cheese look, drizzle some olive oil onto each slice
  6. Stick it into the middle part of the oven and bake it for 20 minutes

         7. Once done, leave aside to cool for about 10 minutes before you devour!

And that’s how I now make my pizza toast. ^_^ Mr Games gave me this idea a few years back… We’re pizza fans!

I’m sure the Internet is filled with similar recipes as this. I also have a sweet palate, that’s why I like to add ketchup… 😋😋😋

An Empty China Town (during Coronavirus Lockdown) ~~~

Are you all at home? You better be! Keep washing those hands too!

It was my birthday a few days ago and since I’ve been working my butt off (in a stressful sector), I haven’t been able to go out as much. Thankfully I booked some leave a long time ago. So I needed to go to a Chinese bank and buy some essentials from the Chinese supermarkets… So this happened in less than two hours. Essential Travel!!!

Traveled to China Town by bus. It was completely empty with very few people walking about in Leicester Square.

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I bet those pigeons felt lonely…
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Shaftesbury Avenue was deeply quiet.
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Just walking up and down China Town felt lonely…..
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At least one restaurant was opened for takeaways…
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Poor Trafalgar Square was completely empty…
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Well, let’s keep Central London empty and quiet for a tiny bit longer.

My neighbourhood has never been so quiet for so many years! No planes flying across. No motorcyclists zooming through. And simply no arguments can be heard from anywhere – apart from inside the dreaded supermarkets!

How many more weeks of emptiness we’re going to have in the UK is unknown…

Make sure to keep your distance, wash your hands and stay at home (unless you’re going to work or in desperate needs to go to the supermarket).

The Gang of Four goes to Paris – Days 1-4

Before I start, let’s fight together and beat the new strain of Coronavirus! Wash your hands with soap and water. Use hand gel (if you have any). Stay hygienic and eat healthily. My March and May time holiday has now been suspended/cancelled so staying at home for the time being. 😭😭😭

The Gang of Four includes myself, The Geek, Miss Money, Mr Games and Mr Sensible. Our last trip was in Wales a few years back and we haven’t been away together since then. After our Christmas meal last year, we had planned our small getaway. So before the news of Covid-19 we had already booked everything… It was actually too late to cancel (and the tickets were non-refundable anyway).

Friday 14th February 2020

Yep. We went to Paris on Valentine’s Day. It was the start of the Spring half-term, and it was the only time Mr Sensible could take off (as he’s a teacher). Covid-19 was still in its early stages before it became a pandemic, so we weren’t too worried, but we was cautious at the time (we’re still are)!

We entered Calais, our French journey has begun!

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We reached the station before 6pm, and immediately went to the place we were going to stay in. We passed a lot of wedding shops before we reached our Airbnb flat. It was a cheap small flat that seemed to have been split into two.

We weren’t going to sit and rest, we had to do some exercise before dinner (Mr Sensible’s idea)!! 😦 The mini cakes below was my motivation!

Our exercise included a walk up a hill. A large hill! The Montmarte has a Roman Catholic church on top, the Sacré-Cœur Basilica. It’s free to go in but there is a security guard. The area was quite full of people with many tourists and lovers.

We had dinner at Le Panorama after a bit of searching around the town. I had my usual snails which was drenched in a herb dressing plus steak and fat chips. Mr Sensible had salmon and pasta. Mr Games had a round pizza. And Miss Money decided to have a fat pizza, which had loads of ham and egg inside. Very ham-my. Mr Sensible had cheese for dessert (it looked disappointing) and I had a pie. I wished it came with ice cream! The white wine was good though…

Address: 20 Rue Gérando, 75009 Paris, France

Time to sleep… zzzzzzzz

Saturday 15th February 2020

After a restless night, couldn’t sleep well… grateful I didn’t choose the living room or the room with the window. I would have been grouchy. It was time to walk, be tourists and find breakfast.

France have a wide range of macarons!

We had breakfast at Le Studio Cafe. Unfortunately they served me the wrong coffee. Wanted something without cream. Breakfast was not great. Thumbs down!

Address: 15 Place Saint-Pierre, 75018 Paris, France

Time to tour around Paris…

And now up the Eiffel Tower – when I went there last with Miss Pinky in 2014, there wasn’t much security, but now there is! I decided not to walk up. I think I would have died half way up the staircase. So I waited in the queue… for almost an hour or so… The others went up the stairs. It was incredibly cold up at the top, so I wrapped up with my scarf and gloves. People would have probably thought I had Covid-19, but to be honest it was so cold, I really had to wrap up! It reminded me of going up the Empire State Building in New York. 

I decided to walk down the stairs with the gang… might as well carry on with some more exercise. 😦 Because we didn’t have lunch I think I was feeling grouchy… Sorry guys!!

That night we scoffed down a kebab dinner, and Mr Sensible had a Burger King. Hungry!!

Dinner was followed by some tourist videos of Alice in Paris.

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Exhausted! Goodnight!

Sunday 16th February 2020

Along a different street, we had breakfast at Odette and Aimé. Quality was better! Thumbs up!

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Address: 46 Rue de Maubeuge, 75009 Paris, France

After breakfast it was time to walk through some Paris arcades. They reminded me of some of the ones in London. Very beautiful! We ended up in the Royal Palace at the end of one of the arcades.

Then onto the place I’ve wanted to visit since reading Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code! The Louvre. Woohoo!! It was spectacular to see the glass pyramid after passing through the museum’s entrance.

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Next was another long walk to a famous Steakhouse! Le Relais de l’Entrecote. There’s no menu at this restaurant apart from the dessert menu. My god, we spent €148.30 between the four of us. Wow. It was salad with two servings of your steak and fries. That’s all they served. Well, we didn’t have to wait long, which was a good thing. Miss Money, Mr Sensible and I were quite drunk from the red wine… worth every penny!

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Address: 20 Rue Saint-Benoît, 75006 Paris, France

As drunk as we were (apart from Mr Games) we went walking around. Found desserts (Miss Money and I got one free macaron each! Hahahahahahahah!!!). We saw how bad Notré Dame became – it’s still under construcion… Then it was shopping time… I don’t think I could walk anymore. Maybe it was because we were walking too slowly.

Had a microwave dinner that night… Cheap night!

February 17th 2020

It was our final day in Paris. Three days in Paris is enough if you don’t have much to do. 

Garé de Nord has luggage lockers, so we placed our stuff inside a large locker – make sure you have some coins!!

We then found a really nice place for breakfast which wasn’t too far from the station. Unfortunately it was near 11am, and I think they just ran out of breakfast items… It was the best out the three places we went to!

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Then another long walk around…

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Tea break at Cafés Richard…

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And then an American lunch… service was incredibly slow…

Finally home time! SNCF offer short stories at a touch of a button in English and French… Mr Sensible, for some reason had the longest story ever! And I got two traditional stories. ¬_¬”

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We separated at different stops on the London underground… tired!!

End of our Paris trip – until next time!! (Hopefully they’ll forget about having to climb up a mountain if we ever go on another trip together… LOL)!

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Unfortunately, I won’t be travelling for a while, hopefully Covid-19 will end sometime in the middle of the year!

Keep safe as always!! Remember to wash your hands!!!!!!!!!!!!