Feeding time! (‘tache watch part 3)

My word, what a day! The lovely people at The London Tropical Zoo invited me over to do some photos for their Facebook page, and I got to go in the cages and feed a whole load of the animals. How cool is that! Check this out…

I got to meet Rolo the Bolivian Squirrel Monkey,
kiki and the squirrel monkey

Aztec and Inca the Marmoset,
the marmoset

Klaus the Boa Constrictor,
what an experience!

and Ringo the Lemur!
so cool!

What a great day! 🙂

The squirrel monkey was hard to pin down, hence the slightly blurry photo. He just kept leaping about all over the place.

Didn’t get any pics of the marmosets on me as they were quite happy just chillin’ on their branch. Suppose I shouldn’t be surprised at that, as the only pics I got of them last time were of them sleeping, pretty much.

Klaus was brilliant. So very heavy, and incredibly strong with it. You could feel the potential power when he wrapped around your arm. I can imagine what it would be like to tackle one of the big constrictors. But holding on to this guy really confirmed for me what I suspected already, that I love snakes! That being said, I think I’ve got a thing for lemurs as well.

Ringo was so cute, and so very friendly. By the end of the session he was just chilling on my shoulder, which is why we got so many great shots. And his fur was so soft too. You can see why they sleep all cuddled up together. It must be well cosy. Also, check out some of the other pics to see his feet and that in detail. Lemurs are such amazing and unique creatures, all thanks to their isolated Madagascan evolution.

My thanks to Maz, Jordan and Zac at the London Tropical Zoo for making it all happen, and hopefully the photos will generate a bit more sponsorship.

Don’t forget there’s still time to sponsor me and possibly win some cookies or even a cake! And to give the Facebookers of you out there a chance at the goodies I’ve decided to extend the moustache wearing for another week or two. It means a bit more scratchy itchiness for me, but if it means the London Tropical Zoo can make a bit more dosh out of the whole thing then it’ll be worth it!

Week 33: A search for meaning

Been kind of a bitty week this week. My shifts in work changed, which was good as it gave me the weekend off, but then I was cat sitting away from home at the weekend, which limited my ability to do new stuff (like writing, etc.). Plus I’ve got no money, again, which also puts a bit of a dampener on things. I failed to come up with a new recipe, but I did manage to do something new – go to an open air cinema – but still I’d like to have done more.

I have however had much time to think, and think I have. I’m not sure this blog is achieving what I set out to do in the beginning. Namely, a Brand New Life. I’m still single, still in the same old job, still in the same old flat; nothing’s changed. I’m doing more things, but not making many new contacts. I’ve been so caught up in ‘stunt blogging’ I’ve forgotten the point of it all.

So I’m going to let myself off the hook (kind of). No more weekly reports. I’m not even sure if many people are reading them, so what’s the point? I’m still going to blog new things I get up to, but they’ll be on an as-and-when basis, not every week. I’m going to concentrate on making big things happen, not just lots of little things. If I want to make big changes in my life I need some big ideas.

That being said, here’s my ‘report’ on going to an open air cinema for the first time.

outdoor cinema

It was at Syon House, which is the same place where the London Tropical Zoo is that I’m doing the fundraising for. I had the pleasure of being joined in this escapade by the very lovely Sarah, and the film we saw (along with a large group of middle aged women!) was Dirty Dancing.

hey johnny

Now I’ve already blogged the film itself, so I’ll just mention here a few things about the experience. Being outdoors to see a film is great. Just lazing about on a blanket, having a wee picnic, was great fun. We had to wait for the sun to go down before the film started (of course), and once it did it got a little chilly. It was at that point I stated to wish I’d wrapped up a bit warmer.

I did at least bring an umbrella, which came in very handy about 15 minutes before the end, when it started chucking it down. Thankfully though the rain didn’t last long (and the cinema people very kindly gave us all free pac-a-macs to keep us dry) and we got to see the end uninterrupted.

nobody puts baby in the corner

I can recommend seeing a film outdoors if you get a chance. If you live in London there’s plenty of opportunities coming up. Just remember to wrap up warm, take a blanket, take some food, and take a brolly. Those are my survival tips. 🙂

cabbage and carrot summer salad

Also, I’d like to mention the conclusion of my Thrive in 30 experiment. It was an interesting thing to do, and I’d suggest you give it a try if you’re at all veggie/vegan, thinking about going veggie, have in interest in nutrition, or just want to get an idea about how what we eat effects us in out daily lives.

I must admit, I haven’t been able to put all his lessons into practice yet (mind you, a lot of them I was doing already), but I have learnt a great deal, I have taken a lot of information on board, and I’ll be incorporating more and more of his ideas as I go along. And the great thing is I can revisit each lesson as and when I like, so I’ll never stop learning.

Sign up now and see for yourself. It’s a win win scenario, believe me.

Dirty Dancing/Roadhouse

“Nobody puts baby in the corner.”

That’s right, I said it! You heard me! Dirty Dancing. Not my usual fare I grant you (but then again, isn’t that the point of all this?) but I went to see it the other day at an open air cinema and it was brilliant! A tight movie, well scripted, well shot, well acted, and a whole lot of fun. And of course starring the darn sexy Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze in two of their best roles ever.

I haven’t seen this film since I was 16 on a coach trip to Spain. They only had one video to watch, so we saw it twice on the way there and once on the way back. Almost enough to put me off for life. If it wasn’t the only thing on when I wanted to go check out an open air cinema I never would have seen it again… and I’d have missed out!

Swayze is brilliant as Johnny, the bad boy dancer getting pushed around by rich society and just trying to survive. Jennifer Grey is perfect as the innocent yet resolute Baby, a daddy’s girl just waiting to come out of her shell. And when they get together, his vulnerable toughness and her tough innocence, they play beautifully against each other. Probably one of the best performances either of them has ever done.

I can’t embed the video I’d like to here, but just click on this link to go see it. You’ll get an idea of how good it really is!

“You’re too stupid to have a good time!”

But, for those of you too blokey to watch Dirty Dancing I have another Swayze classic to recommend, Roadhouse! It’s a little known movie of his but man, he kicks some ass in this little beauty. Swayze plays Dalton, a ‘cooler’ brought in by the owner of the Double Deuce to sorts his bar out and make it the sort of place respectable folks want to go to have fun.

Sounds pretty naff huh? Well picture this: great tunes, great characters (except the baddy, he’s a bit pedestrian), great fight scenes, some great one-liners, there’s a bit of something for everyone in it, even the ladies (Swayze in a tight t-shirt for one).

In many ways it’s just a modern day cowboy movie. A stranger comes to town and sets about releasing it from the iron grip of one evil business man/rancher/plantation owner (delete where applicable). Hell, it’s even got Sam Elliott playing a guy called Wade Garrett for crying out loud (who is just brilliant by the way). Now it don’t get much more cowboy than that!

If you haven’t seen it give it a shot. I guarantee you’ll enjoy it. Hell, maybe you could do a Swayze double bill! That way there’s something for everyone. There’s worse ways to spend an evening! 🙂

Addendum: I just want to say much love and respect to the late great Patrick Swayze. You made some great movies, played some iconic parts, and gave us so many outstanding memories to choose from. Thanks for all that. Rest In Peace man.

Howdy, partner (‘tache watch, part 2)

Check this bad boy out! (and by “bad boy” I mean the moustache, and not me)


Coming on pretty nicely huh? I added the hat and shades just to stop the pics getting too repetitive (and I think it looks good too ;)).

I’m just over 2 weeks into my Moustache for Cash charity growing for the London Tropical Zoo and things aren’t going too badly. If you check out my Just Giving page you’ll see I’m about 33% towards my intended target. Not as far along as I’d like to have been, but there’s still plenty of time for people to get involved.

If you want to make a donation to help out you can do so here, or you can come enjoy the moustache in person and make a donation then. There’s no limits, every little helps, even a couple of quid, and as an added incentive I’ve decided to do a draw of all donators to win a bag of home made vegan cookies (as well as baking a cake for whoever makes the largest donation). Now if that doesn’t entice you to give a little I dunno what will! 🙂

Peshwari Roti

Also known as a chapati, this indian unleavened bread is great with any curry, and so easy to make. I’ve based my recipe on a peshwari naan, which contains coconut and sultanas. Yummy!

peshwari roti, pieces

(I know it’s a rubbish pic. I’ll put a better one up soon.)

1 cup plain flour
1/4 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup of warm water
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sultanas

Put the sultanas in the warm water to soak for a few minutes. This will help prevent them burning in the pan.

Put the flour, coconut and salt in a large bowl. Slowly add warm water from the cup with the sultanas in, one desert spoon at a time, as you mix the flour into a dough by hand. 2 or 3 desert spoonfuls should be enough, but just add as much as is required.

Add the olive oil and knead for 2-3 minutes. Drain the sultanas and add to dough. Knead for another 2 minutes. Cover with a damp cloth and let it rest for 20 minutes or so.

Heat a non-stick frying pan on a very hot heat. Divide the dough into 3-4 balls, pressing flat with your hands, and cook in hot pan without any oil or anything. Once it’s all brown and puffed up on one side flip over and do the other. Cook each roti the same way

Quarter each roti and serve warm.

Week 32: In which our hero gets his sprout on, wins the Premium Bonds, and works on his moustache

A few wee new things this week. First of all I won the Premium Bonds. no, don’t get all excited, I ain’t rich. I’m up the princely sum of £25.

For those of you who don’t know the Premium Bonds is like a lottery, except your ticket once bought never expires. It just goes back in the draw. Consequently your chances of winning are astronomical. I’ve had mine since birth and this is my first ever win. Frankly, at £25 in 36 years, I’m a little disappointed.


Secondly this week, I’ve gotten into germinating my own seeds. I’m still trying to do the Thrive in 30 thing, only now I’m running out of money. Costs a fortune to keep buying salads and sprouts and stuff like that, especially when you don’t get round to eating them all and they go off, so I’m going to grow my own. Got this germinator and a pack of seeds, and I’ve had it on my window for a few days. That’s it really. A soak, a regular rinse, and you end up with a load of sprouts. I heartily recommend it to everyone. Much easier, and cheaper in the long run, than buying tubs of sprouts from the shops.

And lastly, I’ve finally got a decent moustache on the go! Unfortunately I can’t show you it as all the pics I took came out really bad (blurry, etc.), and now I need a shave again so it doesn’t look as good. But I will be posting some more pics in a couple of days so you can see how it’s coming along. For now just enjoy this clip that sums up the trials and tribulations of owning a moustache.

What it forgets to mention is how damn itchy it is! Come the end of the month I’ll be glad to see the back of this thing.

Flash Gordon/Highlander

A two for one deal for you this week. But why I hear you ask? Whatever could link these two 80s classics? Why their killer soundtracks by the unbeatable Queen, that’s what!

Both Flash Gordon and Highlander have their good and bad points – cheesy effects, brilliant one-liners (see clips below), some incredibly risible performances – but that’s all part of the fun. Neither film should be taken seriously. They’re Friday night popcorn at it’s best, and must be viewed as such.

Flash Gordon – Spaceships, mad scientists, pastel coloured midgets, ex-Blue Peter presenters, this film has it all! It’s silly in the extreme, but who cares, because it’s fun too. And it gave us one of the bestest baddies ever in the shape of Ming The Merciless, hammed up beautifully by Max Von Sydow. You can’t argue with that. And the role (and line) for which Brian Blessed would be forever remembered for, Vultan (“Ah well. Who wants to live for ever? ..hahahaha… DIVE!!!”). Brilliant!

Highlander – Who wants to live forever indeed? The eternal question (pun intended). Like Flash Gordon, so much of Highlander has found it’s way forever into the collective psyche. I mean who hasn’t thought how cool it would be to find out your were immortal! Less cool would be finding out there’s a bunch of people going round who want to chop your head off, but whatcha gonna do? This film has some truly bizarre moments, like having a Scotsman (Sean Connery) play a Spaniard whilst a Frenchman (Christopher Lambert) plays a Scotsman – both with dodgy accents respectively – but you can forgive all that for the joy of the pure idiocy of it all.

Both these films are brilliant and daft in equal measure, but what elevates them above the usual fare is their brilliant soundtracks by Queen.

To me, Queen were the masters of the movie soundtrack. They wrote their songs to enhance the movies, not just sell singles, producing pop scores really, not just a few nice tunes. Their music blends perfectly with what’s on screen, whilst at the same time standing out as a cut above the rest. I know that’s a bit of a contradiction, but you’ll just have to trust me on this. These guys knew what they were doing.

Who wants to live forever?

Flash! Ah ah…..

I couldn’t decide which film had the best soundtrack, that’s why I’ve recommended them both. And really you should watch them both, for the cheese-fest that they are. Neither will disappoint, and their soundtracks certainly won’t, I guarantee it!