The best coffee shop in London…..?

The best coffee shop in London…..?

After many trips to America where I found amazing coffee shops, the atmosphere was relaxing, you could sit in them and chill or if you wish, study/work. I longed for this kind of coffee shop in London, as faith would have it, I first came across Absolutely Starving three years ago when working in the area. From the moment I walked in, I saw an amazing range of cakes…..immediately I realised this is my place!

Why do I think it is the best coffee shop in London…..? Firstly the location, besides it being 4 minutes walk from London Bridge underground, it is near Hay’s Galleria, which is a mixed use building in the London Borough of Southwark situated on the south bank of the River Thames featuring offices, restaurants, shops, and flats. Originally a warehouse and associated wharf (Hay’s Wharf) for the port of London, it was redeveloped in the 1980s. It is a Grade II listed structure. This building and surrounding area is a must see!




Secondly, on entering Absolutely Starving, I felt the same amazing and positive vibe as I did in America, also, I quickly forgot about the hustle and bustle of London.

At the counter I was greeted in a very friendly manner, which was a surprise, well this is London where I find a lot of people working in the restaurants and shops very rude, it is like you are causing them an issue by asking them for service!

Absolutely Starving being a family run business with Egyptian blood, I recommend you try their signature dish, the Koshari. This is a vegan Cairo street food, people who are allergic to veganism can add meat! This is sold in a wrap or box. The dish is bursting with flavours and a must try!

Their range of snacks, foods and sandwiches is huge and delicious!

Salad counter:

There is plenty of space available to eat in and people watch.







This is a great place to sit and watch the world go by:

Sometimes you just need cake!

Don’t believe me? Go and see for yourself and let me know…..

Absolutely Starving Website
51 TOOLEY STREET, LONDON.  SE1
T: 020 7407 7417
Mon-Fri 7am-8pm, Sat & Sun 9am-8pm

Wpt Gym…..

Wpt Gym…..

Starting weight: 88.8kg
Target weight: 63kg
Weight recorded on September 7 2013: 87.9

 

The last three days the format has been the same, so instead of three posts looking identical I will do one.

Training starts around 6:30am and lasts for two hours. You go for a run, do your own warm ups and then you will get taught by Master Pimu or do some pad work with Bea.

Master Pimu is fantastic at teaching the technical aspect, the stance, punch, jab, kick etc…if you are here for some time, he does not rush and makes sure you practice every technique until it becomes a habit. Hence the training two times a day. When I was clinching (Clinch fighting (also referred to as clinch work) is the part of stand-up fighting where the combatants are grappling in a clinch, typically using clinch holds. Clinching the opponent can be used to eliminate the opponent's effective usage of some kicks, punches). When my foot hits the ground I was lowering my heal by 1 cm, Master Pimu got another person to hit me each time I did this! Reading that back it sounds like this is a harsh training camp, Master Pimu is a stickler for technique every move has to be precise. If the basics are spot on then you will have a strong foundation.

Master Pimu

Beginning Muay Thai at the age of seven years of age, Pimu was fortunate to be taught by a very distinguished fighter, Lerngsak Sorlupitak, a champion renown for his kicking and kneeing ability. He was also privileged to have trained, for a short time, with one of the greatest MuayThai boxers of all time, Adul Srisothorn the “diamond crown boxer”. This was cut short by Adul’s premature death in a car accident. Adul was a very famous boxer, six times champion famed for his all round boxing ability.With such an excellent pedigree, Pimu himself proved to be a very skilled boxer, having over a hundred fights. However, his ring career was cut short by a serious shoulder injury. After retiring Pimu began training fighters with great success; something he still excels in. He trained his first Champion Tawanok Sitpoonchai thirty years ago and has not stopped since.

The students here at the moment:

 

The Gym

 
 
The gym is about an hour from Suvarnabhumi Airport (Bangkok International Airport,) also about an hour from downtown Bangkok (both times are depending on traffic.)
WPT gym has been designed for westerners as well as Thai champions. The gym employs a number of top coaches from different gyms. Training can accommodate anyone form complete beginners to top professional fighters. A number of top fighters from France, Italy, Japan, Korea, USA, UK and Ireland have trained at the gym with Pimu, Met, Komkrit, Duwao, Manask, Thailand, Sancherng and others. UK Champions who trained at the gym include: Dean James, Liam Robinson, Sheree Halliday, Ronnie Mann (MMA), Karla Hood, Damian Hood, Pete Crooke, Reece Crooke, Frankie Hudders, Johnny Roye and many others. Top coaches training at the gym include:Tony Myers (UK), Pele Nathan (UK), Marco De Cesaris (Italy), Diego Calzolari (Italy) and many others.The gym has strong links with Sinbi Muay Thai gym in Phuket and Pinsinchai camp,Training is available twice a day like all gyms in Thailand. It is possible to negotiate what training you wish to do and the level of training you wish to engage in. At the gym they are equally happy to accommodate those who wish to learn techniques and not train too hard and top fighters who are preparing for a fight. There is a friendly atmosphere at the gym and everyone is made welcome.

Accommodation

Perhaps I should have made my bed before I took this picture!!

 

The rooms are all ensuite, they are maintained and kept clean.
After the morning training session you eat, either you go out to a restaurant or Shum (Master Pimu's wife) will cook. All dietary requirements are catered for.
Nearby restaurant
Mixed vegetables
 
By the time you have eaten it is around 9am, one has the day to sight see or relax.

What is there to do near the gym?

Within about ten minutes walking distance there are a few shops, Tesco Lotus, Seven Eleven. Here you can buy all your basic supplies.

Five minutes in a taxi which should cost around 50 baht or walking which would take about 45 minutes there is Fashion Island a huge mall where you will definitely get everything imaginable.

Fashion Island is a shopping mall located on Ramintra Road, in Khan Na Yao district outskirt of Bangkok, Thailand. Some of the anchors are

Robinson Department Store
BigC
Major Cineplex
Home Pro
SportWorlds

 

Sports shop
Children's play area
Starbucks a great place to unwind and use the wifi (At the time of this post they charged for wifi)
The afternoon training session starts around 4pm (ish) depending on how hot it is. The training mirrors the morning session, again afterwards you will eat.
The evening is yours to either relax or pop to the cinema at Fashion Island.
I usually go to sleep by 9:30pm, as being a forty year old fatty I get tired very easily!

 

Cascade Lake Falls…..

Cascade Lake Falls…..

Okay first thing is first breakfast!

So off to Bliss Cafe for fantastic gluten free and vegan pancakes

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Also for the readers who say we do not healthily we ordered a dip!

Vegetables, hoummus, guacamole and cashew cheese
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Afterwards we headed back to the hotel. Opposite the hotel is a bike hire company, we enquired about rates and what bikes they have, the prices were very reasonable. Will be back here.
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Also around the hotel is a coffee shop, ice cream parlour and a general store
Hotel
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Coffee shop
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General store
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After stocking up on sun tan lotion we headed over to the Taylor Creek visitor centre
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Unfortunately it was closed!
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On the drive to Cascade waterfalls car park
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The start of the walk to Cascade waterfalls
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Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 6800′ / 6910′
Mileage (one way): 1 mile
Directions to Trailhead : Take Highway 89 north from South Lake Tahoe approximately 8 miles to the Bayview Campground across from Inspiration Point.You will find parking is located at the far end of the campground.
Trail : Look for the trailhead sign at the far end of the parking area. There is some limited parking so in the summer months you might want to get an early start to guarantee a spot. The hike is a fairly easy and at a good pace you can make it to the falls in roughly 40 minutes.. There are spots with trail rocks that you need to step up or down. This is a good easy hike if you want to get out and see some beautiful scenery, but not wear yourself out. It’s a great place to pack a lunch into so you can relax, take in the views and enjoy your break near the falls. The surrounding large rock outcroppings are impressive as trees seem to grow out of small cracks. Kids would enjoy this “not to long of a hike” with a wonderful creek and rushing falls at the end. The creek is really running hard in the late spring, early summer and slows way down in the fall.

Views from the walk
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The walk is very easy but is was fun to see people coming back from the walk commenting how difficult the walk is!!

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Cascade waterfall

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Cascade Waterfall

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Our quiet picnic spot
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We were joined by a curious chipmunk
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We took a crazy route down, at some points it was easier sitting down to come down!
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Way down
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Amazing views of Cascade Lake, the lake further away is Lake Tahoe
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Amazing flowers growing in unusual places
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Whose idea was this crazy way down?!
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This was our route down!
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Path back to the car park
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Room light switch
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Back at the hotel we played a game of mastermind before heading off to dinner at Cafe Bliss….well it is a good restaurant!

Good old burger!
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A blissful burrito
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After dinner we drove to the east of the lake to view the sunset. On holiday you do not mind driving forty minutes to see a sunset, as home we would just look out of the window, if you cannot see it, it is not a big deal!!

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Views from Mount Rosa overlook
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Mt. Rose may be the second tallest peak in Tahoe basin and prominent feature of the northern Lake Tahoe skyline.

More views from Mount Rosa
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Advertising for Toyota! Hope they pay us for this!
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Views from Mount Rosa were amazing, but we could not see the sunset. Therefore we drove back to the lake shore.

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The arty shot!
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On the way back we stopped at South Lake Tahoe
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Lake Tahoe by night

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Lake Tahoe at night

Back at the hotel we finished the mastermind game we started earlier. Then off to bed!

Lake Tahoe…..

Lake Tahoe…..

Laundry day is here, so an early morning trip (7am) to Mr Suds, the laundry in South Lake Tahoe.

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Even though we are only traveling for three weeks, it is still best to travel lightly.

Back at the hotel I said to Sangeet we need to figure out where to eat. Sangeet suggested checking happy cow for vegan restaurants, I was surprised to find one:

Simple Bliss Vegan Cafe
2540 Lake Tahoe Blvd. #7
Located in the Swiss Chalet Village
South Lake Tahoe
California
USA
t: +1 530 542 1474
e: [email protected]
Pictures of the restaurant
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Dare you try the chilli sauce?!
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Vegan burger
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Vegan and gluten free French toast
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Negotiating the burger!
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The meals were fantastic. Simple Bliss Cafe is a great vegan restaurant. All the dishes can also be made gluten free.

We will be back to Simple Bliss Cafe….

Afterwards we drove through downtown and stopped at the beach. It was a few minutes walk from the busy end of the beach, here we took some yoga pictures for class posters etc.

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The quiet side of the beach
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Kundalini yoga pose
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The busier side of the beach
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Beautiful clear water
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Walkway next to the beach, here you have access to seating and barbecues
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We then drove to the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe, stopping off at various vista points
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Logan Shoals Vista a fantastic vista point to take photographs. There is parking available and a short walk to the vista point.
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Our roadside snack
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The views of Lake Tahoe seems to be better from the Nevada side, maybe it seems that way as it is very sunny today.
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Driving along with marvellous views of the lake. We also stopped at Memorial Point and took a short walk along the lakeshore.

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Amazing views
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Sangeet made her way to the top of this waterfall, by hanging onto trees!!
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We drove full circle around Lake Tahoe today.

For dinner, back to Bliss Cafe
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The drinks are amazing and worth trying
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On the menu there is more then just the burger, honest!
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Cheesecake, made out of cashew, it was so yummy!!
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Back at the hotel we relaxed in the common area
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Movie time!
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We watched ‘The Blind Side’. The Blind Side is a 2009 American semi-biographical sports drama film. It is written and directed by John Lee Hancock, and based on the 2006 book The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game by Michael Lewis. The storyline features Michael Oher, an offensive lineman who plays for the Baltimore Ravens of the NFL. The film follows Oher from his impoverished upbringing, through his years at Wingate Christian School (a fictional representation of Briarcrest Christian School in Memphis, Tennessee), his adoption by Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, to his position as one of the most highly coveted prospects in college football, then finally becoming a first round pick in the NFL by the Baltimore Ravens .

So wrapped up with technology, at one point I was using the laptop, iPad and iPhone whilst watching the movie!
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I truly recommend watching this movie, a fantastic and heart warming story!

Exhausting…..!

Exhausting…..!

A very early morning start, we set off to London at 4am, I managed to get 2 hours sleep, Sangeet did not sleep!

We parked the car at my brother in laws house. It was good to see everybody especially my niece who for the first time I saw awake from a nights sleep. She does a full stretch lifts her head, has a look at who is in the room then has a snooze! Btw she is two years old.

Randeep, my brother in-law drove us to Heathrow airport, the United Airlines flight to San Francisco departs from terminal one.

Check in queues for the United Airlines flights were very long, I would advise checking in at least 2 hours prior to your flight. We checked in one and a half hours before the flight. Luckily a United Airlines staff member asked if anyone was checking in for the San Francisco flight, we were fast tracked through the queue.

Once through security we had a few minutes to browse the shops, where Sangeet purchased a scarf and rucksack.

The walk to gate 48 takes around 15 minutes.

Onboard the Boeing 747-400, the plane was looking a bit old and in need of a upgrade. I could not believe you do not get your own personal television, I thought that sharing a television between 100 other travellers was a thing of the past.

The food onboard was not the best, luckily mum had packed food for us.

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After a rough flight, where I just could not sleep. We touched down at San Francisco. It is so funny , when one flies business class a ten hour flight seems like 5 hours, in economy class a ten hour flight feels like twenty hours!

At San Francisco

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On arrival you go through the standard customs and baggage collection, the immigration officer was very chatty, which is unlike them….they usually do not say a thing.

We took the air train to the Hertz rental depot, picked up a rental and started the drive to Nevada City.

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The traffic was heavy and it took us 4 hours where as with no traffic it would have taken 2.5 hours. I was shattered and very hungry, so we stopped off at the gas station for coffee and a bag of Funyuns. A fantastic combination.

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Nearer to Shady Creek the drive was through amazing tall trees the views were breath taking….it perked me up, or was that the coffee?

The course we are attending is at:
Life-Force Formula Immersion Retreat
Wednesday June 5th– Sunday June 9th
Shady Creek Retreat Center
18601 Pathfinder Way
Nevada City,
CA
Life-Force Formula Immersion Retreat

Which was taught by Jai Dev Singh.

On our arrival we registered and the very kind lady offered us some amazing food.

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Whilst eating we listened to a lecture by Jai Dev Singh

After a class and yoga, which unfortunately I missed as I was asleep in the class, we headed to our cabin.

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I was exhausted, as soon as my head hit the bed I was out, I would have said pillow but we did not have one!!

Cafe Kino, Bristol UK…..

Cafe Kino, Bristol UK…..

After spending a couple of days in Taunton, Somerset, we drove to a vegan restaurant in Bristol:

Cafe Kino
108 Stokes Croft,
Bristol,
Avon
T: +44 117 924 9200
W: www.cafe-kino.com

As it was a Saturday we managed to find parking in a side street, please note, there are parking restrictions in force on weekdays.

The area seems to be a very arty side of Bristol, there was some fantastic graffiti on the surrounding buildings.

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On entering Cafe Kino you feel a fantastic vibe, the staff are friendly and have a great knowledge of the ingredients of the dishes.

We both ordered the breakfast. A great selection, ‘sausage,’ ‘bacon,’ beans, fried bread, mushrooms, hash browns and tomato. As Sangeet does not eat gluten the cafe substituted the sausage, hash brown and bread for home made chips and a slice of chickpea base pizza.

My breakfast:

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Sangeet’s breakfast:

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Whilst at the counter I noticed a awesome chocolate cake, so just had to order a slice:

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The breakfast was enjoyed by both of us and we can definitely recommend this restaurant. There are lots of good options (soup, stew, burgers, falafel, salads to name a few…and some tasty desserts). The atmosphere was very relaxed, nice to see people reading and slowing down.

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