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!

 

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.

Our last day…..

Our last day…..

This morning we both watched the sunrise again, it was spectacular

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On a Sunday they have a flea market on the road leading up to the medieval village

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Today is also our last day here, we fly back to the UK. It has been a fantastic few days and we were sad to leave this awesome location. On a happier side we are only two hours direct flight from here so will definitely come back to explore different areas.

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We headed back to the hotel to checkout. Afterwards we visited a gallery where we saw a very nice painting of Eze, unfortunately it was closed. We walked up to another gallery but decided against purchasing a painting from there, not to my high standards! Well after staying at this hotel my standards have gone up!!

On the way out we met Merlin and Susie, it was great to see them again. Hopefully we shall meet soon.

We drove back to Nice taking the lower basse corniche

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The drive goes through Cap Ferrat.

Cap Ferrat is situated in Alpes-Maritimes département, in southeastern France. It is located in the commune of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat.

Saint Hospitius lived here as a recluse during the sixth century. Thus, the cape is sometimes called Cap-Saint-Hospice or Cap-Saint-Sospis.

Once the domain of King Leopold II of Belgium, Cap Ferrat is now graced with a number of magnificent villas. The writer W. Somerset Maugham bought Villa Mauresque (originally built for Leopold’s father-confessor) in 1928 and lived there before and after World War II. He described it in a letter to his nephew, Robin Maugham, as “the escape hatch from Monaco for those burdened with taste.” Current famous residents include Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen in Villa Maryland and theatrical composer Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Driving through Cap Ferrat, one can smell the money!!

Once we got to Nice we drove around this town, a town like any other, big, busy, people are in a rush (even on a Sunday!!) we also drove around the Promenade Anglais, a celebrated promenade along the Mediterranean at Nice, France.

Before Nice was urbanized, the coast at Nice was just bordered by a deserted band of beach. The first houses were located on higher ground well away from the sea.

Starting in the second half of the 18th century, the English took to spending the winter in Nice, enjoying the panorama along the coast. When a particularly harsh winter up north brought an influx of beggars to Nice, some of the rich Englishmen proposed a useful project for them: the construction of a walkway (chemin de promenade) along the sea.

The city of Nice, intrigued by the prospect of a pleasant promenade, greatly increased the scope of the work. The Promenade was first called the Camin deis Anglés (the English Way) by the Niçois in their native dialect Nissart. After the annexation of Nice by France in 1860 it was rechristened La Promenade des Anglais, replacing the former Nissart name with its French translation.

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We drove past Speak Easy, vegan restaurant in Nice

Le Speakeasy
7 rue Lamartine,
06000
Nice,
France

Unfortunately it was closed, so as we had three hours to spare before our flight home we decided on driving on to Antibes.

Antibes is a resort town in the Alpes-Maritimes department in southeastern France.

It lies on the Mediterranean in the Côte d’Azur, located between Cannes and Nice. The town of Juan-les-Pins is within the commune of Antibes. The Sophia-Antipolis technology park is northwest of Antibes.

There are 48 beaches along the 25 km (16 miles) of coastline that surround Antibes and Juan les Pins.

Museums

Archaeology Museum This museum sits atop the Promenade Amiral de Grasse in the old Bastion St Andre, a 17th-century fortress. The museum’s collection focuses on the classical history of Antibes. Many artifacts, sculptures and amphorae found in local digs and shipwrecks from the harbour are displayed here. The views of the sea and mountains from the promenade are also spectacular.

Naval Museum of Napoleon Housed in a 17th-century stone fort and tower, this museum presents a collection of Napoleonic memorabilia, paintings and naval models. Several wall paintings show historic moments in Napoleon’s reign and there are also pieces of his clothing such as one of the hats he once wore.

Picasso Museum This museum houses one of the world’s greatest Picasso collections: 24 paintings, 44 drawings, 32 lithographs, 11 oils on paper, 80 pieces of ceramics, two sculptures and five tapestries.

La Tour Museum This small museum in the centre of town brings the contemporary history of Antibes to life through its exhibit of costumes, tools, photographs and other objects used by the local people.

Absinthe Museum The Absinthe Museum is located in a basement in the Roman foundations of Old Antibes. It is dedicated to the manufacture and appreciation of this green liqueur.

It would be nice to revisit Antibes to look around the museums when we have more time in the future.

Here we had a hot chocolate at a nice Italian cafe

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Well I had hot chocolate, Sangeet had an apple juice.

The rain had now stopped and the sun had come out and brightened everything up. It is amazing how when the sun comes out everything just looks so much better. We went for a walk along the coast

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One has to be careful whilst walking here as there is plenty of renegade dog leavings. I really do not know why owners cannot clean up after their dogs!!

After a short while we headed to the airport, returned the car to Avis and boarded our plane.

Poster at the airport

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