The “different place for lunch every day, when working in London” Challenge 2017

January 2017 – a new year and a new job, working in central London for the next month or two. On my first lunch break (I get a whole 40mins), sitting in Pret a Manger on Carnaby St, found myself struck by the number of places to eat in the area. Thus began my “Eat at a Different Lunch Place every day when working in London Challenge 2017“. There were/are no rules really, except no take-aways, you must sit in the place to eat! Also, I do try to keep the cost as cheap as possible, which has become to mean, less than £10 – blame the location. Originally I aimed at 30 places, as that would be a month’s worth, but then I (surprisingly) got re-hired and decided to keep it going. Despite the walking distances and difficultly of find places increasing and a desperately strong desire to go back to previous establishments, I have persisted and been rewarded with a surprisingly good and varied cuisine for lunch. So, here is my 2017 lunch-challenge diary so far…

Notes: Yes, I’m still updating this list – as it comes from my phone and I’m still trying to workout/remember some of the places.
Also Yes, I will add quite a lot of these to Trip Advisor at some point – already a Level 4 contributor 🙂

When:Where / What / Any Good? :Notes:
Wed 4.1.17Pret a Manger, Carnaby StWhere it all begins…
Thu 5.1Asian cafe round corner pork noodles 
Fri 6.1Hipster sandwich bar 
Mon 9.1Cafe Pomodoro chips? 
Tue 10.1Leon, Carnaby St – green curry 
Wed 11.1Itsu on , chicken & rice –  
Thu 12.1Work from home day 
Fri 13.1Wasabi on Wardour St. – Katsu curry – good as always from Wasabi  
Mo 16.1Work from home day 
Tu 17.1Italian cafe on Wardour St – had v good lasagne 
We 18.1Italian cafe chicken panini 
Th 19.1Vital Ingredient on Golden Square – pork rice – nice tasty healthy food 
Fr 20.1Hawaii Poke bowl, Kingly St – an unusual lunch of fish and rice in a bowl. Surprisingly tasty and good. 
Mo 23.1Carbon – rice & lamb – not many seats in the place(maybe 3 or 4) but the food was fresh and good. 
Tu 24.1Flatplanet pizza flatbread – pretty good, but a bit expensive for a flat piece of pizza, still the service was very good. 
We 25.1Mother Mash (pie shop), Ganton St – sausages and mash – excellent fayre 
Th 26.1Burgeri, Great Marlborough St – burger and chips – good place, they give you a machine that buzzes to let you know when your order is ready, think this place is Qatar version of McDonalds.  
Fr 27.1Cafe by salt beef and cheese panini 
Mo 30.1Crush – beans wrap 
Tu 31.1Hummus Wardour St – bowl chicken 
We 1.2Bao – 1 X chicken Bao 1 X xaio Thai chicken – good food, but expensive and I don’t quite get what’s so great about it, but it’s very popular. 
Th 2.2Urban Tea Rooms – chorizo panini 
Fr 3.2Vietnam noodles soup 
Mo 6.2Work from home day 
Tu 7.2Toi & Moi Cafe place – bacon guacamole panini 
We 8.2Koti Roll, Poland St – very good value and a tasty eat. 
Th 9.2The Diner, Ganton St – pork burger & fries – wasn’t bad, but expensive for what it was, also the service was awful, the waitress did’t return with my change, which was quite annoying. 
Fr 10.2Joe and the Juice, Carnaby St – a sandwich -a loud trendy place, the loud trendy version of Costa really, would’ve preferred not to be quite so loud, even the serving guy shouted at me when my order was ready. 
Mo 13.2 – Th 16.2Worked from home and went on trip to Scafell Pike. 
Fr 17.2Eat 

My contract ended at this time and so far had clocked up 28 eating places in total by this point…Then I amazingly got re-hired, so the “Work lunch challenge” started again…

When:Where / What / Any Good? :Notes:
Mo 3.4Wok to Walk – Excellent place 
Tu 4.4Dunkn Donuts – chicken baguette – always wanted to go to this place, but never have done til now, not bad. 
We 5.4Mister Lasagnia – fab potato lasagne. This was a real random find and glad I did find it. 
Original Goal Reached: 31 place(an entire month’s worth)
Th 6.4Wok on fire 18.4 
Fr 7.4Chilangos – burito! 
Mo 10.4Tuk Tuk noodle bar 
Tu 11.4Ma Plucker 
We 12.4Thai Street Food place 
Th 13.4&Pasta 19.4? 
Fr 14.4Good Friday 
Mo 17.4Easter Monday 
Tu 18.4Princi Italian bread place 
We 19.4Ten Ten Thai – 40th place 
Th 20.4work from home 
Fr 21.4Cotton Cafe 
Mo 24.4Herman Ze German 
Tu 25.4Jumbo Eats 
We 26.4Itenburi 
Th 27.4Shoryu Ramen 
Fr 28.4Billy & the Chicks 
Mo 1.5Bank holiday 
Tu 2.5Taro – Japanese yakisoba 
We 3.5Cafe near ronnie scott’s – chicken escalope wrap thing good £6 
Th 4.5Subway – yes I was getting restaurant-outed at this point and just wanted a Subway! 
Fr 5.5Lingo Japanese – not bad 
Mo 8.5Poppies – Fish & Chip shop – chicken pie & chips £12 v good 
Tu 9.5Work from home day 
We 10.5Rasa Sayang Malaysian – the chicken was not great in this place £10 
Th 11.5Melt Room cheesy sandwich place – top place £5 
Fr 12.5Masala Zone – not bad, considering I asked them to rush serving me £10 pretty good 
Mo 15.5Rosa’s Thai good £10 
Tu 16..5Cafe TPT – did not like this much Kung po chicken £12 
We 17.5Bodeans Soho Special Sandwich v good £7 
Th 18.5Thai cottage restaurant – excellent noodle dish and only £5 
Fr 19.5Tommi’s burger place – the burger & fries were a bit expensive, but good, only thing this place played very loud music for such a small place 
Mo 22.5Taiwan Street food in soho old tree Daiwan bee – Taiwan need noodle soup 
Tu 23.5Potato people – duck in jacket – v good 
We 24.5BGR burger place – nice burger 
Th 25.5Jamie Oliver’s diner burger – a surprising bargain at £6 
Fr 26.5Butifara Peru sandwich thing – unusual cuisine in this place 
Mo 29.5Bank holiday 
Tu 30.5T Gerrard’s Corner Chinese chicken noodles – a giant restaurant, but with wonderful service and lovely noodles £9 
We 31.5Caffe Nero – time and wanting something a bit plain meant a cheese panini here 
Th 1.6Vital Ingredient, Berwick St – my rules allow me to visit the same chain, BUT it must be a different location and the Sri Lankan chicken and quinoa here was v good. 
Fr 2.6Libanis restaurant – remarkably good lunch dish 
Mo 5.6Tombo poke and matcha – 
Tu 6.6Katsu curry china town Matsoki – this was a good katsu curry. 
We 7.6The Breakfast Club – had “huevos rancheros”(eggs) at this trendy hugely popular cafe 
Th 8.6Leon china town – chicken burger meal 
Fr 9.6EAT on Golden Square – Coconut chicken noodle soup + brie and ham baguette 
Mo 12.6Hungs Chinese – really not the most pleasant restaurant, was almost sitting in the kitchen, but the shredded chicken noodles sure were good £7 
Tu 13.6Pret on soho road – wahey – always reliable for a sandwich 
We 14.6Costa coffee – a gloriously sunny day, so ended up walking to The Mall and sat and had a cheese panini on the way back. 
Th 15.6Bap – burger restaurant – it was indeed a burger and fries, not much else to say really 
Fr 16.6Pepe’s Italian – on Old Compton St – Pepe herself served me and was a top Lasagne £7 nice 
Mo 19.6Shelley’s cafe hot – it was the hottest day of the year and this place was like a sauna, but the £7 large katsu curry was worth sweltering for, Amazing! 
Tu 20.6Yoobi suishi £9 expensive for 6 bits of salmon 
We 21.6Tostado £5 v good Ecuador lunch 
Th 22.6Yoshimo Gyoza £5 v good rice curry sauce and 6 X pork Gyoza 
Fr 23.6Smack Lobster Roll – £8 + 2.95 chips shrimp roll – nice 
Mo 26.6Muslim cafe Shaftsbury – chicken escalope and chips –  
Tu 27.6Simit sarayi chicken roll not great nice pretzel 
We 28.6Work from home day 
Th 29.6Wholefoods buffet £8 for 500g but has to be said was delicious 
Fr 30.6Cafe Buon Gusto – Frith St. – marvelous 

Scafell Pike Round 2 – Lake District Trip Blog

This is a long blog write up of my trip to the Lake District in Feb 2017, it’s purely for amusement and to (erm) write something. Back in 2007 I attempted to climb Scafell Pike and got lost on the mountains(another long story), so I decided to re-visit the place this year with my friend Paul. He’s lived in the USA the past 17 years, so was well up for this trip to arguably the finest of English countryside.

Tues 14th Feb 2017

The plan for the morning: up at 8am, breakfast, pack car, 9am head to Wimbledon, go for 10km run, back by 10:30am, pick up Paul and head to Lancaster! I was signed up for the Hampton Court half-marathon on Sunday, hence the need for a run. Unsurprisingly, getting ready took longer than hoped and I got to Wimbledon around 10:30am! Picked up Paul at 11am and drove 5 hours to Lancaster University, stopping off at a service station for a spot of Costa and a Greggs baguette. A very helpful and informative bear of a man checked us into the uni and we headed to our room, which was most clean and pleasant. I then worked out this was probably the only day I could do a much-needed run, so that was the next priority. The reviews said there was a gym and sauna in this place, so we headed for the sports centre. Being gymophobic, Paul did not want to go to the gym and after being informed it would actually cost £12 + VAT + council tax, neither did I. Paul was kind enough to go back to the room and wait, so I went for an exploratory 7 mile jog instead – headed towards Lancaster Town Centre, then back and around the University grounds. Other than finally making it to Lancaster city limits(a goal of mine for many years), the definite highlight was the curious mirage towards the end, of hundreds of athletic young student women yelling and jumping around for netball practice, which you don’t often see round where I live…


Our next plan to walk the 3 miles into Lancaster, was altered, thank goodness, to getting the bus instead. On the bus Paul noticed our tickets said “Return to Bowerman hotel” and despite Paul being quite keen to get off, we passed/ignored that place and stayed sat until the town centre.
We walked up to the castle, which had some nice night views and an interesting plaque about how it used to be a prison. Paul also got to see the railway station! After a bit of wandering, we ended up at the Brown Cow pub – which was a great place, with fine Guinness, except this was Valentine’s night – so there was Paul, myself and about 2 other people. Still, we saw the Champions League shock defeat of Barcelona 4-0 to Paris St-Germain(the four of us cheered each goal) and the barman even said we could get a takeaway and bring it back! I was quite happy to do this, but we ended up going to Wetherspoons and grabbing some ‘real’ food(aka buritos) instead, which you prob should do after a 7 mile run. We caught the bus back and set the alarm for 6:30am!

3 Month Marathon Plan Summary

In summary, here was my marathon training diary from 2011. I kind of only planned the big distances, mainly basing them around and wanting to be able to run a distance of approx 20miles one month before the actual marathon date. Running is different for everyone, my only tip really is do try to get the big distance 2-3 hour runs done – the 10,16 and 20milers – they are tough and somewhat daunting, but try to keep relaxed, take it easy and just do them. You’ll look back and find them well worth it on the day. Looking back now, it’s amazing what you can actually do.

First Time Buyer – Steps to Buying a House / Buying a House Procedure

After last year’s experience, I found there were some great guides/pages out there for house buying, but nothing that covered all the steps I encountered – I felt lost sometimes, waiting for stuff to happen or receiving stuff, so decided to write this up.

Please note: I was a first time buyer, did my own removals (didn’t have that much stuff) and my dad was a surveyor, so he did the surveying. Your experience might be quite different.

Biblical Wealth Secrets – VTA Publications – Scam

The other week I received this letter through the post – I was wondering if this was a scam, so Googled “VTA publications and Biblical Wealth Secret”, but could only find one reference and that was here at I signed up to MoreMoneyReview to read the comments and apparently this Biblical Wealth Secret thing is pretty much the same as another scheme called Streetwise or the Fortune Files. From the reading those, it seems to largely promises the world YET somewhat unsurprisingly delivers very little.

Anyways, I found the letter is rather amusingly and well written – FULL of lures to bring in vulnerable people! So I scanned it and OCR’d it, here it is for your reading and to help Google know more about VTA Publications 🙂

Chicken, carrot, onion and gravy pie de Chef James

photo 4

I literally chucked this thing together and the result was a most top, tasty and delicate home-made pie!
try it out and impress your friends!

Serves about 2 people.

1 x cooked chicken breast *
2 x carrots (peeled and sliced)
1 x large onion (diced)
1 packet of ready rolled filo pastry – or about 4-5 sheets!
Cooking oil – be it olive, sunflower, whatever, to brush over the pastry
2-3 tablespoons Bisto gravy granules
sprinkles of black pepper, Herbes de Provence
some thyme to garnish (if you have any spare)

Project Kapsalon aka Rotterdam kebab

Cook your chips and chicken

I oven roasted mine, but deep fried is probably more kebab shop like.

Prepare your salad ingredients

For the salad you’ll need lettuce, tomatoes, onions (red or ordinary will do), diced cucumber and some Dutch cheese – you’re meant to use Gouda, but I used Jarlsberg as had a packet sitting in the fridge. Also some garlic mayo and/or hot pepper sauce. And yeah I know the oven door could do with a clean.

Voila – chips, chicken and salad

Stick the chips, chicken and cheese in an oven dish – top with a few onions

Put a layer of chips in your dish, then a layer of chicken/meat on top of that, then a layer of cheese on top of that. Top with a few onions. I only used half the dish, as am watching my weight being January and all.

Oven bake at 200 (gas mark whatever) til cheese properly melts – maybe 5mins

Ta da! properly melted cheese

Top with the salad & garlic mayo – the Kapsalon is complete!

Add a layer of onions, then lettuce, diced cucumber and tomatoes. Finally, squeeze over a generous spread of garlic mayo and pepper sauce. I used Remia classic Fritessaus too as I love that stuff. That’s pretty much your Kapsalon.

Ah yes, one last thing – best eaten with a can of beer

The guys in Roffa (Rotterdam) put them in wraps or takeaway boxes, but I just put it into a bowl, not very well either. Anyways try it out, my Dutch friend always eats his with a can of beer (never a bottle). He says they’ve been around for a few years, but nobody here’s heard of them. I hope this helps introduce the non-Dutch nations of imgur to the wonder and taste of the Kapsalon.

Does going to Rutlish School put you in the “Cosy Club”?

Rutlish School coat of arms

Apparently the UK is deeply elitist and you can’t get a ‘top job’ unless you are one of the ‘cosy club’ which mostly comprises of private school types.

Now I went to Rutlish School, an ex-grammar in Merton Park, Wimbledon, SW19. So my real question is, are we #Rutlish School boys part of the ‘cosy club’? Let’s look at the facts – John Major PM is an old boy of ours, we have an Old boys club called The Old Ruts + we were all boys + we have a “Speech Night” whereby a famous old-Rutlish boy does a speech and presents prizes(John Major in 1991) + we had ‘houses’ + we have a ‘head boy’ + we used to play ‘fives'(a game generally only played at private schools) + we did had Latin lessons at GCSE and A-Level!

Inspired by this article, I’ve now made some art work! 🙂

Rutlish Elite

Free ways to copy files, video, photos and music directly to/from your iPhone without iTunes

The problem with iTunes is you simply cannot copy files, photos, images, videos directly to and from your iPhone or iPad. I wanted to copy some specific .MOV video files to my iPhone and copy some camera roll photos off it and found this became a bit of a nightmare. I really couldn’t be bothered with syncing and all that malarky, I just wanted to copy the files and go. Anyways, after several hours of playing around I’ve concluded the following, hope it helps somebody : I found I needed 3 programs to maintain my iPhone as I wanted…