So it all started at around 8am this morning with @ibzo's tweet of this newspaper advertisement. Rumours were floating around on Twitter from a few top foodies about an apparent pop-up of my favourite West Coast fast food chain In-N-Out. Surely not I cried. SURELY NOT IN LONDON?!
I was skeptical about the whole thing for numerous reasons:
It was based in Hendon, who actually goes to Hendon?!
It was based in the most random and inconspicuous Italian cafe in London called Florence Cafe
In-N-Out hasn't even branched out of the West Coast of America, why London?
It would only be opened today, it's a Tuesday
It would only be opened for 4 hours
Did I mention, HENDON?!
At first, excitement hit as you know, I fucking love their burgers, and their fries, and their shakes. Then reality set in and made me think of Vice's mean Kanye prank. What if Vice (or whoever for that matter) was playing a trick on all the London foodies, sending them out to basically the middle of nowhere to seek a cult-branded burger?
My suspicions were proven wrong by Twitter, no one can be that evil. In-N-Out in London was not a myth, or a rumour, or a horrible hoax.
IT HAPPENED. And I got to experience it.
I almost let this 4 hour pop-up pass by, I battled against myself and my inner fattie. But, I couldn't resist. "YOLO". Nor could I not go after getting my colleague all hyped up about it! So off we went, at 11.30am (we work for the best company) to get our hands on that burger and sip from that iconic red on white palm tree printed paper cup - reminding me of days in California and Vegas (SAD).
I even topped up my oyster card for the occasion, and trust me when I say, it takes a lot for me to top up for a Tube journey! I feared the 350 burgers would run out before we got there. And, as we were nearing Hendon Central, I was getting more and more excited and stupidly giddy. Never been that excited before. Ever.
We arrived with good timing at around midday - the queues were low with only a 15 minute wait. We were greeted, given a wristband and some merchandise (!!!!)
We got talking to Brian, the main guy there (Authentically American btw), who has been in the company for 18 years! He informed us they chose the location to avoid crowds and to have a steady trial of the restaurant as they are looking to branch out to London. I repeat, from the guy himself: THEY ARE LOOKING TO BRANCH OUT TO LONDON. They also flew a select team of staff all the way from US just so they can flip us some authentic In-N-Out burgers :D
So down to the BURGERS. I ordered a Animal Style cheeseburger with crisps and a coke. I was very sad that they didn't have their amazing fries or shake on the menu. Brian explained that it would have been too much hassle to source the correct potatoes for the fries, especially as the place was only opened for 4 hours. Anyway, the prices were so good!
These happened, what beauties. First up, my colleague's Double Double Animal Style Burger. The next two are my Animal Style Cheese burger with my makeshift fries and drankkk.
Original receipt AND paper cups (with the same bible citations underneath!):
My goodie bad of merchandise:
I'm happy to have been able to experience the iconic burger brand in London! And, see with my own eyes a place like Hendon trending on Twitter. I must have looked liked the most stereotypical, over-excited Asian person ever. But, it was all worth it. I cannot wait for In-N-Out to have permanent residency in London. With fries and shakes in tow. And preferably not in Hendon.
I will leave you with another one of my amazing GIFs, prancing around in my new In-N-Out tee. I'm addicted, I am sorry.
After this, you know you have to check me out on: Twitter. Follow me. Tumblr. Follow me.
I thought it might be a good idea for me to start blogging again, especially as I seem to go through fluctuating stages of wanting to blog a lot and not wanting to at all. I've had the Blogger app on my phone for way too long and not really bothered to use it. Plus, my hour long bus journey to and from work - I refuse to pay for a zone 1 to 3 travelcard - and lack of ebooks to read on my Kindle means I have a lot of spare time (there are only so many update tweets I can read per minute and Instagram photos I can look at)!
What better way to start up again than with food? If any of you follow me on Instagram you may have noticed my slight addiction to food, where I document London's lively new food scene.
One of the most recent restaurants I visited is Caravan King's Cross which is located in Granary Square, one of London's newest urban spaces. The square is situated just behind King's Cross St. Pancras International Station overlooking Regent's Canal, with an impressive synchronising water fountain outside the Granary Building. After its recent transformation it is now the go-to-place for foodies, with the resident street food vendors, Eat.St, recent ice-cream festival, and now, new spaces for the ultimate dining experiences.
I went for brunch in Caravan Kings Cross on a Sunday morning so the place was super busy, with mostly cool mums and dads and their small children. But, don't let that put you off! The restaurant itself has to be one of the coolest dining spaces I have seen in London: it is all raw metals and woodwork, with a cool-unfinished modern feel, and open kitchen with a blackboard of daily specials.
The main reason I chose to visit this restaurant is because of the Chicken and Waffle brunch option, but alas, it was not meant to be. After looking through the menu about ten times trying to find the chicken and waffles I saw on the online menu, the manager (I think) informed me they had to take it off the menu as it was not working well. I was disappointed but appreciated their honesty, if it tasted like shit there is no point serving it! My second choice was the Salt Beef Bubble topped with two poached eggs sitting on a bed of spinach and drizzled with hollandaise sauce. So, so delicious. Priced at £9, it isn't the cheapest brunch you will ever get, but sometimes it is necessary to just treat yourself! My friends ordered the Raclette and spinach French toast, bacon, watercress and the 'Hang Town fry' which was fried oyster, bacon and potato omelette. Obviously, between my friends and I it is obligatory to sample everyone's food! The other dishes also gets my thumbs up, the hang town fry moreso than the raclette dish...come on...oysters and potato omelette? EPIC. We also ordered a side of avocado sprinkled with chilli flakes and grilled chorizo just to sample the side dishes, and once again, impressive.
I just need to visit Caravan King's Cross for dinner now, really want to try the fried chicken, watermelon, pomegranate and chilli dish! Has anyone else visited the restaurant, for brunch or dinner? Which menu is better?
If you follow me on Instagram (@supernoodlerach) you may have noticed my stomach's love for food. Both savoury and sweet. I am not much of a cook - promise this will change, I want to be able to cook like the mother one day - but I do enjoy eating out whenever I can. And yes, I am that annoying person who always whips out my iPhone and takes photos of my food! I like to eat well and I like to eat cheap (relatively cheap, not chicken & chips £1.99 cheap) in London. Most of what I eat ends up on my Instagram, so I may as well post some of my favourites up on the blog. I want to get a whole bunch of you Londoners to taste the amazing-ness that I taste! Sharing is caring and all that jazz.
Now. Ice cream.
Last week we had, wait for it, ONE SUNNY DAY *fist pump*! One whole day without rain, which obviously called for ice cream. I love ice cream, not a massive chocolate flavour lover, but everything else is a yes! Steph and I visited gelateria Gelepo in Soho who offer a wide range of weird and unique flavoured ice creams and sorbets alongside their "house" flavours such as Fresh Mint Stracciatella, Coconut Sorbet, and Bitter Chocolate. Gelupo have been around for a couple years but like many small resturants and cafes in Soho, they often go amiss, tucked away in one of the small side streets. It is only through word-of-mouth that places like this gets discovered, which is exactly how I found the spot.
On the menu at the ice cream bar I saw rice flavour and had to get it. One of the weirdest flavours on the menu and it was delicious! It had a slightly milky taste with grains of fluffy rice mixed in for texture, surely added to mess with your head a little...you're eating ice cream that taste like plain white rice...with actual rice. Not one to go for flavours that compliment each other, I also got pistachio, really rich and easily the best pistachio ice cream I have tasted. Not a conventional mix, but it tasted quite good together actually: a nutty and rice-y blend! Steph tried a real tropical, summery mix with her choice of Blood Orange Sorbet and Pineapple ice cream. The blood orange was AH-MAZING! A perfect sorbet flavour, working perfectly with the fresh, sweet pineapple.
I can't wait to come back here - once summer decides to surface in London - and try the other flavours of ice creams, sorbets and granitas! They also sell a range of deli foods, ice-cream filled cakes, melons, pineapples as well as small chocolate covered cones sprinkled with pistachios and cannolis (small Sicilian pastries stuffed with geleto). Coffee, juices and ice-cream hot chocolate (HOLLLAAA!) are also sold in this little geleto bar and deli.
The flavours vary day-to-day, keeping the geleto menu fresh and keeping the customers coming back, both eager to try new flavours and hoping to sample their favourite Gelupo geleto flavour once again. I personally want to try their Lychee, Salted Caramel, Earl Grey, Fresh Mint Stracciatella, Green Tea Lemon, Pine Nuts and Fennel seeds and Avocado and Honey flavours!
Spotted H&M's latest Fashion Against Aids collection in store yesterday and I want everything! Prints upon prints upon prints. Everything looks so good, pure summery vibes. I even want the printed hammock.
Very big fan of the PRINT used.
H&M's Fashion Against Aids campaign has been going on for a few years now, and, for me, this is the strongest collection to date - remember 25% of the purchase price goes straight towards helping the prevention of AIDS/HIV.
Here are my favourite pieces and you can view more from the collection over on their Facebook page. The collection was just released a few days ago, it is bound to sell out!
(Ha Long Bay from my Instagram y'al'l - If you want to check out my holiday photos aka a bunch of pics of me eating my way around Asia find and follow me @supernoodlerach!)
I have just come back from an amazing 3 week adventure/best-travelling-experience-of-a-lifetime/discovery-of-my-roots holiday in Thailand and Vietnam to....miserably grey London. This was the first time in my twenty-something years of life that I have been back "home". What a contrast to my life in London, but so amazing. I absolutely adore Vietnam. I prefer the south due to the weather and beaches but I do appreciate the everyday realness of the north that we experienced; the hustle of the locals, the honesty of the majority of them who clearly knew we were tourists but didn't try and overcharge us for things we bought! Being back in Vietnam made me realise my understanding of the language is actually on point lol, growing up we were taught and spoken to in Cantonese. We were never spoken to in Vietnamese nor did our parents push the language on us but I naturally picked it up, albeit only an understanding as I can't seem to speak the language. Ah I miss it!
To say I have holiday blues is an understatement. A lot of change has come about and I am a mix bag of emotions at the moment. Back to real life...
Another curve to the roller-coaster we call life I guess? There are too many questions floating around in my head and I didn't expect to feel like this after my holiday! I was supposed to feel refreshed!
I fully blame the drizzly, hailing, wet weather.
On a lighter note, my appetite has disappeared.
I just can't seem to stomach British food any more. I think this has something to do with the amount of delicious, fresh and low in fat foods we ate on our travels around Thailand and Vietnam, in particularly Vietnam! So much good food and for so cheap. For example we ordered shitloads of pork nems (above) and that hardly cost us £1 a head! Really makes you think about all the over-priced shit food we choose to pay for in the UK. You can eat so well in Vietnam for £1, and because the food is light (but filling ... if that makes sense?!) you don't feel so bad for eating four / five times a day. I didn't anyway. Desserts and ice-cream costs about 30p, you didn't even think twice about eating two or three desserts one after another! Excessive? Maybe a little, but how often would I find these desserts again in London? And for those prices!
The epicness pictured above is one of the many variations of Thailand's dessert speciality mango and sticky rice. One of these sundaes from a major dessert chain (Swensens) cost about £1! The OG mango and sticky rice - the most delicious, freshest version - you buy from old Thai women on their fruit stalls cost about 50p a portion. We actually ate this almost everyday! It was so so good. And guess how much you have to pay for it in London? Between £5 - £6 for a tiny portion. Ridiculous. And it tastes crap in comparison! I am talking about a particular dessert spot in Soho. Be ashamed at the shambles of mango and sticky rice you sell to your customers! If you are going to charge that much, please try and up your standards! I used to quite like this dessert spot, but this was before I tried the real deal. Never going back again!
Anyway. Back to reality. Hoping to get my appetite back. Hoping to get over my blues and get back to real life.
Just one more...
(Monkey Island, Vietnam)
Keep up to date with errrthhhaaannggg via all my social network platforms....
After taking the antihistamines 30 minutes prior to my run, I found that my skin's itchiness was only 10% of what it felt like yesterday. HALLELUJAH! Today it only itched around my upper thigh area, which is a little more bearable than it going all the way down my legs! The pain and itchiness only lasted a few minutes here and there, and occurred about 15 minutes into my run, a lot later than usual. I say itch / itchiness and it sounds so minor but what I really mean is PAINFUL, STABBING, EXCRUCIATING, STINGING PAINS THAT MAKES ME WANT TO CRY. No exaggeration. I know some of my friends find this hilarrriiiiouuus (ahem Laura and Steph) but it isn't funny in the slightest!
A few of my other friends think it is down to the rubbing friction caused by my jiggly thighs and span-sexy running leggings. But, I've tried running in cotton leggings too and it doesn't help. I am tempted yet fearful of running in shorts. I fear it will make the itchy feeling flair up more because my leg are free to jiggle around more than usual, plus, me...in shorts...in London? Ermm how about no, not even in the summer! I have this complex about wearing shorts in London - it probably has something to do with the unpredictability of the weather and the amount of perverts on the streets, especially during summer. But, I GUESS, if this is the solution, I will have to get over it if I want to have an itch-free run at some point in my life.
To conclude, antihistamines works to prevent almost all itching caused by "exercising-induced urticaria". It is a proper nuisance knowing that I may have to take medicine every time I go for a run, and to be honest, quite off-putting. I am not 100% sure if it is fully down to the medicine, or if it is because I ran on a slightly warmer day, that minimised the stinging pains. I shall carry on my trial and testing and hopefully, in a couple of weeks I will be able to experience my first pleasant run :D.
Now I just need to learn how to run properly without almost tripping over my ankles and constantly knocking my knees. I must also remember to bring tissues with me for my one watery nostril. Oh, and before I forget...how does one overcome a stitch? I tried to ignore it and carried on running at a slower pace but it just seem to make the whole bloody thing worse! Tips or advice anyone?
This morning I went for a run. This isn't the first time I have stepped out of my house bare-faced with my hair pulled back, in a pair of span-sexy Nike leggings, a bright purple jumper and fluorescent pink pair of Lunarglide runners. I have ran many times before and it never gets better. I give as much as I can to this horrible "getting fit" regime, and yet my body just won't work with it! I say body, what I really mean is my skin. I experience the most horrendous bouts of itchy skin whenever I run. Does anyone else; pro, amateur, or social, experience this when you run?
I have googled this issue, and tried almost everything - cream your skin before exercising, thoroughly warm up beforehand - and yet nothing. Before today's run I moisturised the areas most prone to itching: legs, thighs and hips, did my 10 mins worth of BLT (bum, legs and tums NOT bacon, lettuce and tomato HAHAHA) work-out, wore TWO pairs of running leggings and thought I was set. It was a pleasant morning so surely my itchiness wouldn't occur as it only usually happens in the cold. BOY, I was wrong. Five minutes into it and my legs were finished. I actually wanted to rip my leggings off and scratch my legs until it bled. It is so fucking difficult trying to resist the urge to scratch and so, so painful. The many times it has happened before, I would scratch my legs so bad that they would turn red and have speckles of blood under my skin. I experience itchy skin not only when I run, but also when I walk at a fast pace outdoors. It is the worst during winter, to the point of not even being able to enjoy shopping trips! I think it has something to do with my body's inability to regulate my body temperature, which is probably why I sweat so much as soon as I start doing anything at a faster pace (you should see me when I am at spinning, actual LOLZ). SIGHS.
I have also read that itchiness may be caused by an allergic reaction. RACHEL IS ACTUALLY ALLERGIC TO RUNNING!!! Could this be true? I've been to the doctors about this issue (the same GP who also once Googled symptoms whilst I was in her room) and, of course, she was baffled and had no idea what I was on about. According to a Steady Health forum, "itching is caused by mast cell degeneration which leads to histamine release in the areas of the body that feel the most impact as you walk or run. These are mostly the thighs, legs, love handles" and it is called exercising-induced urticaria. Yeahh, so I self-diagnosed. The user suggests taking antihistamine 30mins prior to exercising which is what I am going to try next.
Fingers crossed this works for me please! I don't want to be able to only exercise indoors, how bloody boring. I think I would actually quite enjoy running if it wasn't so agonising, if it didn't feel like my legs were getting stung by thousands of bees and if I didn't have the urge to constantly scratch my skin off.
I run aimlessly, without a goal.
I like the sounds of the cars passing, and the bashing of the wind in my ears which is why I run without music. PLUS my iPhone earphones are shit to run with, and I refuse to pay for new ones! I enjoy running because it is pretty peaceful running alone: it allows you to channel your thoughts, run and discover new routes and see new things in your local area you would not have otherwise discovered.
Those moments I stop to calm down the itchiness are also the moments when I take in my surroundings...whip out my iPhone and obviously Instagram it all. DURR.
Absolutely love these Haute Mess GIFs for Vogue Italia's spring issue! Steven Meisel created the GIFs featuring hotties Abbey Lee and Coco Roacha. When has trailer trash ever looked so good? Jewellery and nails are so on point. (I have no idea why they are not "GIFFING" about, click the photos to see it in action...)
Can't wait to pick up the next issue, the second in my collection of Vogue Itaaalliiiaaaa.
I have been contemplating whether to write this post or not for way too long. Months in fact. Questioning if I should use my blog as a place to vent, or if I should make a whole new blog - starting from scratch as a stranger to everyone - as a platform to express my feelings. This is me, and this is my blog and I will write what I want. Reasons as to why I would start something new because I feared people who knew me personally would read it is just ridiculous now that I think about it. I haven't written on here for so long, the last post was four months ago! I remember the days when I used to write daily, thriving with post ideas, photos and excitement to blog. I wish I never lost that, I wish I never let the exhaustion of working full time in my pointless job get the best of me (more about THAT later).
So here goes nothing. This is going to be long and wordy post about my life and shit that is going through my head at the moment. I'm writing this because I feel writing is the best way I can express myself. I often stumble over my words, words which make perfect sense in my head but somehow gets lost and jumbled as it makes its way out of mouth; turning coherent sentences into a mixture of high pitched sounds and noises. Making me ever so cool. NOT. It is the most embarrassing thing, trying to sound all grown and trying to make valid points when really my emotions are getting the best of me.
Emotions. Funny thing they are. I really wish I wasn't such an emotional person; I get angry too quick, I get upset even quicker. I am hasty and base too much on the way I feel rather than the way I think. I go through situations where I think I should leave it alone, where I think it is best to just go, where I think this is doing me no good. Yet, how I feel gets the better of me, it has the stronger pull on me. I go with that 'pull' knowing in my head it is wrong, regretting the decision straight after. Blaming myself for being stupid and for not going with what I knew in my head was right.
I go with my heart, I think with my heart.
This is where everything I do goes wrong. I get angry and I cry. God dammit I cry a lot! Take me back to the 18 - 21 year old Rachel. I never cried. I never even cried when it was the "emotional time" in the month. It would take a lot for me to cry. And even if I did cry it would never be in front of another person. I get mad for sure, but I get mad and stayed mad until the anger past. I saw crying as weak, I saw it as someone else seeing me as weak. I refused to be seen as weak in someone else's eyes. Now, I am just a cry baby LOL! I get mad and I cry because my anger takes over everything. I think it is frustration. Am I weak now? I wish I could control my tears as much as I wish I could control my emotions.
I feel a bit lost now, I don't even know what the point of this post is! I guess it's a type-as-you-go type post, a post with no purpose but it will get published regardless (and maybe get taken down as quickly as it goes up)
Work. I was always that girl in school who was smart but talked too much and was too busy socialising instead of achieving to be the best. I guess I had potential, but my lack of concentration made me just OK at everything (apart from psychology...I SUCKED at it). I was OK with being just OK. My parents pushed me as much as they could (none of that Chinese Tiger Mom ish!!), but they knew as much as we did, that if you don't love what you are doing you will never push to do the best.
I love socialising too much which is why it plays a big part in my chosen career path. So all is not lost!
The whole point of this part of the post is to really talk about why I got so lazy with my blog, and how being comfortable in a job is not necessarily the best thing. Until recently I worked for a globally known company, the biggest brand in the world lets say, until they FUCKED A BUNCH OF US OVER. Albeit, I was a store assistant, it was still my job and I enjoyed it. I loved the people I worked with and I love the brand. Working as a sales assistant full time straight after I graduated was never supposed to be a permanent thing. It was supposed to be temporary; for me to earn a bit of cash whilst I relaxed after two long years of university. To earn money purely so I could use it to go nice holidays (which I did and lots of them).
It was never going to my career path, I knew this. Yet, somehow it took over my life. Retail is a bitch. It sucks the life out of you and makes you think there is nothing out there for you career wise. It is tiring (standing around for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week: KILLER), and the hours are ridiculous in malls (open until midnight during Christmas?!) so on the days you are off work, you don't actually want to do anything. Such as writing on a blog. You begin to question your passion for what you love, and see retail as the only option. And the joke is, even if your managers knew this was just a temporary job for the now, they were really reluctant to help you out because of the "needs of the business". The amount of times I have heard that these last few weeks SIGH. Anyway. Due to all the tiredness, you loose passion and confidence in what you can actually do. I felt comfortable in my job and was once again OK with it. I realised being OK sucked, I was 22! I took that leap, halved my salary, went part time and took on an internship. I got paid way less, worked about 60 hours a week, and at least once a week I worked from 9am - 10.30pm (I called this the staving day as I never had a chance to grab food running between the two jobs....so from 1pm until 11pm NO FOOD. And you all know I LOVE FOOD). It was all worth it, that bit of hard work paid off in the end! And yes, I was gaunt and tired and skinny but whatevs, I have my whole life to get fat!
Liars and people who fuck you over. I have a real issue with liars. I hate liars and dishonest people. Little white lies and half truths all amount to one lie at the end of the day. Now what is really fucked up are companies who lie, companies in which you have dedicated a good 2+ years to. Companies who do not appreciate their staff and what they have achieved because all of a sudden, everything needs a refresh and revamp. Including staff.
So this shambles of a global company I worked for decided "Hey, lets have a refit of the store, change the job roles and make everyone redundant because we want a new team." What they did next was utter bullshit. They made everyone, myself included, go through the one month consultation period where they sugarcoated everything with false hope telling us all we had to do was reapply for our jobs or have the chance to be relocated. This was basically all done to cover their backs, making it legally tight. We all attended this interview, and lo and behold, no one was successful and we were all given the same excuses as to why we never got our jobs. Personally, I saw this whole thing as a sign for me to let go of my part time job and pursue other things, but for many of my friends and colleagues, this was their part time jobs to get them through collage. How could they do this? Do they not feel an ounce of guilt? Pure evil.
They gave us an FAQ sheet which stated that they have not been interviewing people and won't be until after the consultation period. Another lie. The consultation period finished on the 24th February and the store is set to open on 1st March, do they honestly want us to believe it will only take them a week to interview, hire and train everyone in that time? What crap. A friend of my colleague had an interview with the store and got the job...this was last month during the start of our consultation period. Proof that they lied. This whole thing basically wasted everyone's time and what made it worse is trust in our manager. This woman worked with us for 6 months, knew us all personally yet during the last month she treated us as if we were a name and paper, as if she had never seen us work. This woman is a puppet. A typical retail puppet with no backbone, fearing to put her foot down for some of the best staff she would ever work with.
These last few months have been a bit weird for me. This post has taken me over 2 and half hours to write! I'm just glad I got it all out. I refuse to name this company I speak off, so if you know me you know the deal, no need to blast it. They know that it is wrong and they are just soul-less machines with no morals. But, ratings to them for being the biggest bullshitters and the covering their backs so tightly. Bastards.
I am late (very unlike me..) with trying the 'new' trend after Barry M's crack-effect, the amazing magnetised nail polish. I am in love with this! I tried out Boots 17 range which is available in 4 colours - silver, purple, blue and green - because, to be honest, its the cheapest at £5.99 ( 3 for 2 at the moment). I read quite a few bad points about the polish noting that the pattern is not consistent, but for me all the patterns on both my hands are pretty similar. Even if it isn't, surely the odd patterns here and there make it look nicer?! The magnetised effect nail polish creates a sick 3D / tie-dye / galaxy / metallic texturised effect, a total contrast to your usual boring manicure. All you have to do to create this effect is hover the magnet (attached to the bottle top) above the just polished nails for a few seconds. The easiest way to create amazing looking nails! Defiantly worth a try, my favourite is the green. Let's see how long this nail trend will last....
PS First time blogging from the Blogger iPhone app! How do you change where you want to place photos?! And you can't link?