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Archive for March, 2012|Monthly archive page

Reach, Climb, Run

In Day to Day on March 27, 2012 at 7:57 am

WOOLWICH

I’m not a typical ‘exercise person’. At school, being forced to play hockey, netball or tennis was my worst nightmare come true and I hated every minute spent running round an astro turf  wearing silly bright blue socks. One aspect of my school sporting calendar I did love, however, was the much loathed bleep test  – the competitiveness, the increasing pressure, the sole focus on running…

Sports day was the culmination of this weekly punishment and the ultimate in humiliating experiences. I went to an all girls school, where, unsurprisingly, there weren’t many takers for spending a whole day wearing uncomfortable kit and waiting in the Crystal Palace stalls to go and jump in a sandpit. The older we got, the less we went until…it was made mandatory. We all had to pick something. I got lumbered with the hurdle race and shocked myself when I came first.

Since then, running has been my favourite exercise and I try and go at least three times a week. Where I’ve found running a basic way to keep fit, I enjoy challenging myself more by entering races (Run to the Beat and the British 10k), and wanted to find another way in which to tone up other areas of my body.

Enter climbing.

Railay Climbing

After trying rock climbing in Railay, Thailand, I came back last year full of promise to start doing it regularly and become a total pro. Some months later, I found The Reach and enrolled on the beginners course. Exhausting, challenging and exciting, it was exactly what I had been looking for and I honestly can’t recommend it enough for someone seeking something new.

Climbing

For £35 you get two three hour sessions of teaching, shoe and equipment hire. Our instructor, Kevin was brilliant, even better when he told us that teaching indoor climbing wasn’t his ‘day job’ and that he was in between tours of showing people how to climb ice caps. With an eight people maximum per beginners class, there is more than enough opportunity to make the most of having an experienced instructor at your disposal. Make the most of this. At the end of the class, so long as you know how to tie a knot, belay your partner and fasten your harness properly, you can become a member for £4.

I’ve been twice a week for three weeks since the course and my only regret is not going sooner. The one problem I’ve found is that when you get to the top of the walls, you can easily smell the delicious food cooking in the cafe and if you’re anything like me, get easily distracted.

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The Boy with Salt Beef on His Face

In Day to Day on March 5, 2012 at 10:42 pm

SHOREDITCH

“You want to go for a night out in Shoreditch? To a Moroccan bar? And see a silent comedian?!”

Er…yes is the answer. It was actually a great night out, and despite being in scene-kid central, it was far from posey or up it’s own arse. Myself and 4 friends stopped off at a bar before the comedy night – even though I’ve worked and been out in Shoreditch before, I have limited knowledge of the good bars to go to so this was a suggestion from a friend.

Casa Blue, at the top of Brick Lane, was a good pick. Small, so small it looks a bit like a cafe, the decor looks like Car Booty exploded all over the walls and tables – rifles, lanterns, candles, fish bowls, posters, film memorabilia, records – it’s camped up Eastern chintz mixed with some good old fashioned market ‘antiques’. The look was so over the top that I liked it, especially the completely mismatched sofas, chairs and tables (all very worn). Bottles of beer and spirit/mixes were reasonably priced for the area but the fishbowls were £28, which is ridiculous.

And beware of the toilets, they are awful.

Next, we headed to Rich Mix to see my current favourite-comedian-of-all-time, The Boy with Tape on His Face. Ever since seeing him at the Old Vic Tunnels last year, I’ve been desperate to see him again, so when I saw he was headlining at Rich Mix for £10 a ticket, I couldn’t think of anything I’d rather do with a Friday night.

Using audience participation and hilarious facial (eye) expressions, he is excellent. Other comedians on the bill that impressed me included Tony Law and Cardinal Burns. Despite getting there late, I feel that we got the best seats in the house, rather than being cramped downstairs we were ushered up to the upstairs viewing gallery, which was almost completely empty and a much better vantage point. The event was well organised and the drinks were cheap – pretty much the perfect night, no?

No. Because, being in Brick Lane it was missing one thing and it wasn’t a curry…

The salt beef bagels from the Beigel Bake are NOT TO BE MISSED. Open 24 hours, I’ve never been here without having to queue, they must churn out hundreds of the damn things on Friday and Saturday nights. Come to think of it, I’ve never seen anyone order anything but a salt beef bagel, but that may be because I get slight tunnel vision when I walk in there and focus on the h-u-g-e pile of beef they cut from.

The portions are beyond generous, with the option of mustard sauce and a gherkin for 20p. Just thinking about it makes me want one and I cannot stress enough how much you should try one if you are visiting or living in London…

I would say that that was the end of the night, and that we all went home, bellies full, content. But that would be a lie.

We went to the Cactus Pit.

The less said about that the better.