Category Archives: London

Things we did during our time in London.

Krav Maga: Our Second Lesson

If I didn’t mention it earlier, we have signed up for 10 classes.

This time around I felt more confident, way more aggressive and so was a little more effective with the techniques I learned.  Plus, I “sparred” with boys more than girls so I was allowed to be a bit rougher.

In saying that, I partnered up with a girl, she did not hold back and is about as tall as Tony… Thank god for the pad because she kicked hard!!  😛

Tony too got to sparring with a guy, did a fake punch and hit this guy’s hand.  The guy’s hand ricochetted off Tony’s punch and went into the guy’s eye…. Nice one Tones…  Guys can be so rough!

Anyway – a picture says a thousand words… so here’s the summary in post-class bruises…

As little as the bruises are, it’s unlike either of us to bruise after a work out (think of it this way…. I got punched in the jaw by a guy during a mugging, my face swelled up but not noticeably and although tender for a week, it had absolutely ZERO bruise).

So getting a bruise is a BIG DEAL ALRIGHT?!   😛

See you soon



Free Burger at the Dog Races

Should’ve known that a free burger at the dog races would turn out like this…

Free burger at the dog races

What did I think I was going to get?  I have no idea but I somehow didn’t imagine it would be made of pink slime…  However, after eating it, I think it was.  Very disappointing… I had to spit out at least 2 bits of bone from my burger so I’m sure I was eating a crushed skull.

Personally I don’t think these burgers would have been fed to the dogs that were racing at all.   We paid for the chips £2 – that there in the picture was a “large chips”.

Tones and I remained hungry and flatulent for the rest of the night.

I was in a foul mood the next day too with plenty of aches and pains.  Tony suffers from PMS around the same time I do so he was very grumpy as well!!  What a girl….


So yes, we went to the Dog Races on Friday night and unless you’re betting and drinking, it’s a bit of a non-event.  I had no idea but a race is over in 30 seconds!!!  Those greyhounds run FAST!  And unless you stick your face right next to the track (and get all the sand flicked up at you) you don’t really see much…

I don’t get it…. BUT you’ve got to do it at least once in your life right?

Thought we’d go with some friends for their bday bash and apart from this time, I’d never been to the dog races before…

No we didn’t bet and no we didn’t drink.  I make it a point not to gamble since I tend to bet everything I have if I ever win and we didn’t drink because we were both going to yoga the next day…

The dog races is not something that ever comes into my head when I think of a night out!  I guess this is why they give you free entry if you show your Oyster Card and then free burgers if you sign up online!

Gotta give some props to the dog owners though – I’m sure training the dogs, grooming and looking after them takes a lot of hard work and dedication.  A race win only gets them about £50-£100, enough to feed the dog for a week or two!

And I do have to mention that for a huge group of people who were out drinking and gambling, the clientèle would have to be some of the most well behaved, polite group of people EVER.  They were less rowdy than many pubs I’ve been to, people apologised if they even minimally brushed you with their arm!  So it actually made for quite a peaceful, calm and relaxing event… with 30 seconds of screaming “C’mon <name of dog>!!!!!!” every half an hour.

I can see why people go to these things… it’s just like a night out at the RSL in Oz  🙂

If you ever do go to the dog races, here are my tips… place at least one  bet, have a pint, eat at the restaurant, always choose number 5 (orange) and don’t eat the burger 😛

Joy & Tones at Wimbledon Stadium

See you next time,

Tones & Joy

Shenanigans and a Chicken Hotpot

HELLO!  First of all, HUGE apologies for the silence and not getting online to post anything for a few days.

We let life and laziness kick in so let’s catch you up.  Last night we went out for celebratory birthday drinks for one of our favourite men in London – he helped us redecorate our place – well, he’s helped MANY people do their interior decoration since and we all love and recommend his work.  Let’s call him TID (The Interior Decorator)   🙂

The plan was that he would return from his day trip to Paris and for us to “be there when his train arrived” at the bar to welcome him back.  In pure Tones and Joy style, we got there EXACTLY “on time”… ie late

….but only late enough to be walking around St Pancras where the Eurostar arrives, looking for the escalators to go up to the bar JUST as TID and his best friend (let’s call him BFTID – Best Friend of The Interior Decorator) was walking out of the Eurostar gates!!

**Tones just read my acronyms and said “That is SO GAY” my response? “Honey, they ARE gay!” Anyway.. back to the story…**

We see them…

Tony’s face:  “OH F*CK!”

Joy’s face:  “OH NO! OH SH!T! OH CRAP!”

T&J: “OH HI!!!!!!!!!!! WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE??!??”

TID: “Hi! Well, I just got back from Paris…”  His face was a bit confused…

BFTID:  “Wow! So nice to see you here…  what are you guys doing here??!?”

BFTID and Joy give each other a look trying to suss out any information we can from each other… it’s not working….

J&T: “Oh well we’re going to…” Joy stops speaking thinking OMG what if we say different things.. shut up….  Tones continues “yeah… we’re going to meet up with some friends for drinks… over….. there… uhh.. at Kings Cross….”

TID:  “Oh really?  Oh OK… well, see you then…” his face REALLY Confused.

BFTID:  “Oh ok… great… well.. .see you!” also now looking REALLY confused.

They go up the escalators that we were supposed to go up… DAMNIT!

Joy’s face:  RED

Tony’s face: “OH F*CK!”  while we continue to walk on the bottom concourse trying to work out how the hell we get to the bar without them seeing us… we circle the bottom concourse and then find the elevator thinking we’ve left enough time for them to go into the bar…

*ding* elevator door opens… DAMNIT! They’re still outside!  It’s TID, BFTID and Partner of TID.

Joy: “Quick!! RUN! RUN! They’re still there, don’t let them see us!!”

Tones:”Are they? Where? OH!! Sh!t”  We run to the outside of the building as quickly as possible not knowing that we were spotted and being watched the WHOLE time by the party of 3.

We then walked all around the station looking for an alternative way into the bar… made it in there only to find out… HE KNEW ALL ALONG that we were coming!!  It wasn’t a surprise party!!  LOL!!   What a shenanigan!  Good one Joy for thinking it was a SURPRISE party!

But it turned out to be a fun night out.. So many people were there.  I got to meet “The Back Cracker” (that’s what I’m going to call him because he cracked my back… OMG it was unbelievable, I slept so well… He managed to crack my back with one hug and from the point of cracking down to the base of my spine… I feel great.  From the point of cracking up my spine, is still tense… damnit!) and.. we got to catch up with friends we hadn’t seen in a while.

Tones and I were the token straight couple there that night but I have to say TID & Co. are genuinely awesome people who make hanging out easy: a really fun crowd who give very warm and welcoming hugs, have awesome stories and are really accepting – just lovely.

SO…. onto the Chicken Hotpot, just as easy, fun and lovely… check this out…  one of our latest purchases…

So this is our hotpot….

The Hotpot

AND THIS is what we cooked in it… Chicken Hotpot!

Chicken Hotpot

We’ve NEVER cooked in a Hotpot before so it was a new thing and one recipe well worth doing.  Also, food that’s cooled down and been reheated in the hotpot still tastes just as awesome!

The recipe serves 6 but not when Tony and Joy are around… we loved it so much, we ate it all in one sitting… Here’s a picture (with bones) to prove it…

No left overs!

OK I lie… we had another Hot Pot full of chicken left (which we cooked and ate the next day whoot!)

Here’s the recipe:

30g dried mushrooms covered with hot water for 30 minutes, drained and squeezed dry.  That’s right.. you get dried mushrooms, wet them and then squeeze them dry….

1.5kg chicken cut into small serving size pieces, each piece coated with cornflour and then fried in 1/4 cup oil in a wok, several pieces at a time until golden brown.

Return all chicken to the pan, add the mushrooms, 5 slices of green ginger, 4 shallots cut into 5cm lengths and 1 clove crushed garlic.  Stir-fry for about 1 minute then add 1/4 cup chicken stock, 1/2 cup dry white wine, 1 tbsp soy sauce and 2 tsp of cornflour.  Stir until sauce boils and thickens.

Transfer it all into hotpot, add extra chicken stock (approx 1/2 cup) and bake in oven at about 180’C for about 25 minutes or until chicken is tender.

Who knew it would be so easy???

Well.. until next time, enjoy!!

Joy & Tones


PS – the bar we went to was The Booking Office Bar at The Renaissance Hotel, St Pancras Station – it’s got an actually pretty cool setting and atmosphere – something out of a Bond movie – you know a posh, English Secret Agent rendezvous… check it 😉  Just imagine it dimly lit (photo’s a bit bright)…

Booking Office Bar & Restaurant, St Pancras, Renaissance Hotel


Krav Maga: Our first lesson

We went to our very first Krav Maga lesson today and now we’re all pumped up and practising our newly learnt skills.  It was fun!

My brother who does martial arts told me that I’d have fun and that if there was anything to be scared of, it would be the warm up.  He was right!  Let’s just say that yoga helps with my flexibility but in no way does it help me do sit ups and push ups!!  Granted, I was able to do more than 5 of each whereas normally I’d probably be able to do 1 or 2 but he asked us to do these things for between 30 seconds and 1 min (depending on what the exercise was) and it felt like forever.  5 push ups only got me through the first 10 seconds so I’m going to have to work on this a lot if I want to survive future classes!!

So now for the interesting part – what did we learn?

WELL, I am totally impressed.  In 2 hours we learned how to block punches, get out of a bear hug from behind and a technique to deal with someone trying to tackle you from the front.  We also learned how to break arms, knees and how to kick people in the ding ding!

You might say… when is anybody ever going to do any of that to a girl 5 feet high?  Unfortunately, London youth have stooped to this low and I have experienced it first hand so, I know they definitely would just for fun… and to those that would… they definitely do need a few kicks in the nuts so I’m going to practice those when I get the chance!  Tony might just have to go and get a “Hector Protector” (Tony’s slang for Groin Guard).

For anyone that’s scared to go like I was, there’s nothing to be scared of at all.  It’s fun and you do learn very valuable techniques which if practised enough times will become automatic and life saving.

The only thing I’d have to warn you about is that the lesson is for 2 hours!! We didn’t finish until 9.30pm and didn’t get home until 11pm… we have just started cooking dinner!  This is a midnight meal, not a midnight snack.  We both did our 2.5 hrs yoga + walk today too which we are extremely grateful for because it allowed us to have the energy to do the 2 hour session of Krav Maga tonight.

I don’t know if the teacher was joking or not (I don’t think he was) but he told us we’d learn how to eye gouge next week (that’s for us little people because our punches would be less effective).  Awesome… I’ve released the monster!  Watch out any attacker, my fingers are coming for your eye balls!

Alright, that’s enough from this excited little monster.  Time to eat our midnight meal now and go to bed!!


See you again soon!

Joy & Tones

Best Yum Cha (Dim Sum) in London!

There you go, I declared it..

Which means, somewhere out there, somebody is going to challenge this statement, find some other yum cha place which they like better.   And to that, I say… “Go on son!! I dare you!!  No, I double dare you!”

… and then make sure you come back here and tell me where the place is so we can try it out!! 😛

This Chinese restaurant is now my most favouritest (yes I tend to use words that don’t exist… they exist now!!) yum cha place in all of London!  So much so that my foodie friends make it a regular event to go (maybe every 2nd weekend because yum cha every weekend is a bit much)!

BUT it’s also a highly guarded secret… In fact, the mere fact that I’m blogging about this could very much mean I’ll be excluded from any more invitations to gold mine restaurants!

Shhh! Don’t tell my foodie friends that I told you!  Oh the dilemma!  It’s sooo good I want to tell the world but I might just wreck it for all in the know…!


Yes, it’s true… at this restaurant I’m about to tell you about, we were honoured to have enjoyed the privilege of all-you-can-eat yum cha!

Now, most people would scoff at “all you can eat” because it brings up thoughts of buffets with food that’s been sitting there for hours, not the greatest quality, just fillers, lots of fried stuff etc etc  BUT this is SOOO not that!! Just have a look at the video and you’ll see!

Basically, they bring out a whole lot of different things for you to try (or you can pick what you want from their menu) and they keep bringing it out and putting it on your table until you tap out…!!

ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!! Abundant and ever flowing Yum cha…

When you eat as much as we do, this is a dream come true!

So the deal is, this all you can eat yum cha is an introductory promotion to bring more customers in and at any time (ie when they have plenty of customers) the restaurant can cancel it.  So you see, the more people we tell, the less likely it will exist and yum cha will return to normal uncapped prices… boo hoo…

NEVERTHELESS the yum cha is still tasty and well worth the money you pay and if you get the chance, we’d still recommend you try it (all you can eat or not)!

So… what’s on offer? Your usual yummy yum cha choices (har gao, har cheong, siu mai, char siu bao etc) and a plethora of delicious treats like their black cod roll, beef & foie gras dumpling and chocolate dim sum!!

We were so impressed with their lunch that we went to dinner there (on a different night of course) and that was just as amazing!!

The Peking Duck was very good – crispy skin, moist breast, soft pancakes, mmm mmm mmmmm!  They also treated us with some impressive abalone dish (marinated for 5 days) and lobster with foie gras!  Probably the only thing they didn’t do was dip it in gold!

Well, here’s the video 🙂  I get hungry just watching it!!  Enjoy!

😛  NO, I didn’t forget!!  You saw that video and immediately wanted to know where the restaurant was right? 🙂  Here you go… bon appetit!

Grand Imperial London (right next to Victoria Station)

101 Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1W 0SJ

I wish we got some kind of referral fee because we are telling everybody but alas we don’t… so put in a good word for us!  If they ever ask you how you found out about them, let them know that Tony and Joy sent you 😉

London Highs and London Lows…

Hey! (is for horses… so they say… but I like that greeting and it’s obvious that they don’t know how to spell… so… Hey!)

London High?  We went to Mercedes World on a very short notice invitation, didn’t know it existed or where it was so it was an excellent opportunity and now we can tell you all about it 🙂 Whoohoo!

London Low?  Our place got robbed!!! Can you believe it?  We still can’t… and we’re still trying to work out exactly what they’ve taken!  It was exactly a week ago!

I’ve been mugged in London (only a few months ago) and that’s another story I can tell you another time.  I mention it now purely for comparison.  You see, when you get mugged, only what is on you gets stolen and you can pretty much remember it all  BUT when it’s your home… WELL, that’s a whole different ball game.  How many things do you put away in nooks, crannies, boxes, cases, tins, cupboards, drawers, bags, etc.

Do you even remember what you have?  Do you remember where you put it all?  Do you know what it’s all worth?  We thought we’d written a pretty comprehensive list (post robbery) and then we had a friend come over, talk about something and realised… OMG.. that’s missing too!!!

Goodness knows, in about 2 weeks we’ll probably realise there’s yet another thing we hadn’t listed that had been stolen.  The robbers had all day – they stole from all 3 flats in our building.  Based on what we lost in our flat alone, if you multiply that by 3, I can definitely confirm that robbery is a VERY lucrative business to get into!

From this event, I will definitely be posting another blog to share some awareness about home burglary… so keep an eye out for that!

For now, let’s find out more about our trip to Mercedes World shall we?

So, I work for a woman who is an Independent Consultant and Regional Vice President of Arbonne UK and she invited me to an Arbonne event which was held at Mercedes World.  Why Mercedes World?  Well, it’s because everybody that joins the business and reaches a particular level in Arbonne gets a brand spanking new, shiny, white Mercedes!!  Friggin’ awesome!

The event was on the Monday just passed.  I get the invitation to the event that afternoon, so ask Tony to join me as well.  We catch a train to Weybridge and then get a lift to Mercedes World!  The event was great, the speakers were inspirational as they’d built multi-million dollar global businesses.

The cars…. well, they were just as cool, didn’t take any videos but we did take some pictures.  Why not a video?  I’ll tell you why not… because our camera got stolen in the burglary!! So, I had to take all the pictures with my phone…

I digress, back to Mercedes World… they had F1 (Mercedes, Force India, MacLaren) cars on show which reminds me… we HAVE to tell you about the Renault World Series which we went to the other week… so much to tell!!!

OK – focus… Mercedes World.. most of the cars were in the dark because the place was open for the event, not for you to visit the showroom floors.  We’ve therefore taken pictures of things that had some light.

What caught my attention was that they have a track where you can get the “ultimate driving experience”.  Not quite sure what this entails but it probably involves driving a Mercedes at high speeds around the race track…  I wonder if they get a driver to drive you around the track at high speeds…!!

We’ll definitely be going back there in the day time when the shops, the track and the showroom floors are open but for now here are our photos – enjoy!