My Day 9 at Wimbledon Tennis

Again blessed to have won the opportunity to purchase some Wimbledon tickets via the tennis league ballot.

I’m back in Court 2 for the day with my friend, Verity.

Wimbledon Day 9 - US

We had seats a little higher but still perfectly centre to watch some awesome tennis matches.

Wimbledon Day 9

The lineup of matches on Court 2 were:

1. Shuko Aoyama (JPN) / Renata Voracova (CZE) v
Sara Errani (ITA) [2] / Roberta Vinci (ITA) [2]
2. Bob Bryan (USA) [1] / Mike Bryan (USA) [1] v
Julian Knowle (AUT) [9] / Marcelo Melo (BRA) [9]
3. Martin Klizan (SVK) / Belinda Bencic (SUI) v
Bruno Soares (BRA) [13] / Martina Hingis (SUI) [13]
4. Aisam Qureshi (PAK) [16] / Vera Dushevina (RUS) [16] v
Bob Bryan (USA) [2] / Kveta Peschke (CZE) [2]

What a treat to see some doubles matches. I love watching doubles as there’s always an element of ‘great mates’ playing a match. OK so obviously they’re also out there to win but somehow a sense of fun is also evident.

Wonderful too to see Martina Hingis who I saw many many years ago and, of course, the Bryan Brothers who took gold in the London Olympics.

Of course there is also a great amount of Abi-stalking.  She remains the best ball-girl and I was so very proud to be able to see her being so brilliantly professional again.

Wimbledon Day 91

My Day 2 at Wimbledon Tennis

Before I start this post I’m going to acknowledge how fortunate I am to have applied in three different ballots for Wimbledon tickets and to have been allocated tickets to purchase in all three!  The first of which was for two tickets to Court 2 today.

I had an ulterior motive to my rather aggressive approach to getting to Wimbledon tickets.  Many months ago I took a call from my friend Millie asking for advice.  Her daughter, Abi, had a chance, through her school, to be a ball girl but a) wasn’t sure about it; b) didn’t know much about tennis (nobody in the family plays); and c) it would be almost impossible to do the pick up and drop offs for the months of training required after school.  So I offered my ‘Auntie Anna’ services.  My job was to be at Wimbledon each week after training and to drive Abi to Clapham Junction where she would join her Dad on his commuter train home.  I have absolutely loved my weekly 15 minutes or so with Abi between Wimbledon and Clapham.

The training started in January and was intense from week 1.  My first question each week as Abi climbed in my car was ‘are you still in?’ – they whittled the numbers of ball girls/boys down each week as the competition got closer.

I may have also told pretty much anyone who’d listen that Abi was doing the training and hopefully would make it through to Wimbledon tournament.  I just may have mentioned it once or twice.

My darling Abi is a ball girl.   Hmm I’m allowed Auntie Anna bragging rights!

Our day today started early as Millie came up to Wimbledon with Abi.  The early start meant that there was time for us to stop off in the sunshine and have a Pimms and a good catch up!

Wimbledon 2014

On Court 2 we saw the following matches:

Stan Wawrinka -v- Joao Sousa; Milos Raonic -v- Matthew Ebden; Angelique Kerber -v- Urszula Radwanska; Kaia Kanepi -v- Jelena Jankovic; and Vera Zvonareva -v- Tara Moore.

As you can see from my pictures we were also very fortunate with some perfectly positioned seats.  A wonderful day’s play on Court 2.

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Every couple of hours we would sneak out to the Ball girl/boy office and check which court Abi was on.  They work one hour on court and one hour off but aren’t allowed to talk/walk or acknowledge us until their day’s work has truly finished.   Despite not being able to say hello, I think we managed to ‘stalk’ Abi on all courts with the exception of her last assignment.

I think you’ll agree from the montage of pictures below that she sure looks professional.  I’m so very proud.

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I also knew I’d done a good ‘Auntie Anna job’ when just as she headed off for home with her Mum on the train, she shook her head, laughed and told us that all she’d heard all day was Millie and I proudly ‘whispering’ about Abi or us taking pictures or videos!

She then said ‘Oooh you’re soo embarrassing’… with a big grin on her face!

Bellevue Rendezvous

I am so very very sorry… that I’ve been past this restaurant many many times and not actually eaten here…  until tonight.  I’m sorry because quite frankly I’ve missed out on some extraordinarily fabulous French cuisine.

This unassuming French restaurant is situated on the Trinity Road, a busy road which goes from Wandsworth to Tooting.  Not a great place of note for fine food and not, perhaps the most enticing exterior.

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However one peek inside and you’ll see the typically French decor.  The simplistic layout of the interior.  You’ll probably notice that there’s always someone dining.  If you’re within earshot you’ll no doubt hear French being spoken by the staff AND the diners.  It’s always a great sign to hear native speakers in any restaurant.

Tonight I met with some girlfriends here for dinner.  They do a Prix Fixe menu of two courses for £20 and three courses for £24.  Each of the courses has a choice of three well balanced and chosen options.

We chose the 2 course menu and between us had the delicious prawn and beetroot salad starter; charcuterie; and fish soup. All well balanced, perfectly sized and so very delicious. The choices of main course was a roast chicken with smooth mash and peppers; mushroom risotto; or sea bass on a bed of asparagus. Great choice and all perfectly cooked.

BUT…. then…. the cheeseboard…. Oooh how happy would any cheeseoholic be with this vast selection of goodness?

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The wine list is great with a good variety of reds, whites, fizz, rose in a variety of sizes, glass, carafe or bottle.

The staff were friendly and knowledgeable. The interior was comfortable, clean and French chic. Reasonable prices for great ingredients and well prepared food. Excellent all round.

We will be back so very soon, perhaps for a long leisurely French brunch or lunch.  I am however kicking myself and am truly sorry it took us so long to discover it!

Ascot

AscotWhat a totally fabulous day at Ascot with the girls.  I think the montage of photos above tell you all that you should know about our day but just in case…

  • A few (ahem) glasses of bubbles.
  • A few pitchers of Pimms.
  • Very patriotic flag waving.
  • A lot of people watching.
  • Men in suits!
  • Watching horses run by and cheering on (in my case) the colourful jockeys and the horses with ‘entertaining’ names… that are nearer the back of the field than the front.
  • A touch of gambling (Debs clearly won in notes form when I just accrued a pocket full of change – see bottom left of montage!).

Mostly though we had a blast.  We laughed a LOT.  Great company.

We looked, as described on Verity’s Diet Coke bottle, Gorgeous…. it just needs an ‘Utterly’ prefixed!

 

Cerviche

images-16I’d never tried Peruvian food but am now a convert!  Ceviche was buzzing on a Tuesday night in London’s Soho – we were pleased we had booked a table!

The food is all excellent. Between the four of us we chose a lot of different small plates to share and think we did a pretty good job of trying most dishes. All great but my particular favourites were Don Ceviche (sea bass) – so fabulously fresh. Choclo Corn Cake with Avocado. Sakura Maru (salmon sushi-esque style). Pollo en Panca (chicken in chilli, orange and pepper jam).

The staff were friendly and the tables relatively well spaced. There appeared to be some high long tables where you could join up and eat with others as a two or solo diner.

Definitely returning here.

Polo in the Park

Family day at the Polo in the Park, Hurlingham Park, London started at 11.30 this morning when I was first in line to get into the Park with some rugs and suntan lotion.  I found a spot right by the pitch sideline and spread the rugs out.  We were near the children’s area, a short walk from the toilet block and in the other direction the food and drink outlets.  Perfect spot for a day at the polo.

Via an offer of substantially discounted tickets on LivingSocial we managed to round up a few friends with and without families for a day at the polo.  There was plenty of activity on the pitch for the children whilst everyone arrived – huge great big bouncy castles, children entertainers, games and sports competitions.  This was followed by a jousting display (gosh they must have been hot in their outfits!) and then the first polo match between Beijing and Sydney.  The polo play had been slightly simplified for Hurlingham and because of a smaller pitch they also only had 3 players on each team.  This didn’t however stop the fast and furious play on the pitch.  Throughout the day there were three different matches with little breaks for us and, of course for the polo ponies and teams.

So lovely to spend the day with some very special people drinking Pimms, enjoying lots of chats and conversations and, of course, watching some great polo.  A little hot at times for us all and I, for one, have an ‘interesting’ red-tinged tan!

I think this collage of pictures sums up our day beautifully.

Hurlingham Polo

An amazing day with amazingly wonderful friends.

Foodies Festival in Clapham South

I didn’t know there was a food festival on this weekend.  Of course I’d noticed a few marquees being erected on the Park but no obvious signage to tell me what it’s for.  There’s often sporting events starting and ending there so marquees are regularly on the Park.

Apparently I wasn’t alone in not knowing what was going on.  Very disappointing on the part of the Foodies Festival‘s PR/marketing team.  I found out late on Friday when I received a tweet from an exhibitor asking if I was going.  It’s my local tube station and I pass that spot regularly.

However today I went along at midday having tweeted, texted, facebooked and spoken to a number of friends who live nearby or are foodies that I know would enjoy the event.

tumblr_inline_moi7wxQrkO1qz4rgp.pngOn arrival I was met by a very old friend, Andy Fussel who owns Fussel Fine Foods.  They produce some incredible rapeseed oil together with a number of infused oils, dressings and sauces.

Fuss&VerityHere’s Andy and my friend Verity at his stand.

I also met up with another friend, Nova, whom I met whilst doing the Leith’s Food Writing course.  Nova said she already uses rapeseed oils to cook with and particularly to create homemade mayonnaise.  Nova couldn’t resist buying a bottle and tweeting a picture of the glorious yellow mayonnaise she made when she got home today.

From this:

Fussels Rapeseed Oil

 

to this:

Rapeseed Mayonnaise

 

 

 

 

 

The ladies and I decided to wander  around the food outlets to find out what’s on offer and then to purchase some lunch.  The smells of wonderful creations was too much for any mere mortal to resist.

There was plenty to choose from… in fact probably too much choice!  We felt it would have been wonderful to have smaller plates and perhaps to lunch on a couple of choices.  Verity had roast pork sandwich; Louise chose a Lebanese wrap with felafel, hummus, halloumi and salad; Nova and I both chose the crispy duck wraps from The Duck Truck.

Having now eaten lunch we wandered up and down the stalls, sampling all sorts of goodies on the way.  Lots of chutneys, chilli oils and wines.  But also some interesting cheeses from No 2 Pound Street including a blue from Alex James’ farm and a delicious goats cheese and chilli from the Wobbly Bottom Farm.  I loved it so much I had to buy some for supper.

We made a quick stop at the Nitrogen Icecream stand:

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Verity and Louise had to then leave us and head off to the theatre.  Leaving Nova and I to explore the rest of the festival.  It’d be fair to say that we sampled something from most stands and managed to resist buying too much to take home… well except the most delicious chocolate from Doisy & Dam.  If you look at the ingredients, it’s really quite healthy and damn it’s tasty!

IMG_5586We also found the most delightful young chaps who were selling their dressing, or should we say ‘Granny Tigg’s‘.  A really rich dressing that I could imagine accompanying many more food types than simply salad.  Fish, meat, cheeses etc.  I just loved that the product was named after their Granny too.

There was plenty of entertainment at the Festival, ranging from DJ music, live bands and singers and, of course, the Rock Choir.

IMG_5582 There were also cookery theatres demonstrating Aga use, cake and bake, drinks, children’s cookery and BBQ.  We only poked our heads into the demonstrations but the audience certainly looked hooked!

Nova had a wonderful idea that she would love to do – cookery demonstrations at these festivals that showed off the produce being sold by the exhibitors, signposted the audience to buy the products there and also gave them a couple of recipe cards that incorporated the use of these products.  A great way to encourage people to cook with new ingredients and also help the exhibitors get their niche products to a larger customer base.

All in all a very wonderful day.  I left with a large bag crammed with goodies – cheese; chocolate; Fussel’s rapeseed oil and a couple of bottles of Fussel’s awesome chilli oil.

Congratulations Trisha and Rissa

Today in the sunnier climate of San Diego, California the amazing Trisha will marry her best friend and soul mate, Rissa.

Congrats

I’ve loved watching excerpts their relationship together being played out on social media.  Rarely are they ‘sensible’ posts but insights into lives filled with love and laughter.  Hula hooping sessions in supermarkets; photos of them both wearing crazy outfits; ‘secret’ videos made of one of them singing or talking to themselves; and also bonkers videos and photos of their beautiful dogs.  There’s a simple beauty and lessons to be learnt from loving life so very much and sharing it with someone who just ‘gets it’.  Trish’s posts never fail to amuse me (and I’m sure the many other friends she has on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram).

I discovered Trish via the new fangled internet and at a time when I had no information about the cancer I was diagnosed with.  I knew no-one, there was no support group I could attend and my calls to ‘cancer support lines’ at Macmillan and other organisations led to responses such as ‘we’ve never heard of Phyllodes‘, ‘we have no information‘, ‘have you tried ??‘ etc.  But always with a warning NOT to turn to the internet as I might find things that are untrue.

Ha, I laughed in the face of this warning… and it turned out to be the best thing I’d ever done!  I found Trish… who then scooped me up and introduced me to her friends and the Facebook support groups.

“Trish posted a message on her Facebook wall which just goes to prove that there are angels alive and amongst us:

…ATTN: My fellow phyllodes friends – request Anna Wallace on my friends list,she’s brand new and recently diagnosed with a malignant phyllodes tumor and needs our support! Let’s show her how beating breast cancer is done! WONDER TWIN POWERS ACTIVATE!”

It was literally moments before Andi messaged me and minutes before many others did too.  I can’t express how pivotal this contact was for me in my journey and how despite only knowing these ladies for a few years, they are some of my closest friends.  I also loved meeting them in Atlanta and Orlando and giving them GoAnna hugs  It’s always such a joy when we get in touch via social media, Skype, Facetime or cards in the mail.

I’m only sorry that I’m not able, due to other commitments including my scans yesterday, to be at the wedding in San Deigo today.  I will, of course, be there in spirit and can’t wait to hear all about the day.  No doubt we will also be viewing some crazy videos and hearing daft quotes too.

Congratulations Trisha and Rissa… Wishing you an incredible wedding day today and a life together overflowing with love and laughter.  xxxx

 

 

Cirque du Soleil – Dralion

LargeContentImageTonight I had my Cirque du Soleil cherry well and truly popped!  Well to be honest it was about time and I think I’m the last one to discover the incredible feats of acrobatics that are performed by the crew.

The show is on at the O2 in London only until 8th June and I’m quite sure the tickets are scarce and hard to come by.  The O2 has been set up so that the performance takes place in the centre with a backdrop forward from the usual stage and presumably full of musicians, equipment and stretching mats!

We  were fortunate enough to be dead centre to the stage and only a few rows back so felt as if we were well and truly in the action.

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The story of Dralion draws the inspiration from Eastern philosophy and harmony between humans and nature.  There are four elements that govern the natural order and these are represented by colour in the performance; air is blue, water is green, fire is red and earth is ochre.

I think the philosophy however was lost on us and didn’t become any clearer throughout the performance.  I read the above when I got home!

Not understanding the storyline didn’t make any difference to my enjoyment and awe of the acrobatics.  Amazing!

Definitely worth going, if you’re able to get tickets, just to see the feat of human strength, contortion and showmanship.

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Bluebird Tea Company

As many of you know I love my teas.  I’m happy with a pot of PG and indeed friends visiting me in Australia were always requested to pack as many teabags as they could into their luggage!

But I’m also a great fan of more refined teas.  In my last job there was always my glass teapot and a selection of teas to choose from on or near my desk.  I love black teas, blends and interesting combinations including licorice and flowers.   Since my juicing, I’ve tried to steer clear of caffeine and am more likely to add a slice of lemon, lime or fennel to a mug of hot water or a few mint leaves.

HOWEVER I recently discovered the Bluebird Tea Company.  Tea Mixologists!  Whoohoo get that fancy title!

logo-newI love herbal teas too but not a fan of the fruity numbers.  So when I discovered some of the blends made by the Bluebird Tea Company I was a very happy bunny, particular favourite of mine is the Mojitea – which is peppermint and lime.

You can order their teas online OR take a trip to Brighton and find their shop amongst the Lanes.

We sampled quite a few teas today and although delicious, I had to purchase my fave to bring back home.  I was also delighted to see they blend their own Matcha and came away with a small pot of scrummy orange Matcha which I’m now adding to my juices.

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