How to find a nice pair of shoes when your feet resemble paddles or where to get a pair of wide fitting shoes

Search, search and search the internet bringing up ugly shoe after ugly shoe and then…BINGO. The title of this post could be a little misleading as I’m only going to talk about one, very exciting, source of wide fitting shoes.

I have an issue, I’m quite particular about what I wear. I may not strike you as the fussy type, I mean..no offence to me but, I don’t immediately come across as a particularly well dressed, stylish kinda gal. But I am, in my head. The problem is that I don’t fit into the things that are available on the high street that are aimed at my sort of demographic and the things that I do fit into are not, well, me. My shoe of choice is a Converse low top (and that has completely informed the way that I dress), but, I’m shoe mad. I can’t travel to work without appreciating at least one pair of shoes and I’m forever on the hunt for the shoes that I lust after in a size that, at least, almost fit.

Enter Shoes of Prey, an Australian based company that was started in 2009 by two Google execs, and one advertising and law exec with a vision and the gumption to do something about it (unlike me, who has toyed with the idea of setting up some sort of shoe company, to address my shoe woes, for years).

I ummed and aahed about the ridiculousness of getting a pair of custom made shoes from Australia and then I thought, sod it, they offer a stupidly good returns policy. In the end it felt like a bit of a no-brainer.

You can get an idea of the kind of shoes you could design but in order to actually start designing your ‘dream’ shoes, you have to set up an account – which is no biggie really. Once I’d set up my account I got started, taking one of their standard templates, the ballet pump, and seeing what it would look like in different colours and fabrics, with this trim or without. I looked at their galleries, for inspiration (because, it turns out, shoe designing doesn’t come that naturally to me) and watched lots of their videos.

You can save your designs as you go, building up a library of shoes, and I don’t think that there’s a limit to how many shoes you can have in your library so you can properly compare looks. I really wanted to design a bold pair of shoes but I thought it would be best to go with something that I could wear everyday that had a slight edge to it and ta daaaa….

At the ordering stage you can specify things like EXTRA WIDE fitting, but you can’t give further details (which feels a little worrying) but once your order has been received, Shoes of Prey get in touch with instructions for measuring your feet and then, that’s it. Just the month long wait for delivery.

Except…, I got an email to say that my shoes had been fast-tracked (I suspect that they do that with all new orderers) with a photo of my actual finished shoes. Which was REALLY exciting.

When the shoes arrived I was so, absolutely excited. And, they were packaged so beautifully – everything about them felt special and (sorry, I know it sounds shallow but…), the instant that I put them on I felt like the proper grown-up woman that I want to be.

Package left on my desk.

Waiting for me on my desk one morning.

And so begins a little game of pass the parcel (with me as the only unwrapper!).

SOP first layer SOP second layer SOP third layer

There was another layer, the shoes in a lovely little shoe bag, but my photo of that is really, really crap.

Tee hee. This makes them look as though they're longer and significantly bigger than my keyboard.

This makes the shoes look as though they’re longer and significantly bigger than my keyboard! Pah ha.

In truth, the shoes do pinch a little but I think that that was because I measured my feet myself and I suspect that that’s something you should enlist help for. And, I could have sent them back to be altered but…I just didn’t want to.

Next on my list is a pair of leopard print ballet flats, I have them there ready to order and then…I dunno, maybe another ballet pump or a shoe/boot. I’m so SO happy to have found this company with their fantastic product and second to none customer service and no, this isn’t a sponsored post.

But first, enjoying these little beauties (note the Instagram-alike shot).

SOP instagram shot

Music to blog to….

A Crouch End supper club with the fam.

I love eating out, but I also love gathering family and friends around me and eating in (neither of which have I done enough of in recent years). Last Saturday I managed to do both at the same time! How did I do that I hear you ask…by attending a supper club, the Crouch End Secret Supper Club, the perfect marriage of eating out whilst feeling as though you’re eating in. And, I had the loveliest evening.

I’d been to this particular supper club once before when S & S took me as a birthday treat and this time the tables were turned as I was taking them out to celebrate their birthdays.

As S & S live between us and the supper club we agreed that we’d just call for them on our way there which was really just an excuse to sneak a peek at their ridiculously cute new puppy, DJ, he’s so funny and really quite odd looking. He seemed to be interested in everything and everyone and looked more like a wind-up toy than a dog (especially when doing his backward walking – his favourite). DJ 1

DJ the pomeranian – he’s at least half fluff!

DJ 2

He’s nine weeks old here – so sweet.

Now, I have to say (yes J I know it’s pointless but, humans will be humans) that the Crouch End Secret Supper Club will, almost certainly, give you house envy and, if you’re female, it may also give you woman envy because Catherine, the co-host, comes across as a bit of a superwoman, to say the least…the very least (sorry, that’s a Grease reference). The last time I went, Catherine had just flown in the day before from a work trip to China and she still had the energy to join her twenty five guests at the end of the evening for a chat and a glass of wine – I’d have been tucked up, fast asleep, under a duvet (or curled up in a ball in the kitchen, pulling my hair out).

When S & S and I went last time, we didn’t talk to the other diners much and, though I’d really enjoyed myself, I didn’t feel as though I’d had a proper supper club experience. But, I knew that I wanted to go back again. So, it’d seem a little odd, to go again but in an even bigger group, right? Wrong. I think because there were so many of us (six), it meant that those of us that wanted to mingle could do so easily without feeling like we were ignoring the people that we’d come with and we’d chosen a good night to attend because everyone seemed in a talkative and friendly mood.

CESS fellow diners

Two of our fellow diners, they’d heard about the supper club because Catherine and Robert had opened their home up a few weeks back as part of the Crouch End Open Studios (they have lots of wonderful paintings on show in the ‘dining’ room).

We were met at the door by a smiling Catherine who ushered us through to the dining room which was configured in a different way to my last visit and somehow looked more restaurant like.

CESS tables

It was a lovely, warm evening and the dining room doors had been completely opened so that the room merged with the garden. Several diners had already arrived by the time we got there and most were taking advantage of the balmy weather, perching on the decked patio or venturing further afield into the stepped garden. We were brought our welcome cocktail, a golden mojito, and settled ourselves in to the outdoor kitchen area beyond the decking to await A’s arrival.

 

CESS Sunlight golden mojito

Mmm mmm mmm, enjoying my golden cocktail bathed in golden sunlight. Mwah ha.

CESS crab rangoons

Crab rangoons (not sure if these are rangoons as they’re shaped differently to those of the other guests) made especially for me. Thank you so much to the supper club for the enormous effort put in to accommodate my unfortunate (allium) allergy.

 

 

CESS chatting

 

CESS a table

A, D, S & S and J, all behaving beautifully, seated and ready to chow down.

The supper club provides still and sparkling water but if you’re wanting to drink anything else you best bring it with you. We took a very modest three bottles of wine and a classy carton of orange juice!

CESS risotto

First course ‘proper’ Broad bean and asparagus risotto which was beautifully cooked and flavoursome.

Unfortunately my phone camera can’t really cope with low lighting and, as the evening progressed and the light outside faded, candles were lit and the lighting inside was kept at ambient. My photo taking gave up the ghost and I just got on with enjoying the food, the lovely service, the atmosphere and the company.

CESS sorbet

This was meant to be a gooseberry palate cleanser but because of a dearth of gooseberries became a strawberry and basil sorbet instead.

The sorbet was one of the highlights of the meal for me, just because it was so intensely flavoured but still had such a freshness and lightness about it. The risotto was also high on my list of favourites and a special mention must also go to the chicken which was wonderfully tender and the chocolate fondant which was just oozing with gooey chocolatey richness.

One of the downsides of the crappy past few weeks that I’ve had, of which I’ve not talked much about, is that I’m finding that I get very very tired, very easily so, by the time we had eaten the main course I was flagging slightly. I don’t disagree with the decision they took to show England’s first World Cup game, but I do think that it changed the atmosphere -making it different, not worse – and I struggled to keep my head in the evening from then on.

CESS Catherine at work

Catherine at work in the kitchen which is at the front of the house and overlooks the dining room. Genuis.

Of course the food is good, but what really strikes me about this supper club is the scale of it, from the number of guests (it’s a pretty slick operation – there’s no way that I could serve perfectly cooked chicken to twenty plus people at the same time and, more to the point, on time!) to the number of courses. And the effort that Catherine and Robert go to to make the evening enjoyable and a success is incredible. I think that every savoury dish they served had garlic or onions in it and I was served the same menu as everybody else except that my courses had been cooked absolutely from scratch (meaning that where a bought (organic, of course) stock may have been used, a stock was made for me to ensure that there were no traces of anything at all that might react badly with me) now THAT is service. I felt a bit bad because I can actually eat cooked onions with no ill effect (I did say this in my email) and I can eat the things that I can’t eat (if you see what I mean), I just have to eat them in very small quantities and they will still make me feel ill. But, I suppose, it’s easier (on the mind) to err on the side of caution with these things.

There was a big group of people there, also celebrating a birthday, and Catherine had gone to the trouble of baking a cake for the birthday girl on top of everything else.

I’m absolutely sure that I’ll return to this supper club, as they concentrate on cooking seasonally maybe I’ll pay them a visit once per season. I’d highly recommend going, it’s a proper night out, don’t expect to be home before midnight because you’ll still be eating cheese (with home baked bread), sipping on coffee with a little homemade sweet or biscuit on the side, or slurping wine and chewing the cud with an interesting mix of people then. I, for one, am back to thinking about my (doubt it’ll ever happen) very own supper club.

Don’t eat much all day, don’t wear anything too fitted and book yourself a taxi – that’s my advice.

CESS Lollipop head golden mojito

Final bonus photo. This had me cracking up, I look like a ‘lollipop’ head (or as though my head has been stuck on) which is kind of funny when you consider the shape and size of my body.

Music to blog to….

 

 

 

Not my normal night down the pub – or, life drawing at The Old Dairy

The other day I was feeling a little off colour and on the road to exhausted and I decided that I couldn’t face heading off to French class after work. Instead, I set off for home at a very respectable hour but, I got waylaid. See…this was a Wednesday and every other Wednesday evening there is a life drawing session, Life Draw N4, at The Old Dairy (which I pass on my walk home) but somehow, it always seems to fall on the Wednesdays when I am not free. So, I thought…why not pop in and see if it’s on tonight (I don’t think that I’d got as far as thinking that I’d join in if it was on, more…I’d just find out what the deal was). As I approached the pub I noticed a little board outside proclaiming that someone was gonna get nekkid tonight – and I knew, before I’d even taken a step inside, that I was going to end up staying and joining in (ahem, with the drawing not the nudity).

I can be quite shy and retiring (yes really) and I don’t much like being in situations where I might draw attention to myself (yes really, again) so, for example, I never used to like taking photos of the bands that we had playing at Women on the Verge (but I felt like I ought to try to take them), and I don’t like situations where there is a particular way of doing things and I don’t know what that way is (I think it’s to do with always feeling as though I take up too much space, physically, and trying to look and be smaller than I am) so an empty (of people, almost) room whose walls were lined with chairs so close that each one touched its neighbour (which therefore meant that I might be touching my neighbour) did not make me feel at ease. What did put me at ease was the woman who was in charge of the session who explained how it all worked and that sometimes there are lots of people and sometimes not but that it’s all very casual and you can sit where you want, rearrange the seating to suit you etc. The only other person there, when I arrived, also helped to put me at ease, chatting away to me and asking me lots of questions.

The session cost £7 with a donation for paper and all the supplies that you need are provided. Once I’d selected my paper, charcoals and vantage point I went off and bought me a little Dutch courage in the form of a lovely glass of red.

I didn’t find that my drawing flowed but I really enjoyed the couple of hours that the session ran for, I found that my head cleared (a blessing) and I felt relaxed. I’m DEFINITELY going to go back once this course of French is over and I think that I’ll try working with a medium other than charcoal.

Drawing H at the Old Dairy

It’s not what you think (middle top drawing). The bottom picture was the last one that I did and that was the thirty minute pose.

Ha ha….ahem, I just noticed the shadow from my photo taking hand – oops, sorry. Odd.

PS – the life drawing is actually every Wednesday now, just goes to show how out of date I am/was.

 

Me Made May – or, finally joining in.

*fanfare*….ta daaaaa…..Me-Made-May 2014

YAY!!!!!!….I’ve made my pledge, I’m doing it! I can’t remember when I first came across this project and decided that next year would be the year that I’d do it and every next year it turned out that I was no further forward with my me made projects and May would roll along and another year would pass me by.

Well, this year, I decided to just do it. I’ve pledged something that is 100% achievable and yet will still be a challenge for me (when you consider that I work full time and about 40% of my evenings are already spoken for across May, not to mention that (seriously) about 80% of my weekend time is already booked). So, here’s my pledge:

‘I, Susie of Sosusie: The Midlife Ramblings of a Teenage Mother sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’14. I endeavour to wear at least two me made items (clothing and accessories) each week for the duration of May 2014′

As a part of this, I plan to: 
Finish off at least one of my knitting projects that I’ve started for myself.
Make one of the four items that I have on my list of makes:
The By Hand London Elisalex dress, Gertie’s Pencil Skirt or Sultry Sheath, or the idea that I’m formulating in my head for a dress.
This is definitely a challenge for me.

Tee hee…I’m too excited. I’ve printed off the final page of the Miette pattern (the cardigan is finished, and has been for at least a year, except for the button band and buttons!) and I’ve sorted through my stash of fabric. I’ve been wanting to get sewing ‘everyday’ wear for myself for ages and this is the kickstart that I need. I also want to do more knitting for myself – it’s not that I haven’t produced anything in the past couple of years, it’s just that none of it has been for me. So, here goes a month of selfishness (and long may it last).

Though I did promise D that his would be the next knitting project that I took on. I don’t think finishing things off counts as breaking that promise though..does it?

 

 

Grease is the word. A night at the Drive-In at Ally Pally

Last Friday, my sister and I and our children, A, J and Z all went to the Drive-In at Alexandra Palace to see Grease. We were all so ridiculously excited about going, so much so that Z caught an early train back from Paris, C arranged with work to finish early and A and J (who were both only coming home for a week) made sure to be back in London. And, luckily for us, it did not disappoint.

Drive In box office 2

The box office – Rush

When I heard that the Rooftop Film Club was setting up a Drive-In at Ally Pally (which is just up the road from me), I knew that I was going to have to go and, when I saw that they were showing Grease, well, euh (that may be the first Grease-ism of many – I’ll try to resist), it was a no brainer. Both of these are a part of my childhood, I don’t really remember the Drive-In in Antigua (it must have closed by the time I was six) but I have a sense of it and I first saw, and fell in love with, Grease when we still lived there (we left when I was seven). I remember people being astonished by Sandy’s skintight trousers, wondering how in the hell she got them on and whether in fact they were painted on. Ah…happy days.

Drive In projector

Popcorn anyone? Though there were rollerskating hosts and hostesses serving snacks (including popcorn) this here is a Popcorn Projector and NOT a popcorn vending machine.

J and I had actually been to the Drive-In the week before to see Rush (what a good film, still not a fan of Formula 1 but I’m perhaps a bit less of a hater than I was) and on that night there’d been a balls up with the catering (think the organisers were somewhat let down) so I decided that I’d best do a little catering of my own and what better than a Twinkie. After a quick search on Google, I found a recipe that didn’t need lots of ingredients I’d never even heard of (let alone got) and A and I set to making us some twinkies. I kept the recipe exactly the same for the Twinkies but substituted golden syrup for the corn syrup in the filling and WOW, it was delicious.

Making the twinkie moulds

Making the Twinkie moulds.

Twinkie batter

A bubbly and light, vanilla infused batter.

Twinkies for baking Twinkies baked

Before and After

Twinkie eating

Scrumdidlyumptious

Unfortunately for us we’d started on the Twinkies a little late and we JUST couldn’t get them filled in time so had to head off without them! Doh. And, because I was baking up to the last possible moment, I didn’t have time to dress up appropriately (was planning a Rizzo get-up) and ended up having to go dressed in an indoors only outfit. Good job all we had to do was sit in our car then!

Pink Ladies

Absolutely loved seeing these Pink Ladies (though the effort they’d put in did make me wish that I’d planned my time a bit better!).

The Drive-In was in one of the out of the way car parks at Ally Pally and by 8pm (showtime) it was packed full of cars and I swear, all of those cars were full of people as excited as we were. The atmosphere was fantastic. The catering issues had been dealt with, out with the wine and beer (yes really!?) and in with the hotdogs, burgers and jerk chicken??…not quite Drive-In traditional but good, nonetheless.

Buying food is a serious business

The serious business of buying burgers.

Cheerleader Sandy

Urgh…this is one of my favourite scenes – if I’m talking about Grease (which I don’t do THAT often), a re-enactment of this scene always comes in to it replete with excessively salivary lips.

We talked all the way through the film, except for where we were saying the lines or singing along. There is something really great about how relaxed you feel in the (dis)comfort of your own car – you experience the film in a completely different way. I mean…Would you pull this crap with a normal cinema (Grease-ism)? Borrowed from my daughter’s Instagram, this is what it was like for almost all of the film.

As the final track of the film ‘We Go Together’ played out, the Pink Ladies and several other members of the audience (revellers) could be seen dancing around towards the front of the car park and C and I got out of the car to do a little shoo-bop sha wadda wadda yippity boom de boom of our own. Cars flashed their lights and honked their horns and as we all drove out, I got the feeling we were all losing control (Grease-ism) coz the power the Drive-In was supplying…was ELECTRIFYING. WOW. Hmmm…I think I oughta stop here.

What a great night out. The Drive-In experience worked for me for both a film that I’d not seen before and one that I knew like the back of my hand. If you can get a ticket, definitely go (it’s at Brent Cross for a few more days) while you have the chance.

Getting ready to rumble

Obligatory red cups – models’ own (as are the funny pouts).

The Brent Cross Drive-In is on until the 27th April 2014 and it’s looks as though they’re going out with a corker…….GREASE!!

 

 

 

 

 

Cooking with Jamie Oliver…mwah ha, not quite but the next best alternative – an evening out at Recipease..

A and her boyfriend, L, seemed for a while to be obsessed with Jamie Oliver – watching all his shows and cooking from his books (though neither of them is much of a recipe follower). They’re both great cooks and actually, I think L has influenced my cooking – I’m much more confident with using LOTS of aromatics now, so, where I may once have used a measly half bunch of coriander in something (for example), I’m not scared now to throw in a proper handful (and my hands are pretty big!). So, when thinking about what to give L for Christmas I thought why not take him to Recipease Notting Hill (which had reminded me, the first time I went there, of the Teaching Kitchen idea in Jamie’s American Food Revolution (which I absolutely loved) and where A, L and I had previously been for coffee) for a cookery class. In truth, I suspected that the classes might be a bit easy for L but, where food is concerned, he’s always up for trying things out so…why not.

I said that I’d go along too if L wanted (mwah ha ha – oh dear, my dastardly plot is out in the open) and between us we settled upon a class and a date. We picked Vietnamese street food because from the description it seemed as though we would cover a number of cooking methods and I certainly have never cooked Vietnamese food before.

Fast forward a few weeks to the night before the lesson and I thought I’d best text L to make sure he was remembering about the class – good job too as he was actually in Liverpool with A and had forgotten all about it! Tut.

I arrived first and was directed to my class which was at the back of the shop, on the ground floor, and once I’d collected my apron, deposited my personal effects in a locker and washed my hands, I sat down with my group stressing about whether L would arrive in time to join us (his train was delayed and he thought he would be a little late). We were all sat around a long high (breakfast bar height) table at the very back of the room, and most of the group were drinking beer or wine (I stuck to water – that is until the bad influence that is L arrived) a bottle or glass of which was included in the cost of the class.

L arrived just after our teacher, Chef (actually his name was Simon), had assembled us around one of the work stations to demonstrate the first dish, Scrumptious Vietnamese pork balls (the scrumptious is my addition to the recipe title as I think it gives it a real Jamie Oliver twang), that we would be cooking but before that, he went through a few housekeeping notes and, I must say, he was rather entertaining, not least because he bore more than a passing resemblance, voice and face, to Michael McIntyre.

Recipease pans at the ready

Ingredients and pans at the ready.

Chef sounded out our cooking levels and skills by asking lots of questions about ingredients and cooking methods and I think, pitched the class accordingly. I learnt something about chillies, namely, it is the white pith that the seeds are attached to and NOT the actual seeds that provides the majority of heat in a chilli. I was also surprised by the meat used, it was more of a very fine dice than a mince and I think that’s why, in part at least, the finished balls were spectacular – so moist, sweet and juicy.

Pork ball mixture

Pork ball mixture with beer in the background.

Once the dish had been demoed, we were assigned a cooking station and, in pairs, we all proceeded to get chopping, mixing and slow frying (to allow a rich and deep caramelisation to occur). L and I also proceeded to drink several more bottles of very tasty Camden Town Brewery, Camden Hells lager and Camden Pale Ale.

L crushing garlic

L smashing up some garlic (for his dipping sauce, though – I did get onioned and garlicked, was my fault), beer in the foreground.

While the pork balls were cooking, the other dishes, summer rolls and dipping sauce were demonstrated by Chef and recreated by us and the prep for the beef pho (the stock for which Chef had prepared earlier) was done.

Pork balls

Oh my, wish I were cooking some of those RIGHT NOW.

Roll roll roll

A pile of julienned veg and a wrapper, waiting to be turned into a summer roll, with my (sans garlic) dipping sauce in the background.

Once the pork balls were cooked, everything was plated up, Chef poured hot pho stock over our bowls of prepared veg and raw beef (the hot stock being enough to ‘cook’ the tender slices) and we all sat down with a drink to enjoy the meal we’d just prepared. There weren’t enough spaces for all of us around the long table so L and I sloped off to a counter in the window, by the entrance, which had been set up for us and chatted and watched the world go by as we ate.

L plating up

Not entirely sure what L is doing here, but I like an action shot.

I’m a Jamie Oliver fan and I’ll not hear a word said against him…mwah ha, having said that – I do think that there should be space for everyone to sit and eat together if that’s the general vibe, we felt a bit like scolded little school children, banished to the naughty step (which, in L’s case would have been appropriate – though I don’t think Chef noticed him throwing our lime repeatedly in the air, higher and higher each time, while waiting for the pork balls to cook, he did, however, notice L’s rather brilliant knife skills).

Recipease final dishes

The view from the naughty step ain’t too shabby.

All in all, I’d say if you’re already a pretty competent and confident cook these classes probably won’t teach you much, they are only two or three hours long afterall and I don’t think that’s their aim, (though there’s nothing to stop you asking lots of questions) but for a fun outing and an interesting way of cooking lunch/supper I would highly recommend them. And, if you’re not great at cooking, if you’re friendlier with a microwave than a sauce/griddle/frying pan etc…get thee down there! You will learn something, you’ll enjoy it and you’ll get a delicious meal to boot.

After the course you’re emailed the recipes for the dishes that were demoed on the night and, as I write this, I realise that I learnt something else – don’t be afraid (in other words stop being so lazy) of a long list of ingredients, what appears like an essay on the page is often little more than a bit of organisation and a lot of chop chop chopping. I mean, when I was doing the cooking, I didn’t think I was working with lots of ingredients, it all felt very simple but when I now look at the recipes I know that ingredient lists that long would make me turn the page, swiftly.

A Crouch End weekend for my dad and me.

Last weekend saw me heading into Crouch End on both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday’s visit was a last minute decision as, when checking out the Sunday timings for the NEW CINEMA IN CROUCH END, ArtHouse Crouch End (@arthousen8), I noticed that they had a matinée showing on the Saturday and I just love the idea of sloping off to the cinema of an afternoon (though I’ve not much done it). The film in question was ‘Lift to the scaffold‘, a beautiful and stylish French film noir-esque offering, directed by Louis Malle and starring (a stupidly stunningly sensuous and pouty) Jeanne Moureau. With an incredible soundtrack by Miles Davis, it was a perfect choice for an afternoon of self indulgence.

I can’t express how excited I am to have a cinema in Crouch End and it’s a delight, there’s a café area serving the best lattes I’ve had in an age as well as tasty looking (can hardly say tasty as I’ve not tasted them!) cakes with a licensed bar that doubles as the box office. Simply decorated and elegant, this is a place I can see myself returning to time and time again. There will be a live venue too (which may or may not double up as the second screen). Gosh I love this place.

ArtHouse N8 exterior

The view from the road.

ArtHouse bar and box office ArtHouse coffee and cake

Box office, coffee shop and bar, all rolled into one.

ArtHouse natas

The obligatory (for North London, at least) natas….and thank goodness for that. Actually, come to think of it I have tried one as I bought one from the ArtHouse deli across the road.

ArtHouse tulip floor and step

A single tulip on my table. Though it’s the flooring that I was attracted to.

ArtHouse cafe seating

A sneak little peak of things to come..

And the cinema itself?…. Love love LOVE it. It is pretty tiny and it feels as though you’re at a really cute private screening but…it’s definitely a cinema. Good sound, good picture. Some seats are better than others space wise (it’s allocated seating) and, if I were you I’d stay away from the outer/wall seats.

On Sunday I took my dad out for lunch and chose Earl Haig Hall, known as The Social, as I’ve been meaning to go for a while and, as my dad doesn’t get out and about that much, I think that it’s nice for us to go to new places when we go out for lunch (also, it’s so close to the ArtHouse).

Earl Haig Hall exterior

As the board says…ALL WELCOME

The Hall is part of the Antic group of pubs but it really does feel more like a social club, they’ve kept lots of the original fixtures and fittings -  and their website says they’re open to ideas for events/community projects. When we were there there was a great mix of people and ages, it felt really cool (as in, sweet and relaxed and friendly) and my dad felt completely comfortable. There was only one ale on but my dad said it was a good’un and, the lunch was absolutely GORGEOUS. I had the belly of pork and my dad had the beef. I must say, I’m loving the way all roasts come with a yorkshire pudding these days – so there’s no need for me to bother myself with roast beef (not my favourite).

Daddy pulling his surprised look

Daddy pulling his ‘quizzical’ face. Too cute.

Earl Haig roast belly pork

Yum yum yum for my tum. Lots of perfectly cooked vegetables and a good balance of sweet and salty. Will definitely be eating there again.

Earl Haig stage

Can totes see me enjoying an evening of ‘local’ (dunno what that is, just tripped off the tongue) theatre whilst supping a pint or two.

Earl Haig pinball

 

We rounded off our afternoon out with my second trip to the ArtHouse to FINALLY see 12 Years a Slave which was as harrowing, astonishing and brilliant as I was expecting it to be. Everything about this film is stunning and, if you haven’t seen it yet – yeh right!- I couldn’t recommend it more highly. Towards the end, I thought that someone was chuckling away but it transpired that they were howling and crying so much they were snorting. I don’t think that there was a dry eye there.

All things considered, Crouch End delivered.