As it is Thanksgiving in the U.S today and families and friends are gathering to eat the weight in Turkey or Tofurkey, we thought we’d take a look back at 2017 and try to think of what we are thankful for and what we liked in our blogging adventure.
So lets go back shall we…
So what have we done with our 2017 (so far)? Well we have drunk a a few cups of coffee! Had a couple of beers, done some climbing, a bit of yoga, watched a few films, TV and listened to some music, we even went on holiday. Pretty basic stuff really, oh and we finally came out and introduced ourselves as Ash & Bob rather than running the blog as Him & Her.
But let’s break it down to the fundamentals and remember the best bits…
We have drunk a looooooot of coffee in 2017 and have been to a lot of coffee shops, it’s become instinct to photograph the interior, the menu and the cups now, every time we find ourselves in a new place drinking a Mocha, but a hell of a lot of these shops have sold baaaad coffee, had awful service and been generally crap. We think the exceptions to these have to be…
Pure – Camden – Quirky sandwich names and decent coffee, but it is a bit hit or miss, we recently returned here and were highly unimpressed by the service and food!
Said 1923 – Oh Wow! This was a surprise, the tiny shop in Broadwick St, is constantly packed with mostly Arabian Families, drinking their weight in pure chocolate, eating the richest cakes and paying a fortune for the privilege. It is a true definition of ‘making a pig of yourself’ and definitely one of the highlights of my year! I still think it was expensive for what it was – 2 Hot Chocolates were over £12.00.
We have yet to do a post including this place, but we should! We have been going to Temptations every time we are at Highbury and Islington for nearly 2 years now. The staff are friendly and the coffee is good, but it does get VERY busy at lunchtime.
We forgot to include The Chesterfield in this round-up. So we are correcting this a week later. The Chesterfield in Mile End has the best Hot Chocolate in London. Four choices too. Normal, Rich, Smooth, Dark and White. I’m not a big Hot Chocolate fan but when we are here it is the only choice for me and the food is good too.
But be warned it can get packed on Saturday morning with all the market shoppers
The Arch North, in Burnt Oak is bit out of the way from Central London, but well worth it all the same. We pop up to the far North about once every 2 months for an afternoon of bouldering in the large and mostly empty, former carpet showroom. An odd location and building for a climbing wall, but it’s worth it, the staff are pleasant, the clientele talk to you! Unlike some of the other, larger walls of London and the coffee’s pretty good too.
The Reach, in Dartford is rather far for us. We wish it was nearer as there is so much rope work and it’s vast enough you can get lost (in a good way), the coffee shop is odd, very twee and the coffee is officially the worst we have ever tasted, yet we will still be returning!
The Hackney Wick Boulder Project, one of our nearer walls, it is small, there is no getting away from that, it’s split into two rooms/sections, the overhang and Lattice Board and the main room. The routes get changed often, the staff are friendly and though they seemed to have stopped doing it of late, there was a beginners/improvers monthly competition, where you could track your progress and be challenged with new problems every month. Also it’s very dog friendly, seemingly even having doggie staff.
Yoga – Fitness on Fire. We have been here before, but a Groupon Coupon brought us back for more sessions and we still like the place, even if there appears to be no staff half the time and they are terribly unorganised. We will be going back soon, so obviously we like the place.
Drinks and Pubs:
The Little Bat was a nice surprise, a quick, last drink on a not so great night out, resulted in an interesting lesson in cocktails and how to run a successful bar. We really need to go back here some more and soon.
Craft Beer was one of our finds after the British Beer Festival, they sell some of the nicest beers that we have ever tasted. There is such a huge, ever changing selection which is always nice, the staff are very knowledgable and jovial. More than everything they sell sours! Yum!
British Beer Festival this was a new experience for us. So many beers under one roof, we found some of the best and the worst beers we have ever tasted! It was a cool experience but it wasn’t really worth the money, be careful of who you go with too, as some people can get VERY drunk and you get to see another side to friends!!
Well 2017 has been a mix bag of music for us. I waited for Taylor Swift to come back from her holiday with her new album and two weeks ago we finally got it and wow! It’s soooooo boring! For me to say this you have to understand – I love her, she couldn’t do anything wrong last year, she was gorgeous, Shake it off is amazing and Blank Space, etc, wonderful. So when Reputation dropped it was so disappointing. I’ve played it twice and find myself cringing at many of the tracks and want to believe she was rushed into releasing the album before it was finished, now she is just trying her best to convince us it is all intentional. But no it still sounds like the demos that she shared on the end of 1989.
Whereas I thought this album was SO DULLLLLLLL! My god it is crap.
Others worth noting are:
Hey Violet’s From the Outside, a chance youtube video found this young group and their rock/pop numbers are fun, and funky.
Pvris – All we know of Heaven, All we need of Hell – This is grand and dramatic – at least to start with, but it sort of runs out of steam halfway through. We had never heard of them, but hearing this album we were like ‘Whoa!’ and it’s a good album that constantly surprises with each play.
We had a real difference of opinion with Pink – Beautiful Trauma . I played this once and deleted it. It was like she was just trying to show that she could sing and sing loud. It was boring. Whereas I like every album she releases, she is consistent with the sound and style.
Betty Who – The Valley This was surprising as it seemed to be pushed, promoted and talked about by all the people you never want to listen to. But It actually was pretty good!
Imagine Dragons – Evolve. I liked the last Imagine Dragons album and they were back again this year with the same standard as before.
Halsey – Hopeless Fountain Kingdom – We did review this and you can read a track by track here. But in short I liked the majority of the album and I play the album a lot, but mostly to go to sleep to. That said it is vastly better than anything else that has been out this year.
OK we started listing our TV viewing of the year and realised it warranted it’s own post so look out for a post for all the TV we have watched in 2017 in a couple of weeks.
But in short we will just say that we loved The Bold Type, Stranger Things, Sweet Vicious and Westworld in the new shows of 2017, there are plenty more to talk about but you’ll just have to wait a couple of weeks
We could mention the films of 2017, like Spiderman, Okja, Beauty & the Beast, The Mummy, T2 and so on, but honestly none of these really made any kind of impression on us and we wouldn’t say they were worth a second viewing.
Some are worth a second try though – that is to see if they improve with repetition, such as Blade Runner 2049 – we so wanted this to be the great sequel and there moments, but honestly we don’t get Ryan Gosling, he is so dull and flat, he kills the film. We have agreed that the whole thing is too long and too slow, if you ran the film at 1.5 times speed, it could be better.
Wonder Woman – It’s good to see a self empowered female warrior and it was a near ‘all female’ crew on the film set, it just fell at the final hurdle, which was that it wasn’t very gripping. Also for a film all about her Amazonian origin and the power of women, it was predominately focussed on the males in the film.
To the Bone – Has to be mentioned because even though it was a dark and uncomfortable subject (eating disorders), it was so well handled and had a great story. Well worth watching, plus it had a dream cast for me – Lily Collins, Kathryn Prescott, Liana Liberato and Keanu Reeves – I mean Wow!
Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – needs a 2nd watch, because honestly we can’t remember anything about it.
We actually liked Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets – it was interesting, visually stimulating (for Ash more than Bob), I liked the animation aspects of worlds that just couldn’t be created in this world and so the CGI was understandable and needed and well done. We will happily watch it again.
Kingsman and the Golden Circle – I actually really enjoyed this movie, despite all the bad reviews. I looked forward to seeing it as I really liked the first one, it wasn’t quite the same style but it was just as good.
We are eager for The Last Jedi and may give a little review in a couple of weeks when it comes out – so watch this space.
Other than that we feel it was a weak year for films. Let’s hope 2018 is better.
Woodberry Wetlands – This is a pretty, watery oasis in the Heart of N16. A tranquil spot to chill on a Sunny day or take a break and watch the birds on a Lunchtime stroll. Just don’t get coffee at the little shop in the middle!
We also met up with a couple from YouTube – Magnus and Wendy who bought a Narrow Boat – Life in a Nutshell – and were sailing the English Canal system, that was nice to sit and interview them over a beer, back in March. Since them, the couple have bought another boat and are currently sorting out plans to sail around the world – ah such a terrible life they lead, you have to feel sorry for them!
That said London’s Canal Networks are worth checking out, they run all over North London and a few down to the S.W and are lovely for a stroll along and if you are a Gongoozler like Ash then the boats are a bonus. There are a lot of cafe’s, Bars and Pubs along the footpath all over the place.
Actually thankful for –
Ash – Well not much really, it’s not been the most successful of years personally, we have spent a lot of time writing out forms, emailing agents and getting rejections and having more pains and health problems. I am (as always) most thankful for Bob and her constant support and level headedness and without her I would not be here writing this or doing anything with my life – I don’t think.
Bob – This year has seemed a bit of a non starter, but at the same time I feel like I have taken some steps clearing out my life and evolving as a person. I know who I am and I know my goals. I am thankful for so many things though and though there is a lot of crappy things going on in the world I feel that I am more able to see some positives, I am so happy to have both of my parents support me. I am thankful for Ash and our compatible weirdness. For Bracken and Solo and all the love that they trigger. Then all the beauty of the world and being able to see yet another place this year and experience something new with the St Juan festival. All my animal friends new and old.
Happy thanksgiving people!
What are you thankful for? Whats your plans today? Leave us a comment.
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