Portsmouth NH + Walking to Maine

We drove up to Portsmouth from Boston, which was actually pretty fun. We stopped by one of the massive liquor barns (because you can only buy your booze from the local government in super size, apparently). 

Overall Portsmouth is quite pretty, it feels like a very American little town. The wonderful wedding aside (seriously - they had a unity volcano) the best bit was walking to Maine from North Hampshire ("live free or die!") for lobster.

Now, turns out we were there in the offseason which became super apparent when all the little best-in-town lobster places were closed. Instead we hit up Warrens, where I discovered the ridiculousness that is the all-you-can-eat salad bar. I was unprepared. It turns people like lobster, but they go crazy for a good salad bar. 

Still, it was a good few days of gentle adventure, lots of eating and some epic company.

Boston

While Iceland was lovely, it was a stopover. We had friends getting married in Portsmouth, so we met up with another couple in the adventure crew and had one delightful day in Boston.

Oh, man did we pack it in! We followed the freedom trail for a bit, we went down to see Paul Revere (the guys who famously said the red coats were coming), and where Franklin was buried. We ate at Regina's (the original one, apparently the best pizza in Boston) and I had an epic stawberry shortcake from a little Italian bakery... it was amazing. 

We walked our way criss cross the city, laughing at all the Dunkin Donuts (seriously, it was ridiculous) and generally enjoying the warmth after Iceland. It was SUCH a fabulous day, I was sad we didn't have longer. 

It was actually pretty surprising too... both Zee and I are playing Fallout 4 at the moment, which is set in Boston. I was surprised to recognise some of the landmarks! 

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Iceland

Right after Paris, we were off on our next trip. One of the great things about Iceland is that Air Iceland does cheap flights to the states via the UK, with a free stopover in Iceland. It's essentially a 2-for-1 holiday! So, when we had a wedding in Boston, Zee booked us in a week in Iceland. High five him!

We spent the first two days exploring Reykjavik. We were hoping to see the Northern Lights, but alas, the sky has to be clear for that so no dice. Instead we did walking tours, enjoyed the little dinky stores and acclimatized to Iceland (read: cold, though mild by their standards). 

It was nice, though. Took me some time to understand the currency exchange (1k Krona is about £5) - I found I was anchoring on weird numbers which threw me off. I mistakenly bought a super cute watercolour print for £50 (in my head it was closer to £20!). After that I let Zee handle the money side of things.

Still, there was lots going on. There's a strong artist community in Reykjavik which I LOVED. We stopped by a little ceramic studio where the lady made and sold her own works. So great. 

The walking tour of Reykjavik today was especially enlightening.  It was blistering cold and gale force winds, but still good. I was impressed with the history (Vikings!) and the laidback vibe of the place (no security, not even in front of the presidents house which we stood in front of. Only at the American Embassy, apparently!)

I was in awe of their social focused policies (education, including tertiary is free. Healthcare is free. They have the lowest unemployment in Europe, the lowest crime rate, and the highest literacy rate. There's a high tax rate (gst is at 25.5%), but the socioeconomic payoff is huge).

I was impressed with their feminist attitudes (29/63 ministers in parliament are women!) and for such a sparsely place, I feel like they're doing so much right. They use mostly hydro/geothermic activity to power and heat everything, so there's a very low level of pollution (the water smells a bit like Rotorua though - a bit like bad eggs). It's such a lovely lovely place.

We hired a big four wheel drive and went exploring around the golden circle - it's essentially the geothermic area around Reykjavik that has a lot of beautiful beautiful things to see (geysers, waterfalls, frozen waterfalls, amazing stark vistas). It was ridiculous. Stark, but amazing. 

We were surprised at the tourist trade there... you could drive four hours and see no body on the roads, and then second you pull up to a waterfall or geyser there was a packed carpark and a hundred other people. How did they get around? It was the most bizarre thing.

The last stop of the trip was the Blue Lagoon. It's impossible to describe - it's massive for a start. And ridiculous colour, and the smell is something else. In saying that, once you're in it's delightful, with the poolside bars, payment by wristband, and in pool facials.... it's just the most ridiculous, delightful place. I'm glad we went. 

Paris!

Paris - what a delightful place. We treated Zee's Mum for her 60th birthday with a weekend visit to Paris, and it was excellent. We braved the Metro (not as nice as the London tube, I have to say) - I found a little pastry bakery within half an hour of being there and oh, their chocolate eclairs! Oh French pastries, there is nothing like it anywhere. It's always best in Paris.  I ate at least one chocolate eclair everyday I was there, and several pain au chocolat's or croissants at every opportunity. As always, breakfast was my favourite meal. Paris is all kinds of delicious.

Our hotel was a wonderful little boutique just down from the Eiffel Tower. We did much wandering, only lightly foiled by the weather. There was much amazing food (Pasco was especially delightful) and we did several fun stops - The Eiffel Tower, The Arc De Triomphe, Montmartre (where I got my portrait done in the artists square) and Musee d'Orsay. 

I especially loved that Musee d'Orsay.  It's FILLED with treasures. I was awed by Degas and his dancers, his Little dancer of 14 years in particular, and how he was pushing for realism in an era where art was more polished into a palatable view. (I read The Painted Girls last year which I think definitely influenced how these pieces resonated). I loved The dance studio where he showed the work, the pain and toil that goes into each glittery show (and how he tried to show the truth, his painting had a watering can used to wet the floors so the dancers wouldn't slip). He had all the dancers pose in his studio, so he could slot them in. It's a mix of art and realism that was apparently not shown at that time. 

I loved the little funny story between Manet and his extra broccoli (he was commissioned for a painting of white broccoli, and when he was paid there was an unexpected bonus, so he painted a one off of a forgotten broccoli, and sent it along). I was struck by The Gleaners by Millet, how it's truth (non stylised poverty) was scandalous in the French upper class - he was considered a social critic of his time and said so much with this painting, especially when compared to Jules Brentons, Calling in the Gleaners (which, because it portrayed the workers in a more idealised version was lauded, and bought by Napolean). I dallied by Monets waterlilies (I could spend hours in front of Monet's waterlilies).

One of my favourites was this one (pictured) of Van Gough, and his starry night over the Rhone. He wrote to his brother a rather epic description and it's lovely. He committed himself to a mental institution shortly after finishing it, which I found interesting. 
I was surprised at how interesting the context around each piece was - they're presented as stand alone pieces but no one creates in a vacuum. The more I discovered about each piece that resonated the more interested I became, often delving into a Wikipedia rabbit hole. Loved it. I could spend days wandering the halls of Musee d'Orsay.

Getting Older?

A while ago I discovered that after work, I was getting headaches and couldn't read the train signs so well. I was fine in the morning, but oh man. I was fully aware that my eyesight going fuzzy after a long day was not ideal. I kind of ignored it, though. The idea of getting glasses scared me, it was a pretty clear sign that my body was ageing and I wasn't ready for it. I wasn't ready to be old.

Still, after a month of this it was getting pretty horrid. A friend of mine who I went to uni with recently got himself a pair of 'working' glasses, and his enthusiasm for it quelled some of my fear so I took myself off to an optometrist. I have to say, not as scary as I thought it would be. There is lots of looking through lenses and reading letters, but it's not painful.

Sure enough, because I spend my whole day looking at a screen (and often go home and look at more - side hustles got me hustling) my eyes were straining and had forgotten to relax. It means that my focal point was out, and my brain was working overtime to correct it (thus the headaches).

So now I have glasses for screentime and reading. I feel like I probably should have done this MUCH earlier - the difference was astounding. 

I'm getting used to them still, but they're not as bad as I thought they would be. 

Visiting Kew

Last weekend friends of Zee's came down and stayed. And oh, oh it was delightful. There's something about being around people who are in the same place as you. Good laughs, games and hilarity and fun times. We went out to Kew Gardens, and even made it into the greenhouses (something we missed last time we went out).

It was a brilliant weekend.


Going Grey

So I went all in and had my hair done in grey.

I've never gone light before, I wasn't sure how it was going to go or whether it would suit me. There was a lot of fear. While the in between steps had me worried (think: beige wigs and Barbie yellow) the final result works, I think. Enough that I didn't want to dye it dark immediately.

People keep telling me how brave it was, but it's not really. The worst that could have happened is that I hated it and changed it back. Changing something as temporary as hair isn't brave. Worrying what people might think shouldn't define your actions, not as much as trying new things that might make you happy should. 

Pixie cuts and extreme colour - it's a pretty fun phase to be in at the moment.

How to save mobile assets for multiple densities for iOS and Android

I know that I don't often post about 'work' stuff here, but I've just discovered Photoshop's Generate Image Asset tool and it's saved me a ridiculous amount of time. Designing for mobile used to be simple. I designed for iOS, which meant I'd design at retina sizes (@2x) and save everything out at 50% for non-retina (@1x).

But then came Android with their multi density devices (LDPI, MDPI, HDPI, XHDPI, XXHDIP, XXXHDPI) and iOS 6 and 6+ (@3x).

Suddenly saving out assets for 8 different versions was a massive time suck. Figuring out how things fit together, and updating several assets every time we made a change was painful.

Turns out some clever person at Adobe was also suffering, and they built this amazing tool into Photoshop CC.

Step 1 - Turn it on.

File > Generate > Image Assets

Step 2 - Figure out your file structure and sizes.

This is where you figure out your file structure, and how you want the asset sized in comparison to your psd.

First, you need to understand the relationship between all the different densities. If you're not familiar, this intro from Teeanlax might help.

The intro is awesome, but was published before 6+ and XXHDPI happened. No worries, we can slot them in in a similar way.

I typically design at @2x resolution as standard. It makes it easy to scale up or down, so my design scaled at 100% is good for @2x and XHDPI.

Here is the scales I use for each different density:

@1x - 50% @2x - 100% @3x - 150%

MDPI - 50% HDPI - 75% XHDIP - 100% XXHDPI - 150%

Now that I know the scales, onto the file structure.

With iOS, they can live in the same file, but each version must be saved out as @Nx on the end, depending on which density it's for.

For Android, they need to be in separate files with the same naming conventions.

Tricky.

Create a new, empty layer at the top, can call it:

default 100% ios/@2x, 50% ios/, 150% ios/@3x, 75% android/drawable-hdpi/, 50% android/drawable-mdpi/, 100% android/drawable-xhdpi/, 150% android/drawable-xxhdpi/

Here's how this works:

[scale] [foldername/][append],

Each version is separated by a comma. The scale is how big it will be, the folder name will define where it saves to, and the append (optional) will add an extra bit to the filename.

So, 150% ios/@3x will save an asset 150% of the scale of the original, in a file named ios, with @3x appended.

Handy, no?

Step 3 - Save Your Layer

To save out the asset into the file structure, simply add a file format on the end of the layer name.

searchicon > searchicon.png

I'm pretty sure you can use either .png or .jpg.

And just like that, all your assets are in the right place, as the right size.

Bonus

Generator is pretty clever. If you make a change to a layer, it will update the asset on the fly. So handy!

The Four Hour Body

When I got back from New Zealand last year... I was uncomfortable with myself. In particular - I felt chubby. Kind of in-denial chubby. In a my jean size had gone up several sizes and I was wearing maxi dresses as standard kind of chubby. In my head, it wasn't **that** bad. I was still loved, I still did all the things I wanted to do and my weight didn't get in the way of anything. Except... I hated being in photos. I was uncomfortable with how heavy my body felt. How my thighs touched when I walked. I worried about how my arms looked in t-shirts and how I was unconsciously holding my tummy in all the time.

I think that's pretty standard thinking, when you're uncomfortable with yourself. We pick ourselves apart and are our own worst critics. I hid behind that for a while - I was just picking myself apart and really I was fine, and just needed to get on with it. Life was for living! I wanted to drink all the wine and eat all the things (burritos and cake and cheese) and just have a great time, devil may care. I was all about the freedom of convenience - eating crap food and doing just enough exercise to make myself feel good without actually doing a workout.

That was right up until I got back and I couldn't fit into my favourite pair of 'fat' jeans. Uhm. Awkward.

Here is what I looked like, at that time.

No so bad, right? That was the worst bit, it wasn't how I looked but I how felt. I got on a scale then and was disappointed. I tried running. I tried 1200 calories a day (and that sucked). I was struggling with the best way to lose the extra chub I'd gained and was disheartened. I was looking at it from a purely weight point of view, and it was a terrible struggle.

Around that time, I'd read about a book - The Four Hour Body, by Tim Ferris. Essentially, it was a diet I could do to lose weight while never really feeling hungry and not doing any exercise. Uhm, what?

Fun side note - this post isn't sponsored, there are no affiliate links. This is purely because it helped me.

The Four Hour Body has five easy rules:

1. Don't eat white carbs. Meat + vege are the way. 2. No sugar (including fruit) and no dairy. 3. Don't drink the calories. Drink water. 5. Eat the same meals over and over. 5. Every seventh day - have a cheat day.

Pretty simple. It was overwhelming at first, but as you go through the book it explains the science behind each rule and the best ways to mitigate any difficulties.

I lost 2kg in the first week and steadily lost weight all the way through to now. It's pretty obvious too, in my face, in my body. I cycled back through all the jeans I'd outgrown (which I LOVED - being able to wear my old favourite clothes again felt magical) and generally just felt better about myself.

Now, here's the thing: I got into it because I was approaching this from a 'my weight is the problem' point of view. My weight wasn't the problem though. I didn't realise it at the time but the Four Hour Body forced me to understand how much shit I was putting into my body - how much crap and sugar and unnecessary processed yuck I was eating.

I learnt to eat clean, I learnt to like water. I was eating bucket loads of vegetables and switched to organic food. My skin cleared up, my energy levelled out throughout the day and I was sleeping better. There was loads I was learning about cooking and what food does to you. You really are what you eat, and I had no idea.

Here's me now:

Still, that's not say it was easy - even with a cheat day it was difficult. Eating out became tricky, dinner parties and generally any socialising that was done around food or drinking. But the outcome was worth it, I'd say.

Now, I'm not trying to get down on anyone. If you're comfortable with yourself - high five! That's the aim here, right? Love yourself, love your body. I just wanted to share that 4 Hour Body worked really well for me, and helped me get back into the mindset of what was healthy and what wasn't.

Have any of you tried to 4 Hour Body? Got any tips for me?

That time I made 2-ingredient Brownie


I was a bit skeptical at first, but turns out you can make brownie with 1 cup of Nutella and 4 eggs.

The first thought was could I call Nutella one ingredient when technically its made up of many? For convenience sake, I'm going to say yes I can (it really is the easiest brownie I've ever made).

The second was that this brownie couldn't really be a brownie. It's not, really. Not the rich, decadent gooey brownies that you're imagining in your head. Instead it's light, and fluffy, with an almost cake like texture. So light and fluffy that I managed to scarf half the pan before I knew what I had done!

Essentially it's a flourless torte and it is delicious.

Here's what you do:

Step One: Whisk your eggs with an electronic hand mixer until the eggs are super light and fluffy and has expanded to over double it's volume. This will take a while (at least ten minutes) so keep at it. It should be super fluffy and lemon coloured.

Step Two: Take one cup of Nutella, and heat it in the microwave for a minute and a half, stirring at 15 second intervals so it doesn't burn. This will make the Nutella all loose and goopey (you'll understand once you do it).

Step Three: With the mixer on low, very slowly add the Nutella to the egg mixture, allowing a lot of time for it to combine before you add more. You don't want to knock all the air out as you add the Nutella.

Step Four: Pour the mix into a brownie tin, and bake for 30-35 minutes at 190C. You'll know its done when it pulls away from the sides and you can insert a toothpick into the middle and it comes out clean.

Top tips: - This is not a brownie you want to underbake, because else it will taste like eggs. Not even kidding. - If you place two pieces of baking paper horizontally AND vertically in your tin before you pour the mix in, once it's baked you'll be able to just pull it out and peel off the backing paper. Much easier than cutting your brownie out of your tin!

Boom. Easiest brownie in the world, no?

Riding bikes in the Summer


There's nothing like summer for riding bikes. Riding the city streets in this glorious weather is by far the best way to get around the city right now. It beats buses and tubes and ubers by cost, speed and comfort (assuming you're brave enough to take on London traffic, which obvs yes because adventure). Boris bikes are especially handy - you pick one up at a dock, ride to wherever you need to go and then drop it off at another dock at the other end. Access for 24 hours is £2, and the ride itself is free. So convenient, quite wonderful.

I've talked to a few people recently about riding in London and almost all of them have said they couldn't - that the traffic scares them away. These are people who climb mountains and do amazing feats, and I was a little bit in awe of the reputation that the London traffic has.

Truth: London traffic is no big deal when you're on a bike. As long as you obey the rules and don't run red lights, make sure you're aware of what is around you - it's perfectly okay for riding.On days like today when the skies are blue, the streets are lined with trees and little flower baskets and you're speeding down a bike lane past stand still traffic? Nothing better. It's the perfect way to get around, and I'm 100% delighting in it!

Oh London, you're definitely more charming than usual!

And so, we've moved. 

We've known for months we were going to move, but that doesn't mean I liked the idea. Our landlord sold our flat, Womp. We hired crates - I was excited about not having to recycle boxes, hurrah for less waste! That part was great. We packed everything up and had a whole host of lovely friends come and help us ferry things to the new place, which conveniently was just down the road. It was really heartwarming to have so many people come help us, it's a lovely thought to know we've got so many friends who have our backs.

Fast forward three months and we're in our new place. The crates clearly less helpful post-move. We had to give the crates back empty - which meant emptying them. There are little towers of STUFF everywhere. Piles and piles of it. We have too much stuff, clearly. It's overwhelming, and I'm not sure what to DO with all of it.

It irks, and I'm uncomfortable. Coming home feels is awkward. It feels like we're forcing ourselves to fit in this little flat. The flat and I are working against each other at every opportunity. Our furniture is positioned awkwardly against walls they weren't designed to fit against (I'd like to throttle the person who made the radiator placement decisions - clearly they've looked at the room and put them in the most inconvenient of places possible, for their future lols as my current furniture place predicament). We're giving each other the side eye, this flat and me.

Truth is, I miss the old flat. I miss the layout and the familiarity and our routines. It was our first home, me and Zee. A place that we made ours. The new place feels like it's disgruntled that we've dared arrive, and is thwarting us at every turn.

I know this is temporary. I know that we'll work it out, and it will be fine. But until that, I'm awkward and uncomfortable and still sad to have said goodbye to our old flat.

Oh moving. Oh change. Oh goodbyes.

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Grace in small things

Despite the position of this post, I am still attempting positivity. It comes and goes in waves, and I'm trying to smooth out the peaks and troughs. We'll see. Things I'm grateful for:

1. Zee.

I get to do this with Zee who is infinitely patient with me and my moods and furniture struggles. This would be horrible without him and I'm glad that's not the case. We're in it together, there's comfort in that.

2. Our friends are awesome.

I am overwhelmed with gratitude for people who came to help - we had a great crew. It really was heartwarming to have a small army of people take time out to help us. Warm fuzzies all round.

3.The new place is actually lovely, first world problems.

Sure, the layout is awkward and we don't know where everything fits yet but in the scheme of things? Our new flat is actually lovely. It's modern and has well proportioned rooms and has everything we need to go about our lives. We're warm and dry and have place for our too many belongings. It's safe, and has a balcony. I'll take it.

4. Time is moving forward, we're not stagnant.

Sometimes I forget that change is hard, and uncomfortable and needed. As much as I could have happily settled into the old flat - the new one forces a perspective change and offers new nuances that I hadn't considered before. I know that I thrive when things are kept a bit interesting so as much as this was forced rather than chosen - change can be good, right?

5. We get to stay in our neighbourhood.

This is a definite boon. We've got friends close by, it's safe and has everything we need within walking distance. It's familiar. I did several days of house looking in other areas. North of the river, east of the city, in little industrial on-the-verge-of-hipster neighbourhoods. It felt very different, and I'm glad that we managed to find a place local. Bonus was that we didn't need to hire a van!

Actually Practicing Positivity (and not talking about toast)

That sounds a but more soppy than I intended, but truth - I want to get in the habit of complaining a bit less and being generally more positive a lot more. Also, truth - it turns out that talking about how grateful I am for toast is a bit of a cop out, isn't it? It's not like I'm a negative person, but I've found that there's a lot of complaining going on - annoyances make a better story, get better reactions, better commiserations. When I realised this and tried to cut back - I realised just how much complaining I was doing (too much!) and just how many of the conversations I was having were often complaint based. Easily 30-40%. I starting noting when other people kicked off a conversation with a complaint or criticism and it was something like every third or first conversation. Womp.

So, two things. I'm going to try talk about five things I'm grateful for, and I'm trying the Tim Ferris/Will Bowen anti-complaining experiment.

There's a theory that the more you talk about something, the more that influences what you think about something, which guides how you feel about it. If I'm constantly complaining, then my mindset for how I think or how I feel is automatically on the negative. That sucks, right?

This anti-complaining experiment is pretty simple. The aim is to go 21 days without complaining. I have a bracelet and every time I complain I move the bracelet across to the other wrist and start from 0. Sounds doable, right??

Essentially it's metacognitive awareness training - the more aware you are of doing something the more likely you are to change that behaviour. It's the same reason why taking photos of what you eat and weighing yourself regularly is super conducive to weight loss. I'm using Tim Ferris's definition: "describing an event or person negatively without indicating next steps to fix the problem" and so far, two days in it's been hard. It's getting easier though - I definitely have increased awareness of what I'm saying (although, haven't get made it through a day!)

We'll see. I'll let you know how it goes.

The other part, practicing gratefulness. Three things I'm grateful for right now:

One: Zee is away this week, and is currently on a completely different continent. I'm grateful for the opportunity to miss him. There's something in a brief absence that cuts through all the ordinary bs. I miss him, and it's nice to be reminded how much I do care. The missing part is shit but I enjoy the reminder + slight perspective change.

Two: I'm in a time in my life where I can stretch my legs and really pursue whatever it is I want to. There is literally nothing stopping me from doing what I want to. I earn a pretty penny, I don't have children or a mortgage or any kind of restraint or responsibility that would hold me back. My problem right now is that I don't know what direction to go in (I feel like a bit like a headless chicken) and so I am trying half a dozen things. I'm grateful that I have this freedom, many people don't.

Three: It's almost summer! London has thrown off the grey skies temporarily and I'm amazed at the rich expanse of blue overhead. It's not quite warm enough for bare arms (I'm still rocking several layers + a jacket) but with the greenery finally growing and the sun out - it feels like a completely different place. I love London in the spring - it's glorious!

A few days in Riga, Latvia

Oh Riga. This was a work trip, and this trip hit me face first with it's complications and politics and work. I ran a workshop I wasn't expecting to run. It went well! Wonderfully well - I was introducing new ideas and a new method and everything was new and scary and different. It was a pretty insane day and a half, but I got loads of wonderful feedback. Nothing like being thrown in the deep end with 23 people you've never met who are integral to the product you're working on.

What I'm trying to say is that the three days I was in Riga - I saw the inside of the Elephant Hotel. There were two meals outside the hotel, and a walk.

And oh, Riga. You're lovely. Little cobblestone streets and dirt tracks that bypass run down mansions. Overgrown fields taking back estates, and then five minutes down the road shiny fashion boutiques in the city centre. Tables sprawled out in the summer evenings, with lights and a lovely man playing the accordion.

Best walk of the week, I have to say. There's nothing like taking an hour or two just to wander, and have a look see.

Love it. Thanks Riga, for the adventure.

The Quirks of London Streetcorners

I don't know about you, but I get a shiver of delight down my spine when I feel like I'm doing something sneaky, even if it's not. Drinking openly on the street is definitely a London quirk that I haven't seen anywhere else. Now that the weather is warmer people will grab a pint and go stand outside the pub on the street corners. You'll see them in large groups around the door to a pub - it's insane. In New Zealand you sit down to drink, unless you're dancing. In London, you stand on the street and enjoy the sun (when there is sun). I joined Bunny and a few friends last week to enjoy this glorious snap of almost-summer warmth we're having. It was glorious!

There was a mariachi band who came by, and we gave them all our change. They let me snap a quick few photos with them - but they were great! They had whole street corners dancing (and when was the last time you saw that? Strangers dancing on the street, in the sun to a three piece mariachi band?)

Oh London. I love you in the spring!

Have you ever seen a knights castle with a moat?

Bodiam Castle has a moat. It doesn't have a keep either, so it's towers are pretty imposing - they rise right up from the ground all big and mighty. It's a big impressive castle. Zee and I drove down to have a look-see during one bank holiday. It's ridiculously pretty, some of the nicest ruins we've seen so far. It was built in 1385 by Sir Edward Dalyngrigge, a former knight of Edward III. It feels bizarre to have such history right here, able to be touched. By comparison, the Treaty of Waitangi - which was the founding document of New Zealand as we know it - was signed in 1840. This castle was built almost 500 years before that!

We climbed up the turrets, and stood in the great hall (truth: I thought for a great hall it would be bigger) and imagined the fancy kitchens, with their massive fireplaces. The well still stands (although it's populated right from the moat, where they used to empty their chamberpots... no wonder they drank ale).

All in all, it was pretty impressive day trip.

The List #79 - Legitimately Yell ‘Bingo!’ in a Bingo Hall

I love the idea of playing Bingo and being lucky enough to get that one line. I thought it would be all euphoria and standing on my chair, arms in the air! The loudest Bingo you'd ever heard. Do you know what actually happened? In a place where there was fancy purple lights and partying and disco balls, with two bottles of red going down nicely, I scratched my head, held out my bingo card to Zee and asked 'Is this a line?'

Uhm, what? That's absolutely not how I expected it to go.

Rebel Bingo is one of those great (and well ridiculous) parties that you'll find in the backstreets of London. It's loud, and everyones punch drunk and dancing, in a great mood. It's more like a show, really. A happy drunk show where everyone draws on you as well as your bingo card. I wasn't sure whether calling out Bingo in a party when you can't hear yourself think counted... but then Rebel Bingo did a show in a proper Bingo Hall. With the board that lights up in numbers and everything! I bought tickets months in advance, and we went.

It was intense. We were drinking cheap wine and dancing in our seats, bathed in this super purple light. The numbers came thick and fast (seriously, only buy one card. Save the rest of your money for the wine!) and I was positive I'd never win. It was the last round of four, the bonus round. And I did. I got a line, and (after careful consultation with Zee) yelled Bingo!! Woop!

Except, another girl one over did too, just after I did. It was unheard of (apparently). A Rebel Bingo first, a simultaneous bingo. So, we were pulled up on stage, and we rock, paper, scissored it out. Alas, I didn't win, but I was equally stoked to be there. To have called Bingo, and to be able to cross this one off The List!

What a night! It was ridiculous. And fun, and we both had a great time. So, Rebel Bingo! If it comes to city near you, buy a ticket. You might even get Bingo.

I called Bingo, and I was SO happy about it. Number #79 - Done!