A Night at Jongleurs

Last Friday, I went to the Jongleurs Comedy Club in Piccadilly.  If I’m honest, my expectations were fairly low.  I’ve been to a couple of Comedy Clubs before and, in general, only half of the acts were funny.  I’d also read a number of particularly critical reviews and struggled to find anything positive on the internet.


When we arrived, we were shown to a table.  It was fairly near the back of the room but the view was good.  I had been sent a menu the previous day to select a meal from so our burgers were promptly brought over.  They weren’t exceptional, but they were nice.

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A Giant Chocolate Cake

For Christmas, I was given Peggy Porschen’s ‘Boutique Baking’ book.  For ages, I didn’t use it.  Sure, I looked at (read: drooled over) the pictures, but I hadn’t actually settled down to do any baking.  Because the truth is, the pictures were pretty scary.  Look at the picture below.  That’s a pretty intimidating photo for a novice baker who can successfully make fairy cakes but burns just about every thing else.


Peggy Porschen's Boutique Baking

Peggy Porschen’s Boutique Baking


But, yesterday, I thought “Why not?  If Peggy can do it, then surely I can too?”  I would like stress at this point that Peggy Porschen owns an award-winning cake company – I do not.

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Hawksmoor:The Best Steak in London?

For a number of years, I have been on the hunt for the best steak in London.  As mentioned in an earlier post, steak is my absolute favourite food.  So far, I have been to Gauchos, Gordon Ramsay’s Maze Grill and Marco Pierre White‘s Steak & Alehouse.

Last Friday, I went to Hawksmoor.  Specifically, the Hawksmoor in Seven Dials (which is one of my favourite places in London anyway!).  It was Mal’s birthday at the end of February and, having heard a number of fantastic reviews, we decided to give it a go.  Well, it certainly lived up to our expectations.


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Swan Lake at the Mariinsky Theatre

Before we left for St Petersburg, we decided to book tickets to see ‘Swan Lake’ at the Mariinsky Theatre.  While I normally do a lot of research on things to do in a certain area, this was the first time that I’d actually booked something.  And it was fantastic.

Firstly, it gave our trip a bit of a focus.  We had to plan our time around the theatre visit and it meant that we were a little bit more organised throughout.  Secondly, the show was fantastic.  Neither of us had ever been to the ballet before and, despite being a little bit apprehensive, we loved it.

However, there were a few minor hiccups.  Mainly, that for the first two acts, I didn’t have a clue what was going on!

A Panoramic Photograph of the Mariinsky Theatre

A Panoramic Photograph of the Mariinsky Theatre

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This is the name of restaurant that we visited in St Petersburg.  It was a strange restaurant, mainly because we were the only people in it.  The DK Travel Guide states the following:

The Strelka has a number of restaurants but none of them can match the Imperator for price.  Tucked away in the basement of the Academy of Sciences, next to the Kunstkammer, it serves the usual mix of European and Caucasian cuisine, with the slightly odd addition of Mexican dishes.  The small non-smoking room should be booked ahead.

The first part is certainly true – the prices were very reasonable.  I’m not quite sure what ‘Caucasian cuisine’ entails but the menu was certainly very varied.  The meal itself was pleasant, if not exceptional, but the service was fantastic.  We had already eaten a few times since arriving in St Petersburg and the service had been pretty poor each time.

English: Saint Petersburg (Russia), Old Saint ...

St Petersburg

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Photographing the Snow in Russia

St Petersburg was very, very cold.  Thankfully, we had packed accordingly, with numerous leggings, thermals and socks.  Even so, my hands did become painfully cold on a number of occasions.  Taking my gloves off to sort out the camera was always a bit of a struggle!

However, I’d say it was worth it.  St Petersburg was beautiful in the snow and while my photography doesn’t do it justice, it might give you a little idea of what a winter weekend in St Petersburg has to offer.


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The First Night in St Petersburg

We arrived in St Petersburg at around 6pm. We had to go through passport control, where the airport staff looked particularly frightening, and were lucky enough to find our bag within a couple of minutes. I say that as though it happened really smoothly, but I did actually have to dash across the airport in snow boots when I saw our bag from a hundred meters away! We then debated whether or not to get a taxi to our hotel (the easy option) or try and find our way there using public transport.

We opted to try public transport.St Petersberg

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A Liebster Award Nomination

I am very excited to announce that I have been nominated for a Liebster Award by Catherine at londonlately.  I’ve been reliably informed that ‘leibster’ comes from a German word meaning ‘favourite’ or ‘dearest’ so I’m incredibly grateful for Catherine’s nomination.  So, what exactly do these awards entail?  Well, I believe it goes something like this …

The Liebster Award is a fun way to recognize and promote new up and coming blogs of a good standard with less than 200 followers. Nominees are asked to:

1.  Post 11 facts about themselves.
2.  Answer the 11 questions they’ve been asked.
3.  Nominate 11 other blogs and ask them 11 questions of their own.
4.  Display the Liebster Award logo.

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Travel Upgrades

This week on TheRopesinLondon will henceforth be known as ‘St Petersburg Week’.  Mainly because I intend to write predominantly about St Petersburg.  I have plenty of pictures and stories to share so keep checking back for updates!

Flying Club Europe

Do you remember last week when I spoke about much I LOVE flying? Well today I love it even more!

For some completely unknown reason, we ended up travelling to and from St Petersburg in ‘Club Europe’.  It transpires that we actually booked this but neither of us remember doing that and the prices didn’t seem to reflect it.  So it felt just like a free upgrade!

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Long-Haul Flights: Love or Hate?

English: Long Haul to JNB

It is only in the last few years that I have stopped hating long-haul flights.  I think it was the boredom that I found really frustrating.  And being so uncomfortable that you can’t possibly fall asleep.  I would end up feeling so tired and irritable that even the films available didn’t have a chance of cheering me up.  Add in an abysmal meal and that probably explains my hatred.

So what changed?  Because in the last few years I’ve come to quite enjoy long-haul flights – which probably isn’t a bad thing, having spent 23 hours on three different flights to travel from Hoi An to Heathrow last year.

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