Shuang Shuang

Dinner but different.

I have been desperate to try this place and finally managed to badger someone in to coming with me.  So off we trot to Shuang Shuang.  Its new, cool, different and tasty!

It is a hot pot restaurant, but you cook all your own ingredients, and, wait for it….it comes round on a conveyer belt in front of you.  This left me very excitable, consequently I did not hear all the instructions that we were given by the very patient gentleman serving us. However, he was very obliging and answered lots of questions at varying points of the meal.

So, you start by choosing your broth, I chose the Mongolian lamb – it has a proper name but I have forgotten it!  My friend had the temple brew which is the vegetarian option.  Then we had to chose a dipping sauce, I went for the house sauce, which they mix for you, it was all kinds of interesting.

Once the broth is bubbling away on the hot plate in front of us, we pick from the conveyer belt.  It’s much like the sushi train type experience, though they have little stickers on the covers that explain how long each thing needs to be cooked for and what is in it, pork – little pig drawing, beef – little cow drawing ect.  We started with some noodles, tofu (yes, not my choice as past blogs will confirm) and corn.  We cook away and then dip and enjoy.  It’s something else.  Delicious and very satisfying.  I try some of the strange looking balls going around which turn out to be chicken balls, very tasty.  We pick and choose, and end up making a huge mess and very very full.

I love this place and am definitely going back, its yummy and satisfying.  The staff are wonderful and helpful.  Love it!


Elf does the TNT Travel show

The TNT Travel show is town!  Twice a year the TNT travel show comes to Angel in London bringing all its lovely deals and sales with it.  The travel show has companies such as Top Deck, Expat Tours, Oasis and many others.  The deals on offer cover everything from weekends in Scotland to 39 weeks overland in Africa.

Its best to come armed with your phone, notepad and money in your account to pay deposits, which you will need to be able to do on the day in order to secure your trips.

Most of the trips on offer are tours of one type or another.  This might not be everyone’s cup of tea.  But if you have limited time or cash there are lots of options.IMAG1550 (2)

We like to do a lap around the stands and gather the pamphlets we are most interested in, then settle down to work out the logistics.

This year the show seems quieter and less full than past years.  There are the usual free bags and pens which is always nice.  The coffee stand sells a mean flat white.  But this year we decide there is nothing we fancy.  Friends book a trip to Egypt, 4 days in Europe – traveling around Belgium and France.

All in all, it’s a good morning out.  It’s on tomorrow so get along for some holiday bargains.


Elf goes to the theatre

The Soho Theatre is one of my favourite places for new writing, unusual theatre as well as comedy and stand up.  Monday night (yes a Monday – crazy good way to start the week) this little elf toddled along to see Sarah Kendell “A day in October”.

“A day in October” is much more story telling rather than stand up.  Although funny and there are plenty of laughs throughout, it is much more about the characters that Sarah creates for the audience and the narrative that links them together.  The story set in an Australian high school, was brilliantly true and brought back lots of memories… although I was lucky enough to go to a school where I could go to the bathroom without too much trepidation!

I won’t spoil the story for anyone else who is keen to go along (I definitely think you should!). This tale is more poignant than belly laugh, I was gripped throughout and left thinking about the performance for some time.  The emotion that was put into the performance left me spinning and very glad that high school is behind me.  Thoroughly worth seeing, and definitely a very cool way to start a week.

Elf gets a gadget

The Little Elf has been quiet of late.  It is hard to find adventures that are suitable when suffering from a horrible cold!  It has been a tough and rather yucky sound making sort of a time, but luckily this is coming to an end and I have a new gadget to play with.

It’s a new Pulse fitness tracker!  And yes it is not getting that much of a workout at the moment. But, it tracks steps, kilometers (or miles) traveled, calories burnt, sleep and also has a heart rate monitor facility.

IMAG1519The instructions are fairly minimal and mostly direct you to a website/app that can be signed up to and/or downloaded to most devices (as far as I can work out).  The app is easy to use and after some fiddling around and mild cursing I got the Pulse connected to the app.  Since this mild blip the syncing has been pretty easy.

The Pulse it’s self is easy to use, it just has one button and an easy to see screen.  The touch screen can take a couple of goes, but this could also be my cold fingers.  The charts on the app are easy to understand and it awards you badges for achievements which is very gratifying.


I am enjoying the little gadget so far; in fact, I can see myself getting a little addicted to it.


Converting little sister to hot yoga

Further to my promise to keep on going to the Hot classes, both yoga and Pilates, which now means that I have become one of those annoying people that extol the virtues of Hot Yoga to everyone they meet.  Normally within an irritatingly short amount of time and to people I have forgotten I had already tried to convert!

I have managed to convince one person to join me at a class…my sister…probably just due to a latent familial loyalty rather than my convincing speeches.

So I have dragged her along mid-week to a class.  We start well, she even manages a smile as I inevitably get my left and right muddled and we end up facing each other.  Half way though I realise this is actually quite a hard class tonight, harder than average, everyone is struggling, it even seems hotter tonight than usual, perhaps we should have picked a more gentle instructor… perhaps this was a mistake?  I glance over.  She is red in the face and huffing along next to me.  This time she does not smile at me.  I can feel that latent loyalty wavering.  I am a horrid big sister.

She doesn’t say much as we wipe down mats and gather our things.  In fact we are half way down the street before she speaks…..she asks when the next class is.  Horary! I win! Not so far as loved it but she is definitely coming back!

Right….on to the next one

Elf cooks with paneer

After the roaring success of my cooking with tofu experience, I am trying out paneer.  Paneer is Indian cheese, we call it “squeaky cheese” at home, because it squeaks against your teeth.

In fact I am cheating here because I have cooked with paneer before, it’s one of my favourites.  But this is a new recipe and ….I like it so I’m writing about it any way.

Paneer yum!

I am adapting a brilliant tikka masala recipe from the Hairy Bikers (I love these guys).  With all Indian cooking I always find it easiest to measure out and prepare all my spices in advance, otherwise I tend to find myself at a critical point adding double of something or not having something critical at a point too late to do anything about…leading to more interesting eating!


I combine the vegetables and spices and add a little extra water to stop it getting too thick whilst I prepare the paneer.


I lightly fry the paneer until it is light brown and crispy….I like it with a bit of crunch but if you don’t just fry it a little less. Once your rice is ready pop the paneer into the vegetable curry.

SIMAG1508erve with rice and mango chutney….delicious!

Hunterian Museum

This beautiful little museum tucked up in the Royal College of Surgeons is open Tuesday –  Saturdays 10am to 5pm.  It is well worth an hour or two of your time.  Even if it does feel a little bit of a shame when the sun is out and the sky so blue, but then again the Lincoln Fields is such a beautiful place in any case that the walk from tube to museum it beautiful and lush!

The museum its self is pack full of human and animal samples, the walls are shimmering with jars, it is a treasure trove of amazing things!  The museum is quite small and spread over two floors, the nerd in me feels as if this place is the “Hall of Prophesy” from Harry Potter!

There are the macabre and the intriguing.  There are lions’ pelvises and giant’s skeleton, lizard innards and syphilitic skulls!  Perhaps not a place for the squeamish or those likely to pass out due to the insides of peoples.

I confess I love the place, I have been hearing lots of times and will definitely be heading back again.  It has free entry and there are talks on various interesting subjects.  The website is and is full of information.