Photos, Quote of the day, Social Commentary, Travel

Quote of the Day: ‘I promise you will never have to turn Right on an airplane’

(Seinfeld Airport Episode, Courtesy of the Internet)

I admit it. I am a Business-Class-Kind-of-Girl. No, not the ‘Swingers’ movie Business-Class-Kind-of-Girl, where my ass is too big to fit in an economy seat, but the Seinfeld Business-Class-Kind-of-Girl, who has tried Business Class and has trouble going back to economy. The worst is when they make you walk past Business Class to get to economy, making you look at all these people being treated like royalty, condescendingly sipping their Champagne in your face smugly and gleefully. It makes me feel like Eileen in that Seinfeld episode: ‘Oh, no, please, don’t send me back there. Please, I’ll do anything. It’s so nice up here. It’s so comfortable up here. I don’t want to go back there. Please don’t send me back there…’ I don’t know anyone who has tried Business/First/PJ and is just dying to get back to Economy.

These days, I could just take a Business Class Flight for 12 hours and come back to London for all I care. I just want 12 hours to do whatever I want, without hearing ‘mummy!’ being screamed at me every two seconds, a husband requiring ‘attention’ and having to keep up the appearance of a ‘perfect’ life (which it never is, trust me). Everyone here in Business Class is smiling. The air must be better. This is a Happyland; nice people constantly making me feel so good, asking me ‘how are you’, ‘what can I get for you,’ ‘is everything Ok’ for once and bringing me food, magazines, and champagne at the tip of a button. I get to watch movies all day long without feeling guilty and actually read a whole sentence out of a book uninterrupted. What else could a girl ask for?

The High Miles Club

The best kind of Business Class flying, which I specialise in, is on Miles/Points, guilt-free Business Class flying, where everything feels better when it’s (almost) free. (There have to be some perks for your husband’s constant work travels and making you feel like a single mother). I have analysed all the possible and impossible routes using BA Miles and have gotten it down to an art. Flying to main business hubs and cities in the US/North America is relatively easy: New York, Chicago, LA, Toronto as well as other far away Business centers like Tokyo. Forget the Maldives, it is a very popular holiday destination, which is virtually impossible to book on miles, unless you book months and months in advance in the rainy season. From London, your safest warm destination is the Carribean, which is why I have been to Barbados more times than I care to discuss, St. Lucia, Mustique and Antigua. Other possible warm and sunny destinations include Bangkok, Cape Town and Brazil.

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Men and Business Class

Men are equally as guilty of loving Business Class. Those in the know ask each other ‘Do you turn Right or Left on an airplane?’ which fuelled the famous line a Hedge Funder used to try to win his fiancé back: ‘I promise you will never have to turn Right on an airplane.’ I used to date a guy with a British Airways Gold Card, which was one of the few perks of him travelling all the time, until he ‘Seinfelded’ me (see Youtube video at top). One of our Business seats was given away (we got them on miles) and he made me sit in the ‘back of the bus’ while he was ‘in front’ in Business (using the excuse that he traveled so much that he needed his Business seat). Needless to say, this relationship did not last. A man’s attitude towards flying Business is really an entry into his mind. It’s very simple, those men who will take the Business seat instead of giving them to you will always put themselves/their jobs/their hobbies/their priorities in front of yours and you will just need to accept this for the rest of your life. Take it or leave it. Really, the first question a woman should ask on a first date should be: ‘If we had one seat in Business and one seat in Economy, which would you choose and which would you offer me?’ The same goes for men, if your date demands Business Class on your first trip together to the One & Only in the Maldives after 6 weeks of dating, good luck.

Children and Business Class

Now there is the dilemma of what to do with children and flying. Hugh Jackman recently told the Sunday Times Magazine that he flies economy with his children and First without them ‘when he’s working.’ Within the Notting Hill Mums set, it is typical for a three year old NHYM daughter to go on a domestic flight and push all the buttons before asking her mother: ‘Mummy, how do I turn this into a bed?’ Then there is the 5 year old who flies commercial for the first time (after his father loses his job during the recession) and asks his father ‘Daddy, who are all these people on our plane?’ Luckily, the father was clever enough to convince him that this kind of flying was much better; bigger airplane, more movies and games, more friends to make, and of course, flatbeds.

(Seinfeld Airport Episode, Courtesy of the Internet)

Economy and World Traveller Plus vs. Business

Who needs an overweight, slobbering, snoring guy who overtakes his half of the armrest and locks you in for the whole flight while some little shit kid is kicking the back of your seat while his mother smiles apologetically when you give her evil stares (but does absolutely nothing about it)? Then there are the wafts of the ‘Odeurs du Corps’ perfume (translated as ‘body odours,’ sounds so much better in French), a mix of BO and gastrointestinal gasses, the latter which have been proven to occur more frequently at altitude since gasses expand as pressure decreases (http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/scientists-support-breaking-wind-airplane-article-1.1265744). The air in Business Club is truly better. Then there are the poor air hostesses who have to endure the humiliation that they are ten years older and ten kilos heavier than their Business Class counterparts. I have cringed when I asked an Economy air hostess what kind of Red wine she was pouring me, and she replied’We only have two kinds of wine, Red and White.’

World Traveller Plus is really where I feel the most comfortable, since I can’t justify the price of actually paying for Business seats (which makes me sick thinking of how many houses with running water I could build in Africa for the price of one ticket), but can’t help feeling torn because I hate that I love Business so much.

First Class vs. Business

My analysis of First vs. Business is quite simple. There is not enough difference between First and Business to justify the price or the Miles. Although, there are still a lot of positives to First Class, I like the pyjamas but they only have two sizes, Medium and Large, and I quite simply look like I am wearing my husband’s workout clothes after a massive weight loss and gastric banding. They are also rather potato-sack unflattering. The Virgin Upper Class bottoms are better styled and more comfortable, I could wear them every day, so when you see someone walking down Westbourne Grove in Virgin Upper Class sweatpants, you’ll know it’s me.

What I also like about First Class is that the passengers are actually more civilized than Business Class passengers. When M took her first First Class flight at 7 months, everyone was smiling, cooing and wanting to hold her. She was treated like a First Class Baby. In Business, I have witnessed ‘airplane rage’ caused by her and other small children. Once when a woman was seated next to us complained for half an hour about having a two year old next to her (M), another time I watched in amusement a French couple who had been bumped to World Traveller Plus, ranting for half an hour while a happy family of five including three girls each in their own Business seat (the youngest was still sucking on her soother), watched them almost get thrown off the flight because they wouldn’t go to their World Traveller seat.

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Private Jets vs. Business Class

Private jets are a whole other ball game. I personally don’t do very well on PJs, since I am claustrophobic and anything less than a G5 (Cessnas/Learjets) reminds me of getting in an MRI scan, with the loud buzzing noise and the feeling of a round white tunnel enclosing in on me. Makes me want to reach for a Xanax. I will never have enough money/friends with enough money to fly G5/G6/Boeing, so I will stick to commercial. The closest commercial flight that resembles flying private is the London City to NYC all-Business flight, (where I happened to be the only woman on the flight, and the only pregnant one, which took them by surprise. They handled me like a rare Chinese Ming porcelain statue). It has only around 18 seats and has its own lounge-straight-to-airplane with drinks and snacks to nibble on before the flight, which is good enough for me. But if you are like some wannabes I’ve met who dream of flying Private, there is a certain Private Jet Etiquette to be familiar with depending on the owner’s country of origin.

The Russians: The Russians specialise in ‘professional ladies’ without shame, who come on board to give them all kinds of ‘helping hands and mouths’ during the flight, offering the air hostesses 10,000 Euros for any extra help needed (this one politely declined). Then there is the 60 year old Russian who knows his limits with two 18 year olds, when he keeps it to a little massaging and caressing while Jessie J’s song ‘It’s all about the money’ blares in the background.

The Saudis: As soon as the flight becomes airborne, this International Private Jet Air Zone becomes Islam-free territory, the Hijabs have been forgotten at home, the wet bar is well stocked with Gin and Whiskey, cigarettes and cigars are smoked and alcohol fountains appear. You might as well bring on the pork crackling. Let the good times roll.

The Icelandics: Remember the days of smoking on flights? Still possible on PJs and the group of Icelandics who brought the Icelandic economy to its knees decided to stop over in Hawaii just to buy a $10 pack of cigarettes. Seems like they didn’t know how to make very good financial choices, professionally or personally.

The Americans: Promising his fiancé a mink fur coat, an American stops in Kiev in search of the fur coat, but his mission is ‘diverted’ by some ‘professionals’. He is a very generous man when he hears about the pilot’s cheating wife (the pilot found out after installing spy software in his house which took photos every 2  minutes of his cheating wife and colleague lover), he tells his friend, ‘Find a girl for the pilot and make sure she f**ks his brains out. I’ll pay.’ His fiancé never saw a fur coat

So there you have it. I am a Business Class kind-of-Girl. See you in Business, if I’m lucky.

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

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In the Press, Photos, Reviews

Sunny May Bank Holiday, Chiltern Firehouse’s courtyard finally opens!

Nothing beats a Sunday Brunch ‘En Famille’ in the sun

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Steak Tartare is a pleasure to look at… but unfortunately it’s like an Eastern European model, too skinny and not enough spice, looks win over substance this time….

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They even provided toys for M! And a highchair for Baby X

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The Kissing Doggies were as much a hit as the Strawberry Sundae…!

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All in all, 5 stars for the sunshine, 5 stars for the kissing dogs and strawberry sundae, food and service still to be rated as they are battling teething problems, admitted by the waiter, ‘We opened this Saturday, so that’s why we are running around like head-less chickens. It is like opening a second, separate restaurant’. Which is why they ran out of cutlery and when I asked for a Dashamour I was brought a jalapeño bitter instead of my green juice. (They changed the name without telling me, and the green juice is now called a Green Goddess).

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Photos, Reviews, Social Commentary, Travel

Shoreditch House, Hotel and Restaurant

Where…‘Big Brother is watching you and guests should refrain from wearing corporate attire’

Shoreditch House, Hotel and Restaurant

Ebor St, London E1 6AW

+(44) 02077385040

https://www.shoreditchhouse.com/

Rooftop

Overall: 4.5 stars

Hotel:

Hotel Service: 5 stars

Amenities: 5 stars (Highlights include the Cowshed Spa & Rooftop Pool)

Rooms: 4 stars

Value for money: 4.5 stars

1 small room per night £265.00

Restaurant:

Food 4 stars

Service: 4 stars

Atmosphere: 4.5 stars depending on who you sit next to

Value for money: 4 stars

London Staycationing

‘You’re going far.’ Our Eurocrat single Hedge Fund Founder Friend sarcastically commented when we told him we were staycaying in East London for our 6th anniversary. He was clearly childless. It had been 8 months since the birth of Baby X and I was dying for some time away with Mr. C. Unfortunately, there are granny-nanny wars going on at the moment in Casa NHYM and we are unable to leave Nanny Y with our two yummy daughters for a whole week, so we have opted for an overnight London ‘staycation.’ We had previously stay-cay’d at the Berkeley Hotel after M’s birth, but it was such a baby-blur that I don’t even remember going. After looking down a list of 5 star hotels and feeling rather underwhelmed, I had the brilliant idea of trying out the Shoreditch House Hotel, which is half the price of any 5 star hotel in London, and sounded perfect for our needs.

‘No Suits’

I received multiple confirmation emails for my room reservation, including the House Rules, which ended with this statement: ‘Finally, we foster a non-corporate atmosphere. To preserve this casual environment, hotel residents should refrain from wearing corporate attire and are also responsible for ensuring their guests abide by this rule.’ I had applied to be a Soho House member on various occasions, but like the British driving test, I failed at each and every attempt. But I am a writer! I dejectedly wanted to defend myself. Perhaps they had Big Brother cameras everywhere and knew that I was a NHYM and my husband was a ‘Suit’, and that I come from a long line of ‘Suits’ (The New York Soho House famously dis-membered 1,500 suits after its first year, which caused outrage in the Wall Street community).

Therefore, when I entered the lobby of Shoreditch House, I was intimidated but prepared for the looming ‘No Suits’ sign at the ‘lobby,’ slightly afraid that Big Brother knew that Mr. C would be coming straight from work in his ‘Suit’. Welcome to the Big Brother East London House. There are two separate receptions, one for the Members Club and one for the hotel as well as two separate elevators. I was welcomed by a super cool chick at the hotel reception, who could have been my new BFF if she’d let me, and was absolutely lovely. She showed me to my room and immediately sent up a bottle of Prosecco when I mentioned that it was our anniversary (Ok, so Prosecco’s not really my drink, but I can’t complain when it’s free).

The Room: S*x and the East End City

The room itself, although called a small room, didn’t feel too small unlike some city hotel rooms (ie. Tribeca Grand), and had a warm, ‘lived in country,’ Hamptons-white-shutters feel to it, not too fussy with clean, white lines. I was particularly impressed with the bed and thread count (nothing worse than going to a hotel with a hard bed and the linens giving you a midnight body scrub). I also liked the old school black telephone  and the bathroom products, all from Cowshed Spa, which she told me to ‘use as much as you can while you’re here, but you’ll have to pay for them if you take them home, so lather up!’ Then, I saw in the multitudes of cotton buds, combs, toothbrushes and earplugs, a neat packet called ‘Condoms.’ It was as if someone was reading my mind and knew why I was here. How did they know that all I really needed was a room without the threat of a nuclear baby breakdown, a phone that probably didn’t work, a good bed, and some extra protection for some out-of-the-West-End-World s*x to get my mojo back? Big Brother was really watching.

The 5th floor Bar and House Kitchen: A lesson in East End Hipster Style

When Mr. C. got dressed for dinner with a white collared shirt and blue blazer, I hissed at him ‘You can’t wear that! They’ll kick us out!’ ‘What are you talking about? I am sure everyone will be in the Mayfair uniform here’. He responded. ‘Trust me, put on that Zadig & Voltaire skull & bones sweater and those ripped jeans and you’ll be fine.’ As we arrived in the 5th floor Bar, I was clearly right. They forgot to put in the reservations memo that all men should be wearing the hipster uniform: cropped hair with long beards, lumberjack shirts, skinnies, and black combat boots. I kicked myself thinking that I could have flown Mr. C over to Brooklyn for a quick beard-implant-make-over to play the part.

The 5th floor is huge and we went for a walk-around looking for a table to sit, first passing the bar area, then the ping pong tables (‘When did ping pong get trendy ?’ I asked Mr. C. ‘It’s been trendy for the past 5 years!’ I am feeling un-cooler by the minute), the delicious looking display of Mediterranean inspired food looked divine and the back lounge area was already all filled with more hipsters. We finally found a table in the bar area and were greeted by a waiter: ‘Do you have your membership card?’ he immediately asked Mr. C, who handed him our temporary card from the hotel and I turned to him ‘See, they know we don’t belong here!’ I am feeling overdressed with my IRO jacket and wearing Mayfair earrings that I am about to take off, when Mr.C tells me to get a grip, so I silently gulp my Green Machine instead, which is excellent (Kiwi, Banana, Mint and Spirulina), fascinated by the Hipster Scene.

Jars Shoreditch House2 - Version 2

The 6th floor Roof Terrace Restaurant: Who needs Christian Grey when you’ve got Daario Naharis? 

I can finally breathe better on the 6th floor, which is more my style. We are seated in close quarters between two couples on either side. On my right is a mixed Indian/British couple in their late 40s, the man looks like a skinny version of Anish Kapoor (Has he been on a 5:2 diet? I wonder), the woman is British and both are lovely and smile to us as we arrive. On my left are two men who look like they are on their first date, slightly nervous and trying to impress the other. One is a good-looking, East End kind-of-guy, and across from him is a slightly uptight, trying-to-be-cool, American Jew. It was an odd combination, I thought to myself, until I realise who the street guy was – I kick Mr. C and un-subtely point at him. Mr. C is clueless when it comes to celeb spotting and this one is a hard one so I am very proud of myself. It’s Daario Naharis from Game of Thrones! (Not the current one played by Michel Huisman, but the original who I later find out is called Ed Skrein IRL. I only recognised him because we just finished Season 3 in preparation for the upcoming Season 4 on Sky). Daario aka Ed Skrein is steaming sexy in Game of Thrones with his long hair, bulging muscles and overbearing confidence and charisma, you could just imagine him throwing you over his shoulder and bringing you back to his lair before you could even say ‘Oh, Daarioooo!’ Here at Shoreditch, he fits the part with short, cropped hair, in East End Hipster Style, so it is his teeth I recognise. (I have a thing with teeth and can recognise people by their teeth alone. I know, weird but wonderful).

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(courtesy of the internet)

As I am eating my delicious quinoa and sweet potato salad starter, I realise that this is going to be a dinner where Mr. C and I might as well not talk to each other because the conversation next door is so much more interesting than ours could ever be. This is man-to-man territory and an insight into what men really say to each other over dinner. Ed and his friend, whom we shall call L.A. (as he turns out to be his LA agent/lawyer, not sure which), start their conversation very sweetly by talking kids and wives and sharing photos of their 3 year old. I want to join the conversation and show pictures of M too and how cute she is but luckily stop myself. Then comes their interests; travel (L.A. recommends Brazil ‘the women are incredible there, you’ve got to go),’ which seamlessly drifts to football and the World Cup when Ed Skrein mentions his football team, Liverpool. ‘Is that Liverpool here in London or the Beatles Liverpool? Ed politely replies ‘Liverpool as in the Beatles Liverpool.’ ‘Well I know there is a Liverpool Street here and all’ L.A. naively and somewhat ignorantly comments. They talk about their similarities and their differences, where they grew up, both wanting to be musicians, Ed in North London, L.A. in South Florida among the retirement community. L.A. talked about desperately wanted to be a musician but his Jewish parents wouldn’t allow it, so he went to law school instead, like a good Jewish boy, before heading out West.

The talk from there went on to Ed’s future career and his current films. L.A. told Ed to prepare himself because his life was going to change drastically and that he was going to be a huge star. This was probably the script he spat out to every new, young, rising star (He mentioned how crazy Josh was at the Cannes Film Festival, I assumed he was talking about Josh Hartnett, as it sounds like L.A. specialises in hearthrobs). L.A. told Ed that his role was to build his brand, to protect him and his reputation. ‘Stay true to who you are, don’t accept any film roles just because you’re all of a sudden getting an avalanche of film roles.’ I google Ed later and find that he is replacing Jason Statham in the next Transporter movie. He has a number of movies in the pipeline, including Tiger House, Kill your Friends and Transporter 4, which would be the one to launch him into Superstardom if the movie is a hit, but by the success of past Transporter films, it is almost guaranteed. This is the real reason why he left GoT, I am convinced. By the end of  dinner, I have been too enthralled in the conversation so have completely forgotten about the food. The menu delivers standard fish, pizza, and meat dishes and does what it intends to do; good, solid, reliable food that you can come back to, day after day.

As their dinner finishes, Ed Skrein gives a toast: ‘May today be better than yesterday, and tomorrow better than today’ which I thought was quite endearing (He can whisper that in my ear any day), but Mr.C found it incredibly cheesy, but that is probably because he knew that I was secretly wishing Daario would swing me onto his shoulder back to his lair tonight.

Day-time at Shoreditch House: Sneakerheads at a Sneaky Show

Day-time in Shoreditch felt like I was in the Meatpacking district without the 7 hour flight and jetlag. After a very good Eggs Benedict at the 6th floor restaurant surrounded by brunching young families, we ventured out into the East End, which for me, was a first. We went like tourists to Spitalfields Market where we saw a 50 yo Chinese couple playing ping pong before opening their stall, wandered to Brick Lane where street artist Fanakapan was graffiti-ing elephants, and saw a never-ending line of people near the Truman’s Brewery, wondering which concert they were waiting in line for. I asked someone who looked like a man-in-the-know what they were waiting for and he told me: ‘A sneaky show.’ I am of course conjuring an x rated, sneaky, exhibitionist show in my head but had to stop myself as the attendants looked way too young, so I ask him to explain: ‘It’s a trainers market, people come here to see, trade and buy trainers like special edition Nike and Reebok.’ (The next day I ask my part time nanny what she did over the weekend she tells me that she was at a convention. ‘What kind of convention?’ I ask, when she shows me her newly acquired, impossible-to-get, black Nike high tops, that the ‘sneakerheads’ have all been clamouring to get. Wow. Where have I been? I thought sneakers were left in the eighties).

Flowers on rooftop

We finished off the morning with a coffee at the Boundary Rooftop, which is by the way, one of the best rooftops in the city, before Mr. C surprised me with the best pedicure in my life at the Cowshed Spa. Post-pedi, we headed for lunch around the pool, another Green Machine and Quinoa salad for me and a pepperoni pizza for Mr. C, which was unfortunately nowhere near as good as the Diavola Pizza at the Oak. I wanted to jump in the pool but Mr.C dissuaded me, ‘You don’t know what’s been in this pool’ although I am thinking that there’s nothing a little Vodka can’t clean. By the afternoon, the families had disappeared for a nap and the hipsters had exchanged their skinnies for board shorts, swanning around looking like Russell Brand, Florence the Machine and Alexa Chung (although I think it really was Alexa Chung, judging by her Hipster entourage). The scene was ‘young and cool’ against ‘Cityscape’. There was also a good gay scene, noticed by us when a young, lithe-bodied, Adonis answered the waitress when she asked the usual, ‘What can I get you?’ with: ‘A boyfriend, please. Preferably a good-looking one’.

Rooftop pool

As we left Shoreditch Hotel, Restaurant, Pool and Spa, we smugly felt that we could still hang with the ‘cool’ crowd, that is, until we saw a big graffiti outside fobbing off Shoreditch wankers and realized that we had just dropped one echelon of coolness again (although, street artists like Banksy are very happy to pick-pocket ‘Suits’ any day). Shoreditch may not be everyone’s scene, but for 24 hours, it made me feel like I had been away for a week and got my Mojo back with the help of Big Brother’s hipster scene, 500 thread count linens, condoms and Game of Thrones hotness.

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Shoreditch House on Urbanspoon

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‘Where am I?’

Saturday: Seaview Skiing…

seaview skiing

Sunday: Snowview Swimming…

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** Win a Yotam Ottolenghi Cookbook ‘Jerusalem’ and a fun rom-com DVD filmed in this area if you can guess where both of these photos were taken. Email me at nottinghillyummymummy@hotmail.com by June 1st. Winners announced by mid June**

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In the Press, Photos

Happy Easter!!!

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