Five Go Mad

Sunday, 27 January 2013

come on Spring

January seems to have gone on and on and on. I didn't really enjoy the snow this year as I managed to slip on the first day going to work and fall flat on my face. Perhaps wearing cowboy boots in the snow wasn't such a good idea but it wasn't snowing when I went to work. It's a horrible feeling knowing you are falling and not being able to do anything about it.

On a more positive note we got some great coverage in the Saturday Telegraph magazine 12.01.2013 of our cute biscuit brooches. They are £18 for a selection of 3 so really won't break the bank.

For my other half's birthday present in December, I paid for eurostar tickets to Paris. I thought going in late January was a good idea as January is usually so grim.  Seats were notably cheaper earlier in the morning so we were up at 4.30am this Saturday and took the first eurostar at 6.20am,  arriving in time to have a lovely breakfast at the They shot Amelie the film there and you get steaming bowls of coffee or hot chocolate with delicious pastries. We both felt inspired by  Merci the wonderful concept store which will shortly be having an online retail store 111 Boulevard Beaumarchais  73003 Paris, France and managed to stop off for a lazy lunch at Bistro Paul Bert off Rue de Charonne in the 11th arrondissement Their steak and chips are delicious and so is their red wine! We were back by 11am this morning, catching the 9.13am train home. It's amazing what you can pack into 30 hours. My only complaint is the Eurostar's seats. They are so hard and uncomfortable, I found it impossible to sleep.

We are gearing up for another supperclub in March so please do email me for more info if you are interested

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

March Supper Clubs

Well it has been a year since our last supper club... oops sorry! How time flies when you have been having, er not fun...Throw in a divorce, moving house (twice!) and you get the picture. Still things have settled down a bit now, so we have decided to start up the supper clubs again.  YAY!!!

We are no longer hosting them at Jones Dairy, off Columbia Road, having decided instead to run them from our flat in leafy North London.  We are doing smaller numbers now, think more along the lines of cosy suppers for 10. They are far more personal and we enjoy them more than mass catering. 

We had two in March, masochists that we are, and they were brilliant fun. Well, we would say that wouldn't we... We ran them on saturday 24th and 31st March. I reprised my role as chief skivvy and Simon CHEF, as he likes to be known (at all times!!).  We dimmed the lights, put up two trestle tables in my sitting room, and chucked a couple of my kids white sheets on them, as I had forgotten to think of tablecloths..DOH!! Well I had been working at my other job all day and time was short.
It's amazing what you can find at home to style an event when you are on  a very tight budget.  As it was a SPRING Themed supper I thought of yellow and green (well you would wouldn't you), and added some lemons and limes to the table, with a couple of bunches of daffs, lots of tea lights to get the mood, and voila boho chic at it's best!!
The menu was yummy... Well we thought so.
Baked Artichoke and Cheese dip, with home made crusty bread (A signature dish at Freeman's NYC - see our earlier blog)
Velouté of fish
Roasted Scallops with Walnut and Chive Butter
Raviolo of Rabbit with Pancetta wrapped Asparagus

Chocolate Pots de Creme
Honeycomb Ice-Cream with real shards of honeycomb, and home made wafers, curtesy of Ruby and Violet

Simon and I thought up the menu together, Simon chucking in a few mystery surprise dishes as well.  I think all the guests were so stuffed they could barely walk/drive home at the end of the night. Everyone got on well, shifting places throughout the evening, making new friends.

The good thing about having them in your flat is you can leave the washing up till the morning and even have  a couple of  sneaky drinks with the guests without worrying how to get home.. Genius...
Thanks to everyone who came, for being such great guests and for the lavish compliments. It really makes it all worthwhile.

Our next supper club is on Saturday, May 26th and is an EUROTRASH EUROVISION extravaganza, so come scoff, swig and sing the night away with us. Dancing/swaying/tapping your foot is essential. For more info please email

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Ace Hotel New York

So, a belated Christmas present, a trip in late February to New York (cheaper that way). And wow, were we lucky. Not only was the weather kind, if chilly, but we really made a great decision with our choice of hotel.

The idea was for a 5 night/4 day visit. Time enough to get a flavour of the city, do a bit of shopping, lots of eating, and just general gawping. However after an 8 hour flight, 90 minute wait to get through immigration, and a 40 minute cab ride into town it was looking like we'd need 4 days to get over just getting there. We staggered through the Ace Hotel doors and into their amazing lobby. I suppose it was about 6:00pm local time, but to us felt much, much later. Fortunately checking in was a breeze.

The staff at the Ace were so helpful and friendly, but not in that artificial way that's all to common in NYC. They seemed more like old friends than staff with customers (I bumped into one of them at a corner store and he greeted me like an old buddy). Nothing was too much trouble, nice and smooth, so we were checked in, up to the room, and back down into the bar in less then 10 minutes. That beer tasted sooooo good!

Their lobby is always busy busy busy busy; trendy bearded  creative types on their laptops or just hanging out.  Think Hoxton or London Fields types. They apparently have lots of music nights and other events there too. They also have a fab coffee shop right next door which opens ridiculously early (good for us jet laggers) and does delicious coffee.

Totally exhausted, (we are no spring chickens anymore and not good at dealing with jet-lag!) we needed to eat before running the risk of ending face down in our food. So, we decided to eat at the Breslin, which, handily is right next door. Literally, just through a door next to the bar.

They don't take reservations, but we were lucky we got a table straight away. For a Wednesday night the place was buzzing. Great food, just what we needed. Well a huge cheese burger and chips….Their portion size is mammoth and we both struggled to finish it.

Our room was fantastic. It really made our trip to NYC special. Think utilitarian cool with graffiti (well tasteful graffiti about the hotel) on its walls.

It took us a couple of days not to get up at 3:00am, so by mid afternoon most days, after some serious walking, subway, cab, eating, walking, cab, subway, eating, walking, shopping, etc. we were pretty tired and looked forward to going back and getting a couple of hours rest before hitting the town again in the evening. It was so good to come back to a spacious, quiet, well appointed room. We were upgraded to a medium room (thanks guys), which, by NYC standards, was huge. We loved the shower. I had two a day, just because I loved it so much.

Nice attention to detail, which means a lot. We also liked the extra touches in the room, well we mean the turntable and vinyl for those late night  jamming sessions..Some of the rooms even had guitars.

Early mornings meant "Now what do we do till the diners open?". End result was a first for us both, jogging on the running machines at 5:00am. Actually quite fun at first, but we are  not going to make a habit of it.

We loved our stay. We made a promise that when we go back to NYC we would definitely stay at the Ace again. Thanks to everyone there that made our stay so memorable. Do you know what? We even bought the T Shirt!

We'll be back!

Thursday, 5 January 2012

FiveGoMad in… Edinburgh

Not that we needed an excuse, but Simon's birthday seemed like the perfect time to travel from one capital to another. 

We couldn't have picked a better weekend to go, the weather was Winter perfect, sunny, cold.

After dropping off our bags at the Bruntsfield flat, kindly lent to us by Clare's parents, we hot footed it over to Prestonfield House, where Clare had booked the birthday dinner. It's quite an amazing place, perfect for Christmas, being the acme of Gothic luxury. We sat upstairs in their delightful sitting room, watching people enjoy the pretty fantastic looking Afternoon Tea.
Clare was especially taken by the kilted uniforms the (male) staff wore. A great look, she told me, somewhat made slightly sinister by the Matrix like earpieces everyone sported. On enquiry it was explained that this was to make life easier for the staff, as the house is big and rambling and people can be hard to find. Isn't technology wonderful?

After a couple of heart starters we headed downstairs to the Rhubarb restaurant.
It has a beautiful dining room, with big windows looking out onto the grounds. Not that we could see them, it being dark, but we could hear the cry of the peacocks that roam around the place. Boy, do they look much better than they sound! The meal was fantastic and the hospitality embarrassingly good. We'd love to return, but this time to stay at the hotel.

Saturday found us heading first for a bit of culture, searching in vain for a Dou painting which I swear I'd seen before at the National Gallery of Scotland. Oh well, in that case  a fortifying Gluhwein was called for

from the Christmas market just outside. Top tip, whatever you do, don't breath it in. Started a coughing fit with me, which drew some very funny looks, not sure why. Maybe the locals aren't used to someone who can't inhale alcohol.
As Christmas was just around the corner we thought we'd have a look a Jenner's, the renowned department store.

We spent all our time there at the top floor, rummaging through the delicious goodies at the Valvona & Crolla concession. Fortified, and decidedly over ambitious, we decided to walk up to Arthur's Seat. Not the best of ideas given the time of year, day, cold and our footwear. Funnily enough it was harder coming down than going up! By now we were pretty shattered, but managed to drag ourselves back into town for dinner at The Dogs

Pretty friendly, but the food was unmemorable. Time to head home through the nighttime streets of Edinburgh, looking pretty festive, it has to be said.
After a lie in on Sunday we popped round the corner from our flat to The Chocolate Tree for coffee. 
Interesting jigsaw puzzle on the wall. Now where have I seen that before?

We were going to have breakfast, but as all we seemed to do the previous day was eat, we weren't feeling too hungry. Worryingly so, as we'd booked into The Witchery for lunch! So we decided to walk into town to work up an appetite. Like it's sister, Prestonfield House, The Witchery is gothic in it's appearance with sumptuous leather seats and oak panelled walls.
The atmosphere of the place was perfect for the time of year, and after a couple of glasses of wine we were ready for our food. They did a £35 a head deal for a Christmas 3 course menu. All in all great value. We loved it. By the time we finished it was getting dark and time to head home. The city looked beautiful, lit up for Christmas, so romantic, so festive. We were sorry to leave the next day. But we'll be back.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Autumn is finally here

Well it's been a funny last couple of months. The weather has been all over the place and even though we have thoroughly enjoyed the indian summer, we  are sort of glad that Autumn is finally here and the leaves are turning brown.

We at FGM towers love halloween and it wouldn't have felt right if our mini heatwave had been over halloween. We will be definitely getting our mitts on The Kooky Cake company's yummy halloween treats. The spooky cake pops cost £12 for a box of 6. Order now before they run out.

We have been really busy at FGM HQ. The national press are working on Christmas as we speak, so we have been mailing them a list of our top stocking fillers. We are only too aware of the economic gloom out there so we have chosen innovative gifts which won't break the bank. We have decided to list our twelve top gifts as a tribute to the twelve days to Christmas. We were going to feature a gift a week, but after poring over the calendar I have noticed there are only 10.5 weeks to Christmas. Yikes...

Top on our list are 1.  Twisted Twee's liz pants. They were our number one best seller last Christmas so we had to restock them for this season.
They still make me smile. I wear mine around the house and with a vest as make shift pyjamas. We are also stocking santa gift bags and merit badges for total non achievements!  

2. Another firm favourite are the crown head pillowcases. You too can sleep like a king or queen and wake up royally refreshed!
3. Corblimey's assorted biscuit brooches are flying off the shelves and make the perfect stocking filler. They really are good enough to eat.
4. Mug up on some history with the help of  Cole of London's fab designs. We love the Queen Elizabeth one or get a momento of the Royal Wedding with the award winning Wills and Kate mug.
5. British Cream Tea's inspired felt food sculpture is totally amazing, from jammie dodgers to delectable mince pies they make the perfect stocking filler. And more importantly they won't break the bank.
6. Ella Doran's Sunlight through the leaves umbrella is a magical vision of spring to lighten winter days.. (we haven't had many yet, but fear not they will be fast upon us!)
7. Gorgeous candles by Pure Light. Choose from fragrant orange, clove, or pine for a touch of christmas cheer.
8. Yummy festive cake pops by Rhubarb and Rose. They are a real treat. Perfect for mums, mother in laws or er yourself! I definitely will be treating myself before christmas. Well someone has to try them!!
9. We love love Robert Archard's Deer Dear stamp. Humorous and perfect for writing to Santa!
10. Karin Akesson's Tomorrow will be a great day print is a little gem of positivity when the winter evenings are drawing in. Something to lift your spirits.
11. Delicious teas from the Sherston Tea company. Our clear favourite is the Paint Box Relax box set.
12. Treat yourself or a loved one to a crafty home spun course by Hope And Elvis. Go on unlock your creativity..

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