Sunday, August 21, 2011

But I Couldn't Find The Broom Cupboard


This weekend I went to visit the famous doughnut-shaped BBC Television Centre, which has played home to nearly all of your favourite British shows of TV history past, and also still some of your current faves. Strictly Come Dancing (which comes live from Studio 1, the back wall of which is in the above photo with 'Television Centre' on), Blue Peter, BBC News, Live & Kicking (and Going Live!), and the Broom Cupboard (anyone remember that!?!) and countless sit-coms and chat shows were all filmed here, the list goes on and on and on.

The site is currently up for sale, as part of measures to address a lack of spending cash-dollar in the BBC, which I think is a real shame given its rich history - but as its days are numbered, what better time to partake in a tour of the building?

 Bring Me Sunshine

The tour is really interesting, you get to see inside the news centre, inside Studio 1 and explained all the ridiculous intricacies of how to set up the custom built studios for a live set. They also give you the chance to see some of their star dressing rooms as well, and hear some of the stories of the countless stars the centre has played host to since the 60s.

Sadly, however, you don't get to see the Broom Cupboard. Or Edd the Duck. I know I know, but don't let that put you off!

 The Helios statue in the center of the doughnut

I mean, more than anything it was such a thrill to stand in the same concrete halls that some of the world's most famous people have been to. The tour guides had loads of stories of some of the craaazy things those celebs get up to. Mariah Carey apparently requested a box of puppies as part of her rider once, so she could stroke them to "relax" before her appearance - AMAZING. Totes on the same page with that idea. However, the good old BBC politely declined to provide. Wish I could have seen that conversation.

Studio 1 - The same studio doors the lovely couples of Strictly burst through straight after performing their dances! 

The building is very much of its time - it reminded me in many ways of my old school building, with classic 60s fixtures and fittings. In fact I'm pretty sure they could have got away with filming Grange Hill in the TV Centre corridors, it's definitely got that vibe. But the datedness of the building just serves to remind you of just HOW MUCH history is sitting within those walls. It's fascinating.

 Blue Peter, the world's longest running children's show - the studio board from the last time it was filmed at TVC this summer. It's now moved to the BBC studios in Manchester

The tour also gives you the chance to flex your presenting muscles and test your TV charm. You get to have a go at using the technology that is used to present the weather (so confusing!), and also get the chance to volunteer at using a dummy studio to present the news! My trusty housemate KINDLY volunteered me, and then videoed it, but there's is no way on God's green earth that anyone else is ever seeing that. Let's just say, I ain't no Moira Stuart.

Back of Studio 1

I kept my eye out for any famous faces that might have been working there that day, but as it was a weekend it was quieter than normal and I was out of luck. In hindsight I really should have booked for a Saturday once Strictly is back up and running again, as all the cast would then be in the building rehearsing for that evening's show - GODDAMMIT! Maybe I'll go again - the tours are only a tenner, so really cheap fun thing to do, so I highly recommend going before it is sold and it's too late!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

So, I've Knitted A Crop Top...

 Wrap Stitch Shoulder

Yes. I've knitted a crop top. A. Cropped. Top. Probably technically about half a top. For me to wear on my own limbs. As someone who until fairly recently had been carrying a significant amount of extra poundage around (I'd been calling it 'holiday weight' for about 5 years - it was time to get real) this is a pretty big deal.

Excuse the shit* on the end of my bed (*not actual shit) 

I mean I'm still not rake thin or anything (who wants to be?!) but it actually isn't quite so much the sartorial nightmare I had started to fear it would be.

I mean there's a few rules that I've self imposed to make sure it doesn't look ridiculous ('Pair with high waisted stuff ONLY' being one of them - noone needs to get an eyeful of my blindingly white untoned stomach) but I kind of like it.

High waist = minimal blindingly white stomach

The pattern was another Kim Hargreaves from her most recent Spring/Summer collection, called Sizzle. Not sure if that's a reference to how SIZZLING HOT I look in it (haha, I jest, I jest).

I was drawn to it because the pattern has stripes of wrap stitch detailing in, which are the bands of the wider spaced stitches you can see. The sizes of the wrap stitches are randomly varied, which gives a kinda sorta laddered effect to the fabric that I really liked and was really eager beaver to try my hand at. Turns out it's super easy.

Totally photoshopped the tanned skin. I need a holiday. I realise this is irrelevant.

So I have about two weeks to wear this until summer is technically over and flesh-flashing becomes inappropriate and BANNED for another 6/7 months. But hey, when you hand-knit stuff this shit takes time.

But pretty pleased overall - I wear cropped tops now. And a KNITTED one at that. I literally never thought I'd see the day.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

The Success of Frozen Yoghurt as a Cultural Phenomenon

Frae = yay! 

There are quite a few places you can get frozen yoghurt in London these days (including the recently imported to Selfridges foodhall from the US, Pinkberry - an NY fave). It's a fairly new phenomenon in the UK with various local chains popping up, but my favourite - mainly because it doesn't have a hideous name (take note, Snog and Yog) is Frae.

Fro-yo, bro 

So why, is everyone all like, 'Dudes, Fro-yo is the best thing since sliced bread. Mr Whippy is sooo passe'?

Well, I've thought about it, and I'm here to explain. Frozen yoghurt is pretty much the best thing you can eat on a hot summers day (Ha! In London? If only. See: outside my window) for the following reasons: 1) It's delicious and 2) It's fat free. Yes, fat free. It's DELICIOUS and it's FAT FREE. These two things almost never happen at the same time, and for that, I do believe frozen yoghurt to be one of the best things on this earth. I will forever wonder why this invention didn't take off sooner.

Oreos & chocolate chips

Of course, the choice of toppings that you add can drastically reduce your smug angelic 'ooh, aren't I being good and stuff' glow, but even with a few chocolate chips and mini Oreos its a much healthier alternative to your traditional ice cream, and just as nice.

Demolished within approx 10 seconds of this photo being taken 

I highly recommend, for anyone dipping their toe in this concept, the Frae on Camden Passage in Islington. It's perfectly located for a dessert after a meal at a local eaterie or a pitstop midway through pottering around the gorgeous vintage shops in the area, or even just because.

In fact, mostly just because - let this be a lesson to you. There is NO SHAME in planning your entire day around frozen yoghurt. Once you try it, you'll understand. You'll understand and you'll thank me.