In the past, I’ve never really been into new year’s resolutions. When I gave up smoking and when I reached for new goals, they’ve usually happened at some time during the year – when I’ve felt like it. But this year feels different. Maybe because I had some time to think during my Christmas holiday in the Philippines or maybe because 2012 was quite an eventful year. Whatever the reason, here is what I’m thinking for 2013.

1. Bookshops. During university, I worked in a few bookshops: Book Etc. (which is not around anymore) and The Royal National Theatre’s bookshop, which I absolutely loved. I also worked at Waterstones Gower Street. So when I took a walk along Charing Cross Road last year to discover the changing landscape of a street that was once renowned for its variety of bookshops: big and small, the reality of the digital age hit me.

Of course, I love my iPad and the fact that I can carry a number of books on my Kindle but I also love books. I love holding them, flicking through the pages and putting the book on my shelf once I’ve finished with it – maybe even looking forward to picking it up again, once some time has passed. So, one of my new year’s resolutions is to make sure I purchase at least one book a month from a bookshop. (I’ve already bought two this month). I’m not trying to fight the digital age but with the largest online bookseller being scrutinised for paying little or no UK corporation tax whilst local bookshops disappear from our high streets, I want to do anything I can to make sure I support the book stores.

2. It’s What You Eat That Counts. I had a revelation whilst on holiday. I was practically horizontal for the entire two weeks and yet I lost a few pounds even though I exercise more when I am in London. The difference between here and there was that there, I ate fruit instead of cakes and I ate rice or noodles instead of fries and bread. I don’t believe in dieting because life isn’t fun when I’m hungry; I’m not fun when I’m hungry. So I didn’t skip on meals or restrict my food intake – and I had plenty of fish and meat. But the weight dropped off me and now, I’m determined to keep up the healthy eating.

3. Work Life/Balance. The whole of 2012 felt like I was on a high speed train racing towards each goal. But as each box was ticked, another deadline or two would spring up and so it was difficult to feel like there was time to get off a stop and enjoy the destination. So, this year is about work/life balance. It’s about having time to pamper myself; being organised with my blog (which is pretty much like a part-time job); and having quality offline time with my loved ones.

4. Writing. I finally finished Stephen King’s On Writing whilst on holiday. (If you are a budding writer or are looking for some writing inspiration, I wholly recommend you reading this book. It will get you going!)

And now I feel ready to write a novel this year.

I’ve written a novel once before and I’ve tried reading it a few times but I have to admit defeat on it. It is so bad, I can’t bear to read past the second page, so I’ve put it back in the drawer and this morning I started something new.

My aim for 2013 is to write for a couple of hours each morning before my day officially starts, which is something a lot of successful writers have managed to do. Anthony Trollope wrote for 2.5 hours before his day job at the Post Office. So let’s hope the same approach works for me. There’s no harm in trying and if that doesn’t work, trying again!

5. My Blog. I have new ideas for my blog, which I am looking forward to introducing in 2013. And my goal this year is to keep on improving King’s Road Rocks! – if only to keep my readers entertained and to show more of who I am. For the last couple of years, I’ve tried hard to not exploit the stereotype of a Chelsea Girl because as those who live in Chelsea know, there is no one type. Plus, throughout history the definition of Chelsea Girl has changed and if the truth be told, the Chelsea Girl was at its most distinctive in the 60s and 70s with the Sloane Rangers of the 80s taking over.

But I also want this blog to have a more personal feel, so it will mean showing a little bit more of who I am. And in turn, I’d love to get to know you a little bit more too. So do drop in and say hi when you’re passing by!

Here’s to 2013 and making it happen. I’d like to raise a glass and wish you a great year!

xox

I am so late to the party with this one, mainly due to my own laziness. Anything over any bridge takes a bit of effort, even if it is merely a hump on the King’s Road. But thank goodness I finally managed to wrench myself from my safety zone and venture to The Sands End pub on Stephendale Road, because what lay in store for me was easily worth a trip out of town!

The occasion was the bf’s birthday lunch: a casual affair with a dozen or so friends. When we arrived, one by one, the pub was already filling up. And the buzz of the locals in a place so off the beaten track felt quite exciting.

As we waited for our friends to arrive, the menu posed a slight challenge. What was I going to order when all I wanted to try was their Scotch Egg?

Eventually our friends started to arrive and we were ready to order. I skipped my starter but snapped a few pics of those which arrived at the table. I also tasted a few and I can readily say that they had surpassed any level of expectation from everyone who tried them.

I was particularly worried about a real foodie friend who isn’t what I would call fussy but he does like his food to be good, like we all do. And he is particularly vocal and eloquent about the food he tastes. When he tried his ceviche dish, he nodded with approval and I knew then that we were going to be in for a delicious afternoon.

So what did the others have for their starters?

Eel

Steak Tartare

Ceviche

Soup

For main, I ordered the Roast Pork …

Whilst others ordered the Roast Beef …

And for dessert, I had the chocolate fondant …

As drinks flowed and everyone enjoyed their dishes – me definitely! – I did wonder why I hadn’t been here before (laziness aside).

Eventually, afternoon became early evening and we moved off the table and headed outside to let the staff prepare the table for the evening sitting.

Outside, we ordered more drinks and as time went by, I couldn’t resist anymore. I had to taste The Sands End’s Scotch Egg!

And what a treat! I’d never tasted anything like it before. The egg was beyond light. It was almost sublime whilst encased in a coat of crispiness. Such sensations.

Somebody ordered a sausage roll, which I didn’t try but it did look very tasty too.

Finally, we left and walked back towards the King’s Road. In fact, the walk was ideal and made the whole afternoon almost guilt-free, so much so that I’ll be heading back soon again!

1. Fashion boutique Harvest is inviting customers to come and celebrate ‘Independent Retailer Month’ with them and would like to encourage shoppers to buy at least one item from an independent store in July. Independent Retailer Month is a “Shop Local” campaign that runs throughout July and Harvest are offering all customers 10% off all non-sale collections.

Harvest have been on the King’s Road for 20 years and it would be amazing if they could last another 20. So please support the indies because after all, they are the ones who bring character to Chelsea.

2. If you’re going to celebrate 4th July, there really isn’t anywhere you should go on the King’s Road, except for The Big Easy. Have you booked your table yet?

3. The Olympic Torch will be making its way through Kensington and Chelsea on 26th July. It will start by crossing over Chelsea Bridge at 1.30pm and head to Sloane Square and along the King’s Road. The torch will arrive at High Street Kensington around 2.30pm and will make its way through Holland Park where there will be celebrations taking place. The torch will then carry on to Westminster via Notting Hill.

4. ‘Go For Gold’ with The Cadogan Arms and The Botanist and you could win a complimentary meal for six people, strive for silver and nab four tickets to any wine event at city hotspot The Jugged Hare, or battle for bronze and walk away with a Champagne afternoon tea for two served at The Botanist on Sloane Square or Chiswell Street Dining Rooms, Barbican.

How can you win any of these prizes? Join The Gastro Race which is taking place between these ETM venues. To take part, you have to pick up a race card from one of the gastro pubs on this list and make your way round any of four ETM establishments. You have from Friday 27th July until Sunday 12th August 2012 to do this. And don’t worry if you’re not quick enough, all competitors who finish, regardless of their qualifying time, will be awarded with a drink on the house for simply being a good sport. You can keep up to date with the race on Twitter, here.

5. And finally slightly off-piste but close enough to the King’s Road, the Picasso & Modern British Art exhibition at Tate Britain ends on 15th July. I don’t know why I always leave it so late with exhibitions which I want to see, especially given that I’m a Tate member. But I really want to see this one! (Oh dear, is this a Don’t Miss note to me or you?)

This afternoon I had lunch with a fabulous member of the Twitterati at Tom’s Kitchen. It was our first meeting and unsurprisingly we got on so well. Phew! We have so much in common and so again, it wasn’t a surprise that we ended up ordering the same as each other.

We had the Mackerel Salad …

With the Triple Cooked Chips.

Embarrassingly, I asked if his were on their way when actually both of our portions were put together. I love my food. What can I say?

And our lunch was washed down with a glass of Pinot Grigio each.

By the time we left, there was a great atmosphere in the restaurant. I always love the large windows downstairs and the airy feel of the place.

In fact, I could have spent all afternoon sipping vino and having a laugh with my new buddy!

Tom's Kitchen on Urbanspoon

On Saturday, I joined Bikeminded‘s first Cycle Film Tour which has been launched as part of a series of themed cycle rides around The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea.

I’d been on a couple of Bikeminded’s rides before, which have involved cupcakes, ghost stories and the history of the local area. And they keep getting better!

We started along the Chelsea Embankment, which is easily one of my favourite places to cycle and before setting off we were offered one of these popcorn cupcakes, which were made by one of the cyclists who had meant to come along on the tour.

The tour took us through the back streets of Chelsea and into Kensington via Notting Hill and towards Ladbroke Grove. During the ride, we discovered landmarks which were used as locations for films such as A Clockwork Orange, Blow Out and Performance amongst classic cult hits. And we also discovered where films such as Golden Eye, Sherlock Holmes and Eyes Wide Shut were also filmed.

Here is a house which was featured in Withnail & I:

To sum up what I loved about this tour (especially as I am such a film geek): having grown up in Chelsea and still living here, it’s so fabulous to discover the significance of the buildings around me.

I also enjoyed discovering new cycle routes. Now I know how to get from the King’s Road to Portobello Market without having to take the busy main roads!

So if you want to have a try, the film tours will be taking place on Saturdays through April and May. The tickets are £7 each and you can book here.

Bikeminded are also organising a Music Tour (which I can’t wait for) and an Alice In Wonderland Tour, which sounds like it is going to be uh-mazing! To find out why I’m excited about both of these and/or to book your tickets, click here.

And if you are a bit of a film fan like myself, Bikeminded are also running a short film competition. The deadline for entries is 15th June and you can read more about it, here.

*Finally, to add a small disclaimer: Whilst I do freelance as a social media strategist for Bikeminded, they have not paid me to write this post. I wrote about Saturday because I had a really lovely time. In fact I would go as far as to say it was quite inspired and I just wanted my readers to know about my latest cycle ride.*

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