Monday, 4 April 2011

Do it Do it

Dear AskHat

I don't know if you will be able to help on this one but having recently bought our own home the time to DIY is approaching. Is it possible to do a short course in basic DIY skills such as using a drill, putting up coat hooks, shelves, utensil racks, that sort of thing or am I destined to thumbing through manuals and leaving the plaster walls looking like teabags?

Failing that how does one find a good, reliable handy man who won't balk at doing all of the minor jobs above and cam get them done before hubby returns from work and feels he has given away his manhood?

I'm in North London, N10 but am happy to go Central. Don't feel too pressured, I've been informed the DIY season doesn't begin until March.


Now, I know it may appear to be April - but as March was such horrible weather no-one is doing any DIY until April...and the delay in posting is nothing to do with getting my VAT return in instead of blogging...ahem.

I've found a few places that might suit Westend mums's dilemma.

This course from Chelsea Arts is designed more for people telling other people what to do (so very Chelsea)...but great for de-jargonising your relationship with builders and tradesmens:

At the Builders Training Centre you can do a two day course in basic practical skills for maintaining your home. It's in Croydon, so you'd have to brave South London (bring your passport) but sounds like the right kind of course. No web address but here is the phone number.

020 8649 9340

If you would rather get someone in who knows what they're doing instead, I have used the lovely Steve before - as have about 15 of my friends. Thoughtful about his work, reliable and very pleasant to be around - I highly recommend him.  Good with children and diy averse  spouses.

There are always books - and there is always a  raft of weird american how-to videos on you tube - but they might be better for bedtime reading/fodder for bad jokes or tool time tim impressions...

Let us know how you get on with your March April DIY'ing.

Askhat xx

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Heeeeere's AskHat

Well I'm back - having shamefully not posted for almost 11 months...would that be almost the same age as my daughter? Anyway - I'm not taking all the blame for disappearing - it is called Askhat and I can only really blog if I've got a question to answer. And frankly the kind of questions I've had to ask, or to answer recently have involved breasts, poo and sleep (lack of) and I don't think you all wanted to know about that. If you do - just ask and I can bore you rigid for hooooours...

Anyway - hello again dear friends, and I hope to post something useful/interesting soon.


Askhat x

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Oh baby baby

I am delirious with lack of sleep, my face looks like a reject from madame tussards and I am walking like a zombie with piles...Yes I have had a baby.  This is the first time I have been alone since Friday when I went into labour, and it feels very weird. I am twitchy without the addictive smelling small person in the room , who is being walked around by the husband and his v happy to be (grand) parents while I am supposed to be catching up on sleep...errr so I thought I'd go on the internet instead.

I have so far discovered the following:

Labour REALLY hurts...
Breastfeeding is not straightforward or as easy as it looks in the lovely pictures
I had forgotten just how peculiar I am when short on sleep
Hospital food is better than you think
Midwives and doctors at St Thomas's Hospital are fabulous
It's true that your own baby is the most beautiful thing you have ever seen.
A man who manages to find you lovely slices of cucumber when you are in labour and that's all you fancy eating is worth holding onto.

Normal (ish) service will resume soon.

askhat xx

Monday, 4 January 2010

Twitter time

Hello AskHat,

I am trying to be all multi-media ...please could you tell me how to embed a Twitter/email link into my blog? I would like to do this without having to use one of those ugly/naff Twitter buttons.

Thank you

That's Not My Age

The very lovely that'snotmyage (did you see her mentioned in Stella mag BTW) emailed me with this cry for help the other other day, bemoaning the clunky twitter sign she had on the website. I had a little investigation, and found that you can choose from about 16 different options - including the choice of using the royal we, or me, for you followers. It is still a naff twitter button, but about a third of the size of the one tnmya is using at the moment. The link is below, for anyone else who's had trouble linking through to twitter - but any information on better/bespoke versions gratefully received as always...

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Burrito time

I was asked recently by local and twitter buddy Maradoll for some good Mexican food recommendations, after she was given a quesadilla that was called a burrito, in a local eaterie. Now, my own experience of Mexican food is mostly of eating bad food at Cafe Pacifico's in Langley St, after a lot of tequila - in the days when I and my friends thought that was cool, so not exactly up to date...
As Maradoll is a San Fran foodie, who knows her stuff, the pressure was on and I knew I'd have to call in some help on this one. The cavalry arrived in the shape of my Latino ex-pat friend Jason, who carefully wrote me a list of Mexican eateries that live up to his expectations in London. It's a very short list, and untested by me - but I trust Jason, knowing his good taste. As always, if you have any suggestions to add - please do.

Benito's Hat (Must be good with a name like this): One branch in Goodge St and looks tasty - Burritos are the recommendation here:

Tortilla : Two branches - one in Angel, one is Southwark. Again, Jason recommends the burritos:

Mestizo: This is Jason's recommendation for the full meal's not cheap, but Jason says it is good. It's day of the dead celebrations here from the 27th Nov until the 2nd of Nov, so could be a good time to visit.

Wahaca: This recommendation comes from Liberty London Girl - who has such impeccable taste in all things, that I'd be mad not to add it. Plus, Tomasina Meirs who set this small chain up, is an ex winner of Masterchef - and I think you all know about my obsession with that! Http://

And as for the tequila...all I can recommend for that is don't drink a whole bottle in a night.

Askhat xx

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Masterchef obsessional

So, I am addicted to MasterChef Professional. I can't decide whether I like it better than the usual Masterchef, but I am enjoying being incredibly scathing when the contestants can't do something simple like joint a chicken (like I can ..cough cough ahem) or cook their green beans properly. I am also mildly obsessed by CHEF Michel's rolling eyes and Gregg Wallace's unlikely dimple. Anyway - what that led onto was thinking about my favourite cookbooks, and the writers who I rely on again and again to do something interesting from the organic veg box. So in that vein here are my list of most loved and stained cookery books:

Anna Del Conte - Applecake and Artichokes - this book is lovely and my favourite discover from it is a warm salad of cauliflower with a pinenut and anchovy dressing. Worth it for that alone.

Nigel Slater - Real Fast Food got me through uni, then my little bro stole my copy. A lovely colleague replaced it for me and I haven't let it out of my hot little grasp since. This book, and Appetite are the regular weekday dinner inspirations - lentils with spinach and lemon and everyday soup being top stained pages. His roast chicken is the husband's favourite way to do a roast and I'm certainly not complaining.

Simon Hopkinson and Lindsey Bareham - Roast Chicken and Other stories. A slender volume, and very partial to offilish items, but some favourites including my chosen way to do roast chicken, as well as vinegar chicken which is an elegant fast dinner.

The Times Calender Cookbook - Katie Stewart. This one is out of print, but was one of the first cookbooks I used as a child. The falling apart paperback that my mother owned, was swapped for her mother's hardback when her mother died and I actually wailed when I discovered the paperback had been sent to Oxfam. The following Christmas I was given a hardback copy of my own and it has been in solid use ever since. Great for simple classic baking and general childhood nostalgia.

Rick Stein's Food Heroes - a few really loved recipes - our favourite is Lamb Naverin - a very good dinner party special.

English Food - Jane Grigson - the best recipe for yorkshire pudding I've ever used. Worth it for that alone, as well as the fascinating historical recipes.

That's all for now - but do let me know what recipe books you can't live without - or what you think of Gregg Wallace's patented fork technique...

Monday, 21 September 2009

Fashion for over forties

Now I've got a few years before I need to put myself in this category...but only a few (sob). So I like to keep a weather eye on what my (slightly) older compatriots are doing in the style stakes and from what I see my tears may be unnecessary. In fact, when I saw the fabulous blog I thought I'll need those extra years to get my style up to scratch. TNMA's blog is tackling the satorial street style of the over forties, in the same way the hip scenesters are for the young folk, to great acclaim.

Keep up with the big girls and boys here: who are at london fashion week all this week.