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Had a couple of cards & a pressie that had arrived in the post, so opened them in the morning. Cards from Mum & Dad, and Lou - I'm sure the rest have just got delayed in the post......!!! Got a great pressie from Ian & Sam, I opened it with some intrepidation after Andy & Ian's track record in sending pressies to each other, but was pleasantly suprised!! Piccie's below, but it's an union jack apron & keep calm & carry on oven glove & tea towels, how cool! A great reminder of my mini and of our wedding with the keep calm table names! And we actually need stuff like that for our kitchen!! Lou sent me some nail wraps too which were union jack, so a bit of a theme!
Had a few Skype messages (thank you for the singing, you know who you are!!), spoke to a few people too which was lovely, e-mails, facebook messages - all so much more important being away from home, so thank you so much.
Had breakfast in the cafe in the compound where we work to start the day, got to work about 10am. The office had ordered a birthday cake which Andy had chosen, how cool - they pay for it unlike in the UK where you have to buy the donuts! It was delicious, Bailey's & cream sponge with the outside covered in beautiful real red rose petals, very pretty. Ray took us out for lunch to a fab Peking Duck restaurant which had been recommended to us, the duck was very tasty, and a beer to wash it down with. In the evening we went out for a pizza later on at the Tube Station where we went for Andy's Birthday, but went for the little one this time. Met our friend Ali at our usual pub after & I had a couple of Long Island Iced Teas which were VERY strong, so that was me finished!!
Friday evening we had arranged a meal at a restaurant which we'd read about on Trip Advisor, the Black Sesame kitchen - ranked no. 1 out of over 1500 restaurants in Beijing!
Wow, what a find. It's tucked away in one of the old traditional hutongs, there are no signs, but good instructions how to find it, you walk through one of the hutong doors into the courtyards & alleys to people's houses, and suddenly you arrive at the restaurant! It's a cookery school too & they do private dining 2 nights a week, which is so popular you have to book up 4 weeks in advance.There are 2 rooms, the kitchen room with a table for 13, there were 8 of us in our group, and a few others to make up the 13 who were good fun too, very sociable. Another dining room fits 10 people but you can't really see the kitchen. From the room we were in you are right in front of the open kitchen where you watch Chef Zhang prepare & cook everything, amazingly on just 2 gas hobs with the Wok's, so tiny and amazing to see. It's 10 courses of the chefs choice, over 3 hours with free flowing wine, for £30 each. The food was fantastic, such a good atmosphere, and great to watch the kitchen in action. It was lovely introducing the friends we were with to each other, that we've met at various events over the weeks. One of the guys, Craig from San Fransisco shares by Birthday too. It's one of those places that is such a gem, you don't want it to change or be ruined by being no. 1 on Trip advisor, that it makes me not want to review it!!
So a great night had by all, a drink afterwards on a roof top terrace in the Hutong. You have to vacate the restaurant by 10pm as it's residential. We will definitely go back, a good place to take any visitors we may have in the future! Will also go back to the Hutong too as there were lots of bars, cafes & shops too.
Saturday morning, it's grey & raining :( but still very warm.
Thinking about my cousin Laura today getting married to Tom today, gutted we can't be there - we know how much fun the Neville weddings are! We even heard that the sun might shine, so fingers crossed. Also thinking about my Nan too who we said goodbye to 5 years ago today, can't believe time has gone by so quickly.
Right, better finish off - hoping to go & watch Beijing play football tonight at the Workers Stadium, but waiting to see if it's cancelled as it's absolutely pouring down, every time I look out the window a bit more of Beijing has disappeared!!!
Have a good weekend everyone