Saturday, 26 January 2013

Electric Cinema (Date spot review)

Electric Cinema
020 7908 9696 
191 Portobello Road
W11 2ED

I first saw this place advertised on "I know a great little place in London"'s Facebook page. I lot of people I mentioned it to knew said they had heard of it many moons ago but then it closed down for quite a while (I think there was a fire). But now it is open again, flourishing and it is absolutely amazing!

Ideally situated on Portabello Road it is a very short walk from Ladbroke Grove tube station, but also not too far from Notting Hill Gate and a variety of other stations.

Top tip: Do not miss the opportunity to walk along the market singing "Portabello Road...Portabello Road. Anything and everything a chap can unload" from Bedknobs and Broomsticks

If you love old school glamour this is the place for you. We arrived, and even though I knew where we were going I was blown away with the beauty. From the old school pick n mix in glass jars to the retro till, to the red velvet curtains everything was glamorous and beautiful.

While we waited for the curtains to open (and there was me worrying about being late) we bought some fresh warm donuts. Now I never thought I'd say this but "Krispy Kremes...move aside! We have a new winner! I wont say much more - just experience the delight for yourself!

I had booked us one of the sofas at the back, but we have already decided that we will be returning at some point to try out the full length beds at the front! It was lovely being able to watch a movie (especially one as long as 'The Hobbit') in the same luxury you would at home. Actually more so....I know my sofa isn't velvet and I certainly don't own a cashmere blanket!

We decided to pass on the bar as it was fairly early and instead I snuck off to the corner shop to bring back some coke and popcorn. This is when we learnt we physically cannot watch a movie in the cinema without popcorn! A bit cheeky but they didn't seem to mind, especially as we had no option to buy popcorn there.

Overall a beautiful date that I was really pleased to have organised. If I had been taken there as a surprise or on a first date I would have been SERIOUSLY impressed.

  • Add a feeling of luxury and specialness to the traditional cinema date
  • None of this "armrest in the ribcage" nonsense when you try and snuggle up to your date
  • Distinct lack of children - almost purely an adults only venue (or at very least well-behaved children!)
  • The donuts!
  • Pricey
  • Distinct lack of slurpy drinks, hotdogs and popcorn
Great date for?
  • Special occasion
  • Impressive first date
  • Cosy couple date

Approximately £30 per person including the donuts, a drink and some sneaky snacks bought from the corner shop.

Romance rating

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

The reverse cougar (Dating history tale)

Dating history tales
Sometimes you just need to hear about the sad, wonderful, inspiring and often downright WEIRD dating experiences of others. This series of blog posts will recount a tale from our pasts - purely for your own amusement. Enjoy and feel free to read more here. 

I had been single for about 18 months when my friend Jane's mother invited me on a speed dating-esque type night. She said she'd agreed to help out a friend to run it, we'd get a couple of free drinks and it could be a laugh. Having just recently seen "Yes Man" I thought "Sure why not - you never know"

So we get to this teeny little downstairs bar in London and it seems not much help is actually needed so we settle ourselves down with our drinks. A few women come up to us and all seem to know friends mum, and also look at me a little puzzled.

Then one woman introduces a man (Lets call him Adam) who seemed a bit quiet and asked if we mind if he sat with us "Sure sure, sit down". So we now have a good table conversation going and I suddenly start to note a few phrases being repeated:

"What's your username?"

"Oh! Did you post the XYZ thread?"

I have nothing against forum meet ups but whatever this forum is I am not a part of it so feel kind of out of place. And then comes the cherry on the cake when one woman turns to me and says "So who are you looking for here? Surely not much of an age difference - you must like them really young"

I smile politely, very confused and dart a sideways look at Jane's mum - who is laughing. I confess I have no idea what's going on before having to have it spelt out. This is a meet up for older women and younger men.

Again no problem with that in theory....except I was 22 at the time. This woman has a point, just how young do they think I want a guy? No wonder I was getting weird looks all night! Deciding to make the best of a weird situation I think to myself "at least the pressures off now. I can just have some drinks and a laugh" Well....drinks was the operative word.

Fast forward through 4 hours of dancing, drinking, chatting and more drinking to me, Jane's Mum, her friend and Adam playing drinking games at Jane's Mum's. (Jane had moved out) One by one everyone claims sofa space and passes out and I'm left with Adam. Before I know what's happening we're making out in Jane's bedroom and the only thought I have is "this is the most action this room has ever seen"

(Ohh forgot to mention - Jane's mum is crazy religious type. But by this point all I could think was "heck - she ain't my mum, and she dragged me into this in the first place!") Next morning the "older ladies" can't believe it. They clearly never thought of me as competition and there I was getting it on with one of their prime candidates!

I never spoke to him again, it was purely a bit of a laugh after a few drinks. But most definitely one of my weirdest hook ups ever. How do you get past the thought that he would've probably preferred my mate's mum...

Monday, 21 January 2013

Single On Valentines (need I say more?)

So Valentine's is creeping its way to you. Suddenly, everything is turning red, everything is flavoured with chocolate and you are still single. Panda feels your pain.

All your friends seem to be married, engaged, in a new relationship, having babies, moving in, moving away and just happy in general. And as much as you're happy for them (maybe 80% like Rachel in Friends) there is that small part of you that doesn't want to hear anything about it.

And its all because of Valentines Day. If your friends are anything like mine, they don't care much about it either. But all the same, you don't want to be a part of it- not because you don't enjoy it, but because you're bombarded with images of people who are happy in their relationships whilst you suck the cream out of a Cadbury's Creme Egg waiting for Easter.

I'm not bitter (even though I sound it), I just want some alternatives. So, after a little online research, I have found the following methods to get through the day without any emotional scarring. Who knows, maybe we can enjoy the day without feeling the urge to push a kissing couple into a rose bush.

Stay in bed all day
Not the most feasible tactic, and may cause some unwanted probing from work the next day, but a good way to block out the entire experience... You know what, I've changed my mind. DO NOT DO THIS. It'll probably do more damage than good.

Go Speed Dating
Hmmm... a possible choice, as long as you don't think it seems desperate. Could be a lot of fun, especially if you go with another single friend. Don't get your hopes up on finding love though. Apparently, according to the rest of the world, all the good men are in relationships already...

Movie with a mate
Owl has said that over the pond in the grand US of A, Valentine's Day is more of a day of appreciation, and is not limited to just couples. With this in mind, a friend and I have made a pact- this year we are going to spend Valentines Day together. We're going to watch The Dark Knight Trilogy, eat popcorn and drink cider, thus having no romantic urges and blocking out anything even remotely Valentinesy.

Celebrate Yourself
Not to sound all hippy on y'all, but the biggest love of your life should be yourself. So, instead of spending the entire day in bed, pamper yourself. Make plans to get your hair done, or a lovely massage or pedicure. Enjoy your favourite meal, go for a walk in your favourite place. Find what makes you happy and DO IT. Appreciate yourself more. If you had a boyfriend, you might have considered getting him a nice gift, like an aftershave or something. Use that money and spend it on yourself. After all, you're worth it, aren't you?

Being single on Valentine's Day doesn't mean there is anything wrong with you. There is always a guy out there willing to take you out. The real question is, would you prefer to spend your time with him or by yourself. At the moment, with the guys I know, my choice is definitely me. I'm a lot more fun, and I love me loads.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Valentines Day = Extra Brownie Points for Men Day

Panda is about to get very frank on y'all asses! This post is aimed at the guys- so take serious note, I'm about to impart some knowledge that will score you some seriously easy brownie points with your lady!

I'm talking about Valentines Day. Yep, Feb 14th is coming round, same as every year. I'm not going to lie to you- its all about women. This holiday was made for women to enjoy. Now, I know there is a substantial amount of people out there that don't "believe" in Valentines Day. I'd just like to point out that there is nothing to "believe" in. It exists. The End. Now that that's out of the way- What is the problem? Why would you NOT want to use this opportunity to show your lady how much you love and appreciate her? Why would you risk the possibility of disappointing her? So many men make a huge deal about celebrating Valentine's Day. If they could just put that same amount of energy into planning something nice, they would get so much more out of the experience.

I have been given so many reasons over the years as to why men DONT celebrate on Feb 14th. Below are some of the most popular ones I've heard. And for each ridiculous reason, I have a rebuttal. Read and Learn- fast!

I can show you that I love you any day of the year!
Rebuttal: But do you? Can you honestly say that you show your lady how much you love and appreciate her every single day? If you can then that's fantastic, making an effort on the 14th Feb will be just like any other day, right? If not, then why would you pass up the opportunity to make your lady feel special, wanted, adored?

It's just a way for retailers to make money!
Rebuttal: Who says you have to spend loads of money? It doesn't have to be a massive gesture. You don't have to take your partner away on holiday, or buy the most expensive gift Selfridges has in their window. Some additional, thoughtful effort is what we are looking for, and believe it or not, romance can be pretty cheap. If you're thrifty, a bottle of wine and a home cooked meal can be just as effective as an evening in a fancy restaurant. A lovely bottle of perfume and a night cuddled on the sofa can be just as appreciated as a new Alexa Mulberry bag with woven trim (hint?) The key word is here is EFFORT.

You just want to show off to your friends!
Rebuttal: Yes and no. Yes: we want to tell nice stories about our guy to our friends (it makes a change from us moaning about your annoying habits all the time). No: we don't want to show off. Some of our female friends don't have partners. We don't want to rub it in their faces that we had a lovely romantic Valentines Day! What kind of people do you think we are?

You said you didn't even like Valentines Day!
Rebuttal: We lied. (Its on similar lines as "No, nothing is wrong, I'm not mad" and "Its not you, its me") Somewhere along the line, women have learned to say this, in order to shield themselves from the embarrassment and disappointment of their partner not doing something nice for them on Feb 14th. We're lying. Regardless of whether we take the day very seriously, or whether we're not that bothered, no lady is going to say no to her partner making her feel special. Its that simple.

Score Easy Brownie Points

Here's a few ways to score some easy points with your lady.
  • Check if your lady is running out of her favourite fragrance. We don't like to buy perfume, we like it to be bought for us. Plus, we will see the effort you have put in to getting something we like.
  • Plan a romantic evening. Even if you're not THAT romantic (this makes even more of an impact!) Whether its recreating your first date, having a lovely evening together, you cooking / preparing / ordering a nice meal, rose petals on the bedspread with whipped cream and chocolate sauce... seriously, whatever floats your boat!
  • Cheesy is still effective. We like chocolate. We appreciate flowers. What's difficult?
  • Foot rubs and massages are always an easy way to make your lady feel special. Curl up on the sofa with your favourite movie and some nice snacks and get rubbing! Besides, rubbing tends to lead to other things... do you need more of a hint?
  • If you can afford it, send your lady on a pamper day! Pay for a manicure, pedicure, massage, facial, hairstyling (all of the above) and have her meet you for dinner. You've spent so much on her, and she's happy and looks beautiful. And what do you get from a lady that is happy and feels beautiful? (Insert dirty memory here).What more could you want? 
  • Buy your lady a toothbrush and some sexy underwear and give her a map. Have her  meet you at a lovely hotel and spend a romantic night together.

Seriously guys, don't miss an opportunity to score some serious brownie points! Why waste it? You know we respond well to effort and romance. If its really that painful for you to make this effort, grin and bare it. You know the rewards for it will be plentiful. You know this. So suck it up, take one for the team and do something nice for your lady. If you pull it off, it will be reciprocated. Trust me.

If you want some other ideas on lovely date ideas, just ask! We're here to offer advice- for the sake of men and women everywhere!

Friday, 11 January 2013

Our First Awesome Giveaway!

Giveaway now closed and winner announced. Thank you to everyone that participated! 

It's January. It's cold. It's a long time until payday - you were hugely generous to everyone over Christmas, don't you deserve the chance to win something lovely just for you?

Enter our giveaway and one lucky person will get some awesome FREE stuff (who doesn't love FREE?) and we will hopefully gain a some lovely new readers. We do love our readers!

So first - the good stuff. What will you win?

Awesome Night In Kit!
This was originally going to be a "date night" kit, but we advocate the "not needing a date to have a good time" way of life. So grab a date, grab a mate, or just grab your own hot ass (hmm...) and have a lovely night in with these great goodies!

Popcorn Holder and authentic American Microwave Popcorn.
How cute is this plastic popcorn holder? And trust us when we say "Movie Theatre Butter" is the best flavour- ever.

"Kids and grown ups love it so...."

When Harry met Sally DVD
Ah the immortal question - can a man and a woman ever be friends? Watch the comedy greats and think about it for yourself. Always a great discussion to have with the girls or to suss out a potential new partners opinions on the subject.

Soap and Glory Candle
Who doesn't love Soap n Glorys gorgeous branding and beautiful scents? Fill the room with the smell as you relax and watch the movie.

Cupcakes provided by Cakings
We've teamed up with the Cake Engineers at Cakings to provide you with not one but two personalised cupcakes to our lucky winner! Sponge with buttercream (and an optional filling of jam) and choice of the following personalised topper:
  • Your initials
  • Hearts and / or stars
  • Glitter and / or sprinkles
  • All of the above!
*Cupcakes will be sent via Royal Mail First Class post, and although we cannot guarantee the cupcakes will arrive in absolute perfect condition, they will be packaged professionally in recommended cupcake packaging. 

Whew! What a load of lovely goodies. Perfect night in we think. Everything offered in this giveaway has all been purchased by our hard earned income and we can't wait to send it out!

So now - how do you win? 

For 1 entry
  1. You must be following us with "Google Friend Connect" that's the little blue "Follow" button on the right hand side of our blog.
  2. You must be following us on Twitter - @Grabaspoon 
Leave us a comment on this post with your GFC name and twitter handle so we can check. No comment, no entry.

For an additional 2 entries

Linking to our giveaway by writing your own blog post about it, or popping our button and link in your own blog sidebar and you will gain you another 2 additional entries!

Please make sure you include a link to your site in your comment.

Each of the following will gain you 1 extra entry:
  1. "Like" us on Facebook
  2. Follow us on Pinterest
  3. In your comment tell us what your favourite post has been so far. What else would you like to see us write about?
  4. Tweet about our giveaway using this button or copying and pasting the following

    I've entered @Grabaspoon's 'Night in' #giveaway Visit their blog for your chance to win an awesome #NightInKit!

Again in your comment please let us know if you have tweeted, followed and liked us. Depending on entries we may not be able to check all of these so we are relying on the honour system. Remember cheaters never prosper and that is just not playing by the friendly blogging rules if you do. 

So there you have it - a potential 7 entries to our giveaway! As we have cupcakes that need to be sent first class this is a UK only giveaway. Sorry overseas readers - but if this giveaway is successful we will look at doing more giveaways; bigger and better ones that will fly further!

The winner will be selected at random and this giveaway will run until Midnight (GMT) on Feb 1st 2013 so what are you waiting for? Go and enter! (Pretty please?)

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Online Dating - Weird Messages

I've been on a dating website for a few months now, and suffice to say, it hasn't yielded much for me. No more than I would expect from a typical night out at a club- a few nutters, some people acting like their on drugs, the (very) occasional interesting guy to turns out to be dry. Mostly men I don't find very attractive. But hey, sometimes, all you want is a bit of a dance and a conversation! 

My expectations of meeting Mr Right on the site aren't high at all, but it does serve as just another way to meet people I guess. Personally, I only reply to the ones who I am attracted to physically and who reference my profile directly. So, not many.

I have received a couple of funny messages I'd like to share. I'm not sure if it's just me, or whether its normal to attract weirdos. Anyway, have a look and PLEASE let me know if you can relate! I can't be the only one out here! 

These ones are initial messages- they have received absolutely no prompts from me...

erm... I've never heard from you before. Ever.


... really?


Enough said.






This one was my fault, I mentioned in public that I was reading 50 Shades...

er, if you actually READ what I said about the book, then you would know that was a firm NO.


I didn't realise my personal page was a dating service. Interestingly enough, you can barely see the to other girls in my picture and neither are on the dating website themselves... And if you're looking for a white girl you're really on the wrong profile mate!


I received THIS one very recently. How interesting...

I think the word you're looking for is BUSTED! For the record, I think I may have spoken to this guy, but wasn't interested at all (call it women's intuition...)


I have had a couple of dates with some of the more mature guys off the site, but didn't even reached first base with them. They just haven't tickled my fancy (and perhaps I haven't quite tickled theirs). I've decided not to take it too seriously. If nothing else, being on it has provided me with some interesting entertainment!

Do you have any funny, weird, scary messages you'd like to share? I'd love to hear them!

Friday, 4 January 2013

Self-Appreciation: Panda's Journey

I'm not always the most self-assured single girl in this jungle we call London. I'm not going to pretend to be one of those "I'm always positive!" bloggers. Because it just isn't true. I'm not always sure of what I'm doing, or where I'm going. I'm not always confident. And I have insecurities, just like everyone else on the planet... What was my point? 

The other day I was reading a post by Lea Rice on The High Tea Cast Blog, and it helped me to put some things into perspective. It's funny, after my 4 year relationship with DW finally crumbled, it took me years to work out what I was doing wrong (I am not negating all the messed up things he did at all, but it has always been important to me to take responsibility for my own behaviours). I had spent most of the relationship focusing on his needs, putting them well before (and a lot of the time instead of) my own. It's still not the time to discuss the difficulties of my relationship with DW. But it is time to talk about the journey I started, post-break-up. 

I've learned that putting myself first is so important. It took me a long time to realise exactly what this meant, and how to do it. It's been such a personal and individual journey that I can't even explain it in words. I guess everyone has to go on their own journey to understand what this means. 

I've struggled with the notion that "loving yourself" is a conceited and selfish act (character traits I learned to loath as a child, although even now I can't pinpoint why I feel this way). Yet, through self-discovery and allowing myself to just be single, I've realised that it is so important to put my own needs first (without, of course, hurting someone else in the process, where possible). 

I guess what I'm struggling with at the moment is really feeling comfortable being single in my own skin. It's natural to want some company, and to feel loved. However, to want this before learning to appreciate yourself can be extremely dangerous. What can you offer a partner if you don't even appreciate yourself? Wanting to be with someone is nothing if not human nature, but when it's at the expense of your own self-worth and esteem then it just wont give you the satisfaction you crave. For me, its always been important to know that someone loves me and cares about me constantly and consistently. Then I recently realised, who on this planet is really able to give me absolute and unconditional love, apart from me?

This journey is just really beginning for me. I don't have all my own answers, and although I have some understanding, I still feel the pang of being single. However, I know that there is more I need to achieve in this time I have to myself. Once I have, I know I will be truly comfortable in my own space, and being single wont feel so difficult any more.

You can read Lea Rice's blogpost here- really good read.

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