Monday, February 28, 2011

Bring back Lloyd Grossman I say!

I'm the one with parsley, Pauls the one with the Tomato
I haven’t cooked since I left the UK 8 months ago so its fair to presume that I’ve forgotten how to. Luckily in India you don’t have to be Posh and Becks to afford a cook, as having a cook is as common as owning a saucepan apparently and I for one intend to take full advantage.
Now in my posting regarding my driver I joked that I would interview my cook Masterchef stylee, but after careful consideration I don’t see that there is any other way?
I will play the fat one because I do a wicked impression of him holding the fork in his mouth for too long and Paul can be the one from New Zealand.
The three contestants applicants will each prepare 3 dishes, an Indian dish, a western dish and a dessert. Each course will be marked out of 10 on taste- I’m not going judge presentation that’s just fussy!
The person with the most points wins gets the job.
Ouuuu I might even make a trophy for a winner or better a certificate – framed!! No too far.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Lights, Camera…Disappointment!

This could have been me!!!
I’m not happy today!
On our third day in Mumbai Paul and I went for a walk and stumbled across a great little bookshop on Colaba Causeway.
As we were paying for our a goods a chubby, tall man ran into the shop very excited, asking if we wanted to be in a Bollywood movie- me without hesitation said “Yes! When? Where? How? What do I wear?”
Before the guy had time to answer the bookshop man told him to bugger off so he left. As we left the shop (with enough magazines and books to open our own library) I wondered what would have happened if the bookshop man wouldn’t have told the chubby, tall man to bugger off? But to my joy the man was waiting for us outside!!
“Soooo would you like to be in a Bollywood movie siiirrrrr”
“Yes!” I shouted – “Where do I sign???”
 Paul pushing me to the side asked all the questions your parents would like you to ask:
“Is it safe?” “Is it scam?” “Where is it?” “Are we insured?” the obligatory joke which you seriously mean “We aren’t going to be hearded on to a mini bus then robbed are we?” har, har, “Are we?”
“Yes, yes sir, very safe Karina Kapour and Imran Khan (Bollywood royalty) are in this movie sir, we will pick you up from MacDonald’s, we do your hair make up, we dress you, we give you a meal and you get paid 500 rupees” he said.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Never Say Never

You know what I’ll give anything try, I moved to Mumbai didn’t I? But traveling 20 minutes dressed in an expensive dress, 5 inch heels and a hair do which took me a good 40 minutes to achieve in a half motorbike, half tin can, with 4 other passengers I draw the line ……
I don't know what hes smiling at!
..... Maybe not

Thursday, February 24, 2011

‘Red and Yellow and Pink and Green…..’

Check out the wine selection the view
from the mezzanine floor!
I didn’t know what colour Indigo was until I just Googled it and apparently its a mix between blue and violet which in my book means it’s a purple colour.
But I’m not here to educate the colour dyslectic, I’m here to tell you about our new favorite place to eat… Indigo Deli, which, incidentally doesn’t have a hint of purple within its four walls.
We have already been here 4 times in two weeks and to be honest I don’t think its nearly enough.
The food is amazing, mainly western it has everything your empty belly could desire: burgers, fish, risottos, pastas, chicken, salads, steak it also has amazing desserts, a drink selection larger than an Oddbins and it is very reasonably priced, 450 rupees for a fillet steak with chips or mash- yes please!
They don't just sell fish
 It also has a great deli counter so you can pick up a bite for lunch to boot!

INDIGO DELI, COLABA 5, Ground Floor, Pheroze Building, Chattrapati Shivaji Maharishi Marg, 
Apollo Bunder, Mumbai - 400 039. 
Tel: +91 (22) 6655 1010

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

‘Its Fun to Stay at The YMCA’

Last week, I promised you a guide to the men of India’s moustaches. Well I’ve tried really hard (Searched Google anyways) and I just can’t find the information, so for now please enjoy a picture of my husband and his friends with their India inspired moustaches…bless

Poundlands got nothing on Mumbai!

Always the real thing....

Do you want to here the biggest joke of the day? No? Well your gona here it anyway…Paul just went to the shop and bought two cans of Coca-Cola, two bags of Lays Crisps (Walkers to you and I) a pack of cookies and two cartons of apple juice for 60 rupees! That’s 0.80p! Beggars belief!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

De de de de dellle (that’s the theme tune from Sex and the City)

I should really get into merchandising
Today I felt like Carrie from Sex and the City 2, the scene when she’s in a Dubai Market (we all know it was Marrakesh) looking fabulous and she discovers how cheap the shoes were, “20 dollars? For shoes???”
Surely you remember?
Well today I went to the market on Colaba Causeway. They sell bangles, necklaces, shoes, handbags, antiques, pashminas, things you don’t want but you want to buy anyway because your in India- you get the picture.
Unlike Carrie I was not on my own, I had the husband in tow who is not afraid to haggle and haggle he does. Now each to there own but I’m the type of person who thinks if the price sounds fair I’ll pay it. Not Mr Hanley, he lives here now so is entitled to the prices locals get.  After lengthy discussions, walking away and walking back from various stalls a number of times we managed to get all of our  my items for at least 40% of the price originally quoted. So now I’m a convert and I do recommend a good haggle as it means you can save money get more stuff!
From picture above:
Necklace – 100 rupees (£ 1.37)
Earrings- 50 rupees     (0.69p)
Bangle- 100 rupees (£ 1.37)
Pashmina – 150 rupees  (£ 2.06)
Handbags 3 for 1400 rupees (£ 19.23 so around £ 6.41 each)
You won’t get those prices in Claires Accessories!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Du du du du du du du du dduuuuu (That’s the theme tune to the Apprentice)

Lord Sugar (I preferred Sir Alan)

I was really looking forward to interviewing my servants (I don’t like to call them that by the way). I planned to hire out a room in the business centre in our hotel, wear my fake glasses and don my new suit (which is currently being tailored at a local suit shop specifically for this purpose). It would have been just like The Apprentice but with me playing the part of Alan Sugar (naturally). Well we found out today that our beautiful apartment actually comes with a cleaner and a handy man! Most people would be happy about this but I am extremely disappointed. But all hope is not lost; Paul said I could be in charge of trying out potential drivers. Now I take my duty as driver vetter very seriously so have developed a list of criteria they must fulfil. I have even typed it up, printed a few copies out and purchased a clip board- just like a real driving instructor.  Its simple the candidate/ driver with the most points is hired! Maybe I will get my Alan Sugar moment after all.
My criteria is as follows:

Sunday, February 20, 2011

‘When you’re at the checkout and you hear the beep…….’ You know the rest!

There was no way of hiding the evidence from my husband!
I always thought that the strangest name I had ever heard in my life was Milorad. Especially as the person to whom the name belonged to wanted to actually be called Milorad and not its cooler, trendier, shortened version Milo. I thought it sounded like a new mop or cleaning product of some sort rather than a name. I can hear the advert in my head now…. ‘The new Milorad from JML’

As I said I always thought this was the strangest name I had ever heard and indeed it was the strangest name I had ever heard… until today! Today I met Vishtap! Now I like most of you reading this thought that maybe Vishtap or Vishtäp was a new kitchenware product available from IKEA, but no it was actually his real life name.

Vishtap was helping to pack up my new purchases from Apartment 9, a home accessories shop in Colaba.

When I first entered Apartment 9 a few days earlier I nearly started crying, I didn’t think that I would find a shop like it in India. It was like an Aladdin’s cave of wonder. I was in awe and immediately started getting very excited, yet extremely nervous; excited that I could furnish my new place with such beautiful things, nervous because it was quite expensive and I wanted everything. Paul compared it to how I get when I am just about to put my hand luggage through security at the airport- Excited because I’m going on holiday, nervous because l fear they will take my Estee Lauder foundation from me because I can never fit it in the see through bag!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

I’m NOT ‘Loving It’


I have a hangover the size of Jupiter and there’s only one thing that will make it slightly bearable…McDonald’s!
I felt like all my prayers had been answered when Paul told me they did Mc Delivery! As I dialled the number all I could think of was biting in to my Bigmac just like in the adverts.
Despite the initial automated options, my call was answered within a few rings; things were going my way…

McDonalds lady (she probably only had one star): ‘Hello Maaaam, can I take your order’

Me: ‘Oh yes, I’ll have a 2 Big Mac extra value meals, with a full fat coke and ‘up size ’ them please (I meant business)

McDonalds Lady: ‘I’m sorry Maaam we do not sell Bigmac, how about a Maharaja Mac…

Me : Whaa…..

Friday, February 18, 2011

WS1 Eat Your Heart Out!!

Dome Bar- they call it Dome as it has a big Dome to sit in- see what they did?

One of my biggest fears about moving to Mumbai was that I wouldn’t be able to go out and get drunk with my husband and our friends without being whipped or looked upon in disgust. My second biggest worry was what to bloody wear? Do I wear a sari? Is it long skirts, turtleneck tops and headscarves?...... On the contrary! We first went to a rooftop bar called Dome, followed by a nightclub called Privé. I turned up to the first bar in a Topshop equivalent to a dustbin bag, which I thought would be in keeping with the locals- how wrong can a person be? Ladies were wearing short dresses, tight tops, jeans, high heels, not a headscarf or turtle neck in sight. I felt like the school kid who turned up in school uniform on non-uniform day!
The view from Dome is beautiful, it’s actually the same view we have from our new apartment, as it’s only a few doors down. The outside area is decorated with fairy lights and candles and all the chairs and sofas are white. Champagne is reasonable at around 4500 rupees per bottle and the clientele is high class (I fitted in perfectly)
Suitably drunk, we stumbled into a cab to Privé in Colaba. We had booked a table as there were 7 of us and if you don’t book it can be hard to get into places. After giving our names at the door we were hurried into what looked like a glass prison where it seemed they kept the white people or VIP as they called it.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Giant Condoms and Leopold Café

After stumbling up Colaba Causeway in my 4 inch wedges, being followed by a man selling what can only be described as giant inflatable condoms (I don’t care if its only 10 rupees, I still don’t want one!) we eventually reached Leopold cafe. Leopold Café is a dingy rustic restaurant, which sells an array of Indian, Western and Chinese cuisine and was made famous by the book ‘Shantaram’. I haven’t read it yet but its supposed to be a must read (I’ll stick it on my things to do).
When I saw they sold a ‘Tower of Beer’ I knew Paul and I were there for the long haul.  We ordered (to share):
1 Half chicken tikka – 230 rupees
1 Green salad- 60 rupees
1 Garlic and cheese naan 50 rupees
1 Raita (like a dipping sauce for the chicken tikka) 60 rupees
And 1 tower of beer- 450 rupees
The total cost in our Great British pounds I here you cry….  ???
Approximately £11.68! No its not a typo £11.68!! The beer was actually more expensive than all the food put together.
Not only a bargain but absolutely delicious and would be a welcome addition to anyone’s Mumbai Itinerary. It’s also useful to remember that if there’s no seats downstairs, there’s an upstairs.

Leopold café, Colaba Causeway, Mumbai India, tel +91 022 2282885
Leopolds Cafe (yes that man does have sunglasses
on the back of his head!- weirdo)


The ride of your life aka a standard Mumbai cab
Taxis are extreeeeeemly cheap in India compared to back home in the UK. For a journey of around 10-15 minutes you’re not going to pay more than around 30 rupees (0.41p) in a standard cab and 50 rupees (0.69p) in a ‘Cool Cab’ (a taxi with air conditioning). However; if you are white and flagging one from the street the driver may try to rip you off. Earlier this week we were quoted 100 rupees (£1.37) for a very short journey; when our Indian friend asked the driver why he was charging us that much he said “They have been ripping us off for over 400 years” we laughed, got in his taxi and asked politely for him to turn his meter on, he did, total price… 20 rupees (0.27p).

Paul is at Work All Day..…

Humble beginnings
Ahhhhhh Patel Wines. It doesn’t matter where you are in the world you can always rely on Mr Patel to open a well stocked Off Licence, and Mumbai is no exception!
Now don’t be deceived by the image to the left, its obvious Mr Patel was a man of humble beginnings and wanted a reminder of where he came from, but Mr Patel had dreams, big dreams, for his alcohol empire and has recently opened a second shop next door… and let me tell you it does not disappoint!
 Not only is it very well laid out and ascetically pleasing, it has an exceptional variety of intoxicating liquor; from the finest Champagne, to spirits and wines from all over the world.
A new breed of Off Licence
A bottle of Moet Chandon can be purchased for 3500 rupees – (£47.77) (I know, not like the offers at Tesco at Christmas!)
1 Litre bottles of Imported spirits from 3500 rupees (£47.77)
And Imported wines from 1000 rupees (£13.65)
If your willing to try out the local tipples you can get a very tasty bottle from the brand Sula for 500 rupees (£6.82)
And 1 litre local spirits are also available from 500 rupees. (£6.82)
It’s got a spiral staircase to heaven the stock room too!

Patel Wines, Maker Arcade, Cuffe Parade, Mumbai 400 005

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Do you want a photo? It will last longer…..

Men staring at moi
Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman- Obvs!
...... Is what the inner schoolgirl in me is dying to shout out every time I walk down the street. Indian men stare! It doesn’t matter what I’m wearing, I’ve tried various outfits to try and avoid the situation but they still stare.  I asked a couple of staff in the hotel why they do this and they all said “Its just the way it is so get used to it”, another Indian girl said “If I wore a short skirt walking down the street they would stare at me too” Meow! (Incidentally I only wear short-ish summer dresses when I’m with Paul).
So ladies if you move to/ visit Mumbai please be prepared to reinact that scene from Pretty Woman, when everyone stares at Julia Roberts as she walks down Rodeo Drive, as it will happen.
Just think of it as a compliment and sing the song in your head, I do.

The songs stuck in my head now….

A Room With a View……. and a Half!

Freddie and the view from our apartment
In typical Sergeant Paul Hanley style, our first days in Mumbai were spent flat hunting.
The man in the picture is Freddie, or as I like to call him Saint Freddie of Mumbai. After seeing approximately twenty apartments, which all looked as if they had been puked on by the 1970’s, I thought we would never find a place to call home!....That’s until Saint Freddie showed us a small one bedroom flat on Marine Drive. Now I like to call the place quirky, others may call it ‘What were you thinking?’, some may even say it’s a 'Penthouse in the shape of a lighthouse' (Paul Hanley)! Basically, it’s circle in shape, has only 3 windows, the kitchen comes off the bedroom, I don’t remember seeing any doors and has only one small wardrobe, but all these factors seemed to fade into insignificance when Freddie showed me the roof terrace. Arrr the roof terrace… with unobstructed views of the Mumbai skyline and the sea, I knew I was home! It also over looks a cricket ground, which Paul is very excited about as the Cricket World Cup, starts soon (oh joy!)

Freddie not only found our new home but some of Paul’s colleagues’ homes too, so if you’re moving to Mumbai give him a call. He knows what he’s doing, lovely guy and speaks perfect English… what more do you want in a property agent?

Freddie Pithavala, Fred Estates, Tel +91 9821 323 334 Web:
View from our new apartment

First Impressions

David Seaman - Former England Goalkeeper/ love of my life and Suresh- Maintenance guy at my hotel

So what was my first stand out memory of Mumbai? No, it wasn’t the aeroplane narrowly missing the slum upon landing, not the one hour wait on the runway as there were no parking spaces, not even the mosquito that landed on me immediately as I left the aeroplane, (even though I had ditched the prevention tablets after being advised by a former colleague that (I quote) ‘It would be better to contract Malaria’ than experience the side effects from the tablets- we’ll see how that one pans out) it was……. The Moustaches!

Nearly every singular man working at the airport has one. Now I used to regard myself as somewhat of a moustache connoisseur after having a crush on the England goalkeeper David Seaman for most of my life; but not even I had seen such an array: long, short, thick, thin, curly, straight. After further research I have discovered that an Indian man’s moustache represents what part of India he is from.  In the coming weeks I plan to put together a guide to India’s Moustaches so you will always know where your moustached acquaintance comes from!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Welcome to India

As I stepped off the aeroplane at Mumbai Chattrapathi Shivaji International airport we were greeted with a terrifyingly loud sound “Is that a machine gun?”  I said to my husband. Paul in a comforting, nearly sympathetic voice replied “No, it’s a crane”
That was a relief! 

From One Extreme to Another


Paul and I decided that I wouldn’t visit Mumbai before we moved here because if I hated it, I would refuse to go through with the move…  he sold it to me in better terms, but I knew that’s what he meant!

Since we arrived in Singapore 6 months earlier, there had been a rumour going around that a Mumbai office of Paul’s company was in the pipeline. Being the assertive individual I am I thought I’d nip it in the bud and told him that if a work opportunity comes up in India to turn it down, as I’d never in a million years move to Mumbai (it took enough for him to get me to Singapore).