Getting Clean at KITCH

I awoke in a daze.

It was the morning after 14th February, and I knew I had done something very wrong. Something shameful, and sinful. Something the beau could not forgive. The air was thick with the scent of wine, grease, secret spices, and shame. On the bedroom floor, an empty cardboard box lay open.

The plan had been to spend Valentine’s night alone, as the beau was booked to play folk music for the baying crowds of Kent. He had foisted gifts of chocolate, Prosecco and a sonnet upon me that morning (I had delivered beer and dark chocolate digestives in an Asda carrier bag as a token of my love), and had left for work, not to return for many hours.
It was a rare Friday night in alone, and I had been weak. I had turned to an old vice: chicken. Fried chicken. The kind of chicken that doesn’t have a phone number – just a card in a phone box. It wants the money up front and you’ll need to see a doctor in the morning.
Following a swift rehearsal with the Canterbury Players I scuttled into a Chicken Cottage, my face covered by a cowl, and placed my order. On the plus side, they cooked my chicken fresh to order. On the down side, the branch has ridiculously large and bright front window so that everyoneoutside can see you waiting for your bucket of solitude and potato wedges of loneliness.
Goods acquired, I spent the evening at home quaffing sparkling wine and gnawing on dead bird while imagining the bass-playing beau being flanked by lovely Valentines ladies at this gig of his*. The chicken was crisp and slutty and unstoppable. I didn’t think about the consequences, I was drunk and stupid.
The next morning, I woke up convinced that Ragnorok had happened in my mouth. Tis the way of MSG, my friends – a few moments of hedonism will lacerate your taste buds and leave your tongue as parched as a burnt forest. I needed to redress this folly and repent my sins.
And so, to KITCH
KITCH Canterbury (The Demon Gin)
KITCH Canterbury (The Demon Gin)
KITCH Canterbury (The Demon Gin)

KITCH is a fairly new addition to Canterbury’s main thoroughfare. A wholefood café that prides itself on healthy food that don’t compromise on taste, it sits primly amongst the historic buildings of St Peter’s Street in a calming wash of blue, white and grey.
Owner Emily details her foodie principals on the KITCH website – use only all natural, wholegrain and seasonal ingredients. Sugar, sweeteners, processed foods and trans-fats are not needed. (Admit it, you don’t need them, you just pretend you do because you want more lard bacon cake).
But there is more to KITCH than the café; Emily also runs her My Deliciously Healthy Kitchen cookery classes on site, offers outside catering, and can fill your fridge and freezer with up to three weeks’ worth of healthy meals with her special detox packages. The café also hosts private events; I realised too late that while I was covered in fried chicken on V Day, KITCH was hosting an Asian-fusion supper club with Godmersham’s Portable Pantry. I grew up in Godermsham!!! I don’t know why that’s important right now!!!
So I enlisted fellow thespian Sarah to sample their delights for lunch on Saturday, once I’d burned all evidence of my chicken frenzy so my boyfriend would love me again. Sarah had already bagged a window table when I arrived so we could people watch. Looking at their cake display, it was tempting to order a pile of sweet treats and tea, and devour them while flicking V signs at the foodless passers-by through the window. But that would be mean. Brilliant, but mean.
 KITCH Canterbury (The Demon Gin)
KITCH Canterbury (The Demon Gin)
KITCH Canterbury (The Demon Gin)
KITCH Canterbury (The Demon Gin)
KITCH Canterbury (The Demon Gin)
KITCH Canterbury (The Demon Gin)

Instead, Sarah and I opt for more substantial food. I had been lusting after the advertised banana and almond pancakes, but I arrived well after breakfast had finished. Another day, mayhap. Instead I opted for the roasted root veg hash with poached egg (£7), while Sarah ordered a smoked salmon sandwich on sourdough with seasonal leaves (£5.50). She shockingly turned down the salsa verde dressing with her salmon, as she is no fan of capers. I beat her mercilessly for it later.

 KITCH Canterbury (The Demon Gin)

KITCH Canterbury (The Demon Gin)
KITCH Canterbury (The Demon Gin)
KITCH Canterbury (The Demon Gin)

The dish was exactly what I needed to quell the previous night’s sins – tasty, healthy and nicely portioned. The root vegetables were well spiced, and the egg poached to perfection on a thick slice of sourdough. Sarah’s sandwich was also laden with pert salmon. My only quibble with the meal is that £2 for a very small glass of pear juice is pushing it. 

Alas we could not stay to sample the full range of their cakes – Sarah and I had only limited time and needed wine (KITCH will be serving bubbles soon, I hear) – but I still bagged a couple of their almond peanut butter cookies for the road. They go very well with a nice Chilean sauvignon blanc, I later discovered.
KITCH Canterbury (The Demon Gin)
KITCH Canterbury (The Demon Gin)
KITCH Canterbury (The Demon Gin)
KITCH Canterbury (The Demon Gin)
KITCH Canterbury (The Demon Gin)

What attracted me to KITCH was that it is more than just another ever-so-twee coffee shop in Canterbury, as it makes the effort to offer the whole healthy package. It is less about piety on a plate, and more about sharing and teaching. The website for the cookery classes is resplendent with tips on how to eat well, from portion size to what to keep in your larder, and I applaud eschewing processed trickery in favour of natural goodness. I do the same at home where possible….but bear in mind that I am Irish and I need to have access to certain processed carbs every so often or the universe will explode.
Whether you are a wholefood convert or you just need a healthy pick me up, KITCH is on hand and, I suspect, will love you no matter what.

4 St-Peters St, Canterbury, Kent. CT1 2AT
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 8.30am-5.30pm, Saturday 9am-5.30pm, Sunday 10am-4pm

Find KITCH and Emily on Facebook and Twitter

*Apparently the beau’s only piece of action was from an older drunk woman who staggered up to him and said “You look mad! I’m mad too, are you mad like me?!” I can’t compete with that level of wit.

KITCH Canterbury (The Demon Gin)KITCH Canterbury (The Demon Gin)
KITCH Canterbury (The Demon Gin)
KITCH Canterbury (The Demon Gin)

A Week of Days and Tankus The Henge

It is Valentine’s Day later this week, but let’s not forget the other days. Days like Wednesday and Sunday.

There will be no escaping the Valentine’s Day massacre betwixt those who believe in cupid and those who think the occasion has an apt abbreviation.The war will be raged in offices, with pink princess hurling stuffed teddies, floral bouquets and champagne truffles at a sea of black-garbed goths, who spew out fire and God-awful songs about female independence while pointedly refusing to shave.

But if you think Valentine’s Day is bad, let’s look at some of the othernational days so frequently forgotten at this time of year.

Today (Monday) is…

Umbrella Day

I’m not sure what this means, or what you are supposed to do, but I like to think that it came about in the following way.
Dying powerful man: “I wish…for a special day to mark my passing…”
Son: “Oh father, I will see to it! I will ensure that you are honoured in – ”
Dying powerful man: “And it shall be called Umbrella Day.”
Son: “………you want your day to be named ‘Umbrella Day’, even though that isn’t your name. And you’ve never had anything to do with umbrellas in your career. And you’ve never even owned one.”
Dying powerful man: “Umbrella.”
Son: (To his mother) “How much morphine has he had?”
Mother: “Oh just do it, it’s his dying wish.”
Son: “Seriously? I have to go out and find some way to make February 10th a day in which everyone in the world gives thanks to their brollies, and the only explanation for my father’s desire to see this happen is ‘umbrella’?”
Mother: “You older brother would do it.”
Son: “Stop going on about Craig! You ALWAYS take his side, just because he once shook hands with Burt Bacharach!”

Tuesday is…

White shirt day

This marks the end of a union strike by employees of General Motors in 1937. Sadly I can’t think of anyone who will realize they are acknowledging it when they dress tomorow morning. But a high proportion of office workers may be labelled communists…

Satisfied Staying Single Day

Of course you are. That’s why you had to dedicate an entire day to showing people how fine you are with it. 

Extraterrestrial Culture Day

This day is officially recognized in New Mexico, and is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard of.

Pro Sport Wives Day

Essentially, the wives of pro-sports stars are recognized for all the hard work they do at home to support and love their amazing husbands. Read the following:
“Many pro sports wives act as silent partners and household managers: they keep their darling athletes focused; determined to win and succeed in meeting their dreams; to create the beautiful feeling of being a winner in every heart in the country. Pro Sports Wives Day is held…to support the cause, all you need to do is make sure that you respect the hard work which these women must go through to aid their husbands as best as possible.” 

Let’s take a moment to picture the disgruntled sports wife who came up with this. And what monumentally stupid thing their husband did to warrant this kind of grovelling. 

And also remember that it only applies to the little ladies who stay at home because pro-sports stars ARE NOT GAY OR WOMEN.

Wednesday is….

Darwin Day

Birthday of Kent’s own Charles Darwin, the father of evolution and annoyer of religious types the world over. Mark the day by constantly asking a Christian to explain thumbs.

Thursday is….

Get a Different Name Day

The perfect day to commit identity fraud, or pretend to be Batman. It WILL hold up in court.

Madly In Love With Me Day

You’re starting to see how the approach of Valentine’s Day affects people’s brains? Created by a self-help guru, this day is geared entirely at ladies on the premise that ‘in order for a woman to show true love to others, she must first be empowered to love herself with apology’.
So….spend all day focusing on how much you love yourself…..then spend Valentine’s Day demanding further attention. Honestly, sharinga day of love is not enough? It’s a little bit like playing a sport in a group, but someone who isn’t very good at is ‘allowed’ extra tries or points because because because or they won’t play.

Friday is….

Well we all know, but here are some handy alternatives:

Pet theft awareness 

Some people will do anything to cover the fact that they forgot to buy a Valentine’s gift

Ferris Wheel day 

Sit on a ferris wheel and watch the world go by SO ALONE

Donor Day 

In the US, February 14th is also national donor day to encourage people to register for organ donation. Wherever you are in the world, please become an organ donor. If you haven’t already, stop fanning about with stuffed toys and those giant walking balloons, and give a gift that actually matters 

Saturday is…

World Whale Day

Because you are so fat from the Valentines indulgences. No, no, no, I jest! This is an annual one day festival in Hawaii to celebrate the humpback whale and to raise awareness of conservation threats.

Hippo Day

This one IS because you are so fat.



 Last night (a Sunday of all things) I went to The Gulbenkian café bar to watch Tankus the Henge.
The lovely Miscriant will publish a fuller post on this gig in due course, no doubt, as she actually brought her camera with her, where as I forgot mine and had eight seconds of battery left on my phone to take one picture. But I wanted to share a few words nonetheless.

I first encountered this eclectic sextet of Londoners at in The Playhouse Tent of last year’s Lounge on the Farm festival. Having co-hosted the Boom and Bang circus’ evening show, zoot-suited front man Jaz Delorean wheeled his smoking-spewing upright to centre stage and he and his cohorts on lead guitar, bass, drums, trumpet and sax embarked on a finale set that blew my tiny mind.
I could have put my enjoyment that night in a Canterbury field down to the festival haze, or the eight pints I’d had that day, or the strange incantation the woman at the octopus curry stall had said over my food when I refused to compliment her glasses. But Sunday’s show reinforced my acclaim.

Their sound is hard to describe – a cross between Madness and a Balkan carnival troupe, with some jazz funk touches and all delivered in a gravelly cockney drawl. The arrangements are tight and the mood is deliciously decadent, plus any band that goes to such lengths to entertain their audiences wins my vote.

I strongly urge anyone with the ability to crawl to go and see this band on their travels. They are everything a great live act should be – larger than life, witty, theatrical, friendly and frighteningly talented. They are also a thoroughly nice bunch of chaps, and were extremely chatty with spectators after the show.

Find them on Facebook, Twitter, Spotify and iTunes.

But don’t listen to me, though, don’t you listen to me, shush, shoo, stop – observe:

How To Make No One Want You

Valentine’s Day is a mere something weeks away, and no one wants to be alone on Valentines Day. No one does, not even those people who say “I’m spending it alone, I don’t care, I don’t even care, Valentine’s Day can suck it.” You’ll find them, soon enough, in a sex club with a red rose and a smile that says “literally anyone”.

And don’t believe the couples who say they don’t intend to mark it because they are above such stuff as their love is too strong/real/ancient. God help the man who takes whatever his woman says on this front seriously – buy her something, anything. Then look at whatever you’ve bought her, and make it bigger.
But I digress…
I know many of you are single, and I know you will never find love again because, let’s face it, you just aren’t trying. It is all your own fault. It’s you, it’s always YOU.
But don’t lose hope! Don’t you dare lose hope, and don’t let anyone tell you that you will never find love again, because they don’t know what they are talking about it. You just need to think outside of the box, and then stop thinking about the box. The box is the problem, not you. It’s never you, it’s always the box! (Stop re-reading what I just wrote, focus! FFS, this is why no one will date you!)
Right now you’re probably feeling pretty confused, but thank your lucky opiates because I am here to help you. I can offer you invaluable advice on how to get someone to love you just as much as I do (not like that, stop coming on to your therapist – this isn’t Prince of Tides!…..yeah, I didn’t really see it either)
Just read the following easy to follow steps to follow, and it will all be okay. This advice is suitable for when you are due to go out on the town to scout for potential mates, or for when you have an actual probably blind date lined up.
  1. Firstly, always prepare with a big glass of white wine. Drink the wine slowly, thinking about how sophisticated and cool you are going to be on tonight’s adventure/date. You have the confidence inside of you, you just need to release it.
  2. Get up, dress and go to work.
  3. Spend your work day practising introductory conversation lines with your boss. If you have a meeting, make sure you pull out all attendees chairs for them (even if you are a woman), and compliment them on their lovely scent. If it’s a stand up meeting, offer to take their coats or ties.
  4. If you feel any nerves during the day, have more wine. You need to drink a lot for the wine to actually work.
  5. When leaving work for the day, practice your wistful exit on your boss (if they are not around, find someone more senior). Walk away slowly, call their name, then look back and give them a lingering stare tinged with hope and sexual excitement. Then wave at them for three minutes and leave, sweepingly.
  6. When you get home, put on your favourite record and dance around wildly to it to help you shake off the work day and get you limbered up. If your favourite record is anything country-based, take a good long hard look in the mirror and imagine why anyone would want to shag you.
  7. Make sure you don’t eat anything, because you will look fat. But drink all the wine and gin you want. If you feel sick, it’s just nerves. Throw up and it will expel all the negativity from you. And some extra fat.
  8. Choose your outfit – girls, make sure you show off your figure and ensure your earlobes are exposed AT ALL TIMES. Men, pick a nice shirt and jeans, and rub some dirt into each item to give the impression that you work outdoors all day, lifting logs and that you do manly stuff.
  9. Leave the house or nothing will happen.
  10. When you see the person you like the look of, or when you arrive for your date, walk straight up to them and get as close to their face as possible. But keep the conversation casual. Something like “Tottenham always try to walk it in” or “Chuh! Bloody Cameron, eh?”.
  11. Offer them a drink. If they don’t want one, order one yourself and drink it, then say “look it’s easy! Come on, let’s see if you can beat me!”
  12. Having a meal? Remember that rule about getting fat. Order whatever you want, but scrap it under the table when the other person is not looking.
  13. If the person you like is still talking to you at this stage, good conversation topics are: your family, the shape of your head, people you know who have died, all of your ex-partners, your children (if you don’t have any, make some up), the economy.
  14. Crisis! The date doesn’t seem to be going well and the other person is losing interest. Offer to show them part of your body in exchange for more gin. They will see you as a smart business person, and they will respect you for it.
  15. Have I said keep drinking? You need to keep drinking. Don’t worry, you won’t get drunk, no one gets drunk on dates.
  16. If you feel tired at any point, go to the toilet and have a little sleep in one of the stalls. Set your phone alarm so you wake up after about 20mins, as this is optimum time for a nap.
  17. You realise your potential future love has vanished – have they ditched you? Were you being sexy enough? Did they go off with another person? If in doubt, question everyone else in the venue until you get a straight answer.
  18. People like people who can cook. Don’t be afraid to cook on your date.
  19. Men, show off your upper body strength by lifting a whole pint of water.
  20. If you are in doubt at any point, take a deep breath and start from the beginning. Don’t worry if it’s the middle of the night and your office is shut; your boss will understand if you ring up and shout at them.
  21. Always leave them wanting more – steal their wallet.
  22. Never ever ever let anyone tell you that you aren’t not a superstar!