Beginner’s (Cheeky) Guide to Nando’s Dining

Have you ever gotten a “cheeky Nando’s”? Would it come as a surprise if I say that I get said “cheeky Nando’s” at least once a month – twice, even, during the summer when I had free time to spare.

Cheeky Nando’s is a meme-tastic phrase that gained popularity in late 2014, describing a visit to a Portuguese peri-peri style chicken place called Nando’s that you shouldn’t really have but somehow you’ve managed to convince yourself “why the hell not, YOLO!”

treat yo self GIF from parks and recreation
my daily mantra

I find myself dining at a local Nando’s recently when I had a startling realization. My brother and I were sitting at our table, having ordered our food with ease and were at the point waiting for our food to be served, when a family of three was seated beside us. The server gave them their menus and they spent at least fifteen minutes poring over the options before the conversation started in earnest between them.

Now, I can’t say I have an ear for foreign languages – I barely have an ear for the English language, given the amount of variation in accents found in the UK alone – but I recognize the off French word or two. And so like Sherlock Holmes, I deduced that the family were tourists and therefore would not have been overly familiar with how Nando’s worked. Yes, it is a sit-down type of restaurant where you can enjoy a hearty meal with friends and family… however, it was run like a fast food chain, albeit a fast food chain with relatively healthy standards.

Confused? Let me explain.

How To Order Food in Nando’s in Five Easy Steps

Step One

Enter through the door and wait to be seated. There is usually a seated waiting area by the front doors – if it’s not manned by the restaurant’s front of house staff, wait patiently and someone will come over.

Step Two

Once seated, the server will tell you your table number as they hand over the menus. Then, you are free to peruse to your heart’s content, since Nando’s has plenty of vegetarian and non-vegetarian options to choose from.

NANDO’S NEWBIES, BEWARE OF THIS STEP.

The French family from above made the mistake of waiting for the server to come back and take their order. The server does not come back to the table to take your order. I repeat, the server does not come back to take your order. What you need to do is detailed in Step Three.

Step Three

Armed with your order, a volunteer from your group – the designated mom friend, or in the case of the French family, the Actual Mom™ – should go to the area of the restaurant where all the tills are located. They typically are situated behind a bar and laid out in a neat row, like this:

step three: pay at the till

Now, during the ordering process, you have to state your table number before you list off your food choices. Do not forget your table number because if you do, you’ll have to do that walk of shame back to your table to check.

Also, choose a level of spiciness if you’re ordering the per-peri chicken. You’re always asked what level of spiciness is preferred by the chicken-devourer.

If you’re ordering a drink as well, don’t be disappointed if you’re given a glass instead of the actual drink – they’re meant to be filled by the customer over at the refill station. (It’s very American, I know.)

Step Three is when you pay for what you’ve ordered.

Step Four

This is the fun part.

DO NOT GO BACK TO YOUR TABLE.

Cast your eyes around the restaurant until you find the little island containing all the sauces. This is also the drink refill station. Grab as many varieties of sauces and dips as you can carry. At this stage in the process, you are more than welcome to signal your group – either through facial gestures or hand signals, maybe even semaphore – and ask what their preferences are or for help if you wish it.

grab one of each, who cares!

Don’t forget to grab enough cutlery for the table. Or just grab a set for yourself if you’re feeling petty, and let the rest of your group grab their own, You’ve already gotten the sauces from the island, let the others earn the right to have a cheeky Nando’s.

Step Five

Is everyone settled back at the table?

Cutlery retrieved? Sauces lined up in the centre like precious treasure?

Now is time for you to begin an earnest conversation with your friends / family / date / what have you. There isn’t much of a wait for food in Nando’s unless it’s the lunch rush. When you get into a groove and somehow manage to arrive at an uncomfortable topic of conversation that really shouldn’t be happening in public, another server will come by carrying your delicious peri-peri chicken.

Bonus Step

The bonus and cheeky final step is this: pick up your knife and fork and eat your chicken (or your chosen vegetarian substitute). And with that, what else is there to say aside from “Bom apetite!”

I don’t actually watch The Simpsons.

Over to you guys: What’s the equivalent of Nando’s in your country? In the Philippines, I would say it’s this barbecue restaurant chain called ‘Mang Inasal’. Let me know in the comments below!

Bullet Journals for the Artistically Challenged

What do you do when you want to get your life in order but you feel too boxed in by traditional means of personal administration? You open up the old Internet search engine and start a new project, that’s what! I’m well aware that I love to start new projects but find it notoriously difficult to see them through until the end – such is my weakness – though I must say that curating a bullet journal has been a lifesaver.

Not to make this too introspective or anything, but my experience with ‘getting sh*t done’ has its wonderful highs and shameful lows. I’ve turned into a gadget-reliant cyborg during my second year of university, having bought a smartwatch for a lark and subsequently fell in love with That Wireless Life: I invested in Bluetooth headphones, a portable keyboard and mouse setup, and a USB OTG (on-the-go) that I attached to my trusty Galaxy Note smartphone. Yes, I was that geek sitting in the back of a lecture theatre pretending her phone was a laptop.

Given my addictive tendencies, however, it’s understandable that I became apprehensive of being so gadget reliant all the time. I had my entire schedule – lectures, seminars, work rota – synced to my smartwatch, and I honestly found it difficult to consider disconnecting. “My entire academic career relied on my being on point,” I kept telling myself. And it has proven useful! There’s no denying the convenience of connecting yourself to smart assistants… I just struggled to transition from a busy-bee-university-student to an I-have-free-time-now graduate.

Which leads me to the wonderful world of bullet journals.

Bullet Journal - April Spread

Bullet journals, to those who have no clue, are personal organizers/planner setup where your only limits are within your imagination. You can have a simple daily to-do list or a comprehensive diary that helps you “track the past, organize the present, and plan for the future.” And for a scatterbrained individual like me, it’s like being offered a lifetime membership to the Greek pantheon with the sheer amount of ‘get your life together’ power it gave me.

(I’m a dramatic sod, so do excuse my occasional hyperbole.)

Regardless, I must establish this one fact: no matter how limitless my creativity can be, it never translates well to the physical world. I’m not an artist. My hand cramps easy because I hold pencils too hard, and I have no skills in space management. Erasers and corrector pens are a godsend. So I’ve decided to create a handy dandy cheat sheet for and easy bullet journal experience… here goes!

How to Keep a Bullet Journal: Five Steps for Dummies

Step One

The first step to bullet journals, before considering fancy things like Future Logs or Weekly Spreads, is to get your hands on a trusted notebook. Quite simple, right? But if you’re a commuter who passes through procrastination station on the regular, this becomes an insurmountable obstacle.

My advice is this: go to a physical store and find the best notebook that suits your needs best.

There’s nothing like physically experiencing the feel of a notebook, and keep in mind that you’ll be working said notebook often. My chosen bullet journal notebook is hardbound with small, dotted pages, a ribbon page marker and no elastic closure. It opens with a simple flick and the cloth cover attracts stains like no other… in other words, it’s perfect (for me!).

Step Two

The second step is research. There’s nothing like barging headfirst into a new project and ruining a perfectly good notebook – imagine the heartbreak! What a wasted opportunity! Don’t forget to save the rainforest, et cetera.

Here’s my advice: familiarise yourself with the bare bones of a bullet journal.

The basic sections of a bullet journal include but are not exclusive to:

  • Index Page
  • Key
  • Future Log
  • Monthlies / Monthly Spread
  • Weeklies / Weekly Spread
  • Dailies / Daily Spread
  • Collections

Don’t be afraid to try everything and change your process as you go – the core aspect of bullet journals are change and variety. You’re not restricted to the same layout every week like with most planners.

May Monthly Focus Collection
a page to list out goals for the month

Step Three

Now here comes the fun part, where we go into the nitty-gritty cheat codes and shortcuts. Things like: stencils are your friend, washi tape makes the mistakes go away, and stickers are a gift from the gods of laziness.

Keep this in mind: not everything in your bullet journal has to be handmade.

If you can create a basic weekly spread using a mix of stencils and an unholy mix of ‘Days of the Week’ stamps, then go for it. The (#bujo) world is your oyster. Your bullet journal is yours to cultivate and no Instagram influencer ought to make you feel bad about it.

Washi tape is a requirement for those artistically challenged like I am. They’re essentially fancy masking tape – easy to tear off, relatively cheap, and patterned to your magpie heart’s content. They can be used to highlight a page corner, frame a header, divide a page, cover up a mistake, add a pop of colour to a spread… the possibilities are endless!

Bullet Journal Week 15 Layout
the wonders of washi tape

As for stickers, there’s a wide variety that can be found in any old stationery store, but my favourite or favourites are those I bought from Etsy. They are an unwarranted splurge, but with the amount of joy they’ve given me (oh look, a Marie Kondo reference!), they are well worth the money spent. Stickers, like washi tape, can over up mistakes and liven up a page. Practical ones like a stack of ‘Monday’s or ‘January’s are super useful if you can’t get our head around the calligraphy that goes hand-in-hand with bullet journals.

Step Four

There’s nothing new under the sun, and there’s nothing wrong with taking a well-loved design and adding your twist to it. A bullet journal, at its core, is for personal use. So what if your daily schedule uses an unoriginal layout… who’s going to arrest you, the bujo police?

A useful reminder: social media is a wonderful crutch to have, so don’t hesitate to follow as many #bujo #bulletjournalinspo tag variations as you want.

Personally, I have a virtual pinboard of inspiration on Pinterest that I constantly update whenever I’m on public transport. I have an Instagram album because my social life revolves around that app and I might as well use it for something beneficial. I also, on occasion, interrupt meme-filled chats with online friends with beautiful bullet journal spreads and vice versa.

Step Five

Finally, have the means to remain accountable. As scatterbrained as I am, it helps a lot if there’s someone (or something) to remind me to update my messy, stain-covered bullet journal. It is also a weight of one’s anxiety-laden shoulders to have one less incomplete project to worry about.

Every month, I try to post an update to my Instagram story – it’s a guilty pleasure that doubles as an illusion of productivity. My friends ask about my journal whenever conversation steers in that direction, and there’s nothing like spending money on art supplies and pretty washi tapes to inspire you to put pen to paper. Or sticker to an empty page, whatever floats your boat.

spooky season is upon us!

Not advice but a helpful nudge: don’t just rely on yourself and your own self-interest in keeping up with your bullet journal. That is to say, extrinsic goals are just as valid as intrinsic ones.



These five steps are hardly the be all end all of keeping a bullet journal, but I hope they’re useful enough tips to keep those artistically disinclined to plodding along. The bottom line of That Bujo Life are these three things:

  1. do what works best with your organizational style
  2. don’t compare yourself to social media influencers, and
  3. washi tape makes the bujo world go ’round

Over to you guys: Do you keep a bullet journal? If so, what other advice can you share and if not, please share your reasons! It’s not for everybody but I would love to hear your alternatives.

Until the next post (whenever that is!).