Taken from the vantage point of the roundabout, looking down onto the cluttered, vehicle strewn street.

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I wanted to take a picture that was authentic in that it was true East London. I wanted to take a picture that could show what is different about the residential areas of London, compared to other cities around the world. What strikes me when I visit other countries – like in the States there is so much variety between the houses’ architecture and so much more land, in Hong Kong – everything is built/integrated into the malls and shops and most people tend to live in tower blocks.

In the area I live in East London in particular, there a lot of huge Victorian houses. And everyone parks in the street. We also have a lot of roundabouts – something I’ve noticed to be really uncommon in America.

Photography

Photography 101: Street

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Day one is home.

I’m not a home person, I don’t really know what makes home home yet, but London is an amazing place to call that for now.

Here is a shot from one of my favourite places – Southbank.

Photography

Photography 101: Day one

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Life, Photography

Guy Fawkes fireworks at Wanstead Flats, Newham

For all Newham lacks as a place to live, it sure makes up for it on Bonfire night.

But with tons of firework displays dotted all over London, why am I telling you about this one?

Firstly, it’s free. Awesome.

As someone who lived in town which charged £15 for their fireworks display, free really is awesome.

Secondly, no one really notices poor, forgotten Newham and so the crowds are oh so spacious. Under-the-radar fireworks display equals non-pushy crowds. Yay!

And my favourite part – the fireworks are AMAZING. This years theme was music legends (my highlight was Sinatra’s My Way) with surprisingly perfectly synchronised fireworks.

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Life, Photography

Suffolk’s (not-so) Spooky Scarecrow hunt!

How cute is this? I spent this weekend in little ol’ Halesworth, deep in the countryside of Suffolk… to which I happened upon a village full of scarecrows!

The idea behind it is that each shop along the village ‘high-street’ each makes their own scarecrow, related or unrelated to the shop, coming to 48 in total. Each shop then has a clue – a letter in a pumpkin – which you have to collect. You then use the letters to spell out 7 spooky words, and to make things even easier they colour code the letters for each word.

Being a city girl, I remember trick-or-treating with my friends every Halloween around my local borough, something of which I rarely see anymore! I don’t even bother buying sweets because I don’t think I’ve ever had anyone ring my doorbell during Halloween – so tragic.  So I love knowing there are these adorable village traditions out there (even if I’m not allowed to participate, apparently 23 yrs old is pushing it).

My favourite scarecrow is the Farmer (below) and the Miley Cyrus ‘crow! I am SO gutted I couldn’t get a better picture of it without the reflection!

Which one was your favourite?

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Food, Photography

Busaba Eathai ~ the only chain I’ll openly admit to enjoying

Chain restaurants get a bad rep. I admit to being immediately skeptical to any enthusiasm bore towards a restaurant chain as a collective. My reasoning ~ how can you love multiple restaurants whose main purpose is to produce an almost homogenous experience and be low cost as a result.

But even I can admit that maybe sometimes, I really do have a genuinely nice meal…. at a chain restaurant!!

For example, here is a meal I loved and it was at Busaba Eathai in Stratford – Westfield.

If you haven’t been before, Busaba Eathai is a chain of pan-Asian (I know, bear with me) cuisine, its interior tastefully fitted with a blend of dark woods, tropical flowers and musky incense. Its menu reflects the decor, with Asian dishes inspired by a variety of countries.

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Sen Chan Pad Thai

Pad Thai – a staple in my diet. I LOVE flat noodles, adore seafood and pretty much prefer any dish that has crushed peanuts (or a fried egg) on top. The addition of tart green mango and fluffy crab meat helps breath new life into this familiar and normally unremarkable dish. Plus, portions are HUGE.

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Chargrilled duck

Juicy, tender duck rested gently on a bed of firm broccoli, swimming in a rich umami pool of tamarind sauce. Alex, forever a skeptic about Asian-food portion sizes, wanted the biggest dish on the menu. And with a side of sticky rice, further accompanied by a portion of ‘Thai’ calamari, biggest dish he got.

Did he finish it? Not so much.

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So if you’re stuck in Westfield Stratford and you don’t want to fall in the trap of bad shopping mall food – pick Busaba. It’s like those reliable pair of uggs that you will never openly admit to loving but you’ll wear them all the time. I know, my analogy doesn’t even make sense, just eat at Busaba, it’s good I promise!

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Food, Photography

Ramen time

What better way to welcome the unwelcome cold weather than with an awesomely delicious bowl of Tonkotsu ramen.

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Droooool….. creamy pork broth

Melt-in-your-mouth BBQ pork belly, accompanied by seaweed, bean-sprouts, soft boiled egg, pickled ginger and spring onions, all swimming gloriously in a rich pork bone broth. This is my (Umai-bought) Tonkotsu ramen!

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My favourite dinner buddy

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Food, Photography

Making beef brisket even more special

Lazy city people like myself rely heavily on pre-prepared food. I wish it weren’t so, but sometimes it’s a worthy sacrifice to have a few more minutes with my loved ones each evening.

With this oh so terrible sacrifice, M&S comes to my rescue. Although their 3 for £10 meat deal offers me flavour and convenience, they do come in tiny, tiny portions! And this is where some simple ingredients help bulk up and transform my dinner.

A combination of Pinterest and tube-time daydreaming…. I present my Beef Brisket sandwich!

Beef on a bed of creamy coleslaw, topped with a sunny side up egg. Freshly baked Mediterranean bread laced with roasted peppers and olives, gently dipped in the beef brisket juices.

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Life

Is it time for a rebrand?

My initial motivation for starting a blog was to have something to do while I was applying for jobs post graduation. This meant choosing a topic was kind of hard since I didn’t have a whole lot going on in my life during this extremelycash-less period.

But months on, having failed to commit to blogging and slowly having neglected it – is it time for a rebrand?

I once read something which said that no one is going to care what you say on Twitter unless you’re a celebrity, or something to that effect. I feel the same is for blogging. You can’t get away with writing what you want without having a focus, a theme, for your audience to follow. No one is going to read your random sh*t unless you’re famous, duh.

While I love beauty (skincare, makeup, anything) I don’t know if I could compete with the hordes of highly qualified/committed bloggers and their loyal followers. Yes, I frequently daydream at the sheer thought of receiving beauty freebies (eek) but I don’t have the face nor the money to beauty blog.

I just want to talk about FOOD! My first love – food. Not a day goes past where I don’t photograph my meal, where it don’t plan my week around what nights and where can I eat out next!

I now sneakily start testing what FOOD related blog names I can have *lovehearteyes*

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Food, Life, Photography, Travel

Prague ~ the new Paris

A couple weekends ago, my boyfriend and I were very lucky to spend 3 days in the beautiful city of Prague.

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It is so hard to pick just one picture that embodies the true beauty of Prague. Partly because there are just too many things that we loved about this historic city, but also because my camera lens is pretty crap for landscape photography =_=’

Before we left for our trip I was pretty skeptical about people’s fascination with Prague. I had so many preconceptions about it only being a stag do/cheap beer kind of destination. I was SO WRONG. Yessssss there we’re many groups of drunk guys with the groom-to-be always dressed as a lady (so weird), and hell yes the beer was only £1 (seriously), but Prague was so much more than that. Let me explain.

Food

Food was my biggest fear for this holiday, mainly because I have never been excited over the thought of having meat and dumplings for dinner. Not the scrummy and delicious Asian kind, but the stodgy, food-baby-making bread or potato kind.

So meh.

Luckily for me, and luckily for Alex because I google everythingggg to death, we managed to pick some amazing places to eat.

Lobkowicz Palace cafe

I am a firm believer in not eating at tourist attractions, but sometimes you just gotta eat! £££ 7/10

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Special of the day – Apple strudel, and a parma ham and cheese panini

Grosseto marina

Fancy Italian riverboat style restaurant with views of the castle over the river. A solid 7/10 for the food, but really you come for the views. ££ 9/10

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Saporita pizza and Ravioli con polpetine di pollo e prosciutto

Cafe Lourve

Fancy, art nouveau style 100 yr old cafe where both Albert Einstein and Frank Kafka got their Parisian brunch on. Lunch set menu is only in Czech but very good value. ££ 9/10

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Aperol spritz – everyone was drinking them!

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Classic Sacher – A chocolate cake laced with apricot jam and homemade watermelon ice cream

U Kroka

Our favourite of the trip, this truly is the place to come try Czech Pork Knuckle. Great value and right near the old castle grounds. ££ 10/10

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Roasted pork knee (or knuckle) – this was the portion listed in the ‘Manly’ section of the menu. A dish so filling you didn’t even need sides!

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Roasted duck with apples, red cabbage, homemade bread and potato dumplings

Klasterni pivovar Strahov

17th century brewery restored as a restaurant. Staff were grumpy but food was more-ish, the beer even better. ££ 7/10

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Wheat and ‘Amber’ beer

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Goulash in a bread bowl (tacky I know!) and Sirloin of beef in a cream sauce with cranberries and dumplings.

Things to do

Prague as a city-break is one of those cities where you can always find something to do, whether you plan ahead or not. Despite not speaking any Czech (I reeeeaaally wanted to try) I felt the entire city was pretty much accessible to me – not just because most people we encountered spoke English, but also because there were so many things you could just stumble upon and explore.

Prague castle (Pražský hrad)

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An afternoon can easily be spent on the castle grounds, with plenty of churches and museums to keep you occupied. If you’d rather see just the best bits (as we did) then 200 korunas gets you into St Vitus Cathedral, the grand royal hall, St George’s Basilica and the Golden Lanes. Even if you decide not to explore all of the buildings or wanting to make the most of a sunny day – the views from the castle grounds of the city below are enchanting.

Church of Saint Nicolas

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By far my favourite of all the religious sites, it’s (almost) gaudy gold finishings is what makes it so special. We sat in here for a good half hour just taking it all in (and cooling down from the sun)!

Charles bridge

The tourist destination that I was most looking forward to photographing, the internet has hundreds of pictures capturing Charles Bridge at its most romantic – lamps glowing through a cloak of thick mist! I was so disappointed when all I could see/capture were swarms of tourists and caricature artists – boo!

The John Lennon wall

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Although I’m not particularly a Lennon/Beatles fan, I loved the wall! Insanely bright and AMAZING to photograph!

Wenceslas square

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We didn’t spend much time here but it was worthwhile to go having just been to the communism museum. Not so much because the museum was great but more for being able to put what we had learnt there into perspective. For those who love makeup, they sell Inglot at Debenhams and have a Sephora in Wenceslas square!

Old Town square

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If you’re only in Prague for a weekend like we were, then this is one of the best places to just sit and soak in some Prague atmosphere. Hell yes it’s probably one of the most touristy places you could go (and for many would make you run a mile) but it’s touristy for a reason! A mixture of historical charm (the Astronomical clock, the Church of Our Lady before Tyn) and commercialisation of a touristy hotspots (American students promoting bar crawls, and tours on Segways) we happily paid three times as much for a beer just to soak it all in and people watch! Yay!

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If you walk a few minutes away from the square (and notice the crowds have thinned) this is where you start discovering some of Prague’s best drinking spots – Chapeau Rogue, Bugsy’s and Hemingway bar (my favourite) are all cosy, chilled and cheap!

Riegrovy Sady

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We visited this beer garden during the Germany vs France World Cup quarter-final match where they had set up a big screen with tons of benches and beer/food stands lining the garden. Full of expats, tourists and locals alike, the actual park itself offers yet another place to overlook the city.

Vysehrad castle

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This serene castle and grounds are two minutes away from my top pick restaurant – U Kroka. An impressively tall, fort-like wall surrounds the grounds which makes for an awesome first impression. Couples and tourists line the castle walls, which from up there you can enjoy an entirely different view point of the city, with Prazsky hrad as the crown of the horizon. Further in you come across more locals walking their dogs but I would highly recommended allocating and evening to spend here during your visit.

Peddle boating on the Vltava river

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No messing with the captain. Serious business!

200 koruna (about £5.50) for an hour! Such a bargain and was such a great way to spend our last morning in Prague. Wanting to make the most of ten warm weather while simultaneously avoiding being near other people (haha), we paddle boat-ed up and down the Vltava between the Charles bridge and the Dancing House. We even spotted a few fellow paddle boaters who had remembered to bring beers onboard!

Overall
I loved Prague! Although beach holidays are more my thing, Prague was perfect for a long weekend.

For 3 days we paid:
Flights – £75 p/p return with Wizzair (never again!)
Hotel – £85 p/p for 3 nights at a ‘5 star’
Spending money – £120 p/p

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Life

Having the option of a trust fund is an “albatross” few of us – or our children – have ever had the option of wearing. But when those who do are not given the opportunity to work and to succeed and fail on their own, we are all left with a small pool of arrogant, powerful second- and third-generation snots running around who truly do believe that being born with more money makes them superior human beings.

I don’t have much of an opinion on Sting, but he speaks the truth on trust fund babies.

Having the opti…

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