Mother’s day weekend was the perfect occasion to escape life in London and to head back to the countryside. Alex has the cutest nieces and nephew who are my favourite subjects to photograph – mainly because they’re not camera shy yet ūüôā

Seriously, adults are so boring to take photos of!

And as it’s creepy to post these on instagram – I assume this is why no one likes my bebe photos – here are the pics of my favourite little dumplings. Have you ever seen so many blue eyed babies!

Life, Photography

Happy Mother’s Day

Image
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?

Standard
Food, Life, Photography

Polpo ~ fancy lunchtime tapas

Hello my old friend!

Blog time no see.

heh heh heh, I’m so funny.

Anyhoo, what better way to ease myself back into blogging that to give you a scrummy scrummy update of where I’ve been eating!

Polpo, a tapas restaurant in Farringdon (slash Clerkenwell?) is a rustic/hipster cool kinda place. Menus come printed on rusty, ‘aged’ paper – which I very generously took a picture of!

Image

As you can see the menu is fairly decently priced, typically a bit more expensive which you expect the closer central you go into London, however the menu is vast enough that there’s something at everyone’s price point.

On to the food!

As there were 3 of us for Alex ‘s (my colleague)¬†Birthday lunch, we decided to be extra greedy and exceed the recommended at-least-two-dishes.

We went for….

Potato & Parmesan crocchette

Potato & Parmesan crocchette

Classic beef & pork

Classic beef & pork meatballs

Image

Lamb & mint meatballs

Prosciutto, mozzarella & basil bruschetta

Prosciutto, mozzarella & basil bruschetta

Tenderstem broccoli, chilli & garlic pizza

Tenderstem broccoli, chilli & garlic pizza

Image

Birthday girl!

Rabbit ragu, black olives & gnocchi

Rabbit ragu, black olives & gnocchi

Sliced flank steak, rocket & Parmesan

Sliced flank steak, rocket & Parmesan

Image

the Boss tucking into ‘his’ steak dish

Pork belly, radicchio & hazelnuts

Pork belly, radicchio & hazelnuts

Tiramis√Ļ pot

Tiramis√Ļ pot ~ just for me!

And what a lovely end to a lovely meal, to then receive a ridiculous bill!

Having chosen the restaurant, without really comprehending how much we would order, when our bill exceeded £100 I was definitely weeping.

While it was an absolutely delicious meal – I had a few niggly negatives:

  • I’d booked a table especially – and yet we were given the absolute worst table in the house! We were placed right near the kitchen counter – not fun ūüė¶
  • I have never had such stroppy staff. While they were timely and semi-efficient, jesus, if I’m tipping you then I at least expect a smile and some manners!
  • Which leads me to my last point – we HAD to tip 12.5%. I’m okay with tipping, but I’m not okay with tipping when your service is rubbish!

All in all, I would definitely recommend the food especially if you’re in the area – the service could be overlooked if you were a little more pushy and assertive than I was. However, Clerkenwell has so many more delicious eateries at a much more budget friendly price that you wouldn’t be missing out if you didn’t pay Polpo a visit!

Standard
Food, Life, Photography

Notting Hill Carnival

One of the things I love about London, is that there’s never a lack of things to do. Much less free (or fairly cheap) things at that! Notting Hill carnival is a great example of this.

It’s essentially a huge street party celebrating African-Caribbean culture, with lots of music, food, crazy costumes, and basically, tons of alcohol. It’s a two-day festival, the first¬†masquerading as a family-friendly day. Um, not so much.

drunk fun.

drunk fun.

But if boozy fun in a post-apocalyptic setting is your kind of fun then I highly recommend it. If you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of the mesmerisingly beautiful costumes the carnival so heavily promotes, you’re better off catching the highlights online. For every year I have attended, I have yet to find where the ‘carnival’ part of the festivities are lurking. For that matter, I’ve never managed to get to the same part of the carnival as the year before. It’s that¬†crazy.

Image

A couple squatting amongst the rubbish to enjoy their chicken

However, for all my complaining, I did nonetheless enjoy the carnival as always. The sun was glowing – toasty warm, not sweaty warm – and there was plenty of good food and music, and not to forget, company.

Post-apocalyptic mess: streets littered and people scattered.

Post-apocalyptic mess: streets littered and people scattered.

Standard
Life

Saying goodbye to Facebook

Why is it so hard to say bye to Facebook, permanently?

Let me set the scene. At 16, a friend of mine, who lived abroad in Germany at the time, decided to create a Facebook account for me – so that we could stay in touch once my holiday ended and I had to go home to England. My first few photos were of us dotted around Leipzig, nothing too exciting. I added those friends of hers that I’d met whilst there, but Facebook offered me little more.

Once I had reached college, my old friends slowly joined Facebook, and new classmates were collected added. Soon Facebook became the bloodline of my social life. Nothing really happened in real life unless it could be verified on Facebook: through statuses – “Pacha was pretty amazing tbh*”; group or food photos – always group photos to validate that you have billions of friends, and food because your meal needs¬†to be seen by others (I still do this); and lastly, while still through photos – sweaty, drunken clubbing photos – hundreds of the same blurry snaps of my friends and I pulling various poses.

By University these habits were exacerbated, but by this time I begun to hate Facebook. But I hated it, whilst still desperately loving it at the same time. Soon, this developed my compulsive habit to de-activate and consequently re-activate my account after a month’s hibernation. Jealousy, boredom, ex’s, attention-seeking were all valid reasons I had developed provoking me to de-activate my account time again.

And this became how I’d use Facebook. Like clinging on to a toxic relationship. Actually, it’s more like taking drugs* because everyone else is, even though you hate it, you just love what (you think) it means for your social life. Dare I let myself be caught out upon meeting someone new, all Facebook-less – “You don’t have Facebook?”,¬†they’d say, “Oh”,¬†they’d finish – with that killing the conversation. In their mind, you can’t really work out why someone¬†wouldn’t¬†have Facebook.

Today, I have Facebook. I can’t say I really use it, but I still miss it when it’s gone. I don’t feel the need to read about other people’s babies, or to compare my life to other’s Facebook version of it in which every status or photo is to remind me of why their life is better than mine. I hope that I keep updated with those I care for because I make the effort to do so. I’m not saying Facebook can’t be used for this, it most certainly is the biggest reason I still have it to keep in touch with my family abroad – it’s just easier. But I just hope that I’ve grown past having to live¬†through¬†Facebook.

One of the biggest things that bugs me about Facebook – is how much will it affect my employability. Scare stories regarding mainly teachers who have been fired over what can be found on their Facebook have been around a while now. It does make you think twice about whether you should approve that tag – where you have a smile on your face and a beer in your hand. It may be common place, but it takes just one bad impression to stop you getting the job you may have spent hours applying for. Statistics suggest that more and more employers are checking your Facebook – an article on ZDNet suggest 56% are checking your social media – to see whether you’re a suitable candidate.

Secondly, it comes down to privacy control. I know by having a blog I am already exposing my life that little bit more online. I try very carefully not detail anything too personal, that could leave me exposed to internet crime (identity theft for example), but with Facebook, it becomes harder and harder to control that information. Even changing my Facebook name and employing maximum privacy settings hasn’t made me any harder to find on Google. I even go as far as turning location abilities off on my iPhone where possible. Now I have nothing to hide, I am fearfully law abiding, but the internet (and Facebook) has made scared that I feel like maybe I¬†should¬†have something to hide.

So I won’t say goodbye to Facebook forever just yet. It is still useful to me. I will, however, still have those internal conflicts on whether I should de-activate my account again, and I will vigilantly monitor what I put online.

What keeps you from saying goodbye to Facebook?

As a treat - one of the first photos I uploaded when I created my Facebook account.

As a treat – one of the first photos I uploaded when I created my Facebook account.

*Actual status from 2007 –¬†cringe.

*I am definitely not advocating drugs and it is used purely for metaphorical purposes.

Standard

Ever take the time to be a tourist in your own town?

Dim sum giggles.

Dim sum giggles.

DSC02739

Reflections at PWC

DSC02714

Walk down More London Place ~ where dream careers are made.

Busy busy London, always under construction.

Busy busy London, always under construction.

Dusk at the Tower Bridge

Dusk at the Tower Bridge.

Life, Photography

Tower Bridge

Image

Where were you this time last year?

I for one, definitely was not sitting at a computer applying for graduate jobs. No siree! I was as far away from career-thoughts as person could ever be, speeding across Southeast Asia, dripping in sweat, possibly from the fire in my belly I feel when doing what I love – travelling. Or it could just be the insane heat. Eh, both.

It’s become a cliche, to be a student and travel, but it’s something I’ve always done. My parents still backpacked when were kids (I will never be phased by creepy hostels), even my father worked abroad for sometime. By nine years old, I was no stranger to travelling long-distance by myself.

Last summer, I had a couple months after finishing work before I had to return to England. Already in Asia, it just made sense to see more of it before leaving. And before I had ‘real’ responsibilities.

I’m sure I will get round to posting many pictures of that summer, but for now, I will leave you this beautiful sunset I was blessed to experience.

P1110886

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

 

Photography, Travel

TBT 2012 ~ Cambodia

Image
Food, Life, Photography

BBQ weather ~

DSC00890

With all this lovely weather that England has been experiencing – which sadly is fast disappearing – myself amongst many, are enjoying the opportunity to dust off that barbecue and get reacquainted with some good ol’ barbecue foods!

Unlike American BBQ, from my understanding (and constant watching of Man vs. Food re-runs), us Brits are far less adventurous when it comes to what we choose to grill. But my lust for American BBQ is for another post, another day!

I hate to admit it, much less immortalise it online, but no barbecue is complete without SAUSAGES! Morrisons sells THE MOST delicious sausages – to my surprise – having stumbled across their Chipotle Chilli sausages, as well as their version of the classic Pork & Apple.

Image¬†–

Whilst happily stocking up on sausages, We (my boyfriend and I) had the idea that we would make our own ribs. By make I mean buy a cut of ribs, a pack of seasoning mix and voila mixed together it would make succulent, juicy ribs. We went for Рready for it Рthe Grill Mates Deep South Brown Sugar Marinade mix. Mix the spices in with Tennessee whiskey and white wine vinegar and its ready to baste and marinate on the ribs.  And this is where my jealousy of American BBQ cooking comes from Рhad these ribs been smoked or barbecued for several hours before they would have been fall-off-the-bone perfect, but delicious they were nonetheless!

Image

Not to be overloaded by meat – I love to include some grilled peppers and halloumi in some fresh crusty bread. I always add a little mint just to make those flavours explode in my mouth – the perfect mix of sweet, salty and that little bit of freshness from the mint.

Image

I’m not a dog person in the slightest, in fact, I’ve always been fairly terrified (it always stems from my neighbour’s big fluffy white dog from when I was a little child, whom in retrospect was just extra friendly) that I’ve never felt that comfortable around dogs. That is until these two, Peanut Butter and Eddie!

Image

“Did we just become best friends, I think so!”

Image

To round off the barbecue – some scrummy Krispy Kremes!

Standard
Zucchini fritters - definite yum yum!

Zucchini fritters – definite yum yum!

Last week, I was bestowed upon a huge courgette (which sadly in all my excitement I didn’t take a picture of), but imagine this thing was huge. Like the size of my thigh – okay it was smaller, but not by much.

Blessed with this large courgette, I figured I have to make the most of it, and practically bake it into everything! Ergo fritters, bread, breaded chips, salads – you name it!

But with all this baking, I was taken back to a recipe we used at camp. This was back when I decided to spend the summer looking after mischievous kiddies from NYC who’d never seen grass. Or a lake. Or just any wild outdoor space. And one of the activities that we did with down at the camp’s farm, was bake zucchini cookies.

photo

My first group of campers, fellow counsellors and I.

Now when I first heard of these, as an Englishman, I was immediately repulsed, naturally. But powering through, pretending to be excited about the prospect of vegetable cookies just so as to trick the kiddies into believing so themselves, I was pleasantly surprised.

Unlike a regular cookie, or biscuit in England, these courgette cookies are light and almost cake-like. More reminiscent of a muffin top (not the overhanging trouser-fat kind), these cookies are delicious paired with a sprinkling of chocolate chips melting inside its fluffy, doughy cake-ness.

I’d found a relatively easy recipe online and set upon straining this juicy, steroid-pumped courgette ready for cookies! *There were no steroids really, just lots of loving kindness which helped it grow to its Hulk resembling size.

My boyfriend’s family heartily help me demolish these cookies, which I can happily say were mere crumbles before the day had ended.

Zucchini cookies: a definite no-no or just the right kind of wrong?

Food, Photography

Zucchini cookies: a definite no-no or just the right kind of wrong?

Image