Friday, 30 December 2016

What I was given for Christmas 2016

I don't want to be braggy with a post basically showing off my Christmas presents...but I really love my presents! I felt super emotional this Christmas as  I pretty much love everything I was given which makes me feel very cared for. I can be tricky to buy gifts for as I can be picky and don't like to own superfluous 'stuff' so I usually much prefer the giving of gifts more than receiving.

I had intended to do a post about the presents I was giving but never took the photographs in time so I can only do the presents I got. December has been a bit hard but there has been lots of joy, especially spending Christmas with my family. We stayed with my sister and spent lots of time playing with Penny, my much adored one and a half year old niece. 

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Moments of November: cooking and creating

I needed a rest and I have been resting like a restful resty thing. I have mainly been eating and cooking and listening to music. I made fresh tortellini from scratch, filled with lemony ricotta and hard cheeses. YUM. Took hours. Was worth it.  (The 2 of us ate 4 peoples worth of pasta in one meal. Because yes.)

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Walk with me: Pegsdon in Autumn

I'm so glad I managed a proper Autumnal walk before all the leaves finish falling. I think it's a particularly beautiful one this year. Or maybe it's only because yellow is my favourite colour this year. And orange and red are great too. This walk is quite short (8km) but only an hour away from London (by car). Convenient.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Inspired: Novacorda and Pablo Massa at Holy Grail Guitar 2016

I just followed Stu and Hobs aka SBC Guitars to the Holy Grail Guitar Show because I wanted to go to Berlin. I didn't truly think I'd spend much time at an exhibition of independent guitar designer makers. I said I'd come have a look (as I'll likely be helping out if SBC get a stand there next year) and then I'd leave to explore Berlin by myself. It was actually so inspiring that I only left a couple of hours before the guys. So much beautiful use of wood and colour. So many fantastic luthiers.

But the stand outs to me were Novacorda Guitars and Pablo Massa.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Moments of October - frantic + fun

As much as I love the bright yellow leaves of Autumn, I really dislike the shorter, darker days. This week I've found I leave work, step out of the building into the dark and my mood drops. I feel exhausted and overwhelmed. It feels like there is no time left to do anything, the day is done. I think I need a rest and to organise myself. October has been incredibly busy and very fun and all over the place intense.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Inside Granny's house - a vintage interior dream

Granny says that now it's autumn, she can't remember how the trees looked in summer. And though she knows the leaves will drop and the trees will be bare, she just can't imagine how the trees will look in winter.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Exodus - Mount Toubkal climb trip - Day 7 - the Milky Way and Marrakech

I delayed this post because I wanted to illustrate the utter magic of the starry mountain skies. The most intensely starry sky I have ever been lucky enough to experience. Obviously I have no photos, I didn't even retrieve my crappy EE phone from my room that night.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

2 days in Berlin

It seems unbelievable to me that a return flight to Berlin can cost only slightly more than a return train ticket to Wiltshire to visit my family (£60 flights, £51 train). But wow, flying to Germany for the weekend felt super exciting, super cool and super fun!

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Moments of September - stress and superpowers

Fitness dropped right off this month and I've been super on-edge. Would sticking to my fitness routine have helped me with the stress or would it have been an additional stress factor? There's no way to know for sure.

Friday, 30 September 2016

period talk - knowledge and sanitary products - the pros and cons of pads, tampons and the moon cup

Personally, I have no issues with talking about periods.  I don't find it disgusting or embarrassing, it's just a thing. I know there are people who have a problem with it (is it too uncouth?) so if that's you, I guess you won't want to read this post, where I talk about periods.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Desires for Autumn - "Unrush your world"

The unusually wonderful summer has been clinging on in London, with bursts of sunshine and lingering warmth. Autumn is definitely creeping in though. Leaves are dropping and the air is cooling. Everyone is talking about pumpkins and I'm starting to think about coats.

I'm a bit knackered. I've been very active and sociable this summer, for someone who once dreamed of living alone in the mountains like Heidi's grandfather.

My October already looks really busy (in a good way) with camping in Northumberland, a weekend in Berlin, and a dash up North to see Granny and some friends. And Stu wants a dinner party with some friends and I will want to see my cousin a bit more before she returns to Poland and see my BFF Gemmie (yes, matching names) for some K drama nights.

Most of that is booked and paid and there's no backing out, not that I even want to.

However, I'm longing to stop and rest.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Yorkshire food joy at Porter Brook Deli in Sharrow Vale Road - visiting Granny in Sheffield

I've been visiting Sheffield all my life....but somehow never realised how charming Sharrow Vale Road is before. Perhaps this is recent. Maybe I've been there before and forgotten what used to be there.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Moments of August - music, bare legs and laziness

Summer has rushed past me faster than I can function! I've been tired and lazy and emotional but still enjoyed plenty of sunshine and ice cream and melon and music.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Vegetarian Failure! Dealing with the guilt.

It was a long struggle to make the choice to go vegetarian but once the decision was made, I found it surprisingly easy.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Exodus - Mount Toubkal climb trip - Day 6 - the village where Hassan lives

After the effort and the emotional high of Toubkal, day 6 was a much needed calm down. Staying in Hassan's village and experiencing a hammam and drinking mint tea.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Exodus - Mount Toubkal climb trip - Day 5 - actual Toubkal day!!!!

4167 metres above sea level! Highest day of the trip, the day I'd been working towards for months!

It was a massive fitness achievement for me and an incredible view. I remember when my biggest fitness achievement was managing to run for 5 mins, then 15 mins, then 5k. And there was the first time I managed to touch my toes. Since then, my fitness achievements haven't felt so massive - going up weights in kettlebells, learning different punches, dashing up 15 flights of stairs with relative ease - these achievements feel smaller than those initial ones. Toubkal felt like a big deal though.

This post is full of joy.

Monday, 15 August 2016

Exodus - Mount Toubkal climb trip - Day 4 - altitude struggles in the Atlas Mountains

This day of the trip was my struggle day. I think the whole group suffered mild effects of the altitude which include headaches, nausea, appetite loss, shortness of breath and trouble sleeping.

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Exodus - Mount Toubkal climb trip - Day 2 - The Atlas Mountains!

7 am breakfast (accidentally buttered a slice of cake, thinking it was bread – it was delicious), 8 am we were on the bus to the mountains!

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Exodus - Mount Toubkal climb trip - Day 1 - Marrakech!

So I'm finally putting up posts about my trip to the Atlas a slightly different format to my usual posts. I'm basically posting my trip journal, with pictures. So there's a bit more writing and a bit more detail than usual. I'm splitting it at each day and I'm beginning in Marrakech, tired and sweaty!

Monday, 1 August 2016

Moments of July - Morocco, Metal and Melon

July has been AMAZING and exhausting. I'm still in the mountains in my mind and I'm gloriously happy. I'm still euphoric. I climbed a mountain!

Saturday, 23 July 2016

a quick update - disconnecting in the mountains

I'm back from an AMAZING week in the Atlas Mountains and the heat of Morocco. It was stunning and I loved it and I pretty much spent the whole week with my phone on airplane mode and zero internet. No social media. No blogs. No Instagram.

I've been back a week now (and have been pretty ill with a stomach bug) and have been slow to reconnect to the internet. I've done lots of writing (with a pencil! on paper!) and have lots of photos to sort through. I'll get there. So Atlas Mountains posts are coming - I've just been a bit analogue and I'm taking some time.

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Strawberry picking at Lotmead Farm

My family loves to forage and grow-their-own. To me, raspberries and chives should be free from the garden and I've only just stopped flinching at having to pay quite a lot for them in the shops, now that I live in a flat, with no garden, far from my family.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Dealing with pre trip anxiety and excitement

Before our trip to Marrakech in February, I was so excited that I had trouble sleeping for the whole month running up to it. All I could think of and dream of was Marrakech. I read books and blogs and travel advice and gazed at images on google and pinterest and imagined all the things I would see, the colours, the patterns, the spices and oranges and narrow streets. My only anxiety was that it wouldn't live up to my dreams, that I was so excited I could only be let down.

But no, I loved it there. It was all I dreamed and more. I was so overjoyed, anything negative drifted into unimportance. (Even while there I had trouble sleeping because I was too excited.) I just didn't have time to do and see and learn all I wanted (I will never have enough time).

The big thing I didn't get to do but longed to was hiking in the Atlas Mountains and the opportunity to do it came up (more on this here) so I'm going, just 4 months later. And the overexcitement is back, along with lots of little worries.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Walk with me - The Jurassic Coast!

I've been to Dorset as a child, on GCSE Geography school trips and for drunken teenage weekends in my friend's aunt's holiday cottage - but my eyes and brain must have changed since then because I never realised before how beautiful Dorset is. Perhaps it's also the time of year, the pink and yellow flowers, the  golden sunshine with the blue sea, ancient cliffs and rolling green hills dotted with lambs.

Monday, 6 June 2016

Food joy at Tottenham Green Market

Wherever I live, I love a market. All kinds of markets. I grew up in a market town, excitedly buying 'Spectacular' nail varnish and avoiding the hot dogs from a van. The souks dazzled me in Marrakech. Smorgasburg was my NYC highlight. London has so many markets and Tottenham Green Market is a like baby compared to most of them. It's still a tiny friendly market with space to grow. But plenty enough food to excite me...

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Moments of May - Family, Fighting Fit and Farmland

May has utterly flown by in a flurry of family and fitness with a ton of flowers, shadows, sunlight and nature. I couldn't ask for more! I've already almost forgotten that I was ill for a week or so with some sort of feverish exhaustion. Spending time outdoors, walking in the sun has left me in a state of bliss.

Friday, 27 May 2016

Exploring New York with a low budget!

I had been anxious in the build up to our NY trip as we were going with family who all earn considerably more money than us and enjoy a very different lifestyle.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Walk with me - farmland near Corsham

I try to get back to Wiltshire every month since my niece Penny was born. It's hard to live so far away when I utterly love her. It's hard to imagine I could love a child of my own any more than this. So I was in Corsham a few weeks ago and my sister took me on this new walk she discovered, heading out of Corsham and around nearby farmland. Penny wailed the whole time instead of napping, but what a gorgeous walk! I think she wanted to enjoy it and resented being expected to sleep!

Saturday, 21 May 2016

North London Nature - Woodberry Wetlands + delicious food at the Coal House

One wonderful thing about going for a daily walk is having more awareness of What Is Going On. I've seen the light, the trees, the flowers change with the season and seen people, shops and posters. If it weren't for my daily walks, I'd not have spotted these posters for the newly opened Woodberry Wetlands. The bird drawing is so lovely and I love new places to walk (A new haven for wildlife!) and I was so excited that I headed there the very next day!

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Vegetarian eating in New York (part 3 of 3) - QUEENS

There are great fun places in LIC and it is much cheaper than eating/staying in Manhattan. LIC (Long Island City) in Queens is where we stayed (in an airbnb with the loveliest host (who gave us loads of recommendations on where to go) and her lovely dog ) and it is an incredibly convenient location. We had a choice of 3 stations with 2 trains that took us to central Manhattan in about 2 stops and also a train that took us to Brooklyn.

Just what we needed as Stu's family were staying in Manhattan and my friends live in Brooklyn so we were ready to meet everyone in all directions!

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Vegetarian eating in New York (part 2 of 3) - MANHATTAN

This is a rather less over-excited post than my Brooklyn one. Manhattan is really expensive so we actually didn't eat there that much. The only proper Manhattan dinner we had was at Daniel for my father-in-law's 60th birthday (he paid, thankfully, as this place is more than Manhattan expensive, it's Michelin starred high end expensive).

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Vegetarian eating in New York (part 1 of 3) - BROOKLYN

It's all about the food - it's a hugely important part of any trip for me. So this is the first of 3 New York food posts. I'm starting with Brooklyn and will follow on with LIC in Queens and Manhattan. My food highlights of the trip were actually in Brooklyn, I'm still fantasizing about chilli mango flowers. Sigh.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Moments of April - Core conditioning, Chicken and New York

April has been a whirlwind of joy, I've twirled into May exhausted and happy and still spinning. Overshadowing everything else for me, I spent 5 days in New York (more blog posts to follow) which was fantastic. I was anxious about it for ages as I didn't think we could afford the trip and had made lots of money based decisions that I was worried would upset my in-laws (it was a family trip for my father-in-law's 60th birthday and our budgets are waaay different).

Thursday, 21 April 2016

A vegetarian in Chicken Town, Tottenham

For about 6 or 7 years prior to going vegetarian, I would only eat free range meat. So most of that time, if I ate out, I was basically a vegetarian. It was like practice. And to begin with I had a naughty day each year where I allowed myself KFC or Nandos. Ohhh, how I missed fried chicken! Anywhere that cooked free range chicken, I was eager to visit. Now, Chicken Town has arrived, it's near my home, it serves free range fried chicken and it really tested my resolve...

Saturday, 16 April 2016

A morning in Bethnal Green: Museum of Childhood & St Margaret's House Gallery Cafe

It's worth going to Bethnal Green just to go to the V&A Museum of Childhood and as a museum lover, that's all I have really done on past visits. It's a good museum and it's a lovely place to spend a couple of hours. Happily, I've now discovered a place to eat as well!

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Walk with me: Lea Valley & Tottenham Marshes

Do I love Tottenham because I'm happy, or am I happy because I live in Tottenham? I actually don't know but I certainly feel that location is more important than I ever realised before.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Moments of March - music, macarons, magical sunsets

Looking back at March, I can't believe how much has happened! I have such a crap sense of time, everything feels simultaneously like it happened yesterday and also AGES ago.

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Walk with me: Regents Park at dusk

Oh this was a cold grey evening but the park was gloriously quiet and peaceful. Rain threatened but it remained dry and so many birds were singing cheerily.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Beautiful moments - moments of joy - peaceful London

Both me and Stu grew up in the countryside (him East, me West) and have lots of friends and family who constantly ask us how we can possibly live in that AWFUL London - isn't it dirty and crowded and rushed and crazy and full of cold rude people and really expensive?!??

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Oh Manchester - you're so cool! Northern Quarter wandering, eating and The Curse at 3MT

I've been to Manchester multiple times and it's always fun and has such a different feel to London. It's hard to put my finger on what it is, but it feels more open and relaxed but still so fun. We stayed and played in the Northern Quarter this time

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Walk with me: Trafalgar Square to Imperial War Museum (btw the Lee Miller exhibition is SO good)

I have a list of exhibitions to visit and I visit them in order of which will finish the soonest. Lee Miller - A Woman's War at the Imperial War Museum finishes on 24th April so that was my pick. SO WORTH IT. And I got a great walk in. For no particular reason, I walked from Trafalgar Square and saw bits of London (both tourist stuff and lovely details) that I usually don't.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Rediscovering creativity in life and blogging

I used to be creative and then I sort of switched off and stopped caring but I've rediscovered my joy in life and creating. A huge part of this is regaining my self confidence and not needing others approval but appreciating it if it happens.

Saturday, 5 March 2016

crazy dreamy London skies - moments that make life beautiful

This is a selection of photos of crazy dreamy skies taken over January and February in London. These moments make me so happy as I go about my daily life. I adore that candy pink fluffy cloud above. Just drifting innocently over the buildings.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Read: The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell

This is the third David Mitchell book I've read (the other two being 'number9dream' and 'cloud atlas') and it is most definitely my favourite.

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Walk with me: Cherhill Downs (the white horse)

I've walked this short steep 2.8km walk since I was a very young child and I love it very much. This is actually the first time I've taken pictures here because I find it so beautiful I feel that