Weekending in London

British flags were EVERYWHERE

It’s good to get away and travel for a few days every now and then when and if you can. It gives you perspective – you make new memories from new experiences –  you meet new people –  you jolt yourself out of your routine.
Sometimes, it’s planned months or more in advance, and sometimes it’s a spur-of-the-moment trip.

I managed to do one of each to London within a month of each other. The first, in middish-May, was booked on a Tuesday for that weekend, and the second trip – just over a week ago – was planned for a few months, to go for a few days with my sister and her friend.

Katie & Lisa, 35mm Fujifilm ISO400 on Pentax MeSuper
Katie & Lisa (35mm Fujifilm Superia X-tra 400 on Pentax MeSuper)

So while my credit card and all associated finance-y things hate me right now (aaaaaargh) it was really enjoyable.

During the first trip (I was only there for two days, one night) I stayed just by Primrose Hill – a beautiful part of London. I didn’t plan where to go or what I wanted to do, I just went with the flow and having brought a lovely Pentax film camera with me, decided to just grab shots as I went. It worked out pretty well. Solo travelling (while it’s not for everyone, or even for every destination) does have its upsides – your schedule is completely up to you; where you eat is completely up to you; if you want to stop off and have a coffee and do some people-watching for an hour – it’s all up to yourself.
Solo travelling also really reminded me of how much we are constantly checking our phones etc ALL THE TIME. I had turned my data off while away, so initially felt like a limb had been removed, but once you get used to connectivity not being so instantly available, it is actually quite liberating. You also have so much more free time, with far more opportunity to observe everything around you.

Here’s a few of the shots I grabbed on the Pentax MeSuper camera – 35mm Fujifilm Superia X-tra 400.

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So the second trip with my sister and friend highlighted the upsides to travelling with friends – you get persuaded to go to places you wouldn’t normally choose to go – in my case, Madame Tussauds and to a musical – and you find that you really (unexpectedly) enjoy yourself.
Despite delayed flights and cancelled trains, we actually managed to fit in a morning in Madame Tussauds, a delicious lunch upstairs at Ottolenghi Nopi, a leisurely afternoon adventuring around Camden, a trip to Queen’s Theatre to see Les Miserables, and all amidst the fallout of the Brexit results (I won’t even go into it right now..) and the celebrations of Gay Pride!
So certainly a lot going on… 🙂

Again, I had brought along the film camera (I had a roll of film that I wanted to try out) as well as my Canon 70D. I really wanted to take a few more photos while I was there but as it turned out, didn’t take ONE photo on my Canon – after dragging it all over very humid London…. #facepalm ….

Didn’t take as many shots the second time around, but this time more of them turned out better – progress?

So again, these were taken on the Pentax MeSuper, this time with 35mm Kodak Colorplus 200.

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I think this post has probably dragged on longer than I wanted, but hope you saw something interesting ! If you’re already following me on Instagram or Twitter you may already have seen a few of these shots…

Either way, would love it if you let me know what you think 🙂

S

XO

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Photo-ing Paris

One of my New Years resolutions was to try and travel a bit more – spend less money on crap I don’t need, and use it to fund travel!

Paris is just one of those cities that everyone goes on and on about. To the point that it gets tiresome. To the point where you want to book anywhere else to travel to, because the world and their mother have already been. And bought some Parisian style t-shirt to prove it. “It’s just so beautiful”.”Oh it’s so romantic”. “So bohemian”, “Fabulous dahling” (Okay that last one is a direct quote from Ab Fab but you get my drift…)

But all of it is true. It lives up to the hype that it has created for itself. I have been several times now, and each and every time, I have not wanted to leave.

I think it’s a city that combines some of my biggest interests:

  • travel – d’oh… but seriously, I love the exploring experience, even when you have been to a city before, it’s still nice to go get (a little) lost and find all-new places.
  • food – this country knows how to cook. I mean, they REALLY know their way around the kitchen… (quick but weighty recommend for Le Flamboire – ate there. Delicious. Fabulously French, but also just plain fabulous. Just go…!)
  • wine – yep. Yeah. Mm-hmm. Yes to the wine.
  • film – every corner of this city is just constantly aching to be photographed !

So when Ryanair had a flash sale before Christmas with flights for €5 each way, it was too good to resist. (Of course, there was a Ryanair style hiccup, but that’s a story for another time…!)

Two days and one night in Paris. What to do? Given that I had been to Paris before, I figured there was no need to rush around, and that a very chilled approach was key. Soak up the atmosphere, eat as much as possible, take lots of photos of pretty things and revisit a few sights. So that’s what happened.

Here’s some of the photos (if you follow me on Instagram, you have probably seen a few of these already!) – a mixture of shots simply grabbed on my phone (Samsung S6), and some film photos, taken on a Pentax that’s from the seventies. Which is AWESOME.

Hope you enjoy!

S

XO

So the film photos first….

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Followed by the phone photos….

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PS if you’re subscribed to my blog, the photos possibly are not displaying if you’re reading your mail on a mobile device. But you can check them all out here 🙂

 

 

Keep Calm, (Wo)Man Cooking…

Keep Calm, (Wo)Man Cooking...

So I’ve never claimed to be a domestic goddess.

I’m no Nigella.

Thankfully, my husband doesn’t have a sweet tooth, so baking is never something I have really ever had to master.

Problem being, that I am partial to a dessert or two.

So recently I decided to try it out again; my last foray into baking and dessert-making being back in school with some butterfly cakes – anyone remember those?

Butterfly Cakes
Photo from http://www.exclusivelyfood.com.au

Anyhow, I decided to start off slowly, and made a relatively inoffensive cheesecake.

It looked a little lumpy, and a little broken around the edges, but surprisingly (to me, and everyone else that tried) it tasted actually pretty good!

So it spurred me on to try a slightly more challenging recipe – chocolate  fudge brownies.

Hardly rocket science by any means, but to a rusty baker like myself, you have to walk before you can jog right?

Anyhow, tried to keep it as simple as possible for myself – as I realised that I had no scales and no square baking tin to be found….

So butter and cocoa melting in one pan, I whisked eggs and sugar up.

When both were ready, I folded them in together, and sifted in some flour – and when I say sift, I mean I dumped in slowly, whilst frantically mixing. (Note to self, sieve would be easier next time.) There was no exactness to my method, as all measurements were pretty much guestimated…

Chocolate fudge brownie mixture
Mixing bowl..Chocolate fudge brownie mix - close upLooks a little lumpy, but had a quick taste- not bad!

Then due to not having  a square baking tin, I figured that this brioche pan would have to do.

Popped it into the oven to warm it up, and greased it with some of the finest butter – Kerrygold.

Another note to self, pastry brush would have made the greasing a little easier….

So in it all went.

Brioche Pan - not designed for brownies...
Brioche Pan – not designed for brownies…
Keep Calm, (Wo)Man Cooking...
Keep Calm, (Wo)Man Cooking…

So then with oven at 160, I just had to wait … and wait a bit more … and take a peek … and wait a bit more..

Nervously awaiting...!
Nervously awaiting…!       Chocolate brownie mix raising nicely..Chocolate brownie mix raising nicely..

And eventually, I couldn’t wait any longer.

I figured – what’s the worst that can happen? And immediately thought of both Dr. Pepper AND Murphy’s Law simultaneously..

But as it turned out – against all odds, it wasn’t so bad.

Letting it rest a little, while I decided how best to go about this..
Letting it rest a little, while I decided how best to go about this..

I knew that these were never going to be your typical square or rectangular “homecoming queen” style brownies, but I reckon they did ok… 🙂

Chocolate fudge brownies (from a brioche pan!) with some delicious seasonal cherries.
Chocolate fudge brownies (from a brioche pan!) with some delicious seasonal cherries.
I heart my brownies... :)
I heart my brownies… 🙂

Catch you another time…

Hopefully any other baking related posts won’t be quite so dramatic…. 😉

Shar XO