Monday, 18 August 2014

Smiling on Sunday :: On Monday.


[source]

I'm not going to lie to you, after the mega-high at the tail-end of last week, there have been a few things to worry about. Between job uncertainty and the sad news of Robin Williams' passing, the first half of this week didn't bring that much for me to be happy about.

That said, it was my birthday week, and having booked myself in for a long weekend at 'home-home', bagging a few interviews and making a trip up to London, this weekend has been another great one.
Turning 25 is still strange to me but I think it's going to be alright, so much has changed in the last five years that it's easy to see some progress on the horizon, and I'm quite excited about that.

IRL:

  • Birthday treats and surprises – I felt truly spoilt on Saturday and will have lots to share with you over the next few days. Starting with a cream tea breakfast at cat-lady mecca, Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium followed by my 'surprise gift' of a box at The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. We then had a wander around Covent Garden before heading to secret Mexican restaurant, La Bodega Negra - what a treat! Mr Moon definitely won major boyfriend points and it was just the nicest day
  • Let's go to the theatre some more! – After seeing a grand total of two plays this year, Moon has finally discovered that the theatre isn't all singing hams and he quite likes it. I'm not saying we'll be regulars now or anything but it's pretty cool to see that he's broadened his horizons a bit
  • Little Doll feeling better – Dolly had some kind of virus all last week, which was a little worrying. She now seems to be completely better, her third eyelids are back where they should be and she's going outside again. I'm obviously happy she's not ill anymore anyway but the fact she won't be inclined to use the litter tray for a while is one of the best things about her recovery

Must-Try Recipes:

  • Sweet Potato Nachos with Smoked Cheddar and Black Beans - Mexican food is one of my favourites and if Moon and I are out to dinner and there are nachos, you can bet we'll be eating them. These sound like a great twist and while the sweet potato hype has never really hit me, you can't beat anything covered in cheese
  • Summertime Tea - I kind hate flavoured teas, they always smell so delicious and wind up tasting the same as each other, at least to me anyway. Mixing it with other (real) flavours to make something refreshing and (sort of) healthy sounds pretty good to me though.

Lovely Links:


This cute illustrated 'dress like a bookworm' wishlist from HelloGiggles.com


Sophie Gamand's lovely Pit Bull Flower Power photography series has the cute-o-meter dialled up to 11. I'm a firm believer in it often being a case of bad training than a case of bad dog. In fact, all of Sophie's dog portraits are wonderful, I've really been covetting a pup of my own lately.
  • This list of beautiful Robin Williams stories - I, as I've seen from so many others, am genuinely mourning for the loss of Robin Williams. It still seems strange to say that given that I'd never met him and only watched his films but from comedy to drama, his are some films that I really love and I'd always name him among my favourite actors of all time.
    I even stuck it out with The Crazy Ones because of him, and despite the show's shortcomings, he's as brilliant as ever. It breaks my heart reading new details every day but his passing seems to have marked an opening for dialogue, that it's important to realise that some of us are fighting a hard fight and we need to take notice

Today has me looking ahead to a fresh week, hopefully with new challenges and slightly more of the positive thinking that was washing over me this time last week.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Level Up.


I think I thought I would have things all figured about by the time I made it to 25 but as I gradually approached it I guess I realised that probably wouldn't happen.

I mean, that's okay though. It's less okay that I get more pimples now then I did 10 years ago but the fact that a mortgage feels a thousand miles away is something I can live with.

I'm still not a whizz at public speaking, am poor at maths and haven't really figured out my true calling - I guess I'm learning to get over that though because the main thing I've learnt in recent years is that no one really cares about what you're doing enough that you should worry yourself with it.


20 :: In France.


21 :: In my Gran's Garden. [x]


22 :: Southbank. [x]


23 :: Atomic Pizza. [x]


24 :: Longleat Safari Park [x]

Turning 25, or aging on any level, really isn't something that bothers me yet. The way I see it, the older I get, the more I'll have figured out and the more I'll be able to move forward - and that's got to be a good thing.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Ypres Excursion.


I'm not sure that our excursion to Ypres would have been any less poignant had we visited at any other time, but the fact that it coincided with the anniversary of the beginning of the First World War just one day after there had been so many tributes in remembrance, made the air a little heavier.




Admittedly I don't know much about the First World War and don't know of any relatives that were involved but it didn't make the trip any less moving or interesting. The visit to the town of Ypres was kind of staggering given that it was completely destroyed and was rebuilt from paintings and photographs as reference. We didn't stop off at the Flanders Museum as after visiting Tyne Cot cemetery and Hill 62 though as we all felt a bit overwhelmed.





I'm afraid these photographs are a phone job as I had a bit of a battery problem with my J1 in the morning. I think it's served pretty well though even if the pictures have come up a bit skinny.










Gran had a raw beef sandwich when we stopped for lunch, didn't sit well with me but she said it was tasty.


The Menin Gate.


Kind of a shame that the main square had been taken over by fairground rides (that no one was even using) that day. It would have been good to get a proper picture of the rebuilt Cloth Factory.





Rich in recent history, and a pretty town, Ypres was worth the trip both thanks to the beautiful weather and the timing of our visit. I believe lots of events relating to the First World War centenary are coming up across the next few years if you were planning a trip to Belgium at any point.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Being In Bruges :: Photo Diary

It's only been a week since I was in Bruges but it feels like an absolute age ago already. I've been rushing around seeing friends and family, bumbling along with my 9-5 and have overall been trying to organise myself creativity-wise and about the house - it's not 'really busy' but it's busy enough.

I'm still riding high on it all though and I had a truly wonderful time. It was mainly just really nice to spend some quality time with my Gran and sister, something we don't get to do so often any more.





Bruges is a beautiful city, like a chocolate box, around every corner is another picture-perfect scene. We were able to fit in every 'touristy' thing we could in our short 4-day stay and we weren't rushed for time either, with plenty of allowance for cheeky afternoon naps.



We found it very easy to navigate and managed to find the 2be in Bruges Beer Wall and take ourselves on a horse and cart ride all by ourselves. The downtime we had between the tour operator's walking tour, brewery trip and a day excursion to Ypres meant that we never found ourselves twiddling our thumbs when we didn't want to.



View from the top of the Half Moon Brewery.








It would be rude not to try a selection of Belgian beer.





With our horse, Manuel, 21 years old and still going!


We were told Bruges at night was beautiful but only made it out on our last night, it's pretty special what some simple floodlights can do.











I couldn't recommend Bruges any more for a city break and despite the fact that I wasn't able to practice any Dutch on anyone and everyone in our tour party thought my sister and I were super-young and had been dragged there (ridiculous), I had a really great time.

One of my favourites was quoting In Bruges while exploring the more well-known landmarks in the city. If you haven't already, I suggest you watch it.

"The view of what? The view of down here? I can see that from down here..!"


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