Memories from Crete

I can`t believe this holiday was more than 7 months ago (September last year) and I have still not posted any pictures of it. I wasn`t going to, for it was our third time to Agios Nikolaos, Crete. You kind of run out of things to photograph, but I have progressed since our last visit (in both equipment and composition of my photograph), and I have quite a few followers here, who are interested in travel pictures.

Our previous visits were always July, but last year, we went in September, when the weather was just about to turn – it was no longer as hot, but, apart from one shower of rain, still beautifully warm – we spent most of our time at the beach or pool (as said – third time!), no longer needing shade and swimming in the sea, and the other half still took a proper sunburn for not using sun lotion!

Our first walk round the place… bush rose petals being swirled around by the wind, and me against a white wall, once again scarily looking like my mum.

eyeemfiltered1474570772589.jpgstudio_20161128_203055.jpg

This is where we went in the evenings, when the sun was gone, but when it was still too early to go out and enjoy the night life:

dsc_2378

And here`s the reason… When in Southern Europe, I`m forever photographing cats – and those ones were beautiful, glossy, and very well cared for. In Chania, on the other side of Crete, we met a couple from Birmingham who purposely took ham from the breakfast buffet and then went out looking for cats. The woman invited us along, but here`s my husband`s limits…

2016-09-22_07-00-48studio_20161003_211107.jpgdsc_2446

A day out in Elounda – beautiful place, which I definitely recommend fitting in!

eyeemfiltered1474567733572

DSCN4710DSCN4736DSCN4769DSCN4725DSCN4824

Fisherman in Agios Nikolaos plus cat (who we actually saw bagging a head :-):

DSCN4621

… and we actually had a day of rain:

DSC_2357

Drinks by the pool… I never drink Campari Orange (or any other cocktails apart from Capirinha) at home, but abroad, I somehow fancy things like that…

20160922_135312

One beach pic – just one:

PicsArt_09-26-08.08.12

This is where we spent most of our time, actually – relaxing, being warm, drinking chilled white wine and swimming in the sea…

(as ever, holiday booked with EasyJet Holidays. Good bargain at this time of year, and notably less busy, though still nice and lively…)

Edinburgh: A Sunday out in Town…

There was a Vintage Fair on the Grassmarket on Sunday, and we took the opportunity to go out and visit my beloved Edinburgh again. Sadly, I don`t have enough reasons to go there these days. The fair was nice, a good mixture of clothes and jewellery, bric-a-brack, vintage cars and bikes, performance and some (obviously not vintage!! :-)) food stalls.

imageimage

I took the opportunity to take out my “new” “velvet” coat in sea blue (courtsey of a friend who bought and never wore it) and bought a cute little red polka dot dress for a fiver. Dita von Teese, eat your heart out!! I bet ou wish you`d seen it first! And yes, I totally wore that to work!!

image

The Royal Mile – that`s cobbled streat exactly one mile long that`s leading to the Castle…

imageimageimage

A gorgeous little coffee stall under a cherry tree opposite Waverley Station

image

Lord for sale!

Were talking about this again today…

Albeit rather bewilderedly, I can now claim to know someone who has apparently purchased a title of nobility. Or, as someone suggested, simply changed his Christian name to “Lord”, so it didn`t cost him anything. Although it only costs £195.oo to become a Lord, Earl, Duke, Sir or Viscount.

The product is advertised to people who seek to increase their social status, and some claim to have received free upgrades on flights, in hotels and restaurants, but some reviewers also bought a title for other people, as a special, funny or romantic gift.

Hm. I wonder how “real” nobility feels about this…

Raw, vegan Chia Walnut Pudding

declarations of an eater

The other day, I was cleaning out my cupboards and found half a packet of chia seeds, next to half a pack of walnuts. Both expired last month, and I decided to quickly make them into something now.

I wasn`t quite keen on the chia seeds when I first tried them (hence, they were still there), but just recently, I half read a receipe for something called “turkish delight chia pudding”, and without referring to the book again, created what turned out to be an absolute winner.

ingredients

2 1/2 cups of walnuts

a few drops of vanilla essence

1 heaped tbsp of icing sugar (or other sweetener)

2/3 cup of chia seeds

1 tsb of rose water

nut milk

You can use any nuts, but I had walnuts to use up, and I found them very suitable for the Turkish theme, too.

Soaking the nuts overnight first starts the digestion process and makes…

View original post 318 more words

The Grand National

I`ve been living in Britain for almost 16 years now and am generally having a really good time over here. However, there are still things about this culture, which are alien to me – horse racing being one of them.

I now accept it as a given, but still find it impossible how much of an event they make about what takes about 15 minutes – everybody has to inform themselves weeks (or at least days) in advance about who is hot and who is not. Placing a bet is almost non-optional (unless you`re a hater!), even if, like us, you never bet on horses all year and know nothing about them. (We just pick what names we like.)

I`ve seen men watching the race inside the betting shop (who provide free nibbles!) and been invited to barbecues with race-themed dress codes – never mind the red carpets, Royals, celebrities and paparazzi seen in Liverpool.

There`s a racecourse in my home town, and I have been once – it was fun and we won some money, but it failed to get me excited. My sister, who was with me, and is very much into horses, was watching out for mistreatment all the time. And of course, horses fall, get injured and sometimes die, all for our entertainment and making money.

As said, we always placed a couple of bets for the Grand National, but not any longer. A few months ago, my husband has been to the races with a few colleagues and came back upset and downbeat. He had watched a horse going on with what was very obviously an already broken leg, then it fell, and although a screen was put on, everybody heard the gunshot that put it out of its misery. People were leaving, there were children… It was awful, and my husband vowed never again to bet on horses.

I never even watched it this year but couldn`t resist Twitter. Although they were boasting (!) about there being no fatalities for 5 years running (I remember this poor creature well – my colleague had placed a bet on it and felt so guilty for shouting at it in front of her telly!) about half of all horses fell, and did so quickly. Twitter was exploding with hate posts, concern and excitement alike – a rather interesting mixture. The Grand National excites and divides, but ignoring it is not an option.

Almost concluding the matter, I must say that can name at least two guys who appear to be making quite a handsome amount of money on the side just by betting on horses (and football), which is not a thing to be underrated. Everybody likes earning money for themselves, and it probably helps to accept or ignore the downsides of this sport. Brits love betting, and winning alongside your horse or team, of course, will attach them to the sport.

P.S.:

The names are interesting. Eric Berne and others have already written about how names can determine the fate of humans (particularly if named after other people), and what on Earth were they thinking calling a racehorse “Dropout Joe” and “Wounded Warrior”? They both fell – of course. Pardon the pun.

Please Praise the Chef! and: A Restaurant Review

Last night, we`ve been to Dal Patino again, a new and wonderful Italian Restaurant, which recently opened here in Musselburgh.

Up until that day, we had two Italians (a quite down to earth one which specialises in pizza and pasta, and a very swanky one which we can`t afford to eat at regularly). Dal Patino is a small family run restaurant, which finally managed to close the gap and offer something to people like us, who like nice food in a nice ambience, but don`t want to have to keep this for special occasions.

We were walking past by pure chance a couple of weeks ago, peckish and talking about what to have for dinner, when my other half spontanesously suggested to go in and give it a try.

I had grilled sea bass (two fillets!!) with so much on the side that I would have foregone my obligatory side salad, if only I had known. Apart from more salad, potatoes and a whole twig of grilled tomatoes with herbs, there was a large vegetable cake that was so delicious I pointed this out to the waiter and asked what was in it.

image

Just a few weeks prior, I had a rather interesting discussion with the chef at my work, and we concluded that people like me are more likely to speak up if they want to complain about food rather than praise it, and therefore, by default, people like him are more likely to hear comlaints rather than praise about their work, which they usually do with a lot of love and passion (This particular conversation was about a lady who had particular dietary wishes, had something special made for her twice a day and liked neither.). After this chat, I promised to myself to really make waves the next time I ate out and found something oustanding. And this vegetable cake sure was.

 The place is small and the waiter waved to the chef (open kitchen), whose face almost split with a grin that went from one ear to the other. He told me a wee bit of what was in it and seemed happy when I said I could eat those cold as well, and they should sell them at lunch time to take away.

Anyhow, with the bill came a brown bag, and guess what was in it:

For me. Just like that. 🙂

I looked over the waiter`s shoulder nd saw the chef waving. Really made my day, and then again the next morning when I had those cold, for breakfast.

When we came back yesterday, we were greeted like old friends, and once again, served a dinner which was both delicious and incredibly photogenic:

imageimageimage

Anyway, bottom line is: Please could you praise the chef. You`ll make for a nice change. 🙂

Lisbon Part V

We always pay a visit to Mercado Da Ribeira, one of the most amazing food markets I`ve ever been to. There`s flouwers and fresh fruit, veg and fish at the back, but most people come here to select some of the delicious bites and dishes from the exquisite international stalls or bars to eat them here and there, with free WiFi with no password being a wonderful intentive to stay on for an espresso and maybe a tiny little piece of cake, each being a piece of art.

Photo 27-02-2017, 16 09 54Photo 27-02-2017, 16 11 01

This was a special day and the first time we actually sat at the bar and had a cocktail. I had an Aperol Spritz which included about half a bottle of Prosecco just to myself, and my other half asked for “something with rum” and received something called “Winter Warmer” which was off the menu and raaather stroooong…

Photo 27-02-2017, 16 34 39Photo 27-02-2017, 16 25 48Photo 27-02-2017, 16 30 54Photo 27-02-2017, 16 34 14

Here we sat for quite a while, took our time, speaking about our life together and posting pictures on social media while slowly getting dizzy…

From here, we first went home to offload some of our stuff, as we`ve been for some shopping…

Photo 27-02-2017, 18 08 04Photo 27-02-2017, 18 18 56Photo 27-02-2017, 18 43 20

And here, I managed to take my personal best pictures of the Ascensor da Bica, mainly due to lack of other people.

imageimageimageimageimage

Dinner was in one of our favourite restaurants in Alfama – no pictures. It was busy, and we didn`t want to hang about occupying a table, but Lisbon is not short of places to just go for a drink, so we finally got to try this beautiful wine bar, which was always looking rather nice to us, and where we stayed for quite a while… 🙂

imageimageimageimage

It was amazing how quiet and civilised this place was, given that almost everyone, who was there, was drinking. This would definitely not have been the case in Scotland!! Scots and alcohol are sooo loooud!!

On our way home we got approached by a man offering us stuff to smoke – a very common sight in Lisbon. They usually stand at Praça do Comércio guising as sunglasses salesmen, but once you`re looking, they open their jackets or hands and show you what else they`ve got… This guy here was rather annoying – he followed us into a side street even though we had already said “no”, and I actually had to become quite cheeky to get rid of them.

And when we walked up the Ascencor da Bica, a fab thing happened. It was 11p Monday night, and it was quiet, but one pub was still open, with a Pope, a witch and a minion standing in front of it laughing. One said Hi, we said Hi back, and the next moment, we were inside and some guy was swirling me around the dance floor. I hadn`t danced salsa in ages and surely gave it a go, and when I finally got a break, my husband was holding a glass of beer and wearing a yellow feather boa!

Photo 27-02-2017, 23 28 25Photo 27-02-2017, 23 32 19

At midnight, an international tune was heard and a whole carneval party of what was all locals (apart from us) was singing me Happy Birthday in Portuguese! The door closed, but we stayed till 1am when the beverages were definitely overwhelming me. As for the rest, I don`t think the party was quite over yet 🙂

The lady who is facing us here is important – she was the only one who spoke English, and she has an Air B&B flat in the area. She speaks English and invited us to Santo Antonio day on – 10 June!! That`s so soon!! And she`s gonna take us!!

In bed by half past one.

No photos of the Tuesday, when our plane home went at a very convenient 3pm. My birthday was spent tired, hungover, having discussions with 4 airport security about canned sardines, and definitely not fresh enough for another selfie.

Home at 7pm. Once again, three days away in this wonderful city felt so jam packed with good vibes!! I just love it so much! 🙂

Lisbon Part IV: Random Impressions

Another old door and some interesting graffiti. I need to finally write about Porto and the graffiti we found over there…

Photo 27-02-2017, 11 16 50Photo 27-02-2017, 11 37 21Photo 27-02-2017, 11 39 08

More Tram no 28 – its so iconic, I just can`t stop photographing it. I`m forever waiting for my best shot ever…

Photo 27-02-2017, 12 48 55

Got photobombed when I tried a selfie with it. Seeing that they celebrated Carnival (although nothing as big as at home!) totally put me in the mood, and I felt silly enough to just walk into a shop and walk this huge pink bow to walk about with (insert: what became of it now…)

Photo 27-02-2017, 12 50 35image

Chestnuts in the street and sardinhas in shops (NB: The ones which were confiscated have arrived yesterday!! Exactly two weeks after the airport post box was supposed to have been emptied, I was getting really concerned that it got lost!!)

Photo 27-02-2017, 12 07 46Photo 27-02-2017, 12 53 48

Arcades at the main promenades and a beautiful display in front of an Italian restaurant. Sardinha Road.

Photo 27-02-2017, 13 26 16Photo 27-02-2017, 13 29 15Photo 27-02-2017, 15 32 18

Brazilian band playing at the beach.

Photo 27-02-2017, 15 20 20

Funnily, they were already playing there when we last visited in November.  The weather was particularly lovely then, and the band so good we bought the CD. I`ve got it in my car and should get it out again tomorrow…

… for summer is just around the corner… lol…

 

 

12 von 12 in March or: an Ordinary Day in Pictures

8am: waking up with hubby`s alarm clock: Speedway session has begun for him, and another assignment (statistics) due for me, so no lazy Sunday for either of us.

image

Cuddles with Amber in the bathroom. Here, she feels safe because Leo doesn`t come in. She rubs herself against me, purring breathlessly until my nose and eyes are itching (for I do actually have a cat allergy!) while Leo is crying outside the door…

image

Proper picture not possible – cat in constant motion…

As usual, Leo is there while I study…

image

I always vow to do better, but a simple fried egg sandwich is just too convenient when you`re working…

image

2pm

Enough! Being picked up by my friend for a walk in the park. We went to their shop, and I didn`t see the dress that was pointed out to me as having my name all over it, and neither did I find a selfie with my new hair colour that I like enough to post, but we did take a few beautiful picture of the scenery – not the brightest of days, but spring is definitely in the air…

dsc_0373.jpgdsc_0424.jpgdsc_0411.jpgdsc_0415.jpgdsc_0388.jpgdsc_0421.jpg

What? What about the tree? It`s got an eye, right, and another one underneath…

Home via supermarket, bought some stuff, cooked it, ate it and then proceeded to entertained the cats before she went and I put on the computer to write this post…

imageimage

Hope you enjoyed, more in April 🙂

 

Lisbon Part III

And now, I have a confession to make. Part of me feels guilty for complaining about anything regarding something like a holiday, but I have to be honest about one thing: first negative experience with Air B&B.

It first turned out that we were sharing the small flat with our hosts (watch out for the term “private room”!), and while our room was clean, the kitchen and bathroom were not. (We didn`t get a review, as we didn`t want her to retaliate, which is probably wrong – advice appreciated…)

Anyway, while I love my coffee soon after I get up, and even on holiday breakfast is usually something we have at home,  we didn`t want to on this occasion, so this meant two more visits to one of Lisbon`s beautiful cafes:

Photo 27-02-2017, 10 02 24Photo 27-02-2017, 09 56 04Photo 27-02-2017, 10 01 17Photo 27-02-2017, 10 01 28

Oh, the hardship of it…

After that, we went on to explore the city – which, for us, basically entails walking our favourites of the roads we know already and happily be distracted when something else looks more interesting.

On the top of Bairro Alto, where Carreira 28 turns, there was a fleamarket, where we tried some delicious olives and where I bought this cute little bum bag which is just large enough to hold my phone, keys, lippy and some lose cash – ideal, if you don`t want to carry a large handbag:

Photo 27-02-2017, 10 58 42Photo 27-02-2017, 11 06 13Photo 27-02-2017, 11 06 58

The following is a photographic technique which I probably got from Instagram, and which I still need to improve, but this was the first time I tried it, and I think it`s got a potential which is definitely worth working on: photographing myself in a mirror, camera forward, so my own selfie becomes part of a picture of the foreground:

Photo 27-02-2017, 10 47 57Photo 27-02-2017, 10 48 02Photo 27-02-2017, 10 48 06

Photo 27-02-2017, 10 49 47Photo 27-02-2017, 10 49 51Photo 27-02-2017, 10 49 55