Sunday, 27 July 2014

This weekend I've been...

Drinking: Mojitos, haven't had one for ages but these are my favourite cocktail. 
Reading:  The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty. I struggled with this book at first but I'm really getting into it now. I've just finished The Villa by Rosanna Ley and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a summer/ holiday read - it's romantic, compelling and provides a bit of escapism which I always love.
Having: a clear out of clothes, books and random clutter - so therapeutic but I've still got a long way to go!
Listing: some of my old stuff on ebay.
Feeling: like an old women after a  body pump class on Saturday and a 7k run on Sunday. But no pain, no gain right?
Eating: at Rabot 1745 Borough Market for my chocolate-obsessed friend's birthday. I wasn't expecting much from a restaurant run by a chocolate shop but I shouldn't have been so quick to judge. I had Seared Plantation Pork Terrine  with potato and white chocolate mousseline, summer beans and cacao-mint sauce   to start, followed by Roast Saddle of Rabbit boned and rolled in smoked bacon, ricotta and chickpea gnocchi, cacao nibs and pickled mustard seeds and then cacao nib infused Creme Brulee with mango papaya to finish and it was so delicious! The flavours were perfectly balanced and the food was presented beautifully.
Relearning: about aperture, shutter speed and ISO. I took a photography class a couple of years ago but I didn't keep it up and have forgotten everything I learnt. I'm really enjoying getting back into it now though.
Catching: up on my guilty pleasure, The Only Way is Essex. How cute are Elliott and Chloe as a couple? I know it's probably the lowest brow show ever but I do love a bit of trashy TV.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

A bus tour of Bucharest, a visit to Peles Castle and a wander around Brasov (and oh yeah a bit of work too of course!)

I think this picture does a good job of summing up how I'm feeling at the moment! I got back from my work trip to Romania on Sunday night and although it was great fun (I haven't laughed as much over as I did over those four days in a long time) it was fairly intense and I've been looking forward to next weekend since yesterday.

My colleague and I arrived at Henri Coanda Airport late Wednesday evening and didn't get to the hotel until the early hours of Thursday morning. We were up bright and early the next morning to go to the office for meetings and then (a very meaty!) dinner out at a Romanian restaurant complete with traditional dancing in the evening. 

We started our team day on Friday with an icebreaker exercise where each member of the team had to sit in the corner of the room and the others in the team had to talk about us (nice things only of course!) as if we weren't in the room. This was mostly incredibly awkward but also kind of nice to hear the things everyone said about you. Our manager gave us each a cute teddy and a letter thanking us for our work, she's so sweet :) We then had a team development session around how the brain works and how we relate to others which was so interesting. It led to some pretty deep conversations between the team over the course of the rest of the weekend and it was good in a way to have a reminder that everyone has their issues. That evening we took a bus tour of the city. I can see how Bucharest might not be everyone's cup of tea but I liked it. It isn't at all touristy which appealed to me as it felt untouched and there was something really nice about the stark contrast between the ugliness of the graffiti and concrete and the nicer buildings and green spaces. 

On Saturday we travelled two hours by train to Peles Castle which was so beautiful. After a tour of the  very grand interior of the Castle we travelled an hour by train to Brasov and had a wander around the pretty square and wide cobbled streets.

Before flying back on Sunday afternoon, our manager took us to Infinitea, a tea house with the most beautiful tea garden. We would never have found this lovely little spot if our lovely manager hadn't taken us there. After three busy days it was bliss to unwind with a chat over a cup of tea amongst the pot plants and under the shade of leafy trees. It got me dreaming of owning my very own tea house and garden. The closest I've been to finding somewhere like this in the UK is Boston Tea Party (you absolutely have to visit this place if you ever find yourself in Bristol) but if you have any recommendations I would love to hear them. 

Who knew Romania was so beautiful?

Peles Castle

Peles Castle

Infinitea, Bucharest


Wednesday, 16 July 2014

A work trip to Romania

No I'm not a vampire slayer (but how cool would that be to put on your CV?!), half my team are based in Romania so I'm off  on a work trip to Bucharest until Sunday. Not the most glamorous of locations admittedly, especially compared to some of my colleagues recent trips to Paris and New York but I don't travel that often so getting paid to go anywhere outside the M25 is a still a novelty to me let alone getting paid to fly to a different country. And we're not having to experience the evils of  budget airline travel either, it was looking like we might have to travel with Wizz Air at one point but it's going to be BA all the way :) We're having a team off-site which is corporate speak for getting away from the day job, having a few team meetings interspersed with nice dinners out and the chance for a bit of sight seeing. Working in HR there aren't that many perks of the job (compared to the marketing team who seem to spend the vast majority of their time attending glamorous red carpet events) so I'm excited. Although I'm fairly well travelled I haven't yet mastered the art of packing lightly so I've got everything except the kitchen sink in my suitcase. I also clearly need to learn the art of organisation because it wasn't until I was half way out the door that I realised my passport might be quite useful...

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Summer Streets - Love London Food Festival

Normally I avoid Oxford Circus like the plague. Unlike most girls I am not a fan of shopping (a fan of new clothes yes, just not shopping for them!) so fighting my way round the shops with millions of other people is not my idea of fun. However you'll soon come to realise that I can be lured pretty much anywhere with the promise of good food, so today I took myself down to the Love London Food Festival. As part of Summer Streets, for the second year in a row Regents Park is going traffic free every Sunday, with each day having a different theme. Last Sunday it was a garden theme, today it was food, next week it will be fashion and on the last Sunday it's going to be Magnum themed to celebrate their 25th birthday.  I was in heaven wandering around the stalls (and trying samples of course) provided by sixty of London's hottest food vendors and restaurants. It wasn't all about the food though, I caught an amazing dance performance by the City Academy (why didn't my parents take me to ballet classes, damn them, I'd love to be a dancer) and it made me smile to see people dancing in the street to a live band. And how could I forget the gorgeous huskies at the Ice Bar? If their owner wasn't holding on to them so tight I would definitely have stolen  them. All in all not a bad way to spend a Sunday!

City Academy dance performance


I want a dog! Would have loved to take this cutie home with me

Dancing in the street

Nope I've got no idea why this guy is wearing a superman t-shirt

Jive Aces

Super talented 13 year old busker

Liberty ice cream van

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

30 things to do before I'm 30

Not the most original post in the world but as I turned 29 yesterday here is a list of things I'd like to do before I'm 30. I know people generally don't like getting older but I feel a lot more confident, independent and wiser now then I did when I was in my late teens/early twenties, so I'm feeling excited about what the next year holds :)
  1. Run a 10 mile race.
  2. Travel to somewhere new in the UK. It seems crazy that I've travelled to so many places half way round the world but never been to Cornwall or the Lake District. Although someone did point out to me that this is actually the right thing to do and I will have plenty of time to go to these places when I have kids running about but still, one new place would be good over the next year.
  3. Take cookery lessons. I would love to do a course at Ashburton Cookery School.
  4. Travel to at least one other country I've never been to before.
  5. Eat some of the best food I've tasted in my life. 
  6. Buy a home. Please, please, please let me find somewhere soon!
  7. Be positive.
  8. Blog at least once a week.
  9. Improve my make up skills, more specifically perfect the arts of liquid eyeliner, blusher and contouring. There are so many tutorials on the internet that there is really no excuse for me not achieving this one.
  10. Take more photos and learn how to take completely manual photos on my DSLR.
  11. Eat more seasonally.
  12. Read at least one book a month.
  13. Go to a bikram yoga class (and not pass out!).
  14. Go to the theatre. I haven't seen a show in ages but I love it, especially musicals where you can't help but leave singing and dancing down the aisle and out the door.
  15. Improve my posture. I've got a serious girl crush on one of the ladies in my combat class who holds herself like a dancer and I'd love to learn how to do this.
  16. Try at least one new food a month.
  17. Start a course on nutrition.
  18. Wear lipstick - I never wear lipstick but it can look so pretty, especially red!
  19. Go on a date.
  20. Watch one of those TV series that everyone raves about that I haven't seen yet (so all of them!). Homeland would make sense as I already have it on DVD.
  21. Continue to work on improving my eating habits, more specifically eat more mindfully and focus on eating as many different types of nutritious food as possible. I have a tendency to wolf my food down (so attractive!) and eat the same thing every day.
  22. Go on a wellness/detox/yoga type retreat.
  23. Watch at least one film every month.
  24. Fall in love.
  25. Live more mindfully.
  26. Paint my nails at least once my week. A simple thing but having colourful nails makes me happy.
  27. Do at least one thing every day that scares me. Big or small I want to challenge myself and step outside my comfort zone more. I really do think that this is where the magic happens, cheesy but true.
  28. Continue to remind myself every day of the things I am grateful for.
  29. Volunteer or raise money for charity.
  30. Learn how to dress myself well and declutter my wardrobe.