London

The Green Chain Walk: Guide + Insider Tips

Green Chain Walk Mottingham Woods

These 11 little routes go all the way from the weird dinosaur statues in Crystal Palace Park to the Clockwork Orange film location of Thamesmead and then on to the River Thames. Great for when you need a break from the city, or just life in general.

Green Chain Walk View

The routes can be a bit hit and miss, as there’s often a quite a bit of walking along roads, but there’s definitely gems to find here and it’s especially magical if you don’t know the areas, and feel like your exploring a hidden route with the only clues being cute little signposts every so often to guide you on your way.

My particular highlights were the Lesnes Abbey Ruins and Woods, Oxleas Woods with Severndroog Castle, plus the route by Eltham Palace, which is a must-see in its own right.

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My 21 For 2021 Update

kokedama jar & fern workshopAt the start of the year I put together 21 little-to-big goals to get me through the year. It’s a slow start, but so far I’ve completed 1 of them, but I’m well under my way for another 7.

Follow Four Other (Mini) Workshops
First was the visual mending, the second was a macaroon workshop and the third one was how to make your own kokedama. Though they’ve all been helpful in their own way, I most enjoyed making my kokedama – literally ‘moss ball’, but this is a Japanese technique where you put the roots of a small plant in a ball of soil and moss. There is just something about playing with soil, water, moss that feels so relaxing and meditative.

Watch a Movie Set In Every Country I Have Been In
Japan, Georgia, Bosnia, Finland and France are crossed off. UK and US obviously as well. So far my favourites have been Tampoko (Japan), Que Vadis Aida? (Bosnia) and First Cow (US). Only 31 to go!

Bake / Cook 10 Items From My List
I’m 4/10 in with classics such as onion soup, lasagna and bagels. And, yes I have made Alison Roman’s cauliflower pasta and I can’t get enough of it. I’ll be so sad when cauliflower season is over, but that will give me a chance to move on to the next things on my list.

Start Getting My Essentials Plastic Free
The wonky veggie and fruit box that I subscribed to has been a lifesaver the last few months, and I’ve been able to get most of my weekly veggies plastic free. To give you an idea: when ordering online 9/12 of my go-to vegetables, fruit and herbs would be wrapped in plastic. Now it’s only spinach or rocket. Next I’m hoping to do a zero waste bulk pantry essentials order.

Read At Least One Book In Every Language I Know
I stuck with English and French this quarter. My French picks were The Little Prince and a Tintin and Milou adventure. I know I’ll read less during the warmer months and I hope to pick up this project later in the year.

Optimise My Old London Posts
You might have seen a post or two go online, but I found it weird to write about all the amazing London things at first. But now there is an endpoint for this – I’ve updated quite a lot of them.

Do The 30 Day Minimalist Game
Completed! The charity shops aren’t open, so I changed the rules a bit. In this round I mainly focused on decluttering things that I could directly recycle and it managed to find those 496 things. Here is what I gained from the challenge.

Digital Detox One Weekend A Month
I’ve done three so far! It’s obviously easy to do it now and I haven’t gone 100% offline with these and have allowed myself to jump on the laptop. With a laptop you still have the realisation where you open it up and log in and doom scrolling just isn’t as fun. My main takeaway so far is that I’m back to normal the Monday after. So I need to come back up with a plan for that.

The coming months I’m hoping to continue watching movies, maybe cross off something from my travel goals and look into getting a refurbished phone.

How are your goals for 2021 going?

London

23 Photos to Inspire You To Take A Hike Around London

In the last two years I’ve done around 20 long walks around London and have encountered many sceneries, sights and settings I wouldn’t have expected for a city. Today, I’m sharing some of the greatest treasures I came across on my trips and where you can find them.

Animals
From the cutest ducklings to mud bathing deers and curious cats… depending on the month and season you’ll for sure run into some of them.

Flowers
You know what’s better than a storefront with plastic flowers that you see all over your social media feeds? Real flowers! And you will see a lot of different colours and sizes on your way.

Architecture
It’s not all nature and green. On many of the walks you’ll encounter unique architecture on your way. We’re talking various mills to Rapunzel style towers and snapshots from every modern era.

Parks
Most of the walks go through parks, commons and other green spaces that all have their own ways and charms to help you bring out your green side.

What’s the best thing you’ve encountered on a walk?

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London

A Guide to Brixton’s Food Markets

brixton food market

Here is a quick guide with some of my favourite globe-trotting-tastebud picks at the three Briton Food markets.

for when this passes

Brixton Food markets

Market Row and Brixton Village were both originally market arcades and since the late noughties (2007-) their restaurant offerings have gone from strength to strength. Although this also means the original vibe has faded – you see less and less of the butchers, random stores that sell 1001 things and Caribbean supermarkets, but that’s for another blog … back to those favourites.

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What to eat at Brixton Market Row

This is the birthplace of Franco Manca. Yep, the place with the pizza with a sourdough crust – simple, thin, crispy, and delicious. I’m a fan as they do a definitely-worth-trying ‘white sauce’ pizza, as in no tomatoes. They don’t take reservations, so your best bet is to get there as soon as it opens, and pray (or enjoy a good queue).

Craving something deliciously warm and hearty? Then MamaLan and their incredible Mama Chicken Noodle Soup will be right up your alley. And while you’re there, order some dumplings, bao buns and a bubble tea cocktail to wash it all down with. You won’t regret it.

If you haven’t already been won over by its vegan cakes, Ms. Cupcake is where you should be. Although I’m not a vegan, I often stop by for a cupcake or cookie as they are light, not too overly sweet and perfect with a tea. If you think cupcakes are so 2013 then go for the cookie sandwich – Salted Caramel Pecan is the best tip for a cookie sandwich virgin.

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Where to eat at Brixton Village Market

Honest Burger is one of the original Brixton Market burger places, which has gone on a dramatic expansion across the city and is kind of losing its touch, but don’t write it off, it’s still worth trying one of their well seasoned and prepared burgers and the delicious rosemary salt chips (for that Sunday Roast potatoes vibe).

It took me a long time to get hold of a table at KaoSarn as it’s usually packed – I imagine it’s because of their reasonable prices and BYOD, and it was worth the wait. It’s hard to recommend just one item from this Thai place, but you can’t go wrong with the Gai Tod: deep fried garlic and pepper chicken, served with sticky rice and a hot dip. Perfect for setting your mouth on fire on a cold winter night.

In the 7 1/2 years that I have been wandering around SW9, the Mexican place has changed it’s name more often than P Diddy – remember him? It is currently known as Jalisco, the food is very moreish and comes without the pretensions you often see at some more central Mexican places. Oh, and the mole is so good, you can just grab a spoon and down a bowl without it even touching a tortilla chip!

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What to eat at Brixton Pop Market

Put a few sea-containers together like Tetris, gather some hip street food vendors together, get the marketing ball rolling and you get Pop Brixton, a relatively new entrant to the area. It has its charm as everyone can grab whatever they want and still sit together. I recommend it for a lunch as it’s super packed out in the evenings.

If you’re looking for something different, why not head to Original Patacon for Colombian plantain wraps, wings and burgers. Their house special is a 12-hour cooked beer braised beef brisket with green plantain, smoked cheese and pineapple sauce! Think you can handle it?

Halo Burger does a 90s-inspired fast food chain type of burger, with the added bonus of being completely vegan friendly. And I have to say this is the best plant-based burger I’ve had the pleasure of chowing down on, no question. Even if meat is more your kinda thing, this place is bound to win you and your tastebuds over in an instant.

One of the ultimate things on my wanderlist is a WOOFF experience on a vineyard in New Zealand. Until then I have the Specialist Cellars to turn to and enjoy the end product, without t

Updated March 2021

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seven places to walk to this weekend

Happy (almost) weekend! Aside from the usual house chores, a good book I’m dying to finish and a few things from this list, there is one other thing that I will be doing: going out for my daily breath of fresh air. My choices for this week are

the coffee place that sells my favourite bread
I’ll go there for the bread and a latte on Sunday, but I’ll probably walk out of the shop with a newly-spotted cheese, a cheeky cider or a bag of hot chocolate powder to die for.

the park that has all the cute dogs, but also too many joggers
All I want is to walk one straight path, look at the running dogs and then enjoy the London views from the top of a hill, but I end up having to spend my time watching out for joggers who never move.

the other side of my local high street
To see the rest of the art exhibition walking route that I’ve been meaning to finish, I’ve been trying to make it last, but at this point I’m only kidding myself.

the roundwalk with the ice-cream place
I’ve been meaning to go for my favourite choc chip cookies smashed into milk gelato for a few weekends now and though it’s back to below 10 degrees I might wander that way.

the other coffee place that takes forever to get to
Take all the extra side streets to make it last longer, grab a coffee and pastry and maybe make it guilt-free by combining it with an extra walk around the nearby park.

the coffee place that I don’t go to too often, but should support more
A walk to this particular place is the best thing on a Sunday morning, when the streets are still quiet, but maybe this time I’ll opt for later in the day so I can treat myself to most delicious three cheese toastie after doing my house chores.

a new park I found on Google Maps
If I feel like some change and going off my beaten path there is a new-to-me park that looks easy enough to get to. So instead of treating myself to ‘new food’, why not try ‘new views’.

What are your weekend plans?

Tea Is At Home

Tuesday, Three Awesome Things I’ve Done in February

I feel I was a bit too harsh on February in my last post. I don’t want to look back at it with too many negative thoughts, so here are three things I thoroughly enjoyed last month.

My First Lockdown Birthday!
Last year I was walking around in York – where a few weeks earlier the first UK covid case was confirmed. This year’s low-key activities included a long sunny walk to an undiscovered wood, a huge takeaway platter eaten at a film screening inside a blanket fort my boyfriend created and last but not least, the most delicious and light Esterházy cake. Also, all the best presents, thoughtful cards and virtual greetings helped me cope too.

I didn’t expect to feel the birthday vibes in times like these, but then I remember I felt all the vibes during the three wartime birthdays I lived through, and I gave in and accepted it.

I Did Pretty Well At A Virtual Macaroon Workshop
I’ve mentioned the amazing workshops the events team in my office building organises in previous posts… well they did it again with a raspberry macaroon workshop by Great British Bake Off’s Dan Beasley-Harling. It was very hectic and everything that could go wrong went wrong. I didn’t have a mixer, then it took forever to whip up the egg whites, then I added in the sugar too early and had to whip even longer, and to top it off I didn’t receive the food colouring so mine looked a sad grey/beige colour.

BUT all that doesn’t matter because they tasted SOOOOO scrumptiously good and now I understand the technique I’m going to make use of that in the future. I also have so much raspberry cream left that I might make raspberry / pistachio or raspberry / white chocolate sometime soon. I just need a good reason for it.

The Ever-Changing Weather
Mainly the snow at the start of the month and the sun towards the end. Not only do the trees and plants in bloom give my daily walks around the blocks a change of scenery, I also loved bringing out my spring bedsheets, the first day of not wearing tights under my skirt and savouring a morning coffee in a sun-lit garden. I welcome it all.

What was your February highlight?