Tuesday, 20 October 2009

24th Celebrations


All the spoons together in one place?! It's gotta be the annual birthday bash. Kim and I seem to have made an unwritten pact to get all the group together once every year, no matter where in the world we may all be. This year was no exception (and extra thanks to Laura for coming from Hamburg!). Twas a fantastic day and evening, complete with Harriet pulling her own pints, Kim going off her rocker and Laura learning the fine art of pass the parcel. I quote: "So, what is the concept of this game??!"




Wednesday, 23 September 2009

September

Capturing a few fabulous moments this September.

Southampton Boat Show

25th Birthday Celebrations a la JB

Name in Lights

Well kind of. Name on the internet at least! My short placement at Business Traveller mag has proven very productive, and I can for the first time put my name to an article published on the internet for all to see. Click here to check it out (and marvel at my technological knowledge why don't you!).

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Next year, the Ritz!


24 isn't that old, at least I'm still closer to 20 than 30!! Birthdays seem to come around more quickly in your 20s, but this can only be a good thing because there's an excuse to celebrate and splash out more often :D. Indeed, my main gift this year was a little on the pricey side, but will serve me well for years to come and looks SO cute! I realise computers might not normally be described as "cute", but my new Acer Aspire One D250 really is the dinkiest little machine you ever did see.
With a birthday lunch at the rather refined Brasserie Blanc in Winchester, and a weekend stay with J at the Hilton London Docklands Riverside, I can't say I did too badly. The Hilton was very impressive, particularly for the bargain price of £35 each per night. For this we got a double room plus breakfast and use of their indoor pool! And I have to say, the Hilton's breakfast really clinched the deal. There was a spread that could have fed a small country. If I'd been greedy enough to try everything (I was tempted!) J would have had to roll me out of the restaurant.

Oh yes, and continuing the food theme (that's what birthdays are all about, after all!), thanks to Nigella for my birthday cake recipe: a dark chocolate, orange marmalade and pink icing extravaganza! The pink icing was my idea, becoming more of a river of icing once the 24 candles were lit...but it was damn tasty!
Me and Little Big at Brasserie Blanc

John's burger at Giraffe...there were gasps from other customers...

Swedish coffee shop next to Waterloo!

Monday, 7 September 2009

Carnival!


The Notting Hill Carnival came to town just a week ago. I visited for the first time last year and thoroughly enjoyed the madness, noise and upbeat vibe, so Harriet and I decided to brave the crowds again. We perched ourselves at a great spot near the Portobello Road, watching the multi-coloured-multi-cultured processions bounce by and dancing along to the deafening beats. Arriving early was definitely the key; by 4pm the throngs were so thick and steady that it was almost too much for us poor country bumpkins! We safely retired to a nice open space to recover...

Friday, 28 August 2009

A spot of boating on the Thames

...but not like you've ever seen it before! Fast, furious and completely soaking - the Thames Rib Experience is the speediest, wettest tour from Embankment to Canary Wharf currently operating on London waterways. As a delayed birthday present to our dear M, we donned our trendy black life jackets and clambered on board the speed boat, preparing ourselves for a wet and windy ride. RIB stands for Rigid Inflatable Boat, normally used by the "Special Forces" and designed for extreme conditions. Well, I'd say we were pretty special, and it certainly delivered an "extreme" new perspective on the boring old River Thames!
Things started out fairly gently, taking in the Houses of Parliament and London Eye, then sweeping round to head up the river towards the Tate Modern. The boat was beetling along at a pretty fast pace as we glided under Tower Bridge, and we were all feeling very smug as we easily passed those regular, average Joe tourist boats: mwah ha!

With a stretch of clear water ahead of us, our skipper suddenly anounced that it was time to put the peddle down and yes, this is the part where we all got soaked. Especially me. I was sitting at the back of the boat on the river side and therefore the main receptor of dirty Thames water every time we made a fancy swerving move or sped over choppy patches...which was frequent! But getting wet was part of the joy, and it's easy to see why speed can be addictive in those things. Special Forces - here I come!

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Searching for the Sun

Summer is officially still here...apparently. Well it was last weekend at least, and we made the most of it with a trip to the beach near Poole. Sandbanks is just a bit further along than Bournemouth, but SO much nicer! The beaches are clean, not too busy and the surrounding house prices rival those in Manhatten, I'm told. It's entertaining to imagine which mansion you'd most like to live in - obviously I chose all of them! The water was juuust warm enough for swimming, after the few initial heart-stopping moments of wading in. The temperature reminded me of Svartlöga (very brrr!) but the clarity and colour weren't too far off the seas of Vietnam and Thailand! Who knew the south of England could be such a tropical paradise!?

Monday, 10 August 2009

Back in England: off to the Lakes


Returning to the UK after 9 months or so in Sweden has been, and continues to be, a strange shift. KBS 19 became a real home away from home for me, and Stockholm is such a beautiful city. I can see why people stay there forever. This isn't goodbye to Stockholm, merely farewell while I try and get my career off the ground and acquire some skills that could lead to further jobs in the future - wherever they may be!

Cushioning the move back was another great holiday in the Lake District with all the family, and the Swede! The Mitchells, Taylors and Williamses have been going for YEARS to Lakes Coniston and Windermere, and they never lose their charm. This time round we stayed in a listed building big enough to house all 14 of us, and it wasn't cramped! The proximity to Windermere's town centre was brilliant, especially as it made trips to the fish n chips shop very easy :). We weren't too lucky with the weather, but there were a few days of sun during which we took a motorboat out and then watched an airshow. Our traditional trips to Grasmere, Hawkshead and walking up hills were all managed, if in rain coats and wellies. The house came complete with a pool table in the basement, so many furiously competitive games were played - John won the championship...but he grew up with a pool table! That hardly seems fair to me. ;)

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

More on Svartlöga

Too many great pics for one post (if I do say so myself)! Here come a few more...







Svartlöga

This is my new favourite place on earth. Stockholm's Skärgård (archipelago) is made up of an incredible 24000 islands and extends 60km into the Baltic sea. Although the far reaching islands (Svartlöga being one of them) are only accessible half the year round, it is a beautiful area to escape to and explore your wild, naturey side! On John's island there is no electricity and no running water. Everything is powered by gas or candlelight, and drinking water can be reached from the nearest well. The summer house itself was situated in a secluded spot, well away from all other island life...except the mozzies and ticks (gross). We spent our 5 brilliantly sunny days swimming in the freezing waters around the summer house, lying on the rocks, eating and drinking out on the jetty, BBQing, trying to catch fish, and visiting the little village on the other side of the island. 'Pure and simple' sums it up :).

Needs must: eating popcorn from a bucket!