Monthly Archives: July 2010

A day in York

Yesterday was my family’s annual pub crawling trip to York. I say pub crawl, but it’s more of a grown up affair where we saunter between real-ale pubs and pop into shops like Cath Kidston on the way. Nice. We start our day with breakfast & a pint before embarking on the short walk to the next pub, and so on. In all we visited 8 pubs yesterday where I enjoyed a few pints and a few halves. And fish & chips.

So I decided to download the Vignette app for the android to take some silly photos of the day, I rarely use my android camera but I’m impressed with the results of this app so might start taking more. I’m currently just using the demo, the full version costs £2.99, but I think I’ll be buying that when the demo runs out. The photos feature my mum & dad, adam’s mum & dad & brother & brother’s girlfriend. I opted to stay behind the phone-camera, naturally.

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Comfort Books

Sometimes when I’m feeling down, angry, or have a need for familiarity, I turn to one of my comfort books. These books are ones that I can read over and over and still enjoy, they’re like family members. Generally mine fall into the category of fantasy fiction, with alternate worlds, differing dimensions, secrets & make-believe. I know I’m not the only one with books like this, we all have special books that we turn to in times of torment – or even just because they’re so damn good that they need reading again – but here is my list of comfort books.

Without a doubt the Harry Potter series has to rank pretty high. The shorter ones are especially good for rainy weekend days, best read curled up in a chair with a coffee and a sleeping kitty. Above you can see a combined effort of all the Harry Potter books that exist in this house. I started reading Harry Potter books when I was young, and I’ve re-read the series several times. The final book came out on the day I graduated from University, I was more excited about that than graduating – in fact I was gutted that I had to waste a day going up on stage in a stupid outfit when I could have been curled up at home reading Harry Potter – I finished reading it just in time to get on a plane to America, I finished it in the car on the way to the airport.

This book. I love this book. I first read this book in Florida on a family holiday, being in a car-crash of American consumerism was a great setting to read it, since then I’ve re-read it time & time again. Without a doubt Neil Gaiman is in my top 3 favourite authors, and American Gods is a masterpiece. If you’ve never read this, please, PLEASE go and take a copy out at the library. Adam first leant me his copy that came from Canada (it’s okay, they mainly spell the right way), it’s now signed by the author (we took it to a Graveyard Book signing in Manchester). I bought another copy (with the cover as above) because I have other Neil Gaiman books in the same cover artwork style. I have a thing for book covers, thus the duplication of several books on our shelves.

I only recently (within the last few years, before the film) started reading His Dark Materials, but they placed themselves into my comfort book category almost instantly. They’re enchanting, fantastical, and an amazing escape. The mingling of scientific theory with outlandish fiction makes these books rank high for me. The lead characters are vulnerable & human, and not everything turns out with a happy ending… oh I was heartbroken. Take these books as you will, either as a set of great fiction, a commentary on religion or an envisioning of unproven theories, I’m sure you’ll still get something from them. I received some amazing hard back copies of the books for Christmas last year so I’m reading them again, and loving them again, and feeling at home again.

I’d love to know what your comfort books are, please leave a comment if you have some :)

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Westminster

Just a couple of photos from our Sunday morning in London, a lovely Spanish lady even took a photo of us. It was nice and relatively quite, apart from spectators of a 10km run (which I’ll be blogging about tomorrow). It was a windy day, though, thus my hair in the final image and my wincing face as it whipped around into my eyes.

And us, where I look small and Adam looks tall. And has a quiff.

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Wahaca

When we were organising our schedule for London, I said to Adam that I really wanted some good mexican food before we headed to see Wicked. (Huddersfield has a severe lack of Mexican food, the only Mexican eatery being over priced and cliché, they have things like duck in hoi sin sauce on their specials menu… whut?!)

Adam was straight on the case looking for a decent, reasonably priced mexican restaurant for us, preferably one where we didn’t have to book (‘cos we didn’t really know what time we’d be eating). The boy came up good when he sent me a link to the Wahaca website, http://www.wahaca.co.uk/, I’d heard about the mexican market eatery before as Katie had posted a few photos from one of her visits there, but it’d slipped my mind until Adam found it again.

Wahaca currently has two locations in the centre of London, one in Covent Garden (where we went) and one in Canary Wharf. They also have one in the Westfield Shopping Centre. We perused the online menu (a nice downloadable PDF version of the real menu, why don’t more restaurant websites have this?) and pretty much decided on the ‘Wahaca Selection’.. seemed like a great chance to sample a variety of the goodies and discover what we might want to have the next time we go.

It all worked out quite well, we ended up getting their about 4.30pmish as we wanted to have time to walk up the Mall and take a look at the Palace before heading to the show at 7.30pm. We got a table right away and both ordered margaritas, Adam went for the traditional and I got a hibiscus flavour which tasted a bit like berries. Unfortunately I don’t have any photos from Wahaca because we were travelling light before going to the show. We ordered some nachos with salsa (nice, chunky salsa fresca which came with a small bucket of nachos) and our Wahaca selection which consisted of:

  • 3  pork pibil tacos – these are soft tacos and quite small, about 3/4 bites each. The filling is a shredded spicy pork, akin to my favourite pulled pork.
  • 2 broad bean quesadillas – very interesting, Wahaca have a thing about using seasonal local produce in their food, and with this quesadilla I think they’ve discovered a great recipe! If you’re not familiar with Mexican food a quesadilla is a sort of sandwich made from a tortilla filled with cheese and other ingredients and then grilled or griddled until it goes all melty.
  • 3 chicken mole tacos - soft tacos again this time filled with a mole (thick, spicy sauce) and chicken. Quite messy but very tastey!
  • 2 black bean tostadas - have to confess I only tried half of this, I was so stuffed. A crisp tortilla topped with lovely fresh ingredients, nice, nice.
  • 2 new potato taquitos –  Another great use of a typically british ingredient, these are wrapped up tortillas filled with different things and then deep fried and topped with sour cream. I liked these, plus they weren’t too big so all the stodgy carbs weren’t too bad.
  • Green rice & black beans – exactly what it says on the tin, the black beans were realllllly good though!

Overall I was really impressed with the food – for the price, quickness of service & use of ingredients – I’ve seen a few not-so-good reviews floating around the net, Time Out weren’t incredibly generous with their star-rating, but then again they still gave them a decent enough review. Some of the reviews are complaining that they once bought a huge taco filled with amazing things in Mexico for about $2 but then came to Wahaca and got small ones and had to pay almost £5… c’mon, get some perspective. This is a central London Mexican restaurant where you can get a table almost instantly, have great food served quickly made from fresh, locally sourced ingredients, wash it down with a super tastey margarita & then not have a heart attack when the bill arrives. Perfect place for people visiting the city like we were, and I’m sure it’s great as a regular haunt for Londoners too.

The founder of Wahaca, Thomasina Miers, recently released a great Mexican cookbook too, Mexican Food Made Simple – my copy is on its way as we speak – which is full of basic Mexican recipes that’ll help you through out the old el paso kits. Yep.

Oh! oh! And, you get a neat little packet or chili seeds with your receipt :)

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Tower Bridge

Just a couple of photos from last Saturday when we were in London. Our hotel was a couple of minutes walk from Tower bridge & the Tower of London, I really suck at outdoor super sunny photography, really need to figure out how to do that.. hum.

These were the last photos from that day as we headed out towards our show after checking in at the hotel, but I will be writing a little about the meal we had that evening at Wahaca (amazingly nice, cheap & relaxed Mexican food).

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