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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Paris, Paris..


We spent last weekend in Paris, celebrating our first anniversary and it was wonderful!

We walked hand in hand through the Jardin du Luxembourg
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Kissed under the Pont Marie on our night-time cruise on the Seine
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Did the great Paris macaroon comparison La Duree and Pierre Hermes style!
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 Did a mega trek from the Arc de Triomphe to Notre Dame via the Champs Elysee, the Tuilleriee gardens, the Louvre and lots of Paris bridges. Not actually that mega - but so very fun!
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Had a very special anniversary lunch at Alain Ducasse's Michelin starred brasserie 'Benoit' - champagne and about 600 courses. We were defeated by pudding time.
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Rocked the hillside outside the Basilique du Sacre Cour just taking in the crowds and street performers and musicians and devotees.
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Ate snails. Lots of snails
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Gave thanks for all God's goodness to us this last year.  He is so much more than we can ever ask or imagine.
 
I am married to a very special, amazing man. Blessed, and I know it. 
 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Ten in Seven


Ten things I've been thankful for in the last seven days..


Two lovely autumnal dinner parties to welcome the new season. Hurrah for beautiful slow cooked stews and casseroles!

Coffee and bagels in bed on a Saturday morning with my loveliest

Board games: Settlers of Catan in particular this week; and friends to play it with

Raspberry and dark chocolate brownies. 

Dennis the bestest hot water bottle ever. 

Our wonderful home group
Cocktails to celebrate two lovely girlies going off to uni (and delicious South American food here)

Rebecca Black and the Venga Boys. I know that's a little bit sad but I would be lying if I said that both didn't make me smile this week! 

Mummy hugs via skype

Holiday planning - ooooh yea!

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Have a lovely weekend!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Follow the Frog

Someone sent this video round the Unit today and I think it's great! It's got a pretty effective conservation message but it's also a bit fun and quirky and has a fresh style and approach. I don't know about you but I think I might be looking out for those little frogs.




What's the Unit you ask???
 It's a top secret intelligence taskforce that provides top-level, effective and timely defence against exceptional threats. ANY threat. ANY location. Protecting humanity no matter how far it takes us.
No it's not - I might have seen that on a site for U.N.I.T and got a bit carried away. The unit is just the Natural History Unit at the BBC. Where I work. Simples.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

TV tales and The Mindy Project


So, Steve and I watch kind of a lot of TV. Well, not super lots but we like to have a few series on the go at any time which is a lot compared to my TV watching before which was generally under ten minutes a week. It's like our current "thing" and I know we might not always have time for it - but we love it at the moment. Our best TV watching happens just before bedtime, on our laptops. Mostly on catch-up websites like iPlayer and 4OD. It's great cos we can watch it when we want AND we can have the subtitles on. I might have a slight thing about needing the subtitles on always because then you never miss any of the dialogue. Makes sense doesn't it? I think it's growing on Steve a bit. The subtitles thing.

*Football or any other sport doesn't really count as great TV watching. Na-ha. Just saying.*


New girl is our current go-to for a bit of light relief and we're really gripped by a Channel 4 series called Revenge. It's getting pretty intense.

This programme starts soon in the US and I'm kind of gutted it's not here yet. Check out the trailer, I think the series might be good fun. So, we'll wait.




Monday, September 10, 2012

On Panning, RidingAcrossBritain and other things..

And it's Monday again! We had a busy, nice week and nice, busy weekend. We love it all and here we are again.
We spent some time hanging out with a couple of new Ministry Apprentices from Kensington, caught up with an out-of-town friend, did some mentoring and generally worked hard (at work) in the week. Half of us played football a couple of days, the other half went to London for a couple of days and then we had a weekend of seeing some friends and family, churching and going to Bath.

We love living close to Bath. And quite enjoy that we're getting to know it a bit better each time we go. Yesterday we went because my cousin is doing a cycle ride across Britain - spending nine days going from Lands End in the South West to John O'Groats in the North Eastern tip of Scotland. He was on day two and had got from Cornwall to Bath where he was spending the night. It was really fun waiting for him in the clapping zone at Bath Uni and cheering for some of the other 500 - 600 people that are doing the ride. Big respect because I could NEVER do something like that.

You probably won't remember this post where I said I would like to practice a camera technique called Panning which works particularly well for cyclists and other moving objects.
(In still photography, the panning technique is used to suggest fast motion, and bring out the subject from other elements in the frame. In photographic pictures it is usually noted by a foreground subject in action appearing still (i.e. a runner frozen in mid-stride) while the background is streaked and/or skewed in the apparently opposite direction of the subject's travel.)
Well yesterday I had about 500 willing (and unknowing) subjects on whom to practice. I've got a way to go but here are some pics from yesterday. My cousin Dinesh is in the pics at the very end.




















Monday, September 3, 2012

Hello!

The summer is now officially over and gone. Forever.

I could be over dramatising the matter but it's certainly gone for a very long time. And that's a bit sad. But the autumn is quite nice and it's the start of a new term (Yes, it keeps one young to think in terms of school terms) and I feel inspired afresh on a variety of fronts. Plus there might be more time for blogging. Might. I've decided that to be non-commital on the matter is best. What I can, when I can.

It's been a very adventurous few months - Kenya and then Spain and then home in India and I feel very grateful for all those experiences and very special times, especially in India. Travel is such a gift - one I hope I don't ever take for granted.

I still get nervous everytime I hit 'Book' or 'Buy', especially when buying flights or booking hotels and it's great! Like I should burst out my happy dance - but not quite yet, cos it's always a pretty big deal.

(BTW you really don't want to see my happy dance. You might not want to be my friend any more.)

There might be some pictures from India on the blog soonish. And some from the Mara cos I promised yonks ago. But there might not.

(See how I'm not committing cos there might be more important things to do? :P Oh yeah baby, this is the new era of guilt free blogging on Bagel Mornings! What I can, when I can - remember? I know that you, my kind bloggy friends will understand.)

For the time being though here's a bit of iphone photo joy . Stay tuned!



 Clockwise from the top left:
1. Mango and watermelon cocktails - so yum!
2. Lovely Arpi having a pottery lesson
3. Yes!! Paterson's camp coffee is the best
4. Just a pretty lotus pond
5. Can you spot the Olympic park?
6. Erm...yea.
7. Such a good recipe. Such a very very good recipe.
8. S likes the Biere club? Don't really know
9. On holiday so two ice-creams are definitely require
10. My oldest and best!



And some more:
1. We love gyoza! A lot.
2. Chorizo and Coriander risotto. Plus my mini crush on aubergines.
3. Bristol's water front
4. And the very last wedding of the summer.








Friday, June 29, 2012

Spain - I

We've been back a week, so before I forget all the details from our holiday on the Costa Blanca in Spain I need to write them down. We had an amazing week on the east cost of Spain at Steve's sister & brother-in-law's flat which they really kindly let us use. The flat, part of a large resort called Condado de Alhama was perfect for the two of us with self catering facilities (that we used a bit) and a pool in each jardin of flats (that we used extensively!) and loved. We may even have been motivated to swim weekly at our local pool, but we'll keep you posted on how that goes.




We flew direct Bristol - Alicante on Easyjet and picked up a hire car at the airport that was really essential to getting around especially as we were inland and were hoping to explore the Costa Calida area a bit, over the week. The days were long and relaxing and we rarely woke before 11am or later and had a late breakfast and swim. Because the Spanish don't eat lunch till about 2:30pm it still left loads of time to go out after, or even if we left about 5pm following a siesta we had all evening to explore before tapas o'clock at 8 or dinner at 9...so it was perfect!


We started in Aguilas on day 2 where we went to a weekly market and got the local rotisserie chicken which is stuffed with a bush of herbs and cooked in the open and served with grilled potatoes. Food was definitely a highlight of the holiday especially the incredible sea-food and I'm a bit sad cos I have almost no pictures of food at all so you'll have to imagine it in your head.





We then headed north along the coast to the beautiful little bay of Cabo Cope (pictured above,right and below) and turned west into the mountains, driving through the Parque Regional de Cabo Cope y Puntas de Calnegre. It was beautiful, and a little scary and it slightly amused me that the picture of the view below is exactly the same as the one in our little guide book.




This was also the day we found our first country restaurant and stumbled across the fabulous Menu Del Dia. This fixed price meal is a fixture at most restaurants in Spain. It's a great way to taste the local Spanish food, without the worry of a long menu. The Menu del Dia is a 3 course meal and the price almost always includes salad, bread, water and wine or beer with a coffee at the end - they really are very good value at as little as 8 euros in inland Murcia. When the waitress first plonked our bread and salad on the table Steve spent ages saying in English that we didn't order them, and she spent ages talking back at us in Spanish (probably calling us fools) till a kind English speaking customer came over to explain.

We followed the coast north and spent the evening on the beaches of a little town called Bolnuevo. I don't think that's a bad view for a holiday, do you?











Thursday, June 28, 2012

Spain - II




If you've just started reading then you need to go here first for the first part of this travelogue on the Southern Costa Blanca.
Day 3 was even more relaxed than the first couple but one of my favourite days of the holiday. On the reccomendation of a neighbour we headed further inland to the mountain village of Aledo. It's small and quaint and has a fortress that sort of just hangs off a cliff. It also has very narrow, steep, one-way roads but the stunning views make up for that! Just across the valley (a five minute drive away) is a beautiful old monastry and a large statue of Jesus on top of the hill. I'm not into large statues of anything if I'm honest but we went up the hill to see it anyway and Steve enjoyed seeing the statue and I enjoyed some more fantastic views.


 



 


The monastry was part converted into a hotel but the old church was very heavily ornamented and covered with intricate murals and sculptures and was slightly spooky (as you'd like an old fairy tale monastry to be perhaps?)
It was attached to a lovely orange orchard (can you have an orange orchard?) and an olive grove. Orange grove? Olive orchard? Meh, you get the picture.





 





Puerto de Mazarron was our nearest seaside town and has a lovely waterfront area by the port. It was buzzy, and pretty, and we ate some of the best tapas in the bars there.  We went there one evening and then went back for lunch (hurrah for paella with sangria!) & a walk on the beach on our last day.




Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Spain - III

Last one! If you're just starting you might want to go here and then here first for the start of our Spanish adventure.
Our little book highly reccomended Calblanque as being a stunning coastal park with hills and beaches that were remote and not too crowded so we headed down there one afternoon. The beaches were all that and the park fantastic, but there was something a little bit odd about the beaches. Talk to us if you fancy a trip there and we'll tell you what.

 
Timer picture fail!! But I still quite like it.


We went into Catagena to look round and have some dinner. It's a really beautiful port city with a big naval presence and Steve would say it was his favourite place. We were there the night of Spain's first match in the Euros which was fun and the tapas at La Tartana, in the city centre, were a.mazing!  






We also went into Murcia one day, but driving round the city is a nightmare. which is probably why Steve doesn't look very happy :(. We ate a delicious (and highly overpriced) meal and walked round the city a bit. It was siesta time though and all a bit dead so we got some empanadas which are the local food specialty and are quite like pasties, and headed off home.

                          



We had a really fun holiday and it was the perfect mix of relaxing and doing stuff so we loved it and are so grateful for it, and we'd love to go back sometime!