North London lunch (with a special date)

Recently I decided to start exploring my neighbourhood a bit more – namely, Wood Green/Palmers Green/Tottenham/Walthamstow. North London at its finest.

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Last weekend I spent a lovely afternoon roaming the Turkish shops on Harringay Green Lanes (up near the North Circular) and today I did a little bit of wandering, and a little bit of lunching (pro tip: the Turkish and Greek supermarkets are brilliant – just under half a kilo of hummus for 99p, or a full kilo for £1.99, and a packet of pita bread for 39p – no need to go to evil Tesco!)

The Turkish and Greek shops and restaurants of Green Lanes are legendary – in fact, Green Lanes as an entity is pretty famous. Stretching 7.5 miles or so, with many of the side streets being one-way only, it’s an easy place to lose half a day to, exploring and eating your way along.

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For lunch I went to Fatisa. Named after the town of Fatsa in Northern Turkey, this Italian-Mediterranean restaurant is a sweet little local spot. Less than 10 minutes walking from Wood Green tube, the restaurant has expanded a lot in the past few years and has a new 2nd floor, an extended terrace, and a lovely little garden, where locals hang out.

I started with a summer special – the goats cheese, roasted pepper and aubergine bruschetta.

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This was the stuff of dreams, it really was. Rich, creamy goats cheese fresh from the grill, soft roasted peppers, and delicious smoky aubergine.

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Total gem of a starter, so simple too.

I wasn’t planning on getting a main meal, but the lovely waiter recommended the homemade burgers, so I gave them a whirl. The fries and bun were okay, but really this was all about the burger itself.

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Of course, I couldn’t get a nice photo of it – but it was so good – juicy, full of flavour, and not fatty or padded out with bread! I let most of the fries and bun, and instead tucked into the fresh, light side salad, with a really good dressing (the simple ones are always the best).

Together with a few drinks, my meal came to less than £20, so thumbs up from me!

But possibly the best part of it? This little pup who decided to hang out with me.

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I heard the dog described as both a he and a she, and the dog was called a “naughty dog!”…as it slept soundly. Also, apparently the dog “belongs to everyone”, so I’ve not acquired a timeshare dog.

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Those puppy dog eyes!

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Afterwards, I went for a little walk through Woodside Park, and headed home before the rain tried to catch me.

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If you’re ever in Wood Green or Alexandra Palace and fancied a lovely lunch, check out Fatisa – summer al fresco lunches are the best!

Warsaw eats

Hello from (my garden in) Warsaw!

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I actually have a backlog of blog posts to write about my travels in Bordeaux and Berlin, but those posts require some serious photo editing (weddings in both cities mean I have so many pics!) but in the meantime I wanted to share a couple of foodie places I tried in Warsaw over the past few days.

Let me say now that one is very typically Polish in general, and the other has a hint of Polish misogyny, but that’s about it.

On Sunday night, we went to a place called Rybna Chata – basically, a fish hut. On ul. Piaseczynska, in Prace Duze (outskirts of Warsaw, to the south), it’s a very sweet new little place, built in traditional Polish style, serving a fresh and changing menu. Prices are per 100g, and range from 11zl to about 15zl per 100g.

There are some simple side salads (all traditional Polish), some basic drinks, but the real stars of the show are the fish – there’s no guarantee of what they’ll have, but when we went there was cod, whitefish (whitebait?), carp, pike perch, halibut, trout and salmon, amongst others. We got a couple of portions of code, a portion of whitefish, some fries, side salads, beer and wine.

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Freshly fried cod with garlic butter, and fries. This was really delicious, and miraculously for me there were no bones in it!

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This was the whitefish – also apparently delicious, but it didn’t fancy wrestling with fish bones to try it!

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We ate outside on the terrace out back which was lovely – pretty unspoilt at the moment!

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But I can imagine it being a really lovely place in the winter too – really cosy and warm!

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It was relatively expensive for Polish roadside eating – not crazy expensive, but not knowing the weight of the fish you get can give you a surprise when it comes to pay!

The other new place I tried out is an American diner on Zwirki i Wigury road in Mokotowskie. Apparently it’s been open for a couple of years (Foursquare tips told me a lot!) so I went in for breakfast.

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The breakfast menu is pretty short – a full fried breakie, a Jeff’s version with steak, muesli, and pancakes with either butter, bacon or syrup (you could buy more extras).

I went for the pancakes with syrup…

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Three thick American style pancakes, with a dusting of icing sugar, a pot of syrup, a slice apiece of grapefruit and orange and.. a lettuce leaf.

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They were… okay. They weren’t anything amazing, the portion was fine, but given how much I love pancakes from The Breakfast Club back in London (a tower of delicious thick fluffy pancakes, with a wonderful syrup/berries/whipped cream explosion on top!) these were just okay. Filling, and pretty cheap – 11.90zl for the portion (about £2.40).

Weirdly, they were the same price as a cup of coffee – I got a latte which took a while to arrive:

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Coffee and pancakes for a fiver ain’t bad I guess.

A couple of things kinda bothered me about Jeff’s though – first up, the decor is SO forced American – it’s so busy, it could be headache inducing after a while. Secondly, the service was pretty crappy – this was 10am on a Monday, there were more employees wandering around than customers but it still took a while for me to get service.

But my biggest bugbear was the fact the waitresses were in uniform that consisted of a very tight football shirt, knee high socks, and tiny denim hot pant shorts with butt cheeks hanging out. The waiters? They were wearing jeans and tshirts. For me, this gave such a crappy message and reinforced shitty misogynistic tendencies I’ve experienced in Poland. Not cool.

Finally, this evening we went for dinner in our regular haunt, a brilliant homemade pierogi place. Except it wasn’t brilliant tonight, I was pretty disappointed, and won’t bother reviewing it. C’est la vie.

Project 365 – part 4

The final chapter.

This is the part that feels most relevant to my life at the moment – that might be because the last photo was taken 6 days ago, so it’s not that surprising. But this final quarter starts at the beginning of December, and actually, it’s a pretty good quarter.

December through to February saw me do some more travelling (Warsaw, Jersey, Cannes, Manchester), spend super happy times with my family and best friend, throw some colour into my life, and learn some new stuff.

Festive December…

December saw a lot of pre-Christmas crafting, my nails snapped (need moar calcium?), I got a new iPhone, I had another trip back to my parents (see photos with my mama and my Lauren), I acquired a super sassy hat (blue glittery tophat!) and sated a work-Christmas-party hangover with a trip to Five Guys. Christmas was spent in Poland which was relaxing, with board games (including a Polish game about queueing in front of shops in the 1980s) and walks in the forest. New Year was spent with my best friend, eating a lot of Turkish food, playing with sparklers and having sekrit times.

New Year – January…

The New Year continued with time spent with my best friend – on the first of January we went on the London Eye, which I absolutely loved. We also visited Winter Wonderland (btw HOW BIG is the German Beer Hall there?! it’s amazing!). In contrast to last month, my nails were now screwed because of wearing false nails. C’est la vie! This month also saw me get my bangs cut back in, travel to Jersey for a beautiful few days for work, try a street dance class and do Fire Marshal training for work.

The final month – February…

February was the final month of my Project 365 – by now, it was completely ingrained in me to photograph something everyday. The month started with a weekend in Cannes for the Midem music hack weekend. Such a surreal weekend, I loved it. I also became a qualified First Aider (spent part of the afternoon flouncing around pretending the mannequin was my boyfriend.. I thought more people would do this, apparently not..). I travelled to Manchester to see Childish Gambino, ate the biggest pancake ever at My Old Dutch, received the most beautiful flowers for Valentines Day, went to a London Fashion Week event, visited Greenwich, bought a dress, and generally continued to love London.

Phew.

Once again, I have to say thank you so much to you guys for reading and revisiting my year in photos with me. Part of me looks back and thinks not much has changed, but a bigger part of me is amazed at how far I’ve come. I’ve loved looking back at the little details in my life, laughing at how silly things have been, seeing myself move on from sad times and throw myself into the good times.

I’m already 5 days into my next 365, and can’t wait to share that with you.

Project 365 – part 3

First up, I want to thank you all for reading my garbled round-ups of the first half of my Project 365, for clicking through my snaps, and for putting up with my constant banging on about how great it is.

I especially loved the comment from one of my mama’s friends, that she enjoyed looking at the randomness of the photos.

That’s how I like to see it myself – even during the most mundane of days, where I stayed in bed ‘cos I was sad, or said very little at work ‘cos I was uninspired, I still think documenting the little details, and remember why they were important enough to photograph (or conversely, why my day was crappy enough to warrant a photo of an apple), is important to me.

The next quarter covers September through to November. This was as rocky as the previous months, in all honesty, and my closest friends were there for me a lot. This quarter spans heartbreak, mistakes and distracting myself from that, but also some brilliant times spent my best friends and parents, Christmas cake and seeing Newcastle play.

September up…

September started with Patrick and I going to London Mela, a huge south Asian festival in west London. This involved dressing up and eating a lot. September also saw some crazy rain vs crazy sun, spiderwebs, a new passport and some vegetables. This is the month I started my hexagon quilt, which grew rapidly; but probably the real highlight was a weekend in Amsterdam with my best friend – one of the best trips ever, I’m still so happy from it.

October here…

October saw me leaving my job at Reading Room, an agency I’d worked at for 18 months. I left behind some brilliant colleagues and clients, and a social life that will never be beaten. I also spoke at 2 conferences (The Digital Barn, and 12 Devs), which were so much fun. Thank you to the people who listened to blahblahblah on! In between leaving my old job and new job I went home to my parents for a week, which saw a haircut, dancing with my best friend, and cuddles with my mama bear. I also baked Christmas cakes this month, including the little mini cake shaped like a rose. A pretty good month actually.

November saw the suckiest moments of the year, but also a great big whopping highlight – I started my new job at feelunique.com – as witnessed by photos cropping up of freebie products, and dressing up for the COPRA ball (an annual ball for retailers in the cosmetics/perfume industry). I spent more time crafting, took a late-night rickshaw with Patrick (drunk + G.A.Y = makes sense), and went back to my parents for a weekend where we ate a lot of Christmas cake and went to a football match.

All in all, a successful autumn.

Project 365 (part 2)

So yesterday I posted the first quarter of my Project 365 (a photo a day for a year). I humblebragged about how proud I was, and going through the next section of photos has been no different. It’s so interesting to see how far I’ve come, in the space of a year – how much has changed, how much I’ve done, and it’s really lovely to look back on photos of relatively insignificant things and think how fun they were.

The whole process is making me realise how much I value the little details in life, which has made P365 so worthwhile.

So here’s June…

June was the start of the summer heatwave – it saw me eat at some goooood places (Hache burger, Meat Liquor, that fancypants 1920s stylee French place near Piccadilly.. name escapes me..), also this was the month I hung out with the Queen at the trooping the colour, tear a ligament in my foot, and finally spend a lotttt of man-hours making origami hearts. They were made for a summer garden party for my parents in July, and I still love looking at the progress of the hearts – I made 400 of them in less than a weekend. It. Was. Glorious.

July was this…

The heatwave continued, London was a sweaty mass. The month started with a sciencey event where I learned about alcohol (by drinking a fair amount of free booze… all in the name of science!), a trip to Poland for the aforementioned party – look at those hearts in situ! I was in love with them! July was also my birthday (the 17th! represented here with a chocolate ball and raspberry sorbet ball.. heheh balls..), the month my hair kinda exploded with volume, there was free Eton Mess in Soho Square, and I bought kabanos.

August was good…

It started with a little photo-montage of how I made origami stars (which I then didn’t blog..), and my new camera arrived! What a little babe! I had lunch with a dog in a pub; Patrick and I got hammered and barged into Ed’s Diner for the most amazing chips; I worked on my portfolio site. I also flew to Berlin for a long weekend – another garden party, plus boardgames and photobooth fun! Lauren came to visit, we played Guess Who! amongst other sekrit activities. This was also Notting Hill Carnival month, where Patrick and I accidentally joined the parade and shook our booties.

I’m getting all nostalgic looking back at these photos – for about 90-95% of them, I can still remember exactly what I was doing, how I was feeling, why I snapped that photo, what it means to me. My actual memory is pretty shoddy, and I’m a sentimental person, so being able to flick back on photos and remember every feeling (good and bad!) is a novel experience. My next post will be autumn, which holds some sad memories, but also some exciting changes. More tomorrow.

Pizza Pilgrims

On Friday night, I met up with my friend Adam for a long-overdue catch up – discussing the web industry and conferences, relationships, work and food – i.e. a great way to spend an evening! We headed over to Pizza Pilgrims, who’d just opened up their proper bricks-and-mortar restaurant on Dean Street in Soho – about 10 seconds walk from work, this is dangerous for my bank balance/waistline/originality!

I went for the wild broccoli and fennel sausage pizza – the most amazing soft doughy base, with a delicate flavour of it’s own, then wild broccoli (First time in my life I’ve enjoyed broccoli! I may have to marry one of these boys!), fennel sausage (so refreshing and light – for a sausage, that is!) and mozzarella, it’s a pizza served “bianca” – it has no tomato sauce. I’m a huge fan of biana pizzas, so this was a winner for me!

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They really are the sweetest guys there – James and Thom are so lovely, and they had a whole host of other guys working who were equally friendly, funny and knowledgeable. I’m so glad they’ve got a proper restaurant – the upstairs is street level, so perfect for people watching, the downstairs is bigger and has (gasp!) aircon.

I’m already excited to go back – somebody stop me when I start to actually turn into a pizza, please?

Haché Burgers

Last night I had the pleasure of attending The Critters – a web industry awards bash now in it’s 3rd year. I’ve been to all 3 events and it’s always good fun. This time round, it was held at Modern Jago – a Microsoft pop-up space for creatives in Shoreditch; the setting is the old Rochelle School, a cluster of buildings created in the 1880s – I loved the venue, the old school house feeling, the layout. Really great setting.

Whilst the event itself was brilliant, and I’m sure there’ll be many embarrassing pictures over the next few days (as well as the stonking hangover I have at the moment!), what I really wanted to share with you today was this baby!

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This oozy, cheesy, bacony, burger goodness is from the good people at Hache – described as burger connoisseurs, they don’t disappoint. I went for the Steak Canadian – a well crafted juicy burger, topped with the most amazing sweet cure bacon (I’m still daydreaming about this bacon, is that weird?) and them smothered with deliciously strong mature cheddar cheese, melted to perfection. All of this popped inside a brioche bun = heaven.

I do love a good burger – I’m a MEATliqour girl generally speaking, but I was so satisfied with my choice here. We shared sides so I had my pick of onion rings and sweet potato fries. The onion rings? Giant, fluffy, crispy bad boys; the sweet potato fries equally excellent, creamy and soft on the inside, but the perfect bite on the outside.

I am one happy camper, and definitely recommend Hache if you’re in London – there are 4 locations, Camden, Shoreditch, Chelsea and Clapham.