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.

A week of walking in the forest

A slightly misleading blog post title, I’ll grant you that. But for the past week, I’ve gone out for a daily walk in the forests around my home in Warsaw in Poland, with my camera clamped in my hand, so I could finally capture all the things I see and instantly fall in love with.

One of my heroes, Dan Rubin, recently wrote a caption on an Instagram photo of his that addressed criticism of people taking photos a lot – we get a lot of flack, people tell us we’re missing life because we constantly look at it through a lens, but I 100% agree with what Dan wrote – if only people could see it through eyes. I think people miss so much beauty in the world because they just want to rush from A to B – each of these photos I got super excited about, the lighting and composition, and I wanted to capture it and share it and keep it forever.

So this is a weeks worth of walks through the forest in Central Poland…

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Sunrise
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There are new friends to be made…

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Woodpeckers busy at work…20131228-154028.jpg

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Shy little guys who are happy just to walk quietly side by side…20131228-154046.jpg

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More woodpeckers…20131228-154136.jpg

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And a bonus kitty cat, again!20131228-154640.jpg

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Christmas Madeleines (plus bonus kitty)

Coming to Poland for Christmas means only one thing – food food food. This is usually accompanied by my family, and a roaring fire, and boards games, but mostly it’s about the food.

A couple of days ago we had to remake our Christmas cake – not because anything was wrong with the first one I made, au contraire, that bad boy was eaten in about 3 days back at the end if November. So, new one being made 2 days before Christmas.

Yet again, I had a ton of cake mix left over, and really just wanted to share a cute alternative to baking multiple large Christmas cakes – I popped mixture into a cute little silicon Madeleine tray and made something resembling the love child of a Madeleine and a tortoise. They only take about 15 mins to bake, and they’re great for festive snacking on!

The cake mix I used was one I’ve been tweaking for a while, mostly because I don’t have scales so play it by ear – but golden syrup, honey, black treacle, mixed nuts and 1500g of fruit are amongst the star players.

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As a little festive bonus, I wanted to introduce you to this guy – this photo is 3 and a half years old, taken when baby boy cat was about a month old (if that). His mama was another stray(ish) cat who used to come stay with us when we visited Poland… Anyway, baby boy has come back to see us…
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He’s now turned into this…

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Love Warsaw

Apologies for being so lax recently, I’ve had a lot going on. Suffice to say, I’m feeling quite free, positive and back to my usual self now – happy panda.

A few weeks ago it was my parents’ 35th wedding anniversary. They met and were married in Poland, so what better way to mark the occasion than a big family trip back to Poland. My parents, brother and his fiance, our family friends – how could I say no!

As part of my contribution to the celebrations, I decided to make origami hearts for them. Lots and lots and lots of origami hearts. If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve probably seen the photos and the progress, but now I can finally share the full story.

I decided I wanted to make something to decorate the house – after trying various flowers and animals with origami paper, I settled on hearts. I opted to make 400 – based on how much paper/time/space I had for them (in the end they had to be transported by parents – who didn’t know what they were – on the flight, because the box was too big for my hand luggage). I told my brother and sister-in-law about them, and they decided to make 400 too. Then we started doing some maths, and decided to go for 840 in total.

1 heart each for every month they’ve been married. 420 months of marriage.

It was one of the loveliest weekends I’ve had this summer, I’m very close to my parents and I’m happiest when surrounded by friends and family, full in love, in the most beautiful place in the world.

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This was the process for making hearts – first a few.. then a few more.. then hundreds. Stringing them up was the tricky part.

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Feeling like I’ve missed my calling in life (party planner!) I also stocked up on heart shaped balloons, bunting with hearts on, and tissue paper – to make the cute tissue paper pompom flowers above. My brother, sister in law and I effectively spent all of Friday finishing making hearts, blowing up balloons, making flowers, and decorating the house. Holiday schmoliday! (I jest, it was actually brilliant to hang out with them!)

Of course, there was a lot of food for everyone – and given we’re still a bit British even when in Poland, we drank a lot of Pimms. A lot of Pimms. I don’t seem to tire of it!

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Happy and full, we spent a wonderful evening with friends, watching the sunset, playing badminton, telling stories and… unfortunately, getting bitten to the point of insanity by the crazy mosquitoes!

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It really was one of the best weekends I’ve had for a long time. So content. Missing it very much.