Tag Archives: photography

Autumn in Hyde Park

Today I woke up ridiculously early and also forgot to set my clocks back, so when I got to Whole Foods in Kensington it was still two hours before they opened. I had a quick walk around Kensington Gardens, which is right next to Hyde Park, and decided the fall colors were so beautiful I had to call Adrian and ask him to bring my camera!

Adrian likes activities. He doesn’t like walking around taking pictures, and he refuses to use my camera because I have a big, bulky 1970s strap that he says “effs him off.”

In the spirit of activities, we tried out the Barclays bikes that are on every street corner in London. I’ve never tried them before because even though it’s only a pound to rent a bike for a day, I strongly fear being caught and stuck under the wheels of a London bus for miles until the driver notices. That stuff happens! This was the perfect opportunity to try the bikes out because Hyde Park is huge so we had a long, traffic-free ride through the park.

Today was yet another one of those days where I went into the city with a specific purpose and ended up doing something totally random and fun.

I also finally got my fall colors fix, and discovered Whole Foods caters to its American crowd and sells pumpkin ice cream in addition to shelves and shelves of Libby’s canned pumpkin! I stocked up.

I had wanted to go to Cambridge and get fall pictures like I did last year, but today was great too! I’m hoping we’ll have one more weekend of this …



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A portrait of my loving husband

You all know I’ve posted a really bad picture or two of myself before. No need for me to link back to them.*

I have something new for you today.

This is my husband. I found him in the woods near Athens, Ohio on my recent trip back to the US.

I can’t stop laughing. He said I could post this. I promise. I think he just likes the fame.

*I actually tried to go back and find that really bad picture of myself, but I couldn’t find it. So I’m guilt free now.



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Planet Earth: Richmond Park Edition

I went all David Attenborough today.

We made the short trip to Richmond Park and it was delightful indeed. I’d heard two things about Richmond Park. 1) It’s a huge park and there are deer running around everywhere. 2) Gordon Ramsay sometimes tweets about running in Richmond Park.

So, I was hoping for two things. 1) I’d see deer. 2) I’d see Gordon Ramsay having a quick jog.

Once again, I didn’t see Gordon. BUT, I did see this beautiful little thing:

We walked for about an hour and I started to get anxious that there would be no deer sightings, but then we found a group of about six sitting in a patch of shade. There were cars rolling by in the background and people walking past every so often. We got fairly close, and it was evident they don’t fear people in the slightest.

The park was huge. I didn’t plan well (at all) so we didn’t see much of it even though we were there a couple hours. I definitely plan to go back soon, because apparently you can get amazing views of the city from one of the hills.

I also plan to pack a picnic for next time!

Any better way to top off an English day than with a pie platter?

I wonder how many pies I’ve eaten in England?


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Sick of riot news?

Well you’re about to see some more. I have to share these pictures with you. (Btw, sorry I’ve been largely absent the past couple weeks. I’ve been working on another big project and training for my 10K, etc.)

Monday night when the riots spread throughout the city one of my friends (Manuela, you’ve met her before here) found out from the news about her street being attacked. She actually saw a flaming van in front of her apartment on national TV.

Here are some of her pictures from the next day when she was able to return home.

“Welcome to Hackney”

It’s still unbelievable to me even though it was just this week. See my other posts on the riots here and here.

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Action shot.

Karen posted this on my Facebook today. (Also be sure to check her site because she’s put up some good posts. The latest is about a poor pig who was getting sexually frustrated because his man part was so tiny it got stuck inside of him!)


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Dinner date

I’m simply going to post these photos because it’s FRIDAY and I’m off to see Beginners. It looks so good!

Before my pub quiz I met Adrian for dinner at Old Street and we went to a cute little Mediterranean café. The food was pretty good, but the main highlight was the Turkish coffee we tried. Neither of us had ever had it, but it was great! Apparently they mix the sugar in while they are making it or something. Whatever they do, it’s good. Try some.


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Halloumi baguettes

For some reason my mom doesn’t agree with having sandwiches for dinner. I know I’ve said before that her being right always ends up being the case, but I can’t see that happening about this particular matter.

I don’t know about you, but any meal I can pick up with one hand and stuff in my mouth is fine by me. I love sandwiches. They’re easy to make and easy to eat.

If you haven’t had halloumi before, I strongly suggest you try it. It’s a salty cheese from Cyprus that you grill or pan-fry, and it’s just so good.

Halloumi baguettes
– 1 pack of halloumi cheese
– 2 medium baguettes (One for each person. I buy the half-baked kind so it tastes fresh out of the oven.)
– 1 jar of sun-dried tomatoes
– 1 jar of kalamata olives (pre-sliced if you can’t be bothered)
– 1 jar of pesto
– Fresh spinach
– Red onion, thinly sliced

Slice and cook the halloumi until it’s slightly browned on both sides. No need to oil or butter the pan first. Cook your baguettes if you’ve bought the half-baked kind. Once both are ready, it’s as simple as assembling the items you want in the quantity you want. Don’t add too much pesto because it’s a strong flavor. I’ve also found that soaking the red onion slices in water while you’re preparing the meal takes the edge off but still leaves the sweet onion flavor.

You could also try making this with fresh mozzarella, which is what I’m going to do tonight! 🙂

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The Skype family photo album

As I mentioned in my last post, I Skype with my family a lot and have spent all of my holidays the past couple years staring into a webcam. I always take a lot of snapshots while we’re talking, but it wasn’t until this weekend that I looked through the folder saved on my hard drive. I’m not sure why, I just never looked at them.

I’m glad I took all of them, but it made me sad!  I found pictures of poor Boo, who recently joined Star Clan. (Star Clan is a term from the Warriors series of books about different clans of cats who live in the forest and fight each other. When the cats die they join Star Clan.)

This is one of my favorite pictures I found, from a random Sunday chat:

What family photo album is complete without an ugly snapshot of me?

I have no idea why that one was so huge, and little baby Harris here is so tiny. Oh well.


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If you’ve got a case of the Mondays …

… just look at a baby marmoset. I found a website called ZooBorns, and it posts pictures of animals born in zoos all around the world. This thing is sure to banish any blues case:

Photo credits: In Cherl Kim / Everland Zoo

Happy Monday!


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Too-tasty-to-share blueberry lemon muffins

It turns out baking isn’t too hard!

When I first took a bite of these blueberry lemon muffins I knew I had to share them with people. I envisioned taking them to all my friends at work, then realized I wouldn’t have enough for myself and they were way too good to give them all away.

“Well, maybe I’ll give them only to the people I really really like,” I thought.

But then I looked down at my little pot of muffins and thought, “Well, maybe I’ll just give one or two to my very favorite people.”

No, I just couldn’t do it. They’re too tasty to share! 🙂

Give a boy a plate full of muffins …

Good thing I have a whole box left in the kitchen! Now do you see why I couldn’t share with people at work?

I’m not a baker because I don’t like following recipes strictly by the book. I made these muffins the same way. I mostly followed the ingredients, but I didn’t at all follow the mixing instructions. Mine turned out great, and my way is also a lot easier. If you want to see how professionals do it, click on the recipe link below. Otherwise, take it easy and try my way!

Blueberry lemon muffins

Largely taken from this recipe on Foodnetwork.com

2 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp fine salt
1 tsp lemon zest, finely grated
1 1/2 cup blueberries, rinsed and dried
2 medium eggs
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil (I subbed oil for butter)
Paper cupcake/muffin holders

Preheat the oven to 375 F or 190 C.

Mix the wet ingredients (egg, milk, oil) together with a fork. I substituted vegetable oil for butter because it was too much of a hassle to wait for the butter to soften, and also I don’t have a mixer!

Mix together the dry ingredients (baking powder, flour, sugar, salt) and grate the lemon zest in the bowl (I also squeezed a bit of juice into the mix!). Combine both bowls plus the blueberries and mix, but be careful not to overmix. I mixed it until most of the ingredients were combined and there wasn’t much flour or dry ingredients still showing.

Using heaping tablespoons drop the mix into the cupcake/muffin holders in your pan. I filled mine up about 3/4 of the way, and in some cases all the way just to see what would happen. I got some very tall muffins, and some normal looking muffins! All delicious!

I baked mine for 20 minutes, but the recipe online says 25 minutes. My oven is a lot hotter than normal ovens it seems, so I’d go with 20 first and see how it’s going. Good luck!


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The other side of the iconic British phone booth

The British phone booth. It’s cute, it’s iconic, it’s a standard tourist photo-op. 

But what happens when you actually go up to one and take a good look?

In London you’ll probably find seedy sex ads plastered all over the interior walls, and if you are brave enough to open the door you’ll get a nice strong whiff of someone’s decaying urine.

Mmmmmm …. peeee.

The Brazillian transexual phonebooth picture is one of the first shots I took with my new camera. I decided to go out in London on a Saturday night to try to capture some of the excitement of the city once the sun goes down. Unfortunately I didn’t get very far because that was during the time my wrist was freaking out and I was worried I was going to have a T-rex arm.

These are the fountains in Trafalgar Square, one of my favorite places to take pictures of because it always looks so moody during the day and you can see a little Big Ben in the distance.

I hope to get out in the city with my new camera soon! If you missed my pictures of the holy-crap-this-is-amazing place they call Venice, click here.


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Amazing, beautiful, wonderful Venice in a few words (and a ton of pictures!)

I just got back from Venice and all I can say is there is a reason it’s a major tourist destination. It was amazing. And filled with Americans. So many Americans, in fact, that I’ve taken to calling it the “51st state.”

It was so weird! I’ve visited quite a few European cities and never seen anything like it. I really felt like I was back home, walking around in a movie set of some picture-perfect, postcard town. I couldn’t stop singing Dean Martin songs in my head the entire time! I know, I know.

My mom and I drank lots of Bellinis, a cocktail invented in Venice that’s made of Prosecco (sparkling wine) and fresh peach juice, and ate lots of Italian food. Naturally I’ll have to write another post focused on the food and our beautiful accommodation.

Another interesting thing is that there are no cars in the main part of the city so you have to either walk or take water taxis. They actually have the taxi sign, and it’s so cute.

I’ll keep the written narration to a minimum, because there really is no describing Venice. We mostly walked around and took pictures of the canals, beautiful buildings and gondolas. Almost all of the pictures were taken with my new Nikon D5000. I LOVE it!!

Doge’s Palace

The above and below pictures were taken in San Marco in the main starting point for tourists.

All of the Gondoliers wore traditional black and white shirts and hats.

The gondolas all looked like this, with the same forked ends on the boat.

The view from the tower where Galileo used to fiddle with his telescope.

Monster sized seagulls were rampant around the islands. They dwarfed the pigeons and were the biggest gulls I’ve ever seen.

I got a fantastic deal (steal) on Expedia for the Venice Hilton, and I tell you what (said in Hank Hill voice). Wow. Since it was across the water they provided a free water taxi to San Marco. I can’t recommend this hotel enough.

Below is the Rialto bridge, the oldest bridge in Venice. I actually didn’t like it very much because although it’s March it was packed with tourists and crappy souvenir  shops. It was much better to walk through the city and see all the uncrowded, small bridges over the many canals.

My mom eating her chocolate gelato in San Marco by the famous basilica.

Our last pizza. We weren’t sure it was going to be good because it was close to tourist central, but it was excellent and it even had fresh basil which I adore.

I couldn’t get over how cool this is. It’s got to be the coolest gas station in the world.

So good.

Sure, if you want to go ahead and compliment me on how freakin’ awesome my 70s camera strap is, go ahead. When I got my new camera last month my dad gave me his strap that he had for his Nikon back in the day. Way back in the day. Obviously it was really sunny. I could barely open my eyes for this pic!

The view of the mountains from my seat in the rear of the airplane back to England. Perfect end to the trip!


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