A long overdue update……

Apologies for being so quiet for so long, life caught up with me once I started my new job! Speaking of the workplace, I’ve decided not to talk about that here, but focus on my adventures outside of work instead.

In the days after I last posted, I was lucky enough to find a place to live closer to work as commuting in and out of London during rush hour every day is not a pleasant experience in the slightest. I spent the Saturday after my first working week recovering, and then moved in on the Sunday. I drove up in the morning, then went in search of a giant Asda in High Wycombe that my housemates had recommended, to stock up on food and householdy things. The Asda was ginormous and had absolutely everything, I can’t wait to go back and have a more relaxed wander one of these days. The rest of Sunday was spent unpacking and organising, and then I was straight back into another busy work week!

The following Saturday, I arranged to meet a friend in London. Unfortunately, she had to cancel last minute as she was ill, and I made an executive decision to go for a wander in Maidenhead rather than trek into London by myself. I had a thoroughly enjoyable day perusing the charity shops and strolling in the sun. My housemate recommended a stall which sells beautiful curries every Saturday, so I picked up one to go for my lunch and enjoyed it sitting in the sunlight by the Thames. Bliss! I came away with a new dress and top which were on sale in New Look, and two new (to me!) cookbooks from the charity shops – a giant Nigella tome and the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook. 

That evening, one of my housemates and I wandered down to our local pub. It was a fairly cosy and quiet place, but enjoyable nonetheless. I discovered that Bulmers cider is quite different in the UK, it’s yellow!

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On the Sunday, I was very brave and ventured onto the infamous M25 for the first time! I successfully navigated its six lanes in order to get to Pizza Express for dinner with Peter and the family! After dinner, I was was inspired by Nigella and decided to make Panzanella for my lunch that week. It was lucky I had filled up on pizza, as the Panzanella was a little bit lacklustre in the end. Oh well, we live and learn!

My next weekend’s explorations were inspired by my other new cookbook, The Hummingbird Bakery. This Bakery was founded by a British man who wanted to bring American-style baking back to London. The flagship shop opened in Portobello some years ago, followed by several more branches around London. All of the cakes in my book looked so gorgeous, I decided that a trip to try them out in person was on the cards!

I arrived in Paddington Station mid-morning, and set off to find the number 27 bus. I got a bit lost, but I got there eventually and saw some beautiful houses along the way.

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Eventually, I found myself at the famous Portobello Market!

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FIrst things first, I made my way to the Hummingbird Bakery, where I had to queue for a short while (it’s really popular!) before purchasing a slice of Chicago Fudge Cake in homage to previous travels (and because I wanted the chocolatiest thing available 😛 ). Oh wow, it was sensational! It was so good, I ate it too quickly to get any decent pictures, sorry!

After filling up, I made it my business to find out what the shops and stalls in Portobello had to offer. And to see if I could find Hugh Grant……

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Despite there being no sign of the man with the floppy fringe, I had a wonderful afternoon looking at antiques, vintage maps, jewellery, clothes and food. I am quite proud of managing to restrain myself from buying everything within reach, and came away with just a new scarf (teal blue with grey birds!). All the walking became tiring, and I needed sustenance again, so I bought a box of fresh seafood paella and sat down on a bench in Kensington Gardens to eat it. Apologies for the lack of pictures again, I was too hungry!

The following day was full of glorious sunshine once again, and my two housemates suggested that we all go to a local farm. Hitcham’s Farm make fresh ice cream from the milk of their own cows every week, so the ice cream we bought had been made just that Thursday! It was absolutely gorgeous, and we ate it on a bench in the sun surrounded by ducks, chickens and sheep. Bliss once again!

Since then, I have spent a weekend at home in Ireland, followed by a weekend in bed due to illness, so nothing interesting to report there (except that Sherlock is just as good watching it second time around!)

I’m really looking forward to feeling better soon and doing some more exploring. My to do list includes:

  1. More London
  2. Oxford
  3. Reading
  4. Cliveden House and Gardens
  5. Virginia Waters
  6. Windsor
  7. Cookham

I am really lucky that I live so close to so many fantastic places! I’ve been smart and have purchased myself a young person’s railcard, which gets me discounts on the train. Planning ahead for my next adventure!

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Day 3 – Alice in Windsorland

Sorry for the delay in writing about day three, it’s been a busy week!

I started off driving to Bracknell but then decided that as I had already been there for my interview, I would reset Mrs. Sat Nav and go to Windsor for the first time instead. My guide brought me to what appeared to be a pretty dodgy carpark on the edge of town. Once parked, I had to walk through a multi-storey carpark and over a dirty footbridge to get into the town centre, all the while thinking, “Jeez this town is gonna be a kip.” Boy was I wrong!!

The other side of the rabbit hole.....

The other side of the rabbit hole…..

I walked through into a beautiful old railway station which had this gorgeous array of fancy shops attached (including one dedicated to Bobbi Brown for you Mam!). After a short stop for sustenance, I discovered that the other side of the station/shopping centre were the walls of Windsor Castle itself!!!

Castle!

Castle!

More castle!

More castle!

I stood in shock for a minute or two, feeling like I had fallen down a rabbit hole into some magical place, then continued on my merry way.

Princess Kate's pub!

Princess Kate’s pub!

Swans on the Thames

Swans on the Thames

More Thames

More Thames

They had edible greetings cards for dogs here!

They had edible greetings cards for dogs here!

Eton church

Eton church

Shop selling Eton uniforms?!?!

Shop selling Eton uniforms?!?!

Eventually, I came upon this beautiful old cathedral.

What I thought was a cathedral....

What I thought was a cathedral….

More "cathedral"!

More “cathedral”!

Turns out it was actually Eton College!!!

Yes, this is the Eton College IT department

That little sign on an Eton College door says “IT department”!

View the bridge over the Thames into Windsor

View the bridge over the Thames into Windsor

So overall, Windsor was absolutely beautiful and full of lots of pretty restaurants and cafes I can’t wait to try out! I’m looking forward to getting my advantage card for being a resident of its borough, that way I will get free into the castle itself and can have a decent explore! Still in disbelief that I get to live up the road from a place like this…..

Definitely not in Kansas anymore....

Definitely not in Kansas anymore….