Sunday, October 19, 2014

Count me a bit slow,

I know a good swath of my friends have been reading this sort of stuff for years, but hey, I've been busy adventuring the world. I still am, it's just that my interest in other stuff is growing too, and I have too much time for bumming around on the internet. This here is a list of websites that I want to keep somewhere accessible to check in on when I feel like updating myself with the happenings of the world.
As it says, radical book sellers. For next time I feel like I need something to read.
For working out what I want to read.
A feminist blog, because some interesting people write for it.
Because several I keep hearing it mentioned in connection to interesting people.
Because they get mentioned a lot in connection to interesting people as well.

Anyway, that was mainly a list of things that I might like to keep track of, but am certain to forget the names of when I actually want to read them, so now I have them here, and, you know, might as well share.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The hardest part of travelling

Sometimes you fall in love... then you have to leave.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Moving to Barcelona!

Now from my last post you would think I would find that terribly exciting. Don't get me wrong, I'm looking forward to being there. But fuck it, major packing AGAIN. You see I may not come back to Geneva, it may be straight to London from Barcelona (which would be fine with me, but OMFG seriously?!).

'Home' is a concept that has lost all meaning to me. I have lived at work for the past four years basically. When I'm not at work I'm travelling. I think I am finally getting travel weary. I want somewhere to call home. I'm tired of constantly packing.

The longest I've stayed in one country this year is two months, and that was visiting New Zealand. I wasn't exactly non-nomadic there either, I only stayed a few weeks in each place, tops! Since then a week in the UK, a weekend in Geneva, a week in the UK, three weeks in the US, two weeks in the UK, a few weeks in Geneva, a weekend in Barcelona, a few weeks in Geneva, a weekend in France, a week in Geneva, a week in UK, a week in Barcelona, a week in Geneva, now, maybe, a few months in Barcelona. Looking like I'll go to Belgium in August too... :-o

Anyway, as it was travel-relevant, I thought I would whine on my blog for a change, instead of just at my friends by email. I gather they're sick of it :-p

Sunday, May 11, 2014


I spent last weekend in Barcelona, I would love to say seeing all the sights and enjoying being a tourist, but actually I mostly just hung around the old town and enjoyed having some time off work.

What can I say about Barcelona, aside from IT WAS AWESOME! If you're thinking of going, GO. It's rather picturesque, the weather is amazing, there are millions of food options (being vegan, this is a complete novelty for me) and people are super-friendly. It has a quite a party atmosphere, can't imagine what the place is like during carnival, insane I am sure. Oh, and cheap, which is something I'm not used to with travelling, most big cities are stupidly expensive. Also, I hear there are beaches. I need to investigate those beaches. Ah well, next time! In the mean time, here are some pics from my new favourite European city:

Barcelona Cathedral (Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia, NOT Sagrada Familiar, the famous overgrown Gaudi creation!) is very, very pretty, and set right in the old town, plenty of bustling life around it.

A band busking in front of the cathedral. With a piano ON WHEELS!!! They were actually quite good too.

One of the many small streets and alleyways I spent my time walking around. This was a nice sunny Monday morning bustle going on, there are actually loads of people living in the old town.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Ahh California

Who else would think of making vegan doughnuts? I mean really, cakes I can totally understand, they're delicious, moist, just light and sweet enough. You can replace the eggs, butter & milk with perfectly reasonable ingredients like soy milk and vegan margarine, and you're good to go. Turns out the best vegan chocolate cake just skips replacing the egg altogether and adds a little more baking powder, simple!

Doughnuts, on the other hand, aren't exactly worth replicating anyway. Why would you bother? Oh right, America. Must retain our right to eat ourselves to death, just with added weird diet restrictions. Gotcha. I hate to think what goes into vegan doughnuts.

Anyway, I could rant about other aspects of America, like the fact you can barely walk to the supermarket, cause there is miles of suburbia between you and it, and there is no pavement to walk there on anyway. But I won't. California is lovely and sunny (actually quite cloudy and cool today, but never mind) and I get fed more than I could ever want to eat and there is a giant organic supermarket within walking distance this time, which sells actual, real tea! And I only have to walk in the gutter part of the way there, bonus!!! (seriously, the lack of pavements is really confusing, it just appears and disappears at random, half way down a block, I guess kids just walk in the street when they go trick-or-treating at halloween?).

Okay, snack time. Maybe I should've got one of the vegan doughnuts...

Or not. Maybe for science. Another time.

Friday, March 28, 2014

A victorious return

So I haven't posted anything on here since I was in Berlin, despite having been to the other side of the world and back. Something to do with the other side of the world being home and such I guess.

Since, what, November? December maybe I posted last? I've been to the Netherlands to see some lovely friends, down to Italy for Christmas, then back to the UK for New Years, quickly followed by a long, long flight via Dubai and Sydney to New Zealand.

Had a wonderful trip to NZ, managed to spend some time with the parentals, see two brothers, see a number of old friends (who're slowly spreading themselves over the length of the country) and drive the length of the South Island in a day (with one of said old friends). Good times! Would've been nice to see a few other people, didn't get to see all the family and had to miss a few friends, but hopefully next time, whenever that may be.

Since I got back to the UK I've been frantically running around like a maniac doing job interviews and trials and so on and so forth, but that's all done now. Have been offered a position in Geneva, so I guess I'll be practicing my French soon enough! Very excited about it though, Geneva is an interesting city and full to the brim with ex-pats, so it should be a good adventure. And shouldn't really require too great a command of the French language, which is a big bonus cause all I can do currently is order a coffee with (non-soya) milk, or a glass of red wine. Possibly white at a push. That is the extent of my French. This should be made more hilarious by the fact that I basically can't stomach any French food, never have been able to, too much butter and cream in everything.

But I won't be over there until the end of April, so I'm not really sure what I'm doing with myself until then, maybe take a little trip or two to visit some friends. Maybe just relax, I have a bunch of boring domestic stuff to catch up on, like sew buttons back on and taking up jeans and other such things. And maybe work on mastering the delicate art of vegan baking. Vegan baking you ask? It is definitely possible, I've had DELICIOUS vegan cupcakes from Ms Cupcake... so good... Did I mention I want to move to Brixton? :-p It's an awesome part of town, but also happens to be home to the most delicious vegan bakery ever.

On that happy note, I'm off to go and think about making some delicious things for this afternoon, and possibly doing some laundry. See, domestic!

Friday, January 3, 2014

The Berlin wall

The of the remaining sections of the wall has been turned into a open-air art gallery; basically they've had different artists create pieces using a bit of the wall as their canvas, with some spectacular results. It is slightly disappointing that many of the best have had graffiti over them- while I am actually a fan of most street art, I think it's rude to cover over somebody else's work, and it should be criminal when they do it over really good pieces! However, it is what it is, and here are some pictures.

Christmas markets (a few weeks late!)

The girls are ready for their gluhwein photo!

Finally all ready for our gluhwein in a hut picture!!!
Sorry for the long posting gap folks, life got a bit busy, as it is wont to do in fits and bursts.

Long story short, these days I'm a bit of an nomadic snail, bumming around Europe until early January, at which point I leave to be a nomadic snail in New Zealand for a couple of months, then I'll probably resume my life of frantically rushing from one location to the next at the drop of a hat.
Is  that really what it looks like? Yes, yes it is. Somebody knitted for a tree.

It's not that I haven't been busy seeing lots of places recently, I have, just that I was so busy frantically rushing about that I didn't get a chance to gather my thoughts (or pictures) together coherently. Most recently I have been (back) in Germany for a holiday- Berlin for a few days (another post altogether) and the Christmas markets around the Frankfurt region. I have an easy afternoon today, just sitting on a coach from Frankfurt (where I left my Christmas market holiday friends) to Cologne, where I will meet up with an old school friend who I haven't seen in about nine years, aside from one day earlier this week! And aside from running about Germany, I've also been doing work related things like conferences, and talking and networking and generally schmoozing.  

Anyhow, lets get on to the Christmas markets, because they are well worth knowing about! Christmas is rather a big deal in Germany, it would seem. Every town has Christmas markets to some extent I am told, but some are bigger and better than others. Big towns have numerous ones, they were all over the place in Berlin!

There were lots of exciting things in the Christmas markets, in particular Gluhwein, mulled wine to warm you up while you stroll the cobbled alleys between stalls examining all manner of Christmas decorations, from hand-carved hanging tree decorations to free-standing, highly decorated glass candle-holders and munching on deep-fried potato. It's amazing how many different ways there are to deep fry potatoes, I had no idea! Surely the most versatile food sources to ever exist! It's actually hard to capture the atmosphere of the Christmas markets with words, and the pictures quite assuredly don't do it justice at all. For starters you can't taste the sugar-coated almonds or chocolate-dipped bananas (yes, it's a bit of a sugar overload, particularly for me, I seem to be getting more sensitive to it by the day!), or watch your breath coming out in little steamy puffs while you get into the Christmas spirit. I was rather captivated by the Christmas ornaments though, they're just endless in variation, it's really quite impressive. I have declared that if I ever do something so boring and grown up as owning a house, then I will surely be coming back to Germany to deck it out for Christmas! I do like Christmas.

A mystery musical instrument!
Two of our party with markets in the background.

Berlin- a city under construction

Berlin definitely warrants a post of its own, it was quite an amazing place. S2 and I both really want to go back. We arrived early morning on a Tuesday, and left again Thursday afternoon, so we didn't have much time, and there is a lot to see in Berlin. Decidedly more than two days worth. Frankfurt barely manages one day's worth, IMO, but we were really just using it as a base to head out of town to the regional markets anyway. Berlin, on the other hand, was fascinating.

Berlin train station is an enormous construction of glass and steel, and by far the largest station I 've ever encountered!

I liked this sculpture on our first day in Berlin.
TV tower- an omniprescent sight
What made Berlin so good to visit is hard to say, but if I had to sum it up in one word, I would say it was the vibe. It's a happening sort of place. The arts scene is clearly thriving very well, they're very well known for the clubbing, techno in particular I think, and with a slogan of 'poor but sexy' they've obviously got some egoistic humour to balance out the hard-core party crowd. The history is obviously fascinating, how many cities have been chopped up into fragments and governed by foreigners for a few decades before being reunited and told to get along with things?

  A large menorah stands tall in front of the Brandenburg Tor, together dominating Pariser Platz.

It really is interesting to notice that you can really see which bits used to be West and which were East Berlin. Just a glance at the nearest building is usually a give-away, the architecture is quite visibly very different, and I'm no expert. The whole place feels like a city under construction, there are cranes dominating the skyline in almost every direction, half the streets are pulled up or blocked off for new tram lines or metro stations, and the only empty buildings you see look like they play host to some wicked gigs on a fairly regular basis. Basically Berlin is just pretty damn awesome. 'Nuff said!

A taste of the wall- I found this a rather witty comment on humanity and the walls we create.