Hola España! And food, glorious food!

Life

When I first started drafting this blog post, I was sitting on a flight back from Bilbao and sunny San Sebastian in Spain, trying to pass the time. It made me think just how wonderful life is. We had an incredible time eating delicious food, walking along gorgeous beaches and drinking amazing wine (more on all of these in my travel and food sections). I know we’re so incredibly lucky to be travelling so much to all these fabulous places. I don’t know if I ever want to stop but I guess it all has to come to an end at some point. Besides, I’ve realised that sunny weather makes me so much more cheerful and living in London is not the place to be if you need sun to be happy. B and I worked out that it has been six and a half months since we’d had sunshine on our pasty, white skin! That’s just not normal! 

Mid-flight to España
April 2013
8pm in San Sebastian! 8pm!!
April 2013


In previous blog posts, I have mentioned I will report back ‘at a later date’ on a few things and that later date is now! Firstly, that 10km run I mentioned forever ago. I hereby allow myself to brag (although it’s pretty old news now so won’t be quite so boastful) that J and I did one of my new year’s resolutions from 2012 in that we actually completed a 10k run! Ok so it was in November last year but I announced our plan in an earlier post and forgot to say we did it!! It was painful and rather unpleasant. I even found I was talking to myself on the last kilometre, willing myself to keep going and that it would all be over soon. We ran the entire way (except the hills for me that made me feel like I might actually pass out – who puts hills in a 10k run for goodness sake?!) but J never stopped once – she was amazing! I’m not really in a hurry to sign up for another one (my feet, legs, hips and back severely hated me for months afterwards) but I’m incredibly proud that we did it!

 
Excited to get started
Greenwich Park
November 2012
WE DID IT!
Greenwich – November 2012


From my last blog post, I dedicated a little bit at the bottom to B to see if he actually read his wife’s blog. Amazingly, he actually does but I’m still suspicious that he got a tip off from his mate P who’s wife R, reads my blog!! Still, at least if he doesn’t read it, my lovely friend R does!

As always, the life section of my blog is the least interesting part cos I spend much of my time thinking about food and travel so let’s just move on to the much more fun bits!

Love

I can’t believe that after an entire year and a bit, my sister L has sent a photo or video of my sweet little nephew K, almost every single day. So impressive and it’s one of the things I love most. It definitely deserves top spot in the ‘love’ part of my blog. It makes me feel like I’m not missing out on seeing him grow up even though we live so far away. I hate that I’ve only met him once but the daily photos keep me closer and for this, I am extremely grateful L. Thank you!!

It seems a bit petty to move from the love of my beautiful nephew onto something as trivial as this… but in my defense  it’s more of a love for B and besides, I couldn’t put EVERYTHING in the food and travel sections so this bit is going in the love part. We have discovered a new (sort of local) pub in our area called The Sussex Arms. Before you roll your eyes at me putting a pub in the love section, just know this. This pub not only has an amazing selection of beers and ciders from little local breweries across the UK and the rest of the world, it also has a loyalty card. A beer loyalty card! Buy nine pints, get one free. Genius. It’s in B’s top three pubs in the whole world. It deserves a spot in this section, don’t you think?

Beer loyalty card. Brilliant.
The Sussex Arms, Twickenham
April 2013


One last thing for love. My parents had been over in England for around two months, exploring London, northern parts of the country and Ireland. I’ve loved them being here (perhaps not cramped into our tiny one bedroom apartment but all the other times!) It just felt so nice and normal to meet up for dinner, or go shopping for an afternoon. I do wonder if it was a tactic of theirs to come over, make me realise how much I miss them and make me want to go home sooner…

Travel

Yippee! I love writing about travel! Remembering where we’ve been and what fun we’ve had is so brilliant. Our first was a trip we took for Easter with J & L and my parents. Despite the terrible weather (freezing. Absolutely freezing!!) we piled into a comfy little canal boat and set off down the canals to Foxton and Welford. It was so much fun and we had a ball. We even managed to successfully manoeuvre through a ten high staircase lock. Awesome fun! We cruised during the day, stopping for country walks and fun pub dinners. I did have an epic blonde moment where I asked B if, because they were marked with numbers that matched their mother’s… can lambs read? As soon as it came out of my mouth, I instantly regretted it. B just smiled at me, a bit of pity in his eyes, patted my head and walked away. I really should think before I talk…

Little lambies!
Welford, England
March/April 2013
The kids!
Canal boating
March/April 2013
It was pretty fricken freezing!
Canal boating
March/April 2013
A beautiful sunny Easter Sunday morning
Welford, England
March/April 2013
Canal boating with the family for Easter
March/April 2013


Our next trip was our first overseas trip in five whole weeks. I know, aaaaages hey?! With my new shiny new passports with my brand new last name in tow, our April trip took us back to Spain for the third time. This time we went north to Bilbao and San Sebastian. Oh the sunshine, the food and the wine! We had a quick trip in Bilbao, arriving late Friday night. We took the opportunity to sample some local delights and let’s just say that Saturday ended up being an entire day spent with a pretty epic hangover. Damn you cheap and delicious rioja!!

Spanish delights
Bilbao, Spain
April 2013


On the Saturday we took a bus to San Sebastian. We spent the day wandering the lovely old town, testing the pintxos (similar to tapas) and soaking up some much needed vitamin D. It was glorious! We lay on the beach, took a walk up the big hill where the views over the city were beautiful. No swimming though… the water was freezing! I’d love to know what it’s like there in summer because we were there in spring, it was about 16 degrees and the locals were all in jumpers and scarves!

 
Sunshine… but still jacket weather
San Sebastian, Spain
April 2013
San Sebastian
April 2013

We also ate incredibly well. The local cider was really sour and impressive to watch being poured as they must pour it from a height as it’s the first time it’s been aerated. You couldn’t have a big night on it though! The wines were delicious. Local rioja was some of the best we’d ever had although after Friday’s effort, I was a bit scarred from it so stayed on the white on Saturday. But the food… oh. my. goodness. Easily some of the best food I’ve ever had in my life. Roasted Iberico pork rib; veal and goats cheese stuffed pepper; octopus; veal cheek in red wine sauce; slow roasted duck and a new taste for us both but utterly delicious… pigs ear with chimmichurri sauce. Wow, wow, wow! Happiness is Bar Borda Berri and I cannot recommend it enough. They are getting five stars on my trip advisor review!

 
Cider, pintxos, rioja and vino blanco
San Sebastian, Spain
April 2013
Beautiful views over San Sebastian
Spain – April 2013
The best pintxos I’ve ever tasted. EVER
San Sebastian, Spain
April 2013
Colours of San Sebastian
Spain – April 2013

Food

Homemade Moroccan tagines, High tea at The Savoy, Saturday brunch at The Table Cafe, gastro pub food at Ales & Tails, tapas in London at José,  lobsters with the family at Burger & Lobster. Oh food, how I love you!

If I talked about them all in detail, we’d be here all day so here are the highlights of each one.

Homemade Moroccan tagines. Two attempts, two successes. I don’t want to brag but… well, I will. I adore cooking in my tagine we bought in Marrakech and have used just one recipe to cook for my brother-in-law L and a second time, our friends R and P. Both times it turned out great – I think it’s my new signature dish!

My new favourite cooking method
Homemade Moroccan lamb tagine


High tea at The Savoy. This was an early Mother’s Day present for Mum so J and I had the tough task of taking her one Sunday. I don’t want to sound like a snob but it just wasn’t that great. Nice enough, lovely surroundings and so much fun to be there with my big sister and my Mumzie but for what it was, where it was and the hype that surrounds high tea. It was only ok.


Tea time at The Savoy
London – April 2013
High tea delights
The Savoy, London
April 2013
Happy (early) Mother’s Day Mumzie!
With J and Mumzie. Just missing L…
The Savoy, London
April 2013


Saturday brunch at The Table Cafe. Family brunch with not just J & L but Mum and Dad AND my cousin A and her husband B. I love family times like these and I like them even more when you get mimosas, decent coffee and dishes such as ham hock baked beans with chorizo, poached egg and hollandaise sauce atop a bagel. Delicious!


Brunch. One of the best ways
to spend the weekend
The Table Cafe, London
April 2013


Gastro pub food at Ales & Tails. When it’s done right, gastro pub food is one of my favourite types of food. And this place was beyond brilliant. Ham hock terrine with pickles, bloomer toast and hot mustard; seared scallops with black pudding and crispy bacon; saddleback pork chop with mustard mash and perry cider jus; slow cooked ox cheek with red wine jus and purple sprouting broccoli and bacon dust. Amazing tastes with an equally amazing beer selection. Bravo!!

Chocolate stout and pretty decor at
Ales & Tails, Twickenham
April 2013
Delicious entree. Gastro pub food
at it’s finest
Ales & Tails, Twickenham
April 2013
One of the best pork chops I’ve EVER had
Ales & Tails, Twickenham
April 2013


Tapas in London at José. A Friday night in cool Bermondsey St with two of my favourite London girls. Happy days. Spanish cheeses; warm beetroot and walnut salad; patas bravas; calamari; chorizo (two kinds cos one just isn’t enough) meltingly tender steak. As good as you’ll ever taste in Spain (but three times the price – but hey, that’s London I guess!)


YUM! Authentic Spanish tapas in
Bermondsey Street, London
April 2013
My London girls
José – April 2013


Lobsters with the family at Burger & Lobster. A menu with just three choices. Burger. Lobster. Lobster roll. Our order was six grilled lobsters with chips, salad and butter sauce please! We went here to celebrate (about a month too early) Dad’s pending birthday. I think it was the quietest I’ve seen any of us when we were together! Utterly delicious at an unbeatable price in London. I wouldn’t say no to a third visit…


Everyone loves a pinchy!
Burger & Lobster – Soho
April 2013
Happiness at Burger & Lobster
Soho, London
April 2013
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