Earlier this year, I visited Durdle Door in Dorset. I never got round to writing about it, but as I was going through my photos, I realised that I have some truly remarkable shots of the seaside, which I just have to share.
The weather was rather dull – clouds and grey skies – which makes the electric blue shades of the water even more impressive.
Please also note that with the exception of the last photo, all the photos are completely unaltered – no filters or colour adjustments.
Continue reading Durdle Door, Dorset
Whenever people talk about PhDs, they make it seem all doom, gloom and back-breaking work. Now, I’m not trying to dispute that a PhD is tough and if you’re researching a topic like mine, you should anticipate being tucked away in a chilly lab on quiet evenings when the undergrads have all left for the day. Studying for a PhD is not easy and you will have to make sacrifices, whether to your bank account, social life or sleep.
On the other hand, if you plan your time well enough, you may be able to slot in a couple university societies. I’m taking advantage of my current, relatively clear schedule and joined the Fitness Club, which conducts group workouts several times a week in the evenings. I get to exercise and socialise; also I believe that working out in a group makes it much more palatable (and therefore effective) than working out alone. I suppose it does help that I live on campus but I’ll take every chance I can to avoid being a hermit while I can, because I’m sure that time will come eventually.
So I’m going to enjoy every day as it comes, work my hardest to get my work done and not worry. This post actually came about when I looked out the window in my office and saw a sparrow grooming itself. Continue reading PhDs, fitness club and a sparrow
I already have a draft post that’s been half-written for nearly a month now. The problem with that is that there’s too much to describe and I think I’m a little too pedantic, which makes it more work than it really should be.
However, I had a lovely time in London over the weekend and thought I’d share a little of what I ate.
First, I made figs and goats cheese as a quick starter for lunch on Saturday. I believe figs are in season now, and the figs we bought certainly lived up to that, subtly sweet and juicy. I picked up some goats cheese from the butcher down the road – it’s a gorgeous sweet, cheese with a rind and creamy outer layer similar to camembert, with a firmer, almost crumbly centre. After slicing the figs open with a cross-cut (see this for a proper written description), I wedged a small piece of the amazing goats cheese in the centre. Then I baked them at about 180-200°C for 5 to 8 minutes, just enough to melt the cheese and allow the figs to warm up a bit. It’s a classic pairing and I certainly understood why after the first, warm burst of sweet and salty melted cheese in my mouth as I bit into the fig.
Continue reading Figs and goat cheese
As I type right now, I look up occasionally and see the heavy raindrops pitter-pattering outside the doors leading to the garden. It’s a strange sort of rain – heavy, but not a proper downpour, and the sky has that weird quality of being almost overcast, but not quite. The sun’s managed to peek through a little so overall there’s a rather dreamy feel to it.
I’ll stop rambling on about the weather now, even though it was what originally inspired me to write this post. The past month or so has been filled with mostly glorious (read: sunny) weather, although I do draw the line at 30°C heat in a country that’s built around a climate that doesn’t usually stray over 20°C.
However, the upside of all that heat was lots of flower photos…
Continue reading Flowers and scones: in the midst of summer
Admittedly not my most original baking post as I made brownies, again.
In my defence, it’s a different brownie recipe, and one I made without the convenience of my scales or measuring spoons. I was over at my best friend’s flat and she doesn’t own scales, measuring cups or spoons. It’s amazing how dependent I’ve become on my baking equipment, when only a few years ago I didn’t even know that measuring spoons existed.
So I stepped into her kitchen and asked for the scales. Scales? What scales? Fortunately her flatmate owned a measuring jug. Then it was on to Google to find out the equivalent of a cup to mls on the jug. I have a funny feeling that the quantities I ended up with may not have been exactly what the original recipe called for, but the end result was still delicious.
This time the only change I made to the original recipe (apart from my suspect measuring devices) was to add about 50-60 g of dark chocolate chips to the brownie mix. Other than that the recipe is exactly as Deb, of Smitten Kitchen posted it, here.
I used the melting in the microwave method as I didn’t really feel like setting up the water bath. It came out fine, as the following pictures can attest. Continue reading Spring, with a whisper of summer, via brownies
So spring has finally arrived. It seems as if everything and everyone is making the best of the warm(ish) weather, and I am no different. I’ve been for long walks and picnics in various parks and just generally chilled. For now, I just intend to make the most of my free time, so in addition to working my way through the library and making a few stabs at my own writing, I’ve also walked around the city sketching whatever catches my eye. Looking at my surroundings with an artist’s eye really does make a difference – so many things stood out that I previously did not notice.
I often have my head in the clouds, but I do want to share some pictures that I feel best sum up my wanderings over the past week:
Continue reading Spring (and shortbread) madness
I went to the zoo two weeks ago, for the first time in my life. When I was younger I never went because my mother didn’t agree with the idea of caging animals, and felt uncomfortable about supporting it, and my dad just went along with her. I spent enough time on farms and around horses and various other domestic animals growing up, so I didn’t miss out on animal interaction as a child. Also I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything because you can’t really miss something that you have no inkling about, really.
Then, at the ripe old age of somewhere in my late twenties, my best friend suggested a day at the London Zoo. There’s a new tiger exhibition, she told me one day over lunch. Also there’s a penguin beach at zoo.
Well, I couldn’t really say no to tigers and penguins, could I?
So we rolled up to the zoo, got our tickets (2 for the price of 1, with the purchase of any two rail tickets) and there we were: a pair of childless, non-romantically linked adults in 36 acres of zoo, surrounded by either photography-mad, affectionate couples or squealing kids and their parents and/or teachers. Continue reading A trip to the zoo
I just loved this flower arrangement when I saw it in my local pub last week. I haven’t used any filters – the colours really were that deep and rich. Thing is, I haven’t seen any flowers like these outside, alive in pots. It’s pretty much April – where is spring? I feel like we skipped straight through to winter again, given that we had a couple hot sunny days a few weeks ago. Oh well. I await the heatwave with bated breath.
On a more serious note, I just want to share another aspect of Easter with everyone: it’s not just chocolate eggs and bunnies. I celebrate Easter to remember Jesus Christ’s death and sacrifice to give me salvation from the sins I have and will commit. He then rose from the dead proving He is God.
So to me, Easter is all about a certain future – I may not know what job I’ll have in the next year, nor even which country I’ll be living in but one thing I know for sure is that God loves me and one day I will have eternal life with Him. In a world filled with uncertainties left, right and centre, this message gives me hope and peace.
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”
– John 11:25-26
Yes, this is a day late but I thought I’d share the heartfelt (but probably not the most elegant) poem I wrote and sent to my mother for Mother’s Day yesterday.
The picture was taken in summer/autumn 2012 somewhere in the south of England – it was a scorching hot day and I remember it being one of the most carefree days of the year.
I was feeling lazy the other day so I cracked open a can of tuna, shoved a sweet potato in the microwave, threw lots of sweet chilli sauce over everything and filled up a bowl with spinach for a salad.
Oh, and I made a cup of tea.