DAY TRIPPING TO YORK

Good evening beautiful souls,

Yesterday I spent a lovely day in York with one of my best friends from uni. I hadn’t seen Chloe since autumn last year and so it was lovely to catch up again.

I hopped on the train at around 9.55 and arrived in York at 10.40 ish. We started our day with our umbrellas pitched against the pouring rain and fighting a battle with the wind as they kept blowing inside out. Because it was so miserable we decided to do a spot of shopping and went into Primark where I tried some nice pieces on but didn’t buy as sadly non looked good on, but I did come out with some basics that needed stocking up, more socks and simple tank tops and the like.

After having a browse around topshop and a couple of other stores we sat down in Pret for a bite of lunch and I enjoyed a yummy avocado, olive and sun-dried tomato baguette.

The rain had finally stopped by the time we finished lunch and so we did a bit more window shopping discovering some really beautiful stores (I love a good window display) including a fragrance shop where I had to really resist spending my money. We also crossed paths with a cute tea shop where I bought a loose leaf gingerbread rooibush tea which I am excited to try as it smells amazing.

We then visited the three Harry Potter shops that can now be found in the Shambles and although I didn’t buy anything it made me want to go to the Harry Potter studios even more!

As it started getting colder we went for a pint and a nice long chat before walking along the wall a bit and then going for a cocktail. I tried an Amaretto in da ghetto aha which was super tasty!

Towards the end of the day we treated ourselves to dinner at the Botanist which was really tasty. I had olives for starters and then a delicious aubergine stake with giant morrocan couscous for mains. I was happy with the Vegan options available, a good selection and lots I wanted try; I shall have to go back another time.

At around 7.30pm we sadly has to say goodbye and I made my way to the station to catch my train home.

It was such a nice day despite the rain. I love York, it’s such a beautiful place and it’s always nice to catch up with friends you don’t see often.

Love Carina xo

BUCKET LIST FOR 2018

Hey there beautiful souls,

At the beginning of the year I wrote my new years resolutions post filled with mainly personal aims. However I also have a list of more activity style aims for this year which I felt fit better under the title of Bucket List. So here goes a list of things I want to do this year, from travelling abroad to seeing more art and enjoying more music.

(Also I’m pretty sure this list will keep growing, so I might do posts on my updated Bucket List)

  • Go to the Harry Potter Studios
  • Visit at least 2 different countries
  • Lindisfarne Festival (tickets already booked – yay)
  • Vegan Camp Out Festival
  • Visit friends – London, Bristol, York, Manchester, Edinburgh
  • Get my lip re-pierced
  • Get a new tattoo
  • Go to at least 4 Royal Northern Sinfonia concerts at the Sage
  • See at least 6 art exhibitions
  • Read at least 40 books (including audiobooks)
  • Have a mini getaway in the Peak District again

Do you have anything specific on your Bucket List for 2018?? I’d love to know!

Love Carina xo

LONDON BOUND

Good evening beautiful souls,

Yesterday my dad and I were London bound to go on a coffee crawl. The aim of this trip was to do some research for dad’s coffeehouse which is currently closed for renovation.

The day didn’t start well as I left the house a little too late and then saw that as it was prime time, rush hour traffic was soo bad that I didn’t think I’d make it on time and would be faster walking. So off I set on my quickest power walk getting more and more panicky by the minute as time kept ticking on. I ran in bursts, my heart started pounding and the closer I got to the train station the more I felt like I was going to die aha. I can laugh now, but I felt terrible thinking I was going to ruin this fun day for dad and myself by not arriving on time. However I eventually did get to the station with about 6 minutes to spare; I was wheezing as I collected our tickets from the machine and when I sat down to try and catch my breath the sweat dripped down my face as the same time as relief washed over me – I had made it! I had made it! Phew!

27152576_10215247520085763_212256883_n

So after that nightmare of a start to the day we settled down into our seats and I began our journey with a much needed nap. Once feeling more recovered I got out my kindle and began reading Holding Up The Universe by Jennifer Niven until we got closer to London and we went over the plan for the day. At 11.45 we finally pulled into Kings Cross and set off to find the first cafe on our list.

Disclaimer: In the end everyone’s tastebuds are different and everyone has their own preferences – this is just my opinion of these coffee shops.

27140280_10215229743161351_400961489_o.png

Coffee Shop no.1 – Attendant 

I liked the decor of this cafe, especially all the greenery, and the staff were friendly enough, however I was rather disappointed with the coffee. Dad’s flat white was ok I think, but the filter coffee I had ordered was the last dregs from a batch brew. When I inquired about it not being a fresh V60 (which is what I would expect it to be at £4 a tiny cup) the waitress just told me I could have a fresh cup if it wasn’t hot enough as she was about to brew a fresh batch, so obviously I wanted the freshest coffee not the last dregs and asked to please have a fresh cup, but she just told me to try it first. I was rather annoyed at this but couldn’t be bothered to complain so just drank the coffee which tasted ok but wasn’t hot and had coffee grind left in the bottom which a filter coffee shouldn’t have either, at least not the amount that was in my cup. Later on in the day I saw numerous other coffee shops have ‘batch brew’ on their menus but they were not disguising this by naming it filter coffee and they had a far more reasonable price margin for a cup, between £2.60-£3.

27157672_10215247518965735_232320833_n

27153452_10215247519885758_1547259284_n

27152758_10215247518405721_112505109_n

Coffee Shop no.2 – Ozone Coffee Roasters

This was my favourite coffee shop, it had a nice vibe with an open kitchen and brew bar in the centre of the cafe like an island and the scent of fresh coffee being roasted downstairs wafting across every so often. They had the biggest variety of coffees to try here from Filter and Aeropress to Siphon coffee. However when asking for more information on the coffee the waitress wasn’t overly friendly and didn’t seem to know much about the coffee they serve which was a disappointment, simply saying ‘Yeah it’s not too acidic I like this one’ isn’t very informative. In the end Dad and I chose the Aeropress coffee and the filter coffee. We preferred the flavour profile of the Areopress coffee which was a bean from Ethiopia and had flavour notes of strawberry and praline, it really did taste like strawberry chocolates! What we weren’t too keen on was the coffee being served in glass jugs with glasses to drink out of. Dad prefers a nice porcelain cup, it felt too much like we were on a coffee tasting course, which to be fair on this day I guess we kind of were.

27292765_10215247086954935_1890252907_n

27157564_10215247092715079_1359171069_n

27292170_10215247090515024_1168501694_n

27157159_10215247085674903_1537916813_n

27153435_10215247085274893_753661177_n

Coffee Shop no.3 – Fix Coffee

We didn’t stay here long. My stomach needed a coffee rest so dad just had an espresso which he described as far to acidic to be used as an espresso bean. The place seemed nice at first but wasn’t the cleanest after further inspection and again not all the staff seemed to know their coffees, which when you are serving more than your average espresso based drinks, you should really know so that you can advise and answer customers queries. This was probably my least favourite place.

27043478_10215247083874858_1117619701_n

Coffee Shop no.4 – Catalyst

After a short tube ride and a bit of a detour we eventually found our next stopping point. I tried a long black/americano here which I tasted great. The flavour was good and smooth no bitterness and they also roasted they’re own coffee beans in this little corner coffee shop. The only vegan thing they had was some bread, but it did come with delicious homemade jam which I thoroughly enjoyed. This was probably my second favourite coffee shop after Ozone.

27153224_10215247081314794_1518929317_n

27157586_10215247081074788_1179126635_n

Coffee Shop no.5 – Curators Coffee

And last but not least coffee shop no.5 where I couldn’t drink anymore coffee. So dad ordered a filter coffee which was a fresh V60 but had a steep £5 price tag on it. We could see their brewing station here and it surprised us that they as so many others have a massive gap between the filter and the jug they are filtering into as this is quickest way for coffee to loose it’s temperature when using the drip filter method. Anyway, that coffee lacked lingering taste and dad thought they might have used too little coffee for the amount of water, unless that was the taste they were going for. but the ratio for us, I tried a little sip, was too weak, so sadly a disappointing last cup of coffee.

27153320_10215247080754780_870868436_n

27153282_10215247079914759_2089331828_n

Leon’s @ Kings Cross

After walking half the way back to Kings Cross to avoid the ridiculously busy oxford circus tube station and getting on at Regents Park instead, we eventually collapsed in Leon for a bit of food whilst waiting for our train home. I had a yummy vegan kale and beetroot falafel salad whilst dad enjoyed some rice and meatball dish. As we ate our food it seemed like we had only arrived in London an hour ago let alone 6! Time had flown by so quickly we only got to about half of the coffee shops that were actually on our list! However it was a great and informative trip all the same. I realised that in general these supposedly more geeky coffee shops with various brewing methods on offer sadly didn’t actually seem to be that informed on coffee (at least the waitressing staff) and in general there just seemed to be a bit of coffee passion lacking which was a shame. We have some good ideas of what we want to add and alter I our own coffee menus for the reopening and are excited to share our passion for coffee with the public again very soon!

27399579_10215247073474598_1208577479_n

27157011_10215247074074613_199834383_n

Platform 9 3/4

Anyway all in all I had a nice time coffee crawling through central London and checking out how other cafes do their thing. To top it all off Platform 9 3/4 wasn’t busy so I could finally get a photo hehe!

27157845_10215247070834532_135369567_n

27294594_10215247073714604_404950128_n

Any other coffee geeks and snobs out there?! Have you tried any of these coffee shops? I’d love to know!

Love Carina xo

SAYING GOODBYE

Good evening beautiful souls,

This week although amazing has also been very busy and exhausting. Anthony and Tom, two good friends of Jessica and myself were in Durham this week for their Masters Graduation. As Anthony is from Lebanon and Tom from down south, we won’t get to see much of them especially Anthony, so we made the most we of the short time we had with them. I worked long days Thursday through till Monday and then spent the evenings relaxing with them eating good food, playing games, watching Once Upon A Time and Black mirror and of course enjoying some drinks.

wp-image--1774713027

On Sunday Anthony and Tom cooked a feast for us which was scrumptious and included plenty of Vegan options for me including Ratatouille, a Lebanese aubergine salad, deep fried cauliflower, beetroot risotto and deep fried beetroot risotto balls – mmm… It was all soo tasty! It was nice to be able to relax with the guys and catch up with them fo a couple of days. We played lots of games including our favourite, Settlers of Catan (which I won to Anthony’s annoyance and my delight as even though he kept blocking my every move I still managed to best him hehe) and a new favourite Cluedo.

Last night after a lovely full last day together we settled down to our latest night yet playing another round of Cluedo before binge watching Black Mirror until 3am!

wp-image-1740148731

This morning it was time to say goodbye to Anthony. I hate it when good friends have to leave and who knows when I’ll see them next! I really hope they both receive PhD placements near Durham so that visiting each other won’t be so difficult! I’m really going to miss these too, but thank god for the Internet and Skype, at least keeping in contact won’t be too difficult!

wp-image--127274690

 

 

So after a busy week with very late nights I am now settling down to a quiet evening and some self care time. A bath, an early night and some much needed sleep are in order I believe!

Love Carina xo