Posts Tagged ‘ Food ’

Ten Day Challenge – Five Foods

After Ten secrets, Nine Loves, Eight Fears, Seven Wants, Six Places – Five Foods

I’m going to do this one slightly different. 5 foods I love, 5 foods I hate and 5 foods I want to give up. And I shall be including drinks in with food.

I love triple chocolate store made cookies (single choc is okay, double is pointless), Twirl (other chocolate is okay, but Twirl is the best), Amaretti (yummy, even discounted brands), Spaghetti bolognaise and chilli con carne.

I hate creamy, white sauces (fish can be a problem and lasagna), olives, mushrooms, egg whites and coffee (the smell and taste is disgusting).

I desperately want to give up chocolate, crisps, cakes, alcohol and caffeine completely.

Next up: Four Books.

~ Persephone M


London: Camden and the Ritz

I’ve been rather slacking when it comes to most aspects of my blog, but at least I have started making blog entries recently. The last planned entries were all about my holiday to Crete which was back in May.

So I’m only a few months out! But soon after my trip to Crete I spent the weekend in London where I visited Camden Market and then had tea at the Ritz. It was part of my 30th celebrations and it was really good. I’d never been to either and Camden Market The Stables was such a sight. And smell!

There are all these horse and related statues because part of the area used to be a Horse hospital and then there are the catacomb arches filled with shops, and so many eateries from pretty much every different nation on the planet. We had dinner plans so didn’t partake, but it all smelt lovely. I also really wanted to try out the motorbike seats, but not only did we not eat, but they all seemed pretty battered. The shopping itself seemed decent with some very very random shops, some trinkity and some clothing although a lot of the clothing was a bit samey. Easy to get a London/British souvenir here and not even a cliche one.

The day after it was off to the Ritz for afternoon tea/lunch, and, oh boy, did they give you loads of food! I’ve had afternoon teas at Windsor Castle and Harrods; Harrods was my favourite of the two, but the Ritz might just be better than Harrods. I think it had much more atmosphere. In Harrods, I was always aware that I was within a huge shop. The Ritz didn’t even feel like a hotel.

There was a lovely harpist that played throughout our sitting, which is probably what made the atmosphere, and everything on the table is so immaculately placed. And heavy! The Ritz does it’s tea as sittings so you have to be there by your pre-booked time, it lasts up to two hours, they tidy back every table and set up for the next sitting. It’s all in and then all out. Harrods was more come and go as you please which also detracted from the atmosphere. Photography has to be kept to a minimum and discreet so no flash and I couldn’t get many that weren’t of my friends without risking being thrown out!

The tea was lovely though, and they have so many choices. On our table we had decaf, red bush and fruit so no actual “real” tea. The three tier holder is empty at first and then they bring out the sandwiches; one of each type each. I didn’t love any of them, but I like plain sandwiches so totally not the fault of the Ritz. Then they brought out 5 or 6 small cakes. My three friends looked at me and we all shared the same look: how do we divide 5/6 tiny cakes by 4? And was that all we were getting.

Then the warm scones came out, two each, a bit smaller than I remember the Harrods ones, but the clotted cream and jam were already on the table and I love scones with cream! After the sandwiches, we ate the scones and then we were each brought a creme brulee. I’ve never had one before, not sure I’m that keen on them, but ate and enjoyed it anyway. Before we could then get on to the dilemma of the tiny cakes a cake trolley came around with the choice of carrot cake and something I’ve forgotten!

After eating my carrot cake (with Ritz branded chocolate on it!) we were all stuffed and had to force down the tiny cakes. So what had started as questioning the number of cakes led to far too many cakes! And they keep refilling the tea. It was an amazing start to my 30th celebrations.

And, in retrospect, possibly the best part of my 30th celebrations, but that’s a different story.

~ Persephone Muse

P.S. I now have an instagram account, so feel free to check out my pics! My username is Persephone_muse

Greece: Crete

Crete was the second Greek Island I’ve so far been fortunate to get to visit and my third time in Greece all together as I started my obsession with all things Greek in 2009 on my honeymoon to Athens. The first island I was able to tick off of my wish list was Rhodes which I visited last April and the other week I spent a whole seven days in Crete.

I mainly travel to see the ancient sights and then other famous sights by default, so I picked Crete for Knossos and then decided afterwards that I also had to see the Samaria Gorge whilst there. I’d also wanted to visit Phaestos and Gortys (Ancient Roman and Greek sites, with Knossos being earlier still and Minoan), but the holiday company I was with weren’t running trips to either of them and other companies were but on the wrong days. I guess that’s the problem with picking one side of a fairly large island, and only visiting for one week if certain trips are only on one day of the week. There wasn’t much I could do about it other than rewind time, learn to drive and then hire a car out there although the winding mountain roads are bloody scary so it might not have solved anything.

Needless to say the inability to visit these two locations did put a little dampner on my trip and, along with the Knossos and Gorge trips, I also booked a trip to Hania, which I had not been fussed about.

We stayed in a lovely small-ish all inclusive hotel just outside of Rethymno town centre, although we did not make it into Rethymno itself (which in hindisght was probably an error, oh for more than 7 days!) even when we were told that the Olympic flame was passing through on our first day there! I’ve stayed in quite a few all inclusives now and like them for certain types of holidays. Holidays for me are either city breaks (Rome, Paris, Athens) where there’s a good public transport system, English isn’t uncommon and I can wander around on my own – or at least with my husband or friends. Then there are the beach holidays, the relaxation holidays where not every day is jam packed with places to visit and things to see. My husband prefers these, but after a holiday to Domincan Republic where we spent 14 days sitting by a pool, I refused to do a whole holiday of nothing.

This is the smallest pool (freshwater), shaped perfectly for lane swimming, which is what I used it for. Would have loved one of the apartments that opened up onto it!

He “allowed” me three days of trips/excursions on this holiday, as long as the other three full days consisted of him sitting in a pool bar drinking as mauch as he wanted. We both like to be in all inclusives and not have to worry about where to find food at night, or how much money it will all cost. Although, in Greece especialy, I do like to branch out to somewhere else for at least one meal for a more authentic feel. Usually there’s at least one day of the husband sitting in the pool bar from as early as they open until I drag him out as the sun’s setting. In fact, more often than not as soon as breakfast is done, he’s by the pool drinking beer whilst I’m drinking water – oddly I seem to think that water is good for during the day when the sun’s hot!

We opted for the Greek night in the taverna (one night in the taverna free per week for AI), but the food wasn’t all that brilliant and I preferred the main restaurant.

The hotel we stayed in – the Aquila Rethymno – was different to other all inclusives that we’ve been to. Perhaps because it’s also half board, but there are no pool bars (a huge shock to my husband), but a very lovely beach bar, which was far nicer than any other beach bar we’ve been to. I put it down to a certain little bit more class than other AIs, just in that no one could sit in a pool all day long without even getting out to urinate. That being said there weren’t that many toilets outside so perhaps they should have ignored that. In the end I quite liked the slightly classier feel to the alcohol side of things. Yes, on our first evening I was a bit concerned with the guidance that even on AI, certain drinks had to be paid for in the restaurant even when they’re free in the bar. It didn’t include wine and in some respects should you be drinking spirits whilst eating your evening meal?

The sea was really rough, but there were people in it despite how the waves breaking easily kept knocking them to the ground.

The whole ambience of the hotel seemed nicer than most other places we’ve stayed in and I really loved the hotel. It’s one of the first that I’ve said I’d go back to, if I were one to re-visit a holiday destination, which given the things I wanted to see and missed perhaps I will. It wasn’t completely perfect but I’m not sure where is. For example, I found it kind of odd that the bedrooms were carpeted, but with people encouraged to not walk through the reception and hotel wet from swimming, bedroom floors aren’t likely to get wet. And the carpets made a refreshing change from the oft used floor tiles which are always cold on your feet no matter the climate.

The lack of bars during the day (the interior lobby bar doesn’t open until about 4pm) is made up with the fact that there are three outdoor swimming pools (one of which is salt water) and during the week we were there, barely had anyone in. The beach is part of the resort and not across a main road or a few blocks walk away and is private for the Aquila and whilst there is a main-ish road out the front if you’ve got a sea view room it’s barely audible – I had more problems from the noise of the birds waking me up or the bar music keeping me awake. And the noisy bar was my only real complaint and that was only because it was loud one night until 1am and I was up at 5am for the Samaria Gorge walk. Other nights it was just as noisy, but I slept through it or stayed up without caring, the night I needed to get ready for the longest walk of my life, I cared!

This is the view to the right from our balcony with the lobby beneath. Very nice place to relax but could be a bit noisy at night.

The balcony view to the left, the beach!

The food in the main restaurant was more than fine. Every dinner they had the same spaghetti option along with plain rice and then various other varied foods. I can be a bit picky with meat and there was only one evening where I didn’t want to eat anything other than vegetables (and spaghetti, which I could have eat every evening!). Breakfasts were the same every morning and the standard choices of bacon, sauages, eggs (fried, scrambled, boiled), beans, mini pancakes (with syrup) and the usual variety of croissants, cake and bread. It’s also standard because it isn’t “british” bacon or “british” suasages, but as with any AI it has to cater for all tastes and although I could have done with a proper fry up, I was happy to settle for mini chipped potatoes rather than hash browns. Lunch times were the only time I saw chips and both lunch and dinner had a nice variety of puddings – I love baklava! And apple cake! And the cherry cream cake thing they had! There’s also fresh fruit at every meal.

I created this in the main restaurant with the plain and bolognaise sauce, sweetcorn from the salad bar, meatballs and pureed garlic from the side. It was scrummy!

For once I didn’t over indulge completely on food, which might suggest that they didn’t have enough yummy choices for me, but I was actually pleased. Nothing jumped out as being authentically Greek, but AI never have to me so it wasn’t a problem. I got the real taste and flavours of Greece on the excursions I did, more of which later!

~ Persephone M

Back From Holidays

So, I’m back from my holidays and thought I should drop back in on civilisation! I actually managed an entire week (almost 8 whole days) without any form of technology other than an ipod and cameras! There was even a television in the hotel room which was never even turned on. That has to be some sort of record for me.

I took a notebook but didn’t even look in it and had no creative thoughts whatsoever (take that to be good or bad). Unless you count the creative processes behind some of the photos I took. It was a good week though. Three days involved excursions – including a 13 mile walk through a Gorge – and three days simply sitting by the pool/beach. I’m planning on posting photos and blogs with regards to what I did and where we went (visited Hania, Heraklion and the Samaria Gorge), but I didn’t get chance to play with the cameras last night when I got back.

It was quite unusual because our flight landed at 1630 and we were home within two hours. We’ve never come home during daylight before and it was odd, although I hadn’t thought far enough ahead to consider the traffic/rush hour aspect! Oops. I did have the foresight to know that I wouldn’t be willing to really cook when we got in so there were some frozen pizzas ready and waiting for me in the freezer. I am already having with withdrawal to all the food I was eating. So far today I’ve had a sandwich, some pineapple and a banana; I was having a plate of crossiants and pastries followed by a plate of full English. And that was just for breakfast. Bit of a change.

I just have to say, for the soppiness out there, the beast thing about my arrival home was that the foster children were still up and I was able to have the biggest cuddles ever from them both! The younger one even tried to tell me that they were still up waiting for me and then got this really cute, shy look when we accused them of fibbing. It was a fib! But still so very cute.

The best thing I can say about the holiday (which will be explained later) is that, my husband tried to fall off a mountain and I tried to walk through a river rather than across it on a bridge!

Now, fingers crossed that this email post works, the categories and tags I attempt to use work and that I actually get my lazy finger out of my bum and post about the holiday and books I read. Oh, also cross your fingers that I actually figure out what to do with my 365 project blog which is, in two words, an Epic Fail!

~ Persephone M

Lent 2012

It’s that time of year again, the time where some people chose to decide to give something up for lent. I’m not overly religious so I guess I use lent selfishly – I use it to give up something that is normally difficult and will make me healthier. I never make new year’s resolutions, I know I won’t keep to them. However, for the past two years I have given something up for lent and stuck to it.

The first time I actively chose to give up something for lent, I gave up snacks. This included all chocolate, crisps and general eating between meals unless it was fruit.

The second time, I gave up junk food. It proved difficult with defining what I meant by “junk” and after classifying chips as junk, finding a meal in a restuarant that didn’t include chips was hard.

Surely whatever you pick to give up has to be something that affects you, it can’t be something that you don’t need or love because where’s the trying with that. By no means am I saying that I’m perfect, but I don’t know what other things mean enough for me to give up. I could give up junk/snacks again, but a) been there, done that; b) I’ve already decided to change my diet just so that I can say for definite that it isn’t that preventing me getting pregnant.

Same reason I’ve already cut back on my caffeine intake and alcohol consumption – just to be on the safe side. So what does it really leave for me to give up? The biggest vice, my husband would say, is watching the television. On my way home I was thinking that rather than giving up something this lent, perhaps I would, instead, take up something instead.

I constantly try and tell myself to do more exercise, to do more writing, but something always stops me. Trying to find the time to maybe go jogging or do some aerobics always seems so hard. There’s always something else that I’d rather be doing. Usually, it’s watching the TV. On the occasions that I feel inspired to write, I always work on the wrong project and not the novella that, again, my husband thinks I should.

So, I began thinking that maybe this year I would take up something rather than give up. Lent is seen as giving up something of luxury or promising to do things better. Combining the two, I now have two options:

  1. Give up 30 minutes of TV every day to concentrate on my novella.
  2. Give up 30 minutes of TV every day to go jogging, do an aerobics class, cycle along the seafront.

I think either are fitting given how addicted I am to TV (and my Tivo), and I think I need to work my way up to giving up television for lent. That would be soooo difficult!

Which one, or both? How about you?

~ Persephone M

Chocolate Stash…

I’ve had my first chocolate stash from my Christmas store! Oh, no, only the 5th working day this year and I’ve already given into my weakness. Help! Okay, so there’s a lot of chocolate in my supply, but five days in and I’ve been weak.

Oh, and it’s so very, very weak because the chocolate (although just a small lindt ball thing) came after a small packet of crisps (the kind that leaves you always wanting a second because 25g is far too little) and now I’m eating the second packet of crisps! Oh, dear! I just can’t do this healthy eating thing, can I?

Sitting next to my laptop right now are a dozen clementines and 4 pears, but nooooo, I had to eat the chocolate. After the crisps and pear. Rubbish!

And I was doing so well last week. Fingers crossed for the rest of this week.

Annoyed, Persephone M

On the Eight Day of Christmas…

Via Flickr:
… my true love shared with me, eight minty thins, seven travel brochures, six bottles to drink, five shopping bags, four classic films, three mince pies, two bags of rubbish and a cracker for next year!

Christmas just isn’t Christmas without After Eight Mints – other brands are available. One day left before the year truly starts (aka work!).

Happy New Year,

~ Persephone M