Just walking

In London there is always so much construction work being done, and on Oxford Street at the minute this is no exception – buildings being pulled down, rebuilt, or redesigned. The city is being transformed in many areas.


London life

I’ve been making more of an effort recently to carry my canon camera a bit more when I’m travelling for work trips. Whenever I don’t take it I always see something that would have made a great photo.


A change from many of the shiny reflective buildings that have emerged in London, a bit of colourful architecture. IMG_9612

Often walking along Oxford Street can feel like a bit of a battle, but this morning I seemed to be walking in the same direction as most other people so it was a little easier. IMG_9618

I’m not sure this is the best place to try and sort your suitcase out, but then again there probably isn’t an ideal place on Oxford Street. IMG_9633


I stopped in Kaffeine for a quick coffee. They always have so much food that looks delicious. IMG_9643 IMG_9644

These apricot muffins are definitely worth trying. IMG_9645

At lunchtime I ended up back at Bourough market. If I’m near enough its my favourite place to grab lunch. IMG_9647






It does get pretty busy by lunchtime, but it’s still worth a visit. If you want to stroll around though I would suggest going around 10am when it’s much quieter (on a weekday). IMG_9660


A chorizo roll from Brindisa, after getting some advice about ingredients for Spanish recipes, and some tips about Spanish cooking. IMG_9672

Coffee signs

For one of my research projects I’ve been visiting a lot of coffee houses, cafes and tea rooms, and often they have some quite amusing signs like this one – Decaffeinated coffee: Useless. Warm Brown Water.  I would tend to agree…

This was a great little coffee house in Geneva called Birdie Coffee.


A very much caffeinated double espresso. IMG_1395If you’re in Geneva and looking for a specialty coffee shop, I would definitely recommend this place.

City scenes: Manchester

I’ve been making a lot of trips to Manchester recently for a research project. It’s a city I love going back to, to see both new and familiar sights.

Pretty clear instructions from Idle Hands, a relatively new specialist coffee house close to Piccadilly train station.




The Manchester wheel against a blue sky. I went on the wheel when it was in the previous location at the other other side of the Arndale centre – but both times it was raining and so the view wasn’t that spectacular.


IMG_9353I’m more or less at the end of my trips to Manchester for this project, but I’ll make the most of what’s left and hopefully capture a few more views of the city.


Back to market

I was in London for work not too far from Borough market so it was the logical place for me to head at lunchtime.

The trend for cold coffee has even reached here.

Were I not loaded down with work materials I would have bought so much food from the market to bring home, it’s always so colourful.IMG_9849

I did manage to fit in a slice of the apple crumble cake from this stall for Carlos though. It’s a firm favourite.IMG_9833



For me the highlight was as I sat to eat my lunch (Egyptian inspired street food from Koshari street), Becca Lyne-Perkis, a former contestant on the Great British Bake Off started a demonstration the chef’s stage. It was a celebration of American Independence Day and she made some red, white and blue pancakes (with Strawberrys and Blueberrys) – deliciousIMG_9836

I’m always tempted by these mushroom baskets. IMG_9842

Much less tempted by the seafood – but it still looks great. IMG_9845


There’s still an abundance of summer fruits. IMG_9847

…and the usual fruit too. IMG_9848

Over to Birmingham

Now we are located in the West Midlands, Birmingham is the place I like to go to if I want to get out into a city.

The city library is one of the more famous landmarks these days. I still haven’t been inside, but I will get around to it.


The canal area is full of restaurants and bars, certainly a place to head to if you are hungry, and it’s a nice walk along the canal too.



A little past the blooms of spring, but there’s still a lot of colour in the area.IMG_9559


And back to the library, now with bright blue skies. IMG_9587

IMG_9595Despite the heat of the day, some people still like to keep wrapped up and pretend it’s more of winter scene. 

Coventry Motofest

Back in May Coventry city centre was over taken by vehicles of every shape and size for Coventry Motofest. All over the city there were displays of different cars, and they even had races around part of the Coventry ring road.



For some reason I really like Mustang’s.

Lady Godiva, on this day, surrounded by motor vehicles.IMG_9453


A Morgan three wheeler.IMG_9467

I don’t think I’d ever seen this many people in the city centre. 

Escaping the crowds we went for a walk behind the cathedral and came across this very tame squirrel.

IMG_9482I had noticed a while ago that on a lot of the bollard around the city, they are topped with an elephant, which is part of the Coventry coat of arm. It’s these details you only notice when you take time to take in the surroundings (well at least this is the case for me). 


An alternative view of the modern Coventry cathedral. 

Back in time: exploring Kenilworth Castle

We are still exploring the sights nearby to Coventry, and I often forget that Kenilworth is so close. So, one Sunday we decided to head over to the castle for a bit of exploring – and we came away as English heritage members, there will be more exploring in the future.


While I took quite a bit of time getting photographs of the full castle buildings, but actually I find the details just as interesting. Clearly wind erosion has done its work here. IMG_9816

Also when visiting historical monuments I like to look for the graffiti which is often  monument of history itself



It may mostly be a ruin, but there have been a series of stairways and viewing platforms installed which provide for some great views. IMG_9798

A beautiful view over the restored Elizabethan gardenIMG_9795



IMG_9772 IMG_9769Kenilworth castle is a great day out with plenty of grounds to explore, and we will definitely be heading back here soon.

Food and Gardening at the NEC

We visited the NEC in Birmingham for the BBC Good Food Festival, and at the same time the BBC Gardeners World Show was on too, and with tickets allowing entry to both places there was more than enough to keep up entertained for hours. We used the opportunities to sit down and watch some of the chefs on stage as a time to sit down!

So many cakes to choose from. IMG_9677 IMG_9678

I end up picking up all sorts of random things for the kitchen when I go to these shows and it’s nice to get to know some of the people behind the labels. IMG_9680

I also got to see one of my favourite chefs, Cyrus Todiwala, one of the ‘Incredible Spice Men‘ which was a real treat. 


I discovered Fox Spices too – with more types of chilli than I would know what to do with. IMG_9700




Macaroons – something I’ve still not yet managed to master making. 


There was a great exhibition in the Gardeners World section about beekeeping, and producing honey, and generally about the importance of bees. IMG_9716


It’s difficult in a photograph to convey the beautiful smell of these roses.IMG_9726

Incredible colours across all the floral displays. IMG_9730

Now these look like great tomatoes to grow. Tiny little tomatoes. IMG_9742

More coffee

Recently I’ve been visiting lots of cafes, mostly for work purposes, sometimes just for a break. I realised I’d ended up with a phone full of coffee pictures. I’m well caffeinated these days.

My ‘local’ in Coventry is Kahawa, a great place in the city centre – far enough for me that it gives a walk from the office.


Tamper in Sheffield, beautiful latte art!


Faculty Coffee in Birmingham – great espresso!IMG_0884_2

Timberyard in London – it’s not often you get given a whole bottle of water and a pot of sugar when you only order an espresso. IMG_0916

Kaffeine in London – go for the cake as well as the coffee!IMG_1126

Look at the heart in my Piccolo from Kaffeine. IMG_1127

Ziferblat in Manchester – if you haven’t heard of this place you should check out their website – you pay for the time you spend rather than what you consume. An interesting social space!IMG_1183_2

I’ve accumulated quite a large number of coffee, tea, cake and lunch photographs on my phone, but for now, these will do!