Archive | May, 2011

Life in London Part III: Food and Drink

23 May

Things I’ve fallen in love with while in London…

Food and Drink

Banoffee Pie. The most delicious dessert ever. A graham cracker or shortbread crust followed by a layer of toffee and bananas and topped with whipped cream and a sprinkle of chocolate or cinnamon. Absolute heaven in your mouth. (this Banoffee Pie is from Balans on Kensington High Street)

Jacket potatoes, also known as a baked potato in the states only a jacket potato is filled with... well... whatever you like. Commonly though, for a super cheap meal, Brits eat theirs with Heinz beans (also a breakfast staple) and a bit of cheddar cheese if feeling fancy.

Naan. A delicious flatbread that is standard with Indian cuisine.

Vindaloo. A very spicy Indian dish. Do not try it unless you can handle extreme spice. It has become a staple in my diet here.

I love nice a glass of white wine. Very sophisticated of me. Cabernet Sauvignon Blanc, please.

In addition to wine, you all know I love cider and this is my favorite…

I am on the hunt for this in the states. Berry cider... Swedish berry cider... That I only found twice in the UK... Someone help me

Life in London Part II: Words

12 May

Things I’ve fallen in love with while in London…

Words

I’m a voracious reader. After months of agonizing how I was going to bring at least 10 books abroad with me (knowing full well that I would end up buying about 5 more to make it til May) I decided I wanted an e-reader for when I travel. It has been the greatest device ever. If only I could morph it with my iPod… Oh wait, if I could afford an iPad I totally could. But I can’t. So I have the next best thing which is a Nook Color. I can surf the web, do crosswords, play Sudoku, read magazines in color and store thousands of books.

Love.

So what have I been reading?

I read all of the Percy Jackson books within the first two or three weeks here. I love Greek myth (as you know) and this makes it accessible to young readers while also being interesting and well-written, thus keeping the adult reader's attention.

Another book I’ve read is Less than Zero by Brett Easton Ellis. And then its sequel, Imperial Bedrooms.

It’s Ellis’s first novel, published when he was only 21. Reading something written by a 21-year-old inspires me so much. I know that it doesn’t matter how old you are, if you’re a good writer and a publisher takes a chance on you, you can be published.

The sequel to Less Than Zero was written 20 years later and thus the action takes place 20 years later. If it's possible, this was even more disturbing than the first. I love Ellis's writing style. It's very quick: short sentences, heightened emotions. Brilliant.

One Day, by David Nicholls, is one of the best modern books I have read in a long time. It is a love story of sorts that spans 20 years, each section taking place on the same day (July 15th) each year. It looks at the lives of two people on that day, whether they are together or apart. It is funny, sad, and well-written. Could not put it down- I even missed my stop on the tube one day from reading it so intently

The Hunger Games: Another genius young adult series about a dystopian future where children are forced to fight to the death on national television. It is gripping, horrifying, and honest in its portrayal of violence and the media. One of the best young adult series out there.

I also re-read Pride and Prejudice, but haven’t we all? Several times?

In addition to reading for pleasure I also read the newspaper every day.

London's free evening newspaper that you can pick up at any Tube station. I read it daily and not only do I feel informed, but I also get my daily dose of William and Kate.

Life in London Part I: Music

7 May

The first installment on things I’ve fallen in love with while in London…

Music

I’ve always loved Adele, but being in London has made me love her even more. She is a singer/songwriter who was born in north London. I love her for her talent, her confidence, and her ability to write the emotions that we all feel and can relate to at every point in our lives.

Adele just released her second album, 21, and being in the UK allowed me to hear it (legally) before those in the states which was exciting. She performed at the Brit Awards (the UK Grammy’s, essentially) and it is a performance that will bring you to tears. (skip ahead to the 0:30 mark)


Another bit of music I can’t stop listening to is, of course, Lady GaGa’s “Born this Way” which I blogged about a few weeks ago.

Like I said in an earlier post, I am obsessed with this song.

Another GaGa song was released while I was in London. Like a lot of her songs, this one has some controversy around it. Basically there are those who feel she is advocating for the biblical figure Judas, the betrayer of Jesus. In actuality she is using Judas as a comparison to a lover. People need to chill out when it comes to metaphors. Seriously, it’s a song. And a damn good one at that.

Another British discovery is Jessie J. She’s basically the Brits’ answer to Rihanna and GaGa. She’s definitely fun to dance to and she’s a bit of a nutcase, like all good performance artists.

She's just crazy enough...

And then there’s all the fun club music I heard on a weekly basis… Not a lot of variety there but dancing doesn’t need variety it needs familiarity. So hooray for Top 40 from the last three years!

Natural History Museum: Let’s talk about sex

7 May

One of my favorite places in London is the Natural History Museum. I first visited this museum five years ago with a student travel group and since I first saw the building I have been in love with the architecture. It is one of the most beautiful buildings in London.

After a few visits to the Natural History Museum I finally went to the Sexual Nature exhibit. I’ll describe the exhibit first as it was both informative and hilarious.

Sexual Nature is (until October 2011) an exhibit at the Natural History Museum which aims to educate visitors about sex in the natural world. This means I spent an hour or so in a hall dedicated to how and why animals have sex. Immaturity aside it was fascinating to learn about the different mating rituals and parenting styles of animals like snails and gorillas and giraffes.

One of the best parts of the exhibit was the video series by Isabella Rosallini. This woman is insane. Her videos are hilarious. And here is proof:

I can’t begin to comment on the response this video triggers from me. And this is only one of her videos. We saw at least 10. And the gift shop sold a DVD. Kind of wish I purchased said DVD…

As for the rest of the museum, there are several permanent exhibits including (but not limited to) human biology (This is what your insides look like! This is what puberty is!), taxidermy animals of all species (So cute, yet so sad in a way), dinosaur bones, geology and meteorology.

Here is a slideshow of some of my pictures from my (3) visits to the museum…

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