Tuesday, 29 December 2009

T hearts Murren.













If you could only choose a few places to go in your life, Murren would have to be close to the top of the list.

It is magical.

Waking up to see the alps right outside our window in the morning was absolutely breathtaking.

We spent three lovely days in Murren, which is situated near Interlaken in the Jungfrau region. We had to take a cable-car and a funicular to reach the top. Traveller is a little scared of heights and must admit that she was glad their first trip up the mountain was at night!

During our stay, we spent most of our time in the outdoors. We tobogganed, ice-skated, hiked and ate a plethora of Swiss delights.

Traveller and husband didn't want to leave. We do, however, feel so lucky to have experienced this beautiful part of the world. You must go!

Monday, 28 December 2009

Happy Happy Anniversary.

Katie and Andrew's Wedding
One year today!

May there be many more like the first one:
filled with fun, friends, travel and lurve.

Traveller misses you!

photo by adam weathered

Fun in the Capital.



Stefan and Yuvia

Appler Macaronni

Winter Chess

Parliament Building

A view of Bern

Streets of Bern


Traveller and hubbie's first day in beautiful Switzerland was spent in the country's capital: Bern.
'I have never heard of Bern,' you might say, and so did we.
We thought that the capital was Zurich, or perhaps even Geneva. We were pleasantly surpised to find that this beautiful city was the nation's capital.

Husband loved Bern.

He even went so far as to say that he thought it was as beautiful,
or more beautiful than Paris!

T was lucky enough to meet up with some friends from her Rotary Exchange year in Oregon. (from 10 years ago!) Stefan and Yuvia both live in The Netherlands but they were in Switzerland to spend Christmas with Yuvia's parents. They were lovely hosts and showed us the most beautiful parts of the city.

We also had a delicious, traditional swiss meal.
T had alpler macaroni (a sort of macaroni and cheese, with potato, fried onions and apple sauce) and fell in love with it! So delicious! And husband had a dish where the bread was soaked in wine, and then covered with meat, cheese and mushrooms.

In fact, it was the first of many meals they experienced which had cheese as one of the main components.
T and hubs are full of swiss cheese.
And there's no better way to be!

Another Swiss reality which they learned on their first day is that the trains are incomparable! They are clean, frequent and always on time.
For those of you in London, you know how much we appreciated this.

Next stop: Murren!

Saturday, 26 December 2009

A Merry Little Christmas.











We arrived home from Switzerland today.

We had a brilliant time!
{and T's got the tobogganing bruises to prove it!-
but more about that later!}

Here are a few more photos from our little London Christmas.

Our friend Dave, became quickly known as 'chef dave'
as he went all out in preparing our Christmas feast!

He ordered us a 6 kilo goose and in the coming week
prepared all the trimmings!
Chef also made his own stock, a terrine with the giblets (amazing!)
and a confit of goose leg on pureed pees for a starter!

We also had all the regular fare - brussel sprouts, roasted root vegetables and a lovely jus.

Ahh, if only we could eat like this everyday, right?

There was also dancing, pudding {flambeed},
presents and a little walk up to Primrose Hill.

A memorable evening which was very effective
in shaking off the Christmas blues
{a dreaded infliciton caused by being
miles away from home during the holidays}

Monday, 21 December 2009

Before we go...

...here's a little taste from our Christmas bash!

We had the loveliest time.

We ended up being full of goose, veggies and pie.
{and, a whole lot more!}

It was like our own little London family Christmas.

Now we are off to Switzerland and Traveller {and hubbie} can't wait!

Hopefully we can post a few photos while we are there, but you never know
so, if T doesn't get to say it closer to the day...

Merry Christmas!

Hope your holidays are filled with fun, family and friends!

Saturday, 19 December 2009

It's all about pie.

The base

The filling

Apple and Blackberry Pie

Traveller was busy baking last night.

These are the pictures of her efforts - a delicious Apple and Blackberry Pie.

It's from a Jamie Oliver recipe that can be found here; T left out the ginger though and replaced it with cinnamon.


Friday, 18 December 2009

Sweet Temptation.






Portugese Tarts


Borough Market is heaven.

Well, if T designed heaven, this is precisely what it would look, smell and taste like.

There is a beautiful fusion between fresh fruit and veggies from local farmers and delicious gourmet treats from small businesses like Neal's Yard Dairy, The Ginger Pig, Monmouth Coffee and Brindisa Spanish Foods.

The question is not what to buy, but how much can T fit into her pint-sized London fridge?!

The most lovely part of today's visit was being able to purchase all sorts of delectable morsels for tomorrow's Christmas bash.

Traveller can't wait!

Thursday, 17 December 2009

The most wonderful time of the year.

As snow falls outside, Traveller feels really excited!

She loves Christmas!

School finished yesterday, and while we were busy singing carols in the school chapel, snow began to fall. Being an aussie, Traveller hasn't ever sang 'Walking in a Winter Wonderland' and meant it. Well, yesterday she did; it was magical!

Upon arriving home, she found her new camera waiting for her!
Due to old camera's untimely demise, husband and T decided to buy a new edition for their upcoming trip to the Swiss Alps. Traveller has secretly (or not so secretly) wanted a new camera for what seems an age, so coming home to her new G11 was like Christmas had begun early.

Today she finished off some Christmas shopping and took her little G11 for its first outing. The Christmas lights are out on Oxford Street and they are absolutely beautiful, so T tried to capture them amongst the teeming crowds...

Tomorrow she is off to her favourite place in London: Borough Markets.
She and some friends are having Christmas early this year;
we are making a proper Christmas dinner and Traveller is in charge of procuring the fresh fruit and veg. She is also going to put her cooking abilities to the test by making an apple and blackberry pie. Yum!

Husband is in charge of eggnog and his test-run recipes have been amazing!

So while they have no tree and not many family members around them, Hubbie and Traveller are already enjoying their first Christmas overseas together.

May it be white, not-too-cold and very merry!

Monday, 7 December 2009

I'm dreaming of a ....

..... white Christmas.

The good news is that Traveller is going to experience her first cold, snowy Christmas!

T recently booked tickets for a five day trip to Switzerland!

T can't wait for all that this encompasses;
the wondrous white stuff, tobogganing, mulled wine, fireplaces, Christmas markets, the alps.

Any snowy Christmas tips?

{It has to be said that T does sometimes wish for a day on the beach in a bikini though. Mmmm... sun. Oh well, one day she will be back in the land of the constant sunshine.}

photo via flickr

Sunday, 6 December 2009

How the other half live.

This week Traveller was given the privilege of attending one of Britain's most prestigious schools and judging their annual science lecture competition. Now, as you may have guessed, Traveller is no scientist. However, she was there to judge the finalists on their English communication skills and their Head of Science was there to judge their scientific knowledge (phew!).

The school which Traveller visited is called Harrow School and it is a Secondary Boarding School on par in prestige to Eton (where the princes attended). The science competition happened in the evening from 9pm which meant that T was given the further privilege of being invited to join the two science teachers for dinner in the staff dining room. Now let's get one thing clear; this is no cheap, school dinner. Not even close.

There were pre-dinner appertifs, followed by the menu below:

Pumpkin Soup
with Crispy Chorizo
Duck Breast au Poivre
with red onion relish and jus
Herby new potatoes
grilled leeks with goat's cheese glaze
asparagus tips and baby corn mis
Vanilla Creme Brulee
Cheese and biscuits

All of these were accompanied by wine, from an extensive wine list.

Oh, and the dining room had a wall-to-wall view over the whole of London.

Traveller thought that she had died and gone to teacher heaven.

It would seem, however, that she would not be able to actually teach there, as most of their staff come from Oxford, Cambridge or an Ivy League school.

The children pay around £26, 000 a year to attend (they live there) and, by golly, they receive their money's worth. The school plays host to a golf course, a fishing pond, a museum and an actual farm, on top of regular world-class facilities like a sports centre, playing fields, and an art gallery on over 400 acres of land. This type of school needs a museum as it has old boy's among the likes other schools could only dream about. Churchill (one of the eight British Prime Ministers to have attended), Byron, Sheridan, King Hussein of Jordan are just a few of these.

There are many facts about the school that fascinate Traveller, here are just a few:

- The boys wear a morning suit every Sunday which includes; tails, striped trousers, a waistcoat and braces. The regular boys wear boaters and the monitors wear top hats. They wear this every Sunday. The head boy wears a white suit!

- The boys are required to wear their hats on the hill's (Harrow is located on a hill) high street. They are also required to tip their hat at any adult who walks past.

- While the school is steeped in tradition, they play host to many modern languages, such as; French, Spanish, Arabic, German, Mandarin, Russian, Portuguese and Italian.

One interesting anecdote the Head of Science (also a doctor, a previous student of Oxford and the Director of Studies at Harrow - yes, T was a little out of her depths in dinner conversation!) discussed at dinner was that the Arabic teacher was there upon insistence of the royal family that attend the school. The school pays for his teaching services, his travel and at times his accomodation, and he only teaches for nine hours during the week! He has 12 students.

The actual judging of the competition was really fun; the boys were lovely (in a British mumsy kind of way) and seemed to be very intelligent and eloquent. In all honesty, it was such a pleasure to be asked, and it was an experience that T will remember for a long time to come.

{T almost wished that she was a boy and could turn back the clock, just so that she could attend - honestly, you couldn't ask for a more interesting educational experience!}

photo via flickr

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Them's fighting leaves.

Traveller has a fun flatmate;

she joins in on spontaneous autumnal leaf fights
and she has the coolest camera around...

The Diana Camera.


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