Yelly Eats

The friendliest fish and chippy on the Soho block!

We’d walked past Poppie’s in Soho several times during our recent trips to London.  The Soho branch is on Old Compton Street and Poppie’s in Soho has taken over what used to be Bobby Chin’s House of Ho.  Whilst the signage is mostly black and white, the bunting strung across the signage makes it very cheerful, and, dare I say it, very British!

My friend Ally was visiting from Singapore and this was the only opportunity we had to meet with her.  I’d asked previously if she’d already had a fish and chippy meal since she arrived in London, fish and chips being quintessentially British, to me anyway.  She said no so I thought it would be good to have fish and chips because it would be a substantial enough meal if we were hungry but light enough because, well, it was fish. While I am partial to the fish and chip shop where I live, there was no way I was going to haul my friend up to Harwich to have just a fish and chip meal and push her back onto the train back to London Town.  It was our first trip to Poppie’s but we’d heard a lot of good things about it online.  It was convenient because it was close to where we wanted to go to in London.

When you turn into Old Compton Street , Poppie’s will be easy to find because it will be hard to miss the bright red Mini parked in front emblazoned with Poppie’s logo.  We popped our head in the door and asked for a table for 3 and we were greeted pleasantly and promptly showed to a booth.  The dining area was bigger than I thought.  Since the shop had a food prep and cooking area and a take away counter separate from the main space, I didn’t expect the space to be comfortable.  I thought that they would’ve tried to stuff as many tables as was possible.  But I was very wrong.  We had enough space to wriggle around very comfortably.  There was a certain charm to the diner/shabby chic decor of the space.

The staff is friendly and cheerful.  My friend thought we were regulars because of how the serving staff interacted with us.  I daresay you won’t find a friendlier group of people in the food service industry!  They were really nice and happy.  Some people might think they might be overly familiar, but it was nice to have friendly service that felt really genuine and welcoming.  The Poppettes, as the servers are known, know their food as well and can answer your questions about food really well.

Our food came out fairly quickly and piping hot.  You knew that the fish was fried to order.  The portion of chips was a great ratio to the regular portion of fish.  The fish was fresh, sweet and cooked to perfection.  The service was great and they looked after us without us feeling like they were forever hovering.  When we finished, they cleared our plates away efficiently but we didn’t feel like they were hurrying us up to free up the table.  We were allowed to sit and chat and finish our drinks.  The bill was also a surprise because it was very reasonable for what we ordered.  Great value for money as well!

I chose to order the cod because cod is always a safe option when eating at an unfamiliar chippy.  But I am definitely going back and ordering rock for my next fish and chip meal at Poppie’s.  It is definitely worth it!  When you’re in Soho, pop into Poppie’s for the best fish and chip meal!  You won’t be disappointed!

Poppie's Soho

Yelly Writes

London love

I do love my little junkets to London Town.  The city feels alive, like it’s an actual living organism, it’s got moods too (yes, I know, waxing poetic about a city is a bit cliché but I really do adore London!), and there’s always something new to see, even in places that I often frequent.  I also love how native Londoners love London.  You see their appreciation on their Instagram accounts.

I’m putting it out there.  I want to move to London.  I want to live in a place that doesn’t shut down at 5 or 6PM.  So that’ll be my goal, to find myself actually living and working in that cosmopolitan city that I love.  I know it comes with all the negatives: the high cost of living (the rent and property prices are horrendously overpriced), the pollution, the crush during morning and afternoon rush hours, the almost constant deluge of tourists (the foreign students on a school trip are the worst!).  Despite all that (especially the high cost of living), I’d still want to live and work in a city that’s constantly alive and buzzing.  I miss that.

Here’s a photo taken from Tower 42 from Open House London just this past weekend.

So apart from my plan to be organised, I need to mobilise!

Next question: does anyone need a highly organised executive assistant that has experience in travel, event management, association management, and has worked in the tax department of an accounting firm? 🙂

London and the Thames

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Yelly Writes

Getting organised

I need to get things back on track.  My life has been, essentially, been put on hold for 8 weeks.  I’ll write about that later because I’m not sure who reads my blog and there are people who I do not want to worry.  They have enough on their plate.

I’ve been reading a lot of books and ezines lately about meditation, health, getting organised, getting my career straight and I’ve had a lot of time to think about it.  I’ve had time to think about what I want to do and I didn’t want to do; what things I think I can apply to my life, my routine (or lack of it) and what I can keep doing (I am known to have issues with being able to “follow through” and finishing what I start).

My “time out” has helped me think about things and get my head on straight.  I am learning to value myself much better.  I want to get me back.  I will definitely post pictures of my projects.

Watch this (creative) space!

planning

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Yelly Eats

The power of the crinkle

I comfort eat.  Now I know psychologists and nutritionists and every healthcare professional reading this will be gasping and tutting and shaking their head right now.  Comfort eating is a terrible coping mechanism and will have far reaching consequences.  Ha!  How highfalluting and technical-sounding is that sentence, eh?  Mind you, I am very aware my comfort eating has allowed me to balloon and gain a whole child in terms of weight since I moved to the UK.

Apart from the comfort eating, I’ve been comfort cooking and comfort baking.  I’ve been trying to recreate in my kitchen the food that was readily available to me in the Philippines.  My favourite English proverb (which helps me justify my kitchen sessions) is: “Necessity  is the mother of invention.”  Mind you, the food that I produce in my kitchen aren’t necessarily my own inventions.  Sometimes it’s a result of me trawling the internet for tips on how to cook Filipino food.  Since Filipino food isn’t readily available to take away or to buy at the nearest convenience store, I’ve got to learn how to make things myself if I miss eating them.  I’m quite pleased that I’m able to make things that I would normally just go out and buy if I was in the Philippines.

I finally gave in to a long-standing baking to-do: making chocolate crinkles.  Chocolate crinkles will feature in most Filipinos’ top 10 list of their favourite cookies.  I’m not entirely certain whether it is a Filipino invention but it is certainly readily available in the Philippines, everywhere.  Say the phrase “chocolate crinkles” to a Filipino and you more often than not will hear them say “Awww chocolate crinkles!”

For those of you who don’t know, chocolate crinkles are soft, fudgy chocolate cookies that are slightly firm, almost crispy, on the outside and moist and cakey on the inside.  It’s covered with a generous coating of icing sugar outside and when you bite into the cookie, it’s rich and indulgent.

I’m going to share the recipe here once I’ve tried another test run, just to make sure that the recipe works properly.  Any taste testers available?

Chocolate crinkle

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Yelly Writes

Me before Me Before You

I’ve read the heart-wrenching book (twice – yes, I thought I could handle it.  I was boohooing half-way through the second read because I knew what was to come!  My eyelids were sore from all the tear-Kleenex soaking.).  I think most of the people who wanted to watch the movie version of Jojo Moyle’s wildly successful book have seen the movie.  I’m one of the stragglers.  Mostly because Alan didn’t want to watch the movie.  I’ve not yet taken to watching a movie on my own here yet.

But I’ve seen it now.  Despite the reviews about how it glorified suicide, I think some people took the wrong way and didn’t notice that the movie was about falling in love and letting yourself spread your wings and widen your horizons.

I don’t know if I can review the movie objectively.  I’m still sobbing, so, obviously, it has touched me and affected me.  It hasn’t made me cry as much as the book, and strangely, Emilia Clarke wasn’t how I pictured Lou at all, but Sam Claflin was a good Will (Sam’s features sort of fit how I pictured Will Traynor in my head).  It’s hard to dig into the meat of the story when you only have two hours to go through everything written (if you haven’t read the book, you need to!  Remember to get a box of tissues, a bottle of water – you’ll need the water for the possibly dehydration because of the possible crying – and the book.).  But it was a good movie.  I don’t think Jojo Moyes would be too disappointed.

But now, I’m going to nurse my sore eyelids.

mebeforeyoumovieposter

Yelly Writes

Where were you on September 11, 2001?

No I wasn’t in New York, I was in Atlanta the day the two planes crashed into the Twin Towers.  I think most of the people in the world who were old enough to remember and understand what happened can remember where they were when they learned about the planes that crashed into the Twin Towers in New York, into the Pentagon in Washington DC and into that field in Pennsylvania.

NeverForgetI was living with my relatives in Atlanta and it started out like a normal Tuesday.  I’d started helping my uncle with his medical records.  I worked at his clinic, in the back office, Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.  They were transitioning into digital records so I was doing data entry for them, taking patient records and inputting all the patient information, doctor’s notes and procedures into a patient records management system that they’d just installed.

I got ready to go to the clinic, went down and had coffee and a piece of toast and left the house with my aunt.  We had a small white TV in the kitchen and it was usually switched on whilst we had coffee.  Strangely on that day, I don’t remember the TV being on.  We got to the office shortly before 9AM.  The first plane had already hit the North Tower so it was definitely after 8:46AM.  I don’t remember what time we got there.  But I remember one of the patients in the waiting room saying “Oh my God!” over and over again whilst staring at the TV.

The TV in the clinic’s waiting room was tuned into CNN (we were in Atlanta after all).  I remember switching on the computer and walking to the water cooler to get myself a huge glass of water. I can still remember rounding the corner and walking into the waiting room.  I remember looking at the television and seeing the the second plane crash into the South Tower.  I can still see it.  I don’t think it’s something you can “unsee”.  It’s one of those images that embeds itself permanently in your brain.  I’m sure it all happened in real time but it I know that I can see it in slow motion.  How the plane flew straight into the South Tower and the ball of fire that exploded shortly after.

The rest of the day passed into a blur.  I don’t remember much about what happened except for all the TV watching we did.  There were a few panicked hours because we couldn’t get in touch with my cousin and her husband who were both in New York.  But at the end of the day, we were all accounted for, safe and sound, rattled, unsettled and terrified, but scared.

I think I never really understood the feeling of helplessness until that day.  Even now, it isn’t difficult to remember the feeling of not being able to wrap my mind around the enormity of what happened to America on that day.  The shock, grief, utter helplessness and eventual anger that everyone felt on that day.  It will always be a day that I will sit quietly and think about life, how blessed I am to have all my loved ones with me.  My heart goes out to all those people who lost their loved ones on that day, not just in New York but in Washington DC and in Pennsylvannia.  We will never forget all those senseless deaths.  Know that we will always remember.

Last year, in November, was the first time I went back to New York after that day in 2001.  We went to the 9/11 Memorial and did the walking tour with a firefighter and a lady who worked in an office across the street from the World Trade Center.  Before we went on the tour, we walked around the 9/11 Tribute Center.  I was fighting the tears by the time we finished walking around the exhibition.  Our tour guides talked about their experiences, what happened to them on that horrible day.  It was heart-breakingly poignant.  They were ordinary people who were thrust into extraordinarily horrific circumstances.  But what struck me was the underlying spirit of hope and the indomitable human spirit.

The enduring Sphere sculpture by Fritz Koenig was once the center of the the Austin J. Tobin Plaza.
The enduring Sphere sculpture by Fritz Koenig was once the center of the the Austin J. Tobin Plaza.

We must all never forget.  We must all remember so that this will never happen again.  We should always try to walk in someone else’s shoes.  Our first response must always be peace.  We must always be guided by love.

NYC Skyline

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Yelly Writes

Moving across the pond!

Well, okay, strictly speaking, this turn of phrase applies to people moving from the States to the UK, the pond being the Atlantic Ocean, and strictly speaking, the flight route from Manila to Heathrow doesn’t necessarily involve flying over the Atlantic Ocean at all.  But allow me the poetic license.

It was 8 years ago, on a hot and muggy afternoon, that I got on a plane with two suitcases and moved to the UK.  When I watched The Woman in Gold, a line that the character Gustav Bloch-Bauer said struck me as true for every Filipino who has moved countries: “We [will do] everything to contribute and belong and we are proud of what we’ve done.”  This is true not just for every Filipino, but for everyone who has left home to find a better life.  For those of us who do, we go to our chosen country, respect and follow its laws, its social mores, its norms, learn the language, the vernacular and its culture.  We want to be productive citizens and we want to contribute, we want to make sure that we put our best foot forward because we know, intrinsically, that whatever we do, our actions reflect back on our country, whatever we do forms people’s opinions of our country.

I’ve learned a lot in the 8 years that I’ve moved, about myself and about what I am able to do.  But the learning won’t stop there.  There are more experiences to be had and more lessons to be learned.  God has blessed me with the opportunity to expand my territory, and has surrounded me with people who will always have my best interests and well being at heart who are willing co-travelers with me on this journey of continuous self-discovery (awwwww!!!)♥

Happy moving anniversary to me!

immigration stamp