“Time was a funny and fickle thing. Sometimes there was never enough of it, and other times it stretched out endlessly.” ~ J. Lynn, Be with Me


It’s part of that list – the list of the iconic London structures that every tourist will want to see.  The Elizabeth Tower, the structure that houses Big Ben, the great bell that has marked the passing of each hour for 157 years, since it began service in 1859.  The Big Ben was silenced in August of this year for necessary restoration work that is meant to take about 4 years to repair the cracks and the Elizabeth Tower was slowly covered up with scaffolding to also undergo restoration work, along with other areas of Westminster Palace.  Although Ben was meant to be silent for 4 years, it did chime during Remembrance Sunday and Christmas Day.  It is also meant to chime in the New Year.

While I have always said that since I moved to the UK, time has rushed past me, waiting for Ben and his “braces” to be removed seems to be quite a long wait.  Sometimes waiting for Ben to be unbraced is unbearable.  I keep telling myself it’s for the best, because Ben will come back, stronger and restored.  So wait we must.  Patience is a virtue.  But oh my goodness!  1146 days (give or take a few days, as I can’t be completely accurate) is a lot of days!

I miss you Ben!




Taken during my first attempt to do an all-nighter photog session.  Needless to say I didn’t last the entire night!  But the company was amazing, inspiring and aspirational.  The people we were with were so very talented…and so very down-to-earth!


A London sunset


“Soon it got dusk, a grapy dusk, a purple dusk over tangerine groves and long melon fields; the sun the color of pressed grapes, slashed with burgandy red, the fields the color of love and Spanish mysteries.”
― Jack Kerouac, On the Road

This photo was taken on Saturday.  I still can’t get over how beautiful the sunset was!


Strength and safety in numbers

This is one of my favourite streets in London.  Mostly because it has so many museums and it leads straight to Hyde Park.

At the moment, it is the focus of of news reporting because of an incident.  Apparently a car hit a number of pedestrians.  If you want to keep updated on news, you can either google or follow this link to the BBC website.

As bad as it sounds, I’m just hoping this is just a serious road traffic accident instead of an act of terrorism.

Keep safe everyone.  Stay alert.

UPDATE as at 19:00

The Met Police have advised that this was a road traffic accident.  More details on the BBC website link I placed above.



You win some…

Sometimes you have good weeks and sometimes you have bad weeks and the days before Open House London were…challenging.  A storm had been brewing in my personal life and I was wondering about the choices I was making.

I think the universe knew I needed a distraction because I was overthinking things (as I usually tend to do) and I was starting to doubt my decisions.  So I got this message on Instagram on Friday.

I was so excited!  I’d been looking at my friend Ella’s little Apple pen offerings on Instagram and I was missing being able to doodle and I thought I’d get myself a few drawing pencils and a few watercolours and I’d start waving a brush around!  But as luck would have it, I won a gorgeous “starter” set from Reeves from an Instagram competition that Boxpark in Shoreditch ran.  Reeves was running a pop-up shop in Boxpark for a couple of days and this competition was part of that promotion.

I was asked to go to their pop up shop to claim my prize and we were served with welcome drinks and invited to colour postcards, paint plant pots and colour fish themed flip books.  We were also given canvas totes with more art supplies samples.  I wanted to stay and colour the postcards because they were “I love London” postcards but we had an appointment with 55 Broadway (we’d signed up for a tour of the TFL office which was participating in Open House London) so we had to quickly say our goodbyes.

When I finally got the chance to open my lovely prize, I couldn’t quite believe how generous Reeves were.  In my lovely prize box was:

  • a 6 piece acrylic paint starter set with brush
  • a 9 piece watercolour pain starter set with an HB pencil
  • a 12 piece soft pastels
  • a 6 piece set of sketching pencils
  • a 4 piece set of acrylic paint brushes
  • a pad of watercolour paper
  • postcards to colour with 7 coloured pencils
  • a watercolour mixing plate

Thank you sooooo much Reeves, I can’t wait to get started!❤️👩🏻‍🎨

…well, okay, to be honest, I’ll have to recover from Open House London first!🙈


Something about the Bird

So…I’m all for second chances.

Last year, we went to Bird in Shoreditch because I wanted to try the chicken.  I think I’ve written about my love of chicken so many times that this trip to try Bird’s chicken is completely self-explanatory.  I also had my Chicken Bucket List (I will be posting an update to that post in the next few weeks, so please watch this space!) to consider.  So off to Bird we went!

And needless to say, I was quite disappointed.  If you want to find out how dismal our dining experience was, read about it here.  The chicken was dry and overcooked, the service was a lackadaisical and a bit blasé and I said I was never coming back to any Bird branch ever again.

Until we saw a voucher for Bird on TimeOut London for a three-course offering (sides, a chicken burger and a dessert).  Alan said there was no harm in trying Bird again, especially at that price (I can’t remember exactly how much that voucher was for but it was something like £15 per person plus drinks).  So I reluctantly agreed to purchase the vouchers and off we went.

The two visits couldn’t have been any more different!  It was like coming into a different restaurant all together.  I mean, same name, same decor, same menu, same venue…BUT totally different dining experiences.

The staff were absolutely friendly, and wanted to talk about their food.  I know the word passionate is overused in the food business, but they were.  They were actually excited about their food!  They were completely happy that we had the vouchers and they explained how we could get the most out of our vouchers.  So order the food we did!

We both ordered wings as sides.  Alan ordered wings with the honey and ginger sauce.  The sauce was on the sweet side but had that lovely ginger hit that stopped the honey from being sickly sweet.  It was a lovely sauce for the perfectly cooked wings.

I ordered the buffalo wings.  I loved it because it wasn’t blow-your-head-off spicy.  I love spicy food but I like it when it’s not so spicy that you can’t taste what you’re eating because it was too hot!  It was just the right blend of spicy, tangy and the floral peppery notes.   Plus, the accompanying blue cheese sauce was yummyyyyy and was an absolute bonus.

Then we ordered the chicken burgers.  There are 6 burgers to choose from the menu.  Being the buffalo addict that I was, I ordered the buffalo blue chicken burger.  This burger is a battered boneless chicken thigh fillet served on a brioche bun with buffalo sauce and a blue cheese slaw.  I don’t think I got a chance to take a photo of Alan’s burger but he ordered a bacon cheese burger.

Then we ordered Bird’s doughnuts for dessert.  Alan ordered a doughnut ice cream sandwich which I thought was a dessert big enough to feed a family of four!

I ordered the daily glazed doughnut special – which was, on the day, a mint chocolate glazed donut.  I thought it wouldn’t be as formidable as Alan’s desert of choice, but when my dessert arrived, it was bigger than I thought!

It was such a HUGE MEAL and which came to about £20, including drinks and service charge, per person.  But it was such a different experience from our first Bird meal.  We were looked after, but it wasn’t saccharine-sweet sincerity.  It felt very genuine, and they really wanted us to have a really good Bird experience.  We didn’t feel smothered and I was quite impressed because they asked us if the food was okay before we took bites, which I thought was nice.  It’s never nice talking around a mouthful of food.

When they saw me taking pictures, one member of staff, a cheeky but charming French guy (I wish I’d taken his name), encouraged me to take photos and to tell people about Bird and to write a review on TripAdvisor!  I thought was brave because he hadn’t asked me yet whether we had a good time.  I think he knew that we ate well and that the food was good.  That confidence in their product speaks well.

And to be fair, we like it so much, we went back again for just the wings!


Bridge of dreams

In early 2000, I went to VideoCity (a now non-existent [I think!] video rental business in the Philippines not unlike Blockbuster video) and rented out the the only Gwyneth Paltrow movie in the store that I hadn’t watched yet.  I didn’t know what the movie was about…just that it had Gwyneth Paltrow in it and the sleeve was yellow (Yellow was a favourite colour at the time).

And so began my (and my sister’s) love affair with the movie Sliding Doors.  We were obsessed.  We watched it all the time.  We had it on in the background whilst doing chores (even whilst vacuuming and washing the dishes – yes in a whole other room of the house!).  It came to a point where we would say the lines of the movie and collapse in giggles for no apparent reason.  I think we drove our brother crazy because we’d have the soundtrack on constant repeat.

I don’t think it helped our anglophilia, if anything, it made it worse!

And this is a major reason why I wanted to see the Albert Bridge…for the longest time!  I wanted to see if the bridge was as beautiful as it looked in the movie.  It wasn’t just for me.  It was for my Duckie too.  I was going to take a picture to send back.

Now I have.  And boy, did that bridge look phenomenal!