Birthday weekend

This weekend I was busy getting older. I know, I know we all get older all the time, but this was the weekend where I got a new number to prove it. It started off with me and a friend, who has his birthday just two days after mine, inviting a bunch of friends to join us for celebration and commiseration at the pub. We had a really good time and it was a great opportunity to see people I hardly ever get to see anymore.

Sunday was the family celebration and I baked a cake for the occasion

Birthday cake for me

Birthday cake for me

Before when I have baked I have had people wanting me to include a recipe. I’m not very good with recipes, but I’ll include one below. This cake is really easy and is done in no-time.

The big bad wolf’s chocolate cake with white chocolate cream:

Cake:
2 eggs
1 ½ dl sugar
150 gr butter
2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
1 ½ dl flour
½ small spoon of baking soda
(I always add some vanilla sugar)

Cream:
100 grams of white chocolate
1 egg
100 grams of butter
80 grams of powdered sugar

Mix the ingredients in a bowl and add it to a cake tin. Put the cake in the oven for 15-20 minutes on 175 degrees C. Add the cream when the cake has cooled down and decorate as you want.

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Heddon Street Kitchen

Saturday we had a lovely dinner at one of Gordon Ramsey’s restaurants Heddon Street Kitchen. Already when we were outside we got hit by a nice atmosphere both by the restaurant and the cozy little street it was situated on.

Outside the resturant

Outside the restaurant

The interior of the place did not disappoint either. Sadly my temporary phone camera is not as good as I wish it to be for taking photos indoors when there is a lack of light, so I borrowed a picture from their website.

Photo from Heddon Street Kitchen's web page

Photo from Heddon Street Kitchen’s web page

The staff was very welcoming and professional. You immediately felt like you were in good hands. We were a group of 12 people and never once did the waiting staff ask us who had ordered what. Everything came to the person that had ordered the dish or drink. And we all got served at the same time so no one had to wait for the others to eat.

The menu had a lot of great stuff and it was very hard to decide what to get! In the end I decided on California maki roll, snow crab, avocado and tobiko for a starter.

Maki starter

Maki starter

Even if everyone else’s food looked really tasty too I didn’t regret my choice one bit. The mains where even harder to choose from, but I ended up with Goosnargh duck, pink peppercorns, watercress purée and fondant potato.

Lovely Duck

Lovely Duck

Once again I wondered if I would have any regrets as I saw the other meals being brought in, but the duck didn’t let me down. The meat was so tender and tasty that it was almost scary. After this I was really full and I had to go a round with my tummy to see whether I was able to do dessert with coffee.

Very cute cup with very tasty coffee

Very cute cup with very tasty coffee

My tummy and I agreed that I was able if I didn’t go for any of the heaviest options on the menu. So I tried the Pineapple carpaccio, passion fruit, coconut sorbet. It was heavenly and best of all lighter that the deserts some of the others was struggling with.

Amazing fresh desert

Amazing fresh desert

If you ever visit London and want to treat yourself this is a good restaurant to visit!

London Baby Part 2

Marble Arch

Marble Arch

Even if there was a very cold wind the London sun greeted us with a smile. The morning of the second day, after a bit of shopping we decided to go to spend some time in Hyde Park. As London is a bit further south than Stavanger, where I live spring was a bit further along here. The trees where green and a few of the blossomed.

Tree in bloom

Tree in bloom

We walked around the park for a bit before we sat down to enjoy some food and the sun. The park was full of life, as it should be on a sunshiny spring Saturday. People rented the little boats offered to go on the lake, there was a roller-skating class, plenty of people out jogging or walking and a few that had the same idea as our-selves. To sit down and enjoy the beautiful sunshine.

View of park from where we had a small picnic

View of park from where we had a small picnic

After that it was time to visit Oxford street and the streets around. This was a very crowded affair! I’m glad I knew this in advance and that we decided not to spend too much time here, we did however visit a few shops.

Disney Store

Disney Store 

I didn’t find much to shop and that was ok, but it was nice to have a look around shops that you can’t find at home. Where I live we don’t have a Disney store and even if I’m not a child I really like visiting the magical world of Disney regardless of how commercial it may be. I also enjoy looking around Liberty, a very special store and it’s a nice place for some candy and tea.

Liberty

Liberty

London Baby!

I’m back from my trip to London, tired but very pleased with the trip. We left on Thursday evening and arrived in London and to the hotel at around 10.30-11.00 at night. This is late enough for me, but if you take in to consideration that this is local time and that England is one hour behind Norway in time zones, it was quite late. We stayed at Hotel St. Giles right by the Tottenham Court Road Underground stop.

Friday was a nice sunny day. There was a cold wind blowing so it wasn’t all that warm, but it was still nice. We walked down to Covent Garden and stopped in a few little shops on our way.

There was a variety of Shaun the Sheep figures like this around town

There was a variety of Shaun the Sheep figures like this around town

We had no rush and stopped to get coffees to enjoy outside in the sun. Then after looking around in some more shops we decided to sit down for a little lunch in the Covent Garden Marked. There we were entertained by a few singers and a string quartet.

Eating in Covent Garden

Eating in Covent Garden

The rest of the day we enjoyed walking around and visited a few more shops. And a few areas between the hotel and Covent Garden.

A nice flower shop

A nice flower shop

We went to a rather early dinner at a pub/restaurant called the Royal George. The burgers were lovely and they had a good selection of beer. Including a few local ones.

The Royal George

The Royal George

The evening was round off at a musical, as one often find included in a visit to London. I have visited London a few times before, but I have never been to a musical there. We had a great time at “the Commitments”. And I think it was extra fun for me knowing so many Irish people. We went back to the Royal George for a few drinks and to dance, before heading off to bed.

The Commitements

The commitments

London Calling!

I’m only just home from my trip to Ireland but it’s time for me to go away again. This time I’m going on a trip with work to London. We’ll be leaving Thursday afternoon and I’m quite excited. I have been in London on a couple of occasions before and I really like the spring over there. I’m excited to go, because even if we’re going with work we’ll have quite a bit of time on our hands to do things we want to do. I don’t really have anything in particular that I feel I need to see or do, but I’ll join the others if they have a good idea.  And I’m always open to good suggestions.

Picture of Tower Bridge from Wikimedia.org

Picture of Tower Bridge from Wikimedia.org

Last time I was over was Easter 2014. Me and a friend, who has lived there previously had a great time, we ate good food visited different parts of town and enjoyed the sunshine and warmth that greeted us when we were there. Hampstead Heath, Islington/Angel, Camden, Hoxton,The Olympic Park, The Beagle and various markets was on our list then.

So if anyone have any good tips on what to do in London I’m thankful for all suggestions!

Easter in Ireland Part 4: Castle Hacket and Lough Corrib

Castle Hacket

Castle Hacket

We had a gorgeous sunny day and decided to use some of it to see some sites nearby. First stop was Castle Hacket, the castle in the photo above. Wikipedia writes about the castle that:

“Castle Hacket is a 13th-century tower house located at the base of Knockma hill six miles southeast of Tuam, County Galway, Ireland. It was built by the Hacketts, a Norman family. The Kirwans, one of the tribes of Galway, settled there in the 15th century. The Castle Hackett branch of the family was established in the mid-17th century by Sir John Kirwan. The castle was abandoned in the 18th century and the Kirwans built a new three-story house called Castlehacket which was burned in 1923 during the Civil War but rebuilt and still stands today.

In the introduction to his Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry (1888), William Butler Yeats mentions the family and castle Hackett; he writes, “Each county has usually some family, or personage, supposed to have been favoured or plagued [with fairy-seeing abilities], especially by the phantoms, as the Hackets of Castle Hacket, Galway, who had for their ancestor a fairy…”

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Entrance gate to the castle

The area around is a lovely spot for going walking or running on a sunny day, and for those who like that sort of thing it’s probably nice in rain too. We went for a small walk as we had other things on our programme for the rest of that day.

Into the woods

Into the woods

There were loads of nice yellow buttercups and other flowers in bloom and with birds singing, the sun shining, people smiling and greeting each other as if they knew them, it made the atmosphere almost magic.

Bank of lake Corrib

Bank of lake Corrib

Afterwards we drove to Lough Corrib, Ireland’s second largest lake in Ireland. Last time I went over we also went dow, but then the lake was a nice misty mystery. It was almost unrecognisable now in the sunshine.

Pier where there used to be a ferry

Pier where there used to be a ferry

The fresh air did us all very good and there was a gentle breeze  by the lake that felt really invigorating. Even though we where the only humans at the pier, there where others that was also enjoying the lake in the sunshine.

Two ducks chilling in the sun!

Two ducks chilling in the sun!

 

 

Easter in Ireland Part 3: Galway

Salmon wier

Salmon weir

I decided to have a day all to myself in Galway, to do a bit of shopping, looking around and enjoying life in general. Even if the weather was overcast it was a warm day and very good shopping weather. I clearly was not the only one who had come up with this idea, because the streets was filled with people.

Galway food festival

Galway food festival

There was a food festival on in town all easter and you could find trucks and tents serving good food that you wouldn’t normally find everywhere. It was very packed so I didn’t try to much, but it was nice to stroll down and have a look.

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I found most of what I wanted in the shops around, but after a while I felt a bit claustrophobic with all the people in the streets and in the shops, so I went over to Eyre Square to st down with a coffee and enjoy some space and the warm day.

Eyre Square

Eyre Square

Because there wasn’t too much sun the park was luckily not overcrowded and I got to have a seat on a nice bench where I coud read my book and drink my coffee.

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When I headed back to Tuam to enjoy a nice dinner and a night out with friends, I was very happy with my me-day spent in Galway! And I was very happy with the things I got when out shopping. The only thing I did not find that was on my list was a new spring jacket. But I guess I’ll just have to keep looking 😉