Posts from September 2014

The Ladies’ Pond

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One of my absolute favorite things about London is the abundance of parks throughout the city and of all of the parks Hampstead Heath is the crown jewel. Situated in northwest of London, the sprawling heath is so big I find it difficult to see in just one visit. Reid and I will visit with our dog, Bonnie, for a long walk or just the two of us to go for a run but lately it has been a spot where we have been practicing our open water swimming skills.

There are a few spots where one can swim: the outdoor lido, the men’s pond, and the mixed pond but for the ladies out there I recommend going to the ladies’ pond. This secluded spot has a bit of a summer camp vibe to it and unlike the men’s pond where you can see swimmers from outside the gate, this pond is completely surrounded by tall trees. To access the pond you can pay £2 for entry and I believe there is a yearly membership you can purchase too if you find yourself visiting often.

I only took a few photos on this visit because I wanted to protect the privacy of the other swimmers (and I did ask permission before I snapped any photos). The pond is open year round but if you want to take advantage of this warm weather before it is gone, grab a few girl friends and head up to this hidden gem soon!

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Homemade Pie

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The weather this summer has been amazing in London and because of the beautiful weather, the fruit has been especially good too. My friend Kate makes a delicious pie with a secret family recipe for the crust. So of course I asked her to make one for the blog and she happily obliged! We decided to make one berry pie (using blueberries, blackberries and raspberries) and another where we added in some peaches to the mix. Below is the recipe as well as a few photos of the process. They were both so, so tasty and I am already looking forward to the apple pie she is making for our Thanksgiving celebration.

Pie Filling Ingredients:

7 cups berries/fruit (if mixing in blackberries, use less blackberries than other berries due to tartness)
1 cup sugar
1-1/2 to 2 t lemon juice
4 t instant tapioca
1/2 t cinnamon
2 T butter (optional)

Method:

  • Make pie dough (since I didn’t want to reveal the secret family recipe, Kate suggests the Joy of Cooking pie crust recipe) and put dough in refrigerator to chill while you make the filling
  • Mix sugar, instant tapioca and cinnamon together
  • Put washed berries (or whatever fruit you choose) in a bowl, sprinkle with lemon juice, mix in sugar mixture and let sit for 15 minutes
  • Take dough out of fridge and divide in half
  • Roll out first half and put in pie plate and fill with berries
  • Cut up two tbsp of butter and sprinkle on top (optional)
  • Roll out second half and place on top of filled pie
  • Pinch edges to make crust
  • Sprinkle sugar on top if you like
  • Cut slits into the top of the pie
  • Cover edges of pie with pie cover or aluminum foil to prevent burning
  • Bake for 1/2 hr. take off cover/foil
  • Bake another 20-30 mins until crust looks light brown and juice starts coming through vents

 

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Towpath Cafe

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I was first introduced to the Towpath Cafe along Regent’s Canal earlier this summer while on a bike/photo walk with some other photographer friends and wanted to go back again immediately. Luckily I was able to convince another friend to join me for a sunny, summery lunch at this cute spot a few weeks later. That day we chowed down on a chicken caesar salad and another salad of grilled courgettes, beef tomatoes and pesto all washed down with a lovely glass of rosé. The food was delicious and we were entertained by the steady stream of bikers/walkers/runners filing past- it makes for great people watching. We were also visited by the tiniest four legged furry friend (see last photo) who was quite the poser for the camera. Before we left we made sure to grab two cones of refreshing mint ice cream which we had to consume pretty quickly before it was sacrificed to the heat.

If you have the time before the weather turns cold, I would highly recommend stopping by for breakfast, lunch or simply a cup of coffee. And if you see that tiny little pup, be sure to give him a little pat hello!

 

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Daylesford

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This summer marks Reid & I’s nine year wedding anniversary and where the time has gone completely baffles me! We tend to be hit or miss when it comes to celebrating our anniversary- sometimes we go out for a nice meal, a weekend away or other times life is too crazy and we forget to celebrate it all together. This year Reid surprised me with a getaway to the Cotswolds where we stayed at a lovely place called Daylesford. We had a weekend full of good food, drinks, long walks and beautiful weather. All in all it was a perfect way to celebrate nine years of marriage.

TRAVEL TIME: Daylesford is located near Kingham which is about a two hour drive west of London. Since we don’t own a car, we have been using Zipcar which makes it easy to go on trips where we might want wheels once we reach our destination though you can also reach Kingham by train.

STAY: The cottages at Daylesford are like staying in a fancy home away from home. They sleep anywhere from 2 – 8 people depending on which cottage you rent and all are equipped with a kitchen, sitting areas, wood burning fireplaces and the most beautiful bathrooms with gloriously large bathtubs. Our cottage also had an Aga which is a cast iron range cooker and oven. It was my first time to cook with one of these and I was quite taken with it, plus it is quite a beautiful oven to look at if I do say so. On our arrival we were greeted with fresh flowers, bread, eggs, orange marmalade and sparkling wine all from the farm. It was little touches like this that made the whole weekend feel really special. And my favorite part- all of the cottages are pet friendly so we brought the dog along!

And if you find that you would like to leave the comfort of your cottage, Daylesford offers a whole host of things like the farmshop, cafe, pizza bar, cookery school, spa and shop.

EAT & DRINK: 

  • Daylesford Farmshop & Cafe: Our first night we had a dinner reservation at the Daylesford Cafe and enjoyed a delicious summer meal of “meat from (their) animals, vegetables & fruit from (their) market garden, and cheese & bread made by hand on (their) farm.” It was a perfect intro to the weekend and all that Daylesford has to offer. Throughout the weekend we also frequented the farmshop for groceries that we used to make picnics or to cook meals in our cottage.
  • The Wild Rabbit: This pub/hotel is about a 30 minute walk from Daylesford. We stopped here for a quick drink before heading back to our cottage but didn’t get any food though it looked really delicious. The sun was out so we decided to make the most of it and sit outside with our drinks. One of my favorite details about this lovely place are the straw hats they have hanging up outside that guests can borrow for when the sunshine gets to be a little too strong.
  • The Kingham Plough: This pub, which is an easy walk from Daylesford, was recommended to us and provided a nice place for respite from the heat. We enjoyed some nibbles and a few pints while we rested our legs. In the back of the pub we stumbled upon a vending machine for organic Guernsey milk. It seriously was the coolest thing and of course we got some!

TO DO: Besides the copious amounts of food we ate, we also enjoyed the beauty of the Cotswolds and went for long walks. In the UK they have Public Footpaths that go through towns, countryside and even private property that are open to the public. This concept of being able to legally walk through private property is pretty foreign to me as an American where “private property” and “no trespassing” signs are posted everywhere but I absolutely love it. I think because these paths exist, people are very respectful when they are traversing someone’s land. This would be something I would love to see implemented back in the States but not sure if it would fly with everyone.

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Barbican Conservatory

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I first visited the Barbican Centre when I photographed Samuel for his 4×3 Londoner profile. I was just short of amazed when I walked around since I had never actually been inside before. From the outside the building looks overbearing but once inside it has all sorts of wonderful things to explore like galleries, cinemas, cafes, fountains and much more. But my favorite part is the Barbican Conservatory. This hidden oasis in East London is free to the public but is only open on certain Sundays throughout the year so a little bit of planning is required before you visit (opening times are on their website). Once inside you completely forget that you are in the middle of the city as you are surrounded with green. The paths meander throughout and some even take you up a flight or two of stairs so you can view the greenery below you. Up one of these staircases is an amazing room full of every kind of succulent and cactus you can think of (it made me realize how tiny my own succulents are at home).

So if you find yourself wanting to escape to some green in the middle of the city, head on over to the Barbican Conservatory and relax amongst the endless array of plants. And maybe take some time to check out the rest of the centre too!

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