Archive for the ‘London’ Category

Riga – Stop 2 of the Baltic Trio

March 16, 2015 1 comment


The Top Line: Yes, I am super-bummed that I couldn’t badge it, but even so, Riga is an old, beautiful city where you can really live like a local so take advantage.

We landed a bit late on a Friday night, so just got a bus to our cute airbnb apartment. Our hosts gave us some good recommendations, but it was beginning to look like we wouldn’t be able to grab anything to eat since it was 11pm. Until we mentioned that we’d read about Folkssklub and they realized that must still be open! So we headed there for a quick bite and got so much more. Though the larger area was super crowded and live music was ongoing, we, being the Olds we are, looked for and found seats in a smaller back room. In this back room, there were competing forces – the Youngs singing merrily around a piano, versus the Olds, at a table with a couple of guitars, who sprang into action when the Youngs went out for a smoke. We seemed to be the only non-natives there and it was just so much fun to watch everyone there having so much fun. We were really glad we immediately immersed ourselves that night so we could experience it!


The next day, we headed to the Kalnciena Street Quarter Fair. We did get a little lost on the bus, but eventually made it. The market had not only Latvian vendors, Read more…

Categories: London, Natasha, Travel bug Tags: , ,

Shakes in Love

July 15, 2014 Leave a comment


Can you love a player?


Indeed, I can! A few, actually.

To be honest, I don’t really remember much of the movie of the same name, so I cannot compare thee to a summer’s day two. But I really enjoyed the play. However, since I’m no theatre critic, instead, I’ll make like Maria von Trapp and simply remember my favorite things from last night’s preview of Shakespeare in Love at the Noël Coward Theatre (a few spoilers ahead):

The Cast

  • Ned Alleyn (played by Doug Rao) – I really enjoyed this character. Despite what seemed a large ego at the beginning, he was a friend to Will and accepted the non-starring role of Mercutio, although it was clear this was not what he was used to, and he proved to be an endearing character. (Also, I liked his eyeliner. I kept thinking about Jack Sparrow and swooning.)
  • Marlowe (played by David Oakes) – You just feel so sad for Marlowe! The way he helps Will – is he that good of a friend? What other motive could he possibly have? Was Marlowe really the voice behind Shakespeare? He is a sweet character that I couldn’t help but pull for.
  • Viola (played by Lucy Briggs-Owen) – I really liked the way that Viola/Thomas Kent was played. The character was developed so well – her love of Shakespeare’s words and knowing them by heart from her first appearance on stage made it completely believable that she could just walk on as Juliet when crisis later struck and she had to be a last-minute replacement. Although I know I should suspend reality when I watch works of fiction whether on stage or on screen, I sometimes struggle to see how something could be at all realistic – but this was not the case at all here. I think the build-up of this character to the point of being able to walk on and deliver lines with bravada was completely believable.
  • John Webster (played by Colin Ryan) – this reference (when a name was given to this character who had been present throughout the play somewhere near the end of the show) went over my head, but I could infer what it was that John Webster wrote about. And the character, though supposed to be a bit crazy, ended up saving the day a little, which I was proud of noticing before it was brought to light, and he really stole a soft spot in my heart as well.
  • Burbage (played by David Ganly) – A rough character at first, there’s always something that softens a person, huh? When this character was given a small role in the play to distract him from other things, he was thrilled. And it was adorable. And he had a special hat that would just fit the part. Love.
  • Wabash (played by Patrick Osborne) – The character evolution here as well was built up so well and when this perennial stammerer was finally triumphant when it was time to take the stage, the whole theatre was so happy for him. It was heartwarming (and I obviously cried).
  • Queen Elizabeth (played by Anna Carteret) – This queen was so sassy (which I loved) and also obsessed with dogs (did I miss something in history class?). But my most favorite thing about her was her outfits. I wish I could wear those giant hoop skirts and vertigo-inducing collars.
  • The quartet (Tim van Eyken, Charlie Tighe, Elliott Rennie, Thomas Padden) – They sang (beautifully) and they provided gorgeous music to perfectly match scenes. The sound was beautiful and almost my favorite part of the whole show.
  • The set – The scene changes, both the set and the rearrangement of cast, were seamless. I really loved the set, so accurately evocative of the Globe. Another favorite part of mine was when they set up a ‘boat’ to row across the water – whilst Will, Viola and the rowing boatman swished and swayed as they ‘crossed the water,’ two members of the cast sat just to the side and appeared to be washing clothes – dipping cloth into a bucket of water and wringing it out. But when you concentrated on the main part of the scene and forgot that two launderers were to the side, the effect was that you saw the oars moving and the actors swaying and you heard the water lapping against the oars! It was amazing. Perfectly choreographed with position of the oar and the sound of the water. I just thought this was such a genius touch and absolutely loved it.

Read more…

A Matter of Love and Death

March 7, 2014 Leave a comment

Grim, eh?

No pics to break up all the text, sorry. But this week, I saw two of the painful ways that the loving life of a couple can end. And it reminded me of the …vincibility? of youth.

I’ve always kind of been scared of getting old. Seeing Amour last year didn’t help. I think I used to think that dying young would be easier. But that’s selfish, because it would probably just be easier for me. Not so much for those I love that I’d leave behind.

Anyway. On Wednesday night, I watched the latest HIMYM episode [spoilers ahead] Read more…

Venturing to the Near East

March 3, 2014 Leave a comment

Last year, on our flight to Vienna, Sarah and I made a napkin list on our flight of all the places we still wanted to visit, especially because we hadn’t really done all that much traveling in 2013. I actually don’t remember if Tallinn made it onto that list, but whatever circumstances led us to book Tallinn, I’m grateful for!

Sidenote: If you’re on an easyJet flight with a flight number that starts with 8, your flight will leave from the North terminal and if it starts with 5, your flight will leave from the South terminal. I never remember this, so thought I might if I wrote it down here and then it might be helpful to others too. Note it!

I might have said that it was a short 3 hour flight from London to Tallinn, but a, I have been spoiled by short European flights and b, we had to spend those 3 hours with multiple groups of drunk, disgusting, loud, obnoxious bachelor parties. Apparently Tallinn, Riga, and Vilnius have become big bachelor party destinations. Some of the quotes I couldn’t get out of my head include:

“Yeah I don’t really remember the wedding. [My wife’s dad] was pretty pissed. When we watched the video, it was cringeworthy.”
The one next to me marvelled at my shuffling as Sarah and I readied for a game of rummy (yes, oldies next to rowdy idiots doesn’t turn out well) and told me to do it again. Instead I blanked* him and dealt the cards.
“Oh, it’s fine, I washed all the guilt off in the shower”
“I don’t know, that’s when she was putting her knickers back on”

And some of these losers had wedding bands on. Is anyone else vomming yet? Yes, I can be judgemental, I know you all think that anyway ;p
Thankfully, we didn’t run into these idiots again until our flight back, at which point they were a shade quieter, probably because they were hungover.

Anyway. Once we landed in Tallinn (the cosiest airport in the world), it was a short 2.5 miles from the airport to the Old Town (and only €10!). I would definitely award it most convenient airport in the world, to add to its cosy accolades.

We stayed at a place we found on airbnb, and it was convenient, secure, reasonably priced, and probably one of the coolest rooms I’ve ever stayed in since the ‘headboard’ was actually part of the stone wall that used to separate the upper and lower parts of the Old Town!

After putting our things down, we did a little foursquare research refreshing and headed to SfääR Cafe (but again, more on the food over on RostsEatLondon).

Read more…

It’s still Christmas in Warsaw

February 11, 2014 1 comment

This is what James the my Great gave me for Christmas:



Not only was it a great surprise that we were going away somewhere, it was a riddle!! I love riddles.

Unfortunately though, before I figured it out (because it was hard! And my Google skills are waning/I never went past page 1 on any of my searches, because I don’t remember the last time I went past page 1 on any of my searches…), I had a mishap and clicked a subscriber email from TripIt, emails which I NEVER open, when I meant to click something else entirely, and saw that ‘James has a trip planned to Poland’ and before I knew what was happening, it was too late. I didn’t even know James used Tripit!

The night before, I was actually so excited that I couldn’t sleep, so only ended up getting about 4.5 hours before I had to up and shower and head to the airport for our flight before noon on Friday. As we landed, we could see snow blanketing the ground. It was kind of the best because we didn’t have to stay indoors because of wet, freezing weather, but still got to walk around for the weekend seeing beautiful snowy whiteness and hearing the satisfying crunch under our shoes. We settled down at our hotel, (The Warsaw Intercontinental!) in our room with an amazing view of the Palace of Culture and Science:


aka best hotel room timepiece ever

and got ready and headed out for some drinks and the Polish National Ballet’s production of Read more…

State of my Shoenion

February 6, 2014 Leave a comment

Heel-o! A warning: today’s post is super frivolous.

Some people accuse me of being a shoeaholic (Hi Papa). This post will probably leave me no room to deny this allegation. But as I broke in my new Blue Shadow Supergas walking home the other night, I thought about how some of these guys have really stuck it out with me (and for some of them, the effort really shows…), so it might be fun (for me) to catalogue them. I do love them dearly after all. So here we go.

The Raindancers

Before London, I had one pair of rain boots that I can remember as an adult. My family definitely remembers those bright yellow guys and tried to pretend to forget me when I wore them. Then I came to London with one pair of rain boots. They were black&white checkered and I have no pictures. They are long gone. Since then, I think I’ve had 5 more pairs. Here are 4 of them, though half are semi-retired unless a guest is in town and needs to borrow a pair (Julie).


Birthdate, city/parents: January 2014, London/Kurt Geiger
Insp/Asp-irations: Sarah G’s wedge rainboots
Greatest accomplishment: trekking up Widcombe Hill in Bath very quickly and then walking downhill through fields #hikinginheels, as they say (Sarah L was simultaneously impressed and not impressed at all)


N is for Natasha, Norway and Nigardsbreen

Birthdate, city/parents: May 2014, London/Sports Direct
Insp/Asp-irations: Panic, emergency purchase before trip to Norway
Greatest accomplishment: CLIMBING A NORWEGIAN GLACIER! One of the coolest (lit and fig, obv) coolest coolest things they (and I) will ever do; getting engaged at the end of the North Downs Way! Are these my most accomplished shoes??

photo 3 (3)

Bows are cute

Birthdate, city/parents: January 2014, London/Dorothy Perkins
Insp/Asp-irations: keepin’ feet dry without hottin’ up the rest of the legs
Greatest accomplishment: having giant mouths but not letting water inside


Birthdate, city/parents: October 2013, London/Aldo
Insp/Asp-irations: people at work have told me I look like someone from some show, but it’s a reference that was over my head that I’ve now forgotten
Greatest accomplishment: attending The Limerick Show


Birthdate, city/parents: Unsure, London/Redfoot
Greatest accomplishment: Being foldable!

The Mile High Club

These shoes, quite appropriately, cradle my weak, weak Achilles heel.


Birthdate, city/parents: circa 2010, Austin/Strut
Insp/Asp-irations: to roam sexily a la Carrie Bradshaw, Season 4 finale en Paris, but without the dog poo
Greatest accomplishment: staying white

Birthdate, city/parents: circa 2010, Austin/Strut
Insp/Asp-irations: I hate peep toes but for some reason couldn’t resist these. Must’ve been a good bargain
Greatest accomplishment: attending a wedding in a Welsh Castle
Read more…


February 3, 2014 Leave a comment

I’m not complaining. Or bragging. Just noting my thankfulness for everything that I’ve been able to do and see, as well as for the fact that I got to spend some QT in my much neglected bed this weekend. And my room was even clean! Double win! (Or as I was reminded recently, I think C Sheen calls it bi-winning?) Here’s the best part:


Finally putting to use my Christmas present from Krishes that fully exhibits my ring addiction. The hand even thinks it’s doing a pretty A-ok job.

The last 8 weekends (and parts of weeks!) have been amazing. So so so so so amazing. But oh man was I glad to be back in Londy. Because it was the first weekend in London in way too long though, I had some difficult, but obvious (if I wanted to be a good human) choices. While I wanted to just lie around, I had made plans with Sharry, a friend who studied in Austin a few years ago and now lives in London, for Saturday, signed up to volunteer on Sunday, and as I belatedly realized, had also signed up for a trial run of a cycling class bright and early on Monday morning.

After brunch at Andina, Sharry and I headed down over Tower Bridge to the Scoop and had a quick look at the RNLI Courage on our Coasts – Photography Exhibition. Then we headed to Maltby Street Market for a Craft Coffee and Sharry got her first look at our little market and picked out what she wanted to brunch on next time. Then we made our way to the White Cube via a furniturey shop with a relic of Daenarys Targaryen’s and a little British shop with the cutest (and most expensive) little handmade baby shoes:

GoT    baby shoes 

I wanted to see the Franz Ackerman exhibition I’d read about, but ended up liking the He Xiangyu one much more. Check it out if you’re in the area! It’s on until April 13, 2014. And be sure to pick up an explanation paper at the front.

Sunday night and Monday morning were the two Cycles. Read more…