During

Books (I)

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This is a blog post about books, (shock). Since January I’ve found myself reading more than ever as I find it a better escape than anything else. I loved reading as a child, but I think it was somewhat easier as my books were usually chosen for me, or given to me as a gift. Now, I find choosing a book exceedingly difficult. There’s something mad disheartening about spending a week reading an actual pile of wank book, SO, in the hope that you don’t have to put up with book jizz, I figured I’d do a little round up of my favourite books so far this year.

  • ‘The Fourteenth Letter’ by Claire Evans:
    A mystery/thriller that I could not put down. At the start, the characters are all given individually but throughout the book, as the mystery unravels, their paths become intertwined. Highly recommend if you love a good, ‘I CAN’T GUESS WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN’, book.
  • ‘The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair’ by Joel Dicker:
    Girl, when I tell you plot twist, understand that this book has plot twists on crack. Another murder mystery type book, with a low key love story sprinkled in there, you will not see the twists and turns in the road until you crash into them. Quite a long book but definitely worth every minute. This is probably the best book I’ve read all year.
  • ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ by Khaled Hosseini:
    I mentioned this book in my last blog post. This book is about the lives of 2 women, (and probably representative of many woman at the time), living in Afghanistan during all the hardships faced in recent years. I find emotions and feelings are massively heightened when reading a book, so I found this an incredibly tough read emotionally, however, it’s so incredibly well written and speaks volumes about female resilience.
  • ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ by Kevin Kwan:
    After reading A Thousand Splendid Suns, I needed a happier book. Crazy Rich Asians came all the way through. Although the descriptions of palatial houses and designer clothes can get a bit tedious and family connections a bit confusing, this book had me hooked. It’s fairly light-hearted but not at all without substance – the plot was incredibly compelling and I finished the book in about 3 days.

If anyone has any recommendations please leave them in the comments!

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World Adventures

Island Life: Quick Update

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I realise it’s been about a week since I last posted! Where have I been? Literally nowhere. Still here in the Caribbean, just chilling and soaking up the sun and beauty of this island… Well sort of.
On Wednesday, my face broke out into some weird rash all along my jaw. After refusing to go out and having a 11/10 meltdown, my Grandma thought it best we went to the doctors. $220xcd later, (about £64, God bless the NHS), I have some antibiotics and a topical ointment. The ointment is said to make the skin very sensitive to the sun; added to the fact that my face looks so BUTTERS right now, I’ve declared myself house bound until it has completely cleared up.

It’s not been all bad though. On Monday, my Mum and I spent the whole day on the beach. Dipping between the beach bars, the sand and the water.
I finished yet another book. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini had been recommended to me by 2 people. Although it’s not my usual sort of book, I figured I’d give it a go. It’s an incredibly well written book but quite a tough read in my opinion, so now I’ve downloaded Crazy Rich Asians and I’m so excited to start reading it! I’ve read so many books since January as I find it a greater escape than anything so any other book recommendations are very much welcomed.
The other day I realised that since returning from Spain, I’ve had maybe 2 or 3 bad days. Considering almost everyday was a bad day in Spain, I’m so proud of my progress. I’m so excited to carry on moving forward.

We’ve got just less than 2 weeks on the island and, (once I no longer look like a slice of Leerdammer),  we’re hoping to go on a mountain hike and maybe a bike tour too. I also intend to be at the beach EVERY. DAMN. DAY.  – of course, I will keep you updated on my endeavour to fry my body to a crisp.

World Adventures

Island Life: Culturama

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I have a few things to say before we begin:

  1. My internal organs nearly roasted.
  2. I was an idiot and totally forgot to bring my camera, so all of these are phone photos.
  3. Is there anyone interested in doing Notting Hill Carni next year? Asking for a friend.

Culturama is the name of the carnival festival which takes place every summer, (end of July to the beginning of August), here in Nevis. It coincides with the anniversary of the decree for the abolition of slavery, or Emancipation as it’s commonly known. Not only is it a way to keep tradition and culture alive, but also a very good excuse to drink too much, party and dance until you die.

There are events almost everyday during Culturama including pageants, food and arts & craft festivals, drag races, spoken word recitals and street parties. We headed down to town on the final day to catch the final street parade. It was supposed to start at noon and in true British W.I style we arrived at 3pm… In true Nevisian style, the parade hadn’t started yet.

Everyone was dressed in colourful, sparkly, feathered outfits, dancing behind huge sound systems that were pulled by tractors through the streets. Everyone gets involved, from the littles to some older women who were not afraid to shake their stuff. The streets were lined with hordes of people looking on, often nipping into the open shops and restaurants for some relief from the baking sun. Pageant Kings and Queens waved to their subjects from the trucks they were riding on and the men on stilts, (called Mockojumbies), wowed everyone by not breaking their ankles. We followed the mayhem all the way down to the pier where we had the most beautiful view. The celebration of culture and history, Nevis peak in the background, the movement of the sea and the sun setting behind us.

It was one of those moments where I felt so blessed to have a culture which stems so far beyond myself. A culture that has been institutionally repressed for years but has overcome all of that. It really made me think and remember that ‘I come as one, but I stand as 10,000’ quote from Maya Angelou.

Notting Hill 2019 anyone?

World Adventures

Island Life: The Botanical Gardens

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I’ve been coming to Nevis since I was fresh out of the womb, (literally, I spent by first birthday here), and I have not once stepped foot into the Botanical Gardens… Until now.

Nestled near Montpelier Plantation, The Botanical Gardens is a perfect place for an afternoon out. It’s home to a mismatch of influences, with a Thai theme running throughout, Hindu deities scattered around whilst most of the flora and fauna is from the Pacific. It’s like a melting pot of cultures in one, pristine garden. The gardens are small but well kept with trees clearly labelled and beaut vegetation around every corner. There are quite a few water features as well, which I’m obsessed with, but they were all turned off when we visited which was a shame.

As you know I love to eat so the highlight for me was the Oasis Restaurant in the middle of the garden, serving up the T A S T I E S T Thai food with the loveliest of staff AND an amazing view of the island and neighbouring St. Kitts. There’s tonnes of vegetarian options too and it’s all very reasonably priced. You can access the restaurant without paying for the gardens but I would definitely recommend a walk around. It’s $35XCD per person, (so about £10 each), and unless there’s a big organised tour going on, you’re likely to have the whole place to yourself. Your free to frolic, chill and take everything in on your own time.

Find them here.

World Adventures

Island Life: Lazy Days

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In all honesty, I have no idea what time my recent blog posts have been appearing for all of you in England as I am in the Caribbean! FINALLY, after 4 years being away, my Mum and I have come back for the summer to celebrate my Granddad’s 80th birthday.

I’ve been here about a week and so far it’s just consisted of lazy days, (s/o jet leg). I’ve mainly spent been reading on the verandah, visiting family or liming by the pool. Today, my Grandad and I sat on the grass under the coconut tree and scooped out the jelly and drank the water straight from the coconut. OUTCHEA, LIVING MY BEST LIFE.

I’m honestly just so happy to be back at the house with my grandparents. Coming back is really a home away from home, so there’s not really much exploring as such that we do. I’ll post tasty lunch spots or any new sun traps I find of course, but if there’s anything you want to see specifically holla at your girl and I’ll try my best.

During · Exploring

Eating my way Downtown: Andalusia

I’m not going to lie. During my year abroad in Spain I can honestly say I was never really overly enamoured with Spanish cuisine. Being a vegetarian, there’s only so many times you can order patatas bravas without wanting to just bury yourself in the ground in place of yet another potato. I had heard the South was known for its Iberian ham so I was very much prepared for my tuber diet but OH MY DAYS I WAS SO WRONG.

Seville:
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El Pintón.
Fairly fancy restaurant with a lush interior but the real fun is outside at the front. Watching everyone milling around the streets as the scorching sun sets around you leaving a warm breeze to keep you company. The waiter spoke perfect English and was very happy to recommend the best of the menu.
No need to book. Find them here.

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Perro Viejo.
Beautiful restaurant. 3 floors high with a view of the kitchen. A modern interior compliments a very modern take on service. Bluetooth sets adorned the ears of all the waiters. Although the service was pretty bad, all was forgiven due to the delicious food and cocktail menu.
Definitely book! Find them here.

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Habanita.
Vegan & Vegetarian restaurant, (meat options available), serving up tapas with a ‘Caribbean’ twist. Pretty well tucked away in Seville but definitely worth the walk. Cocktails come in pitcher size too which is always a bonus.
We went for lunch which we had booked but upon arrival it was totally empty, so I wouldn’t say booking was essential. Find them here.

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La Cantina Mexicana.
Mexican food is my favourite food. Not Tex-Mex. Not that Old El Paso bollocks. Proper Mexican food, and that is exactly what you’re going to get at La Cantina Mexicana. Quite a small restaurant, fairly rustic and traditional in appearance with a great menu. If you’re vegetarian, let your waiter know as there are some tweaks they can make to the dishes that aren’t explicitly on the menu. It is SO tucked away it may take you walking straight past it a few times before you actually clock it.
Definitely book. Find them here.

We also ate at L’Oca Guiliva, an Italian restaurant with a fantastic Menu del Día. Across the road from there, (up the road from La Casa de la Guitarra, where we saw the flamenco show), we found Casa Tomate. Super cute bar and restaurant with a few tables outside. Amazing waiters and amazing service. (I forgot to take pictures for them but they were definitely worth a mention). You’ll find them both on Calle Mateos Gago, which is a road FULL of bars and restaurants, so a good place to start if you’re looking for a quick lunch spot.

In Córdoba we ate at Mercado los Patios de la Marquesa, which is similar in style to Mercado de San Miguel or San Ildefonso in Madrid. Self service with lots of space to eat so definitely no need to book. Not many tourists know about it, so the food is fairly cheap and has a very chilled atmosphere. Vegetarian or not, you NEED to try Salmorejo if you visit Córdoba as this is where is comes from! It’s similar to gazpacho except slightly thiccccca.
In Cádiz we ate at La Candela. A super quirky place with an interior of mismatched items dotted around the place. Really good food and lovely staff. The whole vibe is just unapologetically different and I was 100% here for it.

Is it obvious that eating is one of, if not, my favourite pastime?

During · Exploring

Exploring: Seville (II)

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It was our last full day in Seville and it was finally time to visit the Cathedral and the Alcazar. Having bought our tickets in advance, we were able to skip past the ridiculously long queues and head straight in. We began at the Alcazar.

Every corner of this place was beautiful and there was no detail forgotten. Even the rain couldn’t dampen the beauty of the Alcazar. Originally a Muslim building, it was taken over by the Christians during the conquest. Since then, it has been used as a palace for the Spanish monarchs, and is still in use today. You could easily spend hours getting lost in the myriad of buildings and the S T U N N I N G gardens. I may have said this before, but I have never seen gardens like those I saw in Andalusia.

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From the Alcazar, we eagerly moved onto the Cathedral to get out of the rain which was, by this point, absolutely chucking it down. I think most places of worship are fairly grand and ornate, (especially those belonging to the catholic church), but nothing could have prepared me for what I witnessed going into the Seville Cathedral. I tried my best to capture it on camera, but I don’t think these photos do it an ounce of justice. We were honestly just so overwhelmed by EVERYTHING that was in there. I’ve seen so many people online say not to bother with the cathedral, ‘once you’ve seen one; you’ve seen them all’.
FAKE NEWS MY FRIENDS.
I don’t think I’ll ever come across a church building this grand again.

At completion in C16, it was the largest cathedral in the world. Nowadays though, it’s recognised as the 3rd largest church in the world and home to the remains of Christopher Columbus. Like most of the buildings in the South, it was originally an Arab site, a mosque to be exact, which was taken over by the Christians. If my memory serves me correctly, it is still in use today for mass’ and Semana Santa services. There are no words I could use to accurately describe the magnificence of this building. If you do one thing when you’re in Seville, I would definitely say the Cathedral should be it.