Travel bucket list

We all have places we want to see. I have lost count of the times I have said to D “I would like to go to *insert random place name*”. The most recent one was Texas. I saw a TV advert for TravelTexas and it just looked like so much fun. But that’s the main reason why we say we would like to go to a place, right? We see something in the media, we read a book set in that place, or we know someone who has been there and they’ve told you all the interesting tales of adventures and exploits in a foreign land. And you want to do the same. So here’s my list of places I would like to visit. I won’t give it a “before I die” scenario; they’re just places that I think would be nice to see, with my own eyes and create some of my own tales to tell those who will listen.

#1 Australia

As much as the stories of snakes in toilets, and spiders falling from car sun visors scare the living daylights out of me, I would still give it a go. I would love to see Uluru (Ayers Rock), dive in the Great Barrier Reef with creatures who have too many teeth and explore the streets of Sydney to find those quirky cafes and bars that every city has to have. It’s a dream to see the southern hemisphere and experience the “backwards seasons” that just make my mind spin (I mean, 30ºC+ heat on Christmas Day?! *mind blown*). Sydney.jpg Continue reading

Coffee addiction

In 12 months America has hit me hard with it’s obsession: coffee. The stuff is everywhere and I am hooked. Yes, being a lady-of-leisure, kept-woman, Californian housewife, whatever you want to call me, I spend a lot of time in coffee shops with friends and my laptop or a good book. So I had to play the part accurately, and become addicted to the stuff as well, right? But we can’t always be bothered to get showered, dressed and look vaguely presentable to enjoy a coffee at Starbucks. Sometimes you want to just sit and enjoy the stuff in your PJ’s on the sofa, and in the comfort of your own home. This is where my shiny new french press comes in, shining brightly, waving a perfectly manicured hand in the direction of the kitchen!

But making a cup of coffee using a french press is a work of art, it’s not as simple as it sounds. So here is my coffee-making routine, with tips and tricks that I have learnt along the way.

Tools of the trade

To be able to brew a cup of coffee that has the taste that you love, you need to be able to create it easily. Yes, a teaspoon of Nescafé instant and hot water works well, but it can be better than this, trust me! Here are the tools that I use everyday: coffee-5

KitchenAid 4oz coffee grinder

Let’s start at the beginning: preparing the coffee beans. No, I don’t mean roasting Continue reading

Palo Alto in a day

The first time that I visited the West Coast I found a small haven that I instantly fell in love with. It was a town that just took my heart and it made me realise that I could picture myself living here one day. Fast forward 4 years to 2017 and I want to introduce you to Palo Alto.

Calling Palo Alto a “small town” isn’t really correct. It’s larger than a town, but not quite on the city-scale. It’s 30 minutes south of San Francisco and is the birth place of many tech companies, such as Hewlett Packard, SurveyMonkey, and Groupon. I guess I shouldn’t leave out that Palo Alto is also the home of Stanford University, the world’s 2nd best place to study. It’s a place that gets it’s name from the 1,077 year old sequoia tree that still grows there, and is the Spanish translation of the term “tall tree”.

But it’s not the tall trees or tech companies that has me loving Palo Alto. It’s the small-town feel and the ability to find something to eat from a different corner of the world every 20 feet, because let’s face it, a day out isn’t complete without the smells and feels of tons of different foods that you can’t eat because of your commitment to your current no-carbs, no-sugar, no-fun, healthy eating.

Despite that, I took some time out last week and ventured towards Palo Alto. It was rainy, cold and dreary which meant my first stop had to be coffee at my much loved Blue Bottle Coffee. It’s housed in an old cinema with so much character, a beautiful fountain and plenty of outdoor seating in the courtyard, more suited to a summers day than the one I arrived on, but hey-ho, I wasn’t going to let a little rain put me off! I ordered my coffee* and took my seat outside, ready to enjoy some people-watching and Instagram-stalking.

*The cookie accidentally landed on my plate and it would have been rude to turn it away..

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My 2017 reading list

Have you ever looked at your bookcase and realised that there are books on there that you never actually finished reading? I have. There are 19 books on my book shelf that I haven’t finished or even started reading! 19! So I have been thinking (Oh no, I hear you say!), I want to be able to read more books! I know it comes down to having the time, but that’s something that I have a lot of at the moment. So why not? Here’s my list of 8 books that are starting off my list for 2017.

Me Before You – Jojo Moyes

This is a book that got a lot of attention last year, possibly because of the film adaptation*? And I have to be honest, I haven’t seen it. I’m one of those people who has to read the book before seeing the movie. I think reading a book is such a personal experience because you can make of it what you will. Growing up reading Harry Potter, Continue reading

30 Day Photo Challenge

I have seen many bloggers and folks on Instagram doing fun things with photos and making journals and diaries of the year. It’s a good idea, right? And because I love looking at photos and taking them, I’m going to jump on the band wagon, too!

30-day-photo-challenge

I am going to be taking part in a 30 day photo challenge. I want to be able to take the time each day to look around me and notice what’s there. Continue reading

Winning at life!

Today has been a win. A win that I have resisted the two Reese’s eggs sat on the worktop, but more importantly, a win that I have started the ball rolling on being able to get back into the classroom and back to teaching. So, if you are one of the people who has asked me over the past 2+ years whether I will continue teaching while living in America, today I can confidently answer: yes I will!  Continue reading

A walk on the beach

A walk on the beach? In mid-January? You must be kidding, I hear you all shout. And we didn’t freeze our butts off? Nope! It even started to get a little toasty the longer we stayed. Am I making you all jealous yet? I hope not 😉

So me and D took the opportunity to spend a lazy afternoon in the small town of Carmel-by-the-Sea, which is just over an hour away from where we live in San Jose. So many people had told us about the town and how pretty it was but it took us over a year to get there! And after just a short visit, I want to go back to explore some more. Among the independent shops and restaurants, you can find quaint coffee shops and bakeries, similar to those that you can find in rural villages and towns in the UK. I even stopped (perhaps a little too long) to ogle the treats they had on offer.

chcolate-eclairs-1-11chcolate-eclairs-2

As our trip was a flying visit, we didn’t get to sample any of the treats that they had to offer, Continue reading