Sunday, 17 June 2012

Robert Burns was here

Las week we went for a little pilgrimage to Alloway, the birthplace of the most famous Scottish poet - Robert Burns, otherwise known simply as The Bard. I wold say he could be something like our Mickiewicz and Slowacki combined with a bit of more sense of humour thrown in and a good does of haggis to bite into while you looking for some more inspirtaion in the glass of whisky. Famous not only for his poetry (written in Scots dialect) but also love of women outside Scotalnd he is nowadays mainly known in ...Russia! He died just 37 and left 12 children and some excellent poetry behind (some of my favourites are a wedding hymn A_Red,_Red_Rose , To_a_Mouse which was an inspiration for John Steinbeck and a ballad of Tam_o'_Shanter which invites people to visit a famous bridge and Kirk with Burn's father tomb until nowadays, just like we did).

I am much better with images than with words so here are some pictures from my iPhone that were not included in my Instagram feed from that day:

^ The installation above is by Su Blackwell, one of my favourite artists who specialises in installations made out of old books and paper. It was great to see that for once Creative Scotland spent their money wisely because Burn's cottage installation was  a modern, very visually pleasant and moving experience, well introducing the mood of Burn's poetry and family background.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Unbelievably hot weather continues!

And makes me crave some ice cream - of course the best ones are at Peter's Yard!

Liska is having a difficult day today, with exams in Latin and Physics, exams that determine her university access, so please keep your fingers and toes crossed for our little (ok, not so little any more! She will be heading to uni soon!) girl, sweating over her papers on a day like today!

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Lates news and blazing sunshine

I knew that the moment I buy a warm jumper, the Summer will finally arrive, so I have done just that and here we are - a first week this year of PROPER summer temperatures and blazing sunshine. How NOT very Scottish!

The aforementioned jumper in the picture above, sorry for  a weird face expression but I was having a changing room hanger sticking right out of my head and all my eye makeup smeared because of rain! My hair is getting longer though and I still have not lost my iPhone. Yay to all that.

So the waether is more like in this picture ^ One really cannot complain for once about Scottish weather. We have got a new washing machine too!

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

I love you, Jamie but have you seen my kitchen?

After coming back from US I am all about catching up with excellent British TV (and the BBC have just upped their ante with fascinating documentary by professor Helen Beard about life in ancient Rome) and one of the programmes on the iPlayer was a brilliant cooking programme by a British girl in Paris - Rachel Khoo. After, ekhem, devouring indeed, the whole of the series available on iPlayer until wee hours in the morning I made a mad dash this afternoon to get my hands on the copy of her cookbook.

It is exactly what I was after to prompt me into cooking a bit more in my shoebox size kitchen in our Edinburgh flat (which I was able to avoid recently, I must admit). Rachel's kitchen in her Belleville flat (and she demonstrates it on screen when she stretches her hands and is able to touch both walls of her kitchen) has no space for dozens of pots and pans or that ultimate British object of envy aka the Aga. Instead Rachel creates her magic with a mini oven and two gas rings!

Though we have not moved too far from Jamie's territory – David Loftus did the pictures for the book (and Rachel illustrated the chapters) with his beautiful little depth of field and tilt and shift effect known from Jamie's publications.

I've had a long conversation about Rachel with the guy at Waterstones bookshop when I was buying the book, his face lit up from within when I passed it on to him at the checkout. It turned out that he is watching the programme too, though he admitted that it not necessarily the recipes but rather the prettiness and natural charm of the cook herself that draws him in. I do agree as I cannot take my eyes off Rachel's perfectly drawn in trace of black eyeliner and rouged pout. Though using loads of butter and full fat cream ('If you have to cook, do it properly' as she puts it) is what I like as well, not to mention her charming, slightly chipped metal bowl to whisk all the ingredients in. Aha, one more Rachel's advice – when you're mix in it the batter for your madeleines a la crème au citron, fold it in with your wooden spoon while turning the bowl at the same time.

All I need to do now is to get my hands on a multitasking Le Creuset casserolle dish and a mini nutmeg grater. Et voila!

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Back from Texas!

Nope I have not disappeared from the surface of the Erath, I just went to Houston Texas, and now I am finally back in Edinburgh and slowly emerging from my first jetlag experience (16 hours sleep two days in a row anyone?).

That trip was long time in the making (I had to go to Belfast from my American visa which was an experience in itself!) and 9 days in America went by like a dream (a hot and sweaty one I must say, it was +35 degrees, tornado in Dallas and 90% humidity - even our Ethiopian driver was saying that the life in Houston in the summer can be unbearable), now we are back and we are supposed to get back to work mode pronto.

Here are some images from our stay in Downtown Houston and from our 8 miles walk (yes, walk!) into the real american suburbs (these houses looked like taken straight from 'Desperate Housewives'!). More can be seen at my other blog or at my Twitter/Instagram feed.

Enjoy! All the visual clichees are really there, just look up and you'll see another one:

Thursday, 15 March 2012

I am back...before I go again

And I got myself some...Marni. For H & M.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

We seem to be socialising as never before!

...remarked Simon today.

Yesterday we seemed to excess all the limits! Our friends came over from Ayshire (it is 2 hours drive from Edinburgh after all) and as we have not seen them for a long time (they have had a baby girl meanwhile, she is 6 months old now!) we had to catch up properly. And before we knew it, it turned out to be a...7 hour chat in Spoon! Spoon staff were lovely as usual, bringing on the menus and constant supply of home made ginger beer while we blabbed on, about work, bringing children up (their babydaughter was super patient and undemanding while oozing charm in her carefully curated pink ensemble - parent are great visual artists after all!), photography and life in general. 

I must confess that I am sometimes rather put off by lukewarmness of British people in expressing their oppinions (like you would have to drag it out of them and all you are getting for your efforts is sometimes just these ummmm and ekhmmmm sounds but no proper statement) but not these two. It is very refreshing to have such a long (well, this one was uber long! Sorry guys, we have not even noticed time passing!), personal chat, punctuated by untamed laughter and interesting gossip. I do appreciate it a lot that I do not have to be very very careful  and proper in what and how I am saying in our conversations.

Another person that we have such a great connection with is our friend, photographer Sophie Gerrard, who was showing her personal projects tonight to the audience at Edinburgh College of Art. We have managed to drag her out for couple of drinks afterwards, which I am ashamed to admit, but made us both completely drunk, and Simon and I, we have only had one beer each!

It is lovely to catch up with friends these days! We have not been doing it too often before or maybe only now we seem to get our own crowd.

We were supposed to meet yesterday in the National Museums of Scotland (but we chose food instead!) so here are some images that I took there on my previous visit in this institution, before they get lost in the mess on my desktop. So any illustration to today's post has no relevance to the text featured, apart form the fact that we really enjoy our coffee in the museum's cafe!

Couple of more interesting objects: