Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Wanderings Lately :: November 2018

Ever so late with this, but here's to November: so mild, so rainy, and a full week of illness.
I like November, particularly for bonfire night as it's always fun - and southward park display didn't disappoint again this year. Last year I was in Scotland, about to leave my job and ready for a new challenge. This year I was just making it to the one year mark in this role and took a couple of small trips to new cities in England.


For Ayoola's birthday we bought her a wine tasting class, which we all enjoyed this month. The lady taking the course was very French and like a strict headmistress but that only made it funnier for all of us. I can't say that I'm going to be any better at choosing wine to go with food, I'll still pretty much choose what I can afford. But it's always nice to spend an evening with friends sipping on wine!


York was great fun, and a very pretty city to spend a weekend. Betty's tea room didn't disappoint; and although the people at the Minster wouldn't let us up to the viewing tower the rest of the people up north were pretty friendly.

Clifford's Tower has seen better days, and the Yorvik centre was full of scary mannequins. The Shambles was mostly full of Harry Potter shops which was unexpected.

Canterbury Tales

Another cathedral town visit this month, just for the day.  Canterbury was a pretty town as well, mostly located down the one pretty high street. I particularly enjoyed the quiet grounds around the cathedral.

Thomas Becket's place of martyrdom was less significant than I had anticipated and I almost missed it... 

A Winter Welcome

Ended the month watching a friend singing in a Winter Concert. A mix of modern songs and a couple of carols to get everyone in the festive mood. The mulled wine didn't hurt either!

Thursday, 15 November 2018

Wanderings Lately :: October 2018

This October was unseasonably warm, and it was only in the last 5 days of the month that the temperature really dropped. This month I visited a new country with work at an interesting time; Macedonia had just had a referendum on changing the official name of their country. It was a busy work trip full of meetings and presentations but it felt very worthwhile and as always I love visiting and exploring a new place.

We also said goodbye to one of the girls from our team at work, which was a nice celebration but also sad because she was a great colleague and had been in the team for quite a while.

In other work related activities, we had orientation this month the first I've attended. It differed slightly from farewell but for both it's really quite an experience to have all of the scholars in one room, these are the only two points in the year where they are. The sense of excitement and anticipation at orientation is electric. It's also quite difficult to get over 1,700 people from all different cultures and backgrounds to all be in the right place at the right time. Farewell is the culmination of their year, so it's full more of stories of achievements, reunions between people who may not have seen each other for the entire year, and of promises to stay in touch.

Finally, this month I attended my final wedding of the year - wearing a different outfit than the others! It was nice to be back in Essex for the day, catching up with friends and witnessing the special day of a lovely couple. Bring on 2019 for more weddings...

Work Farewell

Saying a celebratory goodbye to Cat who moves onto a new role after staying at Chevening for the past 4 years. She was a great colleague and has become a great friend. So although it's sad not seeing her every day, it isn't a goodbye forever! Also who can argue with a buck's fizz on a random Tuesday afternoon!

Final Wedding of 2018

Catch up with Essex friends, at a lovely location, with good weather. <3 p="">


Meeting the scholars who I had a hand in offering the scholarship to - from Kosovo where I sat on the panel. Meeting other scholars from all over the world, spending a long and tiring Saturday with some of the best colleagues, hanging out on a big red bus in the middle of the Excel Centre. And this is only a 20 minute journey home!

Western Balkans #2

A marketing work trip took me to Bosnia (Sarajevo and Mostar) and Macedonia (Skopje). I've been to Sarajevo before but Skopje was new and very interesting.

My selected pictures include; The old Railway Station clock which stopped at 5:17am on 26th July 1963 the exact time an earthquake struck Skopje - part of Yugoslavia at the time, the Vardar river which splits the old and new towns, statues from the Women Warrior Park (and an old version of the Macedonian flag), the view over the city from the Kale Fortress and Macedonian Square where this statue of Alexander the Great is referred to as Warrior on a Horse so as not to anger the Greeks.

I had a much shorter time in Bosnia, so managed only a photo by the Bridge in Mostar and in the BE Sarajevo.

:: 'There's lots of good fish in the sea... maybe... but the vast masses seem to be mackerel or herring, and if you're not mackerel or herring yourself you are likely to find very few good fish in the sea' Lady Chatterley's Lover ::

Monday, 1 October 2018

Wanderings Lately :: September 2018

September, the beginning of autumn! Although this month has mostly been wonderful weather-wise. We've enjoyed the last days of warm weather out in the square at lunchtime. Netball started again this month, and I'm so very happy to be playing again! September (and the beginning of October) always feel like a time of renewal, especially since I work in the heart of the education area in London. The new academic year kicks off, freshers are roaming the street and the seasons clicks into a new phase. 

I love autumn, and spring because they signal a transition. The anticipation of something new, different, a change. I am looking forward to the colder, crisper days walks in the beautiful foliage and the promise of something new.


This month's edition of catching up with friends... our first get together since Siobhan got married. All the uni girls back together, pottery painting, wine drinking and pizza eating (what we do best!). Venturing out to Surrey for a vintage party with Carola and getting a super swish pin roll in my hair. Finally, a birthday at work which took us for lunchtime fluffy Japanese soufflé pancakes.

September was good to me friends wise.

Open House

Open house weekend 2018 was a massive wash out, so much rain! I had a half and half successful weekend. On Saturday I went to Lancaster House, which was super interesting and a great place to snoop inside of. It's been the filming location of lots of period dramas; The Crown, The King's Speech, Downton Abbey. It's also where the FCO take foreign dignitaries to impress them - so Obama, Merkel and other politicians have been here as well as royalty.

ON the second day, I went to a renovated Georgian house which ended up just being a tour around someone's house and explanation of why particular floorboards were chosen. So better luck next year! Perhaps I'll get into Downing Street in 2019!

More weddings

As the beginning of September us London family headed up north to see my cousin get married. It was a lovely day, and always nice to get together with family you don't see much. My homemade dress also made another wedding appearance... I may never need to buy another wedding outfit!


I love seeing a city view from a tall building, and this month I went to an event on European Day of Languages all about how best to learn a foreign language. I may not improve my Chinese much after the visit... but it was worth while for a view alone. Especially since we were there during golden hour when the city was bathed in the beautiful setting sun. 

Monday, 3 September 2018

Wanderings Lately :: August

August has been pretty insane, and thinking back to the beginning of the month and our staff party seems a really long time ago! This summer month has been buuuusy, but in the best way. I've seen two sets of friends get married, reunited with people I met 10 (!) years ago, and survived a weekend away with my family. Those are just the weekends, but I've been no less busy during the week, open mic, netball wins & awards and the aforementioned staff party.

Summer 2018 has been a busy one, and definitely a good one. The heat wave has me very much ready for some cooler autumn weather too.


Two good friends of mine got married this month within a week of each other. Two very different celebrations but both equally fun days. Thankfully the weather was excellent for both of them - a bit of rain in the evenings but nothing that affected the main event!

I spent a lot of time on the motorway this month - the 7 hours it took to get to Crewe was particularly bad! 


Quite chuffed with a few things this month; first (and maybe only over) acapella song at open mic. My brother has resigned from the open mic night he ran at a pup in Borough so I went along to the last one there making the brave/insane decision to sing Your House by Alanis Morissette. We also did a couple of others with guitar backing.

I wore the dress I made to the weddings I went to this summer, and it was comfy (and got lots of complements!)

We had out Netball end of season awards - which our team didn't win anything at but looking for more success in the winter league! In preparation for our (hopefully success-filled) next season we finished off the summer league with a win of 41-4, that was definitely a boost for us all!

Lastly, I made a completely vegan chocolate cake that didn't taste dry and nasty. I followed this recipe and it really is very simple and comes out just like a normal sponge.

Spice Up Your Life

I happened to see a post from a friend of mine on facebook about the Spice Girls exhibition in Angel, just before it was about to move to Manchester and had a spare afternoon one Sunday so headed up to take a look. It was a display of the ridiculous amount of products they advertised during their (fairly short) time in the spotlight as the band. There were also loads of clothes and costumes on show, most pretty cheap looking!

There was a small section on each of the girls solo careers post-spice. A couple of things that jumped out to me were a pair of Geri's shoes which simply look far too small for any fully-grown adult, and the crazy amount of magazine covers that Victoria Beckham has been on - quite something when they are all spread out together in one place!

10 Years Ago

I can't quite believe that it was 10 years ago since I began my adventures over in Asia. In celebration I was able to get a few of us from the 2008 cohort of British Council teachers together. It was lovely to see each other again, catch up on the last 10 years and hopefully get a bit more regular at getting together in the future.

The hangover I was nursing the following day was also a reminder of those days gone by - I could have done without that!

Socially Minded

I'm part of the social committee at work, and the first big event that I've been involved with was the Staff Summer Party. All went off without too much of a hitch (apart from the caricaturist going to the wrong theatre), and I ended the evening tube-ing it home with a blow up Flamingo in tow. We're now on to planning for the Christmas do - what fun!

Out Of Office On

Had a short break this month with my family to Southwold. We encountered a bit of rain but that made spending the afternoon in reading a book completely justifiable! 

So much fun was had that I didn't take many photos. These two probably sum up most of our time, playing with my little niece!