Spring Blooms in Notting Hill

Other than seeing blossoms, there are other things I am so thankful for when spring arrives in London.  For one thing, the sun finally makes an appearance; I get to wear my spring jackets and put away my winter coats!  Consequently, I get to feel the warmth of the sun on my skin and get Vitamin D from sunlight.  The days are also longer with temperatures rising; the trees begin to burst back to life, and the flowers are blooming making the parks and the streets look a little bit more magical.

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Tour of the Somerset House

It was quite an experience to explore Somerset House.  I always associate this building with London Fashion Week (LFW) as it has been used as the main venue for this event since 2009.  I had no idea until a couple of months ago that this iconic building has a remarkable history and was once an old palace and home to three queens, Anne of Denmark, Henrietta Maria and Catherine of Braganza.   Continue reading

A Tale of Two-Foodie on a Good Friday

Unlike any other day, Notting Hill was unusually quiet and less crowded yesterday.  It was Good Friday after all, and a long easter weekend in the UK.  The week before, Adiben asked me to take her on a Christian heritage tour; the last time we did it together was seven years ago when her friend Annabel came to visit from New York.  Adiben and I met up at church before 2pm; as soon as she saw me she told me she’s tired and hungry and would rather grab a bite and skip the tour.  I was starving as well so I happily agreed.  Adiben and I both love to eat you see.  We’d blithely drop everything just to satiate our cravings and even travel to unfamiliar places to try something new. 🙂 Continue reading

The Window Tax of Yore

 

Since time immemorial the ruling elite of this country have contemplated how best to fund the armies that protect the empire, maintain the roads and infrastructural needs of the country, and finance various public expenditures.  Taxation has always been the answer but in different forms. Once upon a time, just about 400 years ago, it was the humble window that was taxed.  Continue reading

No Bake Napoleon Cake

Every first Sunday of the month we celebrate the birthday and anniversary of our church members and regular attendees, and baking a cake for this occasion is part of my ministry.  On Saturday morning I was on Pinterest trying to find a no-bake cake recipe (the oven is broken), and found this Napoleon Cake.  I made a few changes though; for the biscuit (or cookies) I wanted to use Graham Crackers but the American Food Shop in our neighbourhood didn’t have any.  I then decided to go to Portobello Market to find Graham Crackers but for some reasons, all the shops I went to didn’t have it so I settled on using a similar biscuit called ‘Maria’ after I saw them at Garcia’s, a Spanish food shop on Portobello Road.  In the Philippines this biscuit is called ‘Marie’ and I grew up eating them.  Haven’t had them for ages actually, and seeing them again after so many years certainly brought back a lot of fun memories. 🙂  Continue reading

ARTea for a Birthday

There are so many great places to take tea in London and it’s hard to choose a favourite.  So last week I couldn’t decide where to go until I remember that a diplomat friend of mine told me to try Lancaster Hotel’s new playful twists on the traditional afternoon tea.  And that’s where my friend Yasmin and I went to celebrate her birthday. Continue reading

Extraordinary, Ordinary People by Condoleezza Rice

Condoleeza Rice is unarguably one of the most influential women in the world today.  She became the youngest and first female National Security Advisor, and the first black female Secretary of State.  Her childhood and upbringing clearly set the scene in a way that will make anyone reading this book to conclude that her parents deserve the credit given to them by their daughter.  She was born and grew up in segregated South in the 1950s with music-loving parents, both educators (her dad was also a Methodist preacher), who encouraged her from an early age to excel twice than her peers. Continue reading

Not Tired of Eating a Fruit Shortcake

Prompted by a sweet looking fresh strawberries, raspberries and other fruits I picked up at the Farmer’s Market, I’ve been eating shortcakes with various fruits. Yesterday I made my favorite shortcake recipe (Nigella Lawson’s), and had two biscuits worth of mixed berries and whipped cream. I garnished with some fresh mint and that added a delightful touch. Today I had biscuits left, but no more fresh fruits so I took some frozen blueberries (I always keep a big bag in the freezer reserved for smoothies), thawed them and tossed them with a bit of sugar. What do you know?! Blueberry shortcake is pretty delicious as well. Continue reading