The Drunken Duck Inn – The Lake District – Ambleside, Cumbria, UK

20151002_152413

Towards the end of last summer 2015 (yep a tad bit late I know) – Jack, Flex and I went up to the Lake District to visit the South Lakes for a day to explore as I had never been before.

Our first stop was Lake Winderemere where we sat by the lake and went for a walk. Next was Ambleside where we went to The Drunken Duck in for lunch (recommended by Jack’s mum).

20151002_152058

20151002_152046

It is an inn that dates back to (apparently) the Victorian era and now also has a bar and restaurant with a lush yet cozy interior and an outdoor seating area that looks over the Lake District Fells.

As you walk into the bar there is a fire place that is burning away wood to keep the place warm and as you turn into the restaurant you pass a buffet of all the freshly made quiches, stews and salads that the chefs are making in front of you.

20151002_152035

20151002_152019

We sat outside as it was a lovely sunny day.

I had the Lancashire cheese, red pepper and leek quiche with a mixture of all the salads and Jack went for the pork, chili and chickpea stew with a side of polenta. The food was delicious and full of flavour.

They have their own brewery to brew their own beers which have won awards!

20151002_145504

20151002_145528

20151002_145438

12096180_803518532193_5763499917598744120_n

We then finished off the trip at Lake Coniston where we went for a long walk and finished off with a coffee by the lake.

12088490_10153438561774279_3908282735855532950_n

It was such a gorgeous day out!

Flex thoroughly enjoyed himself too – playing fetch on the large fields, swimming in the lakes and finding lots of choice of stones to put at our feet for us to throw for him. What a lad!

I definitely recommend The South Lakes and The Drunken Duck in. Perfect for a day out or to stay for a weekend.

http://drunkenduckinn.co.uk/

Advertisements

When the Sun Shines in London Town

It is absolutely amazing the noticeable change of mood and vibe that London has when the sun is shining down upon it:

  1. People start smiling and stop looking solemn and depressed.
  2. People start wearing colours other than black.
  3. You hear more laughter in the air.
  4. People let each other on the tube!! Yes!! Can you believe it? No one pushed and shoved. In fact, people ushered each other on like “no you go first” and “haha no no you go first” and there was “thank you”s and “you’re welcome”s being delivered.
  5. Are they skipping? Singing? Whistling? High-fiving one another? I feel like I am in a Walt Disney cartoon scene!

Thank you sunshine (except for today’s rain- we are in London after-all)! Welcome to Summer 2016! Hello park days, hello festivals, hello picnics, hello barbeques, and goodbye winter coats and thick tights!

931173_655817376493_1112045781_n

Double Six Beach Bakso Street Stall – Bali

Once upon a time in a far far away land, there lived a man and his wife who worked, everyday without fail, at their own magical noodle soup street stall which cures all hangovers of all the village people. All the people from the village would travel from far and wide to come and try his magical noodle soup after their village parades and fetes…

Is what would be a great start to a wonderful fairy tale. Instead I will tell you about the real noodle soup stall that I am absolutely in love with.

On a beach called Double-Six Beach in Bali, Indonesia there is a street stall which call themselves Bakso Gerobak Biru, which makes such a great Indonesian meatball noodle soup. Eating this, while sitting on the beach and looking out at the waves, in the sunshine, seriously is the best hangover cure. The meatballs are the bouncy oriental type and the noodles are a mixture of egg noodles and rice noodles which comes in a broth soup. He has the best homemade chili sauce that I love to pour all over it for a bit of spice. Costs just 50p (Rp10,000).

20150624_15315520150626_154435

While sitting on on Double-Six Beach you will definitely have a coconut seller come up to you. My advice – GET ONE! It costs a mere 50p (Rp10,000)A fresh young coconut that someone has cut open right in front of you is definitely better than any of those packaged drinks from the supermarket. This refreshing thing, partnered along with that gorgeous bowl of noodle soup, is the answer to all your hang over questions… best cure ever!

You just need to get a flight out there.

What They Don’t Mention About The London Dream

Maybe I was just tired this morning, but as I walked to the tube station looking up at the grey London sky above me (most likely filled with a mixture of pollution and rain) and the trash filled streets around me and the parade of other people also marching towards the tube, I thought to myself – surely this isn’t all that life has to offer?

As I was moved by the crowd of people through the station barriers and into the platform where I wait (still in a crowd) for three trains to pass by while standing behind a woman who keep flicking her hair into my eyeballs and mouth before I get pushed and shoved into the next train – my face firmly put in a gentleman’s armpit who is holding onto a pole/handrail above me, on my other side a woman yawns into my face and I can actually smell the coffee on her breath, while I try to use the crowd of people and my leg muscles to balance myself as there is no space for me to breath let alone hold onto any poles. This whole experience costs me £130 per month for a zone 1-2 travel pass.

The tube stops in the black tunnel mid-journey and I hear the muffled voice of the tube driver and I just about make out something about someone pressing the emergency alarm on the tube in front of us.

As I sprint from the tube station to my office (perspiring even in the middle of winter) worried about being late and having to explain myself even though I had no meetings this morning and even though I stayed in the office late and continued working at home until I went to bed (as I do most Mondays to Wednesdays) for the salary that just about covers the London living costs.

These London living costs are for example – the norm of a good deal of a room for £700 per month bedroom in a shared house before bills in zone 2 (yes, that is just for the bedroom and no, don’t even think about moving to zone 3 for £10 per month cheaper rent because then your travel costs go up by £50 per month), the £130 per month for travel, the ridiculously priced gyms that cost on average £85 per month (yes, in London there are gyms that market themselves as cheap and still cost £45 per month).

Then there are what I like to call the self-inflicted costs of London living. They say London is a vibrant city where there is always something to do and something going on – whether it be a food festival, a new brunch restaurant, a gig, or a cool new speakeasy cocktail bar.

Bare in mind – for just a burger at a food festival you pay £7 and chips on the side will be £5, the brunch spot will be £10 for just a Bloody Mary (which of course is a must at a brunch), the gig costs a minimum of £40 per ticket and £5 for a warm, flat beer served in a plastic pint, and the cool speakeasy cocktail bar charges £15-25 for one cocktail!!

Hence my blog being about the wonderful AFFORDABLE places to eat in London that are family run or started as family run businesses.

I went up to a small village in the North of England the other weekend and I felt like I was robbing the pub when I got a round of drinks for 8 people for £15. There were no trash filled streets. The air felt fresh even though it was cold. There was space to walk around without anyone’s pony tail being swished in my face (I could do jumping jacks in the street and not hit anyone in the face). People lived in houses, not rooms, not broken down houses with mold hidden by a layer of paint and where the living room has been changed into a bedroom so they can afford to live in it, but a whole actual real person house! I feel ever so slightly cheated.

Tuesday-Winter-Morning Blues.

Street Food – Istanbul, Turkey

My gorgeous girlfriends and I got our back packs on flew to Istanbul in May this year for some exploring. We managed to see loads of historical sights, visit the two big bazaars and do some shopping. This post is about all the street foods I tried while I was there.2015-05-03_14.45.31

Midye Dolma (Stuffed Mussels) – Found at the Ferry Port on the Asian Side20150504_194533

20150504_194553Emma, Astrid, Esme and I got a ferry across from the European side, where we were staying, to the Asian side, where my friend Hannah lives, as she was having a garden party at her house that evening. As we got off the ferry onto the Asian side, we saw a couple of these Midye Dolma street vendors. Obviously we had to try them. They opened up the mussel for us, scooped it all into one shell, squeezed some lemon onto it, and then it was served.

They make a rice mixture and then stuff it into the mussels to cook – it tastes very much like a seafood risotto or a seafood paella. DELICIOUS!

It costs 1 Turkish Lira for 2 mussels (£1 = 4 Lira at the time) and they are such a good tasty little street snack.images (1)

20150504_200510

Corn on the Cob and Chesnuts – Found around Sultan Ahmet20150503_181931

To be honest, I wasn’t too impressed with the grilled corn that I got. It was cold and the kernels was so hard and tasted like they were probably cooked in the morning and just laid out all day. They sprinkled it with salt which didn’t melt and infuse into the corn and instead lay over it dry. I doubt I will be rushing to have one of these again, but if you are to try these I would suggest asking for a freshly cooked one. Not my favourite. 2 Liras for 1 corn.

Islak Burgers (Wet Burgers in English) – Found in Taksimdownload (1)The Islak Burgers are found lining the streets of Taksim. You will see them in the windows of most of the shops. Emma, Astrid and I had one of these on our way home after Hannah’s garden party. It was surprisingly good.

It was a bun similar to a McDonalds cheeseburger bun, with a very thin meat patty inside, but what makes it a “wet burger” is that, not only is there tomato sauce on the inside of the bun like a normal burger, but it is absolutely covered in a tomato sauce. The sauce doesn’t taste as strong with flavour as a tomato ketchup. It had a lighter taste to it. This sauce somehow gave the burger bun a chewy texture, like the texture of a bagel.

A delightful midnight street snack AND it was only 2 Lira!images (2)

Simit (Turkish Pretzels) – Found all over the streets in Istanbulimages (3)These are great if you are hungry and on the go. It costs 1 Lira for one. Plain chewy-bagel-type-pretzels that are sold on every street corner.

Overall a fab place to visit and many interesting flavours. I still need to go back and try to famous fish sandwich which is also a street food.

Istanbul, I’m coming back.

Running for Cardiomyopathy – The British 10k – 14th July 2013

To those who helped to support and made a donation; thank you so much for your help. We have been able to raise £805.00 so far and £968.75 with gift aid. This is an amazing achievement and every single one of you have made a difference.

The money that we have raised will go towards their vital services, which include a freephone confidential helpline (0800 018 1024, 8:30am – 4:30pm Mon to Fri) with specialist cardiomyopathy support nurses, a range of publications and a website full of useful information, online forums where those affected by cardiomyopathy can share experiences, information days around the country with leading medical cardiomyopathy experts, volunteer-led support groups and a network of affected people who provide one-to-one support to others.

They solely rely on the generosity of their supporters to meet the costs of delivering these essential services. For them, every penny received makes a vital difference to those affected by cardiomyopathy.

If you would like to find out more about the organisation, please go to http://www.cardiomyopathy.org

IMG-20130714-WA003

So, I had my run on the 14th July – The British 10k. I met up with some of the other runners running for The Cardiomyopathy Association and it was good to meet other people who also were affected by this heart condition and were running for a close friend or family.

It was the first time I had run a 10k (or any race ever) and I really enjoyed it. Although the race is over, I will continue running and hopefully run a couple more races for the charity this year.

IMG-20130714-WA004

Thank you again to everyone who donated and if you are still yet to, please click on the link below. Its never too late to help.

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/StephanieWhiteley

Running for Cardiomyopathy

Every little girl grows up thinking the world of her dad. He will always be the first man you ever loved. And I am no different from any of those little girls.

IMG-20130516-WA000

Its been 3 years and 10 months now since my Dad passed away from Cardiomyopathy and I still miss him and still think of him. And I always will.

There is not much you can do for someone you love that has passed away. No matter how much you wish, there will never be any last kisses, last hugs, no last laughs, stories, or “I love you”s. It feels like they have just disappeared out of your world – poof! And there is nothing you can do to bring them back. Not even for just one last day.

So, I decided to do something in memory of my Dad and to help others that suffer with this heart condition. This Sunday I am running The British 10k to raise money for the Caridomyopathy Association and in memory of my Daddy. I haven’t ever been a runner but just started in January this year in preparation for this run.

http://www.cardiomyopathy.org/

http://www.thebritish10klondon.co.uk/

IMG-20130516-WA003

IMG-20130516-WA004

In memory of my Daddy, for this race and for this evening, I’ll share with you just a little handful of why he was such a special person in my life:

  • The bad dad jokes he would crack and then burst out laughing about by himself until he turned bright red – which would then make us laugh… at him.
  • He would be so silly it would make me giggle so hard – like when he used to pretend to give birth to a baby out of his t-shirt (which was my teddy bear) and acted so shocked when it came out and it was a teddy bear instead of a baby – I was only 4 years old but I still remember that one as I found it hilarious at the time.
  • The bedtime reading I would look forward to every single night right up to my teens – I think I remember Enid Blyton’s Bedtime Stories for Eight Year Olds being one of my favourites… although he did make up some great stories too.
  • The way he was such a good listener to me when I would cry about my problems and then he would tell me “chin up” because everything will always be okay in the end.
  • Our imaginary friends that we used to create stories about and giggle about together – Yep! Jelly and Rosenkranz were their names!
  • The way he always believed in me no matter how big my dreams were – Even when I wanted to be a princess at 4 years old and a famous rock star at 13 years old.
  • The love of food we shared together as a family – Sunday brunches and Saturday night dinners were my favourite. Yes, my love of food started at a young age with my family meals.
  • Being my tooth fairy and leaving me the greatest gifts – I remember finding Betamax videos of Walt Disney cartoons and big bags of sweets under my pillow; BEST TOOTH FAIRY EVER!
  • When my Daddy was ill, he had a big medicine box on a shelf in the living room, and on random mornings, I would leave him notes or a little present that he would find before he went to work and he would leave the same under my door that I would find before I went to school – Just to say “I love you” and to have a good day.

IMG-20130516-WA006

385078_583887624293_956810406_n

It makes me smile when I think about the great memories we made and this is how I remember him.

189329_546069092933_7596499_n

Our imaginary friends will live on forever, Daddy. I’ll always be your little girl.

For my Daddy, for The Cardiomyopathy Association, for others out there suffering, and for their families, please make a little donation: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/StephanieWhiteley

IMG-20130711-WA003

IMG-20130711-WA001

This blog post and my run on Sunday are my way to celebrate his beautiful life.