PHOTO DIARY | Amsterdam

Hi there, long time, no write (again!)
Life has been getting in the way as per usual, I’ve been undergoing my training to become a Secondary School English Teacher and that in itself has been a whole bag of mixed emotions, driving me away from my hobbies and of course, my blogging.
Now, with the whole Coronavirus pandemic – 2020 really shook things up here – there’s this eeriness present in the World where literally everything and everyone is coming to a halt, something that myself and I bet many of you thought we would never witness in this generation.
With this, of course jobs, careers, schools have all been effected in some way and therefore, has interrupted my life schedule too. I was supposed to be on a School placement for the rest of this academic year, that of course has come to a standstill and now, the whole of mankind is just sat here in this weird limbo of not being able to do much “until further notice.” Scary times. However, the purpose of this post was not to actually talk about the pandemic (we get enough of that on the news and social media) but this time off actually allowed me to catch up on blog posts that had been sitting in my drafts folder since last year that I thought to finish…and it’s nice to actually reflect back on times where Coronavirus was just a Black Mirror episode or movie blockbuster.
Hope you enjoy…

From July 2019:

Were our eyes deceiving us? For once in our drizzly, downpour of a country, England was finally able to enjoy a proper Summer!! Literally, from viewing people’s Instagram and Snapchat stories, I legit could not tell if they were abroad or just chilling in their back gardens with a barbie.

Throughout this blooming gorgeous chapter of sunshine, my siblings and I flew a little ways down south of the Globe for a little weekend getaway to Amsterdam! So, I thought I would share a little photo diary of what we got up to, along with a few little tips you may want to know if you’re planning a little visit over there yourself…

Day 1

We set off early from Manchester airport and as soon as we landed in the Netherlands, we stepped out of the airport and our priorities straight – checked in at the hotel and headed for FOOD!!

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PANCAKES AMSTERDAM
So, courgettes, smoked chicken, coriander all embedded into a sweet pancake batter and cooked like a crepe…also not forgetting a mango chutney dipping sauce – this was a combination of ingredients I wouldn’t have even dreamed about putting together, but oh my word, it was actually amazing!! The perfect balance where sweet meets savoury, my sister opted for the full sweet taste of Nutella and ice-cream (and I personally feel like she massively missed out!)

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And then we swiftly moved on to see some sites!!

Canal Boat Ride

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Day 2

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CAFE WINKEL 43
Best Apple Pie in all of ‘Dam…
…Oh Winkel, firstly, what a name! But my oh my, for a girl that is not a usual Apple Pie kinda lover, Cafe Winkel 43 managed to convert me. Shoutout to my girl May (AKA Doddsy, AKA Mad Dodds, AKA Legend) who was lucky enough to live in Amsterdam for a while and recommended this little gem to us.

Day 3

Happy Tosti
The cutest (and most healthiest) breakfast place I ever did dine at…

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MAMA KELLY AMSTERDAM

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Some Trip Tips

You need to Pay to Pee…
…in majority of places. Even the Mcdonalds we went to had a wee lil’ turnstile to get to the loo, so I would definitely advise to always carry some spare change around.

Check the Weather! And dress accordingly…
…or should I say, check the weather again! We had checked what the weather would be roughly a week before we had set out to leave and it was forecast rain and lots of clouds. It lied, the weather channel lied to us. Thus bringing me to my next point….

Don’t peddle boat in 30 degree weather (in a denim boilersuit!!)
…emphasis on the ‘boil’ because heavy perspiration was an un understatement. It worked off all the food we ate though!

Anne Frank…
…She is one VERY popular gal. Although viewing the Anne Frank Museum was one of the main activities we had set out to do, our little unorganised selves weren’t aware that tickets were only available online now! There is an extremely slim chance to book tickets on the morning you wish to visit as they keep a percentage of tickets available to buy but of course there’s an online queue and it’s basically impossible. So, learn from our mistakes and book 2 months in advance!

Bikes, bikes and more bikes
…Throw your green cross code out of the window here because you never know when or where one of these little buggers will pop out from and clip you out of nowhere. It made trying to get an insta photo hella hard I’ll tell you that!

Funky smells
…for obvious reasons you may or may not already know, as marijuana is legal here. If you would like to avoid getting high, do not visit any places labeled “coffee shops” for coffee, stick to cafes and restaurants ūüėČ

If you would like to watch a little video I put together of the trip, you can view it here…

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Keep safe,
I x

Confessions of an English Literature Student: October

Gather round peoples…it’s the second instalment of the confessional chronicles!

So this post has been in the making for a while, but it’s here! Better late than never right? So, to keep you guys updated with the shenanigans of my 3rd year, I’ve decided to show you through¬†monthly posts because let’s face it, it’s only uni and my life isn’t interesting enough to read about on a very frequent basis.¬†I¬†don’t want to be that person who dedicates a whole post about what I had for breakfast that day (that’s what my Instagram is for) ūüėČ As it is now November (that rushed its way over to us with no intentions of slowing down – I swear, all I did was blink and October was over!) I am going to show you a brief October diary of¬†the ‘settling in’ stage I experienced at uni at the start of the year. Also, a mini autumnal photo-shoot I shot of places around my university, as we say good-bye to the leaves for the last time this year – oh, oh, wait, did you hear that? Yeah, that was the sound of my heart breaking a little inside. I’m so not looking forward to winter.

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The First Day

You walk onto campus and you sense this nervous, lost and scared feeling. It isn’t coming from you but from the emotions of the Fresher’s that have left this sensation lingering in the atmosphere. You of course sympathise for the young Fresher, understanding the fact that you were in those shoes not too long ago. You don’t feel sorry because of the fact that they’re new and lonely, no of course not, but for the dreaded ice-breaker sessions that will be coming their way. God, them bloody ice-breaker sessions! Where EVERY tutor in EVERY class will assign EVERYONE¬†to do. The whole,¬†turn to the person next to you and tell them 3 fun facts¬†about yourself but one of them has to be a lie, the other person has to guess¬†which one is the lie.¬†Anybody had that one before?¬†You haven’t met this person before, so for all you know every single fact they tell you could be a lie! The worst part is trying to guess the fact that is a lie, because you don’t want to offend anybody¬†if they say something that is completely ridiculous and you obviously assume it to be a lie, but then it turns out to be a true fact! So you’re sat there basically looking like a mug. Why do they put us trough that, eh?

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So this year you count yourself lucky as you don’t have to go through any more ¬†ice-breakers because by now you¬†should be¬†‘familiar’ with everyone, and you are familiar with everyone…everyone being those who are just your friends. It’s not like you choose to be anti-social with everyone else, you try to make conversation with somebody you haven’t spoken a word to in the past two years (and you don’t really know their name) but then they look at you as though you have trespassed some invisible territorial piece of land of theirs.¬†Rude.¬†But you tried.

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Classes are in session

Currently reading:
Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh (20th Century Writing module)
The Art of Dramatic Writing by Lajos Egri (Scriptwriting module)

You walk into your first class thinking things are going to be so chilled, calm and cool, it’s the first week and you will be eased back slowly into being able to hold a pen and write on paper (because you haven’t done that all summer.) But boy, you were so delusional.Wrong, wrong and completely wrong! As soon as you sit your ass down in that lecture theatre everything comes at you at a billion miles an hour. Assignment briefs, deadline dates and … ¬†the dreaded DISSERTATION.

Welcome to third year folks.

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The reading list you so very well prepared yourself (debatable)¬†magically has two new books added to them! And your like ‘OMG’ and you flashback to a couple of weeks back where you tried to read just one of those books (the smallest one as well) and ended up watching the movie instead. You had followed¬†the book while watching the movie, so that sort of counts as¬†reading it, right?¬†You’re panicking and think you’re going to have to up your game a little bit now and (with a miracle) squeeze in those two mysteriously added books into your reading agenda somehow. Buying them first might be a good idea.

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In classes,¬†there is a discussion on the book¬†you were supposed to have read, but you’ve only managed to read the first couple of chapters. Your tutor asks you to discuss it with the people around you. Now, there’s two ways this can go down. Scenario 1 – The person you are paired with has read the book in the summer and then re-read it in preparation for this class just last night and knows the plot inside out, understands every character’s feelings and thought of every philosophical theory about the book. Scenario¬†2 – You’re paired with someone who has read the blurb of the book and you can’t get no conversation out of them whatsoever. Here you have a fine example of two ends of the student spectrum. Then there’s you. Stuck in the middle. You smile, nod and throw in an ‘Oh yeah of course, I agree’ now and then in scenario 1, trying to bring the conversation back to the bits you actually did read to make yourself sound more intelligent. In¬†scenario 2, I suppose you just talk about what they did over the weekend.

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As you can see from what you have read, I should totally be a representative of the university right? I just can’t get my head around as to¬†why I haven’t been approached by any of the faculty members yet! Okay, I couldn’t even type that with a straight face.¬†Oh! And I hope you all¬†have an absolute¬†blast¬†tonight for Bonfire Night (sorry, these puns are even starting to irritate me) that is if¬†you are¬†doing anything interesting tonight. I for one am debating between going to the local firework display show and seeing the show through the lens of my camera, or sitting on the sofa in front of the TV with a Chinese take-away, and as¬†I am typing this, it’s kind of a no-brainer.

Until next month guys for the next part of the Confessional Chronicles…

Bad Punned Student out ..x

York Cocoa House

It’s another quick stop for the Hot Chocolate Hot Spots – gosh, try saying that 10 times over – but yes it’s been a while since the last spot, sorry about that but¬†all my hot drinks lately have come in the form of to-go cups! So for a little recap, if you haven’t already read the previous hot chocolate stops or would like a refresher,¬†take a look at my¬†Crumbs¬†and¬†The Perky Peacock¬†posts. But I’m settled back comfortably in York and it is now the perfect weather for a toasty warm mug of chocolate goodness, so expect some more as there are still a LOAD more places I need to visit and share with you guys.

On a chilly, autumn morning after a dreaded 9am start at uni – a cosy, chocolate filled atmosphere and a friend to catch up with was something definitely in need! The York Cocoa House was a place we’d visited before so it was an easy, quick decision to make for a toasty, warm cup of hot cocoa!

It’s a little taste of Old York in a cottage styled building and when entering you feel as though you’ve transported back in time to a traditional chocolatiers. ¬†We were greeted by the lovely staff and walked through the twinkly lit archway, taking a seat by one of their amazing Autumnal displays, so festive! We already knew we wanted hot chocolates but when deciding what type of hot chocolate,¬†we were completely spoiled for choice. They range from so many different flavours ¬†from peppermint, ginger, caramel, orange, chilli, classic and a lot more. I decided on a orange hot chocolate and a raspberry chocolate cup! (I original wanted a lemon one but they were all out! ūüė¶ )

The drinks and cakes arrived, the hot chocolates came with a cute little strawberry truffle on the side… now if you have a solid sweet tooth then you will love the raspberry chocolate cup. Personally, it was too sweet for me – I’m more of a savoury eater – and on its own I would have loved it but with the sweetness of the hot chocolate (and that darn, gorgeous little truffle) it all got a little overwhelming for me – sweet in a sickly way. So I ended up just eating the chocolate cup casing leaving the raspberry centre, but THAT HOT CHOCOLATE THOUGH! As you can see in one of the pictures above, where I may be looking at it in disgust, no, that is the look of love. Trust me. It had just the right amount of an¬†orange kick, at a perfect drinking temperature and an overall¬†smooth, silky¬†texture.

Aside from its appearance, what makes the place really unique ¬†is that literally everything – and I really mean everything – will have some form of chocolate as an ingredient. So if you don’t like chocolate you’re pretty much screwed. I’m sorry, let me rephrase that – who the heck doesn’t like chocolate?! The Cocoa House would be an amazing¬†pit-stop for those tiring shopping days, it’s in the heart of the city so a must-try¬†within this build up to Christmas because it just oozes festivity!

They have a lovely selection of to-go nibbles too, and hot chocolate blends so you can make your own heavenly chocolate drinks at home. You can check out what they have HERE and also see the full selection of menus.

Chocolate lover out x

 

 

 

Breakfast Week

Not a morning person? But LOVE breakfast? Oh, the irony!!

Okay, so maybe your like me, you love getting up to a full blown English brekkie but too lazy to actually get up out of bed and make it yourself? Sound about right?

Never fear, breakfast cafe’s are here! I still remember the first time I had breakfast that wasn’t in my house or anyone ¬†else’s. I’m about to take you into a little venture of my past… *strum of harps ¬†that indicate a flashback scene*

05:10 am | 26th December 2008¬†– It was a biting, cold and chilly Boxing Day morning. The sun wasn’t awake yet but we were. Why? Because the major, mega, massive boxing day sale that NEXT held every year was about to break loose at Middlesbrough’s shopping centre (we stayed over at Middlesbrough for Christmas) and we – my cousins and sisters and I – wanted to be one of the first ones there! I’ll spare you the ¬†cramped, stuffy, claustrophobic details of what went on inside the store, but it got to around half 7 and we were done! Next stop, breakfast at Milligan’s (which I recently found out has been shut down for years!)

And thus was the place I had my first breakfast in an outside place! Remember, I was a young, naive, thirteen year old who got easily excited with food (I still do) so this was a pretty special moment for me – it was also the first time I had poached eggs! Deprived! I know!

But now, it was only until very recently that I realised my love for eating out for breakfast still remains and it’s something I do a lot of! Luckily most places now serve breakfast up until noon, so I don’t have to wake up mega early to go. When I do go because of the time I would probably class it more as having BRUNCH than breakfast!

But anyhoooo…. you’ve seen all the fashion weeks from Milan, Paris, London etc. But prepare yourself for…Iram’s Breakfast Week! I’m about to show you my favourite places to eat breakfast (or brunch), so if you’re within the regions of Doncaster or York, I think you’ll like this!

NYC Bar & Grill, Doncaster – A 5 stack of pancakes, drizzled with chocolate sauce and sliced bananas in each layer! This was love, I’m telling you! A side of hashbrowns and orange juice served in jam jars – all in a New York diner style setting! It doesn’t get better than that!

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Cafe 68, York – It’s small, quirky and is right down the road from my university! Poached eggs on toasted bread baguettes topped with hollandaise sauce with a side helping of smoked salmon – lush!¬†Oh, and a good ol’ brew of Yorkshire tea, staying true to the Brit stereotype!

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The Perky Peacock, York – You may have seen this before in a previous post in a Hot Chocolate Hotspot piece but it’s here again (because it was that good). Slightly similar to Cafe 68 of poached eggs, but these toasted pieces of artisan bread were much bigger – win! But it could have done with some hollandaise sauce too! Nevertheless – it was scrumptious!

Frankies and Benny’s –¬†Okay, so this is the one I suppose everyone can enjoy. Because their food is just too good F&B have like a gazillion other branches in the UK. Lauren and I were lucky enough to go on such a gorgeous day so we sat outside on the patio area soaking in the sun! Lauren got The Works Scrambler and I opted for a fluffy cheese and tomato omelette and drowned it in baked beans! Gobbled up the whole lot! But that wasn’t enough for us, oh no, we then shared a blubbery waffle, with blueberry sauce poured over it with ice cream! And yes, you guessed it, blueberry flavoured of course! Who said dessert is just for after dinner?

(I was slightly obsessed with the plant pots they had on the tables, which would explain the random image of one I have included in there Р sorry, not sorry!)

And there you have it! If anybody has ANY suggestions for great places to eat breakfast! Send them my way please!! Comment, email etc…¬†you know the drill ūüėČ

x – Iram

CRUMBS

The second stop of the Hot Chocolate Hot Spot Tour.

It’s quirky, unique, sweet and upon my first visit, Crumbs instantly became a special favourite of mine. Situated just past the infamous York Minster and swallowed by the bustling heart of the city, this dinghy little cupcakery also consists of yes, cupcakes! The variety of flavours will leave you completely spoilt for choice. Upon two of my visits (yes, I have been more than once) I left it up to the waitress to decide for me as she recommended the specials of the day (I would have been there all day if I had to decide.)

It is a very memorable atmosphere – The dinky decor will transport you to a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party with patterned bunting and cottage-like wooden beams across the ceiling, mismatched seating and handwritten signs – the whole place just looks as though so much love and effort has filled it and never left.

The Hot Chocolate: None of that instant, boiling water that burns the taste of the chocolate but milky and creamy topped with mini marshmallows that didn’t melt straight away. It gave me a real homemade hot chocolate feel –  it will give you flashbacks to when you’re seven years old in your pyjamas, snug under a blanket on the sofa watching Disney movies whilst sipping on warm, chocolate-y goodness.

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The cupcakes were perfectly presented and perfectly decorated. Like those ones you would see on the front of every baking magazine…and they tasted as good as they looked. Upon my visits I have had a lemon, red velvet and Victoria sponge cupcakes – and I cannot fault any of them. (I’ll admit I’m a little biased as I can never fault food, after all it’s food!)

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Lemon Cupcake

 

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Clockwise from top: Red Velvet, Chocolate Orange and Lemon

I don’t understand why they would call it Crumbs…I didn’t leave a single one.

If you do decide to go (which I highly recommend), Enjoy!  ūüėČ

 

Crumbs Cupcakery,
10 College Street
York

For the menu and more information visit: http://www.crumbscupcakery.co.uk
Twitter: @CrumbsCupcakery

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