May is here friends! As the weather warms up and the days get longer, the bounty of fresh produce available in May is sure to delight our senses. From sweet strawberries to tangy rhubarb, the fruits and vegetables of May are bursting with vibrant flavours and colours that are perfect for creating delicious and nutritious meals.
Strawberries are one of my most beloved fruits of May. These sweet and juicy berries are packed with vitamin C, fibre, and antioxidants. When selecting strawberries, look for plump and brightly coloured berries that are firm to the touch. To showcase the flavour of fresh strawberries, consider using them in a simple salad with arugula, feta cheese, and a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette. Or, add them to your morning smoothie for a burst of sweetness, although I love strawberry jam equally!
Another one of my May favourites is rhubarb, I have only tried it this year for the first time! This tart vegetable is often paired with strawberries to create a deliciously balanced flavour profile. Rhubarb is a good source of fibre, vitamin K, and antioxidants. When selecting rhubarb, look for firm and brightly coloured stalks. To highlight the flavour of rhubarb, consider making a classic rhubarb pie or tart. You can also simmer chopped rhubarb with sugar and vanilla to create a flavourful compote that can be used as a topping for ice cream or yoghurt, or just simply make a vanilla & rhubarb flan!
Other fruits and vegetables that are in season in May include asparagus, cherries, artichokes, and peas. Asparagus is a delicious and nutritious vegetable that is high in fibre, vitamin C, and folate. To prepare asparagus, simply roast it with a little bit of olive oil and salt for a tasty and easy side dish.
Cherries are another sweet treat that is in season in May. These bright red fruits are a good source of antioxidants and vitamin C. Consider using cherries in a fresh salad with goat cheese and arugula, or pit them and add them to your morning yoghurt or oatmeal; I love cherry jam and cherry compote too.
Artichokes are a versatile vegetable that can be prepared in a variety of ways. These spiky vegetables are a good source of fibre, vitamin C, and folate. To prepare artichokes, simply steam them and serve them with a side of garlic aioli for a delicious and healthy snack.
Peas are another nutritious vegetable that is in season in May. These little green orbs are packed with fibre, protein, and essential vitamins and minerals. To highlight the flavour of fresh peas, consider making a simple pea soup or risotto. I cannot wait to harvest our garden peas soon.
May is a wonderful time to explore the bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables that are available. Whether you prefer the sweet and juicy flavour of strawberries, the tartness of rhubarb, or the savoury goodness of asparagus, there are plenty of delicious and nutritious options to choose from. So, head to your local farmer's market or grocery store and start experimenting with these flavourful and colourful ingredients today!
Brighton is a vibrant and exciting seaside town located in the southeast of England. It is famous for its pebble beach, historic pier, and lively atmosphere. Whether you are looking for a relaxing weekend getaway or an action-packed adventure, Brighton has something to offer. And with its temperate climate, it is a perfect destination all year round. We love Brighton!
If you are planning a long weekend in Brighton, you can expect both sunny and rainy weather. But the good news is that the town has something to offer in all conditions, no matter the weather.
Sunny days in Brighton are best spent on the beach. The town has a long stretch of pebble beach, which is perfect for sunbathing, relaxing, and swimming. You can hire a deckchair, bring a picnic, and spend your day soaking up the sun. The town has also plenty of beachside cafes and restaurants to choose from, so you don't have to worry about going hungry, just make sure you bring your sunglasses; you will need them!
Besides the beach, Brighton has several other attractions to keep you occupied on a sunny day. You can stroll along the historic pier, which offers stunning views of the sea and the surrounding area, a great restaurant for lunch and cocktails and of course rides and arcades for the most adventurous. There are also several parks and gardens in the town, such as the Royal Pavilion Gardens and Queens Park, where you can enjoy a leisurely walk or a picnic lunch.
You can also visit the Brighton Marina with its lovely boats and amazing restaurants, and on the way back jump on the beach steam train that for only £5 will drop you in front of the Pier. Is just splendid.
Climb on the Eye - the 360View from the top, is only £18/ per person and you get to enjoy amazing views and drinks in the bar that will take you 450 feet above. Go in the Upside down house for only £7/ person and make some funky photos that you will laugh to years to come.
On rainy days, Brighton has plenty of indoor activities to keep you entertained. You can start your day with a visit to the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, which has an impressive collection of artwork and artifacts from around the world. For music lovers, the Brighton Dome is a must-visit, as it hosts regular concerts and events throughout the year. Or like us, take a walk in the rain and stop in a seaside cafe to warm up with a great coffee and sourdough toast & jam.
Brighton also has a vibrant shopping scene, with plenty of independent boutiques and local stores to explore (we love the libraries!). The famous North Laine area is a shopper's paradise, with its eclectic mix of vintage shops, cafes, and street art. I have to say, the old streets have a beautiful charm in the rain.
In the evenings, Brighton comes alive with its vibrant nightlife. The town has a fantastic selection of bars, pubs, and clubs, catering to all tastes and preferences. Whether you are looking for a laid-back drink or a wild night out, Brighton has something to offer.
In conclusion, a long weekend in Brighton is perfect for those looking for a mix of relaxation and adventure. With its beautiful beach, historic attractions, and exciting nightlife, the town has something for everyone. So whether the sun is shining or the rain is pouring, Brighton is a fantastic destination all year round.
I recommend booking your room in advance to get a good price. There is a wide selection on Booking. Com and you will get the quality guaranteed every time.
I recommend Brighton for long relaxing weekend getaways, is just perfect; and only 1 hour drive/train journey from London.
Easter traditions are beautiful and so different in every country and religion. Easter is a significant religious holiday celebrated by Christians worldwide. Each country has its own unique way of celebrating this event, with distinct customs and traditions.
I was born in Romania and I am baptised as an orthodox Christian but have been living in the UK for over 8 years now, where most people are Catholic. I am also married to an English man so in our house, we celebrate both Catholic and Orthodox Easter. We get to enjoy both celebrations.
I wanted to compare traditions in both countries, my beautiful Romania and my adoptive country, the United Kingdom. We are different somehow, but very similar in some ways.
In Romania, Easter is one of the most important religious holidays, and it is celebrated with great joy and enthusiasm. The preparations for Easter start on Thursday when people dye eggs red, the traditional colour of Easter, as a symbol of the blood of Christ. The eggs are then blessed on Holy Saturday during the Easter vigil service.
On Easter Sunday, people attend church in their best clothes(you need to buy something new to wear) and take part in the holy mass. After the mass, they break the fast by enjoying a feast of traditional dishes like roasted lamb, cozonac (a sweet bread made with nuts and raisins), and pasca (a cheese-filled bread). It is also a common practice to visit family and friends during this time and exchange greetings and blessings.
Another unique tradition in Romania is the "Salubritate," where children go door to door with a basket of eggs, flowers, and herbs and sing Easter carols in exchange for treats.
In the United Kingdom, Easter is also an important holiday, and it is celebrated with various customs and traditions. One of the most popular traditions is the giving and receiving of chocolate Easter eggs, which are a symbol of new life and rebirth.
In the weeks leading up to Easter, people in the UK participate in the Lenten season by giving up something they enjoy or doing good deeds for others. On Good Friday, which is a public holiday in the UK, people attend church services, and many also observe a day of fasting.
On Easter Sunday, families gather for a traditional roast dinner, which usually includes lamb or beef, roast potatoes, vegetables, and gravy. Children also take part in Easter egg hunts, where they search for hidden chocolate eggs in their gardens or local parks.
The United Kingdom also has its own unique Easter parades and processions, such as the annual Hat Parade in Luton and the Preston Passion, a re-enactment of the passion of Christ performed in the streets of Preston.
Although the Easter traditions in Romania and the United Kingdom are different, both countries share a common belief in the significance of this religious holiday. Whether it is through the exchange of greetings, the sharing of traditional food, or the giving and receiving of Easter eggs, these customs serve to bring families and communities together to celebrate the joy and hope of Easter.
Have a Happy Easter friends!
March is almost gone and spring is definitely on her way! I couldn't be happier! Spring is my favourite season!
Spring is all about fresh produce like green salads, crunchy radishes and watery, fresh cucumbers. I love all fresh produce, but sometimes we get carried away and order/buy way too much of something. Too many eggs, too many tomatoes, too much bread, carrots and even bananas. I am more aware now of food waste and try to use everything before it spoils.
The best way to use up leftover bread is to make bread pudding! Mix milk, raisins, brown sugar and orange zest! Cover bread slices and place in a baking tray. Bake until crunchy. Is just so good and such a quick and easy way to use up left-over bread.
Tomatoes are best used up by making tomato sauce. Cook tomatoes with olive oil, sugar, basil, oregano and a pinch of salt until it starts to thicken up. Pour it into jars and use it up for your sauces.
Leftover bananas are my favourite because I get to make banana bread, pancakes, banana muffins or this delicious sticky banana cake! A real treat, for sure! See my recipe card for my favourite banana treat!
The best way to use up leftover vegetables is by making soup or roasting them and serving them as a garnish for your fish or chicken.
Food waste is very real and it is up to us to try and minimise it as much as possible. I think that we are heading in the right direction and that more and more people are trying to use up all their leftovers in different ways. Nowadays, online resources are making it easier to find simple-to-follow recipes that only require a few ingredients! So more reason not to waste food and use up our leftovers!
I hope you find my tips useful when wondering what to do with the leftovers.
Thank you for reading. Please share with your friends if you find it valuable.
1st of March…the beginning of longer days, the sun is shining more, the snowdrops are out, and nature feels to be awakening. I love spring.
In Romanian tradition, the Martisor is the symbol of spring and the revival of nature! Is a white and red string that has a very old history and is said to protect you from evil for all of March and bring you good luck, health, and strength if you wear it (can be added to a broch or even as a bracelet).
The red colour symbolises vitality and life and is associated with the passion of women, while the white thread represents victory, snow, and the wisdom of men. I have worn a Martisor in March since I can remember, is a beautiful tradition that a few European countries (Romania, Bulgaria, Italy) still celebrate. I used to get so many from men in my life (boyfriends, colleagues, dad, cousins) and I used to wear them all for all of March 😊. Still do, but nowadays is just my English husband – that loves this tradition and goes to a Romanian shop every year to buy me one and of course my dad that sends me one through the post every year.
There is also the legend of Baba Dochia, one of the most popular legends in Romanian mythology.
The legend says that Dochia was the daughter of Decebal, the Romanian Dac ruler. Her beauty was renowned throughout the whole country. When the Romans have come to conquer Dacia, The Roman Ruler, Traian fell in love with Dochia and asks her to marry him. She refuses and runs to the mountains, in the middle of winter, wearing nine coats. As she runs faster, she starts getting warm, starts taking her nine coats off and ends up freezing to death as winter is getting colder and colder.
The tradition is kept today, as women choose a day in March – from the 1st to the 9th to be their Baba! If that day is sunny, they will have a great year, and if that day is rainy, they will have a rough year! (I still do it every year too! 😊)
I don’t know about you, but as soon as March comes, I start a bit of spring cleaning and spring decorating, I start thinking about the Easter BBQs, planting new flowers in the garden, summer holidays, and lots of cocktails in the garden. I am so ready for spring and warmer days!
Have a great March friend and let’s all embrace Spring!
Just in time for Valentine's Day...
We always go away somewhere before or on Valentine's Day, as we love to be only with each other for a few days, away from our daily London routines! I mean, life in London is great, there is always something to do, but it can be too busy & overwhelming at times, so I always feel the need to get away for a few days now and again!
We are very lucky to live not too far from the beautiful sandy beaches of Bournemouth, only a 2-hour journey and you are there!
I always use Booking.com to look for places to stay when we go somewhere unless we are staying with family.
This time, we went away for a few nights and I found a little hidden gem of a hotel bang in the middle of the city, within walking distance to the beach and about a 15-minute walk to the pier, The Orchid Hotel. The staff was very helpful and friendly, the room was spacious, and the king-size bed was very comfortable. Loved the strong shower and the addition of a coffee machine in the room. We had dinner in their new restaurant, and it was amazing! A 10 out of 10 on flavour combination and presentation! So, definitely worth a stay!
What is there to do in Bournemouth?
First of all, the beach is just stunning, a stretch of beautiful white sand where you can hear waves crashing down. Perfect for a little afternoon stroll.
Then, you have The Pier, with its cafes, where you can enjoy great food and 2 cocktails for the price of one all day long! The Zip Line also takes you from the top of the pier to the beach below with lots of speed, adrenaline, heights and fun along the way.
We visited the beautiful Russell Cotes Art Gallery and Museum and saw the most incredible art & artefacts, the views across the bay are just breathtaking and the cream tea stones melt in the mouth.
Beautiful old buildings and quirky streets filled with shops, bars, cafes and restaurants satisfy all ages and preferences.
The only thing you have to be mindful of is that the beach is very low and all the shops and hotels are high up on the hill, so arm yourself with good walking shoes and a great camera that can capture all the gorgeous views.
Bournemouth is definitely worth visiting in any season! I feel refreshed and happy again.
I have to admit, I am not a winter fan as I was born in July, so the sun is my life, lol!
I have never been skiing, I am not allowed anyway due to a bad back accident many years ago! However, if I were to go to the mountains in winter, I will enjoy a cup of mould wine by the fire while looking at the snowy slopes!
January is that month of the year when you want to go somewhere far from home...preferably in the sun for me!
But why is January said to be the longest month of the year? Well, research says is because the days are cold, short and dreary; also everybody is still in the Christmassy spirit, and it feels sad to realise is all gone and it will be another year until next Christmas, hence the January blues and Blue Monday; also most companies pay their employees before the holidays in December, so it feels like January is dragging as you spent most of your money in December already!
Of course, there is 'Veganuary' and 'Dry January' - I haven't done any btw!
I feel that January is a depressing month, no matter what anyone will tell you, and I feel that we shouldn't punish ourselves so soon in the year! I mean, if you want a glass of wine with a good steak...have it and don't feel guilty about it! For me, Vegans are amazing! I could never eat tofu and soy, I don't like them! I think we should eat what makes us happy, what makes our hearts sing! In regards to stopping drinking, please do if you drink too much! But if you are like me, enjoying the occasional glass of wine, there is no need! Again, I admire people that have quit drinking alcohol for any reason! I strongly believe that January should be the month that we nurture and love our bodies and fill them with good food and whatever else will get us through to February!
However, there are positives about January too, depending on where you live and what you do! For example, there is a rally in Monte Carlo; there is The Arctic lights festival in Norway and in Amsterdam; London and Paris are best visiting now as the flight & hotels rates will be the lowest; and of course, there is Spain and Portugal with about 15 degrees in the day time, beautiful beaches and old towns to visit guaranteed to put a smile on your face and send depression away.
If like me, you are not travelling in January because of work, or for the lack of funds, you can always plan something local, a 2-night stay in your own country, either a spa getaway or just a relaxing few days in the countryside or by the seaside. We have a Bournemouth trip planned for the beginning of February and I cannot wait! Will tell you all about it in one of my next blogs.
And there is always the couch, the warm, comfortable, cosy couch, where we can just relax with a cuppa and our favourite show!
So whatever you chose to do in January, stay warm!
I have lived in London, UK for over 8 years now and I have always admired the Shard, this majestic, tall, glass building (made of no less than 11,000 window panels), the tallest building in Europe. You can see it from all angles while walking in Central London and you hear from tourists and friends equally how amazing it is up there (the most amazing thing about The Shard is that 95% of it was made with recycled materials!) I mean, WOW.
This year, I finally decided to go visit and find out what was all the fuss about. No better time than my husband’s birthday for it! We choose to go at 6 pm just so we can see all the beautiful London lights.
As you walk in, your ticket is scanned and you are invited to pass through security, a security very similar to the airports’ ones (it felt as if we were going on vacation). Once we passed security, we were invited to take photos, memories to cherish later. We then joined the queue for the lifts that will take us to the rooftop (the lift travels at an incredible speed of 20 feet/second). We arrived at level 33, (where you normally can go for a night out, you find plenty of bars and restaurants here) then we got into another lift that took us to level 69, where the Champagne bar is. Just a few flights of stairs take you to the last permitted level, level 72!
Is a bit windy up there as you are in an open space, but the views are just stunning, as from the top, the view stretches for 40 miles (never realised how wide London is)! It is just incredible, all the city lights, all the life down there, cars, people, buses, trains, you get to see it all! Is breath-taking!
We enjoyed a nice glass of wine in the champagne lounge after, taking lots of photos, videos, and Insta stories, even called my parents on video so they can enjoy the view too! The last excitement of the visit was walking in the only toilet with a view from all of London (a bit weird, but just so cool)!
So, yes, The London Shard is worth visiting! And you can find vouchers for it on different websites (ours was from Buyagift.com).
Hope you enjoyed my Shard experience, and you will share it with your friends.
Until next time friends!
Do you love veggies as much as I do?
Coming from Romania, I grew up in a home where fresh food was a daily habit! My mum cooked all the time and only used fresh ingredients. I started cooking with her at a young age, so I got to love the flavours and aromas that different veggies offer. And as much as I loved mashed potatoes or fries, mum made sure I would eat peas and broccoli too (I used to hate cauliflower)!
I moved out of my family home at a young age, I was 19 years old when I left for uni. I started cooking quite often for myself and my roommates, calling mum and grandma all the time, to make sure I am using the right ingredients or the right amount of water.
Of course, I developed my cooking style in time, but I still call my mum when I try certain Romanian recipes. My mum is my cooking hero!
I cook almost daily now as a married woman, and I can say that veggies are always there. Still not a big fan of cauliflower, although I do eat it sometimes now. I usually have salads for lunch and cook something fresh for dinner. My favourite veggies are carrots, leeks, peas, cabbage, courgettes, and aubergines. I am happy that we can find fresh vegetables here in the UK all year round, and we even have a veggie box subscription too, with fresh seasonal veggies from the local farmers. I must say, ever since the veg box subscription, I have tried kale and funny-looking broccoli, big green salads that taste like seaweed, and all the chunky & muddy seasonal veggies they have available, and I love it. I should probably eat at least double the amount of veg I am eating, but I am on the right track, not focusing on the starchy veg too much and more on the green veg.
In January, we have plenty of leeks, onions, and green cabbage that can be turned into a delicious soup (having a Thermomix has changed my life), a beautiful vegetarian shakshuka, and even roasted as a side dish for fish or chicken.
Let’s eat more veggies, my friends, they are amazing!
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Cristina is a food photographer, food stylist, and recipe developer, loves travelling and spending time with friends.