28 December 2013

Lets Misbehave: An Evening with The Great Gatsby



Quiet streets on the west of London, unbelievably quiet for a Saturday night. It was as if the streets had been cleared for the special occasion. Arriving at Royal Oak, it was windy with a fresh crisp breeze blowing at the rain, enough to make it seem as if the sky was dusting out diamond drops as they glistened in the bright street lamp posts. Midnight blue dress embellished with crystals and sequins, a vintage fur stole on the shoulder adorned with Swarovski brooches completed the look of a bygone era. For this evening, Mr Gatsby was in cahoots with the Candlelight club  in throwing the party of the year. Ending 2013 with a party to remember, by travelling back into time celebrating the year's successes in jazz-filled speakeasy style of the 1920s era.

21 December 2013

Busy Bee: 2013 In Review

Where has the time gone?! Soon to be celebrating year 2 of my blog. I must say I didn't think I would keep it up for this long but certainly difficult to keep up-to-date when working full-time. In a way I started it to document my climbing and travels as a way to really just do something not in anyway related to work. Think work/life balance. This year has gone by so fast. As much as I have been slaving away at work, I have also tried to balance this out by dropping everything, picking up my passport and running off in the direction of the nearest airport!

17 December 2013

NAS


This post is a little late as I hoping to publish this as soon as, but work is a little busy at the moment since we are coming towards the end of the year. Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending a private art gallery viewing organised by the Nigerian Art Society. Having missing the wine and champagne opening 2 days earlier, the curator of the limited availability exhibition offered to give me and 2 guests a tour around the gallery located on the corner of the bustling Waterloo area. Right across from the Old and Young Vic Theatre that is under the artistic direction of Kevin Spacey.

15 December 2013

MANDELA 1918 - 2013 - THROUGH QUOTES AND PICTURES

Mandela statue in London's Parliament Square

Having grown up with Mandela's image at the forefront and witnessing the riotous joy that spread through Zambian streets in 1990 when he was released from prison it is indeed sad that this great and inspirational leader's desperate battle with health issues has been lost. Blessed to live to 95 years, he has helped liberate many people in South Africa. Because of him, his work has presented many people today with opportunities and freedom their mothers and fathers never lived to witness. One man's actions changed the lives of so many, for the better.

11 December 2013

Windsor Castle | A Royal Weekend



You know you are true a Londoner when you stop noticing the rain and just go about your business, but this day was something totally different. Rain, slate and a bit of hail could not go unnoticed on this cold day in Windsor. Having planned to spend part of the weekend in Windsor with the lovely Alissa Marr, it was somewhat too late to cancel plans as I was looking forward to finally seeing Windsor Castle[Yes, I have lived in London for 2 decades and not made the effort to see this place]. Also only just getting the chance to finally post this pictures.

7 December 2013

Hide and Sika



My recent meeting with Maria at a bloggers meetup inspired my trip to seek something for the party season. Maria Milliner  a designer and maker of hand-crafted hats puts her own mark on head accessories with a touch of creative use of textures. Totally different to what I have come across. Hence why I thought a trip to Greenwich was in order. The party season is here and I have been toying with the idea of something different and by different I mean I just want something new! Something not a lot of people will be spotting. Tucked away in the heart of Maritime Greenwich is Sika designs. Founded by Phyllis Taylor. She produces the most vibrant and unique pieces the caress and hold the curves in the most feminine way that can only serve to flatter the body. Made using traditional batik and wax prints with a modern spin. The collections are an explosion of texture, colour and shapes just so pleasing to the eye.

3 December 2013

Southbank Thrills


Long gone are the summer days, gloomy overcast grey clouds have returned like a friend I have not seen in a decade. Darkness is upon London before the afternoon has even turned into evening. In a bid to cheer myself up and forget the about the chill that is slowly undressing the trees bare, Mr Awesome and I were looking through pictures of the trip to Egypt and comparing the unforgiving heat to the hibernation inducing cold in London. Looking through the sun-kissed beaches of Sharm El Sheik was enough to make me miss the scary but thrilling dives in the red sea.

22 November 2013

Lake Michigan


Lake Michigan SunSet
Watching the Sun Set - Benton Harbor - Michigan

Pure Michigan - Lakefronts that make the heart sing


In addition to passing through Columbus and Niles while on my recent trip in the USA I also stopped by to visit Michigan City, Niles and Benton Harbor. If you are ever in Michigan, although its a bit out of the way and a bit of a drive but you have got to check out Benton Harbor! Located in the west of Kalmazoo.  A beautiful spot on Lake Michigan to hang out for a while, with miles of sandy beach and on a clear day Chicago lights are visible in the distance. It also has these little swings perched on hill tops or slightly higher ground that give the most amazing views. I could see myself getting lost in a book will swinging the life blues out into the horizon ahead.


16 November 2013

Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market


While exploring in Seattle I decided on going solo for the afternoon. It was time to see Pike Place Market as it was only a few blocks from the hotel. From the pictures I had seen I was expecting a really lively market with a lot of fresh fish stalls, what I did get was close but not what I had pictured in my mind. It's still a busy and bustling place with more tourists than I would say locals, with some of the biggest fish I have ever come face to face with. A few steps further you are hit with beautiful and fragrant scents of freshly picked flowers with ladies busily arranging bouquets in assortments too pretty to walk away from.

26 October 2013

Sleepless In Seattle


Sleepless in Seattle? Sleep easy with Starbucks hot chocolates on every corner in sight!


Leaving Chicago(read more here) just as the weather was doing a U-turn, it was time to head on to Seattle. My last stop in the 4-state "USA Road-Tripping" adventure. I was warned of the terrible and unpredictable weather in Seattle, I thought to myself, it surely cant be as bad a London?! I prepared for the worst and got the best when I arrived.

22 October 2013

The Windy City | 48 Hours in Chicago


Magnificent Mile Chicago

This is the second instalment to the USA trip blog post. Check out the first one on Ohio's beautiful hiking trails in Logan County and Benton Habour's awesome views here. 

While road tripping around parts of the USA I finally made it to the Windy City of the USA after getting my brother to drive my sister and I. That's Chicago's nickname by the way. Named so, not because the city is windy but apparently because the politicians and city boosters were full of "hot air". They might still have hot air considering all the TV was showing when I was there was related to the government shutdown.

17 October 2013

USA Road Tripping - OH - MI - IN - IL - WA

Back from the USA and still very much jet-lagged from an awesome trip visiting family and friends in the in the land of the free. Passing through 4 states in 2 weeks one would wonder if I was on holiday or some work project or something. Starting with Columbus in Ohio, Niles, Michigan City, Benton Harbor in Michigan, Indianapolis in Indiana, Chicago and ending the trip in Seattle. Phew! Well I was in the land where everything is super size; the cars, homes, malls, food portions so this trip was in need of some serious super sizing! That came by way of covering as much ground as I could manage. Travelling through 3 time zones in the USA alone, no wonder my flight back from Seattle back to London still has me woozy.


Hocking Hills - Logan County - Ohio

2 September 2013

A taste of Cleopatra's Lifestyle


When in the land of the pharaohs, one must try to live(if for a moment) like the kings and queens of Egypt. Renowned for her beauty and her lavish beauty treatments as well has her reputation for seduction, Cleopatra, a captivating, enigmatic and powerful ruler of Egypt has inspired many books and movies. Her suicide after learning of her husband suicide brought an end to Pharoahs ruling in Egypt. This country has such a fascinating history and its ties with  Rome made Cleopatra's reign even stronger as she forged a link between the two empires, having bore children to Roman rulers, Caesar and Marcus Antonius.

28 August 2013

Diving in the Red Sea


The warm breeze filtering through the Yacht as the sun burns on unforgivingly, while divers are are diving in the mysterious blue sea beneath the Yacht in search of the many sea creatures that the Red Sea habours.


Anchored peacefully and bobbing afloat over looking Tiran Island, the sea is calm, fellow divers and snorkelers joyfully drying off the salt sea water off tanned and glowing skin and comparing notes on the fish they have just seen. Sharm El Sheik's beauty attempts to hide the complicated situation and language of bullets that is spoken in Egypt's capital and the popular tourist spot of Alexandria and Cairo.

11 August 2013

AFRIQUE SHOW: Covent Garden Hosts African Fashion Week


Last week I attended the African Summer Festival hosted by the African Center which also coincided with the London African Fashion week.


African Fashion Week London(AFWL) celebrates London's diverse and unique heritage with a mix of Western and African culture. So AFWL showcases Africa's reach and exotic culture interpreted through rich coloured, vibrant, textured  and contemporary designs. The events run across the capital with music performances, fashion catwalks, food stalls all with products from Africa. The main event was held at The Old Truman Brewary in Brick Lane but I managed to catch the show in London's Covent Garden which had catwalk shows musicians and more. Recent years have seen many runways with African inspired designs and still continues to do so today. See below pictures and video of the music from the event I captured last Sunday.

1 August 2013

Roman Flow: The Fountains of Rome


Roman Flow: The Fountains of Rome
Part of the Fountain of Four Rivers



I have been to Italy(read more here) every year for the past 5 years and each time I have been, I can guarantee an Italian mattering the question "eh, you know eh the meaning of this, your name?"(in my best in Italian accent of course). Followed by me tilting my head puppy dog style with a nodd replying with "Si!". For some of you who know even the basics of Italian(or drink white wine?) will know that my name means white in Italian. So when they see a brown girl with this name few of them are somewhat puzzled. Just to balance things out my last name has several meanings one of which is the colour brown so I guess that balances things out. So with each of my visits I kind dance around between pretending not to know the meaning and to declaring that I am aware of the meaning then dusting out my GCSE Italian for little conversation when this question comes, which surprises locals even more(my Italian is not that great but it never fails to amuse). 

18 July 2013

Spas, Hikes & Climbs | Part II

Following the trail of Gromit Unleased!


This is the second installment to my post on the "ambitious" weekend goal of covering Yeovil, Cheddar-Gorge, Street, Bath and Bristol. The first part can be read here.

By Invitation only...

My friend had extended invitations after invitation to visit Bristol but our plans simply didn't mesh as he always works out of town just as much as I do if not more. This time being in Somerset it just didn't make any sense for me to be this close to Bristol and not visit. The journey to Bristol started from Bath and took only 30 minutes drive. Driving through picturesque countrysides via long winding country roads, I was looking around the city limits as we entered Bristol, trying to see if I could catch a glimpse of triumphant Victorian engineering at its best but I just couldn't see it. Meeting my friend Khalid near his home we set off to walk to the Clifton Suspension Bridge via the scenic route through Ashton Court Estate.

Spas, Hikes & Climbs | Part I


Royal Crescent, Bath

A lot of the time you will read about my blog posts from my travels outside of the UK(apart from my climbing trips off course, mainly in UK). Well that will all hopefully change as I will try and show you a little bit of where I live, the popular holiday and settling destination that is the UK. The past weekend I had an ambitious goal of covering Yeovil, Cheddar Gorge, Bath and Bristol! Art, Spas, Climbing, Hiking and Music, all in one weekend!

15 July 2013

Verona - A Story of Romeo and Juliet

Verona - A Story of Romeo and Juliet

My first visit to the home of the famous lovers, Romeo and Juliet. Verona was the setting for Shakespare's tragic love story. The city is diverse with Roman ruins, Renaissance palaces, ancient churches and beautiful piazzas to sit by and people-watch. It's such a beautiful city with centuries of history witnessed by its architecture and artistic masterpieces left behind. I have been to Verona at at least 3 times now.


Verona lies in the north-eastern of Italy in the Veneto region. Situated perfectly with great links to the region's capital, Venice. You can easily travel to Venice(trains there less than an hour and a half) for the day and have Verona as your base. I have also passed through Verona to go to Lake Garda. Read here for my mini guide to Lake Garda, having visited the Dolomites, Malcesine, Desenzano, Simione and Milan.

9 July 2013

A Weekend in Paris - Travelling with Sisters

A Weekend in Paris - Travelling with Sisters



My young sister and I always daydreamed about seeing the world. We sometimes joked about how mum managed to travel so much even with a family. I guess we were bitten by the travel bug even before we knew it. My young sister moved half way across the world at the age of 22 years of age to live and study in the US without any family near by for support. As much as we daydreamed about travelling, we hadn't actually traveled together until we saw our opportunity in the 4 day weekend when Prince William married Kate. My sisters had come to visit while I was living and studying in Portsmouth as well as the visits when I moved back to London but that's not the same as travelling abroad with sisters.

26 June 2013

Discovering Malta | Gozo and Comino


Discovering Malta | Gozo and Comino azure window


Having recently visited Malta, I am still smittened by the beauty and serenity of the place. There are a 101 great reasons why Malta should be on your list of places to visit or you next holiday. Still unspoilt and with most buildings only two stories high it still has an old feel to it. Its fairly easy getting around Malta and will only set you back 12 Euros for a weekly bus pass which is valid on both Gozo and Malta. The islands are fairly small so there is no real need to rent a car. Malta has seen many invaders and as a result the islands have a rich culture and heritage, evident in almost everything you look at; from the street/town names to the language and food. With many rulers - the makings of an interesting place to tour around. So my reason for wanting to pay the islands a visit once more:

23 June 2013

Top 10 Things To Do In Dubai


Ever heard that phrase “If I had the cash I would…” that’s exactly what summed up Dubai for me. As beautiful as Dubai is, at first glance I was in awe of the scale of modern development to the country and what money has certainly bought the country. My disappointment came in the realisation that in modernising they appeared to have got rid of almost all of what the country is about; the Arabic culture.


When I travel I like to fully immerse myself in the culture of the places I am exploring. In Dubai, everything seemed almost artificial. I love architecture and there is plenty to look at in Dubai but it almost seemed a copy of another building from somewhere around the world. Maybe that was just the jet-lag talking…

20 June 2013

Kleicha: A Gift From Iraq


Its always nice to receive gifts, especially when feeling little under the weather...

One of my friends has just come back for a visit to the UK, all the way from Iraq. With her, a tasty parcel of the sweet stuff. I have a box with Iraq's Kleicha; mini pastries with date filling on the inside. I remember my friend making Iraqi pastries when we were at university in Portsmouth. She used to make a lot of these as well as what I call Arabic mini pizzas - these are an Arabic version. She would pack these up for us so we didn't have to cook during exam session. A life saver when doing all-nighters in the library. I am not sure what they are called in Iraq but the Lebanese version is called Lahm Bl Ajeen. Shown here by Heart n Soul catering.

My Kleicha was freshly baked by my friend's mum and flew all the way from Baghdad to London! My boyfriend has scoffed down a lot of them(Ok! So I helped too:) They are delicious! Below are some pictures of whats left...

9 June 2013

Exploring Zambia




This was featured on the Late rooms Near and Far writting competition.





It’s that time of the year in London when you look outside your window and wonder why summer has decided to take a vacation when you could really use a bit of sunlight. It’s moments like these my memories of Zambia come to the rescue. Even our winter temperatures seem higher than the British summer. So let me take you on a little journey to my home country.

2 June 2013

Encore! Encore!




For the love of music! Play on! 

Still railing from the Sofar Music Festival I attended recently. Held in the rustic, chic warehouse in Battersea London. This was a one-day event taking over a warehouse with a line-up that was only announced on the day. I have attended many a concert but this was an enthralling experience. A warehouse laden with cozy small sofars(hence the title), comfy carpets and cushions. It was all very civilised. Beautiful setting with dim lights, creating a rather intimate feel in a semi packed warehouse.

31 May 2013

Spring Living | Greenwich Village

Spring Living | Greenwich Village park

I love bank holidays in London. Especially those long sunny days where you can spend the whole day just chilling enjoying a glass of wine with friends and taking in the ever elusive London sun.

This May bank holiday we spent a long day enjoying the scenery in Greenwich which offers views of Canary Wharf and the city. We positioned our picnic just below the Greenwich Royal Observatory, overlooking the National Maritime Museum and Royal Naval College. People watching locals and tourists eager to take pictures of themselves on the hill with General James Wolfe and the Greenwich Maritime line.

26 May 2013

Azure Window | Malta in Pictures


Gozo Ferry Habour
The beautiful Habour at the Gozo with the church of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Loreto.
My recent escape in search of sun, sea and sand resulted in success as I found all three in the Maltese archipelago. Beautiful and pristine azure waters surrounding small islands with natural beauty and history. If you have  not been to Malta you must go there at once!
Below are a few pictures from my trip. For a full review please check out my post on the EasyJet Blog site.

4 May 2013

A Roman Holiday: Part I


A Roman Holiday: Part I



Hello readers and fellow travelers! Finally I get to post this, a solid month after visiting Rome for the first and hopefully not the last time. I love Audrey Hepburn movies and have managed to see them in indoor/outdoor, cinemas. To quote Roman Polanski; "Cinema should make you forget you are sitting in a theatre". That's exactly how watching Audrey's movies make people feel. Allowing you to dream a little. A Roman Holiday is one of my favorites and having the chance run Rome and explore alla 'A Roman Holiday' (albeit every short) was just a nice little treat to chase the London weather blues away.

14 April 2013

Rock Climbing | Peak District


Although the trip the Peak District had been planned for about a month, when the day actually came I was dreading waking up at 5am just to get to the crag for 9am. I was due to meet 3 others at the Reach Climbing Wall in Woolwich because one of our friends had volunteered to drive. I got to the React at 6am but one of the girls was a didn't show up on time and so after waiting for 20 minutes with no word we had to leave. Getting to the crag just after 9.30am it was a surprise to see the girl missing in action at the meeting point pulling up just behind us. She must have been doing a ridiculous speed to have caught up....

7 April 2013

Travel Envy: Five places on my list






This post is part of the Travel Carnival by One Brown Girl on 5 places I have never been to but dying to catch a flight to.

Well I can finally take Rome off that list and wont add Malta, USA and Australia because they will be happening(God willing) next month, September and Christmas-New Year.

4 April 2013

Lean In | A Leap of Faith

This post is long overdue...partly because I have been a little busy with studying for an exam.




One of my very first posts on this blog, I discussed my career goals and some of the Microsoft exams I wanted to do before my two years was up at work. With crazy work schedules and generally being busy I had put off doing the exams. Not because I wasn't studying for them but probably the fear of failing them. As I am now heading towards my two year anniversary(July 2013) I found myself asking 'if not now, then when Bee?' I hate having to re-do exams so in a bid to only do them once it appears I have let a year go by without having done any. Also with the many opportunities the came by it was preferable to gain more experience being on projects within Technical Infrastructure and Application Development. Although this meant I didn't have as much time to allocate to dedicating time to exams, it meant I was gaining valuable experience using the very technology that I was hoping to get certified in.

31 March 2013

Stockholm Weekend- A Scandinavian Escape


Stockholm Weekend- A Scandinavian Escape

I seem to be playing catch up with the few following post as I hadn't had time to write due to work. So for the next few posts I will be updating you with details on my trips to Italy's Rome and Verona and a sisterly trip to Paris. Looking at the pictures from trip to see performance of the Jazz festival in Croatia I am dying to actually do another trip Croatia but this time to Split and the surround islands. Perhaps, I may leave that for next year.

17 March 2013

Free London | The Rain Room



Finally managed to see the Rain Room at the Barbican in the city. I had read so many reviews about.

If you know Londoners you will know just how obsessed we are about the weather here and as if it doesn’t rain enough outside someone has gone ahead and started the rain indoors. The Random International, an arts collaborative designed an installation of cascading water. The ‘rain’ is programmed to ensure you don’t get went. The installation tracks your movements to halt the rain as you walk around the installation.

With one light source in the gallery making the rain water glisten as you move around altering the rain fall with movement. The key is slow movement as there is a noticeable delay with the systems anticipation of your movements.


With the gallery being small, meant that you have at least an hour’s wait before getting into the Rain Room. The time flew by while conversing over coffee in the queue with my friend. I was amazed at the number of people queuing to getting into the rain shorting after leaving it outside!...It was an delightful experience for sure.

 The Rain Room in Motion


9 March 2013

North Wales: A coastal visit in Llandudno


The following pictures are from a recent trip to North Wales in search of some R&R after rolling off a year-long project at work. Taken in Llandudno, apparently Wales's largest resort. Its absolutely beautiful! We struck luck we were visiting when they had good weather but the temperature drops very quickly when you walk up the beautiful mountains in search of the views.

Although our hotel was on the sea front we actually didn't have a sea view room but still had stunning views of Snowdon in the distance which was iced with snow on the tips.

We were due to visit Joey(pictured below) in Wrexham but couldn't see any decent  hotels in the vicinity so I thought if  we were going to drive 5 hours to Wales I would like the views to start of my morning just right. So we ended up in Llandudno having picked it randomly on the map as it was by the sea front. We got there just before midnight on Saturday, 1st March but could still tell the place was going to have a wow-factor in the morning...Stepping outside the hotel to blue seas on a sunny Sunday, we were not disappointed.

Joey from the Heal The Last Stand





On the way back to London we drove to Wrexham to see Joey, my boyfriend's friend, we were treated to a private musical session. Once Joey starts playing you are immediately hit with goose bumps. The strums were just a real treat! Below is one of the band's videos featuring his sister whose the lead singer of their band, which also includes their younger brother. They have been touring around Europe and the Americas recently.

24 February 2013

Its All About Music: From Solange Knowles to Allen Stone


Kimberly Anne - Playing at Dingwalls



Well, well, its been a while since my last post on the blog. Happy New Year and all that good stuff. Hope you all had a lovely xmas and new years. Moving house and turning into a DIY chick meant I spent more time operating drills and electric saws than slaving away on the blog. As my birthday falls towards the end of the year and being that most of the xmas holidays was spent in bed due to a crazy bug that went round. I thought of treating my ears to a little song and dance...

11 February 2013

Chocolate Capital - Brussels In Pictures


Chocolate Capital - Brussels In Pictures




Just as well this was a fairly short trip! I wouldn't have lasted long in the World Capital of Chocolate. I seriously wonder how much the dentist costs are in Belgium because the Belgians take the art of making chocolate very seriously. There are more than 2000 chocolate shops in Belgium producing over 172,000 tons of chocolate a year. From your Praline to Truffles to Gianduja. This is some serious business. With some luxury chocolatiers marketing their chocolate brand in gleaming glass cases and offering the full chocolate experience for a very fetching £150 for 3 hours for a personal guiding and tasting. There are also dedicated chocolate tours and houses showcasing the artisans of excellence working Belgian chocolate in the purest traditions.

28 January 2013

A Weekend in Croatia - Friends, Food & Jazz

Zagreb   - A Weekend in Croatia - Friends, Food & Jazz




I am sure you have seen some of my posts here or Youtube videos from concerts I have been to. From Emeli Sandé, Solange Knowles, Beyonce, Allen Stone, Sofar Music Festival(more pictures here and videos here). I can listen to pretty much all genres of music. One of my favuorites is Jazz and I try to make a few performances during Jazz festivals in London. When I was invited to visit my friend in Zagreb, Croatia with the possibility of going to an exclusive Jazz session. I couldn't say YES fast enough.

My friend started off the weekend exploring in Zagreb's Tra Bana Jelcica central Square, which is named after a 19th century military hero proudly guards the town square brandishing sword on a horseback. We walked through the square trying to not get run over by passing trams through the busy square. Zagreb is brimming with beautiful medieval churches, museums and great architecture. Cobbled little streets teeming with little enchanting cafes.

7 January 2013

Weekend In Venice : Gondolas, Grand Canals and Piazzas


Weekend In Venice : Gondolas, Grand Canals and Piazzas


Visiting Venice after reading and drooling at several photos online and in magazines, it was a real treat to finally have a  weekend in Venice. Walked around for hours taking in the sights, ridding on the water boats, seeing the famous Rialto Bridge, San Marco Square, beautifully decorated building(above).

As much as I wanted to ride on the gondolas, for 80, I decided on this occasion it was not to be. Instead I decided pictures will have to do, until next time. Perhaps,  the cost comes because of the lengths you have to go through to get a licence to be a gondolier. Undergoing lots of training, extensive assessments on your knowledge of Venetian history, landmarks and language testing in addition to a practical exam! I took the cheaper option, Varporetto - water buses. For €18, a 12-hour travel card allows you to travel getting around Venice and its surrounding. For more prices see here.

My trip to Venice was a day-trip when I was staying in Verona for a few days. I wish I could have stayed longer as one day is definitely not long enough! You can hope on and off the water buses and check out the places below.