A year ago today, before the pandemic, we decided to do something different. We drove down to the Hythe Bay Restaurant on a very wet and windy day. I was disappointed to discover that not all of their food was fresh - the giant scallops came with a prepackaged garlic sauce, for example - and with my garlic and salmon allergies, I found that I had limited choices. Nevertheless, the food we had was very tasty and we had a great walk on the beach afterwards.
Thursday, 2 January 2020
Friday, 22 February 2019
I love Kent and tiny little Kentish villages. On a sunny, wintery, February day, we travelled down to the village of Chiddingstone, one of the best preserved Tudor villages in England and said to be home to England’s oldest shop.
The Chiddingstone Stores and Post Office date back to a deed of 1453 and according to Kent Life, was later owned by Thomas Boleyn (father of Anne), who owned Hever Castle. Stepping into the Chiddingstone Post Office was a trip down memory lane. There were rows of classic English confectionary, cards, gifts and classic toys.
My step-mum owned a post office in the 90s and this reminded me so much of sneaking downstairs into the shop after hours to buy a 10p bag of sweets.
After stocking up on sweets and cards, our next stop was The Tulip Tree Tea Rooms located behind the post office.
The tea rooms are located in a converted coach house and are warm, cosy and inviting.
When we walked in, we noticed the most amazing smell. I can't remember what we thought we were going to have for lunch but as soon as we discovered the source of the aroma, we decided on the homemade sausage rolls. They were delicious.
Sufficiently warmed up and with full, happy bellies, we went in search of the famous Chiding Stone.
The National Trust tells us that The Chiding Stone may have been used by ancient druids for judicial purposes. Then again, it might also have been used during Medieval times to chide "nagging wives, wrongdoers and witches".
One of the main reasons we went to Chiddingstone was because there is a great 5 mile walk from Chiddingstone that will take you past Hever Castle and Markbeech. Sadly, illness prevented us from taking a long walk on the day but we'll definitely return.
Our last stop in Chiddingstone was the St Mary the Virgin Church, which dates back to the 13th century.
We had a fabulous afternoon. We'll definitely return to Chiddingstone one day, not only for the circular walk but also because Chiddingstone Castle and The Castle Inn pub are said to fabulous.
Directions to Chiddingstone Post Office
3 The Village
Saturday, 5 January 2019
It’s scandalous how often we take luke-warm reviews seriously without trying a place out for ourselves. Although, if I’m honest, my reason for never having visited the Duck & Waffle in Bishopsgate had more to do with never successfully getting a weekend brunch booking than it did reviews. We finally got to visit Duck & Waffle for my bestie’s birthday on a cold January morning and it was worth it for the delicious food and fabulous views.
The views and surroundings might not be as good as the Sky Garden, my favourite place from which to get fabulous views of London, but they are fine nonetheless and make for a lovely dining experience.
I tried out the Duck Benedict - braised duck leg, waffle, hen’s egg & Sriracha. It was absolutely delicious. Duck & Waffle isn’t the cheapest restaurant but I was much happier paying £18 for this mouth-watering treat than being robbed of £18 for a full English breakfast at London City Airport recently.
Alas, our time at the Duck & Waffle was soon over. We were very pleasantly surprised that no matter how busy they were, we were made to feel relaxed and welcome, with great service and attention to the child in our group.
One of the best parts about Duck & Waffle is the location and I took everyone on a tour of my favourite sights in the City of London after our breakfast. Above is the Lloyds Building, with a conveniently placed husband for scale.
I’ve always loved the Willis Building, especially when you capture the reflection of the Lloyds Building in its curved facade. This shot is infinitely more lovely on a sunny day!
We walked through Leadenhall Market which dates back to the 14th century. Today it is more famous for its Harry Potter connection – Harry and Hagrid walk through the market and then enter the Leaky Cauldron.
Our final stop was the bombed-out church of St Dunstan-in-the-East. Destroyed in the Blitz, the site is now home to a garden surrounded by the original church walls. The garden is beautiful in summer – see Revisiting St Dunstan-in-the-East.
Duck & Waffle
Friday, 14 December 2018
This is one of my favourite photos of Bo-Kaap – the light reflecting on the pieces of cloth, the clouds falling over Table Mountain and the Bo-Kaap Museum in the middle ground.
Bo-Kaap was the place I most wanted to visit during our whistle-stop visit to Cape Town and we walked over on our first afternoon. I was intrigued by this beautiful place, the most colourful neighbourhood this side of Burano.
Of course, like everywhere in South Africa, there is a story behind the colourful houses of Bo-Kaap. During Apartheid South Africa, Bo-Kaap was known as the Malay Quarter, a primarily Muslim area.
Homeownership by non-whites was prohibited under Apartheid and thus houses were leased to families and painted white.
People were finally able to own their homes when Apartheid fell and they painted them in bright colours to exert their individuality and to celebrate their freedom.
With doorways like this, it’s little surprise that the neighbourhood is so Instagrammable but Bo-Kaap is an area of significant cultural importance.
For years, Bo-Kaap was at risk of gentrification with trendy businesses and developers moving in to push up the price of properties and force locals out.
In March 2019, residents of Bo-Kaap won heritage status after a four-year fight. The aim is to protect the neighbourhood and make it easier for local resident to retain their homes.
It was a quite Friday afternoon in December when we visited but I would love to return one day and sample local food and drink.
Does this mean I’m back? I have no idea. Over the past years, I’ve often used this blog to figure out where I was and when and I feel that I’ve lost the past three years to the ether. I also lost most of my photos (and my entire electronic life) when my supposedly infallible Nas drive spectacularly failed.
My aim is to catch up with posts from that time and also those that I never posted when I was blogging regularly.