Shoreditch: Overrated or a gem?

I have been so out of touch lately its ridiculous. I had always intended to  post on a weekly basis but like everyone in London, I have a never ending to do list and it doesn’t make much room for blogging. Recently I read ‘The Happiness Project’ and It told me to make time for things I enjoy. So here I am.

I went for a nice day trip on one of the odd sunny days in london to Shoreditch Brick Lane. Whilst a Londoner, I never trek to the East as it’s just a bit of a mission from the western outskirts of Ealing Broadway. Feeling a much needed change of tempo I went to Brick Lane, home of hippies, grungies, trendsetters and cliched it people, the vibe is so different to the west thats populated by families, conservative businessman and greenery.

Walking through Brick Lane I couldn’t help but question whether Shoreditch was just too overrated for its own good. Overpriced nic-nacs, fake vintage (last time I checked M&S was not vintage clothing piece) and crowded walkways… but still it was definitely a pleasant change. I came solely for the food market that nestles within a walkway off the main stretch, The Old Truman Brewery.

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Verdict? It has character, but it tries to hard. Just like the people who populate it.

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Six Dinners Later… Nourishing Lives

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All images rights and owned by Six Dinners Later limited.

 I just had to write about Six Dinners Later… (www.sixdinnerslater.com) I have just started out working as their community manager and I am already so passionate about the brand I feel like so many more people could benefit from knowing about who it is and what it does!

For me its so close to home. I’ve spent years in cosmopoliton London as a child trying to find a circle of friends in school, but always found I was always an outsider. I wasn’t asian enough to spend time with the hard workers of the class, not careless enough about my future to be part of the more rebellious crowd. I felt there was no middle ground to position myself in, that I just felt lonely. I wanted to have friends and work hard, I wanted it all but I felt like there was no one like me. I moved to Turkey and I suffered further, with an identity crisis in which I wasn’t turkish enough to spend time with local turkish friends, my mixed race led me to feel like I didn’t belong. I still struggle to find my footing today, awkward meetups, jobs and situations to try and find just one more person to connect with.

Six Dinners Later resonated so well because it was built by Janey, who decided on the concept because she felt a missing piece too. Its all too common to feel alone in a crowd, especially in a city like London. Unfortunately traditional methods to deal with this problem just don’t exist anymore.

Six Dinners Later makes it possible to find people through their website, but then build a friendship offline, by being hosted or hosting dinners with others. Now this just calls to the foodie in me as well as the desire to find some true friendships. I don’t need to date, I have a partner, and I don’t want to go clubbing with strangers, this is the closest thing to pure organic friendship finding that I can see…

I truly recommend the experience. They are more than a business, they are people who really want to nourish peoples lives, feed peoples soul with food and good conversation. Check them out! www.sixdinnerslater.com

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Harley.

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Completely unrelated to food and travel, but I just couldn’t resist! Meet Harley, our 9 week old puggle puppy. That’s a pug x a beagle cross if your asking.

Got her a week ago, shes now the love of our life. She waddles about in our garden, affectionately follows us around and kisses us like no tomorrow. We have warmed to her so quickly and in her presence I love my partner so much more. The tv episode where a man parades a puppy for the women to come flocking, well that has more than an ounce of truth to it. My boyfriend wakes up in the morning to visit Harley in the sitting room saying “Morning gorgeous” and I just melt inside.

For all the friends who say It’s in preparation.. SLOW DOWN! 6 years together and no closer to baby talk. To be honest, there are days with Harley that make me reconsider the idea of a family. I love her to bits, but she can be a pain in my ass. For the people who think a puppy is easy it is like a baby, in fact, babies may be easier! Listen to the adverts that say a pet is not just for christmas, because you probably have not mentally prepared for the first stages of a puppy.

The sleepless nights, the huge amount of doggy poop, the training… It is amazing how quickly they learn and what a joy it is to see her develop. In a period of 1 week she went from only walking one step in fear to running up and down like its nothing, from fear of plastic bottles to playing with them, from not being able to be unattended to us leaving with not a peep of worry. But as confidence and curiousity builds so does naughtiness.. biting, clawing, running away, cheeky resilience to your commands..

This little bundle of joy is the best little nightmare we’ve ever had 🙂

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Tenerife, The life of the party.

Tenerife, a haven for the drunk and slutty, the holiday location for the brits who enjoy a foreign destination but with nothing foreign about it but the consistent sunshine, the go to piss up for lads and ladies on tour before they tie the knot. This location is not for people who want culture, tradition, native cuisine but it is good for brits who want a little sunshine and see chinese takeaway and chips as their ultimate daytime fix.

All this negativity aside it is a nice place, the hotels are cheap and the drinks a ridiculously cheap, the bars are just giving it away! If you like a good boozer it is for you. Honestly the foodie in me craved something a little more authentic, and sun a bit stronger but I can’t complain for £350 for a week all-inclusive! One can’t complain about the ongoing deal of 5 Euros for 2 drinks a shot and cava. Just wear blinkers on your eyes to keep yourself unaware of the trashy bar names (TRAMPS) and the pushy bar promo teams that hover on the main Las Americas Bar stretch. We stayed slap bang in the middle of the madness close to the strip so we absorbed ourselves in the culture. We ate and drank galor and I am embarrassed to say I succumed to one dreadfully drunk night on my first night there, no regrets.

We went on a girls on tour kinda holiday, so tenerife seemed appropriate and before arrival I had myself fully prepared on what sort of place tenerife was going to be, however some were not aware so were slightly shocked on arrival. I have to say the innate adventure and culture craving within us led us to try doing some very brit-hol things which we did enjoy. We went to the monkey park, where we petted monkeys, whale-watching which was amazing and on the last night found a lovely tapas on the seafront (after alot of searching!!!) that fulfilled our need for good spaniard food.

Was a lovely trip, but either I wish we had got more on board with the ‘Girls on tour’ spirit or alternatively chosen a location that was hotter and had more to do other than drink n eat. But relaxing holiday it was, and boy I needed it:)

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WeFeast

This urban food festival is great for understanding and introducing East London’s shabby-chic dining. Unlike many other festivals it is not about frilly food, michelin chefs and expensive bites. It speaks wonders about East London’s atmosphere. Trendy, urban and the hub of innovation and creativity this area is representative of a younger generation, people who have driven trend on upmarket food via home-style comfort cooking.

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It hosts the most famous restaurants in the district who for one weekend, gather together to give you a taste of what they are about. Shabby-sheek but still expensive, going to many of these restaurants would cost quite abit to go to all. Its a great opportunity to nibble at a wide array of food.

Hosted in tabacco docks, what sounds rather quirky and underground is actually a very elegant location, High ceilings, it is like a better lit and more glamorous version of Covent Garden Market place. I was quitesurprised on the size and the architecture that greeted me on entrance. Much more sheek than shabby I must say. On first glance I thought the event would be more like a fair but actually there was huge sums of seating, candlelit dining, wine bar and live music making it surprisingly romantic.

I got stuck in. I went my my partners sister and good friend, and we all had out ‘must have’ bites list at the ready. I knew what I wanted to try and went for it. Big Apple Hot Dogs, Pizza Pilgrims, Dishoom and Spit and Roast.

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Festival Pros and Cons.

Pros: Amazing setting and location, everything we ate was delicious, good fun and nice change from what you would usually get up to on a weekend.

Cons: I love strong flavours and choice, and what better place for choice but at a food festival? The only issue was the range was much more limited than I expected. Hotdog, fried chicken, Man n Cheese, burgers, pizza… I was hoping for a lot more depth and options in terms of what to eat. I felt alot of it were different versions of the same products. It was all american diner food. I expected a bit more choice in the types of cuisine offered. In that sense it was disappointing.

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Pizza Pilgrims has taken by storm as pop-up restaurants, street food and fresh grub are at the moment food fashion. They drive their van around the streets of london sharing their love for true italian pizza. I ordered the spicy pizza, which ended up too spicy for me, but it was fresh and delicious! (£6)

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Dishoom, the asian take on a pulled pork bun, with a pomergranite coleslaw and bombay chips, with a Indian Chai. My favourite dish! (£5)

Big Apple Hot Dogs: The Big Dog (£6)

Spit & Roast buttermilk fried chicken burger sliders (£3.50) … mmmm.

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A country of passion: Funerals, Football and Romeo & Juliet

When I’m sad I become inconsolable, when happy I create a positive energy around me and it radiates and doesn’t go ignored, when I am angry I am feared, I wear my heart on my sleeve… I am turkish.

I can be so erratic sometimes feeling all my emotions so strongly that people take it to mean anger, irritation or intimidation when I am passionate about something. At first I found it a struggle to understand why people couldn’t understand when I was overly excited or couldn’t sympathise with the degree of sadness I could feel. Later I found that this inability to get people to understand that all my extremes were a display of passion was something inherently part of my genetics. Turkish people are so passionate about everything, they are loud, they are blunt and abrupt but in a very endearing way. For many this can be quite intimidating, for many don’t make their emotions clear. If there is one thing that is for sure if I think something, I say it. This doesn’t make me rude, its just how I am, I tell it how it is, and theres definitely a turkishness to that.

I thought I would display many examples I have connected with turkish passion that I found help me to understand my own reactions to situations in my life.

Cultural difference between East and West

English people are known outside of their country as quite cold people, and as someone who grew up in London I did not fully understand how that conclusion was made. It is only when I moved to turkey that it became clear. It is not that we are cold it is that we are less passionate people, in someways still very victorian-esque it is deemed not proper form to blurt feelings and over share emotions. If you are ill, you be quiet and push through, when in love it is not in a overt kind of way just a more subtle and unspoken.

Funerals and Mourning

An example of this difference is in mourning for ones death. In turkish culture screaming and crying loudlyis seen as a natural retaliation to someones death. English on the other hand have a more prude display of emotion, trying to hold in their tears and upset during the funeral out of respect. To a turkish person this is ludacris and means a void of emotion and lack of love, for an english person a turkish response would be overly dramatic and unnecessary.

The art of Conversation

Passion is displayed in the turkish in many ways, the first is in conversation. Noticeably a family dinner would consist of people talking very loudly, sometimes what seems to be an aggressive nature, and always talking on top of one another. For someone who does not understand turkish they would immediately be taken back by a polava of noise and take their language and gestures to be negative towards each other. Yet this is normal form for turkish people and is not taken to be aggressive or intimidating. A mutual understanding is present that it is a conversation, not an argument (even if this is not what it seems.)

Sport and Football

Another passion is seen in men and sport. Football hooligans are from England? You obviously haven’t met a Fenerbahce or Galatasaray supporter. These teams rival each other like chelsea and manchester united, but to such an extent that if a Galatasaray supporter walking into a turkish coffee shop, with their team uniform on, during a Fenerbahce game would be the end of him. The teams are rivals to an extent that they act like gangs, with their own club supporters seeking out each other for violence and arguments.[example] Such anger and passion driven from a mere ball game? But to discuss their team is like talking about their family, they are very passionate about their team and the people who support their teams.

Romantic Gestures

The most dominant form of passion can be seen in love. This can be seen as very overwhelming for a non turkish with a turkish partner or sometimes the non turkish partner actually appreciates and values the relationship because their turkish partner loves so strongly. I will love you forever, until I die in for someone who is english may make them run a mile or at the very least it is very strong language, but this is normal speech to ones partner in turkey. They can be jelous but also they love so much that it is something that many can be unprepared for. I would say this is the biggest display of turkish passion. For us the story of Romeo and Juliet is a wonderful lovestory but tells the tale of something rather unrealistic, whereas I know many turkish men to have watched the film version, and have connected to Romeo as a character, probably feeling the same strength of love and happy to go to the same lengths to achieve it. If overwhelming it is an impressive way to love.

The same sort of love is displayed for family. The lengths one would go to retaining a families respect and the love people have for their parents and siblings is very strong, a bond we do not cherish to the same degree in england.

So next time you feel you meet someone in Turkey and are finding it hard to understand their opinions, or responses to certain situation, just remember they are passionate people, and approach all things that they could be passionate about (love, family and their country) with respect.

It means that sometimes their passion becomes something negative which stereotypes into football hooliganism or obsessive, jelous relationships but it can also mean a cherishing of family, an undeniable and strong love towards their partners and patriotism towards their country that has been lost our society today.