Rewind: August

Well August was a bit of a crazy one hey? 3 continents visited, 1000s of words written, a fair few kilometres run and one house move. All in a month’s work in this neck of the woods.

August Rewind

Work Life

At times it’s felt as though work life has quite literally been my life this month. But that’s okay. I know these things come in swing and roundabouts and this is a time in my life where studying has to take absolute priority. I hope know it’ll be worth it in the end.

It’s been amazing to go back through the research I conducted in Argentina and review the amazing experiences I had and the inspirational people I met and spoke with. I truly feel so blessed to have had that opportunity, one that I hope I can build upon again in the future.

It’s safe to say there’s been a lot of computer time this month and a heck of a lot of typing. Enough said on that subject!

Blogging

It’s been a bit rough at times to try and keep the blog going whilst still keeping up with my dissertation writing. Truth be told, I often get to the end of the day and the last thing I want to do is spend more time typing. So I don’t. And that’s fine. As I always say to myself – it’s not the end of the world, nobody is going to die.

I have also been trying to progress my skills with the blog though. Finally I’m starting to figure out Pinterest and, with the help of Cat, have got round to using Canva for my images. Things are starting to look a little better round these parts! I’d love to drive a bit more traffic to this little space but… we’ll see. I started blogging because I love to write, and I continue to do so for the exact same reason so I want to keep that my priority.

Fitness Shizzle

It’s nearly Great North Run time!

I’ve loved getting back into the swing of things at CrossFit, I really did miss my box here in London. It’s kinda awesome. And I am super proud that I’ve stuck to my 3 sessions a week there, compared to my hectic essay time at the start of the year where I struggling to manage going at all.

Running’s been okay too. Yes I’d like to have done more but my dissertation has taken priority. I completed my longest run pre half marathon on Monday with 16km and it felt awesome! It was a tough run physically and mentally but a good friend of mine reminded me beforehand to just have fun, so that’s what I did. Afterwards? Sore legs and the biggest high. Boom. 12 days to go.

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Self-Love

I think I got better at this one! I’ve been working way less in the evenings, instead taking the time to stop, flop and do whatever the hell I want. It’s been blissful. I’ve even been reading again. As in, an actual fictional book. When I was younger I constantly had my nose in a book so it’s been nice to get back into it.

I also treated myself to a haircut and now have a centre parting for the first time in about 10 years! I’m still trying to figure out how to wear it so we’ll spare the pictures for now…

Fun Stuff

Surprisingly this has been pretty awesome this month. I mean, the month started off with 10 hours in NYC. I was in heaven. Even in such a short space of time that city just got to me, dreaming of a return soon… That day was just magical.

nyc

I moved house (*ahem* the day I landed home, not the best idea) and am now happily settled in even more in North London much to the delight of some of my friends ūüėČ

And then there’s been plenty of coffees, as per, some of which evolved into espresso martinis because, why not? A couple of BBQs, a blogger meet up with Lily and Cat, outdoor cinema, farmers’ markets, friends visiting from across the pond, re-exploring London and generally falling in love with this city all over again.

Espresso martini

Summer BBQ

 

St Paul's Cathedral

River Thames

Looking Forward: September

I feel September is going to be a month of two halves, I have the Great North Run on 13th September and then my dissertation deadline on 15th. After that I go to Amsterdam for a few days holiday and then? Who knows! For me it is such a strange feeling to not have the next thing ready and lined up that I want to make my theme for this month letting go.

Letting go of any stress and anxiety surrounding these last few days of proof reading and getting my dissertation reading for hand in, and any worrying I may have pre the GNR. Heck, any worrying I may have re the rest of my life! Much of the latter half of the month is going to be spent applying for jobs and, as with all of the things I have going on this month, there is only so much I can do. As my old rowing coach always used to say, control the controllables. The rest? We’ll see.

How was your August? What are you looking forward to in September?

I must confess…

Well hello there Friday, aren’t you looking lovely. So pleased to finally make your acquaintance.

I wasn’t going to post today. Truth be told, I didn’t really have it in me. My mind is full of dissertation and deadlines, there isn’t so much space for more writing at the moment. But then, last night, I read this from Clean Eats Fast Feats. And I had to write. Because writing is me. No matter if nobody reads it (though I’m awfully grateful you are). Just to write, and to be me. That’s enough for today.

I must confess...

So, I must confess…

I must confess that I have been so so tired that I made myself ill. This week anxiety and worrying took over, I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t workout. I sure as hell couldn’t be me. Instead I felt like a bloody zombie. This Masters sure has been tough. Most evenings I am to be found in a tired heap with either a film or my book. I’m a cool kid.

I’ve also eaten rather a lot of sugar this past week… More than I would have liked. My darling friend sent me a scrumptious care package of gluten free brownies in the post, and they went rather… quickly. But wow, my friends are amazing.

I must confess that most of my Instagram feed of late has been full of photos of the caffeinated variety. My daily (or twice daily…) cup of coffee is keeping me going. And it’s fabulous.

Last Monday I drank three coffees in one day, and then had two glasses of wine for dinner. I felt rather ill after that. I wouldn’t recommend it. Shan’t be doing it again.

coffee latte almond flowers

I must confess that I¬†really want a distinction in my Masters. And I don’t know if that’s going to happen. But I sure as hell am going to try my hardest. I realised yesterday, that if it doesn’t… well that’s okay. It’s hardly the end of the world, it helps to put things into perspective sometimes.

I’ve booked myself a trip after all this studying stuff is done. 18th September and I’ll be flying to Amsterdam for four whole laptop free days. I cannot wait.

(Source)

I must confess that half marathon training hasn’t been going so well. Time and energy are rare things these days. I’m still going to be running those 21km on 13th September though, it just might be rather slower than expected.

Self-love hasn’t gone so well either lately. Less sleep and more sugar makes for one puffy me. Yesterday I gave myself a good old kick up the butt, ate extra¬†proper nutritious food and booked a haircut for tonight. I’m coming back. Boom.

I must confess that neither me nor my life is perfect. But I am so darn grateful to have it. Not each day is great, but it’s progress. There’s always a lesson to learn, a story to tell, and a laugh to be had.

Just two and a half weeks until I’m dissertation free!

What do you have to confess?

How to be your friend’s personal tour guide in London

One of the things I’ve always loved about travelling is the people you meet. I’m now lucky enough to have friends and contacts in Venezuela, Argentina, across the United States, Canada, Australia and various bits of Europe. Being like minded people it should come as no surprise that our paths should cross again in the future. In the past¬†month I’ve met up with three of my friends from my time living in Buenos Aires, either in London or back in Argentina. Last week the lovely Irene came to stay with me for a few nights as part of her travels around Europe. She’s from Canada. She brought maple syrup. That’s the thing about travel friends, they know these things are essential.

London tour guide big ben

So what to do? How to show someone the best bits of London in just two and a half days?

I also had my dissertation to be working on (3 weeks to go…) so I was going to be very much a part-time personal tour guide.

Somerset House, Big Ben, Downing Street & Buckingham Palace

Irene arrived Thursday lunchtime to the hight of the Great British Summer – rain, grey skies and dreary London weather. B-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l. After a year apart catch-ups were very much in order, so we headed to Pennethorne’s in Somerset House for two of my favourite things – coffee and cake. Happily they had a gluten free chocolate cake and we munched away re-hashing the last year of our lives. Irene went for a strawberry¬†and white chocolate cake which I am assured was delicious.

Pennethorne's somerset house cake

After all that cake, and for Irene all that plane time, a walk was more than in order. And walk we sure did. We wandered along the Thames to Westminster for a cheeky little photo shoot with Big Ben. It was magical to see London through someone else’s eyes. Living in this city what was once incredible becomes your everyday, so it sure was special to step back and see things afresh for once.

Hopping through puddles and dodging pesky tourists we continue along our merry way to Downing Street, stopping off at Horse Guards Parade on route and smiling at the beautiful greenery that is St James’s Park.

Horse Guards Parade

Downing Street

This was my first time ever visiting Downing Street and I was the only ‘non-tourist’ there. Yes I 100% felt awkward taking touristy snapshots with the policemen staring at us. And yes I was 100% disappointed that I couldn’t even see Number 10. It was nothing like what you see on TV, just the end of a street and no brick buildings in sight… Shame.

Still, next stop Buckingham Palace. We passed by Trafalgar Square and then pootled along the Mall to have the perfect approach to the Palace. I highly recommend taking this route if you’re going to visit for the first time, it’s so much prettier!

By this point the weather had begun to clear up a little and the sun peeked out from behind the clouds to say hello. We sat on the steps across from the Palace wondering how our tea invite from the Queen could have got lost in the post. Maybe next time.

Trafalgar Square

The Mall

Buckingham Palace

Oxford Street & Liberty

Friday turned out to be a day mainly of studying for me and more walking for Irene. She visited Greenwich and Borough Market before meeting me for some serious Oxford Street shopping. Well, I say serious. Somehow I ended up buying ALL the things and Irene bought nothing. Whoops. What can I say? A new towel and bedsheet are essential items.

We also visited Liberty because how can you not? No matter the time of year the displays there are always beautiful and it is just so much better than Harrods. Plus, surrounding Carnaby Street is pretty special to go exploring.

LibertyPhoto credit to Irene

Brunch, Regents Canal & Outdoor Cinema

On Saturday the sun decided to make an appearance. Big time. Hello 30C London. Hello melting Pip.

We kicked the day off early, before things got too hot, with a perfect brunch outside at the Elk in the Woods in Camden Passage, Angel. It is one of my favourite areas to explore with so many hidden delights, and one of the best places to watch little old London wake-up.

Elk in the Woods brunch

We followed up breakfast with lattes (almond for me) at a new to me coffee place nearby – Appestat. We got our coffees to go and strolled down to nearby Regents Canal, Angel’s hidden gem. The canal is perfect for people watching on a Saturday morning with runners a plenty, a few bikes to dodge (careful) and canal boats setting off for a day in the sunshine. Can you believe that this beauty is in the middle of London?

Appestat coffee Regents Canal

Regents Canal

Angel Islington Houses

Of course we did a little fantasy house shopping too. How do you like my choice? Just the one please.

By the time the evening rolled around I was more than ready for the sun to say goodbye for the day. And with the setting of the sun came the rise of some old memories in the form of Four Weddings & a Funeral in Coram’s Fields as part of Pop Up Screens summer series. I had forgotten just how good that film is, and so iconically¬†British. We met up with friends to enjoy a night under the stars complete with wine, a picnic and plenty of homemade chocolate tiffin thanks to Katy. A perfect ending to a wonderful few days.

Corams Fields Outdoor Cinema Popup

What are your favourite bits of London? 

If I Could Go Anywhere… The Escapism Edition

Now I’m not one to wish my life away. In fact, I advocate for the contrary. To me, wanting to escape from your life on a regular basis is not healthy – I mean c’mon, you’re obviously not enjoying your life very much if all you want to do is get away from it. Am I right?

But, for want of a better word, today’s post comes to you courtesy of a little dreaming and escapism. I. Need. A. Holiday. This Masters dissertation stuff is rough, someone said to me the other day that if you want to talk to a stressed out busy person then talk to someone writing their MA thesis. Yup, that’s me. (*Disclaimer, I’m not saying nobody else is busy or stressed, just humour me here. Most people think I’m on my summer holidays so it’s nice to hear someone gets it sometimes!*)

So, whilst my inner geek is having way to much writing away everyday (I wish I was joking, but I’m not) part of me is dreaming of far flung places with no deadlines, and some proper sunshine.

Cuba has been on my list for a while now. There’s something about it that just intrigues me… This Spanish speaking pocket of the Caribbean has one hell of a history. Lonely Planet tells you to “expect the unexpected” and that just pulls me right in. To have a past so fully visible in its present seems incredible to me. Combine that with some warmth, proper sunshine, crazy ass music, listed cities and a revolutionary past? I’m there.

(Source)

“When I think of Cuba, I always think of my first night back in Havana after a break; the busy atmospheric streets, the snapshots of lives lived out in the open, and the unmistakable aromas: tropical papaya mixed with tobacco leaf, petrol and musty carpets. Cuba is a forbidden fruit, a complex country of head-scratching contradictions, which, however many times you visit, will never adequately answer all your questions. Most of all I love Cuba’s musicality, robust culture, wonderfully preserved history, and the fact that it can frustrate you one minute and unexpectedly inspire you the next.”
(Source)

How I’d get there

Since this is a dream and I can travel however I like, I’d fly (obviously, hardly going to swim am I?) and I’d fly with Air France. Why? Mainly found memories of free and deliciously drinkable French wine on my flight to Venezuela five years ago. Oh and I’d go business class because, #yolo.

Where I’d stay

The amount of time I can spend stalking¬†eyeing up people’s places on AirBnb is a little bit silly. This B&B is just what it says on the tin – magical. A fresh clean white interior, with light rushing in from the sea front outside and the most perfect combination of old and new decor. It’s like a dream. Yes please.

What I’d do

After a 13 hour flight I feel that moving my legs will be more than needed. Hello hiking trip. Pico Turquino is the highest peak¬†in Cuba at 1,974m and its stunning views speak for themselves. Thinking of Cuba one typically conjures up images of sparkling coast lines, colourful buildings and old style cars. I think it’d be immense to have a slightly different viewpoint.

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That’s not to say, however, that I wouldn’t want to live out some stereotypes. City wandering is one of my favourite things to do when overseas… Pick a rough route and go, turn left, right, go up, down, whatever takes your fancy. It’s when the best discoveries are made. I think Old Town Havana would be no exception to this rule, from the Museum of the Revolution to Christopher Columbus Cemetery to the Bacardi rum HQ… And so many pretty buildings, I could look at these all day…

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What I’d eat

Give me all the plantain. Seriously, lobster stuffed plantain? I mean¬†what?!¬†I hear suckling pig is also a speciality. Put a rum cocktail in my hand and I’m sure I’ll be happy.

The only sad thing is that apparently breakfast isn’t much of a thing? Heartbreak.

***

Ah there’s nothing like a fantasy holiday on a Friday morning. One day I’ll make it to Cuba ūüėČ If you’ve paid any attention to this blog you’ll know I’m a tad in love with Latin America… Che Guevara’s (arguably the most famous Argentine and Latin American) image is plastered quite literally everywhere. To go to a country where he¬†was so involved and his final resting place… Well that’d be pretty awesome.

Where would you escape to if you could go anywhere? Have you been to Cuba?

Why I’ll always be an emotional eater

For years I worked on breaking my emotions with food. Stuck in a cycle of binging when things went wrong followed by the inevitable self-loathing it wasn’t exactly an easy time. Yet after much hard work I got there. No longer did I use food as escapism, as a cover-up for how I was really feeling. Instead I dealt with my emotions openly, eating when I was hungry and to fuel my body.

It was around this time last year that I completed my Whole 30, a programme that insists on detaching all emotions with food. Instead it emphasises the importance of food as nourishment, recommending quitting snacks in favour of a solid number of meals each day. Whilst I wholeheartedly agree that we should eat to nourish our bodies and I acknowledge how amazing it feels to find a way of eating that makes you feel 100% alive, I do have some qualms with this approach.

Food is the source of life. Without food we wouldn’t be here, you quite literally are what you eat. So to me it seems quite natural that food is used to celebrate life. Now, I’m not talking about a dependency here. What I experienced before was not healthy. But I believe, and this is my opinion, that is perfectly healthy to use food as part of the celebrations of life’s wonders.

This past weekend I was lucky enough to attend the hen do (bachelorette party) of one of my best friends. We enjoyed a delicious champagne afternoon tea party in the beautiful garden of a West London hotel, not too far from Hyde Park. Eighteen of us chatted and laughed the day away over dainty little finger sandwiches and scrumptious miniature cakes and scones, whilst sipping on glasses of bubbly and cups of English Breakfast tea.

champagne afternoon tea

At our birthdays our loved ones bake us a cake (or attempt to…) to celebrate the start of the wonderful life we are so privileged to lead. At Christmas time families gather together to share food and the joy of being united once again. At New Year we toast the prospects of a fresh start, full of hope and excitement for the future. When we travel we sample the local food for a taste of their culture, their way of life.

birthday cake

Is this a bad thing? Food and treats being so interlinked with our celebrations? Not at all. To me it seems only right that we celebrate life with the very thing that enables us to live it.

So for that reason, I will always be an emotional eater. And that is more than okay with me.

No questions, just your thoughts…¬†

Body Shock – How I Smashed My Ego

Typically I’m far more like to underestimate my abilities than to be over confident in myself. I am my own worst critic, constantly pursuing perfection and rarely settling for less. I’m working on that…

Despite this, Wednesday’s run was one hell of a humbling experience. I had 14km on the schedule and set off around 11.30am after a productive morning of work without much thought. WELL, that soon changed…

It. Was. Hot. My legs were pretty much fine, save the memory of the previous night’s wall balls, but the rest of my body felt it big time. Around 4km in I realised how stupid I’d been – no suncream, no hat, running in the middle of the day in August my furthest distance in a good few years and I was fast running out of water.

Summer running bridge

By 8km I was so hot I had to stop for a second to cool down. Happily I found this refuge of shade where I stumbled around in circles for a couple of minutes and downed a rather disgusting energy gel I had brought with me. I was surprised by how much its sugar helped and things started to look up, though I was still feeling incredibly dehydrated and counting down the kilometres until I could stop.

My second break was passing a caf√© next to the canal where the lovely owners filled up my water bottle and after glancing¬†at me offered an extra glass of water. I guess I was looking great hey?! I felt so bad that I didn’t have any money on me to buy anything as they were so kind and helpful.

This run was by far one of the hardest I have ever done. It was an out and back route¬†so I could have easily given up, cut it short and headed home. But I’m far too stubborn for any of that. So along I plodded, treating it as a mental test. And whilst I struggled through it I found it to be an incredibly humbling experience. We are all human, we have limits. And sometimes those limits arrive a little bit sooner than anticipated.¬†And that’s okay. What better mental training session is there? Next time I shall surely be thinking a bit more before I head out, what other factors are going to influence this? (…And take suncream)

As I turned the corner to run the last couple of kilometres back home I asked myself “Why are you here? Why do you run?”. And as always the answer came to me in an instant,

“Because I can”

The whole reason I am training to run Great North Run is to raise money for the MS Society, a charity fighting an illness that my mum has had since I was about 10 years old. Not everyone can run, lift weights, CrossFit, be a yoga goddess. Heck, not everyone can frigging walk. So who am I to quit?

Have you ever hit your physical (or mental) limits sooner than anticipated? How do you cope with that?

6 Sports Drink Alternatives for Summer

This summer heat is great – long afternoons spent chilling in the park, plenty of cute summer outfits to be worn, no need to take an extra layer when going out for the evening, skin turning a beautiful golden glow… Dehydration and dizziness after a long workout…

Wait, what? That’s not so fun.

Since diving head first from winter into the middle of a Great British Summer I’ve noticed that my body has been struggling to refuel and rehydrate after particularly sweaty workouts. Now I’m no pro but if I remember my school lectures correctly that salty sweat needs replacing with some new goodness. Sometimes water just doesn’t cut it, and if you’ve read the news over the past year you’ll know that an excess of water can be downright dangerous. Something more substantial is needed – electrolytes.

Why do I need electrolytes?

“Found in blood and cells, electrolytes are essential to physical activity because they regulate bodily fluids. Sodium and chloride, which maintain normal blood pressure and support muscle and nerve function, may be the most well known of the bunch. But the supporting cast includes calcium, which aids muscle contraction; magnesium, which aids healthy cell function; and potassium and phosphate, which help to regulate energy and pH balance.”

Greatist

Back in the day I’d refuel with a Lucozade (preferably of the lemon or berry variety) and merrily be on my way. But all that processed sugar isn’t so hot for your teeth nor the rest of your body – even my dentist questioned my consumption. So how to clean up my act? With these nutritious bad boys of course!

Bananas

(Source)

A sports classic, these yellow pods of goodness are packed full of potassium and good carbs to help you refuel after your workout. Plus, they’re pretty cheap and readily available too.

Chocolate Milk

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I remember the first time a rowing coach recommend this to me I thought he was joking, happily he was being dead serious. The ideal carb-protein ratio gives your muscles that extra boost they need to recover and it’s much easier to consume if you’re anything like me and hate eating solid foods right after exercising. If it’s good enough for Mo Farah

Coconut Water


(Source)

Is this still in fashion? I loose track… ¬†Whilst its potassium levels are pretty solid, its sodium is rather lacking so probably not your best bet if you’re a bit of a sweaty betty. Still a pretty solid option none the less, just try and steer clear of brands with too many additives. Plus you can then try and pretend you’re dipping your toes into the ocean to cool off at the same time… A girl can dream, right?

Simple Smoothie

Throw together a quick and simple smoothie with some bananas, a bit of protein, maybe some cacao for flavour and some coconut water to get it all moving. Add a pinch of salt and voila.

DIY Sports Drink – Primal Palate

Head over and check out this simple but delicious DIY sports drink recipe on Primal Palate. Green tea and pomegranate? Yes please!

DIY Sports Drink – Paleo Leap

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Whenever I’ve been too hot lately I’ve started to crave watermelon. It was a welcome addition to my day in New York recently and this recipe has me craving it once again. Pop along to Paleo Leap to give it a go.

How do you like to rehydrate? Are you a Lucozade or perhaps Gatorade fan?

Welcome to New York – Adventures from a 10-hour Layover

It’s a pretty awesome moment when you find out that your plane goes via NYC. Even more so when you realise that you have 10 hours to adventure into the city¬†and¬†catch up with your beaut of a friend who decided to ditch England for the other side of the Atlantic.

With a 7.30am arrival time, coffee was the first order of the day. Imagine my pure delight upon the discovery of a Dunkin’ Doughnuts to occupy time waiting for the bus into the city. One iced latte with almond milk coming right up. It’s safe to say that summer had hit me, hard.

dunkin doughnuts coffee

I had arranged to meet Lucy in Grand Central Station and, being a tad early, had some much needed time to wander around and marvel at this crazy ass structure. I half expected Justin Timberlake to crack out a flash mob and confess his undying love for me Friends With Benefits style. But alas, maybe next time.
grand central station

Following¬†our reunion¬†we strolled through the still quiet city streets through Manhattan to Chelsea Market, always glimpsing the Empire State Building on the way… Strolled being the operative word, the intense summer heat meant that anything of a higher intensity was nigh on impossible. But, wow, was it good to move my body again after being cooped up on a flight for so long.

nyc

nyc highline

Walking across the High Line was a personal highlight of mine. I remember reading about it on Cat’s blog following her New York trip last year and being so impressed of the regeneration of what could have been a run down¬†railway track. Instead it is a beautiful green haven in the midst of the city.

chelsea market

street view nyc

Next came brunch, and my stomach was more than ready for it. Maybe I’d become overly used to the chilled manner of Argentine waitstaff but the customer service in the U.S. more than lived up to its reputation. Sitting down and immediately being offered unlimited coffee and perfectly chilled water? Yes please.

We went to a market fresh brunch spot in the middle of Chelsea Market, where everything was locally sourced and utterly delicious. Thankfully we avoided any food envy by both ordering the kale and mozzarella omelette, though I did also add on a side of bacon. Oh. So. Crispy.

chelsea market brunch

Having happily filled our bellies the wandering continued, along with a cheeky pit stop at Nordstrom Rack to check out the sale. I mean, it’d be rude not to right? I’d been reading about it on so many blogs lately I couldn’t help myself.

park nyc

pip & lucy

Me and Lucy – two Brits in NYC

The interconnectedness of this world never ceases to amaze me. Even passing through a city on my way home from time in Latin America I was able to catch up with an old friend who just happened to be there. I was one very happy girl indeed!

froyo nyc

Finally, we topped the day off with some froyo. It was more of an essential than indulgence really, given how hot we were feeling by this point. Happily we stumbled upon a Pinkberry, Lucy’s froyo spot of preference, where I discovered the wonders of salted caramel frozen yoghurt complete with the perfect combination of fruit and crunchy toppings.

And then, all too soon, it was time to leave and jump in a yellow cab to take the bus back to the airport once again. New York, I’ll be back. You can count on it.

The Last Supper, Argentine Style

Friday night saw my friends and I head out for what was to be my final dinner in Buenos Aires before departing the following day. We headed to Parrilla Pe√Īa, a traditional Argentine style restaurant that I’d been wanting to try since the year before when my dad and I had tried to visit only to find it to be closed.

This time, however, we were in luck. We were greeted by what I would describe as ‘proper waiters’, older men who made you feel 100% at home. Kind of like you were being welcomed into someone’s house. Upon seating we were brought bread and empanadas¬†along with our wine, red of course.

Being five of us we opted to share starters, the classic proveleta being a top priority. Grilled cheese, yes please.

wer

Being the brave person that I am I also ordered the¬†morcilla, the blood sausage, something even my Argentine friend was hesitant over. Though I used to be incredibly fearful of all things offal (vegetarian haggis right here) I first tried¬†morcilla last year at a friend’s party not knowing what it was. I was happily a fan and upon discovering the ingredients decided to continue living in my denial. By the end of our starters everyone had tried a bit, to varying degrees of satisfaction…

morcilla

Then came the pi√®ce de r√©sistance… My true true love, bife de chorizo. I always order it¬†jugoso¬†(medium rare) and this one was just pure perfection. Argentines don’t put much seasoning on their steaks as, to be honest, it isn’t really necessary. Typically it will be popped on the¬†parrilla (grill) with just a little salt and nothing else. You can then add your own sauces as you wish but I find less is most definitely more.

bife de chorizo

Finally, we ended our meal with something sweet to share. Flan in Argentina is basically a creme caramel and they can be hit or miss with some being quite bland. This was most definitely a big hit and came with a very generous dollop of dulce de leche to liven things up even more.

flan parilla pe√Īa

Without a doubt Parrilla Pe√Īa was one of the best parrillas I’ve ever eaten at in Buenos Aires, if not the best. And all at a very reasonable price too, definitely not a typical tourist trap.

Argentina – you did me proud.¬†Hasta la¬†pr√≥xima…¬†

sunset Buenos Aires skyline

How do you avoid tourist traps when abroad? What’s your favourite meal you’ve eaten overseas?

Rewind: July

Darn all you organised people getting your July review posts up on 31st July like you’re meant to. Apparently all sense of efficiency has gone out the window for me these past few days. It might have something to do with the fact that I’m about to move halfway around the world again come to think of it. Details.

rewind july

Work Life

At the start of the month I said “I want to be sat on my flight home on 1st August knowing that I have worked my butt off this month and put everything out there that I possibly can.” and I can happily say that I have achieved that. The people I have met this month have just been outstanding. I have been so touched by their warmth and generosity, and their willingness to speak with me and share their experiences. It truly has been inspirational.

My aim with Spanish was to quit berating myself and I think I finally have. To be quite frank, I have been rather surprised by my Spanish this month. I’ve conducted 11 interviews in Spanish, attended talks and workshops, written a poem and made new friends. Talk about progress.

Blogging

I would have liked to have written more about the magic that is Buenos Aires, to share it better with you guys but to be honest I just haven’t really had the time. Too much living going on.

Fitness Shizzle

The self-critic in me wants to say something negative here but they can pipe down. Instead, I think this went okay. I CrossFitted three times a week and did a long run (gradually increasing in distance) once per week and I’m good with that. Trying to do anymore just got me stressed out, which brings me on to…

Self-Love

*Ahem* so having every Sunday off didn’t quiiiite go to plan. I may be a bit of an overworker but I did try and cut myself some slack and when things were getting to me (like trying to squeeze in an extra workout) I let it slide. And funnily enough nobody died so that was good.

Fun Stuff

Oh my gosh where to begin? I say it time and time again but I am so in love with this city, and this country. Something felt different from my time here last year, like something had shifted. I think coming in at a higher level of Spanish I felt more connected, with everything really. And that really helped. I was able to communicate far more freely and with more confidence, I knew my way around the culture and many of the habits of people who live here and was able to adjust right back into the rhythm of the city, whilst keeping that little bit of me.

This time it felt more like home. I loved my apartment, having my own space and a super comfortable bed kicked last year’s foam mattress’s butt. Zero expectations = incredible results. I can’t believe how settled I’ve felt in just one month here, and how much I am already yearning to return…

Highlights?

South Beach Miami

Standing with my feet in the Atlantic Ocean off South Beach, Miami and wondering how the hell I got to live such an incredible life.

Rosario Argentina

Venturing to¬†Rosario for the world’s longest meeting…

La Noche de San Juan La Boca

Weekends Argentine style, with burning structures and theatre in the street, clubs open till well beyond dawn and secret bars waiting for you to go exploring.

rooftop skyline Buenos Aires

rooftop skyline Buenos Aires

Getting my favourite skyline back.

Ninina Bakery

Rediscovering one of my favourite caf√©s¬†and featuring on their Instagram (sometimes it’s the little things).

steak

This.

Revolutionary Bar

My research taking me to inspirational places with inspirational places, like this Che Guevara bar.

Birkin Buenos Aires

Revisiting the place where I first had the idea for my Masters dissertation, the idea that brought me back here.

bosques buenos aires

Running round my favourite place in the world, in the beautiful winter sunshine.

So so lucky, and so so grateful.

How was your July? Did you set any goals?