Saturday, August 24, 2013

London Diaries - Market Hop - Borough Market

If there is one thing that I constantly think about other than near and dear ones is 'Food' . I have mostly been a foodie, I enjoy the sight, the thought, the smell, the taste of food and experimenting with it so much that I often think about what I want for lunch and dinner while sipping my morning coffee. Yeah....I know what you're thinking. Pathetic!  
I have used the word 'craving' so many times that no one gets any ideas about it any more. (You know what ideas I am talking about....A 30+ year old, being married for a while now...Yes, That!) 

London is best for its markets (among a few other things). I read somewhere that there are more than 150 markets in London alone. One of them being Borough Market is synonymous with Food and for those who know the Foodie in me will know exactly why I drool over this place and what makes me write about it. 

This place was what made me wish, for the very first time and I admit it that I was a Non-Vegetarian, that I ate meat. The place did not succeed in making me one, but I (not so secretly anymore) wish that I could taste it all!

This market has a lot of character. It sits in a very miss-able spot under the train tracks of the London Bridge Station, beside Southwark Cathedral. The entrance to the market is through small alleyways or a staircase which looks like it will take you down a conservatory. 
I'm sure guide books about London would give you a much glamorous description of the setting and I'll spare you from that.

Most of the Vendors there are either farmers, people who own small businesses - cottage industry-like, people who are passionate about food and who wanted to convert their home-recipe to a commercial venture. Basically,it feels like everyone there enjoys food and the buzz about it. 

It's hard to say which section of the market is better... The stalls selling varieties of cheese, pickles, olives, oils, cakes, chocolates making you stop by to have a taste. The grocery section laying out a vibrant display of fresh fruit & veg, some of whose names I wouldn't know or wonder how one would cook them. The fresh food market selling a variety of cuisine...raclette, falafel wraps, burgers, pies, Paella. The wine section with its vast display of booze from the vineyards of the old and new world. I don't know what I love the most about the place. You might have noticed me conveniently missing the oyster bars, the sea food section, the hog roasts and the barbecue stalls here. 

It's a brilliant way to spend a Saturday morning/afternoon,though the place can get pretty crowded. Of course for me,  I don't mind the crowd, it's just people like you and me who makes the crowd, isn't it? 

I'd love to take anyone who visits me here to Borough.... Not everyone would get the hoo haa about it, but you know you just need to be a food lover. London does offer many such unique markets but this definitely tops my list. I probably have a zillion pictures I have taken of this place saved across 3 laptops and 2 hard drives, being too lazy to pick, sort, select and upload I have chosen some random ones to give you a feel for the place. 

If you are in London, do yourself a favour and visit Borough Market on a Saturday (sunny day would be great, but not worth waiting for it in this city) won't regret the trip! 

The collage is a view of most of the sign boards. I ended up going there on a day the market was closed and I could read all the boards and quotes on the walls which are otherwise covered by the stalls. 

You got to have the Borough Market Chocolate Brownie or any other sweet pastry or cake for sure here

Nibble on a piece of cheese or two

Taste a chutney, pickle, jam or mustard...something....

And pack some goodness back home..

Monday, August 19, 2013

A few years of being Myself

This forms my post-birthday blog post :) Typically, people write something on these lines when they hit a 'certain' special birthday, mine was no such number but the thought came across and hence it goes in here. 

My life seems to be driven by lists most of the time and I wish to list a few realizations that I think have dawned on me in the past few years. 

As I see myself add another year around the solar calendar I think about how I have silently been getting on a bit. As much as I think I am really young, to be honest I don't even feel I've crossed being 24 from within, there are some signs that I have collectively noticed that I might be getting on a little bit here and a lil there. 

OK, let me not try and make it up like I have totally lost it, coz I haven't. Irrespective of what's happening in my life and what isn't , what I have and what I don't the utmost thing I am looking at is to be happy.  

Some things DON'T Change:
-I don't feel my age and this is not just happened now, it's mostly been this way. As much as I think its a great thing for me, for those around you I am expected to behave, be more mature, more responsible and act in a certain way. As much as I would want to see this change in me I have come up resign to the fact that this is how I am going to be. Childish, Stupid or call me whatever. 
- I take one day at a time. Pretty much. 
-Being funny does not come to me naturally. Love for this to change but sigh! 
-Being a good writer, consistent blogger also does not come to me. Plan to keep reading, learning and writing nevertheless. Have started following more blogs and WOWing about how well they are written. Well...lets call it that's my latest hunger now. 
-I love watching the neighbour's little kitten walk all around our courtyard, but that does not bring me any closer to having them with me...was not a pet friendly person, may never be one.
- I think I can still be (quite) nice to someone/anyone who has not been pleasant with me (or my parents). I may not think too much about that person but would not let them know. 
- I can never give up on food of any kind. If I ever visit Kashi, dear Lord Vishwanatha, accept my apologies in advance, I really cannot give up any food. 
- Waking up in the evening after a long afternoon sleep (can't call a long one 'Nap') makes me feel all heavy eyed and irritable. 
- Vicks can cure (almost) anything. 
- When someone asked me what my hobbies were I used to give the 'rehearsed answer' - reading books, listening to music and travelling. Never had I realised that these would really become such an important thing to me. 

Changes & Something to think about:
- I could give up sugar. 
- I don't think anything or bother about my height or weight or colour of my skin, if you think about it.... too bad for you. 
- I have at least one good friend and I am extremely happy about it. I actually need to do this friend more justice than a few words here. 
- I would like to think of me as a fairly strong person. I know I can (almost) comfort me with most issues I have.
- I have come to be my best friend and I enjoy my company as much as being around close family & friends. 

I am definitely showing 'some' age here:
- The minute I walked out of a noisy (yeah!) night club, the first thing that I uttered was 'Thank God! It's over!'
- I am upset even before hitting the bed that I would only get 6 hours sleep that night when I hit the bed late and have an early(ish) start the next day. 
- A day long wedding has got me all tired and I need 3 days to get over it. 
- Too heavy a meal for dinner keeps me bloated and feeling sick all night. 
- I don't want to have too much to drink. (you know... alchohol) 

Keep the child-likeness in you alive or don't let the enthusiasm die: 
- I have always looked up at the sky to see the stars, something about it remains a fantasy 
- To always greet a person with a hi so bright that it lights up the other's day. Doesn't matter how long it has been that you have seen them, how close they are to's the greeting that matters.
- When I see something new, a place, a thing,a sight I became a lil kid in one instance - look at it, ' alli nodu' is what I utter pointing at that whatever irrespective of where I am. 

Don't know what's in store for me for the year(s) to come, I wanted to record a few things that cross my mind most often and that's what you see up here. Some of you might also think.....what a whole lot of crap... but the intelligent man once said.... 

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” 

― Albert Einstein

Friday, August 16, 2013

On the Run

Living in one of the global cities such as London is quite synonymous to always being on the run.  A fast paced life that it is here one doesn't have a choice but to run.

Funny that a few years ago when I was home in India watching the Hollywood movies (with English subtitles) , the likes of Stepmom, Notting Hill, You've got Mail (now you know the trend here) I wondered how cool it is to be living in a huge city, getting ready to head to work (like you own the world), pretty much what the million other people around you are doing, grabbing a coffee from the local cafe and literally running with it. Phew! How stupid was I to think this was cool. God! this is the crazy routine that I have today and was 'blessed without' years ago when I started work back home. Well... to be honest there is a method in the madness, it's not all that bad you know.... it just has to be the right time in your life and not for too many years (tending towards moving on). 

Many times on my commute to and from work, I can't help but laugh at the little things I come across, the routine run of the people around me, the craziness of the transport system and the mundane emotionless faces that you see on your journeys. I can go on about this in another blog post (May be...) 
Well... It's a city on the move, a life on the move and all's actually good when things are moving,  isn't it. 

The other side to the 'run' is the actual habit of going for a run, though it comes across as something that is not forced onto you, the city you live in, the people around you, the lifestyle does influence you a lot. 
Athletics was never on my list of favourite sport. I don't remember enjoying the idea about running, sprinting, long jump, High jump  all that happened to be typical 'sports day' activities back in school, which of course were a far cry for me. I remember making stories of how unwell I was or how I just hurt myself just a couple of days before the event so I didn't have to take part. Some bad on my school's part too which seemed like they did a huge favour in giving you a tiny chance. (which I think I have mentioned earlier, but here I go again)

I had pretty much convinced myself that I only need to run when I am chased, of course by something which had a chance to hurt me. Yes!  Did that ever really happen in my life? Cannot recollect! 
I also had no sense of competition to run a race, beat someone, set a mark.  Wow, some points for being enthusiastic about aiming high. 
Why Bother! was my favourite statement. Little did I know that would change. 

I need to give credit to my husband who initially got me into this habit of running. I remember dreading the weekends as the morning ritual was to go out for a run, he having completed it 10-15 mins before and looking out for me trod along. 
I remember HIM telling me that he has never seen me sprint,  my answer being why I should I be doing anything like that.i.e. you would never see me doing anything like that. 
He commented that I don't seem to have the stance of a runner (someone in flight, LOL!), I used to just about manage, could barely breathe, each step being painful ..... I did call it running though!

Unfortunately, Fitness is not a destination, it's as much a journey as anything else and I cant help but repeat this to myself. I am keen to go out for my run and I actually look forward to it.  Just Imagine! 
Many factors that I think has helped me shape my attitude towards this regime to be on the run:

- My husband who thinks being fit and healthy is all there is to a human. 
- The Apps on the mobile - Nike + Running, Endomondo which got me started
- The City of London that I call home now, if not for the beautiful parks and locales I would not have had the drive. 
- The weather (mostly) being cold. Yes! God help those who run in 27+degC, I find it totally hard. 
- Little challenges that I set for myself. I'm not such a great person to not live by goals... they are what keep me going.

It still seems so funny yet weird to be saying and doing something that you never thought you would. How things change.....
Ok! That's it for now.. gotta run!