Friday, July 17, 2015

June: Our last full month in Brighton

It's been a little while, I know, but I have A LOT to catch you up on.

Every year, original Mini Cooper's from all over the UK (and sometimes from even as far as Europe) drive down to Brighton Seafront. Its always nice to go out to see all of the cars.






I've also been trying to see as much of the country as possible before we leave for NYC. Of course, Oxford is considered day trip worthy and since it is in such close proximity to Brighton, I headed out. It was such a sunny day, that most of my pictures didn't turn out well (I'm not complaining!). I hit a few central colleges, the main architectural sights, and the Pitts River Museum, which has shrunken heads and samurai swords. I ended up spending more time travelling than actually in Oxford, but I am very happy that I was able to make a trip to Oxford before leaving.






Ben had his Stag (read: Bachelor Party) in June and his friends dressed him as Uncle Sam for the festivities. In my opinion, he looked fantastic.

We also headed up to Norfolk for the annual summertime Delorean Motor Club meet up. So. Many. Deloreans (including one painted black).

Since we rented a car for the weekend to go up to Norfolk, we spent our Sunday more locally by going to Ashdown Forest. A.A. Milne was inspired by Ashdown when writing Winnie the Pooh and is considered the "real life" 100 Aker Woods. Along the way, we went to Pooh Bridge and played Pooh Sticks (Ben won), Pooh Corner, the Enchanted Place, Heffalump Trap, Milne and Shepard Memorial, Roo's Sandy Pit, North Pole, Eeyore's Gloomy Place, and 100 Aker Woods.

Here's the walk we followed.

Hunting for sticks
Pooh Bridge

 Pooh Corner 
 Milne and Shepard Memorial
 Heffalump Trap
The Enchanted Place

I have a tale of tragedy to tell as well. One day, Ben woke up and found that a pigeon had used our planter as a nest.
We were very excited, and named it Eggbert. A few days later, a second egg was laid. And thus, Eggelyn existed. Every time we entered our kitchen and walked by the window, we tried to be careful so to keep from scaring Eggbert and Eggelyn's parents. After a week or so, I had to spring clean our kitchen. This included cleaning the window from the inside. The male pigeon was on the eggs at this time and, not surprisingly, flew away when I approached the window. However, when he flew back to the nest, he perched on the edge of the planter box and tipped it to its doom. Eggbert and Eggelyn fell out. The male pigeon flew off, but when the female approached she freaked out and started trying to fly into our window. By the time the pigeons eventually left, we had to remove the planter boxes to keep from any future tragedy. Eggbert was never able to become Herbert. Eggelyn was never able to become Evelyn. A sadder story than Romeo and Juliet, surely.

June was an odd month. Clearly, we kept busy. However, I had submitted my thesis in May and was waiting for my Viva, which is in early July. To keep myself sane, I didn't bother preparing for the Viva until the end of June. So, much of June was an unsettling feeling of ennui. Piled on top of my mini existential crisis, we were also waiting for Ben's visa to come through and more news on my future job and our NYC living situation to come through. It was an unfortunate period of waiting, June. And now, in the middle of July, I'm happy to say much of the waiting is over. And we are crazy-busy instead.

Things I've loved this month:

Restaurants:
The Breakfast Club Brighton. Coming from the States, especially California, which has amazing brunch options, I've been particularly bummed by the lack of decent breakfast options in this country. You can only have so many sub par English Breakfasts before you want to give up at time. But then The Breakfast Club opened and glory was returned to breakfast.

Books:
We Need to Talk About Kevin. This book. THIS BOOK. Go read it now, really. The story is great and beautifully honest. It is from the perspective of the mother of a killer, written in the form of letters to her husband/ the killer's father. So many people still to this day are unwilling to be honest about what its like to be a parent, which in my opinion is the most important decision individuals make in their lives. The honesty of parenthood, even before her child becomes a killer, is refreshing even though it is clearly hyperbolic to typical parenthood.

Gone Girl. I had seen this movie on one of my trans-Atlantic flights before reading it, but a friend gave me the audiobook to listen to. The story is fantastic; if nothing else, read it for the plot. Books are always better than movies. But really, they have Ben Affleck as the lead male role and he seriously is terrible at acting. I don't know how he is successful at obtaining acting jobs. So to keep yourself from disappointment, read the book instead. You will be highly entertained.

Recipes:

Orchiette with Kale and Sausage. We didn't bother making the gremolata and it was still amazing.

Wine-y peaches and cream

Shrimp pad thai. I find it really difficult to find a good pad thai recipe. Many of them don't even include tamarind paste, YOU KIDDING?!?!?! This one, however, takes the cake.

Cuban Sandwich. The perfect option when you are eating through your fridge and realize you need to consume those pickles!

Vietnamese Summer Roll Salad. This remains one of my favorite recipes of all time. I'm sharing it again because it is simply THAT GOOD

Chocolate Rice Pudding

Flax meal pizza crust

Pumpkin pie spice flax oatmeal pancakes. The above picture was from our actual meal! With the gluten free flour we currently have in the pantry, these pancakes were way too runny. So they didn't turn our aesthetically pleasing. But they tasted great.

Potato Rafts. Its all about potato rafts.

Honey walnut salad

Tom kha gai

Asian salmon bowls. I'd eat these every day

Curried red lentil, kale, and sweet potato soup

Polenta skillet eggs with chorizo


Tomato and burrata salad. I know I've spoken before about my extreme love for burrata. I've probably posted this recipe before as well. Also, the above picture is ours! Its obviously all about the cheese.

Phenomenal green chicken. Best grilled chicken I've ever eaten.

Corn salad

Green bean salad

Trio of crostini. Have you eaten kale pesto before? Its the greatest.

Cinnamon cake with blackberry and cream filling

Hikes:
Devil's Dyke to Ditchling Beacon

News:
Of course, June was the end of SCOTUS season and I was so pleased to see that they maintained Affordable Healthcare for all and passed marriage equality in all 50 states!

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