The year 2014 has been another busy year for me. I've taken a lot of photographs and here's a selection of some of the things I got up to but never posted about for the lack of time.
Lady Dinah's Cat Cafe Emporium (London's Cat Cafe). I visited the cat cafe a couple of days after it opened, and the cafe is located near to where I work, so I made other visits throughout the year. I also had some crowd-funding vouchers to use. My original post can be read here: London's Cat Cafe. On my second visit, I tried a bagel and macaroons. I spent half of my time on this visit working as I had my work laptop with me, so I did not spend much time with the cats. The bagels and other food are sourced from other locations as food is not made on site. The bagels are famous Brick Lane bagels from around the corner.
Early was eventful. I bought flowers to brighten up the flat, and cupcakes are always a treat. We went to a birthday party in the Cotswolds for friends we have not seen for awhile who also love the MINI car. I loved the MINI birthday cake. They had also just fixed up their new house, which had to be completely re-developed. This was a joint house-warming and birthday and was a nice party.
As the weather started to warm up in the spring, I saw a deal to explore the Williams-Martini Forumla One musuem at their headquarters. The hedges in the front were designed like a pit stop and race car. We saw the trophies, helmets, and famous cars. All of their cars are in the museum. During race days, they offer a watch of the game with live feed from the team. I had so many photographs of this.
The summer was also a busy one, and a lot of different things were going on which I have already blogged about.
In the spring/early summer, my partner and I had a horrible train journey home as there were delays and we were both fed up. As a treat, we went to the Thai restaurant in Basingstoke. We had cocktails to start, followed by a meal.
We celebrated my birthday in Ireland and went on a long road trip. I still have most of my photographs from that trip to go through and post! We went to Pizza Express restaurant when we returned as they sent me a voucher for a free bottle of Prosecco to celebrate my birthday.
I had my birthday cake in Ireland. My partner surprised me with a small birthday cake that he purchased on our visit to Cork! We celebrated my birthday in a nice bed and breakfast in Kilkenny.
On Fridays, most of the office got to leave early this summer. I am a contractor, so it did not apply to me, sadly. However, I was feeling in a summery mood as the first day was so warm. We had so many warm days this summer. The bloke and I decided to go to TGI Friday's for a meal on one of these days because there were huge problems with the trains at Waterloo, and I suggested that we just head to Charing Cross and walk to Covent Garden for a meal instead of being uncomfortable.
At the end of July, we had taken the Friday off to go to Liverpool to see Giants. We went down the road toward Newbury and stopped at the American diner for breakfast. I had pancakes, and he had a bacon sandwich. Service was incredibly slow, and we ended up stuck in stop-start traffic all the way to Liverpool and it took over eight hours on a journey that should have only taken 3.5 hours.
Tube strikes were a bit of an issue, and I walked from Waterloo to the middle of Brick Lane on one day. There's a nice photo of the Thames.
I went out to the restaurant Cafe Galvin in Spitalfields with a colleague, and I had a chicken salad and a cocktail.
I visited Lady Dinah's Cat Cafe again. I interacted a little more with the cats but did not stay long this time as I had some laptop issues. (Thankfully, they have recently given me a new laptop at last!) They had amazing rainbow cake, made by one of London's best bakeries that I will be posting about in the new year, and nice hot chocolate. The kitties were more playful this visit, and they have started to close the cafe on Wednesdays, so I think the kitties were more active. My visit was on the first Thursday after they started to shut on Wednesdays.
The Bowler - Gourmet Balls (meatballs) had a pop-up at the Horse and Groom pub in Shoreditch. I popped in and had a try of the turkey Thai meatballs, which did taste yummy. The sauce was delicious.
Most of my time this year was spent on Brick Lane at work. I've taken a photo from one of the windows in the office. I stayed in a hotel on Brick Lane to lessen the commute for a few nights. The view was impressive.
At the end of August, we went to east London to Secret Cinema. The next day we had lunch and walked around Stratford Westfield. We went to Jamie's Italian, which I have been wanting to try for ages but ended up not too impressed with. We had some fruity drinks and I had a brownie with toffee popcorn and ice cream. It was a little bit rich.
Bird restaurant on Kingsland Road as The Doughnut Hatch. I had a cinammon-glazed doughnut, which was alright. I have been wanting to try this restaurant for awhile now, so I will have to make this a priority in the new year.
A lot of sculpture trails took place later in the year. I tucked into some macaroons from Westfield Stratford after a quick nip around the Olympic Park when I went to look for the London bus sculptures.
Mother Clucker sells fried buttermilk chicken from a van in Ely's Yard near Brick Lane. This is one of the popular pop-ups for colleagues at work.
After shopping in Basingstoke in the early autumn, the bloke and I went to Cafe Rouge. The food is always pretty good. I snapped a dessert photo. This is a chocolate "melting-in-the-middle" sponge and was good.
I've never been to Wimpey fast food restaurant chain before. The bloke and I finally tried the one in Basingstoke. This restaurant has been here for a few years, but I never tried it.
I snapped a photograph of St. Paul's Cathedral from Millennium Bridge on one of the sculpture trails.
At the end of November and the beginning of December, I went to Nuremberg in Germany. I was impressed with the postmarks. I have been active in Postcrossing (http://www.postcrossing.com) this year, and I collect stamps and postcards, so I got some special Nuremberg Christmas Market postmarks.
Christmas trees for sale began to pop up in early December in London, and I liked the "PimpMyTree" stand outside of BoxPark. The office had a small Christmas Friday party. Every Friday, they offer free drinks. In mid-December, they had food and carollers.
I went out for cocktails with a friend at the Basingstoke Tea Bar, which I reviewed earlier in the year.
Colleagues and I went out to St. John's Bread and Wine restaurant in Spitalfields, but the food is not something that I would typically have. The menu is a little strange. I settled on beans, ham, and duck egg. This was served cold. It was not to my liking. The desserts (I had chocolate cake and rapsberry ice cream) were nice. They also do an excellent brownie and the best bacon sandwich.
I made chocolate mousse. Yummy.
The Tower of London poppy display brought in many visitors.
I love photographing macaroons.
I did some walking in London with the sculpture trails - Tower Bridge and London's Little Italy.
On some Thursdays and Fridays, Spitalfields Market brings classic cars (courtesy of classic car clubs) to the square, and I always like to see what they have on display when I walk past in the mornings, before the market opens.
I captured raindrops on flowers in front of a pub across from Spitalfields Market one day in the spring.
There's a flower shop near to a hotel on Shoreditch High Street. Next to the flower shop a hole-in-the-wall shops sells coffee and smoothies from a window. In the summer, they sold ice lollies. These were pretty dear, but I bought one as we had some very hot days in the summer. The lolly was pure watermelon juice.
Shoreditch always attracts camera crew constantly. I've seen The Apprentice and commercials shot here. These guys were shooting a commercial, but I forget what the brand was.
A design agency located on Hanbury Street sometimes use their window for attracting pop-ups and games. Conker King was one of these games with a play on retro games and the game 'conkers', featuring conkers (horse chestnut, or buckeyes to my American readers) on strings. A set of rules is located nearby, along with 'Player 1' and 'Player 2' designated conkers.
I love Muriel's Kitchen in South Kensington (originally posted here), and this spring I noted that one had opened in a prime spot in Leicester Square. I got hungry on one day when I was spending the whole day tracking down Paddington Bears, so I decided to stop in and had a chicken burger and a brownie.
Gelateria 3BIS is located in Borough Market, and they sell ice cream and other snacks and coffees. I visited with my parents in the summer and we were just looking for a quick place to sit as we'd been walking for awhile and were tired. I had my favourite, pistachio ice cream. I did not expect much, but this ice cream is delicious and I intend to visit it again.
This Christmas, Marks & Spencer launched some new desserts for their Chrismas pudding range. These pictured were dark and white chocolate mousse stars and chocolate mousse crackers, and they were delicious. They also had other delicious-looking desserts on offer, but I did not try them. The mousse crackers were one of the best desserts that I had eaten in awhile.
Christmas this year was spent in Scotland. There's a photograph of the Christmas tree before we went away. We spent a day in Liverpool and ate our dinner at an Asian-fusion restaurant Yee-Rah and had cocktails earlier in the day at Albert Dock at Circo, a circus-themed bar. I took several photographs of Liverpool's Christmas lights too.
Here's hoping for a better 2015 for everyone.