Month: October 2016

Apple Day 2016 in London

Crunching across swathes of ombre leaves, wearing your finest (and thickest) winter coat and 4 metre scarf, and having apple-themed meals all day everyday; this can only be described as THE best time of the year. Autumn is well and truly upon us, the frosty air taking a beating to our protruding facial parts and warm drinks being a source of warmth rather than a refreshing beverage. But Autumn brings one top notch friend along to the party; Apple Day. In my home city, Coventry, England, I used to volunteer as a gardener at these wonderful organic gardens out in the countryside. And every year they would hold the greatest, most majestic Apple Days; an apple themed organic menu, traditional apple juice pressing, apple picking, apple events – you name it. In fact, you’d inevitably end up making one too many rounds of the gardens and eat so many apples you’d be more than set for the next year… Since being in London I seemed to of let slip this magical event as I entered …

Fruitful Adventures in the Motherland

Our last days in Bulgaria, much like the rest, were restful and filled with food fit for gods; banitsa, meats, cheeses and salads up to your ears. My aunt and uncle’s home is beautifully exquisite, and so the experience was further enriched; a small wooden balcony overlooked the living room, high and lined with wooden beams, decorated with an ornate wooden star. White marble tiled the floor, cool on your toes on hot Bulgarian summer days. Rows and rows of gifts from near and afar line oak shelves and glass cabinets, above a fireplace and a beautiful wooden structure providing a sort of separate between the living area and the dining/kitchen area. A tiny outdoors open conservatory of sorts is only a few footsteps away for dining in bright daylight or by the white clean moon, crickets chirping in the vast garden, speckled with flowers and shrubs and fruits and vegetables. Over at the back of the dream house can be found a fairly large allotment space, partially covered in a white plastic tarp to …

Bumbling up the Balkans

After spending a glorious time in Kardzhali, my dad and I packed our bags and headed to a small town in central Bulgaria surrounded by the Balkan mountains where my aunt and uncle live with friends who may as well be family.  After a long drive, where we stopped to try and take a photo with the fields of sunflowers but were afraid of potential snakes in the grass, we arrived in the town but had no recollection of where my aunt and uncle actually lived. Renown however in Kalofer, and perhaps across Bulgaria, we drove slowly in the dark in attempt to ask passing pedestrians or groups of grannies sitting outside their homes chit chatting as to where they lived. In such small towns and villages it always amazes me how everyone seems to know everyone. Our first day in Kalofer entailed waking up to heading straight on a 2km trek into the Balkan mountains. Jumping into a Jeep and following the rest of the family on two quad bikes (how and why I …

Eating, Exploring, Escaping

Just when I thought I couldn’t possibly have any more family, my dad’s cousins from Razlog (a stunning town and ski resort in southwestern Bulgaria) came to Kardzhali to visit, bringing with them mounds of food and treats to gorge on; baked chicken, rice and sauerkraut, a huge loaf of tutmanik (banista bread), marble cake, bulgarian beans, and more. To accompany we made our own shopska salad and tarator (the Bulgarian version of tzatziki, but better of course). The following morning I was rather confused about the day’s events, perhaps being (not) so rudely awakened disturbed my zen. And so all the happenings seemed even more surreal than they probably were. In the morning I could’ve sworn I was in heaven; family and friends from a town called Kalofer had come down, joining Kardzhali friends and family and neighbours alongside our Razlog pals to attend a memorial for my grandad at a tiny church with the most beautiful garden I’ve ever seen in my entire life. It was filled with exotic flowers, little ponds and …