January 15, 2015

So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye....

This is the end, beautiful friend

There are too many songs about saying adieu aren't there. Well this will be my last ever post on blogger. I have spent many a month fighting with the stupid cms to try and get my photos to look okay and you know there is only so much I can do before I start pulling my hair out.

So I've taken the step to transfer all my posts (five years worth!) over to my new blog on Wordpress. It is actually really simple to do this. It literally took minutes to get my posts up, but there is a lot of tweaking to be done to get the posts to look good. I've gone back through most of my posts (well back to 2013 at least) and I'm quite pleased with how its coming out.

If you are thinking of leaving blogger I can really recommend Wordpress. I use the content management system as a basis for my photography website and I find it so much easier to use for these reasons:

-The dashboard is easier to work with
-It gives you more control over design
-You can actually tag items
-You can get some nice looking themes (for free!)
-Photos are soooo much easier to resize

I do a bit of coding for my main website so I find it quite easy to fix little things here and there but if you don't know how, Wordpress is still pretty easy to use.

So anyways, my blog lives on here www.agirlnamedsu.com.

Adios muchacho

January 6, 2015


So I haven't posted in earnest on this blog in awhile. Its been a mixture of being busy at work, dealing with unpleasant work-related stuff, it being the holidays and well I think I'll add a little general laziness into the mix.

But in the month in between my last post I've:

-Gotten very ill with the flu (thank you darling husband for your lovely germs)
-Gained five pounds (thank you Paris, Thanksgiving, co-workers with mince pies and candy, and of course waffles and chocolate!)
-Gone to Brussels where I did the waffle and chocolate consuming (its Belgium! Its required)
-Done something exciting, which I can't talk about for a whole month!! But I wanna!!
-And gotten shortlisted as News Photographer of the Year for an East of England media award!

But this post is really just about Belgium. Billy and I headed to Brussels on the 20th for four days in the home of the European Union (which is really disappointing to see in person since it isn't very well labeled and we walked past it multiple times before giving up).

Billy's birthday is December 23rd and because of this he is usually jipped quite badly and therefore didn't (before he met me anyways) get to do anything special for his big day. So this was his birthday present along with awesome noise-cancelling Bose headphones from his awesome wife (that's me!)

My luck, I started showing signs of sickness  a few days before and despite a whole heck of a lot of vitamins and green drinks I woke up the day we were leaving with a super sore throat. Bleck.

It didn't stop our holiday though. We headed to St Pancras station and boarded the Eurostar. Again I was amazed at the ease of traveling by Eurostar. Security takes shear minutes and once inside there is usually enough seats for everyone (not like the last time we were in Stansted).

We got into Brussels around 4pm and after a few false starts trying to navigate the metro system (it is seriously the worst labelled metro in Europe) we made our way to our awesome hotel- 9Central. It was minimalist design and the bed was the most comfortable ever! I didn't want to leave.

We spent the next four days walking around the Grand Place, chocolate alley (that's what we called it anyways), and the amazing Christmas Market. It put the one in Edinburgh to shame.

I found the best waffles by the church that, at night, featured a light display show along with the Grand Place that was really festive. The Belgians really know their holiday stuff.

There isn't a lot of Belgian food per-se its really like London in that most of their restaurants are Italian, Japanese, Chinese and there was even a Tex-Mex. But the one place that was superb, which we really did visit every day for lunch, was this place called Exki.

It is a chain of healthy food that is fast buffet style but with take-away items similar to a Pret. There was a real leisurely attitude in there along with a wall full of magazines and 30 minutes free wi-fi so I didn't feel rushed despite the fastness of the food. We really need something like this over here.

One of the pinnacle moments of the trip for me was, when walking down one of the streets back to our hotel, we passed a toy shop and in the corner of my eye I saw the most amazing thing ever. Visions of my childhood danced before my eyes as I beheld a Moncchichi!!! Hem-Hem... "Way up in da trees live the Moncchichis. Moncchichi- Moncchichis..."

Much to my husband chagrin I entered the shop and nabbed myself a small Moncchichi Christmas ornament showing serious restraint. There were large Moncchichis and ones dressed as Santa and snowmen!! Oh how I wanted all of them. I'm sorry that my husband didn't get to experience the Moncchichis in all their glory but I am pleased to know they live on in a shop in Belgium.

But despite my illness, and the one day where I had to go back to the hotel at 3pm to take a nap, we had a really nice trip. We kept saying over and over how much we preferred Brussels to Paris, but we also said that if it weren't Christmas time we don't think there would be that much to do. We will be heading back that way in April or May to take Billy's mum to Bruge for her birthday present.

Au revior mon ami.

December 31, 2014

Au Revoir 2014, Bonjour 2015

2014 was a pretty good year. I went home to Florida in April, went to Lisbon for my anniversary in September, Paris for my birthday in November and Brussels in December for my husbands birthday. I feel thoroughly spoiled. I am in the process of working up my Brussels photos and in the mean time here is my annual photo slideshow.

November 24, 2014

Paris... Je ne te aime pas plus

Oh Paris, how I dreamed of walking your streets, eating your food and sucking up all the inherent coolness your people seem to have. Well, I have to tell you Paris, your food was tres mal except of course for your Crème Brulee and Macaroons. Your streets smelled quite bad and your people were comme ci comme ça.

My husband and I travelled across the channel on the Eurostar. It was my first time travelling to the continent by train and it was wonderful. I didn’t have to faff about with liquids or the weight of my luggage and security took five minutes.

It was really great to get to Paris and to not have to then travel into the city. We arrived smack dab in the middle at Gare du Nord and only had a few metro stops to our hotel in the heart of Montmartre just around the corner from the Moulin Rouge.

It was also right around the corner from the Amelie café where I had been in 2003 with my girl Jess and mistakenly ordered Steak Tartar thinking it would be- well, cooked. We went once for breakfast and had very bad service. The second time we went for afternoon dessert. I had the crème brulee and Billy had the cheese. There were so many tourists coming in and out the entire time. I went to use the bathroom, which was engaged so I looked at a collection of props from the movie. Then I noticed how disgusting the sink was and I decided to hold it and left.

We were only there for one full day and two half days so we tried to fit in as much as possible. We took a boat ride down the Seine and walked along it at the Ile de Cite. The only thing I insisted we queue for was to buy Laduree macaroons. They are seriously the best macaroons- ever! I had them for the first time at the Laduree in Miami’s South Beach earlier this year. MMM.

Inside were gorgeous art deco designs and the queue was out the door and around the block. I got frantic when it was finally my turn and I ordered eight macaroons as they were rather pricey and I knew they wouldn’t last to take back with me. I also bought a little box of chocolate for someone’s Christmas present (I really hope the chocolate is still good by then as it will have travelled to three countries!)

The best part of the trip was meeting the most amazing bulldog Bellush who roamed a bar in Montmartre where her owner was the bartender. Bellush was so sweet and kept coming up to us for a rub and then she crashed out in a chair. The bar got super busy and everyone kept going to sit in the chair and then realized it was already occupied.

This was my third time going to Paris and I have to say that, though I loved my time there, it is not a great as it was ten years ago. A man at Sacre Coeur who was trying to put his hand into my husband’s pockets pushed me. I pushed him away then he pushed me back and boy did I stare him down giving him the evil eye. I get crazy adrenaline in situations like that and I probably could lift a car or something so he’s lucky I didn’t go mental on his ass.

There were so many men selling cheap Eiffel Towers EVERY WHERE!  It made going to the actual Eiffel Tower a bit annoying as these guys approached us every two minutes. It was a nice trip, but I do think my love affair with Paris is over. Ce la vie.