Cheesecake roundup

As promised, here’s a roundup of all the cheesecake I ate in Canada last week!

1. New York style cheesecake – Holiday Inn

New York style cheesecake
Divine, and beautifully baked.

2. Pecan and white chocolate cheesecake – Holiday Inn

Pecan and white chocolate cheesecake
I didn’t actually have this one until later in the week, but Geth had it on the first night, which is when I snapped the photo.  The cheesecake part was delicious, but I’m not the hugest fan of pecans.

3. Vanilla cheesecake – Pickle Barrel

I was so keen to dive into this one that I forgot to take a picture.  It was similar to the New York style one at the Holiday Inn, but the slice was a lot bigger.

4. Caramel cheesecake – Kalendar

Caramel cheesecake
I didn’t have this one at all – they have various cheesecakes at Kalendar, and when we ordered, Steff got the last slice of one type, and I got the first slice of a different type!

5. Blueberry cheesecake – Kalendar

Blueberry cheesecake
The blueberry taste on this one was gorgeous, but the rest of the cake was a little bland.

6. White chocolate and raspberry cheesecake – Pickle Barrel

White chocolate and raspberry cheesecake
Again, I didn’t have this one – we didn’t go to the Pickle Barrel enough times for me to sample all the cheesecakes! – but Geth assures me it was delicious.

7. Brown cow cheesecake – Pickle Barrel

Brown cow cheesecake
A huge slice of milk and white chocolate cheesecake.  Absolutely amazing, and so rich.  Good thing I skipped the starter!

8. Vanilla cheesecake – Scaddabush

Vanilla cheesecake
Even more ridiculously big than the ones at the Pickle Barrel – it’s basically a whole mini cheesecake!  Even though I’d forsaken the starter again, it was still a real challenge to finish.  Delicious though!

So that’s my Canada cheesecake roundup.  I’m starting to understand why I put on so much weight while I was away!

Lots of eating

Canada part three…

 

After our trip to the Bata Shoe Museum on the Tuesday, Mum and I went to Pogue Mahone for a drink.  Pogue Mahone used to be one of our family’s favourite bars for eating out in Toronto, as Geth had discovered it during his visiting fellowship at Trent University in 2010 and absolutely adored the chicken wings.  Unfortunately, it’s been taken over by new management, and when Geth went to eat there on the night he arrived, he was very disappointed to find that the chicken wings on the menu are now, in his words, ‘chicken McNuggets’.  As such, we never ate there this trip, but I did enjoy a couple of ciders there, which I will log soon.

In the evening, Mum, Dad, Malcolm and I ate out at Jack Astor’s.  Portions were huge, dessert was so rich I couldn’t finish it, and there were pots of crayons on the table, which meant I could indulge my inner artistic toddler:

Restaurant table scribblings
Bonus points if you can tell what it is.

…and Dad could indulge his not-so-inner mad scientist.

Physics equation scribblings
I’m the opposite of a physicist so I’ve no clue what these mean.

After the meal, we went back to the Holiday Inn bar to wait for Geth, who had been out for a meal with conference contacts.  I found I was getting really tired, and I would never quite adapt to Toronto time – which is why I’ve been quite surprised at the persistence of the jetlag on my return!

More from my Toronto holiday tomorrow.

Continued jetlag and bag saga

I spoke too soon about the jetlag.  Last night, I got to bed about half past one, which is not too bad, but this morning I could not wake up for love nor money.  I finally dragged myself out of bed at eleven, but I honestly could have slept all day.

Geth was also worried about his suitcase showing up in time today, because we were out this afternoon so wouldn’t have been around to receive it.  Luckily it finally arrived a couple of hours before we were due to leave, so he was able to have a shower and get some laundry done.  As this has also happened to Malcolm and Steff a couple of times when connecting through Heathrow, we’ve decided we’re not going that way to Canada anymore.

Hoping that parkrun tomorrow will sort the jetlag issue!

OOTD 27th July 2018
OOTD: it’s still too hot and muggy for the 95% of my wardrobe that was bought to suit the more usual British climate! Duran Duran t-shirt Amplified (2018), skirt H&M (thrifted from my sister-in-law Steff in 2016), trainers Reebok (2017).

The Bata Shoe Museum

Canada part two…

 

I was excited about going to the Bata Shoe Museum with Mum on Tuesday, because I’d been with Geth when we were last in Toronto two years ago.  The main part of the museum, which is a history of footwear, doesn’t change much, but they always have really interesting exhibitions on.  Two years ago, the exhibitions included a history of men in heels, so I got to see a pair of Elton John’s ’70s platforms and things like that.  This year, they included the use of gold in shoes, footwear of the Arctic peoples, and a special exhibition on Manolo Blahnik, who is my favourite shoe designer.

Manolo Blahnik exhibition poster at Bata Shoe Museum
I like the floral mural on the wall too.

It was the above poster that was the first sign we saw of the museum – it hangs on the east side, just before you turn the corner to the entrance if coming from the south.

Gold spiky Giuseppe Zanotti platform shoes
Spikes were a big thing when these Giuseppe Zanottis were released (I approved), as were peep toe boots (I did not approve).

I remember drooling over the above Zanottis circa 2011/2012, when platforms were still a huge thing.  I wouldn’t wear them nowadays, but they’re still very beautiful to look at.

Mid-century shoes at the Bata Shoe Museum
The gold shoes are Bally – I can’t remember the brand of the red boots, but they’re very beautiful.

The above shoes are mid-century.  I’d be more likely to wear ones like these than the Zanottis!

Manolo Blahniks at the Bata Shoe Museum
The pointed toe on these Manolo Blahniks is just perfect.

These Manolos are among the many that have been lent to the museum for the exhibition.  I had to restrain myself from taking pictures of every pair there – we’d have been there for a while!

Instead, I bought the exhibition book, and a postcard.  The gift shop guy was trying to get me to buy another Manolo book as well, which had things like the transcript of an interview between Manolo Blahnik and Mary Beard about his historical influences, but it was far too heavy to take back in my suitcase!  I’ll get it online instead.

Overall, it was a really good museum trip, and I’ll definitely be back again next time I’m in Toronto.  I wonder what exhibitions they’ll have for me then!

New Hits Friday: 27th July 2018

A new feature today!  As I’m finally done with the Now! compilations, I thought I’d continue with my chart geekery by discussing my initial reaction to the new entries in the UK Top 40 every Friday.  I warn you in advance: I’ve not been hugely impressed by chart music recently.  Still, let’s give it a go.

Benny Blanco, Halsey and Khalid – Eastside

It’s a pretty tune, but it’s a bit generic.

The video tells an interesting story, but it’s not much to look at.

B Young – 079ME

I do like the rhythm, but for me it’s too similar to Jumanji, his previous hit.

The video is typically HD and summery, and as such very forgettable.

Panic! At The Disco – High Hopes

I really like the orchestral-sounding instrumentals on this one, and it’s got a nice epic feel.  Great to hear this kind of pop in the charts, too – it’s refreshingly different.

They’re being tardy with releasing the video though.  Sort it out!

6ix9ine, Nicki Minaj and Murda Beats – Fefe

So awful and offensive they didn’t play this one on the radio…

…and the video’s equally appalling.  (NSFW, just to warn you.)

The 1975 – Love It If We Made It

I really, really like the 1975 and their retro-sounding pop-rock.  This track has great synthy instrumentals and thoughtful lyrics.  My favourite of this week’s new hits.

No video though!  I was looking forward to something that would mitigate the visual offensiveness of the last one.

Loud Luxury and Brando – Body

Great atmosphere on the chorus, but again it’s a very uninspired tune.

The video is a boring ‘in da club’ video with lots of strippers and drinking.  Yawn.

A day getting back to normal

I woke up to my alarm at 8am this morning as normal on a Thursday, and had managed to sleep quite well, so I seem (touch wood!) to have nixed my jetlag straight away.  We’ll see how I do over the next couple of days.

This morning’s main task was attending my Slimming World group to face the post-holiday music.  I’ve put on six pounds during my holiday (ouch) and am out of target range.  I know I can lose it again quickly though – just have to be really good this week.

After I got home, I got all my post-holiday laundry done, and then later in the afternoon Geth arrived home sans luggage.  His flight turnaround at Heathrow was too tight for the bag to make the connection, so he settled down to wait for news about it and I headed off to Pilates.

It was great to get back to Pilates again – all the stretching was very welcome after a week on holiday.  Sadly it was the last class of the course and we’re now on summer break until September – I’m going to have to practise lots at home instead!

After class, I nipped down to Sainsbury’s to pick up my souvenir Now! #100 CD and do my bit for getting it into the album charts tomorrow.  Excitingly, Sainsbury’s have a deal on, where you can get Now! #100 for £3 cheaper if you also buy another Now! compilation – so I took the opportunity to grab a copy of Now! #1 as well, which has just had a re-release on CD:

Now! #1 and Now! #100 albums on CD
Rod Stewart (just read his autobiography), Tracey Ullman (checking out her new BBC show at the moment) and Duran Duran (my current favourites) all in a row on an album cover? I call that a favourable omen. It is a cracking compilation, to be fair. As for Now! #100, I pretty much only bought it for the updated cute version of the Now! pig on the cover. (That was a lie. I also bought it to commemorate doing my Now! marathon, and to try and get it into the charts.)

I went home to make healthy food for the first time in a couple of weeks, and Geth had news of his bag – they won’t be delivering it till tomorrow.  Hopefully it will arrive sooner rather than later.

OOTD 26th July 2018
OOTD: typical comfy Thursday outfit for running about to Slimming World and Pilates class. T-shirt H&M (2018, just bought in Toronto last Saturday!), belt H&M (2017), leggings Under Armour (2017).

Arriving in Canada!

Canada part one…

 

Geth had left on the Saturday – he had a conference in Toronto that we had used to schedule a family trip –  but I headed off for my holiday the Sunday before last, carrying two very heavy bags that turned out to be a bad idea when I had to lug them up and down a railway bridge near where I live in order to get to the Metro station.  After a cumbersome Metro ride, train ride and taxi ride, I arrived at Mum and Dad’s in Edinburgh and managed to get a few hours’ sleep before a 4am wakeup call.

The flight from Edinburgh to Toronto was nice and straightforward – I read my Kindle the whole time – and after collecting our bags and meeting up with Malcolm at the airport, we got a taxi to the Holiday Inn, where Mum and Dad were staying, and I dropped my bag in their room before going to the St. Louis Diner, where Geth was meeting us after his morning conference session.

A couple of ciders later – logged here – I went with Geth to our hotel, the Grand Hotel, where I was really glad to get out of my comfy plane leggings and put on something lighter (Toronto was a bit muggier than Edinburgh had been that morning).  The Grand is lovely, and they’d upgraded Geth to a suite, which had an awesome view:

View from the Grand Hotel, Toronto
Downtown Toronto, as seen from the Grand Hotel. You can see the very tippity top of the CN Tower, just behind the tallest buildings!

The suite was great – it had a separate bedroom and loads of space for sitting around.  After I’d got unpacked, we headed back to the Holiday Inn for a meal to celebrate Mum and Dad’s wedding anniversary:

Family in Toronto
You’ve already seen this picture in the Now! #100 review, but it’s worth posting again!

The cider they serve at the Holiday Inn is Strongbow, but the bottle looks different in Canada, so I took a picture of it anyway.

Canadian Strongbow bottle
Canadian Strongbow bottle.

After some amazing pizza (the pizza at the Holiday Inn is of the perfect texture, and the sauce is insanely yummy), a couple more Strongbows, some cheesecake (see my cheesecake roundup) and a bit of a wait while a heavy thunderstorm was in progress, Geth and I headed back to our hotel, where it turned out the view by night was pretty awesome too:

Downtown Toronto by night
I love skyscrapers.

Then I got some much-needed sleep.  Part two tomorrow!

Phone Box Thursday: Main Street, Shap

Today we go back a little in the chronology of my phone box collection and look at the first of a series of three red phone boxes in Shap, Cumbria.

Red phone box
Red phone box, Main Street, Shap, 1st June 2016.

(Coordinates 54.5206946N, 2.6707452W.)

This first one is pretty dilapidated, but I think it’s weathered beautifully.  Not sure if that lacy material is being hung up to dry or is just some rubbish that has caught in the broken window in a very aesthetically pleasing way!

More from Shap next week.

Back from Canada!

Back in Newcastle this evening after over a week spent in Canada visiting my brother and sister-in-law.  I had a wonderful time!  I will be updating lots over the next few days with lots of pictures etc. – just have to get over the jetlag first!

Summer mugginess

Somehow, despite saying after last summer – which involved a busy work period and four weekends on the bounce in August where we were travelling away somewhere or hosting guests – that I wanted to have a much more chilled summer this year, it’s ended up being similarly hectic.

Fortunately/unfortunately work has been quiet during June and July (so I’ve been able to get on with other things, but I’m also a bit broke now).  Fortunately/unfortunately this will not be the case during August as I have two huge projects lined up (more money – yay!  More stuff to do – argh).  However, the house stuff is still ongoing, the now-finished Now! marathon ended up taking up more time towards the end than I thought it would, and Geth and I ended up booking a lot more trips away than we expected.  As such, I find myself doing the whole ‘argh! can’t wait till autumn when I can relax a bit!’ thing yet again – and I shouldn’t wish the summer away, especially when the weather has been so nice this year.

Today is yet another hectic day – I’ll update more fully later this week – so I’ll leave it there.

Oh, and I went swimming again this morning.  Eight lengths this time, although I think I’m actually getting worse!