Stay Classy, San Diego


Photo credit: Ashley Jeanson.

You know the saying, ‘when life gives you lemons, make lemonade’? It’s all about making the best of a bad situation, turning it around into your favour and enjoying yourself. Well I’ve got a new saying: ‘when your birthday comes around, grab a good friend and get your ass down to San Diego’.

I’ve had my birthday once before whilst in America (Portland, obviously) but I’ve never had a birthday like this. It practically lasted for three days, it was crazy, it was fun, it was awesome, and San Diego? San Diego is incredible. When I was planning my trip I deliberately chose to be in town for my birthday because my very good friend Ashley lives there (or at least does at the moment because she’s about to up sticks and move to Turkey for a year! Super brave girl and I am incredibly proud of her for following her dream!). I was worried that we were going to miss each other, but she, being the rockstar that she is, not only made sure she didn’t leave for Turkey until after I had left, she also totally took me around town, introduced me to her lovely friends, and made my 24th birthday one of my best.

Ashley calls me her ‘Oven GF’ because of my passion for food, but the story of how we met is kind of brilliant. Y’see, when I was living in Portland I was writing a blog for my friends and family back home, all about being a Brit living in America, and Ashley found me randomly. We became “Blog Buddies”, then when she came to London two summers ago I insisted that she come and stay with me. One night out at my favourite bar in Convent Garden where Ashley told the bartender that we were a) not lesbians but she was buying me a drink, b) I wasn’t a prostitute, either and c) that despite those things we did meet on the internet; and our love was solidified. Ever since, though we rarely see one another, we have been great friends. I was so excited to hang out with again, see her city, and also spend my birthday with some awesome people. And wow, if you need somebody to help pack as much stuff as possible in a city into three days: call Ashley. She’s on it.


Anybody Seen My Heart?


As I write this post I’ve got Tony Bennett crooning in the background, reminding me of all of the things I loved about San Francisco… well. Maybe not the hills. Those are some intense hills – when Ben parked uphill on one particularly steep one I was convinced we were going to roll backwards, then nearly fell over getting out of the car.

I definitely didn’t get enough time in San Francisco proper, but I did get one and a half fabulous days with some amazing people who showed me the sights, the sounds and the tastes – oh, so many tastes – of San Francisco. I even made it over to one of Thomas Keller’s establishments in Yountville, which was a surprise. Who’d have thunk T. Keller’s joints were so nearby? Not me, but I’m pretty geographically challenged and thought Napa was much further than it actually was! Thanks San Fran and the surrounding Bay Area – I’m coming back to have a little more fun with you soon.


This Is Portlandia


Biker! Biker rights! BIKER!

Ah Portland. Home to my heart. If I’ve been fairly absent this past week it’s because I love this city too much, love my friends who are always only a phone call or text message away from good times, love the new faces I meet, the food I fill my belly with, the crazy wonderful awesome Portlanders that make this town, perhaps, my favourite in the world. So I’m sure you’ll forgive my temporary silence and come with me on a journey through the wonderful world of Portlandia – you should try ‘er out some time; she’ll welcome you with open arms, too.


Blowin’ It Up, Seattle Style


Can you believe that when I was living in Portland I actually never made it up to Seattle? It’s all because I was being a “hard-working” student, getting stuck into books and 20-page papers, and clearly having far too much fun. Well I knew this had to be remedied, especially when I found out that one of the craziest, most talented and creative people I knew was based there, somebody I knew I simply had to meet this trip. Messages were exchanged, transport was booked and on a slightly grey Valentine’s Day in Portland off I went to Seattle to visit the ever wonderful, beautiful and totally insane Linda from Salty Seattle!

We only had one day together to play thanks to crazy trip schedules, so we had to make it a good one. That can only mean one thing: it’s video time, baby! Cue much eating, fun and how Linda found me my One True Love in Amurika! But first let’s see what we managed to cram into my one day in Seattle…


The Great Burger Mission: Portlandia


The ‘Teemah’ at Killer Burger, NE Sandy Blvd.

We interrupt this regular travel update series to bring you a feature on that great American classic: the burger!

I love burgers. When I was a wee thing and had to take packed lunches into school Momma Lee would sometimes give me a Cheeseburger or Filet O’Fish from Macdonald’s – I kid you not. Every Sunday we would gather around the table to feast on Burger King or Macdonald’s – the burger culture was engrained within me from a young age. It was a real treat and a half… but there was always something missing about these burgers. They were limp… too onion-y, too processed. After a time we moved on to KFC for Sunday lunch (God we were a healthy family) and burgers became a thing of the past, and now… well now I don’t eat them all that often, if ever.

You see, having been over to the Burger Dark Side, a good burger has become a thing of legend and lore. I’ve tried many, believe me, but a good burger? It doesn’t exist in my vocabulary. So I decided that whilst travelling through Amurika, as I like to call her, I had to start my own little mission: The Great Burger Mission, one to find the best burger possible in every State I visit in the US.

Now I know, it’s a guaranteed way for me to return to the UK as big as a house, and that is why whilst on this journey I will not necessarily eat the whole burger (unless it’s so damn tasty it leaps into my mouth), and I’ll also endeavour to live as healthily as possible otherwise. So grant me this indulgence as the search begins in Portland OR!


The Land That Stole A Little Piece Of My Heart


It’s not all that often that I find a place I’d be happy to settle down in, cast of the shackles of London life and find peace. Portland was the first of these, two years ago, and the reason why I keep on returning… but Canada may well be the second. As I write this I’m sitting in the airport, drinking a Vanilla Rooibos tea, and behind me the sunlight is streaming through the windows and in the not-too-far distance I can see three mountain ranges, all dusted with icing sugar snow. In front of that is a beautiful stretch of greenery and foliage, little West Coast houses, and then a little further over to the left is water. I’ve only been here a week and I’m finding it kind of hard to have to leave.

But. As with all destinations that steal your heart and call out to you… there is always the possibility of return. And so Canada I promise you this: I will be back. You’re far too alluring to stay away for too long… Photos can be viewed in a larger format (and I recommend that you do) on my Flickr.


Notes From A Small Island


Photo credit: David Mason.

Hello from Galiano Island! Galiano is one of the islands just off the west coast of Vancouver BC, and home to one of my very good blog buddies, Dan from IslandEAT. Dan’s the second food blogger I’ve met this trip, and he is very kindly showing me around and looking after me whilst I’m in his part of the world. His hospitality is absolutely astounding, and I guess I’m so relaxed that I’m unfortunately not very well! Eep! My body seems to have decided to start breaking down! Hopefully lots of rest, fluids and drugs (the medicinal kind) will sort me out, but we’ll have to see how that one goes.

I spent the past few days on Vancouver mainland with one of my best friends David, whom I’ve mentioned a gazillion times on here before. Bad timing as he was flying out of Vancouver back to London, but he was an amazing tour guide and an even better friend, and I’m so glad I could see him, even though I feel terribly guilty for imposing at such a terrible time! Thank you David – love you uber amounts.

So what have I been up to, then? Read on and you shall find out!