Dishoom, Wildlife Photographer of the Year, Jamie Woon and the ebb and flow of a convo on dates.

15 Nov

Life update: I have just booked a two week trip to Costa Rica. I can’t wait. I was getting very downbeat due to the fact I didn’t have another adventure to look forward. Now a volcano hike and zip-lining through a cloud-forest is on the cards I’m well excited as I’ve been thinking about going to CR for a year now. I’m going once again with Tucan Travel (who I toured Africa with, and SE Asia in 2014) and I totally recommend them if you’re thinking of seeing more of the world on your own!

EAT:  Dishoom isn’t new or anything. However, it’s new to Carnaby Street. My friend Cate took me there while it was 50% off for their soft launch so off we went to try Bombay street food. The actual restaurant itself is wonderful – it feels luxurious but authentic (does that make sense? probs not) and they burn incense which adds a bit of character to the place. Our waiter was lovely and attentive too and it seemed to genuinely know (and be passionate about) the menu.

The menu is exteeeensive. I’m not a fan of Indian food (although Bombay street food is different from your usual Indian takeaway staples) but we went for the following….

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  • Gunpowder potatoes (Potatoes with brown skins, smoky-grilled, broken apart, tossed with butter, crushed aromatic seeds and green herbs). These were amazing. SO amazing. Yummy, beautiful and, as you don’t get naan bread with the curry, DON’T. Get these instead. Mmmmm.IMG_0187
  • Mattar paneer (vegetarian curry, the sort that can be found in any good Indian roadside restaurant). Little bit hot, but not too hot. It came with tofu which personally I hate, but the chicken paneer I’m sure, with its glorious meat, would be epic.IMG_0186
  • Chicken Tikka (using a marinade of sweet vinegar, not yoghurt. Laced with ginger juice, turmeric, garlic and green chilli.) Tikka, but not as you know it. No sauce in sight, just delicious spicy chicken with a little side salad.

Basically, go here for brilliant food. Big ol’ thumbs up.

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SEE: This weekend I went to the Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition. It’s hardly a secret that I love to travel and it’s because I love to see the world – and learn all about it too. Which is why, each year I’ve been in London, I’ve gone to this exhibition. It’s extraordinary and – unfortunately – as a result my life aim is now to be featured in the exhibition. Which means I’m going to have to invest in a camera. Hmmm.

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Anyway, the exhibition has different sections, ranging from aerial landscape shots, underwater shots, mammals, insects, birds, stop motion photography, documentary photography, plants etc. I ended up spending about 2 1/2 hours in there and could very happily have spent more! The photograph above was the overall winner: it was taken in Canada and shows a red fox, after eating an arctic fox, picking up and carrying the carcass across the snow. It’s not a calming image at all, but it’s peaceful. The red of the blood is unnerving to look at, however it’s the fact both foxes have the exact same facial expressions that’s most uncanny.

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All of my favourite shots were of Africa, obvs. I adore the fact I can look at a photograph of Etosha National Park and know I’ve been there. Know I’ve seen a leopard with its kill.  However, I’ve never been able to capture it on camera the way some of these incredibly talented photographers can. What really struck me is the patience and effort gone to get these shots; they’re no accident. Hours and hours of waiting are involved, careful positioning of lenses, sorting through hundreds of photos to find the right image. It’s amazing.

76 One other thing struck me too. Something not surprising, but immensely frustrating and sad. Under the photos is a description: how the photographer got the shot, information about the animal/landscape and additional interesting facts. On far too many photos were warnings about the peril of the landscapes and animals due to climate change. The difficulty of seeing certain animals due to hunting and poaching. Essentially, how humans are destroying the most beautiful things on earth for the ugliest reasons, or no good reason at all. One photo showed a liger and two tigers on their hind legs on wooden chairs, in a Chinese circus. Their claws pulled out of their paws and heavily drugged, tortured. Another photographer tells the story of people who have been victims of the militia in Africa because the militia rely on the poaching trade. It’s heartbreaking.

4000 I cannot recommend Wildlife Photographer of the Year enough. I don’t want to put too many images up because heading into the darkened room and seeing the large versions is so much better, of course, and it’s an experience that you can have until about March 2016. Tickets are £15 including a donation and, honestly, I’ll be going back in the new year to re-marvel at how incredible and beautiful our world is.

LISTEN: Jamie Woon, Night Air, is all kinds of atmospheric. I associate it with a male burlesque dancer I’ve seen perform a few times as this is the backing track he uses. With atmosphere comes danger and with danger comes sexiness I suppose.

LOVE: I met a guy on OKC recently and we got on really well while chatting via Whatsapp. He’s smart, loves to travel and learn new things. He enjoys food, intelligent debate and was easy to talk to.

That was, when he was behind a screen. Too many times I’ve met a guy online, expected great things from the date and then found myself having to make 80% of the conversation and wondering why on earth they won’t talk as openly to my face as they will when they’re staring at a speech bubble on a phone.

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True. I’ve been on a lot of first dates. I have the conversation thing doooown. I have questions I ask if I get stuck, I have places to go which spark conversation. But I shouldn’t need these things – if I can chat to you online just fine, then surely the conversation should flow in real life? I suppose I speak a little more colloquially face to face, but we all do, so I don’t think that’s the reason some guys don’t know how to make conversation on a first date. I don’t think I’m particularly intimidating either – they already know I’m confident but I don’t try and have stare fights with them or anything!

Guys, leave your ‘game’ and jokes at home and just bring interesting conversation to a date. PLEASE. It’s so frustrating when you get on with someone but you can’t actually spend any time with them because the struggle of conversation topics just isn’t worth it. Perhaps, who knows, after 5 or 6 dates you’ll come out of your shell and we’d get on like a house on fire. But, frankly, I don’t want to wait 5 or 6 dates (and, let’s face it, about £150) to find that out.

The guy that inspired this blog posts, true didn’t really ask me that many question he thought of himself but, not only that, he also didn’t even say “What about you?” when he’d finished answering the question I’d asked him. EASY WIN GUYS RIGHT THERE, C’MON.

The worse thing? I’ve given up alcohol for November so he was drinking, I was sober, and I was still the one making conversation. Sigh. Naturally we haven’t spoken since the date. Then again, it’s not like he’d have anything to say. *buuurn* *drops mic*

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