Things I love

  • ~Louis
  • ~Family&Friends
  • ~IceCream
  • ~MyKindle
  • ~CoffeeBreaks
  • ~Sparkles
  • ~Knitwear
  • ~Vanilla
  • ~AllThingsLUSH~
  • GossipGirlxoxo~
  • Chips&Ketchup~

23 July 2014

Travel essentials

You may remember that I'm not the best of travelers. I see photos of people jet-setting with impeccable hair and matching luggage and I wonder how they do it. It feels as though every time I travel, no matter the size of my carry on or handbag, I cram it full of stuff and end up exhausted from carrying it around and from trying to find anything in there. I have a friend who travels carrying his his pocket. Oh I wish I was that easy going! Unfortunately, this post does not relate to some revelation of how to travel light. Nope, it's just a little peak into what I always carry when I travel.

So...I cram all of this stuff into my bag: purse, kindle, sunglasses (don't want them to break in the checked baggage), passports, diary and travel wallet. I finally bought a cute travel wallet from Cath Kidston, and would highly recommend getting one, as it just keeps all your travel docs in one place. There are some gorgeous leather ones out there for a reasonable price tag, like this one from Asos

Of course I always print out my tickets / boarding pass before my flight and triple-quadruple check all the details.  

Things I also always carry are a couple of passport photos, as you never know when you might need one and of course my Oyster card if I'm heading over to Sunny England. Yes that Oyster card photo is glamorous, I know. Especially with the glittery star sticker. (Student days) I also for some reason manage to have an extra British Landing Card that I can complete before landing. You American and EU passport holders, I'm not sure you'd relate!

I don't own a very good smart phone (something I need to invest in...eventually), so I also use my Kindle to keep my travel itinerary and any important information, like phone and reference numbers, addresses, flight details etc. I find it very helpful since I don't need the internet to access this document, and you can send it to your Kindle either as a Word doc or PDF. I do also upload all my meetings, flights and travel information on to my Google Calendar, but I like having access to information easily and in one place. I haven't created a detailed itinerary for my trip this time, although I have done that before and found it very helpful to know what I needed to accomplish for when (I had about 3 days to visit four cities and make sure I got to my best friend's wedding on time!). I've heard of a lot of great apps that help with planning trips, so maybe when I get a smart phone I'll try those and see. For now I'll just have to rely on good ol' Microsoft Word! 

Of course I also take lip balm and if the flight is really long then some face cream to keep my skin moisturised. But that's pretty much it! What do you carry when you travel?


08 July 2014

Show me the Bouza

Pistachios and mastic. Synonymous with the Arab world where we try to stuff everything we can with some form of nut, rose water and sugar. About a year ago, I watched a BBC program on Syria and it had a feature on Bakdash, a popular and very old ice cream parlour selling Arabic Bouza. At the end of the programme, they mentioned that Bakdash had to open a branch in Amman due to the growing turmoil in Syria.

I had to find it.

Admittedly, I didn't Google it straight away and when I finally did, realised I had no clue where the location was and in fact wasn't sure if it was popular enough in Amman to ask a cab driver to take me there. So it took me a few months to get there. And then even more months until I went back. 

However, we've now moved to an apartment that's about a 20 minute walk from the place so....yup, been there a few times in the last month :D Arabic bouza is different to normal ice cream in the way that it feels, (it's a bit rubbery do to the mastic...), tastes and is made. The ice cream is made in big blocks, which, after they freeze them*, are thrown into deep steel tubs and pounded by, what I would closely describe, as a massive wooden mallet [feel free to correct me on my vocab]. The block of ice cream turns into a paste and is then scooped up, thrown into a bed of pistachios and served. Yum-my.



Bakdash is such a great place to go with friends or family if you want some ice cream but don't fancy the usual. They do chocolate and strawberry ice creams too and I'm tempted to get an Arabic neapolitan next time I'm there!


*this is not a scientific analysis of how bouza is made, merely my observations, ahem ahem.
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