London Leopard ♥

Sunday, 14 April 2019

Eating Alone When Travelling Solo ♥

Picture: Switzerland, June 2015

This is a major worry that most people have when considering solo travel. I will be sort of freaked me out too. My first solo trip was 3 days in Paris during autumn. For the whole trip, I remember feeling so awkward and uncomfortable when eating out in restaurants. I felt like everyone was looking at me and judging me for dining alone. Of course this was probably not the case and I was just paranoid as it was a new experience for me. Since then I have probably taken more than 10 solo trips, and have learnt a few tricks on how to make yourself feel more comfortable dining alone.

1. Use your phone 
Ask for the WI-FI password and take the time to reconnect with everyone back home. This can be very helpful especially on long haul solo trips. Fill the awkward gap between the menu and meal by updating loved ones on how your trip is going. 

2.Write in a journal/read a book 
Another thing you can do is read a magazine or book. This is usually a nice thing to do in an outdoor cafe during breakfast or lunch. I keep a journal and will sometimes use this time to write about what I did during the day. 

3. People watching  
If you are seated by a window, one of the best ways to pass time is people watching. just sit and watch the world go by. watch how local people interact. I usually enjoy doing this while sipping on a cocktail or glass of wine. 

                   llondon leopard


Wednesday, 27 March 2019

My Thoughts About Brexit

Before I start writing... it is important that I address something. I barely know anything about politics, and this post is me simply expressing my random thoughts.

I am a British citizen who was born and raised in England. We are now days away from Brexit and I have to admit that it's making me anxious. It doesn't feel great to not know what your future will hold. There is a pit in my stomach that is telling me Brexit will be a disaster for us. Younger people like me will be the ones who suffer (if things go wrong). Some of my friends think that I am being dramatic...but I have always been the kind of person to analyse situations. I am not just thinking about the next few months...I'm thinking about the next 5-10 years. 

Food prices going up is one of my worries. I live on my own and have watched all of my bills increase every year. I mean it's okay if wages go up but they rarely do. I also think about the quality of food that we will have. At least there are regulations within the EU that protect us from being exposed to certain "toxins". 

I also worry about the job market. I am within the age bracket of people who suffer with the highest rate of unemployment. A degree is not as valuable as it used to be, so most employers are looking for someone with years of experience. I wonder whether Brexit will make this worse. A lot of companies are likely to relocate to stay within the EU. 

Then there is my little travel hobby...#firstworldproblems. I mean it's really not a major concern compared to my previous points. Travelling is a luxury not a necessity. 

I don't know what the future holds, but this situation definitely has me thinking about life.

                   llondon leopard


Sunday, 17 March 2019

Banana And Cinnamon Cake ♥

            On Sunday's I like to bake the only thing that I can...banana cake. I don't weigh my ingredients when I cook. I tend to rely on instinct and my sense of smell. So I cannot really provide a recipe with measurements. This post is not going to be of much help to those who rely on accuracy. But I will tell you what I use and how I make it.

1 egg
2 bananas 
Self raising flour
1.Melt some butter in the microwave, and then stir some sugar into the melted butter. 

2. In a separate bowl mash 2 bananas and add cinnamon to the mixture.

3. Add the mashed bananas to the other bowl (containing butter, egg, sugar). 

4. Gradually stir some self raising flour in to the mixture. 

5. Add another pinch of cinnamon to the mixture. 

6. Transfer the mixture to a baking tin and leave it in the oven for 20 minutes (180 degrees). 

I have only had an issue once when I didn't add enough flour. It was nice and still edible but the cake was thin. I now realise that adding more flour will make the cake thicker. But you don't want to add too much because it can turn the cake hard. All of this is not going to make much sense unless you are someone who likes to "wing it" with cooking. I'm not going to say good luck with your baking...because I know that this is not the best example of a recipe. 

                        Happy Sunday! 🎂

                        llondon leopard


Sunday, 10 March 2019

Do Amber Healing Crystals Work? ♥

I have never really been much of a spiritual person in general. But I have started to become more interested in things like meditation, mindfulness, and the soul. I bought Amber  during my first visit to Poland. I never really wore it because I wanted to save it for special occasions. Then I went to Latvia and bought some more Amber. This included a bracelet that I now wear every day. 

Amber is said to be a good pain relief, good for negative energy, and helps anxiety. Now on to the real question...does it work? It is so hard to answer this question. Sometimes if you believe something will happen then it will. Our thoughts are so much more powerful than we think...which is why I cannot provide a definite answer to this question. 

However, I can tell you what I have noticed since wearing this Amber bracelet 24/7 for the past 3 months. I haven't had any period pain which is weird. Period pain is something that I have struggled with since I was a teenager. I have been put on the contraceptive pill for the pain. It minimises the pain but never completely takes it away. Since wearing the amber I can honestly say that I have barely noticed any pain whilst bleeding. It is so the pain has just magically been taken away. Can I prove that the amber is what helped me? No. But the change definitely took place when I started wearing it. 

As for the negative's difficult to judge. I have always been sensitive to the energy that surrounds me. I can feel it when someone is negative...and I can feel it when someone is positive. There have been times when I have been very anxious so I don't think the amber has helped with it. But I have noticed that I do feel slightly better when I play with the amber during times of anxiety. I don't know if this is a "placebo effect" or if the amber really helps. 

Then I guess there is always the question over authenticity. You can never really be 100% sure regardless of where you buy it from. My overall conclusion is that it definitely helped with the pain. There is no doubt about that. It can't be a coincidence that my period pains subsided after 12 years the minute I started wearing amber. 

                       llondon leopard


Friday, 25 January 2019

A Day On A Filming Set ♥

   Please excuse the awful photo...I look very rough.

So my friend is a director and I had the opportunity to go on set for a day. She is filming a short film about domestic violence. It was so interesting to see how things are filmed, and it's certainly not easy at all. Every scene had to be filmed at least 3 times from different angles.

The actors were amazing at what they did. There was a scene where the abuser tries to stop his girlfriend from leaving. He throws her on the bed and she starts screaming. It was so realistic and they kept their acting consistent. I watched them film this same scene over and over at least 10 times, and keep the same level of emotion.

I can't wait to see the full film when it's ready. Feel free to check out her work here.

                      llondon leopard


Wednesday, 23 January 2019

A Weekend in Gdansk Poland on a budget ♥

I recently returned from a winter weekend in Gdansk Poland. I stayed for 1 night from Saturday morning until Sunday afternoon. Poland is cheap in general so I tracked all of my costs and will document them here. I am giving a rough estimate based on the conversion rate I got. 1 British Pound was worth roughly 4.5 Polish Zloty.

Pre-departure costs 
Airport transfer (Easybus): £1.99

Flights (Wizz Air): £35.98

Hotel (Grand Hostel-private room): £25

Spending in Gdansk
Airport to hotel (public transport was free because it was the mayors' funeral)

Sightseeing: zuraw- the crane building: free to look at from the outside

Brunch: pierogi dumplings and a shot of cherry vodka: £6.50

Souvenir bookmark: £1

Sightseeing: the museum of second world war: £5

Dinner: zurek soup and a local beer: £5

Day 2
Breakfast: Polish sausages with bread and salad: £3.50

Sightseeing: Dlugi targ- long market (free to wander around)

Sightseeing: Neptune's fountain (free)

Bus to the airport: £0.80


This was my second trip to Poland...and there will definitely be a third. I think that Warsaw will be next on my list. 

                  llondon leopard


Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Soup Maker Vegetable Soup Recipe ♥

This has become my winter staple and I am so glad that I bought a soup maker. I can put the ingredients in and spend the next 20 minutes doing other things around the house. I made this recipe up myself through trial and error.

1. Chop vegetables up small. I used parsnip, green beans, carrots, and tomato. You can literally use any vegetables that you can find in your fridge. 

2. Boil lentils with some chopped garlic. The garlic will add some flavour to the lentils. 

3.  You need some seasoning. I have added Himalayan salt, kucharek vegetable seasoning (which is Polish), and an organic vegetable stock cube (the brand is named "kallo"). 

4. Add all of the ingredients to the soup maker. 

5. Let the soup maker do all the work and then enjoy your meal. 

I purchased this soup maker online from Argos. It is a lifesaver because I hate making soup from scratch. I also use this to make beetroot soup, and tomato soup. 

                                                             llondon leopard 

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Reflecting on 2018 ♥

What went well?
1. I changed up my eating habits and became more healthy.

2. I also travelled a lot to countries that I never thought I would be brave enough to visit (Turkey, Macedonia, Czech Republic).

3. I managed to get my salary raised in my old job  which meant that I had more disposable income.    

What did not go well?
1. I went through a life changing experience which I wouldn't wish on anybody. It may take years to recover from.

2. I decided to switch jobs, and ended up in an organisation full of corruption with a culture of bullying. I had to leave just before Christmas (either that or they were going to force me out).  

What lessons have I learnt?
1. Be mindful of the advice of those who have never been in the same situation. 

2. Your health is one of the most important things because you only get one body.

3. Be careful who you surround yourself with. 

What are my plans for 2019?
1.To find a healthy work place with a decent salary. 

2. To spend less time travelling and more time saving money. "Brexit" is about to happen and we are about to leave the European Union. Nobody is certain of what the future holds so it would be wise to save. 

3. To spend more time connecting with myself (meditation, yoga). 

                    llondon leopard

Sunday, 30 December 2018

A Day In Bratislava Slovakia ♥

I did a day trip to Bratislava from Vienna. The drive across the border only takes one hour and I got the ticket for £10 return with flixbus. One thing that concerns me a little is that nobody checked any of the passengers passports. It scares be that how easy it is for criminals to move around Europe?. Anyway...take a look at some of my photos below from Bratislava. 

This is a picture of the UFO bridge. It looked even prettier when the sun set and everything lit up. 


This is "Bryndzove Halusky" which is Slovakia's national dish. It is potato dumplings mixed with sheep cheese. Bits of bacon are added on top. I looked at photos of halusky before my trip, and was not impressed with what I saw. But I have to say that it tastes absolutely delicious.

The famous blue church. 

This is the Christmas market. It was so much cheaper than the Christmas markets in Vienna. I drank medovina (hot honey wine), and ate Loksa (a potato flatbread filled with cheese).

Beeswax candles for sale at the Christmas market.

llondon leopard


Friday, 28 December 2018

Racism In Austria

So the title reads Austria and racism. It's a rather strong statement to make...but the racism I experienced was 10 times stronger. My experience happened in Vienna, but I have chosen to label this post as "Austria" instead of "Vienna" because I have heard stories of racism all over the country.

I have been all over Europe, the north, the south, the east, and the west. I have never had issues in any countries. Not even in Eastern Europe (where almost everyone warned me to be careful). Funnily enough I find people in Eastern Europe to be the friendliest. They don't come across non-white people very will be cautious at first. Once you smile at them, show manners, and make an effort to speak their language they tend to warm up to you. Well...that has been my experience anyway.

So why Austria?
I chose Austria because it is famous for the Christmas markets. I thought the capital city of Vienna would be a good choice, because there would be a lot to explore. It was also one of the few European countries that I had never visited.

So what happened?
Day 1 and I noticed that people were cold towards me. Not a problem at all because most countries in central Europe are culturally cold in general. It's a cultural thing and usually nothing personal. I thought nothing of it until Day 2. This is when it became clear that it was racism.

1. Austrian people moved away from me on public transport.

2. Most Austrians gave me filthy looks in the street and crossed over to the other side the minute they saw me.

3. People who didn't cross the road quickly clutched their bags as they walked past me.

4. People in shops walked away from the till when it was time to serve me.

5. I walked into a local Austrian restaurant. The waiter sat me on a table near a local woman. She gave me a filthy look, made a disgusted noise ("urgh"), quickly picked up her bag and put it under her leg.

Am I sure that this is not just me being paranoid or dramatic?
100% not. I have never had this behaviour in any other European country. This behaviour was clearly personal because they treated other locals with respect.

Do I think this is just a one off unfortunate experience?
Definitely not. I did my research to make sure that it wasn't just me over reacting. Can you guess what I found? A whole load of news articles and trip advisor reviews talking about racism in Austria. 

I read many reviews from Asian people writing that they were refused service at restaurants. Some people wrote that they were segregated on a different side of the restaurant from all the white people. I read that some tourists had to endure Austrians shouting "go back to your country" whilst out in the street. I read that border control made fun of a Romanian/Moldovan man's nationality whilst checking his passport. So it seems that racism in Austria is not only linked to skin colour. I also met an Albanian girl who said that she was treated badly because of her nationality.

Would I ever go back to Austria?
I don't think so. It ruined my trip and ruined my mood. This was to the point where I felt that I didn't want to spend any money. Why would I want to contribute to the economy of a country that displays pure disgust towards anyone foreign?

                     llondon leopard
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