Paella, paella, paella…

‘Let’s have paella because there is almost no queue!’ Our decision was prompt because we were very hungry and also cold. The urge to fill our stomach with something warm was too strong to resist.

Hubbie and I were standing by a pop-up gazebo, selling freshly cooked paella at Cubitt Square. The pop-up canteen was one of the many street food shops, especially there for Lumiere London 2018.

Mmmm…, I’m starving…

There were two choices, seafood and chorizo. And we opted for the chorizo one…

The paella looked great and I was only very grateful because the rice was piping hot. However, my joy was short lived.

Why they make it salty?!

The dish was very very very very salty. ‘I tasted the paella as salty as this when I went to Málaga ages ago.’, I told Hubbie as I ferried the rice to my mouth gingerly.

Yes, the seriously brined paella did bring back a bitter sweet memory of my holiday at Málaga. The trip was my very first solo holiday and also turned out to be the last one. I was supposed to go with my friend but she got cold feet at the last minute and as a result, I ended up being in a foreign city all on my own.

After spending tedious four hours in a departure lounge at Gatwick Airport because the plane was delayed, I found myself walking through a deserted arrival lobby of Málaga Airport in the early morning. I can’t recall exactly how but I managed to communicate the address of my hotel to a taxi driver and he took me to an unassuming hotel on one of the quiet streets in the city centre.

My room was small and modestly decorated. It had no TV or a great view from the window. Then, the reality dawned on me, ‘Oh shit, will I have to spend my entire Christmas holiday alone in here?’

I must say I didn’t enjoy my four days in the Spanish port city at all. The first two days was especially boring because they were Christmas Day and Boxing Day. No place, except some eateries, was open and I spent my time, walking around a deserted port and a crumbling fort which overlooked the beach.

The hotel I stayed did not have a bar nor a restaurant, therefore, I had to find somewhere to eat. Would I look odd if I dined alone?, I pondered. Then, I saw a brightly lit sign of a tapas bar in the distance and decided to eat my first dinner of Málaga there.

The walls of the eatery was clad with dark brown wood and there were legs of pork dangling from the ceiling. I picked up a laminated menu from the counter and pointed at the picture of paella and then a word, “Diet Coke”. A man behind the counter gave me a slight nod and disappeared into the kitchen.

The man came back from the kitchen surprisingly quickly and placed a plate in front of me. The steaming heap of the sunflower yellow rice looked very tempting because I didn’t have a chance to eat properly that day, therefore, I picked up a cutlery eagerly and spooned the content into my mouth. But oh no, no, NO! The paella was very salty. It was so salty that I could only managed to eat less than half on the plate, despite I was starving. How can anyone find the dish that salty be palatable?!, I was utterly dismayed.

After the fiasco at the tapas bar, I resorted to eating every dinner at a local Chinese restaurant. Their food was bog-standard but at least, their fried rice was no way as salty as the paella.

‘So the paella you had in Málaga was as salty as this?’, Hubbie shook his head in disbelief.

‘Oh, I can eat no more!’

I handed my half eaten paella to Hubbie who volunteered to finish it off. While watching him scoffing the rice and the chorizo in the dark at Gasholder Park, I wandered along a colonnade around the circular lawn. ‘Next time, we shall take paella with a pinch of salt.’ Hubbie declared as he joined me and Bella. I couldn’t agree more…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Lumiere London @ King’s Cross

It was definitely that FOMO feeling which motivated me to visit the event Lumiere London 2018. I missed out on the same event in 2016 and this time, I didn’t want to be the one who was pitied by those, who made it to the spectacles, how foolish I was to skip such a fantastic do.

‘We are going to their King’s Cross venue after dark!’ I declared to Hubbie’s back while he attended a pile of emails on his iMac screen. ‘Are we?’ His response to my suggestion was rather ambivalent.

Hubbie always made it clear that he hated visiting crowded places. I, myself, was not excessively fond of overcrowded places, therefore, I understood his reluctance. However, we were living in a capital city with the population of 8.8 million and the possibility of finding any event which was not crowded would be pretty negligible. ‘Well, we will wrap up quickly if it is too crowded!’, I quipped.

We arrived at a forecourt of King’s Cross station around 7 o’clock. The square was already teeming with the people who appeared to be heading to the installations which were dotted around Granary Square…

At Battle Bridge Place, we found IFO (Identified Flying Object) by Jacques Rival…

Any well-publicised mega event, such as Lumiere London, was bound to attract large crowds, and as a result, the installation was swamped by the waves of onlookers with their cameras and smartphones. Like them, I also tried to capture the vibrant colours of the artwork but my iPhone 7 was not up for a job, the images came out all too light and flat.

On King’s Boulevard, we were greeted by a row of giant office desk lamps…

The work, Lampounette, was by TILT, a French artistic studio. The desk lamps towered over us and gave us the feeling of being a doll in Polly Pocket!

While I took some snaps of the installation, Bella was held by Hubbie…

‘I have a great vantage point!’

We decided not to walk her on leash at the event. It was because the streets were too crowded and also too dark. We thought she could be easily trampled and the lead could be tripped by the pedestrians who weren’t aware of her presence.

Then, we arrived at Granary Square where a large installation, Waterlight, by Daan Roosegaarde was displayed..

 

The mid space of the entire square was filled with LED lighting which floated above our heads.

The art piece was breathtakingly beautiful…

 

There was a fog generator at the southwest corner of the square and it was pumping out the mist so the LED could illuminate the travelling mist in the air. Oh how much I long to be alone with this blue dancing haze! The beauty was ethereal.

Then, we moved on towards West Handyside Canopy and found the work, Aether, by Architecture Social Club…

 

I was really not sure if the audience needed this deafening techno music with the installation. Instead of enhancing the experience, I thought the tune was distracting and it also made the piece rather cheap and cliche. Like night clubs in Ibiza? I would have like it more if it was a silent piece.

After having a glimpse of Entre Les Rangs and Bottle Festoon, Hubbie and I opted to head home. We thought that some opportunities, such as Lumiere London, were too irresistible to pass on and that was why we went there. However, the venue was simply too crowded and we were a bit fed up with dodging the people and slow-marching in the freezing wind.

‘I just feel numb on my toes!’, I pined.

At Vinoteca King’s Cross, we bought mulled wine. The spiced wine was hot and it warmed our chilled finger tips and stomachs…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Echobelly@Scala

Hubbie and I were at Scala, Kings Cross, last night, attending a gig given by Echobelly . The band’s lead guitarist, Glenn, kindly put us on their guest list because Hubbie helped them with their recent publicity photos.

Sonya & Glenn’s visit.

After having dinner at Mildred on Pentonville Road, we watched a supporting band, Salad, giving a great performance…

Then, this was what we were waiting for! Echobelly!

 

They played the numbers from their new album, Anarchy & Alchemy, as well as their well-known and well-loved tunes.

A lead singer, Soyna, was as mesmerising as usual. She had a great stage presence and her charisma was felt throughout the performance…

Thank you, Glenn! It was a wonderful treat…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

The Classic Car Boot Sale

‘I must, must, MUST visit the car boot sale today!’, I insisted. The event I was talking about to Hubbie was not an ordinary weekend bric-a-brac sale but The Classic Car Boot Sale, the most grand, entertaining and spectacular vintage and collectables market I had ever been!

So here we are, at Granary Square behind Kings Cross…

The entree fee was £5.00, more expensive than a normal £1, per person and it was well worth the money. As the name suggested, it was a car boot sale. However, the main attraction was these classic cars displayed all over the venue…

Aren’t they beautiful? Those cars were free from modern injection-moulding plastic but crammed full of immaculately polished handcrafted chrome and walnut. All passers by, including us, were drooling over their shiny body works and lovingly restored interiors.

Another attraction of the event was their well-selected vintage stalls.

Cute tea cups…

Pin cushions looked like cupcakes! Even Bella the Tomboy was very attracted to them…

Picnic paraphernalia for this coming summer?

I always loved men’s vintage clothing even though they were way too large for me…

Hubbie was pondering about the khaki green nylon bag for a while. I thought it could be good for his camera and lenses as the interior of the bag was well padded and had two generously-sized pockets. A man who was manning the stall explained to us that the bag was a real ex-helmet carrier used my an airforce pilot. In the end, he decided not to buy as the bag was not quite large enough for all what he wanted to carry.

There were also lots of toys and memorabilias which made us squeal with delight…

Apparently, Hubbie owned one of those Action Man Sportsman dolls. A doll with full of nylon hair! Unlike plastic hair like Ken!! Cool 😉

Retro-inspired signs made with timber…

A railway sign…

Vintage road signs. They would look great on the wall, don’t you agree?

Vinyls were attracting quite a few serious shoppers…

It was fun to explore hidden treasures and gems….

and also watching stylish vendors and customers in period clothings…

I was drawn to these wooden steps. Aren’t they sweet?

I thought about buying it for our library. However, Hubbie pointed out that it would be far too low for the purpose, and I had to give up the idea reluctantly.

Bella was not interested in shopping…

However, she met loads of furry friends which made her a very happy dog.

‘I WANNA SAY HI TO HIMMMMMM!!’

Mr.Brown was not that into her. Still his response made her satisfied.

‘HELLO! HELLO! HELLO!’

It was great to see Bella was enjoying the event as much as we were.

There was a very odd find amongst heaps of the unique vintage items.

The ladybird Book of The Mid-life Crisis? Is this for real?!

I couldn’t help picking up the book in my hands and flicked it through. Yes, it was for real, and the content was rather depressing. No, I am not taking you home with me, I shook my head and put it back to the box.

Outside of the enclosure in Granary Square was as fun as the inside.

The area was dotted with interesting objects and exhibits.

How about perfect Instagram posts with life-size timber cutouts…

Or marvelling at retro-futuristic cars/motorcycles? How does this one run? I couldn’t figure out. Could you?

Bella the Marmaid loved playing with the mini-fountains…

‘Let’s find some tea & cake!’ We entered the area which was designated for food and drink.

BBQ, Mac n cheese, steak sandwich… Not very migraine detox friendly, we sighed. Then, we spotted a van selling tea and crumpets!

Even though they had no caffeine free beverage, the tea they brew properly in pots looked delicious, therefore, Hubbie had his first normal tea in nearly two months.

Crumpet with butter and raspberry jam!

Ahhh, it tasted fabulous and the tea was divine. The best cuppa I had in a long time.

All in all, we had a great time at the event. And we will definitely be back for another one in future.

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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