December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Along the lines of Shakin' Stevens, here is another "classic" UK Christmas music video. I think this one needs no explanation.

December 16, 2012


Last Christmas when I went to Nürnberg, I posted a picture of German Lebkuchen. Lebkuchen is a traditional Christmas market treat. A common sight at German Christmas markets is decorated Lebkuchen hanging from the stands. Often they will be shaped like hearts with messages written on them in icing.

Because the picture I uploaded last year was not particularly great, I thought that I would upload this one from my trip to Stuttgart last week. This particular star shaped piece of Lebkuchen is decorated with almonds and had something in the centre which I can't remember.

October 29, 2012

NFL Game at Wembley

US-UK flags before kickoff

Yesterday I went to the Rams-Patriots game at Wembley Stadium in London. Before kickoff, they had everyone hold up a coloured bag to form the US and UK flags. 

August 31, 2012

Kinetic Edinburgh

I came across this pretty cool stop motion, time lapse video of Edinburgh. It includes a clip of the Speed of Light on Arthur's Seat, which is part of the Cultural Olympiad, and the Forth Bridge at night.


August 29, 2012

Meet the Superhumans

Channel 4 did a great job with this promotional video for the Paralympics. 

August 28, 2012

The Essex Lion

One of my favourite recent news stories happened yesterday. It was reported that a lion was on the loose in Essex and everyone went crazy. The newspapers were having a field day interviewing everyone who claimed to have seen the lion. My favourite quote is this one:

"Rich Baker, 39 said: 'A man started running towards us yelling 'It’s a f****** lion!' He looked so panicked you knew it was not a joke.'"

The funniest thing is how serious the sighting was being taken. There was a full-blown manhunt for the lion. It was like the police were trying to track down an escaped serial killer. They even had two helicopters armed with heat-seeking cameras attempting to track down the lion.

In the end, it turned out that the lion was probably nothing more than a large American Longhair cat.

August 25, 2012

I won an Olympic competition

You are reading the blog of someone who has won an official Olympic competition. In each of the daily "Join In" emails LOCOG sent out during the Olympics, they included a contest to win Olympic memorabilia. I won the 11 August contest. My prize was a bunch of stuff signed by John Regis. John Regis is an British sprinter who won a silver medal in Seoul and a bronze in Barcelona plus several medals at the world championships. My prize pack included a signed Team GB t-shirt, a small framed print and an autographed copy of The 100 Greatest Olympians and Paralympians.

John Regis signed shirt
Team GB shirt signed by John Regis
John Regis signed book
Does anyone know what the thing next to his signature is supposed to be?

August 24, 2012

Olympics Pictures

My pictures from the Olympics have been uploaded here. Some of the more interesting ones have been posted below.

The Olympic Stadium at night
My tickets
The Orbit Tower
Basketball Arena, aka the marshmallow

August 9, 2012


The past two weekends have been spent in London at the Olympics. I had an incredible time there, and I am intending to do a full write up in the next few days. In the meanwhile, there is a list of all the events that I went to:

  • Women's Football: USA vs France
  • Women's Football: North Korea vs Colombia (the North Korean flag controversy game)
  • Men's Football: Honduras vs Morocco
  • Men's Football: Spain vs Japan (the Japanese fans got the whole stadium singing with them in this upset)
  • Men's Basketball: Nigeria vs Tunisia
  • Men's Basketball: Brazil vs Australia
  • Men's Beach Volleyball: Holland vs Venezuela and Germany vs Latvia
  • Women's Beach Volleyball: Germany vs Australia and GB vs Canada
  • Women's 200m Freestyle heats (including Missy Franklin)
  • Men's 200m Butterfly heats (including Michael Phelps)
  • Women's 200m IM heats
  • Women's Handball: Brazil vs Montenegro
  • Women's Handball: Norway vs Sweden
  • Women's Table Tennis QFs
  • Women's Marathon
  • Women's Volleyball: USA vs Turkey
  • Women's Volleyball: Brazil vs Serbia

July 5, 2012

Turkish Ravioli (Manti)

As some of you know, part of my trips involve writing up the different street foods I try. Istanbul offers several excellent examples of street foods but unfortunately I didn't take any pictures of them. Different kinds of Doner kebabs are the best known examples, but I also had a couple of other things, such as simit, açma and balık ekmek.

While it is not a street food, the one dish I did take a picture of is Manti, which is also known as Turkish ravioli.

Manti (Turkish Ravioli)
Manti are very little pasta dumpling which are served with garlicky yoghurt, tomato sauce, seasonings and melted butter. The manti I had also came with pieces of beef if I remember correctly. Now I am normally not a big fan of yoghurt on other foods, but manti was pretty good. As a word of warning, I had this dish at a restaurant at Istanbul Airport and I got the impression that they did not serve the most traditional versions of Turkish dishes. So if you have manti, it may look different to my pictures.

July 4, 2012

Istanbul Pictures

At the beginning of June I went to Istanbul for an extended weekend. Here are a couple of pictures from my trip. The rest have been uploaded here.

Hagia Sophia

Sultanahmet Mosque

April 22, 2012

Amsterdam pictures

Here are some pictures from my trip to Amsterdam. 



Dutch pancakes

Apple and cinnamon Dutch pancake
At the end of March I made an unexpected trip to Amsterdam. My office's leave year ended on 31 March. At the beginning of March I was told that I had too many vacation days left to carry forward and I would have take some before the end of the month or I would lose them. Using British Airways's lowest fare finder I booked a fairly cheap trip to Amsterdam for 4 days.

In addition to some Belgian-style frites which I previously tried in Brussels, one of the foods I tried were Dutch pancakes, known as pannenkoeken in Dutch. I had my pancake with apple slices and cinnamon. This combination was excellent. Dutch pancakes are thinner than American pancakes but thicker than crêpes. They are also a good bit larger than American pancakes, maybe 10 inches to a foot wide. I enjoyed my pancake at a restaurant that had a great view of the Dutch countryside on a beautiful sunny afternoon.

March 17, 2012


One thing that I have noticed, and find irritating, is the tendency for British men, predominantly under 30, to button every single button on a shirt or jacket. It is like they feel that since they have paid for all of the buttons, they are therefore hell bent on using every single one, style be damned.

How can anyone think this looks good? 

Even worse is when they button all of the buttons of a suit jacket. I was interviewing people for a job last week and noticed that a number of them kept their jackets all buttoned up even when sitting down. Besides looking incredibly stupid and unflattering, you run the risk of destroying the jacket. Doing this is the perfect way to make a bad first impression.

March 14, 2012

Welsh Cakes

Up next in my series on street foods are Welsh Cakes. Welsh Cakes are little self-rising cakes which are traditionally cooked on a hot griddle. I bought a half dozen of them from a stall in the Cardiff indoor market. Some of them were plain with some sugar on them and the others were spilt with jam in the middle. One of the good things about Welsh Cakes is that they are pretty cheap. I believe they cost £.30 each.

For a cheap snake, Welsh Cakes are really good. They are a little dense and have a slightly sweet taste.


February 22, 2012

Empty Ibrox

At the end of January, I went to the Hibernian-Rangers game in Glasgow. While the game did not go particularly well from a Hibs point of view, Rangers recent problems mean it might turn out to be the last Hibs-Rangers game ever. And if it is the last one, then I was the very last Hibs supporter to ever be inside Ibrox.

After the game ended, all of the Hibs fans were held back while the home supporters left the stadium.We were held back so long that the rest of the stadium had been emptied, and we got to see the police and the grounds crew do their post-game checks. There seemed to be a race to see who could mow the pitch the quickest. Eventually they let us start to leave. Before I left the stadium I decided to use the bathroom and then blow my nose really well. While I was finishing up blowing my nose, I quickly realised the bathroom had suddenly gone very quiet. A security guard asked me if I was the last one. I said I did not know and started to head towards the nearby exit. As I was walking out, I heard the security guard behind me say into his radio that he "had the last one". I had only just walked through the exit door when I heard it slam shut behind me.

At least for the moment, I can claim to be both the last Hibs fan at a Rangers game and the last Hibs fan in Ibrox. If Rangers' financial problems are as bad as they seem and they enter liquidation, I may get to keep those titles.



February 5, 2012


Two weeks ago I went to Dundee for the day. I had previously heard Dundee being called Scumdee so I wasn't sure want to expect. I was actually pleasantly surprised. While it is definitely not the nicest place I have visited, Dundee was a perfectly nice place to visit for the day. The high street/central part of the city could be mistaken for any mid-sized British city.

On this trip I visited Scott's Discovery which was the ship used on his Antarctic expedition in 1901. The ship's museum was really well done and the ship itself has been well preserved. I would highly recommend visiting the Discovery.


I also visited the Verdant Works, which is an old jute mill that has been converted into a museum. Jute is made into a fabric, such as burlap. The museum does a good job explaining the manufacturing process and also the wider implications of the jute trade. 

January 22, 2012


Continuing my series of posts on street foods, today we have Lebkuchen. Lebkuchen is normally described as resembling gingerbread and is a traditional German Christmas treat. They are either rectangular or round, they have a sweet, lightly nutty taste, and their aroma is a bit like nutmeg and allspice. They are soft and baked on top of a thin, sugary "oblaten" wafer. Nuremberg is famous for its Lebkuchen.

Lebkuchen also comes in a harder form with is made into different shapes and decorated with icing. A common sight at Christmas markets is stalls decorated with Lebkuchen.

This Nürnberger Lebkuchen came from the Christkindlesmarkt.


January 20, 2012


Crêpes are a popular European street food. Although they are most commonly associated with France, you can find them in many other countries. You can get crêpes filled with many different things including fruit, whipped cream, sugar, chocolate sauce, and jam. Crêpes are a pretty versatile food.

This particular crêpe is from the Regensburg Christmas market and is filled with nutella, which is my favourite topping.


January 18, 2012


When I went to Germany last month, I made sure to have some my favourite German food to eat. Potato pancakes, known as Kartoffelpuffer in German, with applesauce have long been one of my favourite foods, and I always have some when I go to a Christmas market, whether in Germany or the one in Edinburgh.

These particular potato pancakes were from the Frankfurter Weihnachtsmarkt and were excellent. Quite possibly the best I have ever had. Later on the trip I had some more from the Nürnberg Christkindlesmarkt.


You can find my other articles on street foods here: 

January 4, 2012

Law School Apps

Sorry for the lack of posts but I am frantically trying to tie up some loose strings and submit my law school applications before I fly back to Scotland. I hope everyone had a good Christmas and a great 2012.