Thursday, January 27, 2011

Photos from Wales

I traveled to Wales last weekend to celebrate my birthday with my dear friends Angie, Mark and their little one Evie, whom I am an honorary auntie to (yay, auntie pride!). We spend Friday in the beautiful Cardiff, which is one of my very favorite cities in the UK. I just love the buildings, the arcades, the atmosphere, everything about this city. We visited the Cardiff Castle, walked around the city and had some yummy Mexican for dinner. Then we headed to Swansea, where we spent the rest of the weekend, shopping, walking around and exploring its beaches and Swansea Bay. I love the sea and seaside of Swansea is simply lovely! I thought I'd share some of the photos that I snapped during our travels.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Spicing up a winter's day

I thought I'd share another one of my favorite recipes. This is perhaps my favorite for "fast food"; it makes a quick and easy meal that is still very fulfilling and super tasty. Be warned, though, this is a spicy one! So if spicy (or garlic!) is not your thing, then it is probably best to skip this recipe.

Chilli tofu with noodles
Modified from "Tofu keittokirja" by Marianne Kiskola & Sanna Miettunen
Serves two people

You need...

1 large or 2 smaller packs of firm tofu, drained and cut into slices
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
2-3 fresh chillies, finely chopped (ideally 1 red, 1 yellow, 1 green but I just used 2 red ones myself this time) - remove the seeds if sensitive to hot hot hotttnes
2 tbsp of vegetable oil
1 tbsp of sesame oil
1dl / 1/2 cup (low salt) soy sauce
1 tbsp honey
a pinch of salt

medium egg noodles

Lets get cookin'!

1. Cook the noodles following the instructions provided in the pack. Drain and set aside, mix with some sesame oil to keep them from sticking together
2. Heat the vegetable oil and sesame oil in a large wok or frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the tofu and cook, turning, for about 5 minutes or until golden brown
3. Add the onion, garlic and chillies to the wok and stir-fry for a couple of minutes
4. Add the soy sauce, honey and salt to the wok, fry for a further couple of minutes
5. Set the tofu mix aside
6. Toss the noodles in the wok pan and fry for a minute
7. Combine the tofu mix and the noodles and - tada! You're ready to eat!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Hello 2011 and London's historical Phoenix Cinema

Firstly, I would like to wish a happy and prosperous New Year 2011 for all of my readers and Blogger friends - even if this coming oh, a few weeks late. But, as they say, better late than never!

My blog turned one year old in December 2010 so I'd also like to take a moment to thank all of those who read and comment here. I wanted to do something special to acknowledge the fact but the anniversary passed unrecognized because December was a true rollercoaster ride, a real whirlwind for me, both in the extremely good and the extremely bad. I've spent the first few weeks of 2011 locked up inside, working on my university essays. But those are finally over and done with and I'm eager to actually go out and live a little again - and post a lot more on this blog, hopefully!

I have been reading a fascinating book on Finnish cinema architecture and the old cinema palaces of the early 20th century, titled Elohuvia (written by Outi Heiskanen, well worth a read if you understand Finnish!). Sadly most of the old cinemas of Finland have been demolished and the very few that still exist are largely used for other purposes. But it inspired me to look into London's old cinemas since quite a few still exist in here and are used for the purposes they were originally designed for.

Yesterday I paid a visit to the Phoenix Cinema, the oldest purpose built cinema in the UK, to see The King's Speech with a friend. It is located in East Finchley. The cinema was built in 1910 and opened in 1912, during the silent era. It was called the Picturedome back then and seated 428 people. In 1929 the cinema, then known as the Coliseum, was the first in the area to show talkies (sound films). In 1937, the building was redesigned and rebuilt in a more art deco style and reopened as the Rex in 1938. It was named The Phoenix in 1975 to act as a showcase for the European ‘art house’ and world cinema films.

Sadly the exterior of the building was remodeled in the 1930s to give the fa├žade a more sleek and modernist touch. The interior ceiling, however, is the original ceiling from 1910 and the Deco details, including the gorgeous gold panels, are from 1938. The Phoenix has appeared in contemporary pop culture quite a bit, including in the films Interview with the Vampire, The End of the Affair and Nine.

It was an absolutely wonderful experience to visit this historical piece of cinema history. It is a very special place to watch a film. The interior, especially, is probably the most beautiful interior of a cinema I have ever seen. Viewing a film in the cinema is always a special experience for me - and seeing one in such extraordinary and historical surroundings made it all the more special for me.

I wore the Maureen in green check by Nicole Katherine Designs, which is up for grabs over at Pin-Up Parade. I really love the print and the pattern of the dress but, as you can read on the Pin-Up Parade site, unfortunately this cute little number comes with quite a bit of faulties. The lovely Rhia altered it for me to bring it into a presentable condition, as seen here. I paired the dress with a 1940s needlepoint handbag by Christine, a dear favorite of mine, a 1940s jade necklace with a little circus elephant, 100 denier wool stockings and vintage inspired shoes. I love that the weather is so nice and pleasant that you can actually go out wearing nice heels! The weather conditions that we're currently experiencing in London have come as an absolute shock to me after having lived in Finland and Scotland my whole life. Sunshine and +13c in January = INSANE to me!

I recently acquired Lip Ink in Energy Red after Amanda Lee mentioned it a couple of times. I have been looking for the perfect lip stain for a long time and I believe I've now found it! I will be writing a proper review of the product after I've given it a few more goes. However, having worn it a couple of times now, I have to say that I am very, very happy with my purchase so far.

The Picturedrome with the original exterior

The Rex in the 1960s

Be sure to visit the Phoenix Cinema website for detailed information on the building's fascinating history - and be sure to check it out in person whenever you're in the area!