Writing 101: Day 2 Challenge

There are so many places i could and would like to be transported to at this very moment, however as i have to choose a specific place then it would have to be the Aye Simon reading room in the Guggenheim museum in New York, it was designed with the key of learning in mind, for instance its shaped like a keyhole to signify the key to knowledge.
Its a tiny room situated on the stairs about half way up the building, there is nothing more than a table and chairs and a bookcase inside as it is for people to read and contemplate (at least thats how i imagine it) i can see people taking books and pieces of art in there to appreciate them away from the noise of the city and the bustle of the museum.
Personally i think it would be an amazing spaces to write in purely from the imagination perspective as you could completely clear your mind and not be distracted for some long time.
When i first visited in 2005 i was fascinated by the whole museum and even more delighted to find this room, at the time i swore that if i was to disappear to anywhere it would be to here if only so i could hide from the chaos of the world; now i feel like its an inspirational space to be appreciated not to run and hide in; you are surrounded by one of the most prestigious art spaces in the world and that in itself speaks volumes.

Blogging 101: Day 3 Challenge

Today’s assignment: follow five new topics in the Reader and five new blogs.
Reading this task really put me on the spot today…think of 5 new topics to discover? well rather than being short of ideas it was more the narrowing down of the list that proved the most difficult, the decision to add writers block was a forwarding thinking choice (just in case it happens…)
Tag 1: Love @LECKCYLOOREVIEWS
Tag 2: Consciousness @infinitybeckons
Tag 3: Desire @alillama
Tag 4: Spirituality @thelifeinsideus
Tag 5: Writers Block @ramblinproseblog

Writing 101: Day 1 Challenge

Hi im Nomes
Nice to meet you…
Im currently on my belated gap year which means i now have plenty of time to discover the things i enjoy and the things i don’t and also to develop the skills that i have missed out honing whilst working in jobs that i didn’t particularly like or find challenging/fulfilling.
So i joined writing 101 in order to try and help me focus my mind on writing, i really enjoy it but its not something that comes naturally to me…
For instance i can be sat writing and then something will distract me and ill be off….then the writing stops for a while, not helpful when you are trying to build your confidence and improve your skills; i suspect that this is largely to do with my short attention span but this is something that i am trying to work on.
For me writing without thinking is not the easiest of things as school drummed it into our heads that we had to write ‘about something’ there was little in the way of opportunities to write something that we chose…sure there were options for questions on essays but that is hardly being allowed to create your own work is it?
Whilst i hope to improve my writing generally this course for me is about improving my communication, i don’t really write stories in the traditional sense although in my blog entries i try and keep a narrative going to interest the reader and no one can say that there life isn’t a story one way or another…mine i suspect slightly more than most but that is something for another time…
As the minutes tick by it strikes me that writing comes more naturally than i think although its safe to say that the writers block does enjoy jumping in every so often to slow the process down, but not thinking too much about it means that the words flow far quicker than if i sit down and actually think about something too specific, its like my subconscious is writing for me, now as good as this is its not terribly practical for writing marketing documents but the process of taking a subject and half keeping it in mind rather than concentrating on it should make it much easier to write accessible pieces for people rather than an overly stuffy traditional opinionated document.
Writing about my travelling is something that has taken me some time to get used to as i have had to learn to write about myself all over again, previously i have felt it fatuous and arrogant to write about my achievements but i see now that other people don’t see it this way and in fact they are interested in me and my journey through life, so hopefully as time goes on i can share more and more with my readers for them to enjoy.
Any feedback or suggestions which people would like to give are most welcome as I have little concept of how ‘good’ my writing is.
 

Brussels

After an auspicious start, a bus journey plagued by accidents on the motorways and meaning that I got to the Eurostar terminal with literally 5 minutes to spare before I jumped on the train it was a quiet journey along the Highspeed track and a reassuring redress in the balance of the holiday.

Le Neufchatel, Bruxelles – A very nice off-centre city hotel and a comfortable start to the travelling with simple yet interesting decoration.

The first ‘bought’ morning coffee of the trip, noteworthy because when it was made the guy that made it didn’t need a stencil for the pattern…an impressive trick I thought.

Then a walk past the most random shop I have passed in a while, a blue gorilla and an animal fur print pet bed!

The Palace of Justice – in the process of some structural work by the looks
of things

Egmont palace – has a beautiful park open to the public for picnicking and
they also have a café should you so wish to have a coffee

Eglise Notre Dame du Sablon A wander round the centre of town produces pictures of the main square and various other random shops/museums

One off the bucket list, a dinner of moules et frites washed down with (a few  too many retrospectively) Belgian beers and a near trip to a local gig which was somewhat impeded by the allure of beer and people watching.

Belgium was a nice start to the holiday although the trilingual issues with street names and map reading somewhat alluded me coupled with the Belgians not being as friendly as expected marred the overall experience, I think it would be best to return with other hapless people in tow to enjoy the experience more

Blogging101 – A Change of Tagline

Todays challenge is taglines, considering i havent had my blog very long it was a bit difficult for me to work out what to change, i have finally come up with a small adaptation to my current title, suspect this will be changing again soon…
My new working title is A Journey Into the Unknown – Food, Travel and Feelings of Happiness, any thoughts and suggestions would be greatly received.

Who is OnlyNomes?

I started blogging some time ago as a means for venting my frustrations and trying to make sense of things on my mind, the slight problem with this was a struggle between wanting to write, not having that much time (i know lots of writers argue there is always time you’ve just got to make it) and also having the strength to open up; you would have thought this would be easy being that essentially you are communicating to strangers until you actually make contact with them or they contact you; but still it held me back for some time, i tried writing a personal journal but found it difficult to write my thoughts for fear someone would find them and read them (odd thought i know when you think about it publishing stuff on the web opens it to a whole new world, but its the people closest to me that i didn’t want finding it, they are my personal thoughts not something to be discussed)
As you will see from my other page “waking up and smelling the coffee” I have mostly moved out of the ‘funk’ i was in and have decided that not only is it therapeutic for me but also beneficial to my career goals and own personal development.
So cutting to the chase – the purpose of this page is for me to develop, make new friends, improve my writing and communication skills and also to share my love of food, travel and all things that randomly (and often) enter my life and open myself up to a whole new world of peoples knowledge and experience.
Over the next year or so i would like to think that i will make new friends, connections, really try and make myself as happy as i can be.

Macaroons, Chillis and Tiffin Flapjack

Whilst out yesterday the postman kindly delivered the traditional box of chillis from DSC_0034my Dad via Sea Spring Seeds, he knows i love them and they always send such pretty types and colours although they don’t send the guide with them anymore so its pot luck as to the heat rating and spiciness unless you really know your chillis well. I always put them in a bowl or a jar as they just look so pretty plus it means they wont spoil in the fridge.
It struck me as i woke up this morning that so far since i have stopped working i haven’t managed to get much further in the quest of sorting my future, i know this is a large task and it will take time but i honestly thought i would be more motivated by now. Yes i have spent a month travelling on my own round Europe (a time which i do not regret) but if i’m honest i don’t feel like i’ve progressed that much mainly due to being so tied to home, i spent (in my opinion) too much time leaning on my crutches and not enough time actually putting myself out there and really learning about myself, which saddens me to a certain extent. My friends and family have commended me for my bravery, but to me it feels like nothing…much in the same way that many things feel like nothing…i went to university, i got a mortgage, i got a job that i hate (which admittedly was the point at which i said to myself no more) its like i’m going through the motions of a life i don’t want to live…but conversely i’m now faced, having challenged this fact, with the task of creating the life i do want and that to me is much more scary, especially when i cant seem to throw myself out of my comfort zone.
DSC_0031#1With this in mind (and my innate need to bake when i am feeling unsettled)
i decided to make some macaroons (not before you are disappointed the colourful french fancies but the delicious simple version made with either coconut or almonds) they are the simplest and most gratifying thing to bake they can also be spiced with all kinds of things and of course dipped in chocolate.

Ingredients

  • 2 egg whites
  • 100g/3½oz caster sugar
  • 160g/5½oz desiccated coconut or ground almonds
  • 1 tsp grated lime zest (optional)
  • 1 tbsp lime juice (optional)
  • 100g of Chocolate melted (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/355F/Gas 4.
  2. Use your hands to mulch the egg whites, sugar, coconut, lime zest and juice in a bowl until they lightly come together.
  3. Either With wet hands, press the mixture into a flat, square shape about 1cm/0.5in high.
  4. Use a small upturned liqueur glass to cut out small rounds, and place on a lightly oiled or nonstick baking tray.
  5. Or roll into balls by hand if you want ‘bounty’ style bars then you could just cut the square shape into bars
  6. Bake for 12-15 minutes in the centre of the oven until very lightly golden, just touched with colour.
  7. Cool the macaroons on a wire rack for a few minutes
  8. Dip in the chocolate (optional)
  9. Store in an airtight jar

DSC_0032
As an after thought i also made some Tiffin Flapjack (due to lack of biscuits oats were used to replace hence the flapjack element using a great recipe from Niknoks Chocolate Tiffin, its a good way of using up the little bits of dried fruit/nuts/seeds and random cooking chocolate you have lying around and is best done in a disposable foil tray (20x20cm) saves on washing up and means that you wont damage any nice non-stick pans you might use.
I love sharing recipes and food with people i think its important that if you are going to eat you should at least properly, speaking to my friend last night she triumphantly announced that she had used the simple ice cream recipe which i had shared with her only a few weeks before and that everyone loved it, the best feeling was the look of achievement on her face was so heart warming.

The North Somerset Coast – A Forgotten Gem

10665163_1543641662538225_7248820794203512871_nWhen mum messaged me earlier in the week to ask if i wanted Sunday lunch in Porlock this week because she had left her jacket there the night before i agreed on the basis that i was meant to see her anyway at some point this just happened to be an interesting change.
I had forgotten how long and winding the 10599166_1543641762538215_3063882466025361139_n
road is up to Minehead and meandering along the coast down to Porlock Weir, and what beautiful countryside you have to pass through…it makes the journey significantly more bearable in my opinion.
Due to several wardrobe malfunctions (and an incorrect weather forecast) this morning it unfortunately meant that i was not dressed appropriately for the cold wind which was blowing along the seafront however this was not a huge failure as i purchased a very nice scarf to take the chill off.10615977_1543641715871553_5117101376262365120_n
We headed into The Cafe for lunch and were placed at a window table with a beautiful view of the bay which was an absolute treat, it was fortunately warmer inside as well.
Roast Beef on the menu and it was no brainer frankly after my coffee to warm me up. It arrived with the tallest Yorkshire puddings i’ve seen in a while and was excellent right down to the potatoes. Possibly against better judgement i opted for the creme brulee as 10698529_1543641742538217_548200497650816904_nwell which was frankly greed on my part, but you have to live a little some times!
Had the weather been a bit kinder and we been more warmly dressed we both agreed we would have gone for a walk along the beach unfortunately it turns out that neither of us managed to dress warmly enough so we headed on back to Taunton in lieu of nothing else to do.10527795_1543641689204889_700365366739638820_n
 

Weston Super Mare…

Having decided an arcade and a 2p machine was how i wanted to spend my Saturday it was only fit to go to the seaside as well, having not been for some time and in the interim time the pier being upgraded i was unsure as to what to expect when i got to Weston Super Mare. Weston-super-Mare_Grand_Pier_June_2010
Thinking about it i think i have only ever been once in my life.
The new pier is quite a spectacle also off-putting as they now charge you to enter even before you’ve been on any of the rides/games/fast food which is readily available.
Walking into the town centre you can see the summer trading start to wind down and the plethora of Wetherspoons drinking establishments scattered about the place. The usual collection of coffee shops/cafes and a large number of Fish and Chip shops (which you would expect)
The small bits n bobs/books/random tat type market is a fairly interesting cave of small unconsidered trifles although nothing intriguing enough to buy.
A short but claustrophobic trip to Saltrock yielded a new hoodie and a dress at bargain prices so not to be sniffed at.
An obligatory trip to Caffe Nero to quench my thirst with a chai latte and a water and a failed attempt to purchase fish and chips resulted in a sunny walk back to the car.
It struck me how pretty the buildings are at Weston and i wonder how many people even take it into consideration..or are they more interested in the large expanse of muddy beach which lies before them.Sand887

Belgium to Macedonia & Everywhere Inbetween – The Transport

Once i had decided i was going travelling and that i was determined to go to Skopje in Macedonia (an inexplainable feeling but one that had to be followed) there was the question of how i was going to get there. I didn’t want to just fly…where was the adventure in that? The next logical thought was trains (my desire to drive went out the window the moment the petrol prices went up not to mention the thought of driving all that way) or a bus…then it was a case of where to start and where to go in between?
Much time spent on rome2rio.com and many frustrating hours arguing with various travel websites and i had a rough idea of how i was getting there, it then prompted me to by myself a map as this was infinitely easier than using google maps to aid me.
As i wanted to go by train my best plan was a train to Brussels which pleased me as i had wanted to go for some time, as the Eurostar leaves from London it did mean a bus journey from my home town but this was not wholly expensive (although distressingly slow it turned out due to unforeseen circumstances)
Where to next was an interesting one, inspired by the Eurostar website and my desire to go Cologne was next on the agenda less than 3 hours on the train. eurostar-god
Next stop Frankfurt and thanks to the brilliant Flixbus only 7euros which not only had wifi but was comfortable for the 3 or so hours I was travelling.
After Frankfurt a cheeky diversion to Prague via train a quick clean and efficient service which involved a train and a coach both fully equipped with wifi.
Prague to Vienna by train is beautiful because you get to see the gorgeous countryside in between the places you are travelling from and to, a clean efficient service not the newest of trains but it had phone charging facilities at least.
Vienna to Budapest was another EC Czech trains which served us very well, limited wifi and phone charging facilities were useful although i did sleep most of the way.
Budapest to Belgrade a special offer meant that the train was only 15euros even if it was 2nd class it was a complete bargain considering the distance i would be covering, the compartments were compact but i had some interesting conversations over the 6 hour journey.
Belgrade to Sofia – due to departure times and a desire for safety over everything else i opted to fly considering i booked the flight at 2 days notice it was less than £100, a bargain in the scheme of things.
Sofia to Skopje – Travelling by bus seemed to be becoming a theme with this trip but as there were no trains and the flights were extortionate, plus the bus was only 16euros it was hard to argue with that logic.
How to get home you ask? Having arrived at my destination of choice i could have flown straight back home from Skopje, this might have been a cheaper idea but i still had time left from the month allocated…i searched for flights back on my last day…Ryanair from Treviso for 45euros it had to be done, although it meant a slightly expensive detour but it was also an excellent excuse to go to Venice, fortunately the flight from Skopje to Treviso was also cheap so that went some way to justifying my detour (other than i will do as i please)