F is for…

Family

The trip was ostensibly for family reasons. I have two elderly grandparents, 93 and 90 in November, aunts, an uncle and several cousins, basically the bulk of my extended family. My mum’s elder sister came over from Canada to see us, and I managed to catch up with my granda’s surviving sister and some of her family. It meant a lot to see four generations under one roof, and given the distance, it’s unlikely this will happen again.

The best memories I have of this is seeing my son demonstrate how to play a game at the feet of my granda, while he was watching with great interest, the kids playing in granda’s “robot chair”  (it’s motorised so he can stand up more easily), my daughter lavished with kisses and cuddles from my aunties and my cousins, and my granny being incredibly indulgent with the kids while they wreaked havoc in her tiny flat “Ahhh the darlings” she would say in her Cavan accent, “they’re only having a bit of fun!”

Fashion

I guess it says more for globalization and instant access to what people are wearing via the web and blogs when you can walk into a store overseas and see things which would not look out of place in Australia. This put a dampener on my limited shopping expeditions, because I was always thinking- I could get that at home!

The trend in the UK for autumn was a lot of long jersey knits, which aren’t really me. Boots were beginning to come in, but I didn’t really see any that I liked. An annoying trend was seeing a lot of flimsy pieces that were supposed to be transeasonal. I mean, come on! Are you seriously thinking that the UK is a tropical paradise? It could be because their heating is constantly set to high…

I was probably more interested in what people in Berlin wore than anywere else, as I had never been there before. Coming into autumn, girls were wearing boots going to mid-calf or knee high, which were flat and rubber soled, with coloured tights, skirts, a jacket and scarves. Men were not afraid to wear hats, which pleased me immensely! Going into a couple of shops, I saw clothing which would suit a Central European winter, thick ,woollen, and very well tailored. The colours were muted natural tones, a lot of greens and browns and above all the trend veered towards practicality. It was my kind of town!

The boldest fashion statement I saw in Berlin came from soneone performing at the festival. He was wearing a brown pinstripe suit with a pink shirt. He was well over 6 feet and stood out. He was Italian not German as well.

The Sartorialist will never have to worry about any competition from me 🙂

Food

There were a couple of memorable food highlights from my trip.

My mum used to wax lyrical over the porridge when she was growing up and I would have to agree with her that the porridge in the UK is creamier. I had it practically every day in Ireland (notwithstanding we were staying in the one location most of the time).

The chocolate- I don’t know what it is, but the Cadbury Flake has never tasted so better.

I know this is a beverage, but when we went out for coffee, the serves were huge! A small serve would be the equivalent of a medium and a large required a bowl.

The Ulster Fry, which for me consisted of bacon, eggs, sausages and a variety of fried breads, including soda bread and potato bread. Made by my auntie Moya, it was delicious!

We ate great chips in Enniskillen and Fermanagh- they were very thick and chunky. Unfortunately the fish and chips weren’t so great. I think I’m too used to flake as my fish of choice, rather than cod.

A bowl of Pho in a Vietnamese restaurant in Berlin was tasty and fragrant, and there is nothing like a German doner kebab on the way home from a beer-filled evening 🙂

Flags

I saw a lot of flags from lamp posts. Most of these flags were the Ulster Flag, or the Union Jack. My dad’s sister Moya explained they were a hangover from the marching season in Northern Ireland which peaks in mid-July. It was a long hangover as this was the middle of September!

Personally I don’t mind the Union Jack from the design perspective in that it integrates the flags of all parts of Great Britain. But to be honest, I was over the flags by the time I left and what they represent, namely people who hang on to the past for too long.

Addendum

Thank you to all who contributed to the Club Orange Giveaway. I had three lovely respondents @restructuregirl, @jazz and @jo who provided some yummy memories of holiday treats. (I can also vouch for the fish and chips in queenscliff too!). Rather than choose, you can all have one! I’ll be in contact shortly to ask for addresses to send the goodie!

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6 thoughts on “F is for…

  1. mmm Ulster Fry. I just love the potato bread. Aaron and I had an Ulster Fry at a bakery in Newtownards when we were inNorthern Ireland 3 years ago visiting Aaron’s relatives, it was so yummy.

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