Turning 24, visiting Slovakia and a pit stop in Vienna

I'm getting a little old for big, boozy birthday parties. At just twenty-four, my hangovers have already started to border on unbearable - and I feel like I'm too damn old to wake up wondering what I did last night, who I might have offended, and where I left my purse. So this year it was a civilised dinner at Lardo Hackney, a few bottles of cheap fizz, and a last cocktail at Pamela Dalston.

Best gift this year? Definitely the unicorn cookie cutter, demonstrating just how cheap a date I really am. :)

I guess it was easy to take it easy on the night itself, knowing the main event was still to come: a long birthday weekend at my older sister's place in Bratislava - plus a day trip to Vienna. With a pint of lager costing about 1.20€ and a double-shot of slivovica coming it at a whopping 2.50€, even in the tourist district of Staré Mesto, I knew I would be returning to London with one hell of a hangover.

I don't get to fly a whole bunch so that was exciting in and unto itself: exciting enough, even, to get hyped up about a tiny tin of Heineken and some quality Taylor Swift and David Foster Wallace time during the two-hour flight.

The lovely Danube river runs through Bratislava (Photo by Beatrice Bloom)

Wien (Photo by Beatrice Bloom)
Wolfrum, Wien (Photo by Beatrice Bloom)

Also managed to fit in a day trip to Vienna (crossing the border costs a piddling 15€ return), which is a beautiful city full of exquisite statues pulling fairly hilarious faces for no apparent reason.

A photo posted by B (@bettymagic) on

Yes, I'm a child, and I have no appreciation for art.

I would have taken more photos but I was far too interested in quaffing slivovica and eating as much Brindzové Halušky as I could fit in my face. In actual fact, I was so busy eating that I barely instagrammed a single meal all weekend (a crime against hipsterdom), so please allow me to demonstrate Brindzové Halušky via a Creative Commons image.

Brindzové Halušky (Photo by Backpacker Foodie)
It's basically Slovakian macaroni cheese, a concept which I am 100% on board with. This is definitely a project for the world's tiniest kitchen, despite the misery and mess which ensued last time I attempted an ambitious project.

Autumn Equinox

This week I have been determinedly enjoying the last of another too-brief British summer. It feels like it was never quite hot enough, never quite bright enough this year! Too much time in the office and not enough in the sun, and too few Aperol Spritz by far! But with the Autumn Equinox today, it's time to accept that the summer is over and get the mittens out of storage!

For the most part this week, I've been celebrating my five-year anniversary with the beautiful city of London. There are a lot of things I promised myself I would do but never found the time for: visiting Little Venice is a very good example! Despite living by the Regent's Canal for three out of the last five years, and despite being absolutely enamoured with the idea of Little Venice, I had never actually made it there. That finally changed this weekend!

One of the nice things about dating boys from distant compass points of our beautiful capital is that I get taken to gorgeous places that are just a little too far for comfort from my own kettle. I had a lovely Saturday of stretching my legs, beginning at Broadway Market and finishing at Holland Park, with a quick pit stop for coffee and cake at Little Venice (which was still wonderful despite a thick layer of unsightly algae).
Little Venice, North London

One thing I promised myself I would never do, because I am a serious Londoner and not a tourist, is visit Tower Bridge. But one weekday lunch, the sun was just too bright and the sky far too blue not to indulge in some lunch hour tourism. As it turns out, my desk is just perfectly situated to cross the Thames into South London, grab a very swift bite to eat, and head back north again within sixty short minutes. I am reassuring myself that I can at least remember the difference between Tower Bridge and London Bridge!

Tower Bridge, Central London
I also had time to visit St Katherine's Dock, a completely unexpected gem! 

St. Katherine's Dock, East London

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