Glasgow – Mini City Guide

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So called problems: when you’ve barely finished sorting out the photographic remains – and washing – of your last trip when a new one rolls around… I was in Glasgow this week for work, and decided to come up ahead of the rest of the crew and spend my bank holiday Monday in Scotland.

Luckily for me it was the most glorious three days – bluebird skies and sunshine warm enough to make everyone strip off in the park. As I was there on a mission to find out what visitors to the city would enjoy, I thought I’d share my discoveries with you too.


SLEEP

  • Citizen M is a hotel of the future. Think cool iPad controlled lighting, windows, media and sound for you room, plus the biggest (XXL), comfiest bed ever. Even while making a starfish shape I only took up around half of it.
  • I also stayed at the centrally located Z Hotel – which had some delightful touches: bacon rolls at breakfast and a free cheese and wine buffet for guests each evening.

Citizen M hotel


SEE

  • Kelvingrove Art Gallery/Museum (below, a photo of the Floating Heads by Sophie Cave) – is a free cultural attraction with beautiful architecture. Make sure to take a detour through Kelvingrove Park, too!
  • The Necropolis and Cathedral area in East Glasgow.
  • The Lighthouse – Scotland’s Centre for Design and Architecture, designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Climb up to the top of the tower to be rewarded with a great view of the city.
  • If you’d like to see a Highland coo (that’s a cow to everyone outside of Scotland), head to Pollok Country Park on the south side of the city.
  • There’s loads of great large-scale street art to be found throughout the city too, so keep your eyes peeled.

Kelvingrove

Street Art Glasgow

Glasgow view

lighthouse-glasgow

Downtown Glasgow


EAT

  • Riverhill Cafe serves great coffee and their restaurant next door is a nice place for breakfast. Check out my vegetarian feast – complete with tatty scone!
  • Venture down a grubby alley in central Glasgow to find Stereo, a performance space with an interesting vegan cafe/bar above. I thoroughly enjoyed my quesadillas! The 78 in Finnieston also comes highly recommended by vegans and non vegans alike.
  • The Willow Tea Rooms were designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh in 1904 in his distinctive Art Nouveau style, and serve traditional fare. A good place to take your mum.
  • The Ox and Finch served up a fantastic dessert – my pistachio ice cream was eagerly devoured, and the setting was just right for hours of conversation…
  • Head to the Ubiquitous Chip in the West End for fresh Scottish produce (like flowers from their rooftop gardens) and innovative takes on traditional dishes.

veggie-breakfast-scotlandUbiquitous chip

For more Glasgow tips, make sure to visit Dianne’s blog – it’s her spirit city and she is far more clued up than me on what’s good. People Make Glasgow is the official city brand and also worth a gander.

India – Tordi Garh

Tordi Garh is in rural Rajasthan, a few hours bumpy drive from Jaipur. It’s a restful sort place, in the foothills with an excitable little boxer dog guarding a handful of chickens and some  horses in the stable yard. We stayed in this fantastic palace – with stained glass windows and beautiful tiles.tordi-palaceTordi

One of the highlights of the visit was a Jeep safari to the organic farms outside the village, home to an ancient step-well and climbing a sand-dune for chai and biscuits.

tordi-jeepAbove: one if our most excellent rides; and below: the sheep having I’d call a classic ‘New Zealand moment’.tordi-sheepTordi ChilliesThis is an ancient step-well, with a few fresh faced- goats standing guard. Step wells are ancient water stores – they’re one of the most beautiful discoveries I made on my trip.
tordi-step-well tordi-sunset tordi-gah

The view from the top of the sand-dune, and the chai and biscuits we enjoyed while jackals howled around us… Sadly I didn’t have my glasses so I couldn’t see them in the distance, but my fellow travellers assured me they were there skulking about!


A few other moments from around the village – including the world’s most beautiful cow?

tordi-daisy-cowtordi-piglet tordi-temple-roof

 

India – Agra

Taj Mahal - Agra

No trip to India would be complete without a pilgrimage Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan’s, tribute to love, the Taj Mahal.

We arrived after another fitful night’s sleep courtesy of the slow overnight train from Varanasi. The group was woken up early by Bhanu, our leader, to make sure we didn’t miss our stop, but every half hour we didn’t seem to be any further along the line. This meant my companions and I turned to a desperate (mostly me) mission to find a steaming thimble of chai or coffee and get something restorative down our throats. No dice. We  stopped at one station for around 20 minutes and every time I leaped out onto the platform, I seemed to miss the wallah by a carriage length.

Nescofe

Not to despair. I had packed a travel kettle (and thus proving I truly am ready to become a British citizen in the near future) and had stashed some emergency instant coffee sachets in my wallet. Between us, Shell and I managed to perilously boil a jug of water and make a nerve-soothing brew in our tiny travel cups. While the kettle was completely useless the rest of the trip – I thought I might boil water and refill my bottle in an eco-friendly manner, but that doesn’t work when you’re sculling nine litres of water a day – I did have this win to my name.

agra-train


We were only in Aghra for a day, so we had to make it count. First up, Agra’s 16th century Red Fort, which was built to enclose the imperial city of the Mughal rulers. It was an unexpected architectural treat, and according to our guide, we only saw 25% of the estate.

agrea-red-fort-roof

agra-red-fort


The Taj is situated in Agra, city sitting on a large bend in the holy Yamuna River. The train sweeps in from the east, crossing through dusty land, when suddenly, you get a glimpse of this most majestic building in the middle of the landscape. I honestly couldn’t do it justice, so turn to the incredible Steve McCurry for his perspective.

Agra - Looking Back

The above is a shot of what you see if you’re standing on the raised platform, looking back across the gardens.

Agra - Taj Mahal

And close up… I honestly thought it had been a bit over-hyped – a la the Diana seat, which had a scrum of people around it – but it was breathtaking – especially at sunset.

Agra is also notable for being the place where I was weed upon by an obnoxious monkey, but we shall not delve further into one of the most embarrassing moments of my life!

Morocco

At the end of October Thom and I went to Morocco – visiting Marrakesh, the big smoke, and the town of Taroudant, to the south. It was pretty ace, except somewhere along the way I brushed my teeth with tap-water, and have spent the last week waylaid with a stomach bug. Today is the first day I’ve felt human, and boy am I excited to get back to work (and life). Anyway, here’s some pictures:

Morocco

Token plane shot / amazing photograph of a donkey at our riad in Taroudant / the first of many tile photos / Thom trying to decipher the map / a view over Place Jamaa el Fna in Marrakesh (we were drinking mint tea and watching the world go by) / the middle of nowhere, near a mountain / Moroccan pastries / street art in Taroudant / a snail seller in Jamaa el Fna… From my observations you just squirt on some lemon juice and chew that sucker out.

Grand Taxi

Inlay

The ornate dashboard of the grand taxi we caught from Taroudant back to Marrakesh / Me brandishing a musket found at the end of our bed at one riad

I also shot five rolls of 35mm, which are yet to be developed. Expect many images of cats, donkeys, sheep, mosaics, interesting door handles, minarets, more cats. If I’d had my way I would have become a crazy cat lady, footing the bill for 52 scrawny Moroccan kittens to come back to the UK and live with me…

365 sunrises

We’ve lived in London for exactly a year now… And it has definitely the biggest challenge I’ve ever faced. I am naturally a shy person, who loves routine and order (just ask my mum). I’m the sort who wants every smidgen of detail before making a decision, and will happily recruit another two pals to go along to a new yoga class with me. So uprooting and moving to a whole ‘nother city, twice the size of my country, with no plans was kind of a big deal.

There’s been ups – hello Europe – and downs, read constant shifting for 6 months, job changes. But I’ve done it. I am still alive and happy. Bonus, I can tell my 5ps from my 20s, and Argos from a bookies. I know that you should never read the tube map as an accurate geographic representation of the city, and that the secret to staying warm in all in the layering. I’ve found that you can get good coffee in London, and discovered the magic of mulled cherry beer. There’s many new, lovely, brilliant people in my life. Beigels 24 hours a day just down the road is pretty good too…

Of course, I couldn’t have done any of it without Thom. Knowing someone is on your team is the best feeling in the world.  So here’s a little wrap up, month by month. 365 sunrises.

Code For Something August 2011

August. Crashing in the living room of my brother’s flat while he lived in a pub. We never did meet the Colombian housemate in the four weeks of staying there, but we did hear him.

Code For Something September 2011

September – we enjoyed temporary solace in Bethnal Green. The leaves were already turning.

Code For Something October 2011

October. Falling in love with Brick Lane, and shooting loads of film.

Code For Something November 2011

November, moving house, job, getting lost. Wandering the streets like a waif, basically. Oh, yes, and we did go to Belgium which was AWESOME.

Code For Something December 2011

December. A trip to Bath to the markets. Winter Wonderland and bottles of wine. My first white Christmas.

Code For Something January 2012

January. I spent the first day of the visiting the Tate Modern and more wandering the chilly city. (This bike has never moved from its spot near Old Street roundabout. I’m starting to think it has special powers!)

Code For Something February 2011

February brought the great snow. This is the Barbican, a beautiful Brutalist arts centre, softened by white powder. Even the lake was frozen!

Code For Something - March 2012

March, new desk. For someone who moved with just a 30kg suitcase, I sure have accumulated a lot of stuff.

Code For Something April 2012

April. Another jaunt to Paris, then Barcelona. I ate so many pastries I thought I’d pop.

Code For Something May 2012

Finally the sun came back in May.

June. This is the cemetery William Blake is buried in, along with Daniel Defoe. The squirrels in this park are exceptionally tame – I could spend hours hanging out with them.

Code For Something July 2012

July – almost back where we started, but in much happier, contented circumstances. And higher up too! This photo was taken at a bar on the 48th floor of a Canary Wharf tower.

Isabelle

I love this series, shot by Rebekkah Farrell and styled by Imogene Pyne for Rouse Magazine. There’s just something about the dated motel aesthetic that appeals to me – especially the scalloped walls. The clothes are gorgeous too, all wonderfully tailored numbers (mostly by New Zealand designers). Can I please have one of everything Juliette Hogan makes?

Isabelle by Rebekkah Farrell

Isabelle by Rebekkah Farrell

Isabelle by Rebekkah Farrell

Isabelle by Rebekkah Farrell

Isabelle by Rebekkah Farrell

Isabelle by Rebekkah Farrell

Keep candles handy

(Warning: fashion boobs ahead) I’m really into double exposure right now. And this 2009 spread from i-D magazine called Keep Candles Handy, featuring  Alana Zimmer, is a great example of it done well. The interesting and varied textures marry well with strong silhouettes… producing ghostly, beautiful photographs.

Keep Candles Hand - iD magazine

Keep Candles Hand - iD magazine

Keep Candles Handy - iD magazine

Keep Candles Handy - iD magazine

Just some great eye-candy.

Robin Morrison – Ponsonby 1977

In 1977, photographer Robin Morrison produced a calendar featuring the local faces and businesses of Ponsonby, Auckland. Some have disappeared over the years, while others, like Bhana Brothers are still going strong. (Bhana has always been my favourite place to buy flowers in Auckland.)

Ponsonby 1977 by Robin Morrison

Dick Armstrong’s – affectionately known as Dirty Dick’s (now State of Grace)

Ponsonby 1977 by Robin Morrison

Ponsonby 1977 by Robin Morrison

Arthur Cooper, Barber, Jervois Road (now Pure Restaurant, 186 Jervois Road)

Ponsonby 1977 by Robin Morrison

Peter Rogers Art Deco (still Peter Rogers, Real Time, 74 Ponsonby Road)

Ponsonby 1977 by Robin Morrison

Tony Burrows, the Mussel Man, Ponsonby (now Plants and Pots, corner O’Neill St and Ponsonby Rd)

Ponsonby 1977 by Robin Morrison

John Moller, Funeral Director, & Noball (70 Ponsonby Road, now the site of the Quest Hotel)

Ponsonby 1977 by Robin Morrison

Ivan, Ivan’s Restaurant, Ponsonby Road (now Chapel Bar & Restaurant)

 

Falcon Enamel

Falcon Enamelware

Falcon Enamelware

Falcon Enamelware

Falcon Enamelware

Falcon Enamelware

Don’t these beautiful pictures by Sam Stowell make you hungry? They were shot for Falcon Enamelware, to showcase their distinctive ice-white and blue rimmed tableware. Falcon have recently upped their game by offering their enamel in a new range of bold colours, including a pillarbox red. In particular their tumblers are brilliant – I’d like a set of eight, two of each colour (especially pigeon).

Falcon Enamelware

Falcon Enamelware

I like enamel because it lasts forever. It doesn’t break when you drop it, and neither will it burn when you accidentally leave a pie in the oven too long… I think my mother still uses enamel kitchenware that came from her grandmother’s kitchen. So it’s no surprise then that Falcon Enamelware is a bit of a British cooking classic.