Friday, 1 August 2014

Into Eternity: A Film for the Future, but watch it now

Putting aside the debates which contend whether nuclear power is or is not a viable, sustainable or acceptable source of energy, the fact that it has, is and will continue to generate highly toxic waste for the foreseeable future is undeniable. The byproducts will remain hazardous for an almost inconceivable length of time - 100,000 years. Into Eternity explores ONKALO, Finland and the world's first geologic repository, quarantine station or underground tomb for nuclear waste. The documentary thoughtfully considers many of ONKALO's fundamental safety issues, as well as broader concepts.

Madsden's crafted narration and accessible discussions from experts are artfully combined with compelling stylistic shots of ONKALO's maze of tunnels, vaults, its ongoing construction, as well as the eerily beautiful natural landscape above. Into Eternity makes viewers simultaneously consider humanity's capacity for irrecoverable destruction and unpredictable fallibility, as well as our transient nature and insignificance. After all, our current civilisation  can morph into irrecognisable forms within a fraction of ONKALO's desired life span, if humanity will exist at all.

Following Finland's lead, the UK government have recently announced plans to build a similar geological disposal facility (GDF), thus reinforcing Into Eternity and ONKALO's relevance for us in 2014, as well as innumerable other subsequent generations.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Goodbye July & My Holiday Buys

A few mementos I picked up on my holiday. I think the photos are pretty self-explanatory - bag, bracelet, perfume - but I do want to write a quick note about the latter. The name Calyx is derived from a Greek word for "seed pod", which is a nice coincidence given the destination of my holiday. It was initially released by Prescriptives in the 1980s and quickly became a cult fragrance. Although I have no experience of the original, this version from Clinique is a sparklingly bright, fruity floral fragrance. It has received some good reviews, notably from one of my favourite beauty writers, Sunday Times columnist and author India Knight. I would recommend trying before you buy as it suits me, but smelt completely different (and unfortunately, not so nice) on an initially interested passerby in duty free. Don't be put off by the initial blast of citrus, wait for it to mellow and the refreshingly unique floral notes to develop, then I'm sure you'll find that this one's a keeper.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Kalimera from Kefalonia

To whet your appetite, I covered what I enjoyed seeing and doing on my recent travels in Kefalonia. Now, I am going to run through some of the mouth watering, insanely satisfying food I would typically work through:

  • Breakfast - Natural greek yoghurt with honey and fresh fruit, pancakes or exceptional freshly baked bread, croissants and brioche from one of the local bakeries in Fiscardo. 
  • Lunch Any sort of seafood, but probably either a whole fish, grilled squid, or greek salad with a spinach and feta pie.
  • Dinner - To start, I'd opt for aubergine balls, bread with tzatziki or taramasolata and saganaki. Arguably my favourite Greek speciality, saganaki is essentially deep fried salty cheese (kefalotyri), and it is wickedly delicious. For mains, you can't go wrong with moussaka, Kefalonian meat pie, souvlaki or unbelievably tender lamb kleftiko. One of the joys of eating in the tavernas  and restaurants is that you are often offered a complementary dessert and liquor with your bill, which makes paying that bit sweeter. These treats normally take the form of panacotta, sticky baklava, watermelon or homemade limoncello. However, if you see it on the menu do order loukoumades, mini deep fried dough balls which are drizzled in honey and sprinkled with cinnamon, you won't be disappointed.

"Kalimera" - Good day / morning

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Sunday, 27 July 2014

Kalispera from Kefalonia

In addition to the title and snaps I think it might be worth giving some details on where I spent two glorious weeks this month, Kefalonia. The largest Ionian island, Cephalonia, Keffalinia, Kephallenia or Kefalonia (the version I'm going to roll with) is a pretty lovely place. The next couple of posts will round up what I personally enjoyed and would recommend seeing, doing and eating.

  • Argostoli - Even if you stay in the north of the island as we did, do take the time to travel to the island's capital on one morning. Start by grabbing breakfast or an energising Greek coffee then wander to the harbour. Head to the fishing boats where you can browse the morning's catch and also meet some of the charming locals, a swarm of turtles who visit daily for the fishermen's cast offs.
  • The Gentilini winery -  Conveniently located in close proximity to the airport and capital, the family run winery is worth a visit. You can enjoy a free wine tasting, or for only 5 a head they offer a guided tour with local cheese, bread and olive oil to accompany a selection of their premium organic wines. 
  • The Drogarati caves & Melissani lake The cave is refreshingly cool 18C, offering a respite from the balmy sunshine 60m above where you can marvel at the the limestone formations. You can go for an enchanting boat ride on the incredibly bright blue Melissani Lake, the alleged home of water nymphs. Both the caves and lake can be visited on the return from Argostoli. 
  • Fiscardo - I don't think you can find a more picturesque Greek village. It features some of the island's oldest buildings, Roman ruins, boutique shops, an array of tavernas and boats from quaint fishing boats to the super yachts of the rich and famous. Away from the harbour's edge lies the Lord Falcon which is a brilliant thai restaurant. If you are in town on Friday go to Nicholas Taverna for a great view and some authentic Greek dancing.
  • BeachesIn my mind, swimming in the sea beats pools hands down (on most days anyway) and beaches are the perfect location for some of my favourite holiday activities, namely reading, sunbathing and taking long, lazy naps. There are almost too many beaches to choose from, but I rate Foki Bay, Aghia Jerusalem and Anti-Samos. Bring a torch to Foki as it has a large cave to explore. If you want some water sports and beach side cocktail bars go to Anti-Samos. Contrasting with the south, the northern beaches are pebbled which creates crystalline seas, impeccable snorkeling conditions and no itsy bitsy pieces of sand working their way into teeny weenie bikinis, score. 
  • Boats - You don't have to be a certified captain or storm weathered sailor to hire one of the small boats which are moored in many of the coastal villages. For those with more cash, you can hire a sailing boat or larger motor boat equipped with a skipper to visit a wider variety of beaches or some of the local islands. Either option is truly the best way to explore Kefalonia's spectacular coastline. As many of the coves and beaches are inaccessible by road, you can moor up and swim ashore to what is effectively your own private beach for a blissful morning or afternoon!

"Kalispera" - Good afternoon / evening

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Street Feast

Grab a friend. Pause. Wait some more. Feel your stomach start to rumble, then head to Dalston Yard to sample a rotating selection of London's finest street food vendors. I did exactly that this weekend and was happy to find a lively warehouse with an eclectic selection of seated areas, bonfires, brightly coloured shacks and vans, crowds of stylish customers, as well as several bars serving craft beer or cider, frozen cocktails, wine, chillibacks and specialist gin. Early birds who arrive before 7pm will avoid the £3 entry fee. Although it is running every Friday (5pm-12am) and Saturday (12pm-12am) until September 2014, I suggest visiting soon because you will want to plan return visit(s) throughout the summer. But please leave some food for me, as I will be back.  

  • Breddo's crunchy nut fried chicken with raspberry chipotle sauce. Messy, but as it was finger lickin' good not many napkins were needed.
  • Bleecker St. Burger's cheeseburger which oozed meaty juices and was sandwiched between the softest burger bun my mouth has had the pleasure of knowing.
  • Smokestak's dreamy ribs. Words cannot accurately describe how great these were, so I won't even try to go there.
  • Sorbitum's salted caramel ice cream with chocolate sauce and malty crumble. I was starting to feel incredibly full before eating this, but I soldiered on and managed to polish off every delicious scrap.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Are you sure that we are awake?

Sunny summer solstice 
A mess of home baked chocolate cheesecake
Freshly picked flowers
The fountains of Granary Square 
One delighted dog perfectly captured by a friend

Friday, 20 June 2014

Passing Go

Live! Live the wonderful life that is in you! Let nothing be lost upon you. Be always searching for new sensations. Be afraid of nothing... 

- Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray