Expat Quest Cologne – Part 1: The Search For More Than Coffee and Cake

It’s over 5 years since I became an Expat in Germany after moving to Cologne from the UK.  One thing we have grown to love about German culture is that short break between lunch and dinner where people meet up for coffee and cake, or “Kaffee und Kuchen” as it’s known.  It’s become a regular feature of our lives, there’s no better way to cheer yourself up on a wet Sunday afternoon.  With lots of people raving about Denmark and their Hygge, the concept of “Kaffee und Kuchen” is the…

The UK Tour of Independent Cafe’s Continues North to Ambleside

Cafe Treff

In the previous instalment of my UK Tour of Independent Cafes I visited the fabulous Oxford Road Cafe in Altrincham (see the last post here).  I was visiting my mum in Hale Barns/Wythenshawe (depending on who she’s trying to impress).  With this leg of the trip over and family duties complete (usually fixing my mum’s iPad again) the tour continues North to the lovely town of Ambleside in the Lake District.  Leaving Wythenshawe and heading up North leads to the immediate dilemma of the best way to get to the M6.…

UK Tour of Independent Cafe’s – Part 2 – North to Altrincham

Oxford Road Cafe Outside

Our UK tour of local, independent cafes continues North from our first stop in Bath up the M5 and M6, through Birmingham towards my home town of Warrington.  (If you missed Part 1 of the tour down in Bath, take a look back at the last post about the lovely Chapel Arts Cafe in Bath and their amazing Orange and Pistachio Cake by following the link here). For anyone who’s ever had to endure the pain of the M6, the journey from Birmingham to Manchester seemed to take forever (as…

Don’t Always Go To Starbucks – Support A Local Independent Cafe

Cafe Bath

Whether shopping in your local city or exploring a new place, there comes a point when you need a break and a nice cup of tea.  For many people, this means popping into one of various chain coffee shops or even pub chains.  Whilst this is the easy choice, there is another and potentially much better option.  A choice that will not only satisfy your hunger or your thirst but that will also directly support local businesses that are such a key part of any local community.  Today, I want…

Trading Afghanistan for Spice Girls and Mexican Food

Mexican Food

We’ve been continuing our travels around the UK and during the trip I’ve been busy hunting out more independent businesses so that I can bring their stories and champion their cause. After leaving my laptop in a hotel in Kent and having to wait for it to be shipped back to me, I can finally get chance to write about the Unami Spice Girls that I met at the Edinburgh Food Festival.   Introducing The Spice Girl Firstly, it’s not really Spice Girls but more Spice Girl.  While at the Edinburgh…

An Idyllic English Brew with a View – Chetnole Inn, Dorset

Brew View Dorset

The summer holidays are finally here!  We haven’t had a proper trip back home to the UK for a couple of years now so we are long overdue a UK tour to catch up with various people up and down the country.  We’ve started our trip in the idyllic Dorset countryside staying with Trudy’s friend who introduced us to each other almost 25 years ago.  I’d forgotten just how beautiful the villages of this part of the South-West of England are.   Today’s post is not only a Brew with…

Crazy Motorbikes in Vietnam

Mi Casa Sisters Vietnam

Introduction A few year’s ago we took a family trip to Vietnam as a special treat for my 40th birthday.  It’s a truly amazing country with the most friendly people I’ve ever come across.  We were overwhelmed at how everyone we met, went out of their way to make every day special.  It was like meeting old friends several times a day. Today’s Real Food post is all about the city of Hoi An in central Vietnam and introduces you to two amazing sisters who run an unassuming but wonderful…

Peanut Tofu – Are You Kidding Me?

When we first arrived here in Cologne back in 2011, some friends suggested going to a restaurant for Peanut Tofu and I remember my initial reaction might have involved a request to rearrange a well known phrase or saying that involved at least one rude word. Having had my arm twisted a bit, our first visit to Warung Bayu was a memorable experience that we have repeated many times over the past few years.  Every time we have friends visiting from the UK for the first time I always make…

Vietnamese Food Cologne Style – Bánh Mi Brothers

For my first real food post on this blog I want to start with 3 friends (Frederik, Jonas and Robin) from Cologne who are exactly what this blog is all about. I met the Bánh mì Brothers at the Cologne Street Food Festival at Jack in the Box in Ehrenfeld where they were cooking up their amazing Bánh mì baguettes.  I’d tried Bánh mì a few years ago when we went on holiday to North and Central Vietnam in an attempt to be adventurous as I was panicking my way towards my 40th…