The World Atlas of Street Food Out Now!

Almost exactly a year ago I lost my job in quite spectacular fashion. The company I worked for didn’t just close down and send us on our way, our misfortune was splashed across international newspapers and websites. The closure didn’t just leave hundreds of employees across the globe without work or pay or what we were owed, but it left a lot of other disgruntled (and rightly so) people too. Despite that, many of those who the closure affected most, reached out and offered huge amounts of support and kind words which meant a great deal. 

Despite the support, this time last year I was sat on the sofa, under a blanket, crying between each job application I completed. Times have thankfully changed. Now I have a job which I have thrown myself into and find hugely rewarding. I get to think, write and speak about food all day long.

While things are great now, going through the experience of losing my job was hard. I can’t pretend otherwise and it isn’t easy to forget. However, it did force me to take risks and do other things. Since last year I have consulted and worked for a few start ups, landed my new job working for a major brand and contributed a chapter to a book – words, images and a recipe. It’s the latter I’m most proud of. The offer came in just days after losing my job. If I’d still been working I’d have said: “Thanks but I can’t take time off work.” Instead I said: “When do you need it by?”

I won’t pretend it was the most lucrative gig! I had to pay for flights to Krakow and stay in a hotel, the cheapest I could find. There was a slight incident with some raw bacon which didn’t go too well but thankfully (possibly due to large amount of cheap red wine consumed just after) I survived unscathed if a little out of pocket.


Hugely proud to see my chapter on Krakow in print. Words and photos. #WorldAtlasofStreetFood

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Poland Your Way – Culinary Course

Sierakow Manor

I recently did a bit of consulting for an UK-based tour operator, Poland Your Way, for the launch of its Polish culinary course. The operator has launched this fabulous package for enthusiastic gourmands interested in learning more about Poland, its cuisine and culture. Travellers have the option of staying for three or four nights, with accommodation and courses provided at a country manor hotel, close to the historic city of Krakow.

Sierakow Manor
Sierakow Manor

The hotel, Sierakow Manor, was once a 19th-century Polish nobleman’s home but it has been lovingly restored, offering a perfect mix of historical elegance and modern comfort. During the day, guests will gain an understanding of Polish culinary traditions, local ingredients and cooking techniques. Classes and demonstrations will be run for English speakers. The groups will be relatively small, with a maximum of 12 people per class.

Some common dishes you’ll get to know include pierogi (dumplings), uszka (a smaller version of pierogi), barszcz (beetroot soup), golabki (stuffed cabbage leaves) and bigos (hunter’s stew). The hotel also produces a range of traditional pickles and jams, as well as stocking a range of local produce such as honey, cheeses and beers. All items are available for sale for guests to take home.

Sierakow Manor Bedroom
Sierakow Manor Bedroom

Each evening guests will enjoy a three-course dinner of traditional Polish food, with wine or Polish beers. On one night, there will be a tutored vodka tasting experience, comprising of eight varieties.

If you stay for the fourth night, you also have the option to enjoy an excursion into Krakow, a guided city tour and an optional lunch in the historic Kazimierz district.

3 nights £505 per person (sharing twin or double room). Non-cooking partner, £355, includes all meals and the vodka tasting. £100 single supplement.

4 nights £655 per person (sharing twin or double room). Non-cooking partner £505, includes all maels and the vodka tastking. £130 single supplement.

Poland Your Way can also arrange optional extra excursions for those who want to extend their stay futher.

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Wroclaw Poland – European Capital of Culture 2016

Wroclaw is the capital of Lower Silesia in Poland. In 2016 it will be European Capital of Culture.

Here’s our top 10 random facts about the city:

Wroclaw Poland European Capital of Culture 2016

1) The city is renowned for its international music festivals such as Wratislavia Cantans.

2) The city has a particular affiliation with jazz music and holds the Singing Actors’ Jazz Festival and Jazz All Souls’ Day.

3) The launch of Era New Horizons Wroclaw saw the city become a hot spot on the film festivals’ map.

4) The city has a multicultural heritage with Polish, German, Czech, Austrian and Jewish influences found almost everywhere throughout it, particularly in terms of architecture and food.

5) Dwarves drawn on the walls of the city became a symbol of the backlash against the armed militia and dark days of the 1980s.

6) The city has had about 50 different names.

6) Wroclaw is referred to as the Flower of Europe.

7) The city developed throughout the Middle Ages and many sources suggest that by 1000 A.D. Wroclaw was already a sizeable settlement.

8) By the 13th century the city was an established centre of international trade.

9) In August 1939 the city became a main concentration point of Hitler’s military units that were invading Poland.

10) The city’s slogan for 2016 will be: “Spaces for Beauty”.

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Zubrówka Pop-up Cinema at Browns Courtroom

The Frisky Bison
The Frisky Bison

I am a huge fan of Zubrówka. I first experienced it at Na Zdrowie (now The Polish Bar) in Holborn while studying at university. Since then it’s become one of my favourite tipples so I was terribly excited to hear that the premium Polish vodka brand is opening  a Pop-Up Cinema at Browns Courtrooms in Covent Garden.

Zubrówka has teamed up with Appletiser to create the Frisky Bison which can be enjoyed while watching iconic films such as: Cocktail, Point Break, Animal House and Rebel without a Cause. Tickets cost £15 and include a complimentary Frisky Bison and Bison Bites. There are just 70 seats available each night so make sure you book your ticket before they all run out!

Zubrówka Pop-up Cinema at Browns Courtoom runs from 26th to 29th July 2011.

For more information visit

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Final Fantasy at Krakow’s 4th Annual Film Music Festival

This May music from Final Fantasy will come to Poland at the 4th Annual Film Music Festival in Krakow. Arnie Roth will conduct the Choir and Orchestra of the Karol Szymanowski Philharmonic Hall with a special guest appearance from Masashi Hamauzu, composer of the Final Fantasy XIII soundtrack.

4th Film Music Festival, Electrolytic Tinning Plant of ArcelorMittal, Choir and Orchestra of the Karol Szymanowski Philharmonic Hall, Kraków, Poland
At 8:00 PM  on 20th May 2011
Tickets, priced 30 and 60 PLN, available at

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Poland To Gain More Bars & Restaurants

Now, while I am not an avid fan of football I was interested to hear that with Poland hosting the Euro 2012 football championship next summer the country is likely to gain 1,000 new bars in time for the tournament.  According to the Warsaw Business Journal, dozens of new restaurants will open too.  There is currently approximately 10,000 pubs in Poland but the traditional pub culture is quite different to that of the UK.  In fact, most Polish people tend to prefer to drink at home.  However, that is all expected to change with the arrival of the Euro 2012 championship.

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Walking with Bears in Slovakia

I’ve written about similar trips before so was excited to hear that the UK’s leading trekking holidays company, Walks Worldwide, is now working closely with conservation group, Projekt Medved, and has created a unique trip called ‘Walking with Bears’ in the High Tatras mountains of Slovakia.

The High Tatras are the highest mountains in the Carpathian Arc which stretch from Romania to the Czech Republic.  The range is small in area but they are very steep and provide the only High Alpine environment in Europe north of the Alps.  There are a number of well-marked tourist trails but the highlight of this new trip are the days spent off the trail, following animal tracks and ancient smuggling paths in the company of guides who know the region and wildlife inside out.


This trekking holiday with a big difference, provides the chance to walk not only in a spectacular mountain area populated by bears, but with the intention of seeking the mighty beasts on foot!  The tour actually begins in Poland and initially follows recognised way-marked trails across the High Tatras, descending into Slovakia.  On reaching the Ticha, the group will be joined by a Park Ranger who will take the group ‘off piste’ and walk among the mountains and valleys in an area where tourists are normally forbidden.  This unique opportunity is restricted to a maximum group size of eight people in order to minimise disturbance.  Walking is graded as demanding, hiking at altitude in mountainous terrain for up to 9 hours per day.

The one-off trip departs on Sunday 14 August and costs from £985 pp (land only). This includes ground transportation, 7 nights’ accommodation, most meals and the services of and expert walking and wildlife guide. Call 0845 301 4737 or visit

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An Introduction to Poland’s Robert Majkut

Last week I became aware of the work of Robert Majkut who was born in Szczecin in 1971 and has become one of the most important leading Polish designers and creator of places with a special character.  Since 1988 he has been involved in art as a graphic artist, painter and creator of installations.

Robert Majkut ING bank Warsaw

He is a man of a breakthrough era and his creations interpret the social and cultural changes in Poland.  For Robert the cultural aspect of design is the inalienable permeability of the past and present; his mantra, “the future is tomorrow invented today”.

Robert Majkut Design Cinema Multikino Velvet Bar

He has been honoured by the highest authorities of the Repubic of Poland, sector and journalist groups, and among others, nominated for an Elle Style Award.

Robert Majkut Main Foyer Golden Age Cinema

He is internationally renowned as the one who changes Polish public spaces offering his nation a better quality of life and has designed everything from banks to cinemas.

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LFW Krystof Strozyna AW 2011

Krystof Stroznya AW11

Polish designer, Krystof Stroznya showcased his Autumn/Winter 2011 collection last Friday, on the opening day of London Fashion Week. Check out our show round-up and favourite pieces from the collection below…

Krystof Stroznya

Picture 1 of 5

Futuristic styles and metallic colours and textures were key to this autumn/winter collection

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Improve Your Health at Pure Massage in Fenwicks

Pure Massage

I recently visited Pure Massage, located on the first floor of luxury department store, Fenwicks, in London’s West End.  I initially had a chat with founder of Pure Massage, Beata Aleksandrowicz.  Of Polish origin, Beata is a huge believer in the health benefits of massage.  At her spa in Fulham, and the off-shoot at Fenwicks, her therapists practise without an abundance of chemically-loaded lotions and potions.  This is very much a Polish tradition – spas there are much less about pampering and more about health benefits.  Personally, as much as a little pampering is nice, I think this is the way it should be everywhere.

Pure Massage

After chatting to Beata one of her highly-trained therapists talked me through the 60-minute Body Pure Massage (£73) – the brand’s signature therapy.  After discussing my problem areas (my particularly dodgy left shoulder), the massage began.  Using a lavender oil the therapist gave me one of the most intense massages I have ever received.  She talked me through a series of breathing techniques in order to get the most from the massage and breath through the pressure.  This was really impressive and did work to an extent but as I’m suffering with my shoulder at the moment, there was only so much I could take.  It was evident that I really needed a series of sessions to get myself back into shape.  As Beata and her therapists explain, having a massage is like going to the gym – a concept I had never really thought about before – the results only last for so long.  I certainly came away feeling lighter, healthier and with far better posture – so much so I couldn’t wait to go back!  I’m booking in for a series of sessions imminently.  Once I’m into a better routine and things have improved overall, I will only require regular mini sessions and then the odd longer one.  I suggest you investigate doing the same!

Pure Massage 3/5 Vanston Place, London SW6 1AY / Fenwick Bond Street 63 New Bond Street, London W1S 1RJ

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