Vincent Ehindero Blogger Award I – IV

Well, this award is new one for me! I was kindly invited by by a number of great bloggers to take part. Firstly, Mrs Holliman over at Gods Love. If you don’t already follow Mrs H, please head over to her blog and check it out. You won’t be disappointed. Also, don’t forget to visit Mr H’s blog, he hands out some great advice on nutrition.

I was also nominated by Wild at Heart over at  Wild Scared Crazy who’s in her early 20s but scared to let it out and wants you to share your fears and doubts with her.

Then I was nominated by James A Best, an author who spins a mean short story over on his blog. If you don’t already follow him, head on over and give his stories some love.

Finally, I was nominated by young Dragon Warrior (Sophie) over at Den of Dreams who’s a very talented weaver of beautifully illustrated short stories.

These are all great blogs, please check them out and give them some support.

Now, you may be wondering who the hell is Vincent Ehindro? He’s just a guy with the zeal to make people smile. A man after my own heart, particularly in these trying times so please head on over and give him a follow here: https://vincentehindero.wordpress.com.

My Nominees

I usually throw out a blanket invitation, but not this time. Oh no! To qualify for this award you have to spread some sunshine. Make us all smile. Fair dos?

Mrs H’s Questions

1. What is your favourite vacation spot?

I love cities beside the sea. If I could never travel anywhere ever again, I’d be more than happy to stay where I am, one of the most glorious places on God’s earth (French Riviera). But I also love places such as San Sebastian, Sydney, Biarritz, Barcelona, Melbourne………..which are also beside the sea.

2. What does life mean to you?

How long have you got Mrs H, this is a rather BIG and MEANINGFUL question.

3. Do you like to eat your fries on your burger?

As someone who’s not supposed to eat either fried food or meat, this is rather a moot question. Of course, I love fries, who doesn’t? But I love those thick, triple fried ones that have crispy interiors and fluffy interiors. If I’m going to be naughty, it’s gotta be worth it. Don’t you all just hate flabby, greasy fries?

4. Have you ever been out the country? If so where

I’ve been very fortunate to travel extensively from an early age and have visited many countries: Australia, US, Japan, Singapore, Macau, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Canada, Qatar, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Greece, Malta, Andora, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Sardinia, Sicily, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Slovakia, Poland, San Marino, Vatican City, Monaco, Luxembourg, Lichtenstein, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Kitts & Nevis, Antigua, Barbados……….

5. When do you like to take your walks?

I like walking a lot and try to walk most afternoons.

6. Do you like to look at the stars at night?

Sadly, pollution and so much ambient light means it’s difficult to see the stars here in the south of France. However, the air is clearer and there’s much less light in more remote areas, particularly in the mountains, which affords one a spectacular view.

7. Do you have any pets?

No, I have my husband who takes up all my time and attention. He would love a dog, a big dog, but I know who’d end up looking after him or her.

8. Beside blogging what is one of your other hobbies?

Cycling

9. What has Jesus Christ done for you?

This is a bit of a tricky question. I’m not aware that he’s done anything specifically for me.

10. What inspires you the most?

Life.

Wild’s Questions

1. What is your favourite aspect of blogging?

I can write what I want, when I want.

2. What is your favourite social media platform, and why?

I don’t have a favourite. I dabble a little in quite a few.

3. Are you more of an indoors or outdoors person?

Outdoors, but only so long as the sun is shining.

4. Tell me a weird fact about yourself!

I’ve shared so much about myself already on this blog that it’s difficult to think of anything else, weird or otherwise.

5. What is your favourite season?

Any season where the sun shines.

6. What is your favourite memory?

When you get to my age you have so many that it’s well nigh impossible to pick just one.

7. Cats or dogs?

Dogs but I have no intention of ever getting a pet.

8. If you were an only child, would you wish to have siblings?

Of course, I love my two sisters but my younger sister (right) was so annoying as a child that I often wished I’d been an only one.

9. What is your favourite ice-cream flavour?

Anything vegan, particularly coffee.

10. What three wishes would you ask from a genie?

The end of inequality and poverty, good health for all.

James’ Questions

1. How do you juggle your blogging time with time at work and family time?

It’s easy when there’s just my beloved husband and me. I blog while he works.

2. What are some of the hobbies you have besides writing?

Cooking, cycling, reading, cross-country skiing, walking

3. Have you or will you publish a book (s)?

No, though I have edited two books and would be happy to edit more.

4. What do you enjoy doing for recreation?

See 2. above

5. What is your favorite genre of music and who are your favorite musicians?

I don’t really have a favourite genre or indeed favourite musicians. I like lots of both. I like to keep an open mind though I do know what I don’t like.

6. Name your favourite authors and why?

I like authors who spin an engrossing story. My favourites are Margaret Attwood, Evelyn Waugh, GabrielGarcía Márquez and Kazuo Ishiguro.

7. What are your favourite sports to watch or play?

MotoGP, tennis, football (soccer), cycling, athletics, skiing, cricket

8. What is your number one time of the year and why?

Summer because the sun shines and I get to spend even more time outdoors.

9. Do you like to grow your own garden?

Since lockdown I have discovered that I don’t have digits of doom, I just need to select the right plants and give them some TLC.

Dragon Warrior’s Questions

1. Would you consider a creative person? If so, how?

No, not really, I’m more practical than creative.

2. What type of characters do you like to read about?

It’s not really the characters which attract me to a book, its more the storyline or author, unless it’s non-fiction. I like reading about the lives of sporting heroes and those who’ve lead interesting (IMHO) lives.

3. How would you describe the quarantine in a few words?

An unavoidable necessity

4. How would you describe your aesthetics?

Well, we all like to think we have good taste but it’s very subjective. I’m conservative with a bit of a wacky side.

5. When the quarantine ends, what would you do first?

Beloved BMC
Lockdown has merely eased in France. I don’t think it’ll truly “end” for some time. But the first thing I wanted to do was go for a ride but it poured all day Monday, so I had to wait until Tuesday.

No award would exist without those (pesky) RULES

1. Thank the person that nominated you with a link to their blog

2. Post the award photo

3. Post the rules

4. Ask 5-10 questions

5. Nominate 20-30 other bloggers (or more) and notify them.

6. Follow Vincent Ehindero @ vincentehindero.wordpress.com (to qualify for a free blog promotion and shoutout)

 

I hope you’ve all had a great weekend and many congratulations for reaching the end of this post!

Silent Sunday #19

I’ve decided to try and showcase some of my better photos and I’m going to pick a some from Australia for the next few months.

In Byron Bay we stayed at a hotel where the accommodation was in the sub-tropical rain forest and which backed onto Tallow Beach, a six and half kilometre stretch of beach between the Cape Byron Conservation Area and Broken Head Nature Reserve, part of the Arakwal National Park. 

The Musette: tangerine and almond cake (gluten-free)

This gluten-free tangerine and almond cake is simply sensational! Moist, nutty and with a strong tangerine flavour this cake is also flourless, dairy and oil free. Serve simply with coffee or with whipped cream for an indulgent dessert.

I’ve come across various iterations of this recipe on numerous occasions. This particular cake is generally known as Passover dessert across the Mediterranean.

One very popular thing about this cake is its use of entire citrus fruits (skin and all) which are boiled until soft and then pureed in their entirety. Most of the recipes I’ve come across don’t use any regular flour or fat (oil, butter) at all which makes this lovely cake naturally gluten and dairy free and with no added fat – a bonus for my cycling friends.

This cake (or my take on it) has been very popular with a number of celebrity chefs including Nigella whose recipe for Clementine Cake can be found in her book How to Eat. My recipe more closely resembles that of Claudia Roden’s in The Essential Guide to Middle Eastern Cooking.

Ingredients (serves 8)

  • 450g/3 large organic tangerines, (choose ones with unblemished skins as the whole fruit is used in this recipe)
  • 250g (approx. 5 large) organic eggs
  • 250g (1 1/4 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 250g (2 1/2 cup) ground almonds
  • 1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • 1 tbsp Cointreau or other orange flavoured liquer (optional)
  • icing (confectioner’s) sugar to serve

Method

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC/160ºC fan/gas mark 4 (350ºF/320ºF fan). Grease and line the base of a 2-ltr (1 lb) loaf tin.

2. Place the tangerines in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer, covered, for about an hour, ensuring that they remain covered with water. Drain and cool.

3. Cut the tangerines into quarters, discard any seeds, then place the chunks into a blender and puree until smooth.

4. Beat the eggs with the sugar until thick, the whisk should leave ribbons. then add the orange puree, ground almonds, liquer and baking powder and mix well.

5. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for an hour. Leave the cake to firm up in the pan for 20 minutes then turn out, remove the baking paper and turn over to finish cooling right way up.

This cake definitely mellows with a little time and can be prepared well in advance.

6. To serve, sift icing sugar on top and add a dllop of whatever your heart desires: chantilly cream, Greek yoghurt, creme fraiche, orange flavoured whipped cream.

Sheree’s Handy Hints

1. All ingredients should be at room temperature.

2. When I’m baking I always use a timer as it’s so easy to lose track of time. Once you’ve put the cake in the oven, put the timer on for 5-10 minutes less than it should take to cook and then check regularly.

3. You can use any citrus fruit, blood orange would be terrific, but something like grapefruit will require much longer cooking in water to sufficiently soften.

4. You can make these as cupcakes in which case they’d need around 40-45 minutes cooking time.

5. While this cake is perfect as is you could sprinkle on some toasted almond flakes.

6. The cake can be also prepared in advance as it keeps really well when chilled in the fridge, for up to 3 days.

7. Rather than boiling the citrus fruits, you could  do this quicker by using a microwave. Simply pierce your fruit a  few times with a fork (to prevent them from bursting) and put them in a large microwavable bowl with a little bit of water. Microwave on high for approx 10 minutes et voila!

8. To freeze, make sure your cake is completely cool before wrapping in clingfilm and then aluminium foil. Make sure to label it too if you don’t want to play “Freezer Roulette” later! Pop it in the freeze for up to 3 months. To defrost simply leave out on the kitchen worktop (counter) and once defrosted decorate as you wish.

Sculpture Saturday #9

This week I’ve picked one of my favourite statues from along the seafront in Cros-de-Cagnes. It’s one of three works by the artists Lena Dettervik and Gudmar Olovson intended to symbolise the strong relationship between the Swedes and Cagnes sur Mer. The trio evoke a feeling of freedom and the great outdoors, and are now a firm part of the Cros-de-Cagnes landscape.

If you want to join in this challenge hosted by the Mind over Memory blogger:-

  • Share a photo of a sculpture
  • Link to the Mind over Memory’s post for Saturday Sculpture

Go on, give it a go, you know you want to!

Friday Photo Challenge – surprise

I’m not someone who enjoys surprises. For example, no one in their right mind would ever throw me a surprise party!

I’m big on planning and preparation precisely because I don’t like surprises. This allows me to avoid what might otherwise be an unpleasant surprise yet still have my expectations confounded by something special, such as:-

I’m much enjoying these weekly challenges hosted on alternate weeks by either Amanda or Sandy because they force me to think about what’s in my photo archives and how I might re-use them.

If you’ve enjoyed this post, why not join in the fun?

Friendly Friday

One from the vaults: Just what I needed

One from way back in May 2014, when I was feeling anything but chilled due to pressure of work!

Yes, I’m feeling decidedly time-pressured. This is the first time in ages I’ve had a few spare minutes to devote to my own blog. For a woman who’s allegedly “retired”, I seem to be mighty busy. I gave up a high pressured job in the City to spend time doing what I wanted to do and not the things everyone else wanted me to. Where did it all go wrong?

Don’t mind me. I’m just feeling a bit reflective after my epic fail on yesterday’s ride. At this time of year my tree pollen allergy makes me feel as if I’m riding with a heavy cold and I struggled up a climb I can usually do with ease. It was a truly glorious day. The sun shone, the countryside was green, lush and ablaze with meadow flowers, yellow broom and wild herbs whose scents seem the very essence of here. We’d rendezvoused with the boys mid-ride and enjoyed a quick cup of coffee, while gazing longingly at the sandy beach with the waves lapping the shoreline, before heading into the L’Esterel hills.

As soon as we hit the climb I started to wheeze like an asthmatic granny. No need to point out that I’m old enough to be a granny, that’s not helpful! I set my riding companion free and watched her soar up the incline, dancing away into the distance. The road was unusually busy with traffic. Depending on whether they were on two or four wheels, they seemed respectively to be practising for this week-end’s MotoGP at Le Mans or channeling their inner Sebastien Loeb.

Towards the top of the climb, on a stretch of fresh tarmac, a convoy of vehicles rushed past me. Obviously oblivious to the “A Metre Matters” campaign for cyclist safety. Their draft caught me unawares, I bobbled and my front wheel slipped unintentionally off the new tarmac and I landed ignominiously in the grass verge. I quickly leapt to my feet and brushed myself down. No one had seen my faux pas and only my pride had been bruised. I remounted and swiftly crested the summit. It was (thankfully) pretty much all downhill from there and I soon rejoined my companions who’d been topping up their tans while waiting for me to reappear.

It’ll be a recovery ride for me today!

Anyone know where I can get one of these?

Thursday doors #68

Today we’re featuring more gorgeous doors from our January trip to Saint-Paul de Vence, another historic Old Town.

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favourite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments’ on Norm’s site, anytime between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American Eastern Time).

Trip to Musée National Henri Matisse, Nice

The Musée Matisse is part of a vast heritage complex in Cimiez that includes the Roman arenas and ruins, a garden with hundred-years old olive trees, as well as the Cimiez monastery.

Henri Matisse (1869 to 1954) is considered by many to be the most outstanding representative of Fauvism, a style which emphasises painterly qualities and strong colour over the representational values of Impressionism. Though, before this, he painted in many different styles. He was a noted friend and peer of Pablo Picasso. From 1917 until his death, except for a five-year break when he lived in nearby Vence, Matisse lived in Nice, creating his works in a studio located in the “Yellow House” in the Cours Saleya, in Nice’s Old Town.

Matisse first stayed in the building which now houses the 4* Hotel Beau Rivage, when he came to Nice to cure his bronchitis. Unfortunately, it rained for the whole month, so he painted the interior of his room over and over again. On the final day the sun came out and, when he saw the light, he was hooked. He stayed here until he died of a heart attack. He is buried with his wife in the Cimiez cemetery, near his eponymous museum.

The Musée Matisse was inaugurated in 1963 on the second floor of 17th century Villa des Arènes (formerly the Palais de Gubernatis – after the first owner), to exhibit the artist’s and his heirs’ gifts to the City of Nice. It is one of the largest collections of the French artist’s works.

In 1989, the Archeological Museum, which previously shared the same building, moved out to its own dedicated building to facilitate a remodeling of the museum. Architect Jean-François Bodin rethought the interior spaces of the old Genovese villa and designed the expansion to accommodate a vast foyer, an auditorium and a bookshop. The new building was inaugurated in 1993. An educational workshop was added in 2002, and a design office in 2003.

In 2013, the ceramic La Piscine, a gift from Claude and Barbara Duthuit (Matisse’s grand-son and wife) , was installed in a dedicated room, on the entrance level. In 2017, another renovation project rethought the way visitors interacted with the space, remodelled the entrance and installed interactive educational devices.

Matisse Museum, Nice

The museum perfectly documents the various stages of the artist’s development. Several dozen paintings; hundreds of drawings, prints, and photographs; sculptures, mostly made of bronze by Matisse himself; as well as books illustrated by the artist and numerous cut-outs, have been gathered together here. In addition, the museum houses everyday objects that belonged to Matisse.

An exhibition about the Chapel of the Rosary (Chapelle du Rosaire) located in Vence and designed by Matisse occupies its own space. The museum has, among other things, a scale model of the chapel, as well as the projects of individual works constituting the chapel’s equipment.

This is yet another of my favourite places in Nice and can easily be combined with a visit to the nearby Musée Marc Chagall.

Trip to Polygone Riviera

I’ve previously written about the Cap 3000 shopping centre in nearby Saint Laurent du Var whose total refurbishment was most likely prompted by plans to build another shopping centre in neighbouring Cagnes sur Mer located along a (formerly) semi-industrial road which links Cagnes to Vence.

This area had long been a soulless wasteland though the Casino was relocated here from Cros-de-Cagnes in 2012. Finally, after much debate and consultation, many tons of concrete were poured to create shops and plazas around the Casino. The result was a Florida-style, open air mall. It was momentarily “the biggest shopping mall in Europe” but that title has since been reclaimed by Cap 3000.

Located in the heart of the French Riviera, readily accessible from the motorway and by public transport, Polygone Riviera is France’s first lifestyle shopping centre in an indoor-outdoor setting, blending contemporary art and leisure. The shopping centre offers the usual brands but includes a signature Designer Gallery™ with a dedicated space for fashion and cultural events.

Jean Mus, a famous landscaper, and José Ignacio Galán Martinez, a renowned architect conceived this centre in the heart of five acres of parkland, divided into four thematic spaces:-

Le Quartier des Saveurs (The Flavour Zone)
This zone provides visitors with a Mediterranean and international atmosphere thanks to over 20 restaurants featuring cuisines from around the world in the “Dining Plaza” and its many terraces.

Le Quartier des Arcades (The Arcades Zone)
This part of the centre is spread out around over a large Italian style square and along an alley of sycamores where it gather together many well-known fashionable stores.

La Promenade des Palmiers (The Palm Tree Promenade)
This area is devoted to hallmark clothing brands like Zara, H&M, Mango but its largest store is Primark which opend in Spring 2016. It was the first Primark in the French Riviera and its seventh store in France.

La Promenade des Palmiers is also the zone dedicated to entertainment with a 10-screen cinema, a gym, the Casino that hosts shows all year long, and dancing fountains, a more modest version of those found in Dubai or Las Vegas.

The Designer Gallery
The landmark store in this area is Printemps, its first branch on the French Riviera, plus other designer stores, and a lounge space for cultural events, in particular contemporary art.

Polygone Riviera - piece by Jean Michel Othoniel

Artworks from 11 French and international artists are exhibited in different areas of Polygone Riviera. There is even an audio guide whereby visitors can take a contemporary art tour of the centre.

However, the most impressive artwork is Le Guetteur, a 22-metre high piece by Sacha Sosno, that stands at the entrance of the site. The same artist provided the Tête Carrée de Nice.

Polygone Riviera-Quartier des Arcades

There’s no doubt that the Polygone Riviera centre has had an impact on Cagnes sur Mer, making it a shopping destination when it wasn’t before. Obviously, it improves the shopping experience of the entire French Riviera.

Polygone Riviera-Promenade des palmiers

However, in the almost five years since it has opened, there has been a significant turnover of both shops and restaurants and there are a number of empty units. The centre, like that of Cap 3000, re-opened on 11 May though obviously certain of both centres’ facilities remain closed for now.

Polygone is owned by Unibali-Rodamco-Westfield, the premier global developer and operator of flagship destinations, and we hope that it can continue to sustain this offering.

All images courtesy of Polygone Riviera