Inside Fuerteventura

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Last week I went away for a week with my younger brother and my Dad to one of the Canary Islands, 62 miles off the coast of Africa, Fuerteventura. Whilst we were away I turned 21 (Yay!), but more importantly – and the topic of this post – we went on a trip around the island.

Rather than 32+ people all piling onto a hot, sweaty coach, for this trip we were fortunate enough to be accompanied by three other people in a small mini bus. This meant that we had a better opportunity to chat and ask questions with the driver/tour guide, as well as having a more intimate and chilled out trip around the island. As you can tell from the pictures above, Fuerteventura itself is a very baron looking place, there isn’t much greenery around and the average rainfall in a year is just about a week (if they are lucky). Driving across the country was like being on another planet, surrounded by huge (the tallest being close to 900m) dormant volcanoes, and not a lot else – apart from the very last stop on the trip (more on that in a mo). With agriculture no longer being a part of every day life in Fuerteventura, and the majority of trees and plants only running along dried river beds, about 95% of the goods and products used on the island are imported – which I found pretty crazy!

The first stop on the trip was Montana De Tindaya, the Sacred Mountain. An over 80 million year old dormant volcano that has over 300 footprint carvings engraved on its side, left by the very first inhabitants of the island. Unfortunately we weren’t able to climb any of the volcanoes on this trip as a large number of them are nature reserves, or are not open to the public. Just next to the mountain, we stopped next to a cafe, so were able to grab a coffee before we set off on the rest of the trip.

The next stop was a visit to the statues of Guise and Ayose. When the Norman conquerors arrived in Fuerteventura in 1402 they found the island split into two kingdoms ruled by these two men. These statues were huge and atop a 400m mountain (a big hill), which had a wicked view across part of the island.

Continuing on from the viewpoint at the statues of Guise and Ayose, we followed the road down the mountain to a Goats cheese farm. It wasn’t the most exciting part of the trip but we did get a load of free samples of cheese, cactus jam and Honey Rum, so I can’t complain.

After finishing at the cheese factory we carried on down the mountain towards the former capital, and small town of Betancuria where we visited (or looked at from the outside) the cathedral. From here we continued southwards towards the west coast of the island where we got the opportunity to explore the caves in Ajuy, which were absolutely stunning.

We then drove towards Tuineje where we stopped for lunch at Casa Rural Tamasite. We were treated to Roast pork, cooked in a wood brining over, with Canary potatoes and mojo sauce. This was all served with tomatoes grown in Fuerteventura (they only really grown tomatoes and potatoes on the island nowadays) accompanied with bread and fresh olive oil. All the food was super tasty and washed down with beautiful red wine, served chilled which was surprisingly refreshing. After we finished lunch we were taken around the farm where we got to meet some donkeys, see the vineyard, and visit the wine cellar where we got to sample some white wine, some cactus liquor, pomegranate liquor, blackberry liquor and some muscatel wine – all of which were amazing.

Whilst we were in Tuineje we also visited a traditional windmill where they used to produce gofio flour – kind of like wholemeal flour but made from roasted grains – and got to try Gofio mixed with olive oil, sugar and water. On first appearance it looked really yummy, almost like a piece of fudge, but to my disappointment is had the most hideous floury texture and tasted pretty bland, with a similar flavour to shredded wheat.

After a relatively long day in the sun it was nice to pay a visit to an Aloe Vera farm. Here we were shown the stages of growth and how they make the numerous Aloe Vera products (some of these include; Aloe Vera drinks with and without pulp, anti ageing creams, sun creams, pain relief creams and gels for your skin). We were plied with shed loads of Aloe Vera samples, including raw Aloe Vera juice mixed with nectarine Juice which was pretty disgusting. Interestingly I found out that Aloe Vera isn’t actually in the same family as cactus, although it may look like it is, but it is actually in the same family as lilies and onions – hence why it has a similar taste to onions in its purest form.

The last stop on our trip were the sand dunes of Coralejo (pronounced Cora-leco), close to where we were staying. The only part of Fuerteventura that has a different landscape, created by sand that has been blown across from the Sahara in Africa. The dunes were absolutely beautiful and a brilliant way to end the trip.

I would definitely recommend a trip to Fuerteventura if you ever get the chance, I had a wicked time out there and would love to visit again!

Tom x

Pact Coffee

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Second coffee themed post within two weeks…I promise there isn’t a theme here.

Okay, so if it isn’t already apparent, I love coffee. I recently discovered Pact Coffee from a leaflet in GQ in which they were offering your first 250g bag of coffee for £1, how could I turn that down? I did a little bit of research, and found that over at Pact, they are pretty passionate about getting people in the UK drinking the best quality coffee, by making “incredible, freshly roasted coffee accessible to everyone.” They source their coffee from all over the world, and roast the coffee beans in small batches creating a fresher, tastier roast for each coffee blend. When you order Pact coffee they give you the option of how you want your beans ground, if at all, meaning that no matter how you make your coffee you’ll be able to get the best result. Check out their list of coffee that they have available here, you’ll also be able to see what coffee brewing equipment they can grind your beans for. On top of all that Pact Coffee is delivered straight to your door every week or every fortnight (with next day delivery too), from just £6.95 for 250g of coffee.

Now, onto the coffee itself. We ordered three different blends of coffee to my house; San Antonio – Chocolate digestives, El Carmen – A Jammie Wagon Wheel, and another that I can’t recall the name of but was Fig and Date. The names/flavours may sound bizarre to you, but I can assure you, they are far from strange and a heck of a lot closer to brilliant. All three blends, brewed in a Cafetiere, tasted amazing, varying from a slightly richer darker roast to a sweet roast, I couldn’t recommend them enough. If you click on each of the coffee names above you can read a much more professional insight into the taste of each brew!

I would definitely recommend checking out Pact Coffee, it is worth spending that little bit more to get a much better product. At the time of this post going out they have a brilliant starter offer going on – click here for more info.

(This post was in no way affiliated with Pact Coffee)

Tom x

[All photos were taken on my iPhone 5 or my Canon EOS 450D, and edited with VSCOcam, After Light, and PS]

A Trip to Wales

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A couple of weeks ago, I traveled to North Wales for my older brothers graduation. After a gruelling 6 and a bit hour car journey, my family and I arrived in Bangor, ready for the celebration of my brothers masters degree. The ceremony was, as most graduation ceremonies are, long and not very exciting – I mean how can calling 100+ peoples names out be made exciting? However, after the Dean of the university had shaken too many hands, we whizzed off to the hotel, where we were staying, to get changed for dinner. Just before we went off for dinner, we all went over to where my brother was staying to have some champagne and Krispy Kreme doughnuts – crucial graduation celebrations! I wrote another post about where we went for dinner, a place called Dylan’s on Anglesey, so check that out here. After a delicious meal, and an exhausting day, we headed back to the hotel for some well deserved sleep.

Surprisingly I was up at the crack of dawn making use of the hotels swimming pool – nothing like a bit of exercise to start the day, before we sat down to a delicious full english breakfast. Rather than heading straight back home, we decided to make the most of the decent weather that we were blessed with. We paid a visit to the beautiful pier that my brother used to live next to, and made a trip to Beaumaris on Anglesey where we visited a number of colourful little independent shops and had a stroll along the front for a cracking view of the mountains.

A couple of the pictures above show some of the items I was wearing over the two days we were in Wales. The gold Casio watch can be found here, and the Brogues can be found here.

Tom x

[All the photos were taken on my Canon EOS 450D, and edited with After Light on my iPhone]

July, In Photos

Another month has flown by (seriously, where is this year going?!) and I’ve been doing my best to keep myself busy, search for jobs and to spend a bit of time rearranging my CV. This month has been pretty exciting to be honest, a lot has been going on and I have made a lot of plans for the future.

At the very beginning of the month I was still living it up in Holland with my older brother, however after two further days of Sushi and Kayaking along the beautiful canals of Leiden, I had to help him lug a years worth of his stuff back on the 7 hour ferry from the Hook of Holland to Harwich, fun fun fun! After a morning of shopping on the 7th and a new pair of kicks (Nike Free Run 5.0’s) I got back home to check my final results for my studies at University, and I am very pleased to say that I received an Upper Second Class BA Hons degree in Film and Television (2:1), which I am absolutely over the moon about! Plenty of coffee, food and drinks were consumed over the next couple of days (especially the Salmon fish cakes pictured above – blog post on them coming soon!) and then a visit to Wales for my brothers graduation – check my post about my trip here. Following my older brothers graduation I spent a week up at my Dads, dedicating a bit of time to sorting out my very dated CV – It’s still a work in progress!

The end of the month saw a visit from a family friend who was visiting Europe and the UK, from Australia, which was ace. It was really nice to have a decent opportunity to catch up with him especially as it has been over 10 years since we last saw him properly! I had a couple of trips down to London to meet up with Gail, again for a catch up, and Olly to go and see a new play, The Nether, at the Royal Court Theatre which was absolutely brilliant!

August promises to be another quality month, I turn the big 21 on the 19th, I’ve got a holiday to Fuerteventura and hopefully some really exciting and engaging blog posts lined up!

Tom x

[All photos were taken on my iPhone 5, and edited with VSCOcam]

Keep Your Chin Up!

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During these, sometimes, beautiful British summer months a hot coffee isn’t always what you want to sip on, especially when you’re on the go or out and about. An Iced Coffee however, is more than likely what you’d want. Rather than looking at the big brands, I wanted to try out something home grown – Jimmy’s Iced Coffee. Jimmy has been causing a stir in the Iced Coffee biz here in the UK, after a visit to Australia and falling in love with the stuff it was Jim that bought “proper” Iced Coffee to the UK. It was 2011 when Jimmy’s first hit the shelf in Selfridges (of all places!) and now, 2014, the Iced Coffee of your dreams is stocked in Tesco express, Waitrose, WH Smiths, Waitrose, and many other stores across the UK.

I’m a massive coffee fan, and I have to say that Jimmy’s is hands down one of my favourite Iced Coffee brands. It is a super yummy, thick and creamy coffee with just the right amount of froth, made with Arabica Coffee and semi-skimmed milk, perfectly sweetened with demerara sugar – a taste sensation (Original). I couldn’t rate this coffee highly enough, it is perfect for a summers day (whether its hot or cold out), and different from all the other Iced Coffee’s on the market. At the moment Jimmy’s Iced Coffee is available in Original, Skinny and Decaf but if you follow Jimmy on Twitter you’ll know that new flavours are on their way – and I personally cannot wait.

Check out Jimmy’s website here, follow him on Twitter and go and buy yourself some awesome Iced Coffee!

(This post is in no way affiliated with Jimmy’s Iced Coffee, I just love the stuff!)

Tom x
[All photos were taken on my iPhone 5 or my Canon EOS 450D, and edited with VSCOcam and PS]

Dylan’s, Anglesey

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On Monday, my family and I traveled up to North Wales, Bangor to be exact, to celebrate my brother’s graduation. After the ceremony and a glass of champagne, we headed out for dinner in a beautiful little restaurant on Anglesey called Dylan’s, which is sat right on the edge of the Menai Strait on the North West coast of Wales. Only 2 years old, the restaurant has earned itself a good reputation and hosts an absolutely delicious and varied menu, featuring a number of fish dishes, including mussels fresh from the Menai.
For starters, my younger brother and I shared a ‘Ferryman’s Platter’ which was delicious, although there was probably enough for more than two people to share. The platter included shell-on prawns, smoked trout, and a very generous serving of smoked mackerel paté, accompanied by a variety of different breads, dips and salad. The smoked mackerel paté was by far and away my favourite part of the dish; it was super rich in flavour with a smooth, creamy texture – perfect for spreading on the sourdough bread.
For my main course I ordered the Anglesey Sea Bass, which was served with fine beans, a fine herb risotto cake, and salsa verde. I’m not really the biggest fish eater, however this dish hit the spot. The fish was perfectly cooked and went perfectly with the crunch of the runner beans and the soft, full flavoured risotto cake. Although it all tasted amazing and I thoroughly enjoyed it, I feel that the salsa verde overpowered the fish, taking the edge off the otherwise flavoursome fish.
Overall the meal was absolutely fantastic, topped off with a Cappuccino and a chocolate coin, I was fit to burst. I couldn’t recommend Dylan’s enough, so if you’re ever in North Wales and need a place to eat, check it out, the restaurant has a great atmosphere with friendly staff, and on the night we visited was absolutely heaving. I would definitely recommend booking a table in advanced to guarantee yourself a table!

Check out their website, Twitter and Facebook.

Tom x
[All photos were taken on my iPhone 5 or my Canon EOS 450D, and edited with VSCOcam and PS]

June, In Photos

So, another month has rolled around, and what a cracker it was. June saw me leaving my university city; Lincoln, to move back to my home town of Chelmsford, to join to ominous hunt for a job (ahhh). It was really sad to leave my place in Lincoln, it was such a nice house, I lived with such a decent bunch of people and I have some absolutely cracking memories from the past 2 years there! I made the most of dossing around this month spending time with all my uni mates and not doing a great deal, however one of the highlights was going Go Karting with a bunch of mates for a friends birthday (and won!), which was ace. At the end of the month, after moving back home, I flew out to Holland to help my older brother move out of his pad in Leiden, where he has been studying his masters degree for the past year, which was wicked. I adore Holland, it is such a beautiful place and it was nice to spent some quality time with my bro. As June came to a close I was anticipating my final university results, and boy was I bricking it! Here’s hoping I passed and can graduate in September!!

[All photos were taken on my iPhone 5, and edited with VSCOcam]

Ps. I promise more posts will be coming soon. I am slowly but surely getting into the groove of blogging, and rediscovering photography. Baby steps, baby steps!

New Site, New Style, New Theme

Blogging has always been something that has interested me, ever since I started using the internet. Having a place where I could write down my ideas, share my youtube videos, and make new friends, lead to me fall in love with the power of sharing and posting about your interests on the web. Thus, I am finally taking the step into starting a new styled blog for myself, focusing on photography and subject matters that I care about and adore – all with the intention of keeping the posts frequent and of good quality.

I have completely re-designed the site from its previous versions. I have had the domain for this blog for an eternity, however I have finally decided to utilise it rather than leaving it stagnant with just my basic contact details on show and not much else. I plan, as I mentioned earlier, to keep the posts as frequent as possible, on the topics that I love. The majority of the categories that I hope to cover at some point in time with this blog include; Travel (I have a trip across Europe and a trip to New Zealand planned, and I want to share that journey with you!), Food, Film (and Television too, considering that was my specialist area at University!), Lifestyle and Fashion, and as many fancy coffee’s as I can find.

All of the photographs on my blog at the moment are taken with my iPhone 5, however, as soon as I return home I shall be getting back on the photography game with my Canon DSLR, with every intention to share some of my work with you guys.

I really hope that you enjoy the content of this blog, your feedback and comments are greatly appreciated! During these early stages it would be ace to hear your ideas and suggestions for the blog and topics for posts too.

tgudgeon.com on the iPad

New look on the iPad

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New Look on the iPad

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New Look on the iPad

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New Sidebar

May, in Photos

First things first, Welcome to my blog. I am back (again) this time with my mind set on what I want this blog to become and with plenty of ideas of posts and content for publishing.

To start things off, on this new look, new style, new theme, blog I am going to post a few pictures, at the end of each month, from my Instagram account, along with a little blurb and update of what’s been going on.

May has been a pretty standard month for me (thus ever more exciting for you!), I finished my final year at the University of Lincoln after handing in my last projects in the first week, it has been an exhausting yet enjoyable three years at Lincoln, I have met loads of brilliant people who I hope to keep in contact with. As soon as I had handed in my last projects, I was straight off home where I took full advantage of having no work and spent the majority of my time chilling out and relaxing! The main reason I travelled back home was to help out running the kitchen for a charity event that happens in my local village. This entailed preparing a ‘three course’ meal for 100 people, per night, over four nights. This was absolutely exhausting, and after cooking lasagne every night, I think it is safe to say lasagne will not be on the menu for a while! After helping out at the charity event, I had a decent amount of time to spend with my Mum, little brother, and a few friends which was great after being away from home for 2 semesters. May ended with a trip up to my Dads (which was ace), some decorating and then returning to Lincoln for the last month.

(All the pictures were taken on my iPhone 5, and edited with VSCOcam.)