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Costa Rican Inspiration..

IMG_0100As part of the field course I especially enjoy sharing the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica with the students. Here we have been near Puerto Viejo for several days and experiencing the wonderful wildlife, different culture, and fabulous Caribbean cuisine. Its 16 years since I first shared this fabulous place with some of my family, and it seems it had a big impact on my daughter in particular.

UnknownShe tells me.. “My favourite part of our Costa Rica trip was most definitely adopting Silver the sloth whilst we stayed at the sloth sanctuary. I also loved the donkey ride up the volcano, sitting in the hot pools in the place near the volcano and staying at the place on the Pacific coast with the pool bar! I remember staying in the wooden hut on the mountain where we had an earthquake (and I also tried my first ever Inca Kola!) Costa Rica was also where I did my first driving lesson, with the White Rav 4 on the dirt track! White water rafting was also amazing, when we turned the boat over and laid out a buffet for lunch before making our way to the plunge pool!”


It seems the inspiration of what she experienced is something that has never left her.. the animals, and the full flavour of Costa Rica…

Processed with MOLDIV

Costa Rican Lime-Drizzled Chocolate & Coconut Cream Cake (c) OMG Foodie UK

She is now 26, a fabulous cook, and this is her latest offering for all the family to share… A Costa Rican Lime-Drizzled Chocolate & Coconut Cream Cake! I only wish I was there to taste it and hope she saves me some! This is what she has to say about it:

“I created this recipe based on my childhood memories of visiting Costa Rica, aged 10, drinking my first coconut on the Caribbean beaches whilst searching for Sand Dollars with a Dutch girl I’d befriended! Costa Rica is well known for its rich cocoa beans so this creation really takes me back to those great times.

image5“Not many 10 year olds get to adopt a sloth, trek through the rainforest with a world-famous amphibian conservationist & ride a donkey whilst trekking up a live volcano! I was very lucky! This rich chocolate cake is soaked with lime juice, with a fluffy coconut cream butter frosting & drizzled with dark Costa Rican chocolate!” “I have always loved food from a young age and tied with my creativity, a love of cooking has developed over the past few years, which is great to be able to share with everyone!”

(c) OMG Foodie UK

(c) OMG Foodie UK


“I also enjoy the photography element, having recently invested in my first professional camera, although I’m still a novice. I hope in the coming months to develop my skills and turn my hobbies into a career within social media marketing for a food company or restaurant”

Following a successful 6 months food blogging on Instagram (@OMGFoodieUK) Lexi has also just created a Facebook page to share her passion of cooking and baking. I am so proud of her.

Follow the links below and on there you’ll find out more about how to make this incredible Costa Rican cake plus a host of mouthwatering photos of super delicious cakes, bakes, desserts & more she has created. She also shares her recipes, tips & her favourite food restaurants from not just Costa Rica but around the UK & on her travels – so you too can cook up a storm!

OMG FOODIE UK – FACE BOOK                                 OMG FOODIE UK ON TWITTER


Arrival in Paradise!


Hognosed pit viper (c) Andrew Gray, 2016

Earlier this week we arrived in Costa Rica to conduct the annual 2nd year undergraduate field course for the University of Manchester. It been a wonderful week and we have been based in Turrialba, high in the central mountain range. Here we awake at 6am to a myriad of incredible birds that live in this area. We have spend the daylight hours teaching the students about the array of wildlife and plants found here, surveying techniques, and developing their biological skills.


Strawberry Dartfrog (c) Amanda Bamford, 2016

By night the students visit the Costa Rican Amphibian Research Centre to investigate creatures of the night with Brian Kubicki and I. The students we have are a great bunch, highly motived and enthusiastic about all we see. For all it feels like we have arrived in Paradise!



BBSRC Excellence with Impact Commendation

IMG_0857The University of Manchester was recently a finalist at the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) Excellent with Impact awards and was awarded two special commendations for demonstrating outstanding practice in particular areas. The University of Manchester was awarded the two special commendations for our outreach in collaboration with the Manchester Museum and effectively embedding impact across our staff development programmes. The awards looked to “recognise institutions that can develop and successfully deliver a vision for maximising impact, alongside a relevant institution-wide culture change” so we are extremely proud to be commended in such a way.

8CD77072-FB83-4F69-B409641835212167The BBSRC is the largest biology funding body in the UK and they support over 3,500 scientists in the UK. The University has a large number of BBSRC-funded lab groups performing cutting edge research across all its Faculties. Our commendations and presence in the finals recognise the importance our groups place on research that has a real impact and is setting a culture of excellence.

Learning with Lucy Folder Front Cover

The BBSRC judges were particularly impressed with Manchester Museum’s outreach, highlighting the ‘Learning with Lucy’ frog conservation and education programme. Working with the Manchester Museum, the Faculty teamed up with Lucy, a nine year old girl on a mission to save the Lemur Leaf frog. The project was a huge success, reaching international coverage and having an impact in helping to save one of the world’s rarest frogs.

Professor Amanda Bamford says

I am really pleased the judges were impressed with the education and outreach work we do with Manchester Museum. We have a very long standing, successful and unique collaboration with the Museum staff delivering outstanding impact