Things to do in london

Things to do this Halloween in London

October 29, 2014

Pumpkins at King's Cross

So you’ve left it a bit late to plan your Halloween, we’ll never fear – here are a few ideas for things to do this Halloween. MUAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Free pumpkins at Kings Cross!

3,000 carved pumpkins will be creating a beautiful lighting display all the way up the Regents Canal from Thursday 30 October to Saturday 1 November. The pumpkins will form a sea of russet vegetables, twinkling lights and grimacing faces designed to both delight and scare.

The pumpkins are being specially created by Global Generation and some master carvers, and you will have the chance to take one home on Saturday 1 October when there will be a mass give-away of pumpkins. Each pumpkin will come with a recipe card from King’s Cross restaurants like Grain Store and Dishoom.

For more information please check out: http://www.kingscross.co.uk/halloween

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Party with vampires at the Halloween Raveyard

30,000 square feet of abandoned, underground Victorian brick office space that used to be a morgue facility for London’s rotting corpses. Yes, the perfect place for a Halloween party then. On Thursday 30th Oct and Saturday 1st Nov The Halloween Raveyard at The Vaults will house guided dissection labs, cabaret and cocktails, live music, coffin testing and a zombie disco dance hall. Tickets cost £15 on the door. For more information please visit: http://www.the-vaults.org/#!raveyard/c1vvr

Enter the Dreamery! If you dare….

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This Halloween, enter a terrifying horror maze inspired by the Day of the Dead and incorporating installation art, live performance and interactive challenges. In the basement of the old Hackney archives, survive a series of treacherous worlds in order to escape Mictlan, the Aztec Underworld.

For more informationn please visit: https://www.picatic.com/lasmaravillas

Art

Paintings and Photographs by Derren Brown at The Rebecca hossack Gallery

October 27, 2014

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Who knew that illusionist and master of mind control Derren Brown is also a painter (or maybe he has hypnotised me to say that). Well as surprising as it may seem he is actually pretty good. He will be hosting an exhibition of his work titled the Painting and Photographs as The Rebecca Hossack Gallery from the 5th November.

His work has a hyper-real quality and his six foot painting of Dame Maggie Smith is captivating.  Accompanying his new work will be a selection of earlier portraits, and, for the first time, a collection of his street photography. Armed with his Leica, Derren has pursued his fascination with the poetic in the everyday, taking to the streets to capture the moments of wonder hidden in the relationships between people and their environments. As a well-known figure, he has tended in the past to keep his head down in public; now this passion for photography has promoted a new connectedness with people as they become his unwitting subjects.

The exhibition runs until 29 November

 

Food, Things to do in london

Visiting the Bettane+desseauve wine experience at The Saatchi Gallery and A trip to The Duke of York Square Market

October 27, 2014

B+D wine 5On the last Saturday in October, we were blessed with sunshine in London and we got to see the city from its finest side. It also got people out of their apartments and houses, to explore the cities many events and sites. I was invited to the Bettane+Desseauve wine experience at the Saatchi Gallery. I took my sweet boyfriend under the arm and headed towards Chelsea to try some tasty wines, not a bad way to spend time on a Saturday.

Outside the Saatchi Gallery, there are 5 statues, called Warrior made by Xavier Mascaro. They looked very impressive and in the sunshine, they were like guards leading the way to the gallery.

Inside we each got a glass, and then it was time to go off for a taste of wine, from around the world. In the welcome brochure we were given was written “A rendez-vous with European wine excellence” so we where quite optimistic.

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Domaines Rollan De By, served us some great wines. Their Chateau is situated in the Bordeaux region. The Medoc wines are well known and they live up to the areas reputation for producing excellent wines. The majority of the grapes here are Merlot, combined with Cabernet Sauvignon and some Petit Verdot. We tasted 8 different wines, guided by the representative from the Chateau who was very informative.

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Next we tried some wine from Chateau Lafron-Rochet, Saint-Estèphe, again a well-known region. Then we moved on taste Champagne from Paul Goerg, and then more red wine from Tuscany and LeMacchiole.

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We ended up, talking to Mrs Cecilie Naldoni Piccin an Italian winegrower, who had some excellent wine. She runs her vineyard with her husband and son who is studying oenology. The area that they make the wine is called Grifalco, and is situated next to the heel of the boot of Italy. Lots of sun, gives this wine a floral taste and makes you think of summer.

“Il vino veritas”, (In wine there’s truth) and this woman had undoubtedly the best wine at the event, simple honest with charisma.

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The venue is a gallery, and should be used as such, and not a place for Michel Bettane & Thierry Desseauve to have a wine experience. Secondly, yes there were some great producers, especially Champagne Ruinart, but they didn’t come with their top products, so it was not near excellence. I missed top producers from Germany, Austria, Spain and Italy. I missed water to clear my tasting glass and when asked where I could buy the wines I tasted, many had to say they where not represented in the UK.

It’s only the third year of the event running so, hopefully they will come back stronger next year. Wine is passion; its art making grapes into wine and the whole process is a foundation for countless tales. There was no room in the Saatchi Gallery for storytelling or even proper introductions to the products from the representatives. In summary the event was “Much Ado About Nothing”.

B+D wines 3 (market candy)Just next to Saatchi Gallery, is the Duke of York Square. It’s market is open each Saturday and on this sunny day, it was packed with smiling people, buying street food and small goodies for the Saturday lunch or afternoon tea. All ready in a very French mood, after tasting the wine from Bordeaux and other Regions of France, we stood in line, to have a Duck Confit burger, apparently the best sandwich in Chelsea according to the sign. I chose mine to have caramelised onions with chilli sauce, which was yummy.

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Six pounds of Duck Confit burger saved the trip to Chelsea.

 

 

Hotels, Travel, Weekends away in UK

A stay at The Scarlet Hotel, Cornwall

October 18, 2014

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I’ve discovered a secret oasis, a place that makes you feel instantly at home and provides you with first class luxury and it’ s right here in the UK. I had heard about the beauty of the Northern Cornish coast before but this summer was the first time I got the chance to experience it.

My partner and I stayed a week at the ultimate couple’s retreat – The Scarlet Hotel in Mawgan Porth, Cornwall. The hotel is owned by three Cornish sisters and they have managed to create a hotel that is not only completely eco-friendly but also first class in service and food.

Situated on a cliff top the hotel had beautiful views of the coast. We opted for one of the larger suites and our room at the Scarlet was the epitome of luxury. Our large and plush bed faced the sea view so each morning we were awoken to a glorious stream of daylight and lovely breeze from the sea.

We also had a lovely deep bath (perfect for two) and a monsoon shower filled with spa goodies. I especially enjoyed the large terrace which afforded us the privacy to relax in the sun without fear of being overlooked.

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We knew that we had discovered somewhere very special when we arrived at the hotel and found that the Scarlet doesn’t have a reception desk – they want all guests to receive a personal experience and so check in happens while you enjoy view from the terrace. Followed by a guided tour of the hotel and its facilities.

Each day we went down to enjoy a varied breakfast menu filled with locally sourced food, which tasted fresh and delicious. I am quite fond of mint tea and one of the waiters remembered and every morning brought fresh mint in from his garden. That is true service!

Dinner was also amazing – every evening we had a different menu and each course was beautifully prepared and tasted exquisite. Dessert offerings at the hotel were to die for – we enjoyed the most delicious white chocolate mousse served in a honeycomb ball. Which I have been craving since we returned home.

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If you do visit The Scarlet you must also indulge in their spa experiences. My partner and I went on holistic “journey” together this consisted of us having full body massages, a couple’s rhassoul treatment where clay is applied to your body before steam and heat is administered to purify the skin. After that came a salt scrub to exfoliate away all the dead skin. We finished the experience lying in a hammock to relax and unwind.

We also enjoyed some of the other wonderful facilities that the hotel had on offer such as sipping champagne in one of their lovely hot tubs overlooking the ocean and taking a dip in their top-rated chemical-free, self cleaning outdoor pool.

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matchlessWe also enjoyed walking around the hotel and looking at all the original artwork by local Cornish artists, also available to buy.  Experiencing The Scarlet is not only about the hotel, Mawgan Porth itself is wild and beautiful and we enjoyed many walks along the cliff tops taking in the stunning scenery. The beach was quiet and clean and perfect for those who love to surf. The blue waters of Mawgan Porth and warm climate of the bay made us forget we were still in the UK.

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If you’re looking for somewhere to escape the pressures of city life then – The Scarlet hotel is the place to visit, we ended the week feeling rejuvenated and relaxed making arrangements to visit very soon!

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Food, restaurants

Nozomi Japanese Restaurant Review, Knightsbridge

October 18, 2014

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On a warm September evening, we traveled to Knightsbridge to visit Japanese restaurant, Nozomi as a guest of Nozomi’s brand ambassador Max George.

London is slowly getting its feet back on the international food scene, why it has taken so long is unknown as London truly is the capital of Europe when it comes to culture and diversity in cuisine. Hopefully the days where restaurants put time limits on how long you can stay and dine are over and people will actually start demanding their food to be made with passion and quality.

Nozomi gives you all this; excellent service, surroundings that make you forget where in the world you are, pure craftsmanship and attitude in their food all presented in a relaxed and smooth way.

We visited to try their new a la carte menu, and found it be very inspiring. Devouring the huge variety on the menu was best done with a cocktail
and their huge Cocktail menu was mouth-watering just to read.

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My guest chose a Watermelon Bumbum And Sake Cocktail, with vodka, fresh watermelon and cucumber syrup. I had the Mango Mai Tai. Both of the cocktails were absolutely delicious. The cocktails always give away, how dedicated the restaurant is, so this was promising.

For starters we had the Nozomi Nigiri Sushi selection and the Seafood Dumplings. The sushi was artistically styled on a plate, it was so tasty and I have to say some of the best I’ve ever tasted in London. The Dumplings, filled with sea bass, scallops and prawn, was also tasty but I found the presentation and taste terribly boring compared to the sushi.

Nozomi’s French restaurant manager keeps a cool flow in the restaurant, so you feel the waiter’s intention is to make your experience perfect, without having them constantly at your table.

The main courses are complemented with a well thought-through wine selection. It was nice to see, that small brands are well represented in their selection. You can travel all over the world and enjoy superb wine from Cloudy Bay, New Zealand, to the great Brunello from Tuscany in Italy.

We enjoyed glasses of Chianti that went perfectly with the Wagyu Beef and the Black Cod. The Beef itself was a masterpiece in cooking. It deserves a standing ovation. The Chef has prepared a dish, where both the eye and the heart of any foodie, will be pleased and satisfied. The Black Cod, served in leaves, is grilled to perfection. Its caramelized skin was delicious and the fish itself was full of flavour and so juicy. Not many can prepare a fish dish like this!

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After being pampered with the amazing food it was hard to fathom dessert, but luckily we took up the restaurant manager’s suggestion and shared a white chocolate fondant with ice cream and two absolutely naughty dessert Cocktails. It was a wonderful end to a dreamy food experience.

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Nozomi takes you away with its combination of calm, excellent service and superb international kitchen, dazzled with dope cocktails.

 

Nozomi

14-15 Beauchamp Pl, London SW3 1NQ

020 7838 1500

Art, Things to do in london

Damien Hirst’s new Exhibition – Schizophrenogenesis’ at Paul Stopler Gallery

October 18, 2014

Schizophrenogenesis' at Paul Stopler Gallery

Love or hate his art, Damien Hirst’s work has the ability to make us asks questions about the world that we live in. His new exhibition ‘Schizophrenogenesis’ opens at the Paul Stopler Gallery this month and looks at our relationship with the pharmaceuticial industry. The exhibition is made up of Sculptures of medicine bottles, pharmaceutical boxes, ampoules, syringes, a scalpel, and drug packaging that all play with concepts of scale – the tallest measuring nearly one and a half metres.

These all combine to form an Alice in Wonderland playground of pharmaceuticals which further Hirst’s enduring exploration of contemporary belief systems; religion, love, art and medicine.

One piece to look out for is A three metre neon sign reading ‘Schizophrenogenesis’, each letter in a different colour, lights the space. Both a warning sign and a beacon, the work entices the viewer into the gallery, where they are confronted by ‘The Cure’; a wall of thirty silkscreen prints, each depicting a two-colour pill set against vibrant backgrounds of pop-candy colours.

Hirst:

Pills are a brilliant little form, better than any minimalist art. They’re all designed to make you buy them… they come out of flowers, plants, things from the ground, and they make you feel good, you know, to have a pill, to feel beauty.”

 

Schizophrenogenesis is now open and runs until the 15 November 2014 at the Paul Stolper Gallery

Food, London, Things to do in london

Portman Village is having a Bake off and Street Festival! – 23rd July 2014

July 10, 2014

Portman Village Photos

Calling all cake lovers, Portman Village, Marylebone is celebrating summer and the nation’s love of baking with the PV Bake-Off and Street Festival! Not to be missed this is going to be a fun-filled day for all the family. The event will take place in Portman Square Gardens on Wednesday 23rd July from 4pm and the event will see the head chefs at some of the London’s best restaurants compete to be named Best Baker.

Reigning champion of the Great British Bake Off, Frances Quinn, will be judging to determine the winner in categories including Tastiest Cake, Best Biscuit and Best Decorative Cake. A showcase of the areas array of international cuisine, competitors are also required to submit a dessert from their native country.

Also joining the competition will be head chefs from Home House, Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill Hotel, Lanes of London, The Thistle Marble Arch and Radisson Blu Portman Hotel, as well as Portman Village’s designers, beauty therapists and shop owners. Sweet-toothed guests can then decide whether they agree with the judges’ decisions, with free samples of all entries available for tasting.

Raising awareness for West London Day Centre, a local charity for the homeless, the Portman Square Gardens will open its gates free of charge from 4pm – 7pm. In addition to cake tasting, visitors can enjoy a host of themed games and entertainment, such as ‘Pin the Beard on Paul Hollywood’.

The celebrations then continue around the corner in Portman Village, with an array of exclusive discounts, freebies and prizes, as well as late night shopping and beauty treatments. Happy hours, and live music by the reputable London GIGs on New Quebec Street and Seymour Place will ensure the party continues until late.

Follow a trail of specially designed, limited edition cocktails at the local bars and restaurants, all inspired by sweet-treats, and visit the boutiques for a glass of bubbly and some nibbles. With offers on food and drink, experience one of the competition winner’s full menus at their Portman Village restaurant for an exclusive rate.

For more information visit www.PortmanVillage.com 

Freebies, London

OpenTable IS offering East Londoners a free breakfast with a #FridayFreebie

July 10, 2014

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NO such thing as free lunch? Well on Friday morning get yourself down to Old Street Station this Friday (11th July) from 07:00-09:30am for just that a free lunch!

All you need to do is flash the OpenTable app (free to download) on your smartphone and you will be rewarded with a breakfast treat of your choice from one of four shops located in the station.

The OpenTable team will be on hand to greet commuters and hand out tokens which can be exchanged for an orange juice, a coffee, a bacon roll or a coconut mylk drink.

London, Things to do in london

A trip to London Zoo

July 7, 2014

I have fond memories of my last trip London Zoo, (over 20 years ago!) Finding myself with a few days to spare in my holiday the boyfriend and I decided that it was time to make a visit. After a rather packed day of shopping we made our way to Regents Park to wonder around the Zoo for 2 hours. We arrived at the Zoo two hours from closing time and (maybe not the best idea as a lot of the animals appeared to be asleep or not in their pens).

 

In two hours we did manage to cover quite a lot of the Zoo, seeing lots of rare species of animals and birds. London Zoo is a must for the those with time to burn this summer holiday – check out some of the animals you will see if you go below

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Some very cute Llamas

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The sweetest looking prairie dogs

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Hello Mr Armadillo!

Hello Mr Armadillo!

 

A very cool toucan

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Scarlett Ibis

A toucan

A toucan

 

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Jellyfish image

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A very shy Cheetah image

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Pelicans

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Penguins trying to cool themselves down in the heat.

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cafes, Food, Things to do in london

A Trip to Lady Dinah’s Cat Cafe, London

June 4, 2014

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May was a bit of a quiet month for me, and so it went a bit quiet on the blog front. However my little hiatus is over and i’m back! Missed me? Well I thought i’d kick off a new month with a short account of my trip to London’s first and only cat cafe.

I first heard about Lady Dinah’s on Timeout, after a successful kickstarter campaign Lauren Pears was able to realise her dream of opening a cat cafe in London. Lady Dinah’s opened its doors in February and is already fully booked until October. It seems there are a lot of cat lovers on London.

I visited Lady Dinah’s for the first time last week and was not dissappointed with the experience. The cafe had a lovely lovely vintage feel and we enjoyed playing with the cats. There was a five pounds cover charge per person which i guess goes to the upkeep of the cats.

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The cafe  was decked out in white chairs and tables and decorated with cat inspired furnishings. I had expected the place to be overrun but there werent more than 4/5 cats around at a time and they had lots of places to lie, scratch and play.

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After we sat down one of waiters came to take our order. I opted for the guinness chocolate cake and Ewa went for a slice of red velvet. Tea was served in the prettiest china cups.

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A lot of people I told about the cat cafe worried about hygiene but that was never a problem, we were asked to wash our hands before entering and antibacterial wash was provided on all tables.

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Overall I really enjoyed my visit, if you are a cat lover then this is the ultimate experience.