Thursday, 31 March 2011

Maybe ... or better?

Today or tomorrow I might go and have a look at Margaret Howells Sample Sale . I do like her style, clean cuts and classic shapes and with a few % off it might be worth a look. 


But if you feel less frivolous, around the corner you can catch the last week of the Modern British Sculpture Exhibition at the Royal Academy.

found here 

As you might have noticed, I am not a purist and I do not mind mixing. And London is the perfect city for this kind of approach. A tiny bit of planning is not a bad thing, because ist is a big city after all, but combine this with some drifting and you get a perfect day in the city. 

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

It's Time

I sense the ice cream time is upon us. One cannot start it too early. And after the recent hype about a certain (mother) milk flavour  I think it is time to go back to the basics (please!).
Admittedly it was only February when I tried Gelupo's ice, still quite cold, but it was just too tempting and well worth it.
You will find Gelupo in the heart of Soho, close to Piccadilly, but in a quiet side street. It is a lovely little shop which does not sell hundreds of different flavours, but the ice that is on offer is one of the best I have tasted this far away from Italy! (According to my kids pistacchio is divine, vanilla sublime - they were obviously inspired))

found here 

So, if you need a break from busy Soho, this place might be just what you are looking for, at least it was for us that day. I also like the fact that Gelupo is not a chain, you will only find it here. Enjoy!

Monday, 28 March 2011

Holidays already?

The Easter Holiday Season is upon us, my daughter's school finished on Friday. My son stops next Thursday, my daughter will go back to school for 3 days just before Easter, my son will have one day of school before the Royal Wedding, we all have Monday the 2nd of May off ...... and I for one am not blaming the church!
School term dates change from year to year and differ from school to school. There are also major differences between local authority-run schools and independent schools. And, don't forget, many local authorities are now adopting a standard school year, made up of six terms, each a similar length. Confused?

I would of course not be happy if I had to join the traffic on the Autoroute du Soleil each summer in France when the whole of at least the northern part decamps to the South at the same time, but imagine being unlucky enough to have three children in three different schools with three different holiday itineries in the same city? I think we need to work on that!

But let's look at the bright side. I will post the odd suggestion about how to enjoy the first days of spring with the family here in London over the next few weeks of the holidays. Just trying to list as many parks and gardens and other green spaces as we can remember is already very enjoyable - think of all the possibilities. And a sometimes very grey city seems so much greener!

There is Kew Gardens with its Tree Walk and Richmond Park, where you can hire bikes and visit Isabella Plantation, the London Wetland Centre with ducklings and cygnets, Hyde Park and Hampstead Heath (for an early swim?), Syon House and Park or Battersea Park with its little Zoo, Bishops Park with its Palace, Kensington Gardens, Holland Park or Greenwich Park way on the other side of town, Regent Park, St James Park and Green Park very much in the centre.
What about the amazing Kensington Roof Gardens, Chelsea Physics Garden, or the oldes public park in London, Finsbury Circus Garden. Then there is Cleary Garden and the Gardens of Lambeth Palace, Victoria Park in East London, Alexandra Park, Finsbury Park, Waterlow Park, Highgate Wood and Lee Valley Park. For these and more check here or go and pack a picknick basket.

Bushy Park
found here 

Friday, 25 March 2011

Happy Friday

I recently went to have a look at the V&A's fairly new Reading Room at 8 Exhibition Road in South Kensington. It is a bookshop which incorporates a wine bar and one is very welcome to browse the shop with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine in hand. The concept is tempting but I found it slightly too cool and restrained to while away some time. The range of books though is certainly different to the average mega bookstore - so you might find yourself staying longer after all. And, every purchase supports the Victoria and Albert Museum.


Should you be in the area this evening, do go and check out the V&A itself for me please. Tonight, the museum is open till 10.00 pm and will be transformed into a theatrical wonderland where you can try on costumes or watch a play (from 18.30-22.00). Sadly I won't be able to make it, but I have visions of getting  lost amongst the props!

The V&A hosts a contemporary event on the last Friday of every month, and should you feel in a celebratory mood at the end of next month, there will be a 'streetparty with a Victorian twist ' taking place, including the all important trifle.

Have a very happy weekend!

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

On the Street

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

At the 0ffice

I could spend a small fortune on notebooks, nice pencils and utensils for my desk. I have found London company Present&Correct recently and really enjoy browsing through their online shop filled with new and vintage finds. Their stationary, desk caddies and other bits and bobs are a nice contrast to the high tech tools we use every day. And they slow us down, help to reflect if we want, which can be a nice side effect.

And today I found this:
found here
A book full of window envelopes designed for photos and collections of all these bits of important paper usually lying around the house, or you could use it as a scrapbook for your London outings, complete with labels for the date, location etc. Just what we needs!

Monday, 21 March 2011

Caramel and Seasalt

OK, that's it. I need to try this. Now!
Stumbling constantly upon recipe after recipe involving caramel or chocolate with sea salt, I must be by now the last person not to have tried this combination. I think I will go and make some of these myself. You find the recipe here and a conversion table here. So now we are all set. Tempted?

But if you feel less adventurous, go try melt in Notting Hill. They offer these Sea Salt Caramel Bonbons.

I went in there the other day and believe me, the chocolate smell is overwhelming, so much so that even a serious chocoholic might only need to inhale and be satisfied. I bought a few pralines for a friend (and keeping them in a safe till we see him, they are precious). They always have a few samples and you can go, take a wooden tray and choose with leisure, the staff leaves you to it.
Have fun!

Friday, 18 March 2011

Something for the Weekend

I was going to write about a few exhibitions for this weekend, but this event caught my eye yesterday and I thought I mention it instead. It seems mightily out of place for this time of year but all the better for it:

There is this sunny summer garden you can visit on Sunday at Leather Lane Market - sounds intriguing, doesn't it, especially on this wet Friday afternoon. It will be all about celebrating the bee and to raise awareness of the declining insect population. The Robin Collective will be transforming a derelict shop into a Garden. All things bee related will be on offer, including Honey tasting of course, craft sessions and honey based beer. I would love to check out this eco-system in East London. You can find more information here. And judging by other events this Collective has been involved in it should be quite an inspiring and quirky experience. (The Garden is open till 27th of March)

And did you know that there are quite a few London Beekeepers around these days? And a Campaign for Community Beekeeping here in London?

Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Red Nose Day

My daughter's school is probably not the first one, but here is what they came up with as a reminder for Red Nose Day tomorrow


Is it a Red Nose or the Japanese Flag?

It does not matter. 
They both need our help!

One of those days

This just rang a bell today.

With Gusto

I love cafes/coffee shops, I love to sit, read, work and watch people go by. My kids have been trained from an early age to come with me and today they are equally enthusiastic (and I am sure that the babychino and the pain au chocolat don't play a role at all).
So, wherever I go, I am usually on a quest to find a friendly, charming little place with good coffee (obviously) and nice people. Oh ja, and nice food is always a bonus! And some newspapers, good music ... well, I better stop here.
Anyway, yesterday I found this little place called Gusto, on the outskirts of Notting Hill and Bayswater, where the council estates collide with the well-off. It is very small, has lovely coffee, offers breakfast and lunch and you could sit outside, if the weather wasn't still so annoyingly cold. A nice find on a freezing Wednesday morning!


Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Going in Circles

Ever wondered why you sometimes find yourself going in circles when everything seemed so straightforward? It happens to me all the time, I can quite frequently find myself in a knot. Well, they haven't found an answer to that yet, as beautifully described by Benjamin Arthur and Robert Krulwich. See for yourself:

found via SwissMiss

Monday, 14 March 2011

The Knitting Concerts

In our London neighbourhood we are very lucky to have the Knitting Concerts, a classical concert series which takes place during the first half of every year since 2005. We love the informality of the concept, the closeness of course and above all the very good quality of the performances! The venue, the beautiful All Saints' Church, is quite intimate and therefore very appropriate.
The average Knitting Concert goer is probably between the age of 4 and 99. This makes a refreshing change to the normal suspects at these kind of concerts, although keep in mind: this is a concert with a slight difference after all! 

If you want to know how they came about, how this series got its name, please look below and read the very entertaining Knitting Concert History by its founder, Robert Bridge (go to the read more link).

The next Knitting Concert will be this coming Sunday, 20th March, 7pm, at All Saints' Church, Putney Common. Expect an evening of French and English Songs with works by Fauré, Poulenc and Quilter. Mezzo-Soprano  Clare McCaldin will be accompanied by pianist Lindy Tennent-Brown.

Sunday, 13 March 2011


According to the website all profit from this poster to benefit disaster recovery in Japan 
or go to

Friday, 11 March 2011

It's Friday

My daughter wants to go to the market at the Duke of York Square this weekend. Yesterday's picture of these yummy macarons have reminded her of the giant version you can get there. This market is less Farmer and more upmarket assembly of delicatessen stalls where you can start with breakfast, have a lovely lunch, finish with tea and take home a few oysters (it's Chelsea after all).

Since the Saatchi Gallery is right next door, we will have a look at the 2nd part of the British Art Now exhibition, which is on till 30. April 2011. Sigrid Holmwood is one of the artists whose work I would like to see. She produces her own paint, following old recipes and expanding on them. I have the feeling, her vibrant colours, already impressive on the web, will be quite extraordinary. (Will keep you posted.)

And there is the exhibition by Slinkachu. I have come across his intriguing photos of miniature-installations before but would love to see the whole story. This Urban Artist puts tiny figures into the most unlikely surroundings of a city, takes a picture and than abandons them.
"It is as easy for us to fall through cracks in the pavement in a big city as it is for the little people". The artist plays with the feeling of loneliness and abandonment, with the fine line between overlooking and ignoring. . I can certainly identify with the feeling but these installations nevertheless also put a smile on my face.
Andipa Gallery is at 'Urban Ocean' till 2nd April 2011.
Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Spring - visual note!

Dare we hope? Yesterday was beautiful but still quite cold - and made me crave colour even more. So I roamed the web for some inspiration.

This one is lovely, but semi man made, therefore not quite there yet:


This one is a beautiful project, but it is a bit desperate, we have not given up hope yet:

This one I should put on my wall, but it is too serious for me today:

This one made me hungry:

But this one made me happy. Found it just outside our front door!


Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Wallace Part II

Here fashion designer Vivienne Westwood talks about how the Wallace Collection inspires her collections. It is in my view a very nice example of just how timeless art can be, how its influence will fluctuate through centuries, but can change perspectives and inspire again and again.

This youtube video, which I found through visitlondon, is apparently done by Creative Spaces, but I could not find any trace of it apart from this note here. Any tip is welcome.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Wallace Part I


The Wallace Collection is another world only 5 min from Oxford Street. It is a Family collection in a former private home and opened to the public 110 years ago.

The new exhibition "Esprit et Vérité: Watteau and his Circle" opens on Saturday, 12th March and lasts till Sunday 5th June 2011 and is viewed as a perfect accompaniment to the Watteau exhibition at the Royal Academy of Art which will open at the same time.

Personally, I love such small museums. You are less overwhelmed by the often amazing amount of art on display. I feel you can give more justice to individual pieces and still know that you might just be able to see and enjoy all or most of them on display.
You can pop in and revisit your favourite piece and enjoy the familiarity of it. Kids may feel less intimidated (the rooms are quite stately, but not huge), and I am sure that this heroic knight could be the perfect enticement for some:


The museum has a few family activities, among them a drop-in art workshop on every first Sunday of each month. And, entry is free.

An added bonus is definitely The Wallace, the Courtyard Restaurant, bright and inviting (covered, dry and warm).


Here the brasserie serves breakfast, lunch, French afternoon tea or a quick coffee from 10am-5pm and dinner on Friday and Saturday evening (although by then the museum is sadly closed).

P.S. Jean-Antoine Watteau (1884-1721)

Friday, 4 March 2011

Something for the Weekend

Love these boisterous yet delicate maps by Julie from Famille Summerbell. It's a hand paper cut. And here you can admire the work that goes into it. Incredible.

found here

Fulham Palace is something of a local for us and we love the place and its fairly recent transformation. The palace and grounds really come into their own in spring and summer, and I will revisit, but for now go and take the family on a Roman Tour this weekend. My son went with his class today and came back enthusiastic, dirty (they have been digging for Roman treasure ) and full of stories about the Romans and the Tudors, all mixed into one great piece of history. The so-called Roman Drop-In is this Sunday from 2-3.30, its free and no booking required. More information here.

The Disappearing Dining Club seems to tick all the right boxes for the London adventurer within us all. Their Dinner Dance this Saturday will be staged in a hidden, refurbished railway arch in Farringdon. You can find more information here.

Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, 3 March 2011

World Book Day

It's World Book Day (well, only in the UK and Ireland that is - the organisers want it to happen during term time to make the most of this opportunity to celebrate books and reading. The rest of the world will celebrate this UNESCO initiative on 23rd April).

It is really quite established over here. Most schools dedicate at least one day to this event, others have a whole book week, including dressing up as your favourite character. Which will proof to be quite a challenge this year. My son was the knight from the lovely book 'The Kiss That Missed' by David Melling for two consecutive years (or was it three?).

He is now adamant to be a Lego Ninja, we just need to find the book that goes with it. Any ideas?

My all-time favourite London book for kids has to be 'This Is London' by Miroslav Sasek. It is quite timeless. As is his book about Britain.

 To keep within the London theme I have found this very interesting book

'Still Open' is about all the traditional shops, that have managed to stay open. One can see it as a guide book with a difference, a lovely photography book, a charming history of London - and just be surprised and happy that these shops still exist!
Thank you Chocoralie for this tip.

And to finish this day, here is my very short list of London Novels. Feel free to add - I am still reading.

Brick Lane by Monica Ali
London Fields by Martin Amis
Saturday by Ian McEwan
Night Watch by Sarah Waters
Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

For the (London) Home

Let's stay inside. After all, the weather is miserable and I had to get my gloves back out of the cupboard where I had so optimistically put them already.

Here are some furniture designs that took my fancy, just in case you feel like reinventing your room, your home, well, all sorts of reasons to indulge ...

Humbly called the AP stool, this beautiful piece of furniture was designed by London based Japanese designer Shin Azumi and made out of one single piece of plywood.  Its stackability is an added bonus!  And calling it a Fortune Cookie as did Natalia over at Shoebox Dwelling, where I found it, does describe it particularly well. "Fun and Function" is what Azumi's studio is looking for. I do think they found it here.

This piece of furniture already has a very fitting name, the 'Penguin Donkey 2', designed by British designer Ernest Race in 1963. And I can imagine all sorts of places in my house where it could be put to good use.

I now feel quite inspired and will check out The Modern Danish Warehouse Pop-up-shop this weekend (it runs from the 5th - 20th March in Chelsea/SW3) with Midcentury Danish Furniture, including Vintage School. I have not come across them before, so will let you know soon. I do not hope to find a bargain, especially in this location, but a girl can wish, no?