Thursday, 30 June 2011

Serpentine Pavillon

From tomorrow the Serpentine Gallery in Hyde Park will have a new pavillon for the summer, this time designed by Swiss architect Peter Zumthor (open till 16 October 2011) with a secluded sanctuary garden by Piet Oudolf.

This rather monastic take on the Serpentine Pavillon does look slightly uninviting from the outside, but makes one curious to find out more ....  I will go searching.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011


We have reached the 2nd week of Wimbledon and after a really wet first week, they had the hottest day of the year yesterday. And there is no breeze on Centre Court. If you did not get a ticket, don't fancy sitting on Murray Mount, than there is still the option of open air screening around London. At the Duke of York Square they will show the final 3 days, other places cover the whole 2 weeks. You can find out more here.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Bookworm II

I just love this concept (check out my other bookworm post here)

I'm sorry, I can't remember, where I found them

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Not just a recipe

beet cake from tiger in a jar on Vimeo.

Just love the beauty and simplicity of this. Baking is an art form! We just made it this morning - still warm, but a nice cake to celebrate a rare summer's day, I think. (Will update you later with the result, but the colour did look amazing already) Thank you Tiger in a Jar.

And here is the result, very yummy, fluffy and moist at the same time. We liked it and the kids did, too (I did not tell them that we put beet root in)

grey or green

And if you are not familiar with the American cup measurement  you find in the recipe on the website, I used:

250g Butter
270 packed dark brown sugar
3 eggs
half a pack of chocolate
4 medium sized beet root
240 g flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract


Saturday, 25 June 2011

Afternoon Tea

Since the weather is still quite unpredictable this weekend, what about afternoon tea at The Orangery  - it's inside, so you won't get wet, but with lovely views over Kensington Gardens. (Well, one could of course also stay at home,  turn on the heating and watch an old film ..)

Plate of food

The Orangery at Kensington Palace

Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Summer in the City

a Seine-side holiday 

found here

 Bundespressestrand in Berlin

found here

Southbank Beach, London
lost for words

London does a lot of things really well, summer is not one of them, I'm afraid.
But, it's all in the mind, right?

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

London Walks

I found these illustrated walks on the Guardian website. Check them out there, they are a bit difficult to make out on my blog. I have done the Tate to Tate walk but find the Highgate one quite intriguing. I have been there once before, but realised I need to go again after reading Audrey Niffenegger's "Fearful Symmetry", which is basically all about the cemetery and some of its inhabitants and neigbours. It is a captivating place, and after having visited the resting places of quite a few famous people, one starts looking at other graves and wonders about their history .... and stories then do come easily ...

Visual Note

dreaming ...

found here 

Monday, 20 June 2011

A Pool on the Thames?!

Check out the project here and pledge, if you like what you see. (via SwissMiss)

Some inspired people are planning this fantastic pool for New York. Wouldn't it be nice if we could duplicate it for next years Olympic (and beyond) here in London. Look e.g. at Berlin's floating pool, the 'Badeschiff'. They just make you so much more aware of that we live next to water! And it might make us think more about how to use the river AND how to care for it. So, could we now have this pool in our capital, please!

This is the Berlin Pool on the river Spree. During winter, it is transformed into an indoor pool complete with sauna! Just a thought.
Pool in the River

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Visual Note

found here via

Friday, 17 June 2011

It's Friday - and it's raining

Not sure the sun will make it through the clouds today. Actually, only Sunday looks slightly more promising. 

But you could brighten your weekend with a few books

found here

or be creative

found here

and go to theArtist drop-in drawing session at the National Portrait Gallery  tonight from 18.30-19.15 (all material provided) whilst listening to musicians from the Brit School. 

Whatever you do - have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Cabin fever

I don't get around London as much as I would like at the moment. We had 2 weeks of sick children (they are falling like flies, succumbing to the tummy bug at school), and because of A level and GCSE exams there is a definite shortage of babysitters. And on top of this and unforeseen circumstances we are missing a secret supper club this Saturday. I was so keen to try out this (well, not so ) latest London craze.

People with a love for cooking and entertaining invite you to their home and cook for you - that's basically it. There are, of course, variations to the theme these days, from highly professional to simple and straight forward, from very expensive to "bring your own wine and a tenner". I was introduced to this concept via The London Foodie, where you can find out more, whilst I have to wait for another opportunity - or start one myself, since I can hardly leave the house or choose my own entertainment because ...

... the next weeks will be dominated by school activities: we will have Parents Suppers and BBQs, Sports Days, Concerts, School Fetes and Plays. So I will at least be able to get my fare share of the good old Pimm's, the ultimate British Summer Drink:

#Pimms o'clock

Take a slice of orange, lemon and cucumber per person, one sprig of mint and add to two parts lemonade to one parts Pimms. Add some ice and enjoy - preferably in the sun whilst pretending to watch the cricket / the string quartet / the other parents / the relay .....

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Potato Salad

When I grew up I remember that at BBQs we normally had a choice between Cucumber salad, a Greek salad, if we were lucky and definitely a Potato salad. Normally with lots of mayonnaise. Later on a platter of Tomato and Mozzarella was refinement par excellence. 
For me, the combined smell of burned sausages, freshly cut grass and salad of sorts is the smell of sommer. 

Well, this is all in the past and these days a BBQ can easily represent a gourmet walk around the world -lovely!

But check out these Summer Salads recipes. Simple yet tasty looking and among them a lovely take (with an amazing picture) on the common potato salad, just discovered via Jane's blog on Sweet Paul, a digital magazine on food and other lovely things. A great find!.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

What they really mean

As an Expat, living in London and married to a man with English as his 2nd language, I have had my fair share of misunderstandings - some funny, some hilarious, some resulting in sulking and no good night kiss (and yes, I know there is the added difficulty of understanding the opposite sex). I am only slowly getting to grips with the subtleties of the English Language.  To top it all, whilst the Germans favour a quite direct approach, the English are masters in disguising an altogether different meaning behind polite probing or, on occasions, even saying the totally opposite.

Here are some examples:

"With the greatest respect ..."     You are talking utter rubbish!

" And by the way / incidentally..."   Now we come to the main purpose of our discussion!

"Very interesting ..."   I don't agree!

"Quite nice..." Not too bad!

"I'll bear it in mind ..."  I will do nothing about it!

"I'm sure it's my fault..."  It's your fault!

"That is an original point of view ..."  You must be crazy!

"This is not entirely helpful ..."  Completely useless!

"Your suggestion just needs some fine-tuning ..."  I have a better idea!

"I was a bit disappointed..."  Actually, I was annoyed!

"I am bemused..."  Actually I am at a loss, confused, bewildered


Monday, 13 June 2011

Something for a Monday Morning

Something for the heart on this very bleary Monday morning. A late Beethoven played by the fantastic Artemis Quartett

Utterly modern and experimental!  

We missed them recently, but they are coming back to the Wigmore Hall this December. 

Friday, 10 June 2011

Open Garden Squares Weekend

Ever walked passed these lovely, but very private Garden Squares in London and felt a bout of "this is so unfair" setting in? Some are like a secret oasis, others look elegant or like fun and even have tennis courts and swings. All that is missing is a key!

This coming weekend, some of these gardens will open to the public all over London and here are some examples:

Hammersmith Sunken Garden
Sunken Garden in Hammersmith

Emery Walker's House
Emery Walker's House W6

Holland House Garden
Holland House Garden 

The Hill Garden and Pergola
The Hill Garden and Pergola NW3
all pictures from OGS website

All the information you need for a wander you will find on the Open Garden Squares Website. Go and discover.

But if you need a bit more exercise and excitement, the World Naked Bike Ride, a peaceful demonstration against oil dependency and car culture, and a symbol of the vulnerability of the cyclist in traffic is coming to London this Saturday!

And if this sounds like an odd combination for a weekend just remember, it's London after all.

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Visual Note

to get here

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Tea Ahoy (for wanting of a better title)

In keeping with the maritime spirit: I found this paper maché teacup by Ann Wood over at Tea for Joy and love the 'Britishness' of it.

 ship teacup

You will even find a whole tutorial and pattern on her website if you feel creatively inclined. 

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Love the River

Very, very slowly London is discovering that there is a lovely river flowing right through. Till recently even houses built next to the Thames hardly acknowledged the fact that there was a river and made something of the setting and the view. And when it comes to transport the river is still very undeveloped. There is for example a river boat service from Putney in West London to Blackfriars in the City but really only for early commuters (the morning run has the last boat at 8.00), and for a couple of hours in the evening. East of the city it looks a bit better (check here), but still, it is a shame not to make more out of this water way (I am thinking Stockholm ...) 

eugenia barinova

But maybe the Queen's Diamond Jubilee will shake thing up a bit. Next year, Sunday 3 June 2012, will see 1000 boats (not quite sure if this is a printing error, I thing, they are aiming for it) travelling between Putney and Wandsworth in a procession headed by the Queen's Royal Barge. And you too can register your vessel here. Start building that raft now!

Monday, 6 June 2011

Dance at the Tate

found here

The Michael Clark Company is at the Tate Modern this week. They will use the amazingly monumental Turbine Hall for a world premier involving movement, film, light and sound.
It is on Wednesday till Sunday, always quite late though, mostly starting at 21.30. Check here for times and booking.

I just love this site and still remember when the museum first opened. People walked down the ramp , open mouthed and starring up. It is a fantastic site for a project like this and a real challenge to do this space justice!

found here

Thursday, 2 June 2011

On Holiday

Till next week!

Wednesday, 1 June 2011


Our local bookstore is part of  Waterstone's which now belongs to Russian Oligarch Alexander Mamut. For quite a while they managed to make the store fairly welcoming, supported by a very knowledgeable and helpful staff. The store recently had a makeover and now looks anything but inviting. Too many cards for every occasion on the ground floor and a new cheap looking colour scheme. What were they thinking? And now I read that the new head James Daunt wants "your Waterstones's to feel like your local bookshop, not a chain." Please start soon, because at the moment, it feels anything but!

And luckily, there are still some very good examples around, like e.g. Nomad on Fulham Road, small, but welcoming, and where you feel you can spend time alone or with your kids, browsing, planing a vacation or getting inspired over coffee and cake. 

grey or green

grey or green

You can find out more about them here

“Bookstores help create community for people in the places where they live. People may think they can live online, but in reality they live in real towns and cities, and physical bookstores help to enrich those places.”