Monday, 31 October 2011

Happy Halloween


Sunday, 30 October 2011

V&A - The Power of Making

V&A exhibition about the power of making 
till 2 January 2012

The exhibition is showing works by amateurs and leading makers. Will have to have a look this week and find out about the V&A interpretations.

I find this picture already amazing. Can you spot the alphabet? (you probably have to check out the original website pic). 

Visual Note - London

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found here via

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Half Term

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Have a lovely Half Term!

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Wapping Project

found here

What was once a Hydraulic Power Station is now a gallery, bookshop, event space and restaurant. The building itself is only transformed by light, art and drama "an idea, consistently in transition". Not much has been done to alter this impressive industrial building, you will still find the old machinery, green with age, holding their own in this inspirational environment. It was closed down in 1977 and only re-opened in 2000.
Since moving West I have not been back for years now and it is definitely time to re-visit Wapping Project (situated somewhere between the City and Canary Wharf), its art and its food. They do have a very yummy looking menu, and special offers for table for 9. Check it out here and here

found here

Monday, 17 October 2011

Just a Thought

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found here via

Visual Note - V&A Museum


Sunday, 16 October 2011

Big Book

Amazing approach to children's fairy tales by Mao Fujimoto (one of the winners of the Mitsubishis Junior Designer Award). Interactive, touchable and literally drawing you inside the story. Read more here and here. A serious competition to digital books, I think.

Alice in Wonderland

Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Urashima Taro

all via

Friday, 14 October 2011

Sunday Cafe


Found a lovely, new independent coffee shop in a nice little cobbled area off New Bond Street, called "Everbean" - very relaxed style compared to the racy glitz just down the road. It's on Avery Row, which is part of a nice tiny Quartier with a few more small but sophisticated shops and restaurants (it is Mayfair after all), and around the corner from the Handel House, if you like to fit in some culture, too.

Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Visual Note - London

found here

Wednesday, 12 October 2011


And still on the subject : tutoring at home begins right here


English Education - Part 1

I just come back from the shops and yet another chat with a desperate mother trying to stay on top of London schooling. I know how she feels. Pre Prep was relatively easy, now we that we are entering the next stage I need to learn a whole new set of words or better abbreviations that refer to tests and more tests.

I have the distinct feeling that the educational system here is ignoring childhood in general and the different pace in development quite a bit. Recently the government has implemented a kind of toddler testing in nursery, swamping kindergartens with even more paperwork ....  But then, the whole educational system has quite a few exams and tests on offer:

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Going the private road, kids have to sit assessments for various independent schools, lasting from 1 to up to 3 days (when they are 6/7 and at any age depending when they want or need to move). Under the National Curriculum all pupils will be tested in Literacy, Numeracy and Science around the age of 10/11, called Sats or ITC (the government is reviewing this approach at the moment). Then there is the 11+ exam, taken by students in their last year of primary education as a type of admission for different secondary schools, mainly in the private sector and some Grammar schools.
GCSE tests are taken at the age of 14/15. The government had introduced another round of tests for the 11/12 year olds, which they abandoned recently due to problems with the marking procedure (but I am quite sure they are already thinking of something else, or maybe the next government ...).
During the last two years of school, if you decide to stay on after the GCSE, the kids can now choose between A levels, IB, Cambridge Pre-U or a mixture of it all, depending on the private school (I had a few interesting chats about this with some heads recently). All these may or may not lead to University (again, who will except what is not always clear).

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This can all be very confusing and quite stressful for kids (and parents). London especially is a hothouse when it comes to education and schools. A lot of parents pay for extra tuitions for their kids on top of an already quite intense school timetable.

Of course and apart from all this, there is the question of which school to choose, which road to go: Private or State, Boarding, Grammar or Church or (very new) Free Schools - oh, and: co-ed or single sex schools.

Sometimes I think we need a degree in education to muddle through! I am not sure I got it all right yet, but as you can tell, I am learning.

And there I thought years ago I will go and choose the school with the nicest uniform! (but was immediately told, still breastfeeding, to get the kids on several school waiting lists, pronto).

On the plus side, a lot of schools are trying very hard to find a balance between demands made by the government, parents and the needs of the children. The challenge is to find the right school for your kid (and your purse!).

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Tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember, involve me and I understand.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Visual Note - Harvest Festival II


Apple crumble has become part of our staple diet since, believe it or not, we have a lovely apple tree in our London Garden. Try sprinkling chocolate flakes over the apples before your put the crumble on (we always double the crumble amount from the receipt since we have some family members who prefer just that), or mix the crumble with some marzipan or almonds ..... Hmmmm

found here

Visual Note - Harvest Festival I

Friday, 7 October 2011

For your (and my) diary

Here are some dates for your diary - I normally feel like chasing my tail trying not to miss out or actually learn about an event when it's already sold out or finished - so from time to time I am ahead of myself .... just:

Gerhard Richter at the Tate Modern (till 8 January)

found here

Rem Koolhaas' architecture practise at the Barbican Art Gallery with OMA/Progress (till 19 February) - the first major exhibition by the Office of Metropolitan Architecture in the UK.

Frieze Contemporary Art Fair (13.-16. October) 

found here

Cheese & Wine Festival (14.-16. October) at the Southbank Centre Square, behind the Royal Festival Hall. 
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London Film Festival (12.-27. October) and the Young Film Festival (8.-13 November)

found here

and much, much more ...... Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Cycle Apps for London

Here are a couple of useful apps to help you cycle around London. Cycle Hire app tracks down Boris Hire Bikes and available free docking spaces etc. The Cyclestreets app helps planning your journey, for beginners or regular commuters.

Have Fun!

Monday, 3 October 2011

London prepares for 2012


Boris Bikes (rental bikes a la Paris, named after the current mayor) will probably be transport of choice till the Olympics, and possibly during the event, too - London is one big building site. The rent-a-bike idea is lovely, though still quite dangerous in a city where cars are not used to watch out for bikes and bike lanes a few and far between. 
There is some light at the horizon though: 4 Super Highways for bikes have recently opened, they are wider and painted a light blue. At least it is a start, and more are being planned.

found here