London by Boat

Living in London you can become quite blasé about just how beautiful this city is. Easily done, but easily fixed. I try to travel all different ways around the city, even if it takes a bit longer than the tube being above ground has some wonderful benefits. You rarely end up with your face in someone else’s arm pit for one!! On the way home yesterday we decided to get the Thames Clipper back to Greenwich instead of the overground. It’s a bit more expensive, and if you suffer from motion sickness like me it can be tricky – but once you get to see London without any obstructions (or traffic!) it’s worth it.

Image

Image

Image

Seriously, I didn’t even edit in big ben’s outline to this – it was just reflected on the window to give a wonderful effect – I didn’t even notice till I was reviewing the images after!

Image

If you tire of admiring the view, why not be an absolute poser like me & admire a beautiful bouquet from a loved one!

ImageThe ‘Harry Potter’ bridge, as most people call it! But with no Voldemort in sight it is still wonderfully intact.

Image

There are many tourist boats that you can board from near Big Ben, The London Eye, Embankment Pier, Tower Bridge,  but the clipper continues down to Canary Wharf, Greenwich and Woolwich, as it is a primarily a commuter boat. Grab a ticket, head down the dock, put down your iPhone and just enjoy the view! xoxo

Valentino – Master of Couture Exhibition

On Valentine’s Day we got tickets to see the Valentino – Master of Couture Exhibition at Somerset House.  It was simply beautiful, well structured and insightful into a world I know very little about. Aside from the standard – ‘ooh, ahh pretty dresses’ that it evoked, it showed the incredible artistry and skill involved in the making of these stunning pieces. Photos weren’t technically allowed inside the exhibition, but I managed to snap a few with my iPhone from behind my programme… So if they aren’t perfect, I apologise!

Image

ImageImage

 Image

Image

Image

One of my favourite dresses from the exhibition – S/S 1998 White taffeta hand-painted evening gown. (Above)

Image

ImageImageImage

Image

One that was highlighted several times throughout the exhibition – Designed in 1955, released in 1990. White rebrode lace evening town with pink degrade chiffon drape detailing. A tribute to Mexican Actress Maria Felix. (Above)Image

Image

 Throughout the catwalk all the seats are reserved for famous actresses/iconic figures that have worn Valentino. Spotted one for a lovely friend… (Above)

ImageAt the end there was a film discussing Valentino the man & the brand over the years with interviews from his colleagues, closest friends and the man himself.

Even if you haven’t a clue about fashion you’ll love the glamour & artistry on show from start to finish. You can book tickets at http://www.somersethouse.org.uk/visual-arts/valentino Open : 29th November 2012 – 3rd March 2013. Enjoy! xoxo

Valentine’s Borough Market

Well Valentine’s Day has been & gone while you may be heaving a great sigh of relief – I had an absolutely lovely day in London! I’ll try and hold back on the soppy/cheesy stuff, so here goes… We started the day with freshly baked croissants and cuddles with the puppy before heading out to Borough Market! Borough Market is next to London Bridge station & is simply the best London has to offer when it comes to fresh produce. Bread, coffee, cheese, fish, cakes, vegan, gluten-free. If you want it – they’ll have the finest of it! It’s one of those places that is always on ‘Top 10 Places to go in London’ lists, and with good reason!

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

I was then steered over to my favourite Florist, Chez Michelle to pick up a beautiful bouquet that would result in me getting jealous glares everywhere we went for the rest of the day!

Image

Image

Image

Image

I am quite picky when it comes to flowers & I’m really not a fan of a dozen red roses, so he (cleverly) got me a stunning English Country Garden style bouquet – which is much more ‘me’. Then onto lunch…

I had Pulled Pork from a hole-in-the-wall place that was wonderful, if highly un-romantic and messy… but hey, a girl wants what a girl wants!

Image

Image

If you need a quick, cheap and delicious lunch, there is plenty on offer! Don’t except to find a seat though – grab a wall to lean on or a curb and enjoy! My date had a Fish Finger Sandwich & Chips from Fish Kitchen – they have a restaurant in Borough Market too! He said the fish was incredible but the chips weren’t the best he’s had in London.

 Image

Image

Image

Image

Grab a cool drink, a corner or side to lean on & enjoy! Check the picture below for opening times…

Image

And don’t forget to look up…

Image

A Chorus Line

After seeing A Chorus Line last night my faith in musical theatre has been restored. I realise that may sound dramatic but as an audience we have been forced to accept second rate performances from C-List pop stars that can’t even dream to sing the score accurately. Time and time again we have had to sit through this & not to mention that the only musicals opening are juke-box trash that has been churned out with no real thought. Of course, ‘Matilda the Musical’ is the exception to this horrific rule. I find myself seeing more & more plays in the hope of seeing something truthful and only seeing the musicals once the pop star has been replaced or when I get offered free tickets. I’ve loved musical theatre since I was a little girl & have spent countless hours singing into the mirror dreaming of being those characters, so for me I felt continually let down by this art form which once filled me with such joy. Yet last night, all that joy I felt as a child rushed back hearing these songs I know so well being executed perfectly. If you’ve ever dreamt of being on the stage then you will continually identify with these characters as they tell their stories of how they got into show business and how hard it is to stick it out. Every single person on that stage is pouring their heart & soul into these characters and you can see it from the moment they enter. Whoever said if you are in musical theatre you can’t act? Well not this time, honest, truthful & heartfelt performances on some very difficult subjects. Stand out performances came from Ed Currie as Bobby who has comic timing to die for and kept the audience in the palm of his hand throughout his long and at times bizarre monologue explaining his strange tendencies as a child and Victoria Hamilton-Barritt as Diana who was a joy to watch, giving one of the most truthful performances of the night. Musical theatre at it’s best, and not a re-hashed pop song in sight! I hope dearly that this show stays around in it’s beautiful home, The London Palladium, for a long run! Now excuse me, while I sing and dance around my living room… A 5,6,7,8.

Image

You can book to see A Chorus Line at The London Palladium and find out more at www.achoruslinelondon.com or Follow them on twitter @AChorusLineLDN

SuperBowl Sunday Corn Bread Recipe

Well SuperBowl Sunday is finally here! The perfect excuse to eat way too much food & marvel at Beyonce performing live at the half time show! It won’t all kick off until 11pm here due to the time difference, but that’s not stopping us!

In the mean time I thought i’d make my home-made Corn Bread that is always a hit! I searched for ages for a great recipe that is authentic yet not too sickly sweet like most American recipes are. After trying out loads (what a horrible job!), I adapted one & it always comes out perfectly.

This recipe is for a small loaf that could easily serve 3-4 people. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C.

Ingredients

115g Fine Cornmeal
190g Flour
1 Egg
55g Butter
55g Sugar
240ml Milk
1/2 Tsp Salt
2 Tsp Baking Powder

Image

Image

This really is the easiest recipe ever, just chuck it all in the food processor or into a large bowl & mix until it becomes a smooth batter.

Image

Once mixed add it to a greased loaf tin and tap it on the counter till it’s even & flat. Pop it in the oven for 25 minutes on the middle shelf. Don’t be tempted to open the oven door until the very last minute as it will sink & leave a rather disappointing loaf! Check that it’s cooked through with a skewer, if not put it back in for another 5 or until cooked through & springy.

Image

Turn the loaf out & allow to cool on a rack before slicing up!

ImageServe with a cool glass of Dr.Pepper, some BBQ pulled pork or a home-made burger & fries. For minimal effort you have an authentic southern american side-dish to serve while you cheer on Beyonce your favourite team!

Enjoy! xoxo

Brockley Market

While our studio is always busy at the weekends, we had our first client in at 1pm today, so managed to sneak out to Brockley Market this morning for a few treats before all the hard work began!

Brockley Market is a great little food market in the Lewisham College car park every Saturday with some of the best food stalls in the country! Many of the van’s & stalls are run by the most incredible chefs that can be found in some of London’s top restaurants come evening! But by day they are all serving up their specialities to eager queues, with the best ingredients London has to offer.

Image

Lot’s of people say, London can be quite a difficult place to find a sense of community in as everyones rushing around avoiding eye-contact at all costs. But not here, everywhere you look are happy families & friends meeting to catch up on the weeks events & try some of whats on offer each week.

This week I tried Fleisch Mob serving up ‘Austrian street food, London style’ all by Mark Edwards. Having spent a little of my childhood in Munich, any Bavarian food is a hit with me!

Image

Image

Naturally, I went right for the Schnitzel! It’s served in Rye Sourdough with a homemade berry compote & rocket. Yum. I haven’t had Schnitzel since I was about 10 years old, so it had an awful lot to live up to! Every order is made fresh for you while you wait, and while you do, you can have a little look round at what else is on offer. Don’t forget to bring a little extra cash, as unless you have the willpower of a saint, there is no way you are walking past some of these stalls without taking it all home! Image

Image

That last shot is of Kooky Bakes, all i’m saying (for now) is they sell Smores Whoopie Pies… No seriously. I think we all know what my blog will be about next week!

Anyway… Back to the schnitzel! Once cooked it is assembled beautifully onto the Rye & wrapped in Brown Paper, then cut in two! By this point it all smells so delicious I can’t wait.

Image

Image

The sandwich was perfectly balanced, the berry compote added a lovely sweetness and with the Schnitzel cooked to perfection, what more could you want? If you want to know more about Fleisch Mob or any of the other things on the menu then you can check out http://www.fleischmob.co.uk or follow them at @FleischMob!
ImageOther favourites of mine & John’s are Mother Flipper Burgers (which John get’s every time we go)! I honestly don’t think I’ve ever had a better burger in my life. Definitely one to try when you visit. You can follow them on Twitter @MotherFlipperUK

Image

 We also tried Fish Dogs bite size Cinnamon ‘Dog-Nuts’, which were light as air & served with a salted caramel sauce! Absolutely delish! Fish Dogs usually serve posh Fish Finger sandwiches/dogs, something to try definitely! You can follow them on Twitter @Fish_Dogs

Image

Image

Image

Brockley Market is a lovely place to spend your Saturday morning with friends & definitely worth a little trip across the river if you aren’t local! It’s open 10am-2pm every weekend, but getting there early is always recommended as some of the more popular food stalls tend to run out in the last hour! You can also check on Twitter which of the food stalls are going to be there in advance if you are eager to catch one i’ve mentioned @BrockleyMarket.

February 1st… You know what that means…

February 1st if often met with great sigh’s of relief that at last we are free of January’s dull days spent waiting for pay-day & attempting to stick at all those well meaning new year’s resolutions. But it also means one thing is approaching… Valentines Day. Whether you are newly loved up, in a long-term relationship or looking for that person to sweep you off your feet this February 14th, we are all feeling more than a little stressed over this glorified Hallmark holiday!

If you are in a state of panic & frantically googling ‘Top 10 Things to Do on Valentine’s Day in London’ then here’s a little restaurant recommendation that might help you start to feel a little less stressed about the dreaded day!

Last year we decided to go to the beautiful and romantic Bob Bob Ricard in Soho. They serve ‘a luxury English and Russian menu to its eclectic clientele’, says the website. And it certainly does. You sit in these gorgeous booths surrounded by gold plated…well, everything! The service is incredible & the menu is to die for. After being greeted at our table by, one of the Bob’s and given a Rhubarb G&T on the house (Tweeting where you are isn’t always a bad idea!) we were set up for a beautiful evening of great food & lovely company. And hey, any place with a ‘Press for Champagne’ button, is alright by me!

You can find out more about Bob Bob Ricard at http://www.bobbobricard.com & you can follow them on Twitter @BobBobRicard

Image

Image

Image

This year, i’m hoping for a quiet night in with some beautiful food & just enjoying each others company. And maybe a lovely hand-tied bouquet wouldn’t go a miss… xoxo

Image