On Sunday we spent the afternoon wandering around Bloomsbury. You’d never have known it was the last weekend before Christmas as there was nobody about! It was delightfully empty which gave me an opportunity to practice taking photos.
I’m the type of person who just points and clicks my little camera. Until this weekend I had no clue about composition or light but with a few simple tips I already feel more in control behind the screen. Any feedback on the photos or photography tips in general would be appreciated.
It’s been a quiet weekend on the whole, bar a walk around Bloomsbury that you’ll read more about tomorrow, a quick visit to the British Museum and a few drinks at home on Saturday night. I’ve spent the majority of this weekend catching up with some favourite blogs and indulging in the ultimate pre-Christmas activity – circling the programmes I want to watch in the TV guide! Midsomer Murders, Mrs Brown’s Boys and celebrity University Challenge are all on my list.
A few Instagram snapshots from my weekend:
L-R: British Museum; Netflix fire video; University Challenge
London museum of the week
The Charles Dickens museum is the only attraction that I’m aware of that is open in London on Christmas Day. The museum is a Georgian terraced property in Bloomsbury that Dickens called home between 1837 and 1839.
Tickets for the Charles Dickens museum on Christmas Day will set you back £18 but you will (supposedly) be transported back to Dickensian London for the price. Expect film screenings, authentic decorations and naturally readings of the author’s Christmas stories.
Is there anything better on a lazy Saturday morning than French toast for breakfast? How about French toast that takes a mere five minutes to prepare?
My French toast recipe is simple and easy to make. Serve it with leftover berries or get adventurous with whatever combination of toppings you prefer. Some of my favourites include Nutella and banana, peanut butter and strawberry jam, fresh lemon juice and sugar, cinnamon and maple syrup and vanilla sugar. For those of you who prefer savoury to sweet I’d recommend Marmite with cheddar cheese on top or with a fried egg and a slice or two of bacon (never tried that myself but it sure does smell good).
French toast recipe for two
Four slices of challah
One tablespoon of oil
One teaspoon caster sugar
Sprinkle of cinnamon
Method Slice four thick slices of challah, or any other white bread going spare. Brioche works well as does anything that has turned stale.
In a wide shallow bowl hand whisk two eggs with a teaspoon of sugar and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Soak a slice of challah in the eggy mixture on both sides. Repeat for the last three slices.
Heat one tablespoon of oil on a high heat in a frying pan. I like to use rapeseed oil but it doesn’t matter too much – just stay away from oils with a heavy flavour like olive oil. Carefully place each slice of challah in the pan, turning after two minutes.
When the challah is looking golden brown plate up. Top the French toast with berries and drizzle with honey. Serve warm.
I grew up with eggy bread and only heard it described as French toast when I started to see it appear on breakfast menus. Since then I’ve discovered new ways to make French toast, including Smitten Kitchen’s boozy french toast recipe.
Battersea Power Station, Wandsworth (c) Battersea Power Station
It’s Open House London this weekend so head out and explore some of the capital’s amazing architecture.
Be inspired by Modernist homes and Victorian buildings. Take a look around Battersea Power Station one last time before it is developed into fancy pants apartments or head underground to Churchill’s original bunker in Neasden.
There are so many places I want to visit so I’m going to have to narrow them down to a select few. I fancy the Lloyd’s of London building, the Bank of England and Bells and Belfries at St Botolph Aldgate. I love the City of London, especially on a Sunday when it is eerily quiet, so I’ll be walking the back streets to get to each destination.
A month ago in the heart of British summertime I went to see the free Nicholas Hawksmoor photography exhibition at Somerset House. Nicholas Hawksmoor was an English architect who is best known today as the man behind a number of London’s churches.
I rather like churches. I find many quite scary inside, especially when there are few people around and an echo is rumbling around the large open spaces, but that’s my imagination running away with me. From the outside I marvel at the architecture and if there is a bell tower I’m always enticed to step inside.
Hélène Binet is an architectural photographer who according to Daniel Libeskind ‘exposes architecture’s achievements, strength, pathos and fragility’ every time she takes a photograph. Once again my knowledge of photography is minimal but I must admit this statement rings true – the fragility of the churches certainly came through in the photographs.
I walked around the exhibition with a sense of amazement although I can’t articulate why. One question I asked myself was what does their London location add? Even to an uneducated eye these churches are magnificent in their own right, but what they add to the history and architecture of London increases their importance. Knowing that these churches influenced other architects and their future London masterpieces as well as realising that his work has appeared in the literature of T.S. Eliot, Charles Dickens and Alan Bennett (amongst others) elevates their standing in contemporary London further.
Only 12 of the 50 churches were ever completed, eight of which were designed by Hawksmoor. The exhibition might have come to an end but seven of the buildings are still standing today:
St Anne’s Limehouse
St George’s Bloomsbury
Christ Church Spitalfields
St Luke, Old Street in Finsbury
St Mary Woolnoth in the City
St Alfege in Greenwich
I quickly created a Google Map to give you an idea of the distance between each Church. If you fancy a walk that takes you to the London Wall, lets you stop for beigels at the Brick Lane bakery and really stretches your legs this could be quite a nice one. Perhaps leave St Alfege in Greenwich for another day and take the time to hike up Greenwich Park too to get a great view over the city of London while you are in the area.
Somerset House is a beautiful building located on the Northbank of the River Thames. Until 1775 it was a Tudor Palace but today it is a neo-classical building and ‘an inspiring space for art, culture and creative exchange’.
When a building is this beautiful on the outside it is a shame at times to be confined to the inside. This is why I love how they use the outdoor space in different seasons, with open-air cinema screenings and water fountains in the summer, and London’s most romantic ice rink in the winter.
Over the next few days I’m going to blog about the inside, specifically three different exhibitions I attended recently. On the hottest day of the year and between numerous breaks for iced coffee I explored: Nicholas Hawksmoor: Methodical Imaginings; Blumenfeld Studio: New York 1941 – 1960 and Miles Aldridge: I Only Want You to Love Me.
I’ll do my best to translate my mesmerised thoughts into articulate prose over the next couple of days. Please feel free to chip in with your comments too – I’ll update the blog with your thoughts.
Much earlier this year (I know, im a little late with this one) I went to VOC in Kings Cross. Described as ‘a modern day interpretation of a Punch House inspired by the Dutch East India Company’ they have tried their best with the decor and menu, but the interpretation was a little too on the modern side for me.
I had high hopes as it was created by the Fluid Movement, the same people behind Purl Marylebone and The Whistling Shop in Shoreditch. Apparently the drinks created are ‘inspired from a bygone era with a modern Interpretation, using seasonal produce and the latest molecular mixology techniques’, but my Bergamot Grog was a bit of a letdown. It apparently contained a whole host of interesting ingredients but in reality it tasted like your standard fruity cocktail which was a little disappointing.
It’s a nice little place though, small and cosy inside. Not very authentic (the music certainly isn’t) but the chairs are comfy in that old fashioned kind of way. It’s hidden away in Regents Corner in Kings Cross so we popped across to Camino for tapas and sherry afterwards – which is far superior, better value for money and worthy of its own review (coming very soon).
Tonight marks the beginning of Yom HaShoah, a day for remembering the Holocaust.
The link I’m posting has gone viral and the site is currently coping with the increase in traffic sporadically, so please do continue to refresh the page if you don’t get to the see images immediately.