Tag Archives: london

Sunday Selection

It has been another of those long summer weeks where I’ve been out every night and am just loving every minute of life. Between a birthday dinner at Honey & Co, a bloggers cocktail making workshop courtesy of Accor Hotels and a leisurely lunch over London at Duck & Waffle, I’ve never been so well fed and watered for starters.

With lots of indulgence comes a lot of travelling around London, blog reader phone in hand. Here’s what caught my attention this week:

A transport poster that’s actually cool (yes, really)

‘‘There is more than one way to sell a cookie

Who is bored of all those I hate London articles every columnist seems to be writing at the moment? I hate the skyscrapers, I hate the property prices, I hate the corporate greed. But this is my city and I’m going to fight for it too.

Playgrounds around the world

Where the bodies are buried

Have a great week ahead.

P.S. Watching Wimbledon this afternoon? I’ve shared a few Wimbledon afternoon tea party ideas over on Pinterest.

Dinner and cocktails at Mamounia Lounge Mayfair

A little while ago we headed across London to Mamounia Lounge Mayfair for dinner and cocktails. They’d invited us down to sample the new Chef Specials and who am I, queen of fusion, to turn down the opportunity to try a new take on Lebanese and Morrocan food?

Word of warning – my photos are seriously awful. It’s super dark in Mamounia Lounge which I like but that means my poor phone couldn’t snap a decent shot :(

Thankfully unlike my take on fusion, which is usually accidental and only happens because I’ve run out of ingredients and sure cumin is going to work just fine with leftover Vietnamese basil, the fusion dishes at Mamounia Lounge actually worked.

It was a Saturday evening so naturally we started the night with cocktails. You don’t generally associate Lebanese or Moroccan restaurants with excellent cocktails so I was surprised to see an extensive list of options to choose from. I tried the classic Mamounia which was like a mojito. It was excellent; incredibly sharp with an underlying sweetness to take the edge off the acidity. Similarly Alex’s Charlie Sheen was far more flavoursome than I expected; I’m not one for fruity cocktails but I could have drunk those all night.

After a round of drinks we tucked into a couple of starters. The homous with truffle was presented beautifully and had just the right amount of truffle. When it comes to homous I’m a traditionalist, but as I eat homous all the time it was good to go out and eat something different to what I eat most days of the week.

The second starter we shared were the sardines. I love sardines but they’re often presented in an unappetising manner and that puts some people off. This is definitely a dish even newbie sardine fans can enjoy. Even my nan would have liked them as they weren’t too fishy!


Personally I think starters are the best part of every meal so I easily could have ordered everything on the menu and enjoyed a mezze main. However we were keen to try more of the fusion menu so we ordered the sea bass and the stuffed vegetables to share.

There were two pieces of sea bass on the plate alongside some vegetables. This was plenty for me but those with larger appetites might need a side or two. Alex ate most of the stuffed vegetables but the mouthfuls I had were really good. Each vegetable was stuffed with a different filling, so even vegetarians get a bit of variety for once!

Pretty full we were just going to share a selection of briouat for dessert, but we were tempted into trying the chocolate fondant too. The fondant was cooked perfectly and the briouat went down nicely alongside a welcome glass of mint tea.


This isn’t the usual type of place I’d visit but I had a thoroughly lovely time. The service was excellent and on a Saturday night the live music and belly dancer make it a really fun place to visit. I’m looking forward to going back one summer evening for shisha on the pavement upstairs!

Our meal at Mamounia Lounge Mayfair was complimentary but as usual my views are all my own honest thoughts. A big thank you to Abby for organising and to everyone at Mamounia Lounge Mayfair for a lovely evening.

Follow on Bloglovin

London Life

After two months of manic weekends we spent Saturday and Sunday exploring Wanstead and Snaresbrook in East London. We spent Saturday walking through the woods in Wanstead Park, an outpost of Epping Forest, before having friends over on Saturday night. On Sunday we turned our attention to Snaresbrook and I may have visited Stratford Westfield for the millionth time this month. I swear that place is both a convenient blessing and a consumerist curse.

bluebell field wanstead park londonCatching the bluebells in season at Wanstead Park

eagle pond snaresbrookViews across Eagle Pond towards Snaresbrook Crown Court

the larder wanstead high streetLunch at The Larder on Wanstead High Street

mini driveway library wansteadThe cutest mini library in a driveway in Wanstead

eagle pond snaresbrookEnjoying the view across Eagle Pond in Snaresbrook

London before the houses, how the capital voted + more

20150510-175021-64221138.jpg

It’s been a few weeks since my last Sunday Selection. I’ve been spectacularly busy at work which does seem to have a trickle down effect on my wider reading. There are certain work-related blogs that I religiously read during my working day but when things are time sensitive and super busy that’s the first thing to go.

I then spend my spare time reading these on the tube and at home in the evening instead of the London and general city related content that I peruse for pleasure. I feel a little out of the London loop and have missed a lot of news myself, but I’m hoping to get back on track over the next couple of weeks.

For now, here are the few things I’ve been reading recently (by way of Reddit):

London before the houses

London’s deprived areas and Labour votes

Poppies for VE Day

Have a great week,

Carla

The best coffee shops in London to be alone

When I first started this post I’d just met Alexandra for the first time over coffee. We bonded over a mutual appreciation of spending time alone, and briefly discussed the best coffee shops in London to visit alone.

I thought ‘what a great idea for a blog post’ but here we are, two months later, and I’m only just ready to hit publish. I guess I haven’t had much time alone recently to write about being alone!

Now when I talk about being alone, I’m talking about really being alone. As in no laptop, iPad or mobile phone for company. In a world dominated by technology it’s really refreshing to switch off and look straight ahead instead of always looking down. Strange? Certainly. But totally worth it every now and then.

Today I want to share two places I’m comfortable sitting alone in the ‘I’m happy with my own company’ sense, not the freelancer / blogger laptop friendly sense. That’s a whole other blog post right there…

The best coffee shops in London to be alone

nordic bakery coffee shops in london

Coffee with egg and pickled herring on Rye, Nordic Bakery Soho

Louis Patisserie, Hampstead

Louis in Hampstead is a Hungarian patisserie that will bring out the creativity in you. If you can’t decide what cake you want they’ll bring a tray of the most beautiful delights to your table so you can choose. The coffee and hot chocolate are excellent and they also serve loose leaf tea in teacups like your Nana has which is just the best. I love going there with friends but it’s also a place I love to be in alone.

I’m not a hugely sociable person but it’s the one place I go where I don’t mind being disturbed. Whenever I’ve been there alone, lost in a poetry anthology I’ve purchased from one of my favourite independent London bookshops, someone has always struck up a conversation.

I’ve had wonderful conversations about Sylvia Plath, art and poetry workshops in London with strangers in Louis. They’ve been special conversations because I’ve genuinely gained something from them. After all, how often do you speak to someone, let alone a stranger, and gain something inspirational from them?

Find Louis Patisserie: 32 Heath Street, Hampstead (no website)

Nordic Bakery, Soho

My second favourite coffee shop in London to be alone could not be more different from Louis. If Louis represents all that it old and great, the Nordic Bakery stands for everything modern and new. Louis is ornate. Nordic Bakery is minimalistic. Staff wear the cutest denim aprons, the coffee is rocket fuel and I feel like I’m in a different vibrant city every time I visit.

I’ve been to Nordic Bakery plenty of times with other people, but it’s also a place I feel happy sitting alone. Nobody ever starts talking to you in Nordic Bakery. I take a book or pick up a newspaper, and as long as it’s not busy I’ll sit there for a while, gradually making my way through the few dishes on offer. Usually egg and pickled herring on rye. Maybe followed by a cinnamon bun.

Find Nordic Bakery: 14a Golden Square, Soho (www.nordicbakery.com)

I’m not sure I could pick a favourite. Louis is full of creatives. Nordic Bakery is full of trendy media types. There’s a time and a place for both.

Do you have any other recommendations for me? My inner loner is always on the lookout for a new coffee shop to be alone in!

Sunday selection: NYC photos, women on the road, dirty old London

20150329-135905-50345516.jpg

I’d like to say I’ve done a lot this week, but that would be a lie. I pretty much spent my evenings this week watching the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt before having a rare and most welcome Friday night out in Shoreditch. Last night I finalised my Woodford Reserve cocktail entry – let me know what you think of Doctor’s Orders, my take on the classic American Old Fashioned cocktail.

Here’s what I’ve been reading this week:

Everyday moments from the New York City we rarely see

The lack of female road narratives and why it matters

Dirty old London – the filthiest empire in the world?

Stories of gentrification, from London to LA.

Have a great week ahead,

Carla

P.S. Subway Maps

Image: AnaGic

Tune Hotel Canary Wharf review

I spent some time working in Canary Wharf a few years ago. I hated it. I’ve always found it cold, corporate and a capitalist dream. Which is why when I was contacted about reviewing the new Tune Hotel in Canary Wharf I was tempted to say no.

But who says no to a staycation? Not me, so last week we packed an overnight bag and headed off for a night away in Canary Wharf.

canary wharf station

Tune Hotel Canary Wharf review

There are Tune Hotels located all over the world with five in London and plenty in Asia and Australasia. Their concept is to offer a great night’s sleep at a great price, which means there’s a basic room price and a menu of extras you can add depending on your needs. The idea is that you pay for what you need and then add on extras only if you need them.

The hotel is a ten minute walk from Canary Wharf station, round the corner from lots of restaurants and bars and across the road from the Museum of London Docklands. Canary Wharf is surprisingly pretty at night by the river and we loved this church!

canary wharf church

Tune Hotel Canary Wharf is incredibly modern and minimal. The reception area is bright and the staff that helped us were fantastic. Reception is manned 24/7 and the reception staff were cheerful and helpful. Check-in took all of one minute and check-out took even less.

tune hotel canary wharf review

Everything is digital at the Tune Hotel. There’s a control panel for adjusting room temperature and for changing the light – we had a lot of fun playing around with the lighting…

tune hotel lighting

After playing around with the lights we popped out for dinner nearby. As we were on the full amenities package (towels, toiletries, television, Wi-Fi) I had the worlds longest shower when we came back. The shower was amazing. I literally stayed in there for thirty minutes slowly warming up from the cold Canary Wharf breeze!

tune hotel canary wharf toiletries

The next morning we checked out which involved handing back our key. Quick, simple and perfect if you’ve got to head off to a meeting or work. We stopped for coffee at Taylor Street Baristas before getting on the tube to work which definitely beat Starbucks.

The Tune Hotel Canary Wharf is a fantastic place to say if you need accommodation in the area. I’d definitely stay in another hotel in the chain again in an European city. The hotel is reasonably priced, exceptionally clean and the shower was amazing – my only requirements for hotels in a city as I hate spending time inside unless I’m sleeping!

I was a guest of Tune Hotels. All opinions are, as usual, my own.

Follow on Bloglovin

Sunday selection: streetcars, illustrated maps, food from the movies + more

20150222-182747-66467228.jpg

Here’s what I’ve been reading this week:

Streetcars of desire

Food from the movies (an Oscars special)

Global cities and population shifts

An illustrated map of London from 1877

Should we be focusing on the wealth gap instead of the income gap?

Have a great week ahead,

Carla

P.S. Desert Island Books

Image: rupert15 via pixabay

Sunday selection: tall buildings in cartoons, the DNA of cities and maps of London

20150215-180921-65361172.jpg

After (shamefully) watching Fifty Shades of Grey with a friend on Friday night I spent Saturday at the Wellcome Collection, finally viewing the Sexology exhibition. Very appropriate for Valentine’s Day. It was really good and I’ll share my highlights some point this week.

Here are a few things I’ve been reading this week:

Tall buildings in New Yorker cartoons

Photos of Cairo’s sandstorm

The DNA of cities

The London Underground All Lines challenge

Intricate hand drawn maps of London

Photos of where you live

Have a great week,

Carla

P.S. Did you get to the Mapping the City exhibition before it closed?

Mapping the City Exhibition at Somerset House

mapping the city exhibition at somerset house

Shepard Fairey, Berlin Tower

A couple of weeks ago I headed to Somerset House on a Saturday afternoon. Somerset House is one of my favourite London spaces; I love the neo-classical building, the fountains in the courtyard and the range of exhibitions.

That said, the last time I went to Somerset House was in August 2013. I managed to squeeze in three exhibitions that day: Blumenfeld Studio: New York 1941 – 1960; Miles Aldridge: I Only Want You to Love Me and Nicholas Hawksmoor: Methodical Imaginings. I vowed to go back more often so here we finally are, just a short eighteen months later, for the Mapping the City exhibition.

Mapping the City exhibition at Somerset House

Mapping the City at Somerset House Swoon Bangkok

Swoon, Bangkok

50 emerging and established artists have created cartographic representations of cities for the Mapping the City exhibition at Somerset House. All artwork has been created by graffiti and street artists, and themes range from the biographical (Spok’s I Need an Extra 25 Years of Youth) and figural (Sixe Paredes’ Barcelona) to the conceptual (Filippo Minelli’s Nowhere Forever) and the fantastical (Will Sweeney’s Cabott Square, Canary Wharf).

“If you look at your city from a different angle, you start loving it in a new way. You realise that the city is not only about the obvious. Its about the things out of our regular focus, usually somewhere on top or in a corner, somewhere hiding in plain sight”

Honet

Mapping the City at Somerset House Jurne Covalence

Jurne, Covalence

The usual major world city suspects get their five minutes of fame, but I found myself naturally gravitating towards maps that represented London and American cities. This certainly had more to do with my long-term interest in American cities and the fact that I like London so much I write a blog about it, and isn’t a reflection on the artwork on show.

I was particularly taken by Cleon Peterson’s The Weak and the Powerful and The Return which address the American inner city. I’m often drawn to dystopian images and these subverted the American Dream in an original manner.

On the other side of the American spectrum I loved Overcast Angeles by Augustine Kofie, whose soft colour palette and ephemeral style represented the global image of Los Angeles perfectly.

Augustine Kofie Overcast Angeles

Augustine Kofie, Overcast Angeles

As for London, two representations stood out to me. Tim Head’s biographical Forty Five takes you on a car journey through the streets of London. I’m rarely in a car in the city but when I am, usually at night, there is something special about seeing the city from a different viewpoint. The eco-warrior in me would love nothing more that to see the city turn of lights at night, but I can’t deny the atmosphere they create.

The second London map I loved was Cabott Square, Canary Wharf by Will Sweeney. I’ve always disliked Canary Wharf; there’s a bitter chill, the architecture is sterile and I find the area soulless. This representation, by ink and pencil on paper, warrants close inspection. There are a number of surreal elements that have replaced the ‘quotidian grind of the area’; in it’s place there’s the Canary Wharf that Sweeney would like, a ‘sometimes beautiful, sometimes blood-curling place of possibility’.

Your last chance to catch the exhibition is Sunday, so hurry on down.

Mapping the City
Somerset House
Until 15 February 2015
Free admission
http://www.somersethouse.org.uk/visual-arts/mapping-the-city

Follow on Bloglovin