Last update for a couple of weeks, as I’m off to Barbados tomorrow! Definitely not the usual kind of holiday for us, but the villa came free as it’s in the family and a bit of sun after this very long cold snap will be most welcome. We’re going with my parents, aunt and uncle and sister so it’ll be a family vibe like in Chamonix last summer.
To be honest I have no idea what to expect and I haven’t done my usual kind of research (ie finding the best coffee, food and bars around). I think it’ll be a lot of lounging on the beach, playing games and drinking daiquiris by the barrel-load. If anyone has any last minute must-see, do or eat tips for me I’d love to hear them! See you in a week or two x
Lucky me – the Tate Modern invited me to a press preview of their new Lichtenstein retrospective on Monday. He’s one of my favourite artists so it was quite a treat to get a quiet(er) viewing of the show before the crowds. Oh, and I was allowed to snap photos!
Besides the comic-strip ‘war and romance’ pieces he’s best known for, this show does a great job of displaying the other sides to Lichtenstein’s work, and across 13 rooms charts out the many phases he evolved through during his life’s work.
Feeling hungry? Time for a little round up of things I’ve been eating on my way round London lately…
First up, Sweet Thursday, a new neighbourhood pizzeria not too far from me in De Beauvoir town. There’s a wine shop out front and a big clay oven out back: my kind of place. The pizza menu’s small but the pizzas themselves certainly aren’t: you could definitely share one with a few of the antipasti-type sides for dinner. They are the properly charred and chewy-crusted types too, with lovely flavourful toppings. Will be back soon.
I had to run an errand in South London a few weekends ago, so we popped to Brixton Village to make the most of this rare foray. I loved how vibrant and energetic it was, with all the hip new popup places like Wishbone, Bukowski and Honest Burger elbow-to-elbow with the Caribbean grocery stores and kitschy gift shops. Unfortunately I don’t think we picked the best place for lunch – the Mexican was the only place without a queue but it wasn’t anything special. Coffee and a brownie in Federation afterwards made up for it, though, and we’ll just have to go again to try Mama Lan’s noodles, Okan’s okonomiyaki or the best-ever pizza at the original Franco Manca.
Finally, Josh’s parents kindly treated us to lunch at La Porte Des Indes at the weekend. To be perfectly honest, it’s not the kind of place I would usually choose – the bonkers French-colonial decor, high prices and Marble Arch location put it off my radar. But I was extremely pleasantly surprised by our lunch: they do a buffet on Sundays with street food starters, curry mains and fresh little fruity desserts. I went back to the starters table twice: each little dish, from lentil dumplings in fiery soup to mini beetroot dosas to crispy spinach fritters, was a tiny taste ‘pow’! Of course I then sampled three curries for main and couldn’t resist the vibrant dessert table either, so left feeling very full indeed.
That’s it for indulgence for the rest of the month now – we’re off to Barbados at the beginning of March (!) so it’s health kick to get beach-ready before then. Um, anyone have any foody tips for Barbados?!
We spent the weekend in Brighton as a late last birthday hurrah – and it was indeed hurrah, because the sun kindly shone and we had a lovely time seeing what Brighton has to offer…
We stayed at the Kemp Townhouse, a vey nice little B&B in Kemp Town, a short walk along the seafront from the town centre. Best part was breakfast – I had a perfect little boiled egg and Marmite solders both days along with fruit and pastries from the buffet table.
I liked Kemp Town a lot. Perhaps mostly, if not entirely, because every other shop seemed to be a sweet little vintage emporium. Right in the middle is the big pink motherlode, Kemp Town Flea Market: two floors of vintage rummaging heaven with a particularly sweet selection of 70s studio pottery right at the back on the top floor. I’ll share my purchases in another post…
We stopped into the Black Dove pre-dinner on Saturday – perhaps one of the best bars I’ve visited in recent memory. Great beers, a friendly manager, homemade damson gin and wonderful decor that brought to mind an eccentric gentleman’s parlour… it felt quite San Francisco. London needs a bar like this.
Dinner at Food For Friends lived up to expectations. Nibbles of hummus and crispy tofu, followed by gnocchi for Josh and stuffed mushroom with feta and pesto for me. I forwent dessert in favour of triple-cooked chips with truffle mayo: good call.
On Sunday we took a bus to the Marina for the car boot sale. Not exactly the loveliest part of town, but I did come away with a few goodies so it was worth it. We took a very bracing walk back along the beach, stopping for excellent coffee at Ground on the way.
The tourist bit – the Pavilion and the pier, of course!
P.S. Most of these pics are by Josh as he stole was given permission to borrow my camera for most of the trip, while I happily Instagrammed and snapped on my OM10 (more pics when they’re back from the developer). Check out his blog for a writeup of Brighton’s beer spots!
More snow photos? Oh, go on then. We took a slightly bracing walk into Abney Park Cemetery yesterday – it’s basically on my doorstep and I’ve never visited it in seven years of living in the area. Shameful, as it’s really beautiful; ‘like Narnia’ as Josh put it. It’s much bigger than I thought, with loads of pretty trees and some beautiful old grave monuments, and even a somewhat creepy abandoned church in the middle. It didn’t really stop snowing here all day, so it got pretty thick.
Beautiful type on these 19th century graves
Trying to throw snowballs through the church windows!
Sarah and I popped down to God’s Own Junkyard on Wednesday night, a fabulous pop-up collection of new and vintage neon signs, movie props and retro advertising signage on Beak Street, Soho. The curator/artist Chris Bracey collects junked signs from movie sets then repairs and resurrects them into brand new art pieces. The temporary exhibition/shop is only there for another couple of weeks, and I highly recommend visiting while you can – as you can see it’s quite stunning.
The popup shop at 47 Beak Street is open until January 25th; check the website for opening hours.
It’s now becoming an annual thing for my family to have a little getaway to Devon. The house – and weather – this year wasn’t as nice as last time, but I did love this dusty old bookcase filled with some unusual titles…
We took a lovely long North London walk in the sun on Saturday. Here’s a little map of where we went, and Instagrammed-guide below.
Kicked off with a hugenormous doorstop sourdough sandwich and tasty Nude flat white at the darling Maison D’Etre on Highbury Corner. From there we walked up Holloway Road, stopping at Ooh La La vintage shop on the way. Lots of furniture and curios to be found for reasonable prices.
We dodged the football crowds streaming out of Arsenal and cut back towards York Way, admiring the pretty houses with gorgeous front gardens – it’s always remarkable to me how many beautiful leafy streets London has tucked away. We made a special trip over here because Josh wanted to stock up on beers at Kris Wines. They didn’t disappoint, with a huge range of bottles from American rarities to Danish Mikkeller and local heroes like The Kernel all well catered for.
Right next door is a fabulous vintage store I’d never even heard of before called Paul’s Emporium. Piled high with ephemera, statues, furniture, lighting and signage, it’s a real gem. I’ll be back soon for another rummage for sure.
We then meandered down the quite unlovely and industrial York Way back to Kings Cross, stopping for a cider and coffee-infused IPA at the new Caravan (the food here is fantastic too, by the way). It’s good to see this area regenerating – with the pretty Regents Canal basin and new St Martins campus, it’s getting quite lovely and improvement works are still going on.
Final stop was a quick duck into the Relic Antiques Warehouse behind the station, which I’ve been meaning to go into forever. It’s pretty small with a rather quirky range of stuff – giant beaded peacock head anyone?
I hope there’s chances for a few more London walks before the cold sets in. Anyone else got a favourite neighbourhood for a weekend wander?