Tag Archives: london

London is my oyster…

>London is my oyster!
With an unexpected summer upon us, I feel like a tourist or a belated student in my own town!
Free as a bird, I feel like sharing my latest wandering adventures around town:

My favourite addresses in Chiswick-Turnham Green:
Theobroma chocolate – Turnham Green – Just bought some lovely chicks for Easter!
The old cinema – where I just fancy everything! Especially things I do not need…
Insider Dealings – ask for Sally! Beautiful fabrics for the house


My favourites Berwick street-soho addresses:
Lina stores in Brewers street – best homemade pastas!
Gerrys liquor store – for the amazing syrups and weird cocktail ingredients
The wonderland that is the Cloth Shop – can’t saw but love fabrics…
The daily fruit street Market – the oldest in England, since 1778.
Yaoutcha – best fusion chinese food ever to have passed my lips… The patisseries are to die for and I could watch the exotic fish tanks for hours.

Lina Stores owner and chief pasta maker
Weird finds at The Old Cinema

My favourite addresses in Hammersmith-Barons court:
The Lyric Theatre with it’s gorgeous roof terrace, and its deep sofas perfect for a mum’s coffee meeting – didn’t you know…
TK Maxx of course – for the funky “red nose day” t-shirts by Vivienne Westwood
The Riverside Studios for it’s cool art exhibitions and great movies
Cafe Plum  in Crisp rd for the cooked breakfasts
HG Walters near Barons Court tube – best British butcher!
The Italian Connection in Rainville rd for great take-away pizzas the size of a tractor’s wheel
Suzu – a new Japanese tapas bar on Hammersmith rd
The Apothecary in Greyhound rd for first class treatments and therapists

My favourite addresses in Barnes:
Annie’s Barnes in White Hart lane, for Sunday lunch in the courtyard
The Wetlands Center café with it’s lovely wooden deck overlooking the pond and the wonderful photo opportunities “with ducks”! I have just spent a blissful half-hour in the sunshine there today, cooing over the just-hatched chicks. Run there if you haven’t yet, before they grow any bigger I mean!
Spring is such a great time for babies – not that I am getting broody or anything. It’s a season’s thing!

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>Visit of Poilâne Bakery in Elizabeth Street

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The children are now off school and I ring the Poilâne bakery in Elizabeth Street, between Sloane Square and Victoria tube stations, for a guided tour of the premises. On the said day, we turn up in this lovely shopping street and get down to the basement where resides the enormous bread oven: all 5 metres of furnace beyond the studded metal doors!

Two lovely French bakers explain to us in Moliere’s tongue why Poilâne bread is so unique. All the flour comes from France where it is milled using the old mill-stone technique and still contains wheatgerm and bran so the final dough is very tasty and healthy. The bread is always started from the “chef”, a little quantity of dough reserved from the last batch: no other raising agent. The dough is mixed in a gigantic trough with huge kneading hooks that can work up to 500 kg of flour. All of us could easily fit around a tea-tray in there! But the most impressive is the wood-burning oven, that is left on all day and night, 6 and a half days a week. It is only turned off on Saturday afternoon because no bread will be made for the sunday.

 There are huge wooden spatulas hanging in rafters on the ceiling to put the breads in the furnace. It takes 6 hours for a batch, from start to shop. Alain talk us through the process and my children are mesmerised. Bread comes alive under the strong kneading hands of the younger of the two bakers while he shapes the raisin loaves and then lay them to rest in their pans. For the round bread, the dough is laid inside straw “banetons” to raise for 1 and a half hour. Then they are baked for a whole hour at 280°.
The oven has a special bucket for water so the bread takes on a lovely golden colour. I try to remember that next time I bake my own… The shifts are very long and the heat down there is quite oppressing but our bakers are passionate about what they do.

Once back in the shop, we taste their delicious cookies and go home with half a kilo of the sourdough bread. For dinner, I offer a Poilane tartine party and each of us spread long slices of bread with anything they like: tuna mayo, salad, ham, cheese, onion chutney etc…. Great day out and in!

>Fancy an elephant in your garden?

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This one’s got my name on it! But if you want any of the other elephants that have been roaming London this month, you can go to the auction site when they are going to be sold for charity, in aid of the asian elephants.
Would be quite cool to have one in one’s garden, would it not be?

>Bermondsey Square Market

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Friday morning bargain hunting!

I had a lovely stroll around Bermondsey, looking for antiques and silverware. Some really unusual objects surface there, especially a pretty bone handled horse hair duster! No idea what it was used for but I left irresistibly temped… I fixed my heart on two pretty copper pans and a present for an imminent wedding! This is a small market but very well stocked and the bargaining is well worth the hike up to Bermondsey. The area is now really smart and full of nice pubs, classy galleries and the lovely Fashion Museum cafe provides healthy grub after a morning spend studying antique hallmarks. This is one of my favourite spot, even though it is getting smaller each year and I regret the closure of the fantastic indoor market… Take Tower Bridge and walk to the market but get there early if you want the pick of the crop.

>Forever London

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I love living in London because..
…I can walk into a Michelin starred restaurant for lunch and get an unforgettable meal for under £35 !
…I can dress up one morning in a black bin bag and high heels and nobody will bat an eyelid (witnessed recently!)
….I can grab designer clothes for the price of a croissant at DWS sales or TKMaxx
…I can browse the best cookery books from all over the world at Books for Cooks in Portobello,
…I can pick unusual presents in silverware at Bermondsey square any Friday morn,
…I can travel from China to India or Japan just by changing postcode,
…I can walk with the squirrels at Kew garden tree top walkway and admire the giant sequoia from above!
…I can enjoy Lord Leighton’s moorish patio at Leighton House near Holland Park,
…I can have a cocktail in summer on the Roof Garden over Kensington High street,
…I can sunbathe (wishing…) in the Lido deck over the Serpentine,
…I can pop in to Borough market great food stalls and sample the best and the rarest!
…I can loose myself in Daunt Books panelled rooms in Marylebone…
…Or find a gem of a heirloom in the vintage stalls in camden market.
…I can gasp at Harrods Food halls as if I was still discovering them aged 13,
…I can climb on a horse to try and touch “Napoleon’s nose” under the archway of Pall Mall,
…I can go to the theatre on a whim and have to choose from 50 west end shows and 70 Fringe plays!
…I can hear Shakespeare outdoor in the original roof-less Globe theatre,
…I see the oldest door in England, next to the entrance to the Chapter house at Westminster Abbey,
…I can enjoy the beautiful solitude of the Ironwork gallery first floor of the V&A,
…I can meet a friend for high tea at Browns by the cosy fireplace on a cold day,
…I can enjoy boating on one of the most famous river in the world and moor on a heron infested island,
…I can go all emotional, coming across Lawrence of Arabia unassuming town house in Cowley street, Westminter,
…I can go back and again to feast my eyes on Velazquez Rockeby Venus in the National Gallery,
…I can watch “Bright Star” then plan to visit Keats and Fanny’s house in Hampstead next week-end!
…I can shiver in the War room Cabinet in St James, imagining London under the Blitz,
…I can have a movie star moment having tea in the grand William Morris period rooms of the V&A canteen,
…I can picnic on the lawns at Bishop Park (or anywhere else) and nobody kicks me out,
…I can decide to stay in and do nothing of the above : “because it’ll all still be there tomorrow”…

…I can do … pretty much anything I please! …That’s why I LOVE London