29 January 2016

London 022-026

I can't quite believe that my 6 months in London is drawing to an end. I've loved living in the capital and I can't wait to come back! Here's a mop up of the final things I got up to.

Dry By 

This blow dry bar is super friendly and swish. Half hair salon, half interiors show room it's the perfect place to have a blow-dry before a big date. (Happy Anniversary to Josh and I.)
There are five different styles to choose from - each named after a different city in the world. How apt?

CôBa

This Vietnamese restaurant's location isn't particular lubricous or buzzing but once you get inside, the food and drink is fantastic. Our server was the friendliest waitress I've come across in London and the owner is clearly proud of the fantastic restaurant he's created.

Milroy's of Soho

'London's oldest whiskey shop' has a few surprises up its sleeve. First is the staff who are not pretentious in the slightest, despite this being a bar for regulars. Second is the secret room that is hidden behind the bookcase. The room itself is a mystery to me as it was booked out for a private event when we dropped by - Mario Testino's no less.
The biggest surprise of all was when they turned away customers due to space; clearly whiskey bars are not intended to be cramped!
You can pick up some really unique whiskies from all over the world, but try before you buy with a rotating menu. Ask the knowledgable bartenders where to start.

Open 10am-midnight daily (closed Sundays and shut after 7pm on Mondays). Nearest tube Tottenham Court Road. It's worth knowing that our first couple of drinks came to £10 and the second £20, so do say if you're looking for something slightly cheaper or more special.

Mama Lan's

When I said that I was off to Brixton, my colleague were surprisingly unless when it came to recommendations (they're normally flawless)... until I spoke to Kelly Ann, one of the development chefs. "You MUST go to Mama Lan's; the dumplings are homemade and absolutely delicious." I must agree, but the fried vegetable balls are outta this world. We ordered another portion because we were so sad that we'd finished them.
 The menu is limited, but I assure you it's delicious. The seaweed salad was mostly miss for us, but the pork dumplings literally squirt out juices. I'm sorry for the innuendo but there's no other way to describe them accurately.
It's a tiny place with only a few covers (about 15) - bring your coats as you may have to sit on the table outside.

Open midday-10pm every day (until 4pm Monday). Mama Lan Restaurant website.


Winter Lights @ Canary Wharf

Being here really reminded me of the lights and show festival in Singapore, even if it was a lot more low key. Canary Wharf is an odd place, as the skyscrapers are not what you imagine when you think of London. At least I don't! I think more of the white terrace houses, of the River Thames, red buses even the graffiti and vintage shops of East London... but not of this slick financial hub.
It was clear that an effort has been made to bring some culture to the area and despite the bitter, bitter cold I'm glad we made it to the interactive lights display.

Now ended unfortunately, but look in the website for more information of Arts + Events around Canary Wharf.


Crossrail Place Roof Garden


We stumbled upon this garden whilst waiting around for our dinner booking. Based on flora and fauna from the 'East to the West', this could possibly be the most romantic spot I've been to in London.
With only a couple of other people in the gardens and an abandoned piano, it was rather magical.
Located on the top floor of the Crossrail Station and completely free to visit.

Art & Alcohol Exhibition @ Tate Britain

I'd read about this exhibition in a newsletter and print screened it for a rainy day. When all my other plans failed that day - don't ask - I popped into my local gallery on the way home to check this room out.
Gin is my new favourite drink. Lets hope this isn't my future.
With only a few paintings, there are little signs that narrate them as you walk anti-clockwise around the room. It seems that the Magaluf culture is centries old and it's not just The Daily Mail that likes to depict drunks for fun...
A snippet of the amazingly detailed 'The Worship of Bacchus'. Would you really feed alcohol to your child?
A lonely girl, missing the men at war.
This free one-room exhibition is on until Autumn 2016. Tate Britain is open from 10-6pm daily.
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23 January 2016

London Life 020-021


I don't know when the weather decided that it was ready for winter, but the gloom closed in and suddenly all I wanted was tea and cosy (read warm) activities. This last month or two has flown by as I desperately tried not to let it slip through my fingers.

Saatchi Exhibition

This is one of my favourite galleries (as you may well know) and I always try to pop in when I get the chance. I might not completely understand what all the art means, but I love how funky everything is, the colours, the textures, the details... For me this is what art is about!

Mum is less convinced by this modern art...
 
Saatchi website. Open daily from 10am-6pm. Nearest tube Sloane Square.

Franco Manca

I've been to a couple of the Franco Manca branches now, but I love the grit of the Brixton branch. The pizza is delicious and even the crusts are delicious. The pizza start at around £6 (yes, I know it's fabulous) and the even the beer and wine is unlabelled and unpretentious. I can't stress how perfect this place is for a casual dinner or a quick lunch.

Twinings

Lucy found this little shop and museum (ok, that is a stretch) on the 3 Kinds of Ice App. It has every type of Twining tea you have even seen and more. Come with a clear nose and enjoy all the fragrent teas, most of which are available to buy.
Find out more about the Tea Store here. Open til 7pm during the week.

Mungo & Maud

If you have a lot of money and want to smother your dog in love, head down to the Mungo & Maud Dog and Cat Outfitters where a rope toy will set you back £22. It's great to have a little look around and dogs are allowed in, so pop in for a mooch and a hug with a pooch.

Birdies Crazy Golf @ The Vaults

This is crazy golf for the hipsters. Though extremely hard to find (under the arches of Waterloo station) it's fun to combine a little fun golf with some drinks. The perfect midweek date with your guy or your gal.
Birdies Crazy Golf has ended at the Vaults but visit their website for more information about the next location.
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