Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Un orange sur la table, ta robe sur le tapis .

Above, a few stanzas from a French poem by Jacques Prevert.

Below, a few photos of me and Alexandra this weekend. I'm wearing my new orange 'tea cosy' dress, bought in a little shop in Stockholm. Alexandra's rocking some Celine shades, Celine tote, Hermes & McQueen bangles and super cute shorts & jacket.





Monday, 30 July 2012

SURPRISE!

Our friend Frankie has spent the past year living in Hong Kong. As we've all missed her terribly, Evie had the splendid idea of organising a surprise party to welcome her back. After relatively little deliberation we settled on Sketch for afternoon tea.

For those who haven't been, Sketch is a kooky offbeat venue comprised of a restaurant, bar, members lounge and some eggcellent toilets (google 'sketch toilets' if you think I've lost the plot).   Although Sketch has been around for a while and is positively prehistoric in restaurant years having opened in 2002, there's still plenty to recommend it. The ambiance is lovely, especially  on a quieter day and it's a great place to catch up over an impressive array of tea and a divine cocktail list.

We had a mighty fine time. Scoffed our weight in pastries and burned off the kilocalories laughing. The best part was hearing of the elaborate plot concocted by Evie and Coco, Frankie's sister, to get her there; Ian Fleming eat your heart out.

Ambiance- 9/10
Food- 6/10
Drinks- 8/10
Cost- 5/10 (expensive menu, afternoon tea is £32 per head, about the same as the Dorchester)

9 Conduit Street London, Greater London W1S 2XG
020 7659 4500

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Thursday, 26 July 2012

The mouse and the Pine

As you know, I'm in Stockholm. My Olympian pre-bikini, two hours a day, 7 day a week fitness routine has taken to me on a daily sweatathons through the Haga Park, in Solna just North of the capital.  Today I decided to conclude my tribulations on a mountain bike ride around the lake, followed by a refreshing dip (of a toe).

For those in search of something a little more soothing, there is The Radisson Blu Royal Park Hotel with a lovely spa, pool and gym. Although the hotel itself feels a little abandoned in a Twin Peaks David Lynch sort of way you can always stop over to use the spa facilities, roam the park and tuck into a hearty lunch on the gorgeous terrace overlooking the lake.


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Sunday, 22 July 2012

Walking in Blue: Stockholm Snaps

Stockholm is a city of a seemingly perpetual winter. But for the months of summer, the snow and ice thaws into glorious shades of blue and amber. And the water, which is everywhere transforms into a giant gleaming mirror of cloud and azure sky. If you aren't one for blistering nordic blizzards, then I cannot recommend a better time to visit than.. now.

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Saturday, 21 July 2012

Great love affairs start with Champagne and end with Tea.

This week I'm visiting my family in Stockholm.
On the way to lunch with my dad I spied a kitsch little tea shop called  "Sibyllans". We stepped inside and were greeted by the sight of hundreds of tins against the backdrop of panelled walls and cabinets of dark mahogany.


Something about the set-up reminded me of a Victorian apothecary meets rustic Cuban taverna. But apart from the utterly charming interior, the shop stocked every kind of tea imaginable and has been a family run business since World War One.


Green tea is something I drink constantly throughout the day, so I was thrilled to discover the Champagne Creme Green Tea Blend. It tastes absolutely incredible- like a healthy cleansing creme soda in a tea. The variety is absolutely huge and we ended up spending about £100 on lots of different flavours and blends. Yes, admittedly prices are a little steep- but the taste just about justifies them. Oh and of course, the health benefits: flavonoids & catechins for neutralising free radicals and the overall lower risk for a range of conditions and diseases (including cardiovascular disease, cancer, stroke, periodontal disease, and osteoporosis.) It would have been insani-tea to walk away empty handed.

35 Sibyllegatan, Stockholm

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Wednesday, 18 July 2012

When the Moon Hits your Eye like a Big Pizza Pie- It's Amooo-Raay

Obika Mozzarella Bar has just opened on Draycott Avenue in South Kensington.  And they do the most exquisite. stonebaked. wholemeal. mozzarella drenched. pizza.


I loved the 'Pomodoro Biologico'; a regular Margarita to you and me. All pizzas are prepared with Petra flour stoneground from soft local wheat from Molino Quaglia


The dough then rises slowly for 48 hours and is baked until it's light and fragrant. My pizza was utterly delicious, I ate it all and then a third of my friend's - oopsies. Only criticism would be that sadly the rest of the pizzas on the menu are a bit of an acquired taste, as they are 'blanca' meaning that there's no tomato base.


The prices are utterly reasonable, starting at around £10 for a margarita; cheaper than Dominoes, ten times more flavoursome and with none of the gunk. The service was also fantastic. When we didn't like our four cheese pizza blanca the lady serving us was really gracious and bought us an alternative, no questions asked. This is definitely my new scrummy local.


96 Draycott Avenue, London SW3 3AD. 0207 581 5208 



Monday, 16 July 2012

I wish I could See out of My Feet and Walk on My Eyes

It is typically an hourless summer evening (sadly, there've been so few of those of late). The sort where every possibility is bathed in the deceptive mirage of infinite time.


I'll stroll across Kensington Gardens to one of my favourite haunts. The Serpentine Gallery.


Sometimes I'll go in. But more often than not, I'll sit outside in the moody evening twilight, staring into space, listening to Cohen. Last summer I whiled away many an hour in Peter Zumthor's secret garden- a painted black box with a dark labyrinth leading to a heart of trees and flowers .


This year, a new exhibit by Yoko Ono has caught my imagination. To put it simply, it is a tree of wishes. Take a piece of paper and write on it anything your heart desires. Then hang it on the tree for the world to read. And walk away. Like most wishes, it will flutter in the wind, the downpours will drain the ink of its colour and the sun will yellow and curl the paper. Some of the wishes like "I wish I had a Mom" or "We wish that Granpa remains happy and feels no pain" left me with a lump in my throat. Others like "I wish my family had a museum of dogs" made me laugh and nod in sympathetic understanding. However, you'll only guess mine if it's meant for you.