Posts Tagged ‘Dickens’

A week-end in London: Jan 06-08, 2012

Another page turned. Good resolutions taken in the warm cocoon of the festivities. Good resolutions shaken hard by the first day back to work, sometimes even lost on the way there, we’ll pick them up again on the way back home. Sigh, cross out 2011 and write carefully, 2012 each time we write a new date. Such a feeling that everything would be brand new and be slightly surprised that nothing has changed, still lost in the magic of December.

Well, sometimes, the best resolution is to get lots of sparkles of your own, those that will make your eyes and your nails glitter, hypnotise the gaze. What a better way to shine through the day, even when wind and rain threaten to take your umbrella away?

* Drink to the spirit of our beloved Dickens.

* Nothing stops a taxi driver. Not even the cold.
* Do you quidditch?
* Art beats the winter blues in the Tube.
* Chips with that?

Yummy time ahead:
* Hélène Darroze will be offering her delicious Galette des Rois, the traditional French cake eaten to celebrate Epiphany, as part of the Connaught‘s afternoon tea. It will also be for sale at the hotel for people to take back home. Give them a call!
* Have a bite at the it/eat address of the moment, the Delaunay.
* Deal. Remember The Rosendale and The Avalon -  delicious (and kids-friendly) gastropubs. You can eat there for half the usual price till the end of the month!

Out of the ordinary:
* Have a closer look at the Olympic Games area.
* Fall in love with short films.
* Disco, karaoke, bowling and garden gnomes. We’re not joking.
* Dream in a London garden.

A week-end in London: Dec 08-11, 2011

After a few days in India, the British rain had quite faded my cheerfulness.

A visit at Carom painted my day in bright colours. This bar, right in the heart of Soho, mixes the most exotic cocktails with ginger, rose, litchee, cumin, jasmin, lemongrass… Sun in a glass. Let me warn you -  there is no stopping at one either so do come with (many) friends to sip through quite a selection. My favourite -  love at first sip – remains the Bangalore Cooler,in which fresh cardamom is crushed then mixed with whisky, pear, maple syrup. A little marvel and a wwonderful occasion to taste an Indian whisky too – Amrut. Golden, warm, fruity. I ordered a bottle online on my way back home -  say it all.

And if you’re looking for a festive time -  ask about their cocktail masterclasses. How wonderful to see the bar from the other side, learn a few tricks, invent your own signature cocktail. Mine was a dance of saffron gin, rose syrup, lime and orange juice. A liquid Turkish Delight. I was so taken in the atmosphere I was slightly disappointed not to see any palmtrees in the street…

The Christmas touch:
* Beware, Santa invasion!
* Be generous too! Bring your unwanted gifts at the Etsy grotto. They may well make the happiness of another kind heart.
* A Christmas tree by Lanvin? Wow.

That’s art, baby:
* East Berlin steps in Shoreditch.
* Rediscover Dickens.
* Space Invaders invasion at the Outsiders.

Yummy time:
* Fancy a pint of cider?
* Add a slice of Caraibean in your winter.

Take the little ones along:
* A wonderful atmosphere: the Somerset House organises free storytelling under the gorgeous Tiffany Christmas Tree.
* Skate for free at the Scoop -  slide along!
* Nostalgic moment: a Muppet Show movie.

A touch of magic:
* Moomins arrive in Covent Garden.
* For gentlemen who prefer to wait the very last minute to do their Xmas shopping -  book now!

A week-end in London: Nov 25-28, 2011

Each year, rather than adding yet another toy to the house, I take my daughter to see a musical. Girly time and fabulous memories. The Cirque Invisible, the Lion King, the Wizard of Oz. This year,  Wicked put a spell on us. The theatre in itself is already magical, a different universe. Do take the binoculars (£1, one between each seat) to better see the details of the decors and costumes. The story? A different version of Oz, each role being reversed, sprinkled with formidable humour. Quick, go and see it!

Christmas is coming to town:
* Go gift hunting on that adorable Finnish market.
* Plenty of ideas at the Chelsea Physic Garden fair too.
* On the craft side, you will find real wonders at the Merry Magpie pop-up.

That’s art, baby!
* Nothing better than 4D projection to bring life back into a building.
* Is art really rubbish?

Yummy time:
* Burger revolution.
* It is winter time and Dickens then rhymes with punch and Courvoisier.
* Still on the Dickens’ theme -  opt for the pub crawl!
* Food allergies? Go and enjoy this free from festival.

Shopaholics, beware:
* Remember Upper Street? Great news -  they are having a sample sale of unique models this Saturday, up to 50% off the original price. Just go to Upper Street Studios, 1A Clarendon Buildings, 11 Ronalds rd, London, N5 1XJ. From 10.00 to 16.00, payment by card only.

Take the little ones along:
* Especially for adventurers-to-be: a tour of the HMS Belfast with a hot chocolate.
* This adorable kids festival in South Kensington should make the whole family happy.

Out of the ordinary:
* Le Cool and Fiji Water have thought of a wonderful winter stroll along a forgotten river -  click here to see the app / map, it’s all free!
* Underground tales, this way.
* Discover London… aboard a kayak.
* Manga fans, rejoyce: this one takes place at the British Museum.
* One of the mysteries of London

Post-it for the week-end: April 15-17, 2011

Tick-tock, tick-tock, the countdown to the week-end has begun…

* Stop by the Scoop, the Open Air theatre close to London Bridge, for a dose of modernised Shakespeare. It’s free, every evening till April 18.

* Knitting has become so trendy it is now the perfect occasion for a tea party… There is even a funny word for this new fashion: a crafternoon. Even Liberty follows!

* Saturday is Queen’s day in Holland -  a national public holiday. Trafalgar Square will have a dedicated market with music and the National Gallery proposes to discover the masters of this colourful country.

* The artist Chantal Powel got inspired by Alice in Wonderland and is recreating this magic on Saturday. Come and have a look – there will even be a Mad Hatter Party!

* Flutter by the Natural History Museum – the Butterfly House is back for the summer!

* Easter’s just arounf the corner. Come and make your own gourmet chocolate eggs and enjoy a cocktail.

* Go ad-Mire the colourful Miro exhibition at the Tate.

* The Royal Wedding has a Marmite effect: love it or hate it!

* Did the London Cooking Club win your heart (or stomach)? Well, it’s time for desert!

* We love the nostalgic touch of The Carter Steam fair, with retro style rides… A few pics from last year this way.

*Uniform is all the chic at Selfridges.

* You know summer’s just around the corner when open air cinemas start popping up again…

* Get on Dickens’ tracks.

* Get some fresh air and have a walk in the Lea valley.

Post-it for the week-end Dec 24-26, 2010

Almost time to put the presents under the tree… Have you thought of getting one to yourself? And if you still have a little energy left after the turkey, chestnuts, Xmas pudding and mince pies… here are a few ideas to relax and make London your own again:

- No time for a big lunch? Get yourself a lobster sandwich to keep it festive…

- Explore the climate @ the Science Museum

- Don’t cook for Xmas

- Pose on Piccadilly Circus (or tweet your best wishes there)

- Would you splash in a lake on the 25th of December? They will!

- From Dec 24 to 26th, the Dickens Museum gets pretty festive with carols, treats, Victorian customs…

- Murder and hanted theatres? Well worth a guided walk on the 26th!

- Plan a Winston Churchill afternoon tea with British classics… (or go and see this clock special Churchill)

- A little dream of London

- What a treat: 100 drawings by Quentin Blake

- Get your dancing shoe for this tea dance special Agatha Christie on the 27th – it’s free!

- There is a medieval market @ the Tower of London on the 27th…

-And if it snows….

- Love London, final point!

A very merry walk with Dickens and Courvoisier

Dickens is so Christmasy, don’t you think? This year, I’m planning an afternoon on the sofa with my 5-year-old which would include the Disney version of A Christmas carol, hot apple juice with cinnamon and reindeer shaped shortbreads.

Which is why I could not resist Courvoisier’s idea of a Dickens tour around Covent Garden. You will get glimpses of his world, learn about his childhood, what a genius at marketing he was, as well as discover settings featuring in his novels… I studied Oliver Twist at uni but this is definitely much more fun! I had no idea he had his offices so close to the apple market nor that he managed a successful literrary magazine and there are plenty more anecdotes to treasure…

What is the link with the famous brand? Well, when Dickens died, several cases of the French drink were found in his personnal belongings. Re-read his novels and you will actually find many mentions of fine punch cocktails too – quite a classic drink at the time. The tour includes two recipes to try for a very festive touch. First a cold version, one of the author’s favourite: apple juice, lemon, sugar, ginger ale and a dash of Courvoisier. Just the energy you need to step out in this cold weather! On your return, there will be another treat, a mug of Steaming Bishop: port, spiced red wine, grapefruit, Seville orange juice and Courvoisier. Bishop refers to the colour of the drink, between red and purple, very similar to the dress of the clergyman.The only missing thing would be a chimney fire…

A lovely tour to put you in a cheerful mood. After all, t’is the season to be merry!

The Courvoisier Dickens tour

Until Dec 19, 2010 – £8/person for the walk and two punch cocktails
Want to know more about Dickens and punch drinks? Read this amazing article.


This Week End in London

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