Posts Tagged ‘free’
Created on an old railway line, the Dalston Eastern Curve Garden is a real peace haven. It’s surprisingly huge too. Half planted, half wild. A Stik mural. Calling to be explored. There is even an allotment on the side, complete with a shed AND a disco ball. Here and there are kids’ works of art. And toys – this is a family friendly place. You’ll find a café and they do bread and pizza in their clay oven each Sunday afternoon. So brilliant you’ll consider moving to this neighbourhood!
Dalston Eastern Curve Garden
Next to the Hackney Peace Carnival Mural
13 Dalston Lane
London E8 3DF
The Feel Good Café has just opened on Hoxton Square. It’s free and only open until May 23 so do go and try. Why? Because it’s surprising. This pop-up is in fact an initiative by Weight Watchers. The brand asked a chef to create menus (breakfast, lunch and dinner) showcasing their products. Simply because people like me expect any diet related product to taste like cardboard and are reluctant to compromise on quality. But this… was good, really good.
The point is not to serve only their product on a plate but to incorporate it in a modern, daily-life menu that you can easily recreate at home. And trust me, if you do not mention the name, I doubt your friends would guess you have served them a WW product. The chef and his team have really enjoyed the experience, praising the quality, even for sausages!
I liked the crème fraiche used in the salad dressing with lemon and olive oil. The coleslaw, much better than any supermarket brand I had used, fluid and sweet but still with a tangy kick. The pizza was brilliant too - the flatbead, sauce and cheese were all WW. Amazing. I am doing this tonight at home. Even the coconut Greek yoghurt was fantastic, very tasty, super creamy… but guilt free.
Go and try. You will get two courses for free and a drink. Try their wine too, the grapes are picked earlier in the season to limit the sugar and alcohol percentage. It’s more a light picnic wine than a grand cru but perfect for summer days. Much more pleasant than you expect.
In a hurry? The team has a take-away menu too!
The Feel Good Café by Weight Watchers until May 23, 2014
16 Hoxton Square
London N1 6NT
We are at the heart of Chinatown in Singapore. The best I have seen after New York so do put it on your to-do list. Find your way along Smith Street – street food and souvenirs, red and gold lucky charms, chopsticks, calligraphies… You will have to step away from this to find more authentic boutiques. But for now, follow the crowd a little while. You will get to an opening, gaze up and be taken aback by the four story high Buddhist temple, classic architecture of a pagoda contrasted by bright paper lanterns and plastic flowers.
The sight is quite memorable. Inside, gilded divinities, their faces serious, hands positioned gracefully, hypnotising. In the main hall, the monks chant prayers from a book, the rhythm of their voice appeasing the visitors, forcing them to slow down, bringing admiration. In this place is kept a relic, the tooth of Buddha, preciously secured in stupa, six feet high, made of 420kg of gold donated by the community.
Although the latter is not accessible to the public, do make a detour via this temple. Impressive, oddly touching, a rare insight in the Buddhist universe too. You can, like the locals, buy incense, candles decorated with flowers, tiny coins to distribute to the divinities and also bathe the Buddha, which is said to purify your soul.
Note: entry is free. If your dress/shorts are judged too short, your shoulders too bare, you will probably be asked, rather kindly, to put on a sarong over your clothes.
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum
288 S Bridge Rd
Funny how a station can come alive. St Pancras switched from just being a passing place – commute, drink a coffee, jump on a train or a tube – to being a place to experience too. There are two pianos in the hall, available for anyone to use and it is such a delight to hear amateur or “real” musicians playing a few notes on it, stopping you in your tracks, putting a smile back on your face. Until May 09, a free music festival gives a new vibe to the station too.
On the art side… Look up. Dream. Fly away. The famous olympic rings were recently replaced by a suspended work by Studio Orta, fluffy clouds reminding you there is more to life than work. A sort of flying carpet, a harmony between the outside world glimpsed through the glass roof or through the train windows and the dream ones, allowing you to escape a little while… St Pancras being now part of the London art trail, you can expect more of those in the coming years!
Don’t you love St Katherine Docks? Such a peaceful haven in the city, a quiet urban harbour. Take a stroll there this week-end - until Sunday, Denmark has settled there, presenting fashion, design, music, gorgeous food (with samplings and free delicious hotdogs!). There is of course, a giant screen to watch the Games too. It really does feel like quite a treat. Do have a look at the Olympic Park miniature versionin Legos too, such a level of detail in the architecture!
Discover the Danish Spirit, St Katherine Docks, until August 12, 2012
Today begin the Olympic Games in London. At 08.12 will ring thousands of bells across the country. The Guardian even has a fun interactive game, would you wish to join in. I wonder how many did take the day off, just to be there, in the city where it is happening, just to share the atmosphere? The opening ceremony is very much waited for -it should be quite a hit. In the stadium, in some of the big London parks, in pubs, at home - Britain will bewatching. There is a fantastic patriotic vibe waking up the country. May the best teams win!
Fancy a souvenir photo? Wenlock, one of the two mascots, is right at the entrance of Embankment Park. Children and tourists prove very creative posing with it.
Revisiting Kensington Palace recently, I fell under its charm all over again. Forget dusty old houses, no matter how royal. Here, historical anecnotes appear in old-style newspapers, irresistible. Drawers can be opened, books opened, secret messages found. Room after room art installation bring you to a dream world, waking up the whispers of the house, making emotions so much more vibrant. Magical indeed. Now, what about you? What have you planned for the week-end?
That’s art, baby:
* Can art. Yes. Using can-struction.
* Rediscover Munch’s paintings at the Tate.
Yummy time ahead:
* What a delicious idea: a cooking workshop dedicated to the afternoon tea.
* On Saturday, the Fifteen celebrates its tenth birthday with a fabulous street party.
Out of the ordinary:
* It’s party time on Charing Cross road this Saturday.
* Caudalie brings Bordeaux to London with a divine pop-up spa in Harrods.
* On Saturday, go vintage crazy with this kilo-sale.
* Play ping-pong in the streets of London. A fantastic (and free) idea.
* Feel like dancing with Havana rumba.
* On Sunday, celebrate Canada day on Trafalgar Square.
Behind stern buildings can often be found luxurious, soothing, green havens. At the Chiltern Street Studios, the tiny courtyard offers a transition between two worlds, details of another era, keys opening invisible doors, ivy like necklaces around vintage glass bottles. A welcoming chair, a bird singing cheerfully. Funny how a few square meters can be such an escape from the wild wide world outside. Do you have a secret garden in London too?
That’s art baby:
* After the elephants, the eggs… 75 phone booths have been redecorated and scattered around town. Happy hnting, until July 18!
* It is spring on the new facade of the Whitechapel Gallery – worth seeing.
* Yoko Ono opens her show at the Serpentine.
Take the little ones along:
* An architecture festival dedicated to kids? What a fabulous ideas. Look at the program for great workshops.
* Are you hunting the BT Artbox phonebooths around town? Now this one, with a knitted monster should really wow them.
* Cupcakes bloom in sweet bouquets at Mulberry Teacup – deliciously beautiful!
* Musicals fan? Come sing and dance on Trafalgar Square this week-end.
* Exhibition Road has a fabulous musical day planned on Saturday - check it out!
* Spitafields too celebrates music, with a street party on Saturday.
* Walk through Camden in the most musical way.
Out of the ordinary:
* On Thursday, watch Royal Ascot on the big screens at Canary Wharf.
* Kensington Palace will be open late next Friday for the most enchanting evening.
* Watch the sumos race.
* Fancy walking on the roofs of the O2?
* The Old Vic Tunnels turn into a holiday camp for adults this week-end – give it a try!
Bye-bye Jubilee, hello Olympic Games. What a year for the Union Jack, flags flying in the breeze from Oxford Street to Covent Garden, decoarting everything from pubs to bikes… This week-end, our ideas for London include a few green ones, just in case you cannot take any more blue, white and red.
Take the little ones along:
* How about a kids special open air movie? It’s free!
* Make a detour via the Science Museum to introduce them to classical music.
A little touch of green:
* Go green and visit places usually closed to the public during the Open Garden Square week-end.
* Loved the ceramic flowers at the Somerset House? Go and see these new artistic blooms.
* Be green at this eco-friendly fair in Regent’s Park.
* Marvel at David Nash’s natural sculptures at Kew Gardens. Amazing.
Out of the ordinary:
* Try a biscuit-astic festival.
* On Thursday, join the Puma creative factory exhibition at Boxpark. 12 artists have imagined a design for the new First round sneakers.
* It does not come cheap but if you ever dreamt of sleeping with the dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum (without the kids), here is your chance.
* Do you love to ride your bike through London? Ever thought of joining the World Naked Bike Ride?
* Rainy week-end? Go and see the best anime movies at the BFI.
* Did you know Joseph Grimaldi’s grave is musical?
Do you remember your very first experience of classical music? The one that made you listen to cartoons differently? I do – it was Peter and the wolf. I recall precisely how fascinated that a not could so echo a step, a feeling, the clarity of it all. I am older now – the feeling has faded slightly or maybe I am not taking the time to stop and sit, always trying to do several things at once. But if you want to be amazed by a philharmonia orchestra once again, be completely wowed by it, make a detour for the Universe of Sound: The Planets at the Science Museum. 132 instruments have been filmed, each section presented on giant screens. Room after room, you get the chance to focus on details, on techniques – the grace of a movement on the harp, the position of the flute right under the lip and not against as I always thought it was, the dreamy and appreciative gaze of a musician. You can choose to move your seat wherever you wish in the room – I like to be at the very center, feeling at the heart of the concert, shivers on my spine, wrapped in the intensity. One setting is inspired by planetariums, the scenes all above and around you - very impressive. Further, you can try and direct the orchestra via an interactive screen showing you the movement and reflecting yours – not as easy as you thought it would be and this will renew your respect for those skills. You could also try and play drums, xylophones thanks to real instruments and guiding – yet fun - videos. A wonderful (re)discovery of classical music as well for adults than for kids.
Universe of Sound: The Planets, free, until July 08, 2012
The Science Museum