Posts Tagged ‘garden’
The heart of Turin might be flat but cross the river Pô and you’ll find a more hilly landscape. A pleasant walk up the slope will take you to one of the many palazzi of the region (we loved Palazzo Madama if you had to choose only one), the Villa della Regina. Originally a royal vineyard, in the 17th century Cardinal Maurice decided it would be ideal for a summer residence too, a lovely way to escape the heat of the centre. And so the Savoy family lived there, duchesses, princesses, even Queens until the 19th century. The palace was recently renovated and has reopened to the public. Such an appeasing silence in the gardens with splendid views on Turin. The rooms inside are lusciously decorated, rich painting, gorgeous optical illusions that really get you wondering, chinoiseries… Before you leave, do have a look at the vineyard coming back to life. It now produces a cheerful Freisa di chieri that will make you want to dance!
Villa della Regina
Strada S. Margherita, 79
Such a fascinating building right in the very heart of Turin. Two completely different façades: On one side an austere, defensive castle, its original vocation. On the other a palace, splendid, impressive, complex architecture from the very moment you step in. It’s only in the 17th century that the building will earn its actual name. Under the Savoy family (or shall I say empire?), Christine of France and Maria Giovanna Battista dedicate it to arts. Today, it shelters the Antiques Museum and traces the history and rich culture of the city.
Such an interesting walk through time, each floor its atmosphere. The basement still shows the Roman foundations as well as intricate medieval stone friezes, a room filled with china (more like a treasure chest of magical finds, including more than a hundred veilleuse, showing Turin’s love for coffee). From there, you can wander to the moats, turned into the most adorable garden. makes you feel, like the princesses back in the day, to sit there all afternoon with a book…
Ground floor – have a look at Middle Ages art. Rounder lines, draped robes, gazes that almost trace a story from a painting to another. First floor… Well I wish I could tell you about the collections but the truth is the baroque ceilings are so luxurious you walk from one room to another looking up, completely oblivious to the rest. So many illusions, decadent paintings, sculpture, gold, superposition! The second floor, pause on decorative arts with a special mention for the refined lace.
Bonus, go to the top of the tower to enjoy the skyline.
Music Maestro! Liverpool street station gets all musical Thursday evening, the pianos are back on the streets and Friday evening at the V&A, jazz gets a lovely nigerian twist. Lovely free events to get your groove back… Scroll down to find more London week-ends ideas.
That’s art baby:
* Get a dose of Warhol at the Dulwich Picture Gallery.
* The old BBC offices in Marylebone become a secret garden and a pop-up theatre for the summer. Why not give it a try?
* For a little magic, go and see this art installation made entirely of kites.
* His names is Bond. James has his show at the Barbican.
Yummy time ahead:
* A new street food van, Speck Mobile, offers Austrian treats on the go.
* Fancy foraging but do not know where to start? Try this very clever bike tour.
Out of the ordinary:
* On Thursday evening, The Shard will illuminate the London sky with a laser web.
* The Old Vic Tunnels blooms into a fascinating underground garden.
* Fan of the Future and Secret cinema? Well, welcome the new addition to their family, secret screenings in secret locations.
* Make a detour to enjoy the Streatham Festival. Music, drama, theatre, fire themed dancing, comedy, creative workshops and even Ninja Knitters!
* H&M opens a sport pop-up shop at St Martin’s Courtyard. Time to get that credit card smoking.
* It is quite a party this week-end at Kensington Palace with lots of music and dances.
* Gentlemen too have their olympiad. Includes tweed, moustaches and hats.
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!
Seeing exhibitions at the Quai Branly museum has a price but did you know you can access the wild garden free? On a sunny day, it it so enjoyable to rest there, oberve the birds and butterflies dancing from one branch to another, sit under the roses, see the metallic lace of the Eiffel Tower in the distance… Pause. Breathe in. Smile.
Quai Branly museum
37, quai Branly
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.
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!
Well if it is going to get all chilly and wet, I might as well go winter cocktails hunting. You’ll find a few celebration ideas here. Mulled ciders, toddies, buttered rums, here I come!
That’s art, baby:
* Go and see Leo. Not the one from Titanic, the other one.
* Hogarth’s house (the famous painter) is opening again to the public. Even better, entrance is free.
* Discover little secrets of your daily household objects…
* You will be in awe of this photo exhibition at the Royal Festival Hall.
* Do you have a lucky charm? There is a whole collection here.
A little fresh air:
* Street lights are pretty much the same from one year to another these days. Yet Carnaby street‘s always are particularly colourful. They’re switched on Nov 10. Oh, and Covent Garden has digitalised the Nativity scene. Not to be missed!
* Keep fighting and garden.
* See (real) reindeers at Covent Garden.
* Falling for cupcakes? Meet Lola’s founders Thursday at Selfridge’s.
* The Make Lounge offers lovely workshops – this week-end it is all about chutneys and jams.
* To decorate your cakes as if they were works of art, have a look here.
* Oh, a new supperclub, Spanish style…
Psst, try your luck, we have two competitions on the blog at the moment:
*5 Time Out Eating and drinking guides for foodies.
* You live in the UK? Great – you might win £400 worth of flights to Europe.
I love walking into pubs early for lunch – you know, when they are still empty. Before the buzzing noise of conversation, the ballet of waiters, the clinking of cutlery. At that point, the room is almost all mine and I can listen to what it has to say, butterfly from one detail to another.
The Avalon had the atmosphere of a legend book – as if still asleep, ready to be awaken by a magic wand. The glass roofs brought a powdered light in, filtered by the steampunk inspired chandeliers. On the walls, the aniseed wallpaper was tempered with cream tiles. All was soothing to the gaze. Wood, leather, copper – very Parisian bistrot with its succession of small tables, its comfortable banquettes yet with an uncomparable British elegance to it. It makes you feel like being a regular there, always sitting at the same table, the waiter knowing your name…
Look around – on the walls are articles, anecdotes, games, illustrations from newspapers of the beginning of the century, when drawings were the best alternative to photography. A great way to feed conversation.
And when summer days will be back, a garden awaits you at the back, ivy and bamboo, teck furniture, view on the nearby church. Suddenly, London feels miles away…
But come back to the table – our starter has just arrived. Delicate but rich slices of smoked salmon (£6.75) enhanced with stronger notes of shallots and pickled capers – those have been chopped to release their full flavour as soon as they touch your tastebuds. The Lambs’ lettuce brings a lovely peppery touch and the cream is infused with horseradish. Refreshing and suddenly very powerful: a wonderful idea I will try to recreate at home.
The wine menu is cleverly thought. Rather than boring you with a list of names and grapes, it is organised by quality: Floral & aromatic, Zesty, citrus & lively… This way, you can match your wine to your dish of choice as well as your mood. Indulge in a glass of Mud House, a New-Zealand Sauvignon Blanc (Malborough). A cheerful drink, a little oak and lovely lime aroma that re-energises you straight away.
If you consider vegetarian cuisine to be dull and bland - think again. The Avalon has created an amazing combination of courgette and aubergine (£11) stuffed with tender lentils, a little rosemary and topped with melted mozzarella. A mouthful will just make you forget about meat. Gorgeous, just gorgeous. Add a little pureed roasted peppers, sweet and exploding in flavour or the sauteed Chinese cabbage. A beautiful range of colours and textures, very filling too. Your 5 a day in a single plate.
A seasonal dessert felt like a must, why not the apple and plum crumble (£5.50)? Just thinking of it makes you feel like being in front of a chimney fire. This one offers a rich buttery topping, nice and crunchy. Underneath are whole pieces of fruit, tinted pink by the plum, rather than just compote. On top is a huge scoop of stem ginger ice-cream, very dense so that it will only melt slowly and give you plenty of time to enjoy the marriage of the three layers. A dessert that makes you love autumn. Try it with a fresh mint (£1.50) rather than a tea - much more aromatic.
You will also find tables on the outside terrace – well, you might as well enjoy every ray of sunshine! The team has some blankets ready if you find it a little too chilly, just ask. This is a child friendly address too with a dedicated menu – a lovely place to come with the family on Sundays.
The Avalon belongs to the Renaissance pubs (Remember we had tried and loved The Rosendale). The name is well deserved and moves away from pubs heavy with tacky decorations or sticky tables. This is a true gastropub, with the perfect balance between elegant decoration and fine food, no showing off, just a real, pleasant atmosphere. You can let go of the daily stress here and truly relax.
16 Balham Hill
South Clapham (A mere 5mn walk from the Tube, same street, just turn left)
London, SW12 9EB
Well, this week-end, I will be sitting on a beach in the South of France with a glass of Sauternes in my hand. Heaven. If you are staying in London, here are a few ideas to make life sweeter, to tip your hat off, to travel in time… and many more!
* Dance in a very French atmosphere at the V&A.
* Have a look at a real space capsule.
* Try hoola-hooping again.
* Indulge in a Tolkien night.
* Rediscover the treasures of St Paul.
* Chiswick park turns symphonic.
* The best response to riots? A lot of love and a little art.
* London really is the home to strange but fun museums.
* Discover a secret garden in Spitafields.
* Beach souvenirs from London-on-sea.
* How would you recycle routemasters?
* Cycle through the city.
* Ping-pong and cocktails. Or vice-versa.
Psst: from August 24 to the 26th, Soho Square will be deliciously Swedish. Come and discover the sweetest pop-up, enjoy a cup of real coffee with one of the amazing traditional treats!
This week, London’s universe was turned upside down. There were flames and rioters. There also were strong communities and amazingly brave people. You may not have been there - you may have been far away watching the news on a TV screen, or following the events on Twitter but your heart was with the city. Whole neighbourhoods will carry the scars of a few nights of madness. Still, walk in the centre and it is difficult to believe that anything happened at all, nothing has changed there. Surreal but this is London too - her many lives, her many ways, her absorbing trends and events alike, just getting stronger from it all. So make the streets your own again. Go for a stroll, support the victims, join a riot cleanup, admire King’s Cross new station, adopt a Make tea not war slogan. Just… Keep calm and carry on loving London.
* Yes, you can be a fashionista and have a sweet tooth: cake pops are even cuter at Topshop.
* Comedy, yummy food, fashion and live music this week-end at Cystal Palace – quite a feast!
* Street art creations spread like mushrooms.
* Discover one of Trafalgar Square’s little secrets.
* Read aboard this floating library.
* Cheer the participants of this swimming marathon in Hyde Park’s lake.
* Urban gardens are always so charming.
* Imagine for a few seconds that you are in Morocco.
* Fancy a surreal evening? Try this pizzeria.
* Until now, stars have been launcing their perfume. Justin Bieber went a step further and has his own ice cream at Harrods. I heard a teenager comment that was pretty cool - no pun was intended.