When my mum came to visit last, about a month ago, she came from Paris on the train and meeting at St Pancras seemed like a good idea. Funnily enough, just a couple of days before we had talked about the German Gymnasium at work, and when I saw that it was in Kings Cross I just couldn't get it out of my mind.
German food isn't generally high up on my radar, although I do love schnitzel and I sauerkraut intrigues me. We went with a very safe choice of chicken schnitzel sandwich that was served with crisps. I had a headache so didn't enjoy it as much as I would if it was a normal day, which means I have to get back there soon to try out something else on the menu.
I'm sure I have blogged about this place before as it isn't the first time we have had a meal there, but it always impresses so it's worth another mention. Prix Fixe is in Soho and it is one of those restaurants it's easy to forget about in the Soho jungle of new openings and places you have to queue to get into. There are a lot of those... I'm not sure I have mentioned this before, but I HATE queuing for a table.
Prix Fixe is easy, good prices, GREAT food and serious portions. We never really have much space for dessert as the menu is just too full of amazing starters and mains we want to have instead. On this occasion I went for crab and avocado toast to start and I almost didn't have space for my main. The crab mixture was delicious on the crispy sourdough bread and I just couldn't stop eating until my plate was empty.
For main I just couldn't resist the steak and fries. Honestly it was just the perfectly cooked piece of meat with crispy, delicious fries and drenched in garlic butter. I was so happy with my choice! My mum had a delicious piece of pork belly and the husband went for fish. Everything was delicious, as usual. I just can't fault this place and I know we will be back before long. Perfect for a casual date night, for a meal with friends or just any night really.
I have always loved Burberry and spent a lot of time obsessing over their trench coats, and many years back I saved up and bought one, and it is still going strong. Cost per wear is probably in pennies as I wear it every year during spring and autumn. Probably the best thing I ever bought myself. So when there was a chance to see a bit more of the brand, I obviously couldn't say no, and rushed to get to Burberry at Makers House for the creative display they put on for fashion week.
I think the reason they set up the exhibition at Makers House was to showcase craftsmen and inspiration for the current collection. Burberry showed they SS17 collection during fashion week and right after the whole collection was put on show for the public and Makers House was open.
I loved seeing the inspiration, all the materials and colours and the craft on show from the craftsmen. The embroidery on show was insane. And I loved the wall of scissors.
Watching this guy slowly and painstakingly creating a sculpture was incredible. And the screen printing below was beautiful.
The real reason for it all was of course the new collection from Burberry and I watched the whole show online (watch it, the live music made me super emotional, it was just beautiful, definitely worth it!) so I was really excited to see it all in real life and not on a screen. I was most excited about the tassels!
I loved seeing all the clothes and felt so super inspired to care more about how I dress (small victories!), I also loved being able to share it with my mum who was visiting. After ohhhing and ahhhing over all the tassels and chunky plastic chains on the bags and the tassel coat (!!!) it was time for a small snack. I went for cake and coffee and my mum went for tea and crudités with a seriously delicious bean dip. The Thomas cafe did not disappoint.
i think what was most impressive was the incredible atmosphere and music. The whole space just felt like entering a magical garden where anything could happen. All in the middle of busy Soho. I honestly really loved it all and I wish it was still open so I could tell you all to go, and go again myself!
If there is one thing I never do, that we never do, it's to go to the cinema. For some reason, I am just not so into it. Don't get me wrong, I can go to the cinema, however I am just as happy doing laundry while having a Netflix gem on in the background. You know what I mean? No?
So yeah, cinema trips are never high on my to-do list. But then Backyard Cinema came along and I was sold. If you send me an email and ask if I want to book tickets to watch the Jungle Book in a fake jungle, yeah, I'll be there. Fun story, when I was little I LOVED the jungle book sooooo much (we watched a Norwegian version of the musical about 3 times when I was 4 years old) and asked if maybe I could change my name to Mowgli. Sadly that didn't happen, but one of my brothers still call me Mowgli when he wants to wind me up. And my other brother calls me Tarzan when he wants to wind me up. Family, am I right?
All this led to the husband and I getting into the car last weekend and driving to Elephant & Castle to find this fancy jungle cinema. As usual we were a bit hangry (maybe just me, but sometimes you just NEED food) and rushed to find the nearest place serving food. Funnily enough we stumbled upon this large food market and only after eating a delicious burger and inhaling some fries, did we realize that the jungle cinema was actually in the same space. Funny coincidence, and super convenient.
I loved the yellow tables (plenty of them, not difficult to find a space to sit), the flowers in red plastic crates, salad grown in beds around the property and that industrial metal structure along the wall. Not sure why that was there, but I liked it. Almost as much as I liked my burger. We ordered from Brew Tap Burger and their burger was exactly what I needed, a good size for me (tad bit small for the husband, and he even had a bite of mine) and it tasted so good. Mine had some sort of miso something on it, and it was all kinds of right.
The fries were also just right. It might have been just that I was very hungry by that point, but they had a very delicious seasoning on them that just made me want to order several portions and munch my way through.
Part of the food market is also an actual shop where you can buy cheese, meats, drinks and basically everything else you want to buy at a deli. Anything you buy you can also eat at any of the tables provided in the rest of the space, if the actual food stalls don't tickle your fancy.
After food and an ice cream that was just that bit too big (but delicious, so I ate it all!), we made our way to the cinema. To get in we had to climb through a hold in the wall and suddenly we were in the jungle and had to find our way out.
How amazing is that? it was so well done, and to get out of the jungle you had to jump off a cliff and into a pit of boulders where you had to navigate your way out carefully. Quite difficult in heeled ankle boots if I say so myself.
Also, those weren't really boulders, but I guess you got that already?
When we finally made it out of the jungle we were in a lovely room decorated like the jungle complete with a rain forest soundtrack. The cinema chairs were beanbags, how fun! We gratefully sunk into ours after the ordeal of navigating the jungle and were lulled into almost sleep while we waited for the film to start. I don't think I have been that relaxed in a cinema, ever.
I am not so great at film reviews, and I'm not going to start improving right now. But I will say that I really enjoyed the film, even shed some tears at times, and I still think it is a magical story. I was a bit sad that there were not more songs as that is what I was OBSESSED with as a child (although it was the Norwegian version, in theater, that I fell so madly in love with) but the film was still so beautifully made. So yeah, watch it.
We are so lucky to be living in walking distance to a large park here in London. Living in a big city can sometimes feel like you never see a tree and that nowhere is really calm, like you would get in the forest for example. Not that we live smack in the middle of London, but there is still a fair amount of traffic most times of the day.
I grew up in a suburb of Oslo and we definitely had trees around. If you are Norwegian your weekends might very likely be spent in a forest, in the mountains or by the sea. Very different from London life, which is why I'm glad we have access to this green space that is calm and where the trees shut out any traffic noise. The perfect place for a little time out, to go for a walk (or run if you are that way inclined), bring your book to read a bit, or maybe a picnic? I really want to have a picnic soon!
My favorite bit of the park is The Rookery which is a more manicured gardens with smaller ponds, a well and lots of benches for people to have a seat. I also love the little cafe by the park entrance which serves up food that looks amazing (we haven't tried any food there yet) and delicious coffee. There is also a white garden, which is supposedly very rare in our time.
On the outskirts is the calm forest bit where all you can hear are the small animals and birds moving about. It's really lovely to take a couple of minutes to walk through the trees when the sunshine is filtering through the treetops, the world is quiet and you can actually hear yourself think. Can you tell I really love this park??
This past weekend we had one of my best friends, Anette, visiting from Oslo and she stayed with us (in our guest room!) from Wednesday until Monday so we could have loads of time to explore and hang out. She has been here before (last time was in January for my birthday) so we didn't want to do the most touristy stuff, but still explore a bit and not just sit about on the sofa and play Trivial Pursuit (we did that on Saturday evening, I lost big time).
Anette decided she wanted to go to mass in Westminster Cathedral on Subday morning and as the husband is Catholic and I am more neutral in the religious area, we all decided to give it a go. It was a very calming start to our Sunday and we all loved the amazing Cathedral. Fun fact, the husband and I did our marriage course in Westminster Cathedral back when we were getting married, although we didn't get to spend any time in the actual Cathedral then and the mass was a first for all of us.
After mass we were all absolutely starving and ended up at 11 Pimlico, close to Victoria Station. We hadn't planned our brunch/lunch and so had to hustle a bit to find somewhere that had space and so we ended up at this lovely place. I absolutely loved the interior and that table made me want to really get going with a little home DIY with the one we have... I am plotting and planning that currently!
The food was lovely, I ate my Eggs Royale in about 3 minutes as I was absolutely starving, and we got a side of fries with Bearnaise sauce which should really come with any meal if you ask me. Disregarding the fact that they are not great for you, of course but weekends are for indulging in my book.
After lunch we wandered along to The Kings Road to meet a friend for a quick coffee and panic buy some sunglasses. The sun was going crazy and we had left the house early in the morning armed with sweaters and umbrellas. Our goal was to get to the Serpentine Gallery to see the Pavilion there, and stop for a break in the park and maybe a coffee.
The Pavilion was a bit of a downer, to be honest. There was a cafe inside it which was just not great. We each got a coffee and they were all pretty bad, my latte spilled on the ground when I was half way through which was probably the best place for it. We did have a really lovely rest on a bench under a shaded tree while waiting for a friend and my brother to join us, much needed for our feet and sweaty bodies, and then we headed into the gallery.
The exhibition was works by Alex Katz and the Serpentine Gallery is pretty small, so I wouldn't say to go all the way there just for the exhibit and the pavilion, but if you plan ahead and bring a little picnic and have lunch in Hyde Park then definitely go to get a little culture at the same time. Just avoid the coffee.
After the gallery we walked to a pub in South Ken where we spent many hours eating nachos and having beer. But to be honest there was noting lovely to take pictures of so this is where I will leave you. After the pub we also made it to Chicken Shop in Holborn to finish off the weekend with loads of chicken and sides. It was glorious and we were all super full and got home way too late for a Sunday night. I was exhausted on Monday morning, but you know, it was worth it!
If there is one thing I love it is to have a little time out on my own, preferably in a cafe, and get some time to read and think. I read every time I'm on public transportation because it makes the time go by so much faster, but for some reason I can't get myself to read "useful" books. You know the ones, where you learn something useful for life. So I read all these crime books that are very entertaining, quick to read and makes commuting a lot more fun and save the serious reading for coffee breaks.
Two days ago I took some time out and went to a cafe in Tufnell Park, which is an area I don't really know at all even though it is so close to Kentish Town, which I know quite well. I wanted to try out Bear+Wolf and I can't for the life of me remember where I found them originally, Instagram maybe? the weather was pretty bad, so I had to escape the rain and feed myself (I forgot about lunch, who am I??) and anything with salmon, avocado and a poached egg is the best thing ever. The whole menu was very enticing, and it was a hard choice to make. But look at that poached egg, and the avocado and the smoked salmon. Oh it was so good, although very spicy! And the side salad had a pretty epic salad dressing that I would like the recipe for please.
I sat really close to this cake display, which is always dangerous. Didn't have any though, which is great. I'm really trying to be better at eating healthy although it is so very hard sometimes. Cake in my heart.
I had a lovely time out with my book (that I finished, it was super short!), delicious food, and a coffee which was...honestly, I just find it really hard to get behind these coffees that are watery, bitter aftertaste and absolutely tiny and still set you back closer to £3. I need to find another drink to order when I'm out because I can hardly take it anymore. Neither can my wallet.
Right now I am sitting on the sofa on my own with CSI on the TV (if you know one thing about me it's that I love a good old episode of CSI) and typing up this. I am not eating because it's after 8pm and I am in "fasting" mode, although I desperately feel like snacking. I think the key to a successful diet (man how much do you hate that word??) is to be busy, so you are never bored and want to fill your time with snacks. But it also doesn't help to look at pictures of delicious food like pasta. Am I right?
Back to the point, last night we decided to go out for an early dinner because the husband is staying in a hotel in central London and I am staying in our less than central London apartment. It's nothing sinister, he is just working loads for a couple of days and it made sense to stay in a hotel close to the action. While I prefer him to sleep in the same bed as me, it was a bit nice and exotic to meet for dinner after work and then go our separate ways. Like a first date or something. It's been a while since I had a date like that!
We decided to go to Padella, close to London Bridge Station, for some delicious pasta. It's basically all they do, and I am ok with that. All the pasta is fresh and you can see it being made in the open kitchen. They do also have some simple starters like burrata, salami, a radish salad and bruschetta. All very simple, but good flavors. We tried both the burrata and the salami with a side of bread. All delicious, but I do think it's not the best value for money for starters, but I guess for a restaurant where there was a constant queue, they can get away with simple and quick.
For mains we both had pasta, obviously. I went with a beef ragu and the husband chose a spicy sausage and ricotta pasta. Both were so good, I would gladly scoff one of those plates right now. Or both to think of it. Our waiter said a table of two earlier that day had ordered one of each pasta to try, and I wholly get this. If you go hungry, and don't have any starters, then you could possibly manage two each. At a stretch. But maybe plan for a long walk after to let all that deliciousness settle comfortably in your stomach.
I loved having an impromptu date with the husband and a quick and easy meal, that was also good, on a casual Monday. I do have to mention that there was a queue and we were in it for a while. At the same time there were seats in the restaurant that the hostess didn't fill up and it made me think maybe they couldn't handle the amount of guests or maybe the queuing is a ploy to make them look even busier? Who knows.
If you want to give them a go you can check them out here.
Man I'm so ready for a snack, why is this fasting thing so difficult suddenly?
I don't know why but I have always had this fascination with Jeff Koons. Rather, I am obsessed with his balloon dogs cast in metal and wish someone would just give me a small version of one of those sculptures. Too much to ask?
Anyway, when I saw that Newport Street Gallery was offering up a selection of Koons' work I wanted to go immediately. It was great to see his other works of art (only one balloon animal on the whole gallery, see below) except the pictures in gallery 3, I was wholly unprepared for the sexual nature of those. That was also the only gallery where you weren't allowed to take pictures and I totally get why. Let's just say there was a lot of genitalia on display. And a giant bowl of eggs. Weird? Definitely.
I think my favorite part of the exhibition was the pool toys. They are cast in steel but look so incredibly like the real thing, it is uncanny. I am a big fan of things that aren't as they seem, like anything made miniature or small things made large (except that bowl of eggs in gallery 3!) and those pool floats made into sculptures made my heart beat a bit faster. It was just so fascinating how something that is usually so light has been made very heavy by being cast in steel.
The last gallery had this large sculpture that looked like Play-Doh and it turns out, that's what it is supposed to be. It has taken over 20 years to create this sculpture and if I remember correctly it is a direct copy of a Play-Doh ball Jeff Koons son made when he was a child. It's cast in aluminium and it is huge, I have to admit it doesn't look as crazy real as the pool floats but it is still impressive.
To be honest I would like to go back and see the exhibition one more time, it was quite vibrant and fun and I felt like it would be a good place to grab some inspiration for any creative endeavors and a nice place to spend an afternoon with a friend or alone. The Newport Street Gallery had a good vibe, I can't wait for their next exhibition, and it's free entry (at least for this one)!
Sundays are best spent.... Chilling! Yesterday we went to Columbia Road Flower Market for the second time. The first time was back in January 2015 ( I think) for my birthday and since then I have worked most Sundays and so the market has been difficult to get to.
This Sunday we had the time to get over to Columbia Road and buy all the flowers. Not literally, that would be both expensive and not suitable for our flat, but we did buy peonies (supposedly the most instagrammed flower of all time, go figure) and roses and some mini orchids. It was all kinds of glorious!
After being worn out by the crowds we walked really slowly (it was hot!) over to Hoxton Square and found a cafe that had space for us all outside and also served food.
I tried a latte but have to be honest, the coffee wasn't great. The food however was pretty good, I went for scrambled eggs with mushrooms and a side of bacon and was absolutely beaten by the amount of food. Way too much left on my plate after. We sat in the sun forever and got slightly burnt, I have a sore spot on my arm as proof.
We went to the market with my weekend gals from work (might not make much sense, but I will explain one day) and it was so nice to be able to enjoy a Sunday together, not slaving away at work and worrying about customers. Here's to more lazy Sundays coming up!
I'm Christine and I currently live in London with my husband where I do my best to go to as many restaurants as possible, bake, DIY and occasionally let my hair down and go to a museum. x