Friday, 8 December 2017

Bernini, Rome,and miscellaneous

In London, we call the financial district 
- the Wall Street of London - the City.

It gets technical.

Because the city of London is just where all the banks are so technically 
I don't live in the 'city of London'.

They had a live band playing background music.

But I went there even though I don't work in the financial industry because my friends and I went to the Ned Hotel for afternoon tea.

There are plenty of pictures on Instagram.

It is the Soho House for all those people who can't be members at all the other Soho Houses because Soho House has a rule they don't like to take bankers as members.
The hotel used to be a bank and this is the huge vault in the basement that has yet another bar.
I would recommend the hotel for a drink as it is HUGE!
It is like an old train station.

I went to Rome for a few days as one of my best friends who lives in L.A. was there so I tagged along.

I went to the Palazzo Pamphiji which is the Roman equivalent to a grand British country estate.
Except it is bang in the middle of Rome.

I thought it looked like the corridors of the Vatican - just emptier.
Then it made sense because the house was 
bought /built / acquired ( all three ) by this pope below.

For those who like art will recognise him as one of those miserable looking guys in Velazquez or the Borgias.

Nearly 500 years of pedigree but they still had plastic on the seating.

But then again, there is always a family member that blows the money right?

But they had a lovely Christmas tree in what used to be their ballroom.
This ballroom was nice enough but not a standout for a grand European house.
But what made it stand apart was that the original electric system was technically still working and they some electric historians took some of the wiring to preserve it and study how it still worked after more than a century. 
The house was really not in great shape and almost forgotten in the minds of visitors as it is walking distance away from the Colosseum and the Forum.
I have been to Rome many times but this was my first visit to this palace.
The present generation still lives there though and has the best parking spot in Rome.

As usual I ate my way through the place where I am.

I had one of the richest versions of Carbonara ever.
I go a little crazy with pasta and I tend to order pasta for the pasta course and the main course.
I don't even pretend to be a local.
And then I order cappuccino after lunch!
The waiters in Rome did a lot of head shaking around me.

Rome has one of the best delis ever.
I also found a bathroom that I want to copy if I ever need to remodel my bathroom.
Went to the special Bernini exhibition at the Villa Borghese.
If you go - make sure you pre book tickets because it is normally booked out certain days.
Good stuff.
I am not Robert Hughes ok?
Once again, the relationship between art and setting was glorious.

This building near my hotel was apparently some Swedish cultural institute.
But I thought it looked more like a brothel that could have featured in the movie - Le Grande Belleza.
You know what I love most about Rome thought?

Its trees.
I think hotel suggestions are useless in Rome because one rarely spends time in the hotel in such a city but please do at least go to the Hotel Eden for a drink because it has some of the best views ever of the city.
I showed you V V Rouleaux's shopfront at night but here it is during the day.
How good is that?
How is Mercury retrograde going for you?
I thought I got lucky because I got invited to a Manolo Blahnik shoe sale and I thought I would get this pair of sandals but they couldn't find the other side.
But it is okay because I have plenty of cute shoes that I never wear anyway.

In other news, I cut someone off who is always lurking on my social media while not following me and says it is boring to just have coffee with me and says we should do something exciting instead and insists we meet up when she is in town.

Do you have one of those people you haven't cut off yet but would like to?

Is there a word of digital social media frenemy/but we weren't ever that great friends anyway but why do you take such an interest in me and ghost me all the time type of person?

Anyway, it feels good.

Back to food.
As much as I love Italian food, I can't handle the lack of variety in Italy.
So the minute I got off the plane I went to have dim sum.
This is a cafe that was outdoors and we froze our butts off to sip tea here because we all thought it was so beautiful.
I also went to visit my friend's family at their beach house one night and despite the sun it was so cold that I am still not thawed out from going to there.

I am not that into the whole men in uniform thing.
But these look better than Batman with those capes.

Pace yourselves people during this crazy time otherwise you will be exhausted for new year! x

Monday, 27 November 2017

Hazza's press at Palace grounds, Gougeres, and Pompoms

I went to an 18th birthday party for a friend who I have known since she was about 6.
It seems I can only really tell the passing of time with Christmas coming around in what seems every 6 months 
( or is that just the shopping and decorations ) 
and seeing children grow.
She is an absolute star.
 I am unbiased as I am unrelated to her.
She is the only girl - now lady -
 who I say I would go through the travails of motherhood for if 
I was guaranteed someone like her.
Except I have a feeling that being a flaneur and watching Netflix would probably not result in someone like her! 
Her actual mum not only raises amazing children but cooks my husband's favourite cake ever pictured above.

VV Rouleaux did a great shopfront and actually put tassels and pompoms on the outside of their shop!
Isn't this so much fun?
It really put a smile on our faces as we left the restaurant 
the very same evening there was the false alarm incident in 
Oxford Street last Friday.

Instead of cooking turkey for the American thanksgiving, 
I made lunch reservations at Core by Clare Smyth.
It was very good indeed and her pumpkin gougeres should be sold to the retail market.
I would have them for breakfast every day.

I saw a play called the Lady from the Sea at the Donmar 
which left me thoroughly confused that I had to read about the play and plot when I got home.
It was based on an Ibsen work but it was transplanted into a Caribbean setting so the starkness of a swim in the grey North sea didn't translate into blue warm waters as a fundamental.
But I love the Donmar so am glad I watched it.

Here are the press photographers who were assigned the main gate escorted by what seemed to be palace press interns an hour or so after the big announcement of the engagement.
I must have surely been one of the people in the background walking during a German or American live broadcast announcing the engagement of Harry and Meghan.
This was only just after they announced it so it was still a bit sparse.
The press didn't make too much of her wearing a Canadian white coat but then she is in the honeymoon phase literally and figuratively.  I hope the press go easy on her in future.

I did some decluttering.
I am not a huge fan of this pastime as I am the product of a tumultuous last 100 years so think that something might come in useful just in case of emergency/war/disaster.
But I figured 12 year old clippings of out of date kitchen cabinets and photos that can be found on the internet database wouldn't save a life so I finally threw out the vestiges of my pre Pinterest life.

Have you written your cards yet?
Done all the shopping?
Planned a menu?
Me neither xx

Monday, 20 November 2017

This and that in Venice and Seoul

A lot of people in Asia will travel far to get a scene like this and in London all you have to do is go to the parks.

When I go to Asia now, all the palaces and temples don't interest me as much as the little differences in daily life like the food shopping.

Dried fish is a very bit part of Korean cooking.
They reconstitute it like the Portuguese bacalao ( dried cod ) but also use it in stews and season it as a side dish.  It is very nutritious but of course the origins are from the lack of refrigeration.
And as such there are big variations and nuances to dried fish as seen in the picture below.
The different grades and thicknesses of the fish are a different as a cuts of beef for Koreans.

I  am in take your time and be a tourist even in London mode so I took the long way to the gym and I walked through the maze bit they built a few years ago at Kensington Palace.


The highlights of my long trip to Korea was the fabulous weather we had every day I was there - 23 degrees and sunny.

I rediscovered our Han river which cuts through Seoul.

Plus I loved this private library which I thought was a bookstore until I tried to buy a book and they looked at me like I was a weirdo and said this is a library. 
They said to look at the sign.
( the sign does indeed say library but I thought it was marketing.)
But I haven't been to such private libraries open to the public before.

I loved these traditional compacts made by a local Korean cosmetic brand.

I saw the Damien Hirst exhibition in Venice and I was confused to what was impressive.

The art or the setting?
It was the setting actually as you could have had a kindergartener's scribbles in the building and it would have look curated.

Venice was nice but surprisingly I know a few people who just don't like the energy of it.

Funny because I chose this time in November because I wanted to see Venice in the fog and yet it was sunny every single day.
But definitely more pleasant than summer.
People say the water taxis in Venice are expensive but then they go on gondola rides that essentially take you to where they pick you up.
This way - you get a boat ride, a seamless journey from the airport to your hotel, and a taste of the canals.
Don't hesitate!

I like the water but terra firma has its charm for sure.
I went to a Christmas fair and the people were going crazy buying so many decorations.
It was as if none of these people had a tinsel in their storage anywhere.
Design glut when an optometrist has to decor it up and you don't know if you entered a hotel lobby or a banker's hobby art gallery in Shoreditch.

I do like that art has pervaded everywhere despite some lateral off shoots that are eye-roll worthy.
This is a double knot traditional cloth wrapping for presents at the cosmetic store that is now a stand alone quasi museum in Seoul.
Isn't it pretty?

Please excuse the editing - if I wait until I get a hang of the laptop I will never post anything ever...

Stay well! x