Friday, 31 January 2014

Discovering the fabulous gardens of Chelsea and Fulham

Chelsea and Fulham neighborhoods of London are characterised by their stunning leafy private squares, a product of Victorian housing development.Green sites like the Chelsea Physic Garden, Bishop's Park and the adjacent Fulham Palace, the Royal Hospital and the Hurlingham Club Grounds are the most popular ones. And beneath the green grass and paving stones of this extremely charming aria lie fragments of history.
For example at Fulham there is evidence of over 2000 years of human activity, and  there has been discovered a Roman settlement beneath the Fulham Palace Meadow Allotments and interesting enough, because of that plot holders are not allowed to dig too deep.
One of the most visited gardens is the Chelsea Physic Garden which was established in 1673 being the second oldest botanical garden in UK and a celebration of the beauty and the importance of plants. It holds more than 5000 types of plants, a collection of tropical, subtropical and Mediterranean and Canary Islands species. Expert guides will give you an insight on the history of this green spot hidden behind high walls and explain the many uses of the rare plants, from life-saving drugs to tea.

Fulham Palace gardens, the historic home of the Bishops of London, are also a very charming place to unwind. Fulham Palace was owned by the Bishops of London for over 1,300 years and was their country home from the 11th century. The stately rooms house a museum, a gallery space and a café/ bar overlooking the extensive botanic gardens. The 13 acres layout includes many rare trees, 18th century landscaping and a fabulous walled garden. Here you can see an ancient evergreen oak, estimated to be at least 450 years old and a part of the selective Great Trees of London.

Internationally renowned, the Hurlingham Club is a green oasis bordering the Thames in Fulham and is set in 42 acres of magnificent grounds. Recognised throughout the world as one of Britain's greatest private members' clubs, it retained its quintessentially English traditions and heritage, while providing modern facilities and services to its members. An exclusive sports and social club it has published the first rules of polo in 1873, rules that are followed by most of the world to this day. The members have access also to a nine hole golf course and other sports include lawn tennis, cricket, bowlsskittles, squash and swimming.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Notting Hill Carnival 2013

Here it comes a new reason for going out and party. And to revisit beautiful Notting Hill. If you're planning to go there in the Bank Holiday Weekend , 25-26 of August you're gonna find a different vibe from the usual calm and posh one you're used to.

Europe and the whole world will come to cheer, have a beer and watch the dancers showing off their colorful costumes and sexy moves. The Carnival Bands will take to the roads from around 9am on Sunday 25th August 2013 and the same time on Monday 26th of August. 2013. The Carnival parade should complete its procession by 7pm as shown on

Over 40 000 volunteers are participating to this year event and more than one million people are expected to crowd the streets of Notting Hill. 

At first, Nothing Hill Carnival started as a local festival for the West Indian community living in the aria, but over  time has become a full-blooded Caribbean carnival. 

In the mid 20th Century, lots of Caribbean immigrants were offered jobs in United Kingdom hoping that their work will ease the efforts put in postwar reconstruction. But very soon they had to face the racist manifestations of the white population.

Back then, the carnival rendered homage to the vibrant Caribbean culture and managed to bring everybody together in a festive atmosphere. Today, the carnival it's a wowing show of colors, music, food, energy and exuberance, celebrating London's diversity. The sounds of traditional steel drums, the amazing floats, hundreds of food stalls from around the world and not forgetting those twenty miles parade of colorful costumes, all of these bring new flavors to London and constitute the biggest street festival in Europe and second in the world after the one in Rio.


The most exciting event of the year gets under way this Saturday evening with a steel band contest followed by the Kid's Day on Sunday,  when the best costumes are going to be awarded. The main parade begins on Monday and has its starting line on Great Western Road, then winds its way on Chepstow Road, on to Westbourne Grove, and then Ladbroke Grove. In the evening the parade ends and leaves the revellers to continue the fun at many after parties organized for the special event. 

It is advisable to use public transport to get to Notting Hill, as most of the local roads will be closed for cars. Also for safety reasons some stations close temporarily if they become overcrowded and it's recommended to wait until the station reopens rather than finding an alternative station.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Head to Canary Wharf for a Jazz full evening

This summer, loose yourself in the electric variety of live music at Boisdale of Canary Wharf

As one of Canary Wharf's most diverse venues, Boisdale of Canary Wharf spans a whisky bar, cigar library, buzzing traditional Scottish restaurant, caviar and oyster bar  and cigar terrace. This August,  they are preparing an exuberant line-up of soul, blues and re-imagining of music heroes, and don't forget that they are locally and nationwide known for its live music.

Every Thursday you can loose yourself in " Lizzie Deane's Soul Spectacular' show and top-up a glass of any of Boisdale of Canary Wharf's exuberance of 1000 Scottish single malts, Indian, Japanese, Irish and Welsh whisky.

Lizzie Deane, Boisdale of Canary Wharf's amazing resident soul singer, and her band Soul Source, perform the best of blues, soul and funk for a perfect night out on the Wharf and they may surprise the visitors with a special guest or two.

Start August on a high with " Summertime Blues : The Best of the Blue Brothers' from 1 - 10 August. Prepare to be blown away by The Bogus Blues Brothers - the best Blues Brothers tribute artists in the business.
As they play out the classics in  front of their sizzling backing band, enjoy some of the liveliest summer nights the city has to offer.

The week later, on 17 August be amazed by swing king lain Mackenzie & Swing City. Backed by an eight-piece band performing iconic songs from  the likes of Nat King Cole, Chet Baker, Frank Sinatra and Mel Tormé - lain Mackenzie channels the golden era's charm with a contemporary edge.

As we enter September, Boisdale of Canary Wharf's line-up is still going strong with a celebration of the female voice. The " Viva La Divas Festival" is a series of soulful nights that salute some of the greatest singers in jazz history with evenings dedicated to Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee and Billie Holiday.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Telecom Tower

BT Tower and other London landmarks

The grade II listed tower is a conspicuous landmark of London and it is situated
on Cleveland Street.
It seems incredible that this 620 ft (189 m) tower should ever have been classed an official secret - no Ordnance Survey maps showed it until the middle of the 1990's, and strictly speaking it was an offence under the Official Secrets Act to take or possess photographs of the tower.

BT Tower or Telecom Tower shining in the night.
It was the first to be built specifically for the transmission of high-frequency radio-waves, and still transmits broadcast, internet and telephone information. For 16 years this was London's tallest building. When it opened in 1965, it was known as the Post Office tower, and 1.5 million people came to see it during that first year.

Subsequently renamed the BT Tower or The Telecom Tower, its circular shape reduces wind resistance, and was intended to survive the blast wave from a nuclear bomb. The top floors were designed as observation galleries, but were closed to the public after a bomb exploded in 1971.
The slowly revolving restaurant closed nine years later, although it is occasionally hired for entertaining.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Twinings - the English way of drinking tea

Did you know that Twinings is the oldest and most famous tea company in the whole world?

At this moment Twinings produce more than 115 different blends of tea, and about 1000 people work for them, either at their factory in Andover or the one in Poland. The company exports to more than 1000 countries, including India and China, and their tea is sold worldwide.
Twinings can proud itself with the world's oldest continually-used company logo and being London's
longest-standing rate-payer, having occupied the same premises on the Strand since 1706.

How to make the perfect cup of tea?

Sam and Anne Twining are two of the founders and they've been with the company for more than 50 years now .They are explaining us the secrets of having the best cuppa tea ever in their interview for

"When making tea one of the worst things is how
 badly people abuse the system. The pots are very important; they have to be made of silver, good China or earthenware (Brown Betty) provided it is glazed on the inside, but never of aluminium!
The great trick is to keep your tea pot spotless inside, which is so easy to do with two dessert spoons of baking soda and boiling water. leave it for a couple of hours and it takes out all the staining so you have  a perfect tea pot. You draw cold water from the cold tap to maximise the oxygen; and when you heat the water the moment the "fish eyes" start to appear at the bottom off the kettle you put the water in the tea pot. Every second you allow the kettle to boil you are pumping the oxygen out of the water.It is better to under-boil the kettle rather than over-boil it. And there is nothing wrong with  tea bags. They are a convenience, but when you have company loose tea comes into it's own, so you should have both in the house.
Milk is put in first, because when Chinaware was introduced from China it was so translucent that  British potters could not copy it and could only make earthenware. They finally made a tea pot that looked the part, but shattered when boiling water was put in it.So milk was put into the cup first to prevent in shattering.
Importantly, keep tea in a screw-tight tin or jar, whether it is bags or loose as it will keep fresh. Tea is like blotting paper, it will pick up kitchen smells, so you have to keep it in an air-tight container."

So how about the best time to drink certain type of tea? Sam Twining recommends to start your day with a

"builders tea" how some call it or English Breakfast, very strong or if you prefer something more light and delicate and a bit thinner like a Sri Lankan tea on a hot summer day or if outside it's cold you'll be better with a Darjeeling tea. In the afternoon an Earl Grey or Lady Grey will be fantastic with scones and cream and lots of restaurant in London are doing special menus for those who still love and have time to delight themselves with an afternoon tea.

Did you know?
Macaroons and tea

The Seventh Duchess of Bedford has introduced afternoon tea because she would always fancy a snack between lunch and evening meal. And she preferred it with a few delicacies around 4.0 pm. Then other ladies copied her and not long after that when Queen Victoria began drinking afternoon tea regularly everyone follow suit making possible an extraordinary and world renowned tradition to be born.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Best street markets in London

No matter if you look to spend few thousand pounds on some very fashionable accessories in Harrods or just few pounds for some really chic and shock vintage jewellery in Camden Market, London it's a place for all pockets sizes. Because I covered already the subject of shopping for luxury items in my previous post today it's time to give some tips on how to buy loads of great and unique things from clothes to jewellery and other odd but zuper cool souvenirs from London's best street markets.
Spitalfields Market near Liverpool Street
Almost every corner in British capital has a street market and if you go a bit out of zone 2 almost all neighborhoods have this sort of market in the city center where you can find a little bit of everything, cheap clothes, vegetables, food, home goods etc.
The most famous ones and worth visiting are Covent Garden Market, Borough Market, Greenwich Market, Spitalfields Market, Portobello Road, Brixton Market, Brick Lane Market and unforgettable Camden Market with its Stables Market and Camden Lock renowned for their food variety and vintage clothing stalls.

Covent Garden
Covent Garden Market in Central London
In Covent Garden the offer it's very diverse.You can visit the Apple Market for British hand-made arts, crafts & antiques and the Jubilee & East Colonnade Markets for a huge variety of stalls. And if you get hungry or tired just relax and have some fresh baked pies or a very tasty meal in one of the over crowded restaurants in the aria. At Christmas time Covent Garden markets  are beautifully decorated and the main attraction it's the Christmas tree in front of St. Paul's Church. Many young artists, musicians , magicians etc. transform the place at evening in something rather magical.
Food Street Market in London

Time Out says: Tue Nov 30 1999
This London institution may appear too commercial and crowded to provide a characterful retail experience, but some quirky gems lift the experience. The colonnaded nineteenth-century Piazza building houses Apple Market, where tourist-friendly crafts are the staple, as well as cutesy chain stores – although it’s worth keeping a look out for independents still holding their ground such as Eric Snook’s Toyshop and the specialist tobacconist/cigar shop Segar & Snuff Parlour. Over in the South Piazza, Jubilee Market is a little more eccentric: Mondays are for antiques lovers while Tuesday to Friday sees a hotch-potch general market including clothing and household goods. Saturdays and Sundays are reserved for arty knick-knacks and crafts largely geared toward tourists.

Borough Market

Borough Food Market London
Situated very close to some of London's  best landmarks , Tate and Tower Bridge , Borough Market it's a must go place if you are a food lover or if you want some authentic delicious souvenirs for you friends. You may even spot Jamie Oliver or other top chefs in search for fresh or exotic difficult-to-find ingredients to accomplish their culinary excellence. You most definitely don't miss the fried scallops at Shellseekers or the gorgeous but pretty pricey toasted cheese sandwich or raclette at Kappasein.After that, if you feel like having some dessert head to Jubillee Market, an extension to Borough Market where you can find the best caramel pots at Real France and also the very appreciated KäseSwiss for traditional farmhouse cheeses sourced directly from the Swiss Alps.
Bread Stand in Southwark Food Hall Market
Few good tips to avoid the big crowd it's to go around 8 or 9 on Saturday mornings and don't take pictures without asking the traders for permission, they can get very angry. Borough Market, Stoney St, SE1 ( London Bridge tube/rail. 11am-5pm Thur; noon-6pm Fri; 8am-5pm Sat.

Camden Market 
Camden Markets are a number of adjoining markets from north London and a very big touristic attractions being the fourth most visited place in London with more then 100000 people each week. One of the most interesting is the Stables Market where you can find all sorts of crafts, new and vintage clothing and lots of food stalls from around the world. 
Camden Street London

Conform Wikipedia "The market is located in the historic former Pickfords stables and Grade II listed[3] horse hospital which served the horses pulling Pickford's distribution vans and barges along the canal. Many of the stalls and shops are set in large arches in railway viaducts."

Stables Market Camden Town London
Buck Street Market is the place for neon sunglasses and pseudo-witty slogan garments while Camden Lock situated next to the Railway bridge it's overcrowded most of the time being very popular amongst young people which love the buzz and the curiosities specific to this aria.
Many shops and stalls are now open 7 days a week, 10am to 6pm and the aria it's as well full of restaurants but you have to be very careful when choosing where to eat because if you are a very fussy customer you can be disappointed.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Harrods, a temple for luxury shopping

Harrods Shopping Center London
Garish and stylish at the same time, Harrods it's sure to leave you reeling after you've spent a few hours inside.

Known for being an obligatory stop for tourists you'll find it always crowded with the biggest cram in the Perfumery Hall especially in summer and winter sales peak.

Lots of people can be seen queuing at the entrance before 10 pm, though if you're after a relaxing shopping experience it's recommended to go there between 1pm and 5pm.

Despite the security rules similar to those of army barracks and despite some tacky elements like , one example the wax figure of the ex proprietor Mohammad Al Fayed and the memorial fountain to Dodi and Lady Di , Harrods deserves it's supremacy in the world's best shopping places. Founded in 1834 by Charles Henry Harrod, the store occupies now 20,000 m2), being the biggest department store in Europe and having around 330 departments from fashion, perfumery, stationery, furniture, accessories and a mouth watering food hall.. Beginning in a single room on the site of the current store and employing two assistants and a messenger boy, Harrods rapidly expanded and been transformed into a giant with an army of over 5000 very well trained employees.Every day, 300000 customers are visiting Harrods. In May 2010 the store has been bought by Qatar Holdings, the sovereign wealth fund of the State of Qatar for 1.5 bilion pounds.
Harrods Food Hall Knightsbridge

Interior Harrods London
Interior Harrods London

Harrods Teddy Bears London
Harrods London Teddy Bears

Women Departement at Harrods, Knightsbridge, London
Women Department at Harrods , Knightsbridge London

According to Wikipedia "A representative sample of shop services includes 32 restaurants, serving everything from high tea to tapas to pub food to haute cuisine; a personal shopping-assistance programme known as "By Appointment"; a watch repair service; a tailor; a dispensing pharmacy; a beauty spa and salon; a barbers shop; Harrods Financial Services; Harrods Bank; Ella Jade Bathroom Planning and Design Service; private events planning and catering; food delivery; a wine steward;

 bespoke "picnic" hampers and gift boxes; bespoke cakes; and bespoke fragrance formulations."
The Harrods motto is Omnia Omnibus UbiqueAll Things for All People, Everywhere. the most famous place inside it's the Food Hall where you can taste anything from cakes, chocolate, meats, fish to fine wines. For all foodies it is a small slice of heaven. Top quality products scream out to be purchased and demolished before you have even left the shop. It's also a photographers paradise, the produce piled up with such artistry it's breathtaking.
Renowned not only for its dimensions Harrods deserves his status mainly because of it first-class service, retail theatre, product quality, finest luxury merchandise and an unmatched international brand selection.
Here are some of the big brands you can find at 7 floors department store in Old Brompton Road :
Christian Dior
Louis Vuitton
Tom Ford
Dolce & Gabbana
Matthew Williamson
Miu Miu
Oscar De La Renta
Roberto Cavalli
Antonio Berardi
Bottega Veneta
Burberry Prorsum
Christoper Kane
J Mendel
Proenza Schouler
Roland Mouret
Thom Browne
Victoria Beckham
Carolina Herrera
Jason Wu
Julien Macdonald
Kaufman Franco
Michael Kors
Nina Ricci
Victoria Beckham
Harrods Food Hall London
Harrods Food Hall London
Cakes in Harrods Food Hall London
Yves Saint Laurent
Armani Collezioni 
•Giorgio Armani
Ralph Lauren
Harrods Lights