Portman Village is having a Bake off and Street Festival! – 23rd July 2014

10 Jul

Portman Village Photos

Calling all cake lovers, Portman Village, Marylebone is celebrating summer and the nation’s love of baking with the PV Bake-Off and Street Festival! Not to be missed this is going to be a fun-filled day for all the family. The event will take place in Portman Square Gardens on Wednesday 23rd July from 4pm and the event will see the head chefs at some of the London’s best restaurants compete to be named Best Baker.

Reigning champion of the Great British Bake Off, Frances Quinn, will be judging to determine the winner in categories including Tastiest Cake, Best Biscuit and Best Decorative Cake. A showcase of the areas array of international cuisine, competitors are also required to submit a dessert from their native country.

Also joining the competition will be head chefs from Home House, Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill Hotel, Lanes of London, The Thistle Marble Arch and Radisson Blu Portman Hotel, as well as Portman Village’s designers, beauty therapists and shop owners. Sweet-toothed guests can then decide whether they agree with the judges’ decisions, with free samples of all entries available for tasting.

Raising awareness for West London Day Centre, a local charity for the homeless, the Portman Square Gardens will open its gates free of charge from 4pm – 7pm. In addition to cake tasting, visitors can enjoy a host of themed games and entertainment, such as ‘Pin the Beard on Paul Hollywood’.

The celebrations then continue around the corner in Portman Village, with an array of exclusive discounts, freebies and prizes, as well as late night shopping and beauty treatments. Happy hours, and live music by the reputable London GIGs on New Quebec Street and Seymour Place will ensure the party continues until late.

Follow a trail of specially designed, limited edition cocktails at the local bars and restaurants, all inspired by sweet-treats, and visit the boutiques for a glass of bubbly and some nibbles. With offers on food and drink, experience one of the competition winner’s full menus at their Portman Village restaurant for an exclusive rate.

For more information visit www.PortmanVillage.com 

OpenTable IS offering East Londoners a free breakfast with a #FridayFreebie

10 Jul

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NO such thing as free lunch? Well on Friday morning get yourself down to Old Street Station this Friday (11th July) from 07:00-09:30am for just that a free lunch!

All you need to do is flash the OpenTable app (free to download) on your smartphone and you will be rewarded with a breakfast treat of your choice from one of four shops located in the station.

The OpenTable team will be on hand to greet commuters and hand out tokens which can be exchanged for an orange juice, a coffee, a bacon roll or a coconut mylk drink.

A trip to London Zoo

7 Jul

 

I have fond memories of my last trip London Zoo, (over 20 years ago!) Finding myself with a few days to spare in my holiday the boyfriend and I decided that it was time to make a visit. After a rather packed day of shopping we made our way to Regents Park to wonder around the Zoo for 2 hours. We arrived at the Zoo two hours from closing time and (maybe not the best idea as a lot of the animals appeared to be asleep or not in their pens).

 

In two hours we did manage to cover quite a lot of the Zoo, seeing lots of rare species of animals and birds. London Zoo is a must for the those with time to burn this summer holiday – check out some of the animals you will see if you go below

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Some very cute Llamas

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The sweetest looking prairie dogs

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Hello Mr Armadillo!
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A very cool toucan

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Beautiful red bird ( can  anyone tell me what this is?)
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A mean looking locust

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Jellyfish image

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A very shy Cheetah image

Some parrotswpid-20140626_170344.jpg

A gorgeous transparent butterflywpid-20140626_170200.jpg

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Pelicans

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Penguins trying to cool themselves down in the heat.

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A Trip to Lady Dinah’s Cat Cafe, London

4 Jun

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May was a bit of a quiet month for me, and so it went a bit quiet on the blog front. However my little hiatus is over and i’m back! Missed me? Well I thought i’d kick off a new month with a short account of my trip to London’s first and only cat cafe.

I first heard about Lady Dinah’s on Timeout, after a successful kickstarter campaign Lauren Pears was able to realise her dream of opening a cat cafe in London. Lady Dinah’s opened its doors in February and is already fully booked until October. It seems there are a lot of cat lovers on London.

I visited Lady Dinah’s for the first time last week and was not dissappointed with the experience. The cafe had a lovely lovely vintage feel and we enjoyed playing with the cats. There was a five pounds cover charge per person which i guess goes to the upkeep of the cats.

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The cafe  was decked out in white chairs and tables and decorated with cat inspired furnishings. I had expected the place to be overrun but there werent more than 4/5 cats around at a time and they had lots of places to lie, scratch and play.

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After we sat down one of waiters came to take our order. I opted for the guinness chocolate cake and Ewa went for a slice of red velvet. Tea was served in the prettiest china cups.

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A lot of people I told about the cat cafe worried about hygiene but that was never a problem, we were asked to wash our hands before entering and antibacterial wash was provided on all tables.

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Overall I really enjoyed my visit, if you are a cat lover then this is the ultimate experience.

Date for your tastebuds – Feast Food Festival – Sat 17th May

12 May

feastAttention tastebuds the Feast is back! Feast In The Fields all dayer returns to London Fields on Saturday 17th May for it’s first summer outting – ‘Handcrafted In Hackney’.

The festival will feature some of  London’s favourite street food offerings including; Thank Cluck, Polish Deli London, Better Health Bakery, Tacu Tacu, 7 Bridges Deli, and Square Pie.

In addition to the great food & drink on offer, there will be something for the whole family to enjoy with; street performers, cookery demonstrations, eating competitions and games for the kids (of all ages).

WHAT: Feast In The Fields all dayer

WHEN: Saturday 17th May

TIMES: 12pm-4am

WHERE: London Fields Brewhouse, Railway Arches 369-370, Helmsley Place, E8 3SB

PRICE: Entry £4

WEBSITE: http://www.feastinthefields.co.uk

 

Love Fashion? Enter the Pradasphere – 2nd May 2014

24 Apr

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Calling all fashionistas, it’s time to enter the Pradasphere. Opening on the 2nd of May 2014 Pradasphere will celebrate one of Italy’s most influential fashion houses, with a month long take over of Harrods with a retrospective exhibition, café and exclusive collections. The brand was originally founded by current creative director Miuccia Prada’s grandfather, Mario Prada, and his brother Martino, in 1913, as a leather goods company and has since become one of the world’s most iconic labels.

The exhibitions will feature pieces from past collections; showcase special projects, collaborations and the store’s windows will play host to treasures from the Prada archives as well as a capsule collection of re-issued ready-to-wear, bags, shoes and accessories inspired by iconic Prada collections from the last 100 years – developed exclusively for Harrods.

There will also be a screening room, that will show a selection of the label’s short films (in the past they have teamed up on campaigns with Roman Polanski, Ridley Scott and most recently Wes Anderson), and the brand’s first ever Pradasphere café. Pradasphere opens from 2 May at Harrods, Knightsbridge, London, SW1.

Sign up for Nike’s We Own the Night 10K RUN

24 Apr

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Looking to get fit this year? Then make sure you don’t miss out on this event in May. Nike is aiming to inspire thousands of women across Europe to challenge their comfort zones like never before with ‘We Own The Night’ the ultimate after-­‐hours 10K run.

For more info an to sign up please visit: http://www.nike.com/events/register/wotn/london/

A weekend in the city of Bath at The Bath Priory Hotel and Spa

23 Apr

This is the second post in a sequence of posts about escaping London for the weekend. In my last post I told you about how I was whisked away for the weekend to Marlow in Bucks.  I’ve always loved the city of Bath after reading Jane Austen’s book Persuasion and recently I had the chance to visit Bath for the second time. After finishing work on a Friday evening the boyfriend and I hopped on the fast train from Paddington up to Bath. After reading many reviews about the best hotels to stay in Bath we decided on the Bath Priory Hotel. We chose the hotel mainly because because of its beautiful gardens and spa. I have to apologise as this post maybe a tad on the long side, I had some many pretty pictures I couldn’t decide what to pick!

Bath Priory Hotel and Spa

Bath Priory Hotel and Spa

Bath Priory Hotel and Spa

Bath Priory Hotel and Spa

Pulling into the driveway of the hotel I was already pretty impressed. Bath is famous for this Georgian architecture and the hotel a beautiful example of this. I especially loved the beautiful arched windows and landscaped facade. After we arrived, a porter came and collected our bags and we were given a quick tour of the hotel. After this we were taken to our suite in order to be checked in. For the next 2 days we had booked ourselves into the Cavendish Master Suite. The pictures below don’t quite do it justice as it had beautiful views overlooking the landscaped garden and the bathroom was huge! The suite included a separate seating area for sitting with a coffee machine, TV, DVD player, iPod dock and telephone. Touches that we were particularly impressed with was a hand written note from the hotel welcoming us and a bottle of madeira wine. I have to also add that although the suite was not cheap we managed to get 400 quid off because it wasn’t high season. 

Cavendish Suite at The Bath Priory

Cavendish Suite at The Bath Priory

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Cavendish Bathroom at The Bath Priory

We arrived too late to dine in the restaurant so instead we decided to order from the room service menu. I went for the steak and salad while my boyfriend chose the club sandwich.

steak and club sandwich

steak and club sandwich

The next day it was time to discover the city of Bath! We got up early in the morning and went down for a bit of breakfast in the Bath Priory Restaurant. photo 2

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After breakfast we headed into Bath town centre, both of us are budding photographers and I had read about a photography tour of Bath that runs on Saturdays outside the tourist office. I was quite disappointed to discover that the tour would not be running that day. However, we were told by the kind lady in the tour office that we would be able to go on one of the free walking tours of bath. If you visit Bath I recommend that you take one of the tours, we found it very informative and we learned lots of about the history of Bath.

Here are some highlights of the tour:

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River Avon

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Pulteney Bridge which crosses the River Avon in Bath

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Morris dancers in Bath town centre

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The iconic Royal Crescent in Bath

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Baths oldest house – where Sally Lunn lived

If you get the chance make sure you try a Sally Lunn bun!

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A bit of history about Bath’s Georgian architecture

A trip to Bath would not be complete without a trip to the Thermae Bath to relax, I strongly recommend that you buy spa passes in advance as the queue for this was ridiculously long!

I also discovered that Bath is fantastic for shopping, they have a lot of very pretty boutiques and home furnishing shops. I came home with a quite few nice goodies from Joe Malone and new pair of leather boots from Ecco.

In the evening we dined at the Michelin starred Bath Priory Restaurant, both my boyfriend and I are big foodies so we were excited to learn that the chef here was Sam Moody  who has quite the reputation for coming up with interesting combinations, exciting flavours and who has a passion for fresh, local ingredients. We both were feeling quite brave so were opted for the 7 course chef tasting menu, which meant we had no idea what we would be eating until it arrived at our table.

I have to say that were blown away by both the knowledge and service provided by the staff, which was faultless and the food really did live up to its reputation. I didn’t get a chance to write the names of each of the dishes down but you can see what we had below.

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By the time we finished eating it was nearly midnight and we were the last ones in the restaurant, so if you are feeling inspired to do the same – maybe try eating earlier around 6. Then it was time to sleep off our food coma ready to head home the next morning.

The next day before we left we took the time to look around the gardens, luckily for us we had lovely sunny weather which highlighted the beauty of the place even more. photo-6 photo-7

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Bath priory Gardens

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A stunning mini waterfall

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A sleepy bee came to rest

We loved our weekend getaway in Bath, we just wish we had spent more time in the Spa! However, I am sure we will be back sometime soon. We really enjoyed staying at The Bath Priory Hotel, the staff couldn’t do enough to make sure our every wish was granted, the views from our suite were spectacular and the food in the restaurant was to die for.

 

Free breakfast and lunch in Victoria today and tomorrow

15 Apr

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Today & Wednesday this week, Mark Hix’s Fishdogs food truck will be popping up in London’s Victoria and serving breakfast and lunch, for free! A breakfast of cinnamon doughnuts will be served from 8.30am and a Fishdog lunch is available from 12pm.

This lovely treat comes courtesy of Nova, Victoria – set to be London’s most exciting new restaurant quarter. The free breakfast and lunch will be first come, first served while stocks last. To claim a free meal, people simply need to tweet with the hashtag #FishdogNova or show one of the promotional flyers being given out at Victoria and St James’s Park stations.

Hix’s Fishdog van can be found just off Victoria Street, between Westminster City Hall and 62 Buckingham Gate.

Easter bank holiday ideas – Getting out of London for some sun

13 Apr

The first major Bank holiday of the year is only five days away And I can’t wait. I’ve also decided to take a couple of days off before in order to get the most out of the Easter break. My boyfriend and I did think about having a staycation in which to make more discoveries in the capital, but as nice as the weather has been it still isn’t warm enough for a bikini. So it’s time to leave the UK for sunnier climes. After a quick search on Google I found that the Mediterranean is rather warm at the moment and the flying time isn’t bad either. I spent the day scouring sites like First choice for holiday deals, which gave me the idea for this post. If you are also thinking of escaping the capital Easter Bank Holiday here are my top three places you have to go:

Sorrento in Italy

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If you follow my blog closely you will remember my trip to Florence last year. It was during this trip that I fell in love with Italy, its culture, food and beautiful architecture. Sorrento is based in Campania in Italy and is home to just 16500 residents. It is also very close to Naples and Pompeii which could make very good day trips if you have the time. Sorrento like other parts of Italy is filled with beautiful churches, the Chiesa di San Francesco is particularly worth seeing if you choose to visit. Sorrento’s cobbled streets make it perfect for those of you who fancy a little wander. There are lots of little cafés to stop and sample some good Italian coffee as we’ll as lots of antique and craft shops to buy something to remind you of your visit. If you’re looking for sandy beaches this may not be the place to visit but the plethora of bathing platforms beneath the cliffs mean you won’t have a problem finding places to swim.

Heat factor? The weather forecast for bank holiday looks to be around 18 degrees.

Marmaris in Turkey

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For beach lovers I would recommend Marmaris in Turkey, it has a beautiful coastline with a gorgeous backdrop of pine clad mountains. Going at Easter means it will be sure to be slightly quieter than the summer season. If you are willing to splash out a little then this is perfect place to hire a yacht to explore the coastline. Those of you looking for a bit of relaxation and pampering should make sure to book in for a Turkish bath. After an hour and half of exfoliation and steaming you will feel like a new person. If you’re intending to bring your family then head down to the Aquadream watermark for the day. It is located on the outskirts of Marmaris and has wave pools, rapids and massive water slides to keep the whole family entertained.

Heat factor? Around 21 degrees if the weather forecast stays the same.

Playa de las Americas in Tenerife
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Tenerife is an old favourite with British holidaymakers mainly for its consistency on the weather front. Tenerife enjoys year around sun due to its proximity to the equator. Playa de las Americas is situated on Tenerife’s southwest coast, and is the place to head to If you’re looking to party this Easter bank holiday. Most holidaymakers looking to party head for the one kilometre stretch known as Verónicas that is packed with nightclubs, cabaret bars, live music venues, shops and restaurants. The crowd here is of the younger variety and the partying can go on all night. So if you are looking for a quiet break this possibly wouldn’t be the place to go. However, families can head to the resort during the day to be entertained.

Heat factor? Looks like it will top 24 degrees throughout next week.

Intending to enjoy the holiday in London. Make sure you check back later in the week for a list of things to do in London.

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