Tag Archives: London

Bust Craftacular and the week that was

Bust Craftacular

One of the best things I love about London is the likelihood of bumping into events that would never venture out into Australia. A good example is Bust’s Craftacular, a DIY craft market sponsored by my favourite magazine that finally expanded across the Atlantic and held its first London Craftacular this year.

Bust Craftacular

Held in a tiny church hall, there were far too many stalls with fantastic goodies that were difficult to bypass as well as a live DJ throughout the day from mid day to midnight. I dropped in for a few hours for a look see and rather wished that I had more time and had a wide lens with me as there was barely any room to breathe. Being the first time that the event was held, I think the turnout was beyond most people’s expectation.  I heard one of the vendors exclaimed that they weren’t sure that they will have anything left in a few hours.

I still need to go through my photos, but if you are in the mood to do some on-line shopping in the comfort of your own home, I would heartilly recommend Ecclectic Eccentricity , Hannah Zakari among other vendors as well as a subscription for Bust ofcourse!

Oh and the first image with the craft surgery sign is for a craft clinic that was held that day. If you have any craft related questions, the two craft doctors  are happy to trouble shoot them for you.


Bust Craftacular

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Autumn postcard

Epping Forrest

Some photos taken during the weekend when I wandered into Epping Forrest with some Flickr peeps. It was a gorgeous day and I didn’t take as many photos as I should being happy to soak in the atmosphere. My grandmother used to have a gigantic print of a European forrest in autumn and when I was younger I used to wonder what it would be like to splash around among the scattered leaves.

The answer a dozen or more years later is…muddy.

Three little mushrooms are we

Epping Forrest

Westfield London

London Westfield

Visited the new and very shiny Westfield at Shepherd’s Bush during the weekend with one of my housemates for a dose of retail theraphy and general nosying around. Considering the number of High streets London has, it’s a little nuts to see an entire city going crazy at the idea of an indoor mall. On the other hand, the concept of an indoor shopping centre that caters for the masses just doesn’t exist here, and when the weather turns decidedly soggy fighting your way around Oxford Street can be a bit of a mission.

Layout wise, Westfield London is very similar to the Westfield at Bondi, albeit on a bigger scale with a much better range of stores. Where I expect to see Borders  I see Foyle’s, H&M instead of Sportsgirl and so on. The entire experience felt a little surreal, as I heard plenty of Australian accent coming from various store staff. I wouldn’t be surprised that the new Westfield helped to employ most of the backpacker/working holiday crowd living in Shepherd’s Bush.

Boost Juice in London

One thing I was stupidly excited about was Boost Juice. I didn’t drink it all that regularly back home, but it brought back memories of buying a drink on the way to and from uni when I bypass the city. Frankly it was rather ridicilous paying the equivalent of $10 for a regular drink, but it was a small taste of home served by someone from home and somehow that made everything alright.

aMaze-ing – dinner at maze

Peanut butter and cherry sandwich

It’s official, I have November-itis. Sympthoms include feeling sorry myself, not liking the cold and dreading being outside. Expert sources have identified it as a close relative of the Man Flu, but blogging about food is taking the edge of it somewhat. On top of my list of things to do while living in London is to visit some of the great restaurants that London had to offer. 

By pure luck I managed to round up a group of foodies who were willing to visit maze with me (thanks guys!). One thing I missed was not having a circle of ready and willing victims friends who were always willing to go and try out new restaurants and the moment I landed was on the lookout to recruit new foodies on this side of the world.

 

I ordered from the A la carte menu, thinking that there was no way I can cope with the degustation menu. I am a little annoyed that I can barely remember the names of what I had. I remembered having the following prawn in a kind of pumpkin soup, the head to toe pork (trotter was delicious), a pan fried fish that I can’t remember the name of me, though it was not the most memorable dish. We all agreed that it was delicious, but it was difficult to see or taste the Asian influence that inspired maze’s dishes. Think modern fusion rather than modern fusion with Asian influence.

Dinner at Maze

Maze's dessert menu

As for dessert,  I am rather in love with the peanut butter and cherry sandwich pictured above. The peanut butter were two disc shaped wafers that sandwiched the cherry ice cream, rather like an up market version of a new Ben and Jerry ice cream. 

 

Service was faultless, friendly and efficient without putting on airs. One of the waiters overhead conversation about my birthday. Just as we were asking for the bill, he came out with a chocolate cake topped with a candle completely unasked topping off a fantastic dining experience all around. 

Pineapple puffs.

Halloween and November

Halloween Pumpkins

Happy Halloween to those who celebrated. This is probably the first year that I actively participated thanks to a Halloween loving house mate. In any case, the pumpkins were carved, guests were invited and it was a whole lot of fun eventhough we didn’t get any kiddies trick or treating in our direction.

Autumn leaves

November is here and the weather has completely turned. I’m getting flash back from my first visit in London where everyday was gray, windy and cold. Being outside was asking for misery, but being tourists we felt obliged to go out and fight the rain to go sight seeing. It’s definitely much nicer having a home and being able to escape the weather from inside a pub.

The weather was a really good incentive for me to finish my scarf and any other projects I currently have on hand.

Knitted ribbed scarf

World Zombie (sun)Day

 I love women and their brains

The one extra hour is making me feel less like the undead in the past few days; funnily enough that’s exactly the crowd I bumped into on Sunday.

World Zombie Day

Sunday 26th of October was International Zombie Day with walks made in most of the major cities around the world. The weather was miserably wet and cold, with the perfect tinge of grayness for the delicate skin of the army of the walking undead to lurch under.

There were some rather impressive get up and for a group of shambling crowd they were unexpectedly organised and rather polite to boot as they met up under Marble Arch. Definitely less scary than the Primark crowd that I had to fight my way through later on in the day.

Zombie crowd

Last few days of sun

Flickr coffee

I’m so sick of waking up too early all the time, regardless what time I fell into bed I inevitably wake up at 5.30 or 6.00 am on the dot.

An unexpectedly sunny weekend resulted in dragging myself out the door for the Notting Hill Flickr meet. The route circled around Holland Park from Notting Hill gate to Kensington High Street. The architecture around the area was amazingly varied, but not unpleasantly so. It was great to be outdoor especially considering the week we had weatherwise.I didn’t take as many photos as I thought I would, but little moments presented itself. Like the coffee that came with Flickr colour smarties.

Roofscape

So many chores to catch up with and Ugly Betty season two makes  a great background noise while I fuss around. I almost forgot how cute Henry is, though it’s hard not to forget when my housemate sighs everytime he’s on screen.

If I could be bothered I would like to check out the Open Rehearsal event happening this weekend. Some of them sounds quite interesting. Then again if I try to drop in for every event in London I will not have any weekends left!


London Open House

Somerset House

Open House London, the Capital’s largest architectural showcase, is taking place on 20-21 September. This year’s event will once again reveal the fabric of London in all its diversity: opening eyes and minds to the architectural gems, contemporary design and areas of urban change that define the city today.

 

Somerset House Stairs

I wasn’t too fussed about going to see London Open House. My thought was if I managed to cross a few while I wander down London on my way to pick up some ingredients from downtown then it’s meant to me.

London Open House is an annual event in London where a number of buildings not normally accessible to the public are open for a weekend. This year there are 699 buildings open ranging from the Roman period all the way up to present day.

I was rather curious to see Somerset House though and was pleasantly surprised to note that there was hardly any queue for the guided tour. I grabbed a ticket for an afternoon tour and whilst waiting for the tour to start I wandered down Fleet Street and bumped into a crowd of people waiting to get into 120 Fleet Street (also known as the old Daily Express building). With an hour to kill I joined the fast moving queue and was able to good half hour in the gold and silver Art Nouveau decorated foyer.

 

It wasnt the easiest place to take a photo with the number of people huddled around in a small area and after a while I just concentrated on taking detail shots.

120 Fleet Street foyer

 

Next stop was Somerset House, a building complex I passed so frequently that it faded into the background. It struck me how big and ornate everything was the moment I stepped into the courtyard. Hard to believe that a few years ago it was used solely as a civil service building with the courtyard used as a staff parking station. What were interesting were the bottom levels of the building that were not accessible by the general public at any other time of the year.

 

Somerset House

Down below the dark corridors made a perfect moody backdrop for period dramas, which was apparently what they were often used for. I was surprised to see the reminder of old headstone loitered in the area, reflecting the layers of history.

 

Somerset House - old crypt

 

Walking out into the sun, cyclers from the annual Freewheel event were making their way across London. Its true what they say, theres always something happening in London. 

 

Freeweheel cyclists


The Thames

Lady bug

Thames= pronounced tmz, though why on earth this is so escapes me.

The Thames Festival was on during the weekend and I managed to pop in for part of it, not quite expecting how huge the festival was. We walked across from The London Eye to the Tate and barely scratched the surface of everything that happened during the festival. From swing dancers, tango dancers, Tae Kwon Do and everything in between (even knitting!).

Tango steps

My housemates retired early due to the cold, just as we were supposed to make our way to watch the parade. Somehow, after we split up I followed my nose and ended up in the longest queue of the day, quietly freezing while waiting for some Brazilian churros for a good 45 minutes. They were very good, and it wasn’t just the cold talking. The dough was made on the spot, and fried lovingly (albeitl slowly) before being filled with caramel. The end result was rather suggestive and I saw a few older ladies giggled when they chomped theirs.

For those who are interested Gaucho has a stall in the Greenwich market if you are keen to try some. They do keep quite well and are surprisingly good to take away, just heat them in the oven (180 degree) and enjoy the combination of crunchy dough and gooey caramel.

Brasilian Churros, filled with caramel

I stayed until the end of the parade, finding myself on Black Friar bridge in a prime spot for the parade. Sometimes being short has its advantage, people tend to feel sorry for the lone, short photographer jumping around rather ungracefully with a camera. My camera’s battery was dying at that stage and my hands were shaking from the cold. Despite the warmth of the day, I forgot that autumn was well on its way.


Living in a cottage in the middle of the wood

Swiss Cottage living

Well not quite, but every time I see signage for Swiss Cottage and St John’s Wood I always put them together in my head.

I haven’t really posted about where I’m living, probably because I’m still trying to find out about it myself.

Currently the boiler isn’t working so everyone is either having baths or very cold shower in the morning (case in point, me). Aside from the pub next door, there is very little night life though it is a very easy area to live in with a giant Sainsburry located closeby. Nevermind the fact that said Sainsburry was closed for the past couple of days making grocery shopping a non event…

Every Wednesday there’s a growers market opposite the library with the famous french crepe stand. She doesn’t like photos unfortunately, so I have to leave her crepes and amazing cheese in your imagination.

Swiss Cottage living