A little bit of insight to London; art, bars, cafes, clubs, restaurants, and other things to do in this wonderful multicultural city.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Macaroons? Where?

Since coming back to the flat after Christmas holidays we've all become a little addicted to macaroons. And this generally means any type of macaroon. I brought some back from Luxembourg as a treat, but then I just couldn't get them out of my head. I went to Ladurée in Covent Garden just to get a set of 8 of them for myself. I must say I'm a little unconventional when it comes to macaroon flavour. I like the quirky new flavours, my favourite from that Ladurée box was a passion fruit coconut macaroon. Who even knew that flavour existed?
The box I brought home from Luxembourg was from Oberweis a well known gourmet bakery in Luxembourg. Sadly I didn't get to pick the flavours but all the traditional ones were there. Praline, chocolate, vanilla, coffee, pistachio and lemon, yummy. I was hoping to bring back macaroon mix as well, but I couldn't find any at the local supermarket. Hopefully one day I'll make my own from scratch but at the moment I'm too lazy to invest my time to have a whole batch of the same flavour macaroon. One of the joys of macaroons is the mix you get to pick! 
I also tried the macaroons at Paul's here in London and they were pretty good, but the jam was a little too sticky so I didn't enjoy it as much. However they also do large macaroons which means I only have to eat 2 or so to reach my daily macaroon dosage. If you've never tried one, you're missing out. I recommend you go for a traditional flavour first so you can explore the texture, and then pick something different that catches your eye. In London Ladurée has a bigger selection of flavours, but if you're fond of strawberry, vanilla or chocolate, get yours at Paul's. 
Here's the Ladurée website: http://www.laduree.com/en_int/
Here's Paul's website: http://www.paul-uk.com/

Monday, 27 January 2014

Labour & Wait

Labour and Wait is a cute little shop on Redchurch Street. Charlotte and I walked in there while looking for a gift for her dad. The store is like a mini man's paradise having items for dogs, gardening, and their tool box. And of course I was happy to look around the shop when I found a blue and white striped shirt. I have a little obsession with white and blue stripes. 
What I loved the most about this shop was the way they organized everything into beautiful tins, making the shop seem tidy and clean but giving it that little extra personality. They also had artisanal cooking items, a beautiful wooden spoon happened to catch my eye.
Labour and Wait is one of the best places in London to get a friend a house warming gift, or treat yourself with something new for your house. Every item seems to have a little story and a perfect purpose. And the people who work there are nice too!
Here's their website: http://www.labourandwait.co.uk/

Friday, 24 January 2014

London Art Fair

The London Art Fair is one of those things that gets advertised obsessively on the tube. This year, I got to attend it because of my university. The event itself is really well organized and there is a good flow to it. Sadly, if you want a map of the exhibitors or anything else to guide you you have to spend even more money. That's one of the biggest things I disliked about the event, it was really expensive. The food court wasn't too badly priced, but who can even afford food after they've spent about 20 pounds to just see the show.
The show is organized as a trade show, there's a little exhibit at the start of show, but then everything is divided into little stands for the sellers. All of the stands are very uniform but some of them have really amazing pieces. There was one that had a map of the world made out of the different countries currency. 
I think attending was a fun experience, but since I wasn't there to invest anything my time wasn't used wisely. I think I would much rather enjoy visiting each gallery individually and look over the art than seeing a huge variation of art all crammed into one big show. Thankfully I went on the Friday so it wasn't too crowded, the ambiance was good, and everyone seemed interested in being there. Overall, I liked the show but I would have liked it so much more if I could have bought some of the art.
Here's their website: http://www.londonartfair.co.uk/

Wednesday, 22 January 2014


Rosa's is a cute little Thai restaurant tucked between some shops in between Spitalfields Market and Brick Lane. What makes it stand out from everything else?  It's painted bright red! After walking past it a few times and noticing the crazy queues outside I knew I had to eat there. So when my Friday classes got cancelled I knew exactly where I was going for lunch. 
Upon walking in you notice all of the beautiful wooden tables, and get seated at one of them. On the edges of the restaurants the tables are set up with one side sitting on a connected bench against the wall. The others however, do not get the chance to lean on a wall. The menu is very clear, describing the different dishes they offer for lunch and dinner and one stood out to me, the sweet and sour pork. It had been ages since I had anything that was labelled "sweet and sour" so I went with my gut, and ordered that. 
After taking my order the food was ready in 10 minutes, I didn't event have time to read much of the book I had brought with me. They serve most of their dishes with white and brown rice and a good mix of vegetables. I recommend that if there are a few of you, grab a few starters to share. Sadly, they include service tax on their bill, but we'll let that one slide because the service is actually pretty good. 
Here's their website: http://rosaslondon.com/

Monday, 20 January 2014


LAB is an amazing cocktail bar in Soho, I love their Pornstar Martinis. I might be a little biased since that's the only drink I've had there, but they are genuinely amazing. Sugared passionfruit? Yes, please! My flatmate's classmate works there, that's how we found it. Sadly it doesn't stay open too late, but that means you can catch the last tube home. 
They have 2 floors, a DJ in a tiny closet like hole and 2 bars. You don't have to change floor to order your drinks, and there are usually a few corners free to sit and stand. The music gets really going around 10 o'clock but some how I've never danced there. My favourite thing is that the sign for the women's bathroom says "Bitches" giving the place just that extra bit of edge. Their menu however is very fun loving, and they literally have any cocktail you could ever want. We recently got a cake flavoured one for my friend Niko and he wasn't too pleased by how pink his drink was. 
Some of their drinks have TV based names such as the "Games of Sloanes" drink. More than anything I go here for the good vibes. They have normal prices for central London, varying from about 6-10 pounds depending on the drink. Of course the Pornstar Martinis come with a shot of Prosecco making them more expensive than most drinks. But I wouldn't give up that passionfruit if my life depended on it.
Here's their website: http://www.labbaruk.com/

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Finding the Perfect Pesto

As an Italian I was warned several times before coming to the UK how bad the food at the supermarket would be here. Within the first couple of months I figured out most of the ins and outs of buying food here, except the fact that I couldn't find a decent pasta sauce anywhere. After a few weeks of hunting I found a solution to my tomato sauce problems, but it took me so much longer to find a solution to the pesto problem. 
I know all supermarkets sell little jars of pesto, by Sacla and other brands. But pesto from a jar is probably the worst possible kind. Being used to fresh pesto at every little supermarket in Luxembourg I was shocked, stunned and surprised by the lack of good pesto. At first I bought some at Selfridges, but I couldn't really afford their price tag, so good pesto became a thing of luxury. Eventually I gave up and bought the jar stuff and wallowed in pain every time I cooked pasta. 

But then this year I started the hunt all over again, I was not going to eat the same boring pasta in tomato sauce, I had to find some good pesto! Thankfully we moved flat, so we were closer to a Waitrose, and they have a large variety of pestos. They have at least 3 different types in a plastic container that happen to all taste good, but if you're in a big Waitrose they even have fresh pesto at the cheese and meat counters. If you're a jar fanatic Waitrose is still crazy enough to carry those too. 
It was like Waitrose was my Mecca, I had finally found the perfect pesto! Sadly, sometimes I still have to buy the pesto from the jar, like when I was in M&S last week, but when I can I'll choose the Waitrose one any day. It's truly amazing, this coming from the Italian that's too lazy to make her own pesto. 

Thursday, 16 January 2014

London Ice Sculpting Festival

On the weekend of the 10th to the 12th of January Canary Wharf hosted the London Ice Sculpting Festival. There were 3 key competitions where ice sculptors from different countries showcased their talents out in the open. 
It took us ages to find exactly where the Festival was but once we saw one sign we were greeted with people handing out flyers and forms for you to vote for your favourite sculpture. Outside the festival grounds there was an ice wall where you could leave your name. 
Once inside the "grounds" of this free event you could see different areas where each team was working. Crowds circled around each area to stare at the people working away at the ice. I spent most of the time in awe of what they were doing, "how do they make sure the ice doesn't crack?" was a question I frequently asked myself. Sadly, the weather wasn't quite as cold as it should be this time of year, so the sculptures were melting a little, especially the elbows of the girl in Belgium's ice sculpture. 
After getting a good look at each piece of work and looking at the techniques they used to form their sculptures perfectly we walked through a little pop-up food market they had set up for the event. Not only were the ice sculptors from all over the world but so was the food being served. I was hoping to get my hands on a waffle after seeing the Belgian team's ice sculpture but there weren't any to be found. I did however see a lot of people warming their hands with mulled wine though!
Overall, it was a fun, different day out. I got to see a skill I wasn't used to seeing in practice and spend the day out and about enjoying one of the few times it wasn't raining on a Sunday afternoon. The fact that the event was free was just the icing on the cake. 

Tuesday, 14 January 2014


Before Christmas time my friend Matilda set up a make your own head-band workshop, where a group of people from her class and a group of outsiders got together to make any random type of head piece. I was going to attend a Great Gatsby themed party, so of course I went along and made something, or rather, 4 things. 
This workshop was held at the back of a cafe called Kahaila on Brick Lane. My flatmate Charlotte calls it her favourite place on Brick Lane. It's a cute home-y coffee shop that offers a variety of food and drinks, and cake. The indoors is similar to my flat in the sense that they have the same brick walls as we do. But not only that, they have these amazing wooden tables which are really worn out, but not in the sense that they're about to collapse but in a beautiful "I have lived" sense. 
One of the beautiful things about Kahaila is the artwork hung up inside it. They have temporary shows of different art from around the community. Oh and I forgot to tell you, it's a charity coffee shop. Which means they give all their profits to supporting local community projects. So stop by, grab a cake, enjoy the art and feel like you're doing something to help others while enjoying your self. Their sandwiches are good too.
Here's their website: http://kahaila.com/

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Brick Lane Bookshop

A few weeks ago I got an insane craving to go book shopping. I wanted to skim through the pages of a book and fall in love with the writing before choosing what to buy. I tend not to like buying books online so the last books I bought were at Broadway Market. Walking into the Brick Lane Bookshop I didn't know where to start looking. They had a huge selection of unusual Christmas cards, and books about East London at the entrance.
After picking up and looking at a few books on the history of East London I already knew I'd have to come back with my dad. My dad is probably one of the best bookshop companions, he tends to know which books should be read and which ones you can leave on the shelf. And the thought of him pulled me towards the back of the book store, to the travel section. Guide books may be a little outdated especially if you're travelling to a city but if you're going somewhere distant where you wont have internet the guide book acts as your life vest or seat belt. 
But again I got distracted, I saw a pile of memorable books from this past century and it reminded me, I haven't read anything by Charles Bukowski and I really should. He seemed to know exactly how to say things in a way that I'd understand. On my next trip to Brick Lane I'll be sure to pop in the Bookshop and pick up a few books to read during the winter months. 
Here's their website: http://bricklanebookshop.org/

Friday, 10 January 2014

Red Hot Exhibition

A few weeks ago I went to see an exhibition at a gallery on Redchurch street. The exhibition is called RED HOT. After seeing a little blurb on Time Out about it, I decided to find out more. The artist (photographer) Thomas Knights noticed the common stigma in the UK of making fun of red heads, stereotypically known as "gingers", specifically the "ginger" male. Bullying towards red headed people is seen very often in British culture especially. As a girl with red hair, I felt like I had to go see the show for myself.
When walking in all the walls of the gallery were covered in photographs of these red headed men. Each image had a little quote next to it, explaining either a bullying experience they lived or a joke, or a statement of inspiration. While reading through these short reflective statements I started to realise that I had been bullied too. When I was 13 I was in the school play and an older student asked me (in a very arrogant tone) if I dyed my eyebrows, because my hair was red and my eyebrows were brown. At the time I didn't even think about the possibility of dying my eyebrows. But I think this experience then lead me to dye my hair black the following year. I think now is the time to say, my hair isn't flaming red, my Italian ID card says my hair is "auburn". And in the past few years it has been getting darker and darker because I don't have time to be outside much in summer. 
This exhibition however made me proud to be different, and it made me notice that having red hair is special. The show genuinely touched me, but I think anyone else could have enjoyed the show too. Hopefully it will become a well known exhibit and tour around the world with more and more images being added to the collection of photographs. 
Here's the show's website if you want to explore more of what I talked about: http://www.redhot100.com/

Wednesday, 8 January 2014


Whenever I need to by anything small for the house or school the first place I think of is Muji. I think as a shop they produce amazing quality goods, for decent prices as well as giving us something of design. I recently went there to buy folders, notebooks and highlighters. Unlike other stationary shops in the UK they allow you to pick out the pens you want, in the colours you want and they don't cost £2 per pen. 
They also have bathroom accessories and amazing storage boxes. Every time I go in there I want to buy half the store just so my room will be all organised and matching. Luckily this time I was able to stop myself and only splurge on a new make-up case, which happens to be the best thing I bought there too. It even has a pocket for your toothbrush! 
Overall, I think their simplistic Japanese design is great for the overcrowded and colourful houses of Europe. All their items do their purpose flawlessly and everything is very long lasting. Maybe if you're writing some really long exam papers the pen will run out after the 3rd exam but that's normal of all pens. I just really love everything I've bought there. I got a watch from them back in 2010 and its still perfect. 
Here's their website: http://www.muji.eu/

Monday, 6 January 2014

Mary Janes

I walk past Mary Janes at least once a week on my way to university. When looking at somewhere to lunch I thought of it first. Sadly, the lunch got cancelled but I did however make it there for dinner later on. What intrigues me the most about their menu is that they've reinvented "surf and turf". After going to the street food fair in Dalston and trying a surf and turf style bun I knew I'd be a fan of other surf and turf style food. 
When I found out Mary Janes had a surf and turf burger I couldn't wait to try it. So we took advantage of their happy hour and went there for drinks and dinner. After ordering my amazing burger with lobster I enjoyed sipping on my "buy one get one free" drink. When the food arrived I think I was even more excited about it. They had the most amazing fries, perfect thin and crispy. After a bite of the burger I was completely sold. The food took my breath away.
However the service was a little slow, but that might have been because there was a Christmas party going on by the bar. The venue itself is really cute, there are semicircle booths, glass floors, Victorian chairs and from what I heard a dance floor downstairs. Too bad their only open during the week because it would be a fun place to hang out on a Saturday night especially since its so close to hope.
Either way, the food is amazing, so if you're looking for a little bit of decadence in your life, look no further. 
Here's their website: http://maryjanesbar.com/