Thursday, 30 August 2012

chicken shop

North London can be a surprisingly difficult spot to find a good place for supper. Luckily for us NW1 residents, Soho House has recently opened a Pizza East on Highgate Road in Kentish Town. But that's not all that's on offer. A brand new venture from Soho House, Chicken Shop, has opened downstairs. What's on the menu? Chicken. (And a few sides and puddings.) That's all, and it's an absolute treat.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

the gardener's cottage

Whilst in Edinburgh we came across a very positive newspaper review of The Gardener's Cottage, and proceeded to make a booking for lunch the very next day. Opened in June, the restaurant is committed to creating and serving excellent food using the best seasonal, local produce. The restaurant is housed in an historic building located in Royal Terrace Gardens, right in the heart of the city. Originally the gardener's cottage, the beautifully compact building was designed by William Playfair and constructed in 1836. Delicious food and an excellent location. Highly recommended!

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

edinburgh's disgrace

We've just returned from a long weekend in Edinburgh. Half an hour before catching our train back to London on our last day, we decided to clamber up Carlton Hill and behold the rather extraordinary unfinished Athenian acropolis.

Monday, 20 August 2012

aesop

From left: Parsley Seed Facial Cleanser, Mandarin Facial Hydrating Cream, Revitalising Hair Sealing Conditoner.

My obsession with the Australian skincare brand Aesop was set in motion sometime last year, no doubt during a lengthy Saturday afternoon browse in Liberty, and by now it's safe to say that I'm absolutely hooked. From the thought-provoking design of their stores and packaging ('Our design sensibility is somewhere between the utility of Muji and the luxury of Herm├Ęs', says the brand's founder) to the products themselves (packed full of plant-based ingredients), everything about the world of Aesop is utterly impeccable. Aesop is Greek for 'storyteller', by the way, which is also rather brilliant. I suggest paying a visit to one of the brand's pristine London stores immediately, even if just to soak up the exquisitely tranquil atmosphere. Although, naturally, I'd advise picking up a good moisturiser whilst you're there.

a birthday in oxford

I spent my 23rd Birthday (Monday 13th August, if you're asking), in Oxford this year. We had lunch at Turl Street Kitchen (a friend works there), and then returned to London for dinner at the delightful Shrimpy's, a local favourite.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

tuscany

Along with seven friends, I spent last week high up in the mountains of northern Tuscany, relaxing, reading, eating and drinking. Our home for the week was La Collina Del Sole - the most perfect villa, a converted farmhouse that overlooks the Carrara mountains. Many sculptures of the Renaissance, including Michelangelo's David, were carved from Carrara marble, quarried in this mountainous region. Although the majority of our time over the week was spent sunbathing and eating copious amounts of pasta, we managed to squeeze in trips to the city of Lucca, famous for its Renaissance-era city walls, and Viareggio, the main centre of the northern Tuscan Riviera known as Versilia. The perfect summer holiday.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

in the herb garden

We finally got around to planting herbs on our balcony at home. It's too delightful. We have mint, rosemary, sage, chives, parsley, oregano and tarragon. Lavender and jasmine are also making an appearance. The beginnings of an empire...

recent reading

Captivating, heartbreaking; the perfect novella to read by the sea.

Another darkly comic classic from Waugh, and such an enjoyable book. Up there with Brideshead Revisited and Vile Bodies.

ilfracombe

A couple of pictures from my recent trip to Ilfracombe in North Devon... Here is the beautiful harbour, which has been in existence as a port for several centuries. Damien Hirst's restaurant 11 The Quay resides here, as does St Nicholas' Chapel and Lighthouse, a grade I listed building.

A secret cove - extremely Moonrise Kingdom. We took a boat and explored the coastline, up to where the rugged cliffs of Exmoor begin to loom over the sea.