Things you can do in London this winter (to avoid hibernation)

Fine dining

It’s official: 2017 has barely kicked in yet and we’ve already forgotten about those New Year resolutions …Dry January anyone?

BUT yes the year has just started and we’ve got even rid of nasty Blue Monday, so we can finally start pulling on a list of things that we really want to do.

We’ve got plenty of choices when it comes to Apps, Sites and Magazines that does the job for you and search for things that might appeal you, but I personally find very useful Dojo, Yplan, Evensi and Timeout. Meetup is a very useful tool that helps you meeting people that share the same interests. I’m an absolute fan of their daily email alerts that always helps me find some inspiration along the way so that I book my calendar for the following days (and sometimes weeks) to come!

Things that I’ve done recently that I recommend you:

Comedy Night at the Top Secret Comedy Club

If you are into stand-ups comedy, you surely have already been to this one, but this was my first time and, admittedly, I’ve truly enjoyed it. The Top Secret Comedy Club is ‘hidden’ in a basement, hence the name ‘Top Secret’

Location: Covent Garden, 170a Drury Ln, London WC2B 5PD

 

Ballet at the Royal Opera

Amazing venue! #Opera #london

Una foto pubblicata da Giulia (@giulia_romaninlondon) in data:

Fine dining at a Gourmet Restaurant

Octopus and potato confit salad 🐙

Una foto pubblicata da Roman In London (@romaninlondon) in data:

Cinema night at the Senate House Library

One of the first’s London skyscrapers the Senate House Library was designed by Charles Holden in 1931, now Grade II listed Senate House is a striking art deco skyscraper.

Home to administrative offices, it also houses a magnificent central library and grand hall and modernist industrial features. Tomorrow will be showing Storm Center (1956)

Here’s the link: http://www.senatehouselibrary.ac.uk/exhibitions-and-events/events/film-night-storm-center-1956

Wandering in a Museum

I recently visited the new area of the Tate. Here, some pictures I’ve taken.

Tate modern. Photo by Roman in London

 

Tate Modern installation. Photo by Roman in London

Go to an exhibition:

if you are into fashion you can’t miss the Vulgar at the Barbican

Dates: 13 October 2016 – 5 February 2017

 

Go outdoor in one of London beautiful parks

 

Una foto pubblicata da Giulia (@giulia_romaninlondon) in data:

 

Blues night at the best blues bar in London: Ain’t nothing but..

 

Blues
Photo credit : http://www.aintnothinbut.co.uk/gallery                                                                    Location: 20 Kingly Street, Soho, London – W1B 5PZ

Hope you’ve found some inspiration.. 🙂

 

 

 

36 Hours in Bilbao

bilbao

 

Bilbao, in the heart of the Basque Country in Northern Spain, has become more and more famous through the years with the opening of the Guggenheim in 1977. Aside from its notorious titanium-clad museum, Bilbao is also well renown for its fine gastronomy. Food is, apparently, a religion in the Basque Country. Art & Food, do we need anything else?

We stayed at the NH hoteles a hop away from the centre, a very convenient and a short walk and we were able to reach the top attractions within a maximun of 30 minutes walk.

 

 

 

Bilbao
Photo by Roman in London

This is Frank Gehry’s masterpiece.  Stunning from the outside but also houses some of the finest art in Spain. The entrance is guarded by a Puppy made of flowers, a creation of the American artist Keff Koons which has become practically, the mascot of the City.

 

Guggenheim. Photo by Roman in London

 

 

Guggenheim. Photo by Roman in London

The interior of the Guggenheim is just as amazing as the exterior, where the contours are made of fish like titanium scales.

 

Richard Serra’s ‘The Matter of Time’ Guggenheim. Photo by Roman in London

Richard Serra’s ‘The Matter of Time’ is made from 1,000 tons of weathered steel and is designed for visitors to move around and through each piece.

 

Photo by Roman in London

Coming from London we were delighted to find a ‘warmish’ almost spring couple of days of sun.

 

Guggenheim. Photo by Roman in London

 

 

Roman in London

 

The food is amazing, many places to eat and Micheline’s starred restaurants but no tapas here, Pintxos instead. Fine, delicate but epic in taste. I’ve tried the classic montadillo con jamon serrano and queso, chorizo and tortilla as I’m a creature of habit..but there’s a lot more that tempted my palate so I’ve basically spent most of the 36 hours bar crawling between pintxos cafe’, a ritual known as a txikiteo which involves lots of pintxos with your kuadrilla (group of friends) and xakoli, the local white or rosé wine.

 

A bar at Plaza Nueva. Pintxos. Photo by Roman in London

 

Street art. Photo by Roman in London

 

Bilbao architecture. Photo by Roman in London

Once, an industrial City, now it’s 19th Century facades have been renovated and give colours and add prettiness to the City. The Gran Via is a mix of old and new and there are lots of green areas.

 

Bilbao architecture. Photo by Roman in London

 

 

Bilbao architecture. Photo by Roman in London

 

 

Bilbao architecture. Photo by Roman in London

 

Bilbao at night from Mount Arxanda. Photo by Roman in London

As a conclusion of the trip I recommend taking the Funicular to Mount Arxanda as the view is breathtakingly beautiful. From Bilbao to the middle of nature.

10 Best Pizzerie in London

  1. Bravi Ragazzi, Streatham

 

A combination of very moist toppings and light dough, that’s what makes Neapolitan Pizza legendary! Rustic and small place but very friendly and cosy. Recommended the trek south.

Location: 2A Sunnyhill Road Streatham London SW16 2UH

Contact: 2087694966 www.braviragazzi.co.uk 

2. Santa Maria, Chelsea

 

Beautiful San Rocco, our pizza with Burrata pugliese, repost from @cristinamehe

Una foto pubblicata da Santa Maria (@santamariapizza) in data:

This Neapolitan-style pizzeria has recently been under refurbishment, now featuring a new pizza oven hand-built with biscotto di Sorrento clay brics which is capable of withstanding the high temperatures typical of this type of pizza making.

Location:15 Saint Mary’s Road Ealing, London, W5 5RA

Contact: 02085791462, www.santamariapizzeria.com

3. Pizza Pilgrims

 

NEW SPECIAL! The “Mac-kale-ie Culkin”. Kale, smoked anchovies, chilli, garlic & mozz. KINDA healthy… VERY delicious!! 👊🏻🍕

Una foto pubblicata da pizzapilgrims (@pizzapilgrims) in data:

This is the story of two brothers returning from a trip to Italy with a Piaggio Van and the idea of making a business out of Neapolitan Pizza. Needless to say, they bloody succeeded it! I absolutely love it.

Location:11 Dean Street Soho, W1D 3RP

Contact: 02072878964, www.pizzapilgrims.co.uk 

4. Franco Manca

 

Rapid and friendly service at a decent price. What else? Ah! Neapolitan-style pizza, with a slow-rise sourdough crust.

5. Santore’, Farringdon

 

Just to keep a light stomach before the Christmas food marathon 👍🏻💪🏻 #pizza #foodie #london #exmouthmarket #farringdon #italianfood

Una foto pubblicata da Giulia (@giulia_romaninlondon) in data:

I define the atmosphere of this place truly Italian: it’s noisy and crowded and gives me that feel at home vibe. Amazing pizza and good service make this place a remarkable restaurant for pizza lovers.

Location Exmouth Market

6. Rosso Pomodoro

International chain of pizzerie, it’s also one of my favourite spot. It never disappoints me.

Location: 10 Jamestown Road Camden, London, NW1 7BY

7. Homeslice

 

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Supersized thin light crust wood-fired pizza, served or by the whole or by the slice.

Location: 13 Neal’s Yard Covent Garden, London, WC2H 9DP

8. Princi, Soho

 

@princi_london @pizza looks pretty damn close to perfect. 📷: @massimousaiphotography #EEEEEATS #InfatuationLondon

Una foto pubblicata da Infatuation London (@infatuation_london) in data:

Classy atmosphere but always quite crowded and difficult to find a spot.

location: Princi
135 Wardour Street
W1F 0UT

9. Pizza East Portobello

 

Let it snow, Portobello💙❄️

Una foto pubblicata da Pizza East (@pizzaeast) in data:

Beautiful interior decor and from the Soho House Group this is the other branch of Pizza East which is based in Shoreditch instead.

Location: 310 Portobello Road
London
W10 5TA

 

10. Sartori, Covent Garden

 

Sartori, London – UK

Una foto pubblicata da Pizza Napoletana Nel Mondo (@pizza.napoletana) in data:

Amongst thousands of touristy place this restaurant truly stands up. Wood-fired oven, you can find both individual or metre long pizza. Fresh and quality toppings.

Location: 15-18 Great Newport Street WC2H 7JE
02078366308

 

 

The Nose Review at the Royal Opera

Recently I went to the Opera and watched a comic-grotesque musical by Shostakovich called “The Nose”.

Shostakovich was in his 20s when began writing the Nose, it was his debut at the Opera.

As absurd as it may sound has truly kept me entertained throughout the whole act.

It narrates the story of a civil servant – Kovalov –  who wakes up discovering that his nose was missing and the desperate hunt to find it that follow suit.

The Opera director is the Australian Barry Kosky, and  plays the satirical short story written by Nikolai Gogol, a Ukrainian born- Russian dramatist, novelist and short story writer.

Even though Kosky has asserted that the story is about fear, paranoia and loss it was very hard for me not to laugh at each and every joke.

Perhaps that could be due to my peculiar taste for dark humour or just because it was just very hard not to. Truly recommended.

A day out in Richmond Park

Richmond is a village that is tucked away from the London mess and definitely a pleasant break to take into consideration when in need of some peace of mind.

It sits at the very end of the District Line and nearby the river, I aim to take a wander through the vast Park hoping to spot at least one of the famous wild deer. And here they are, beautiful and better than I imagined. Apparently, a total of 630 Red and Fallow Deer roam freely in the park since 1529.

The park is a National Natural Reserve, home to an exotic plantation and a Georgian Mansion (Pembroke Lodge) from which you can spot an amazing view of the River Thames.

 

Photo credit Roman in London 2017
Photo credit Roman in London 2017

Deer spotting is definitely only one of the things you can do when in Richmond and I’m well aware there’s a lot more to uncover… Perhaps another time!

 

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Oslo: a perfect winter break

 

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View from the Opera House. Photo credit Roman in London

 

If you are looking for some ideas on where to get to for a short winter break, don’t look any further as I have some advice for you. Oslo, in fact, is a perfect place for a winter getaway.

Although is very well known for being quite expensive (and yes, I can confirm that it is) you can still manage to avoid spending a fortune. I spent a total of £75 for both plane tickets (Ryanair) and accommodation (Airbnb). However, I did spend roughly the same amount for breakfast grocery shopping at the local supermarket…

When I got there last January though, the atmosphere was absolutely magical and definitely worth it. The City was covered by a sheet of white snow that made me feel cosy and festive even though the Christmas season was over.

Street arts, culture, and a picturesque landscape make Oslo a unique place to visit. Easily explorable by foot, a good start is to visit the Fjord on the waterfront, where the Opera House is located. The Opera House is the home of the Norwegian Opera and Ballet and it is a truly amazing structure made of granite, marble, and ice and it resembles two blocks of ice.

 

 

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Snøhetta’s landmark. Opera House. Photo credit Roman in London#

 

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Opera House. Photo credit Roman in London

 

 

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Opera House. Photo credit Roman in London

 

For a cultural day, you can start by comparing modern and traditional Norwegian art and architecture, visiting the newly reopened Kunstnernes Hus, an artist-run space. Then walk down the hill to the Norwegian National Gallery  to see the work of Edvard Munch where The Scream is on display.

 

 

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National Gallery. Photo by Roman in London

 

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The Scream, Edward Munch. Photo by Roman in London

 

Una foto pubblicata da Giulia (@giulia_romaninlondon) in data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What to pack for your summer holiday

packing list
by Roman in London

Whatever your plans are for this summer, it’s always good to be wardrobe ready for every occasion. This is my list of staple items for this summer 2016.

1.The hat is from LOTUS FOEDORA By Janessa Leone

2. The swimwear is from bikini.com

3. The watch is Larsson and Jenkins

4. The dress is from TOPSHOP

5. Adidas Stan Smith

6. Zara Multicolor Pompom Embellished Leather Sandals

7. Trousers from Finery London

Hope you like it!

 

 

 

What to do on a London Summer day

If you can’t beat the heat but looking for ways to cool down a little over these  “steamy” London summer days, here you can find some tips.

  1. Go for a swim at  the Lidos 
lidos
Courtesy of Time Out

 

London has few ponds, lidos, and pools to choose from. The most well-knowns are the Serpentine, Hampstead Heath Pond, London fields Lido. Here’s a list of the best lidos in London from the Londonist.

2.  Outdoor cinemas and Theatres

cinema
Courtesy of the Independent

Summer in London means watching outdoor screens, plays, and performances. Here’s a list of the best outdoor cinemas for this summer by the Independent.

3. Go to a festival 

A list of some of the London best festivals:

Una foto pubblicata da Giulia (@giulia_romanldn) in data:

 

  • Lovebox  Location: Lovebox Festival, Crown Gate, Victoria Park, Grove Road, Bow, London
  • Field Day Location: Victoria Park, Grove Road, London
  • Citadel Festival Location: Crown Gate, Victoria Park, Grove Road, Bow, London
  • Notting Hill Carnival Party Location: Merchant Square

4. Spend a day in Southbank

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Photo by Roman in London
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Photo by Roman in London

 

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Photo by Roman in London

Nothing beats a riverside walk, especially when the sunshine is in. You can browse the book market,fling yourself in the fountain just outside the Southbank River, head to Udderbelly (you can’t miss the big purple cow), or watch some street performers.

5. Beer Gardens!

Lastly, but not in order of importance, are the alfresco dining options available during the summer months. Pubs, cafe’ and restaurants add that “countryside” vibe by opening their gardens to the crowd. Some of them have the added bonus of an amazing view!

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The Ship – Wandsworth

 

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The White Hart – Stoke Newington

 

Hope you enjoyed my guide, but please let me know if there’s something you wish to be added to the list. 🙂

Yayoy Kusama at Victoria Miro

yayoy Kusama

Until July 30th at Victoria Miro 

Last Saturday, on a very sunny London day, I was curious to see the exhibition everyone was talking about and ended up joining – what I later defined as – one of the longest queue of my life. Talking with other people apparently, their experience was quite the same.

Why is that?  Yayoy Kusama,  a Japanese  87-year-old, is one of the world’s most popular artist  at the moment. She has worked on multiple projects throughout her career including painting, scupltures, environmental installations. She has even teamed up with fashion brands on the likes of Louis Vuitton, Uniqlo and so on.

 

Yayoi-Kusama-Airbnb
Yayoi Kusama. Photo: © Yayoi Kusama; Courtesy of Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo /Singapore; Victoria Miro, London; David Zwirner, New York; KUSAMA Enterprise.

 

Although her work includes a variety of different projects and themes, the pumpkins, the dots and the mirrors can be described as her successful and signature style.

Kusama, as some of the most talented artists, has experienced periods of acute mental instability and she declares that: I use my complexes and fears as subjects… I am pursuing art in order to correct the disability which began in my childhood”.

 

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Photo by Roman in London

 

I must say that the exhibition in Wharf Road (Islington) didn’t disappoint me:it included some of her installation and sculptures, while the paintings are currently available at the Mayfair Branch of the gallery.

The first installation I went in was one of three mirror rooms, called ‘the Eternal Love I have for the Pumpkins’ which provides you with a  fully submersive experience of one kind: you’ll find yourself immersed with coloured dotted black and yellow pumpkins of all shapes and size. Apparently, she connects them with her good childhood memories. “Pumpkins have been a great comfort to me since my childhood: they speak to me of the joy of living,”

 

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Yayoi Kusama Chandelier of Grief, Photo by Roman in London

 

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Narcissus Garden. Photo by Roman in London

The Chandelier of  grief is an experience of being surrounded by bouncing lights, while in the garden you can find  Where the Lights in My Heart Go (2016),  a mirrored cube which reflects the pond in which  the silver spheres of Kusama’s Narcissus Garden (1966) are floating around.

 

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Narcissus Garden. Photo by Roman in London

Yayoi Kusama: Sculptures, Paintings and Mirror Rooms is at Victoria Miro, 16 Wharf Road, London, N1 7W; My Eternal Soul Paintings is at Victoria Miro, 14 St George St London, W1S 1FE; both until 30th July

Tuscany’s Monte Argentario getaway weekend

Tuscany
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Photo credit By Roman in London.

 

During my recent trip to Italy, I’ve decided I needed a proper break from the hectic City life back in London, and, Tuscany  seemed the best fit so, I’ve made my way to Monte Argentario.

Monte Argentario is in the Maremma area of Tuscany, a former island turned sort-of-peninsula, with two stretches of land connecting it to the Italian mainland. Porto Ercole, the town where I was staying, it’s only a couple of hours drive from Rome and it definitely gives you the feeling of leaving everything behind.

I managed to book my stay in a beautiful hidden gem, the beautiful Relais ‘La Mortella’. Even though at first I thought that I ended up in the middle of nowhere, it actually is located at a very convenient distance from both the beach ‘La Feniglia’ and the harbour where all the night life happens.

 

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Relais La Mortella. Photo by Roman in London
Toscana
My Room. Photo by Roman in London
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My room. Photo by Roman in London

Before dinner my friend and I decided to take a stroll at the harbour and to indulge with a before-dinner ‘Aperitivo’ while watching the sunset. (Aperitivo hour is a sacred hour and basically means a cocktail or a glass of wine with some nibbles on the side).  After one too many Mojitos we had dinner at ‘Pizzeria El Pirata’, located at the harbour which offers a lovely view. Although, I must say,  the food wasn’t exceptional.

The next morning after an awe-inspired look outside of the amazing view from the window we headed to the breakfast patio.

Breakfast is usually my favourite meal of the day. Having a sweet tooth, I must admit, there’s nothing better than a meal that can potentially include all sort of sweets. The breakfast at ‘La Mortella’ definitely didn’t disppoint me on that perspective. It included yogurt sourced locally from Maremma, same with the honey and jam,  home-made apple pie, croissant, cakes etc. An absolute joy for my eyes and my palate.

 

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Breakfast! Photo by Roman in London

 

After a sumptuous meal we headed to the beach.

One of the most charming beach of the coastline is ‘Le Viste’.  Located between Forte Stella and Rocca Spagnola, also known as Spiaggia delle Suore ‘Nuns Beach’

 

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At the beach. Photo by Roman in London

 

In love with Tuscany 😍

Una foto pubblicata da Giulia (@giulia_romaninlondon) in data:

 

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Photo by Roman in london

 

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Photo by Roman in London

 

QUICK DETAILS

 Distance from Florence to Monte Argentario, from 2 1/2- 3 hours. 193.1 km,  via Raccordo Autostradale Firenze – Siena and SS223.

 Distance from Rome to Monte Argentario, from 2/ 3 hours. via Strada Statale Via Aurelia E80

Where we stayed: Resort la Mortella:

Country Relais La Mortella is surrounded by the splendid 18 hole golf course of the  Golf Club Argentario, offering not only beautiful views but a great experience.

Surrounded by the Argentario Sea, with its little harbours, hidden coves and rocks, Orbetello lagoon with the beaches of Giannella and Feniglia, and the Parco della Maremma offering itineraries for enjoying natural beauty, culture and adventure. Via dell’Acquedotto Leopoldino, 54
Loc. Terrarossa – Monte Argentario
Grosseto