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 
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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

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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.

 

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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
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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

Secret Cinema: Tell No One

Secret Cinema

Secret Cinema is back to London this February and I was lucky enough to get a ticket for the preview that was on held on the 16th.

As in tradition with their events both the location and the movie title were being kept secret until the very last second, the only information I was able to gather was that another event was being held at the same time in Moscow. Hmmm

As soon as we arrived nearby the proximity of the venue we already started to feel a little immersed in the role as we approached a guy for directions. He was wearing a military uniform and was acting as if he was keeping the area under surveillance, so when we asked for directions he replied with a concerned look on his face that the “Military base” was on the first to the right (somewhere around the Canada Water tube station) in, what it looked like to be, a MASSIVE warehouse. Scary already.

Indications on how to dress were being given prior the event. The dress code was: US Government Officer, Military and Press Officer.

However meticulously detailed people were dressed up for the occasion, I ended up wearing my most un-military denim jeans and my modern stiletto shoes which made me feel a bit of an outcast the whole time. For each dress code, a role and tasks were associated so you could feel submerged in the whole experience fully.

What was inside the hangar? I won’t be giving too much information in here as I might end up spoiling someone’s experience and surprise, however, I can definitely say that they did their best to recreate fully all the scenes of the movie and also added a bit of their own into the mix.

What was the movie? Set in the 1960s, a classic cult, a political comedy that satirizes the fears of the Cold War.

 

The organisers of the event have been giving clues on their social media accounts as this one:

 

 

A Bob Dylan protest song “The Times They Are A Changing” and this is the lyric of the song:

 

“The Times They Are A-Changin'”

Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’.Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who
That it’s namin’
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin’.Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside
And it is ragin’
It’ll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’.Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin’
Please get out of the new one
If you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’.The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin’
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’.

Bob Dylan

 

Or this one perhaps:

 

 

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Have you guessed already?

 

 

Tickets are still available for purchase here

 

Winter Wonderland returns to London

Winter wonderland

Winter is finally (and slowly} approaching to London and is almost getting to that time of the year when the City starts to look a lot like Christmas. Yes, I am a big fun of this season, also because this is one of the best times of year in London. I love when all the winter markets start to pop up:  warm mulled wine and bratwursts, chalets, ice skating and santas grottos. Guide to Winter Wonderland:

 

 

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Where?

Winter wonderland, like every year, is held in Hyde Park.  The closest tube station is Hyde Park corner, Marble Arch, Victoria and Paddington.

When?

From the 20th of November 2015 until the 3rd of January. Winter Wonderland is open every day from 10 am till 10 pm (Except Christmas Day).

 

How much does it cost?

There’s no entry fee, you’ll have to pay for the attractions  you choose. Click here to book your tickets in advance.

 

 

London off the beaten track: Dojo App

When I moved to London 4 years ago, everything was pretty new for me and unexplored: museums, restaurants, attractions, bars etc. Well, I have walked a long way since then, however, more often than not, I’m still impressed by the fact that there is still something that I haven’t seen or heard of, therefore something new to uncover. This is one of the many beauties of London.

But, sometimes I do need that extra kick , that input from outside (whatever be a magazine, app or a website) which takes away some of the heavy-lifting to get inspired for a day/night out.

I recently came across to this app and thought I’d stop by and say few words about it. If you haven’t heard of Dojo, you definitely need to hear more about it. Dojo is an app that will help you to find exclusive, hidden gems in London that are usually off the beaten path. This includes: restaurants, bars, popups, exhibitions and much more.

 

 

Dojo

 

What differentiates it from the traditional players? Highly curated visually with a better interface, Dojo adapts to your personal preferences and uses a mobile first approach. It aggregates editorialised content from top publications to bring events and venues of the highest quality into a single platform.

 

 

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Once you’ve started using it you will also receive an email with the weekly picks based on your preferences.

Highly recommended!

 

Day trip to the village of Calcata, near Rome

Recently, my friend Laura and I, decided to head to Calcata for a short end-of-the-summer day trip.

The village of Calcata, is situated near Rome, in the outskirts of the Valle del Treja Natural Park (which is an easy 40 km drive from Rome – storms and hailing we`ve experienced apart).

The village is a large castle that is perched on top of  a volcanic plug. The fortifications, especially the gate passage, are extremely well-preserved and the entire village is worth exploring. Described by the New York Times as the “grooviest village in Italy”.

The population consists largely of a community of artists, bohemians, hippies and New Age types, with their associated galleries and cafes.

 

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It is a great day out (especially if you combine it with a local sagra), and often hosts various events such as piano recitals, poetry and art classes.

We absolutely loved its quirkiness!

My little guide to Mykonos: beaches, bars and restaurants

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Little Venice

 

My first gem belonging to my “travel collection abroad”, is Mykonos: here you go!

I have been to Greece a few times already, and every time I was experiencing a different moment of my life: after finishing high school, college and now in my early thirties. All I must say, those were totally different moments and therefore there were different ways to approach the vacation.

Personally, I am a chilled woman, who sometimes likes a bit of fun, and what could be better than an island, having your best friends there and the glorious summer sun?

You must have heard that Mykonos is a party island and, as much as I love having fun, that doesn`t  necessarily mean I enjoy all night parties any more, so at first I wasn`t too sure. However, as soon as I arrived I almost instantly fell in love with the little harbour nearby our hotel, the beautiful white alleyways of the Old Town and the amazing sunset. The architecture of the buildings are all in cubist styles: small and white squared with bright painted windows and doors. Apparently the owners of the buildings are only allowed to choose amongst 5 different tones. My favourite so far is the blue variant.

 

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The Paraportiani

 

I must admit that this Greek Island is truly charming; in terms of dimensions is a pretty small island. You can drive across the whole island in an hour or so via scooter. The Old Town is close to the main Ports and is where you`d go after the beach to have dinner or stroll around the various little bars and clubs. We stayed in Mykonos Town which made it easy at night as we avoided any kind of driving.

 

Daylife and beaches

White sand and crystal water,  choosing the beach is not a difficult task! We used to choose a nice quiet beach for the day and a livelier one for the afternoon.

Elia beach, a very long and a favourite celebrity spot,  the bohemian Ftelia Beach with its pricey restaurant on top, the Paradise and Super Paradise with their peculiar sunset aperitfs with music. All worth a try!

 

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Ftelia Beach

 

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Restaurants and dining

While you can find cheap gyros and fast food pizza, the rest of eating out is quite expensive. I`d recommend to try local fish taverns at least once. Kounelas fish tavern is my absolute favourite!

 

Bars and Nightlife

Sipping a cocktail while overlooking the sea at sunset is a must in Mykonos/ Places I`d recommend to go: Skorpios beach, Little Venice and the Old Town nearby the Port. There`s a great view on the windmills too.

 

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Sunset in the Old Town

 

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Sunset at the Port
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Windmills

 

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Windy days!

 

A picture of Rome

Every now and then it happens that I feel a little bit nostalgic about the city where I come from, especially when back after a trip abroad (Just came back from Greece).

Today is one of these days.. reason why I’m sharing this video with you which I’ve found on facebook (by Oliver Astrologo) that represents some of the aspects that I like most about the city where I come from:

 

 

 

R O M A from Oliver Astrologo on Vimeo.

Home made roast Chicken Salad

Being sunday I thought that this would be an appropriate recipe to share, because who doesn’t love a roast on a sunday?

Whilst looking for some inspiration online I set a challenge to myself: to find a quick and easy recipe that it’ll use (possibly) as many ingredients as I already have in my fridge. It wasn’t as easy as I thought, but thanks to Jamie Oliver I found what I needed.

This salad is also healthy (which is a major bonus) and really really tasty. Please note: my version is slightly different from the original one.

Here is a list of what you are going to need:

 

For the Roast Chicken

Olive oil

1 Free Range chicken

salt

Pepper

fresh thyme

juice of a lemon

500 gr of cherry tomatoes

1 bulb of garlic

For the salad

200 gr of green beans

Extra virgin olive oil

parsley

6 spring onions

bread (I’ve used 2 slices of toasted bread)

So, first up pre-heat your oven and marinate your chicken with oil, salt and pepper. I’ve used leftover chicken strips instead, but the original recipe says that “it’s fully worth cooking the whole chicken to perfection”, so why not trying?

Once you’ve mixed these flavors you can put the chicken into the roasting tray and leave it cooking for an hour (if you have used chicken strips instead, as I did, half of the time will be enough).

Whilst the chicken is cooking you can start with the preparation of the salad. Cut the cherry tomatoes into halves and mix them with the garlic cloves. After 30 minutes throw them into the roasting tray with the chicken.

Once the the chicken is thoroughly cooked, remove it from the tray and leave it to cool down. Put the bread into the tray and leave it into the oven for 20 mins until crispy and slightly brown.

Remove the skin from the chicken and mix the meat with the resting juices. Cook your green beans for up to 6 minutes and add them to the meat, then add extra virgin olive oil, parsley and spring onions. Finally put the chicken back into the oven until crispy. Serve everything together in a tray (as I did) or a nice platter.

And .. Bon Appetit! Hope you ‘ll enjoy it as much as I did 🙂