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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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!
Hope you enjoyed my guide, but please let me know if there’s something you wish to be added to the list. 🙂
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.
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”.
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,”
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.
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
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.
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.
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’
Una foto pubblicata da Giulia (@giulia_romaninlondon) in data:
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
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
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
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’.
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:
Winter wonderland, like every year, is held in Hyde Park. The closest tube station is Hyde Park corner, Marble Arch, Victoria and Paddington.
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.
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.
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.
Once you’ve started using it you will also receive an email with the weekly picks based on your preferences.
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.
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.