Tuesday, 18 October 2016

padella, pumpkins & pollock

With some left over holiday to take before the New Year, I made the most of an extra long weekend and took Friday off. Lucky for me Sarah also had the day free so we headed to Padella at Borough Market for pasta. I've seen many an Instagram of Padella and just knew I had to try it out; not just for the delicious bowls of authentic pasta but also to get a look at the great marble bar. 

Having read that it's good to get there early we rocked up at 11.45 and joined the already formed queue. The doors opened at 12 and we found ourselves perched at the marble bar with a view of the chefs whipping up fresh pasta. 

We ordered crisp glasses of white and the creamiest burrata to start with.

Then chose to share three dishes; the Holy Trinity of Padella. Tagliatelle with nduja, mascarpone and parsley; pappardelle with 8 hour Dexter beef shin ragu; pico cacio and pepe. All were superb and just the right size. We definitely didn't need so much but what can a girl do on her day off?! Plus it's all so cheap, we only paid 18 pounds each! 

Having had our fill we mooched around Borough Market and bought some pumpkins for our home, had a snoop of all the fresh produce and bought some Bread Ahead doughnuts for the boys. I love any kind of market but Borough is particularly great because of its buzzing barrow boy atmosphere. Sarah and I decided we'd come back again for freshly chucked oysters, sat on the upturned vegetable crates. 

A walk was somewhat needed in the afternoon so we made the rash decision to visit some galleries and enjoy some culture. We popped down the road to The White Cube. I've never been before but Sarah had and recommended it. We had a look around the Anthony Gormley exhibition, which although very abstract, was actually really cool in the end. Everything is based around the human form and is very interactive. If you find yourself in the area I recommend you drop by to have a look!

Moving away from the area we hopped on the tube to Bond Street and stopped off at The Royal Academy to see the Abstract Expressionism show. Both of us are Friends of The RA which makes it so easy to enjoy all their fantastic shows. We took a quick trot around - I'm not sure either of us were totally focusing on the task in hand - and discovered a new found love for Clyfford Still and Jackson Pollock. Despite our fleeting visit this was a good exhibition and I would probably go back again when I wasn't so full of delicious pasta. 

After a spell of shopping we parted ways and vowed to do the same in the near future. I miss our afternoon jaunts from our boarding school days  so it's especially nice to find the time to catch up and relax, away from the 9-5. All we need now is Mel and the Power Puff Girls will be reunited forever! 


Saturday, 15 October 2016

stow on the wold

Escaping the hustle and bustle of the big smoke is always a joy, you can practically feel the shackles of London life breaking free as soon as you pull out of Paddington and head into the golden light of the Cotswolds. Last weekend we did just that and boarded a packed train on Friday night for a weekend in the English countryside.

I found myself back in the driving seat on Saturday having been in retirement for almost two years (!) so it was good to have a bit more freedom and allow mum some time off from playing taxi man. Saturday was a beautiful autumn day so we headed to Cheltenham for a little morning shop and lunch. The American has never been to Cheltenham and I’ve been telling him how lovely it is for years now so we thought this would be a good first stop. We didn’t have much to get but I did buy our advent calendar at Mayther, a great card and stationery shop. Lunch was at a favourite, Huffins, a sweet little bakery cafĂ© with its origins firmly in the Cotswolds. Having had our fill of Welsh rarebit we set off into the heart of the Cotswolds.

My little car needed some encouragement when it came to reaching the top of the hills and entering Stow on the Wold but we made it! We arrived late in the afternoon and were welcomed by that glorious golden light that looks even better reflecting off the honey coloured stone houses synonymous with the area. My heart does flips whenever I’m here, I can never get over how beautiful it is and how high up you feel; like on top of the world! We snooped around and although most of the shops were closing (I actually find this so refreshing having been used to a city which never sleeps) we had a great time peering through the windows of antique shops, estate agents and crumbling pubs.

As many of you know, living in the Cotswolds is pretty high up on my list so I got very excited thinking about the possibility of actually doing this; perhaps I’ll go freelance and The American can crunch numbers in London during the week and come back to the honey village at weekends? Or perhaps we’ll both just pack it all in and run a farm and a florist shop. Either way, we’ll try and make it a reality. 

Sunday was a relaxed affair with a clay pigeon shooting lesson in the morning and then a roast back at home. The lesson was a belated birthday present for him and he is now hankering after another go having discovered he's incredibly good... looks like I'll be booking more lessons in the near future.

It's always a bitter sweet goodbye on the platform at Pershore - we love to get back to the smoke but always wish the weekends could be another day longer and we could spend more time at home. I'm sure I'm not the only one who hankers after a three day weekend every time?!


Wednesday, 5 October 2016

makers house

During London Fashion Week Burberry took over a disused warehouse on Mannette Street in the heart of Soho. Makers House is the result; a cavernous platform in which the latest collection was shown, alongside the talented craftsmen involved in the process, as well as other heritage crafters. We popped along on the last evening to soak up everything Burberry had to offer and we weren’t disappointed.  

Inspired by the great interior designer Nancy Lancaster the interior acted as a stage for various craftsmen and women. We patiently queued up to catch a glimpse at women manipulating leather for beautiful embossed saddles as well as a sculptor working on a clay maquette, an artist painstakingly completing an intricate lacquered tile and portrait painter Holly Frean doing individual commissions of visitors. All whilst this was happening poetry was being recited over a sound system but I can’t say we took much notice of this as we were taken by everything else. We both enjoyed the crafts on display but The American thought the poetry was all “a bit wanky”... Moving on!

Regardless, it provided a fantastic opportunity to see hugely talented artists and makers at work. I was particularly taken by the silk screen printed swatches which hung on the walls forming a sort of pin board of ideas. It was a shame we missed the screen printing display the day before but never mind, it has inspired me to pick up my paint brushes again and find my creative groove once more (I used to do a lot of silk screen printing at school).

I hope London hosts more events like this in the near future, I could have spent much longer there but I could sense The American was hankering after a pint… he had just spent the morning in a financial exam after all.  We topped the evening off with dinner and drinks at our local and collapsed into bed by 10. How’s that for the perfect school night activity?!