Barbican, City of London

barbican

The joys of forgotten film! It was a cold, but sunny spring day in 2012 when I took these pictures, not too dissimilar to today. This is the Barbican, my favourite place in London. From the concrete Brutalist architecture to the high walks of the estate, the sound-muffling lake and the velveteen belly of the performing arts centre, I love everything about it. It’s my dream to live there one day, fingers crossed we make a milli in the next year or so.

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If you’re ever in London, make sure the Barbican is on your list – whether that’s to see a film, visit the art gallery, or simply hang out next to the lake with a coffee and a good book. Don’t forget to visit the hidden conservatory, too. Built to disguise the theatre’s fly tower, it is home to over 2000 species of tropical plants and trees. That’s where I took the photo of a lonely heart…

Lonely hearts

White flakes falling

It started last Friday. The white stuff. A few flakes here and there while I walked to work…

work-view

By lunchtime, Spa Fields, the park behind the studio was covered, so Rosie and I went frolicking.

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Clerkenwell pyramid

Funnily enough, when it snowed last year Thom and I went to the Barbican to see a film. Same again in 2013!

Barbican

The next day I went to Jen’s place in Hackney Wick for breakfast. Everything was icy and cold. I slipped along the canal (spot the Olympic Stadium in the background), praying that I wouldn’t hit any black ice. The smell of wood-fires burning in the bellies of the canal boats filled the air.

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Saturday night saw Thom and I head to Oxfordshire (emphasis on shire) for the weekend, where we basically spent the weekend hanging out with ponies and puppies, and having snowball fights. Best time ever, although I did get bitten on the hand by an overly enthusiastic Blue, when I was trying to give him Polo mints.

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Snow ponies
Snow days

Not pictured – the biggest drooliest dog you might ever meet. Happy days, but looking forward to getting back to the South Pacific next week.

Ice floe

canal

ice floe

City Road Basin is on the Regent’s Canal, between Angel and Hoxton. Sometimes I wander past here on the way to work, just to look, and say hi to the ducks. This morning the black water was smothered with an oily sheet of ice. One of those rare London moments when you look up, and realise you’re all alone.

The green streets of London

Hackney Bicycle Stand

I spotted this bike rack while walking around Shoreditch on Sunday. It’s designed to only take up the space of one car but provides lock-up space for 10 bikes. There are three of them in Hackney – and if they prove popular, the car will be replaced by permanent cycle parking and the bike racks will move on to new locations. Great idea – and a great way for people to visualise the positive impact cycling has on their environment.

Wine lines

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A very nice Valpolicella, enjoyed last night in a little Italian joint by the British Museum. The owner kept yelling downstairs at an unseen Massimo, while he charmed all the patrons on the floor. Signorina this, bella that, correcting my pronunciation of gnocchi. It was a lovely evening.

Anyway, I have realised the number one useful thing about having a camera phone is making notes to self. See a nice wine you like, take a snap of the label. Always forget which brand/size/colour widget to buy, use a picture to create a reminder. Menus, vacuum cleaner bags, prescriptions…

More clever suggestions at Apartment Therapy.

A cold wind blows

Regents Canal

This time last year Thom told me that blooms of emergency exit green on the canal were a sign that it was sure to be a cold winter. He was joking, but I believed him and fretted about impending doom and urban frostbite.

But now, dare I admit it, I am looking forward to the chilly months. Which is absurd, because I am a bonafide sun lover. But something about micro-fleece leggings, mulled wine, autumn leaves and mittens is tickling my fancy.

Last week I booked a flight back to New Zealand in February, which might be lulling me into a sense of security.

I will get a summer, I will get a summer. Best of both worlds?

What a perfect Sunday looks like

AM. Coffee at Pitfield (never complete without a look through their excellent homewares) and a walk around our neighbourhood. Stopping and saying hi to all the squirrels is mandatory.

sunday morning

NOON. Dim sum at Gerrad’s Cross restaurant in Chinatown. Smothering spicy chilli on vegetarian dumplings, reading fortunes from the tea leaves, and watching absurd pop videos.

chinatown

Afterwards we wandered around Piccadilly Circus – where indeed there was a circus! Acrobats, trapeze artists, clowns and leggy opera singers.

Picadilly Circus Circus

PM. A bottle of 2004 Châteauneuf-du-Pape – found this bottle forgotten under our bed, score! Polishing off  The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht and enjoying excellent conversation.

sunday night

Notting Hill Carnival

Notting Hill Carnival

A few snaps from Sunday’s Children’s Day at the Notting Hill Carnival in… Notting Hill! I have never seen anything like it – thousands of people lining the streets, all partying and generally having a great time. It’s Europe’s biggest street party, with a million visitors over two days. For me it was all about the Red Stripe, doughy dumplings, tunes at ear-melting levels, and enjoying the brilliant weather.