Luckily for us, London is a city geared up to entertain, whatever the weather.
Since the forecast is looking less than favourable this weekend, I thought that you'd find this list of fun and rain-safe things to do handy. So, here's a list of my top five undercover things to do in London.
A little personal development with a day course. Personal favourites have been bread making at E5 Bakehouse and wine tasting days at Berry Brothers and Rudd within their iconic wine school - inevitably ending up with a little retail therapy in their stunning shop.
Get yourself into a gallery. There are some outstanding shows on in London right now: Van Gogh and Britain at Tate Britain (pictured), Lee Krasner's Living Colour at the Barbican, Christian Dior's Designer of Dreams at the V and A, and Leonardo da Vinci's A Life in Drawing at The Queens Gallery at Buckingham Palace
Hunker down in a specialist London wine bar such as Gordons in Temple, Noble Rot in Holborn, Vinoteca in Victoria (pictured) or the kooky CVS London in Neals Yard, Covent Garden
The Electric Portobello Cinema where you can sip red wine and munch on the most divine brownies, all whilst wrapped up in a blanket, snuggled into an armchair. Bliss! (Just try not to fall asleep...)
Get fit! My personal favourite is F45. This chain is popping up all over London at the moment which is testament to the results they achieve for you. Give them 45 minutes a day for 8 weeks and they will transform your fitness. I highly recommend making their 8 week challenge your summer mission
There you go! Be cooped up no more, fellow Londoners!
And, if you don't live in London, I would love to hear about what you get up to in your home town? Ping me a message right now over on instagram @florencelondonuk.
NOBLE ROT - SEX, DRUGS AND PINOT NOIR!
Noble Rot. My dream restaurant. Located on Bloomsbury’s historic Lambs Conduit Street, Noble Rot Restaurant & Wine Bar has been a wine bar since 1973, and was originally built in 1700. Chefs Stephen Harris and Paul Weaver from the Michelin-starred The Sportsman in Whitstable oversee a menu of fine Harris-style cooking; expect to find oysters, cold cuts, bread and olives in the front bar, with an expanded restaurant menu in the back. The wine list ranges from deliciously undervalued wines by the glass to hard-to-find gems from the worlds leading winemakers; expect to find mature bottles from legendary domaines like Jean-Louis Chave, Armand Rousseau, Château Latour, Château Rayas and Domaine Tempier at reasonable prices.
BOOK A TABLE
TUNES TO CHILL OUT TO THIS SPRING
The hotel that I recently returned from in Goa, India played music into the gardens and pool from sunrise to sunset, every day. The music seeped into the 14 bedrooms and cast a relaxed, friendly mood over the whole place. It was glorious. Run by an ex-bollywood actor and cult film fanatic, his choice of music reminded me of musical heroes that I don’t listen to nearly enough.
Here are a list of classics that my trigger a little nostalgia in you too:
Nora Jones, I Don’t Know Why, LISTEN
Eric Clapton, River Of Tears, LISTEN
Dire Straights, Sultans Of Swing, LISTEN
Procol Harum, Whiter shade of grey, LISTEN
Queen, Another One Bites The Dust, LISTEN
Crémant! Champagne for weekdaYS
If you adore Champagne as much as I do but find it a little, say pretentious, to drink it at the drop of a hat, chuck a couple of bottles of Crémant in the fridge to satiate your craving for midweek fizz.
Crémant is the name the French give to fizz made outside Champagne and you can get delicious bottles from Burgundy, the Loir Valley and Alsace for around £10.
You’ll discover something quite special while saving your proper bottles for the more memorable occasions.
CRÉMENT DESSERT! INSPIRED RECIPE BELOW
Sharing an inspired recipe for Pear Rosemary Crémant Jelly which is brilliant for a birthday dinner as a delicious dessert.
self-help that might actually be helpful
12 Rules For Life. Like many, I feel overwhelmed by advice. Constantly pulled from pillar to post on how to feel, how to eat, how long to sleep for, who to value, what to eat, even what position I should sleep in… It’s too much. I found some clarity in this intelligent book, written by the acclaimed clinical phycologist Jordan Peterson. Peterson can take the most difficult ideas and make them entertaining. This may be why his YouTube videos have had 35m views. He is fast becoming the closest that academia has to a rock star.
When I hit a crossroad or difficult situation, I think about Peterson’s 12 rules. It’s a brilliant place to start, so enlighten yourself, then pass the book onto a friend.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed my May musings.
More next month,
NEVER BORED OF BORDEAUX
Last night I taste-tested the red wine for an upcoming 40th Birthday party. My friends and I went for a Bordeaux - Cháteau Moulin de Mallet 2015. It passed!
It's a refreshing bottle with lots of red fruit and low tannins, perfect even for a warm summer's day.
I can't get enough of a good Bordeaux red, it's my go-too on a pub wine list. You get such quality for great prices and it generally compliments both juicy meat dishes as well as spicy food. We had it along with a fish tikka with saag - bit rogue! But, it was so interesting that the spices really brought out the sweet juicy side to the wine.
At £18.99 for a magnum, it's a STEAL. Sometimes, one bottle between you on a Sunday night just ISN'T enough!
More: Shop House Of Townend
APRéS ENERGY! FROM THE MOUNTAINS TO LONDON
Ever been to Verbier? If yes, then you will be familiar with Aprés venue 'Le Rouge'. For those not been, it's a restaurant and bar with a panoramic view, DJ, gallons of Aperol, beer and Champagne, and people intent on having fun. After being lucky enough to spend a week propping up their bar in March, I was a convert.
When you've spent the day tackling the challenging skiing that VBR is known for, Le Rouge is the ultimate place to loosen up muscles, share a few bottles of rosé and bring out your very best GCSE French!
What makes it though, is the music. I was enamoured to discover that Le Rouge have created their very own Spotify playlist. All that alpine energy bouncing off my office walls puts me in such a good mood. Try it.
More: 'Le Rouge, Spotify'
HONEY TO THE BEE THAT'S YOU FOR ME... INTRODUCING MANUKA KITCHEN
Just two minutes walk from Fulham Broadway is this gorgeous little European bistro. I discovered it three years ago, and it's charm and delicious menu remain sublime.
Manuka Kitchen prides itself on ‘A love of food, wine, friends, and a knack for putting the three together in a way that’s unforgettable.’ . How refreshingly simple.
Just 22 covers, MK has a unique charm. With it's antique wooden tables, terracotta tile and white washed walls and fresh flowers on each table, the space is welcoming and relaxing. The scattered daily newspapers and magazines also make you feel right at home.
MK's spring menu is now up featuring dishes such as Seabass, cucumber milk and spring veg, a Roast Chicken Salad with Alfalfa sprouts and Pistachio and a Delica pumpkin with parmesan, pine nut sand smoked tomato sauce. Drool.
MK received only high praise from our table last week. Now, I am on a mission to find something as charming in White City.. hellllp...
More: MENU | INSTA
I discovered the Italian brand TWINSET through the magic of Instagram spam. I mean...ads...
Their rustic and casual yet glamorous designs caught my eye and I now want the lot!
'The collections are designed for a sophisticated woman with a strong character, who plays with her femininity by combining romantic applications such as sequins, tulle and embroidery, together with striking prints and bolder materials such as jeans, leather, studs and technical fabrics.
Here are a few of my favourite pieces from their range. If I work hard enough this month, perhaps I will treat myself to a piece for the summer.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed my April musings.
More next month,
Jessie Ware is one of the most underrated British female artist of our time. Wildest Moments, Tough Love and Say You Love Me are her career highlights to date. Her new song 'Adore You' is on repeat on my Spotify - the first release since her last album in 2017. Let's all hope that this newbie is a clue that a new album is just around the corner.
Have you heard Jessie's hugely entertaining podcast 'Table Manners'? Alongside her gorgeous Mother, the pair invite a celebrity guest for lunch at Jessie's home where the trio chat as if nobody was listening. Favourite episodes so far are Stacey Dooley and Nigella Lawson.
MORE: Table Manners
SITTING ON THE DOCK OF... EAST LONDON
My London discovery this month was the delightful Tobacco Dock. How I have not discovered this tranquil pocket of London until now, I do not know. My destination was the colourful Dokke for brunch.
Set in polly pocket sized dining room, Dokke looks out onto the water. Sitting there, you feel a million miles away from traffic and tourist-laden Tower Bridge.
If you're a straight down the line avocado toast or eggs Royale brunchie, keep on walking. Dokke's menu is somewhat experimental. Take 'BOR BOR' - Cambodiam rice porridge, sweet soy, chicken wings, 'Aebleskiver' - pancake balls, mocha-iced granita, banana and nutella or the 'Waffle' - charcoal, chicken, kimchi egg (!), watermelon, jalapeno - to name a few.
Always one to try something new, I went bold with the 'Volcano Egg' - charcoal egg souffle, sriracha, crispy kale, edamame and urfa chilli bread. We tried five of their whacky dishes and they were all delicious and memorable - in a good way. Dokke was a risk worth taking.
MORE: Dokke Menu
BE BRAVE, ADOPT A RIESLING!
Riesling is so unpredictable - will it be absurdly dry or, tooth-rottingly sweet? Will it smell of petrol? Will it be so acidic that you're munching on Rennies for the rest of the night?
Due to the above, I usually avoid. However I know how good it can be so, I went on the hunt to find a balanced and well-textured bottle.
I found 'Stepp Riesling 'S'' in my beloved Marks & Spencer and it.is.sublime! German made, it's grown in soil with a high limestone content which also has lots of tiny fossil shells, resulting in high calcium content. It has a lovely dry, fine palate with amazing texture.
For £15 you can enjoy this in the comfort of your own home - what bliss.
MORE: Shop M&S
JUMP ON BOARD THIS TREND
I love a jumpsuit. Never have to worry about jeans falling down or which top to pair with your trousers. When you've got an adult onesie, these problems evaporate!
I haven't bought it yet, but I have fallen for this khaki green Anthropologie number. There's a danger of me looking like I work down a mine in it but, it's a risk I am willing to take. Comfort is key.
MORE: Anthro Shop
MY LITTLE BLACK BOOK
This year, for the 20th consecutive year, I made a resolution to read more books. And, so far, it is an activity I have continuously failed to participate in. It's March and I have finally managed to pick up a book and so far, great success! Perhaps this is the book that will get me on the path to being a book worm.
Just the foreword of the late and great AA Gill's 'AA Gill is away' had me gripped. His stories are shockingly visual and they remind you how lucky we are to live in such a civilised country.
"My editor asked me what I wanted from journalism and I said the first thing that came into my head--I'd like to interview places. To treat a place as if it were a person, to go and listen to it, ask it questions, observe it the way you would interview a politician or a pop star," Gill writes.
Upon his return, readers are treated to an account of his vacations to places like famine-stricken Sudan, the pornography studios of California's San Fernando Valley, the dying Aral Sea or the seedy parts of Kaliningrad.
The result is one of the most fascinating, stylish and irreverent collections of travel writing.
MORE: Shop on Amazon
I hope you’ve enjoyed my February musings.
More next month,
the untamed and wild FREAK SCENE
The recipe for Freakshow looks like this:
An ex-Nobu head chef + The founder of Kurrobuta + sake bombs, weird Asian fusions + New York dive vibes. It. is. WICKED!
A small busy and bright room with graffiti and retro cartoon décor make for a high octane atmosphere. The plates are outrageous – creative, flavourful and generous. The must-eats are the Black Cod Taco, and the
Salmon Sashimi ‘Pizza’. They almost made it onto my death-row menu.
Wine wise, ehe Scotto Old Vine Zinfandel 2014 proved to be just perfect after I freaked out about the tiny wine menu – just 2 reds and 2 whites.
Make sure you leave your mark in the loo’s too.. with a pen I mean. You’re free to scribble whatever you like. For some reason I felt entitled to correct some typos I spotted - what a loser?!
More: MENU | INSTA
Who needs meditation when you have
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