Banquets, Minis and being very fashionable!

A busy and varied week in London, as always! I’ve picked 3 highlights to tell you about – a medieval banquet, a Mini tour and a fashion show which was part of London Fashion Week.

First up we have the Medieval Banquet which is an evening extravaganza just by the Tower of London. You go into a vaulted underground cellar and are offered a range of period costumes to dress up in (especially good for kids of all ages!) You get a meal (soup, a cold meats plate, chicken with potatoes and veg and then a fruit pie) and unlimited wine/beer while the cheery, costumed and charming staff entertain you. Sitting in your section of the room you enjoy the dancing, singing, acrobatics, sword fights, magic tricks and much more When all this finishes much more modern music takes over and you can have a good old dance. A fun night out, probably best for groups but we had fun as a two, it’s a bit different, a bit silly and you just have to join in!

Small Car Big City are all about the Minis – the cars, not the very short skirts in case you think we are onto the fashion already! Rob and Oli met at an interview for a job neither of them wanted and over a consoling beer found they were both nuts on Minis and the company was born. They do tours of London in their beautifully restored Minis – see photo. We had Rob who is a real London lover and has tons of great stories to entertain his passengers as he nips around the streets of London with confident ease and the Mini lets him sneak through the tiniest gaps. We managed to see so much in our hour and I’d really recommend taking one of their tours if you are 1,2 or 3 people, we were 3 and we all fitted in just fine. ( It’s great fun and lots of tourists stop to take pictures of you as you whiz past. We saw a new sculpture by Lorenza Quinn on Park Lane which fitted the car theme, called Vroom Vroom (!) – this time a Fiat 500 and a huge arm which you can see in the photo. We finished in Maida Vale and dropped into Gordon Ramsay’s gastropub, The Warrington, and sampled the grand decor and the amazing ploughman’s lunch.

London Fashion Week 2011 is with us and I was lucky enough to be given a ticket for an up and coming pair of British Designers who work under the name of Jena Theo. London Fashion Week is when all the top designers and fashionistas from all round the world descend on London and parade around looking gorgeous! The show I went to was a proper loud, laser enhanced catwalk show with more photographers than I’ve seen for a long time. The clothes were remarkably wearable for one of these events with good mixtures of denim and leather on good tailoring. The crowd were of course fascinating and we particularly loved the shoes in the photo which is not a trick, they really don’t have heels! The other photos show you the room and the models with their dramatic striped eye make up. All this at 11 in the morning!

Bye for now,

Summer came back and we loved it

What a glorious week and weekend for us sun lovers. Late September often brings a burst of sunshine and this year was a really good one. So, there was sitting out with Sunday papers, country walks and even some gardening.

The big events this week included Tent, an design exhibition which was part of the busy London Design Festival. Why ‘Tent’ you may wonder – Tent is an event consultancy and apparently the guys who run it, started off in a tent in the Kings Road. It was held at the Truman Brewery on Brick Lane in the East End (no longer a brewery tho’) and we had lunch sitting out at Patisserie Valerie on the way. Lots of groovy designs and new designers to chat with but not sure how much of the work would really suit my flat.

London has been jam packed with style this week as we’ve had London Fashion Week and the Design Festival, both with multiple venues and lots of press attention so there’s no excuse for frumpiness or ordinariness but it’s a bit hard to keep up with it all…. I’m told that the main fashion statements were ‘ big curly hair and expensive looking cardigans’ so let’s see what happens this autumn.

It was BookSlam at the Tabernacle in Notting Hill on Thursday evening with William Boyd reading a fun short story and from his new book, Don Patterson reading rather gloomy poetry(my view but some folk liked it) and Netsayi who is a great singer from Zimbabwe. The Tabernacle site is wonderful and their outside courtyard was humming before it started and here’s a photo of it. It’s the home of the Notting Hill carnival and is now hosting a wide range of cultural activities and is almost on my door step.

I spent the weekend in Bristol visiting friends, seeing a great up and coming jazz performer called James Morton at the Bebop club in Bristol and visiting the Georgian splendours of Bath. Bath is a lovely city and has wonderful surroundings including Prior Park Gardens where we walked through the dramatic landscaped grounds and sat in the hot sun. Bath is an easy trip out from London and rewards with its beautiful buildings made out of the fabulous golden stone, the Roman Baths which you can tour and then go the spa. There is also the Pump Room where Jane Austen used to take tea and where you can taste the spa waters – not very tasty unfortunately but I’m sure therefore that it does you good, but I just have a cup of tea instead, like Jane!

Bye for now.