.: The Stables Pizza & Cider :.

My other half kept on talking about a new place that was going to open quite close to home, but I had no idea on what it was until he then said it was Pizza & Cider, which then reminded me The Stables (which I know from Bristol), I went to check on their website and just confirmed they had opened a branch next door!

(Photos below are from the official website)

So it was the perfect place for a Friday night after work (as we were both lazy to cook dinner).

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I hadn’t realised that before, but the menu changes based on the location. There were some specials on the menu related to the area (which is always a nice idea). I went for the pizzas again, but next time need to try a pie

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We had the garlic bread, which I totally recommend as it’s a big portion and quite tasty. Then I had a chicken and pepper pizza (even on pizzas I’m still taking into account my daily protein intake ahahahah)

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I like the pizzas because they taste like sourdough bread and are thin and crisp. They are not the best pizzas I had – for instance I still prefer the pizzas on Franco Manca and they are not that far from us either (in Chiswick), but it’s a really nice place if you enjoy trying different ciders. Their choice is really good. So I’m sure we’ll be back more often

If you want to try it you also have a Whitechapel branch.

What is your favourite pizza place in London?

.: In search for the best coffee in London :.

First of all it’s Friday and it’s finally summer in UK!!!!

For those of you that follow me for a while you’ll know I love coffee. There are photos of me, as a 3 year old, holding a small cup of coffee in my hands (it was mostly a small cup of milk with some drops of coffee). But I really love coffee since I can remember. The smell of roasted coffee in the morning, the taste of it and anything coffee related. Maybe one day I’ll be crazy enough to become a Barista and open my own space (or maybe not). I don’t drink coffee for the sake that it wakes me up, I drink purely because I love it. And I wish it would wake me up, but it doesn’t work!

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This is how I like my coffee, short, strong, no sugar!

For those of you that live in London, I’m sure you’ve noticed the growing trend over the years around the coffee culture. Whereas before it was all about the Starbucks of this world (horrible expensive coffee btw!), now we have competitions for professional Baristas and lots of independent chains. Here’s something I have to praise the hipsters, thanks guys!

The only downside of coffee culture being so linked with the hipster culture is that most of the really cool chains are located in East London. Being a South Westerner by heart, this means I normally need to wait for a small shop to start opening other branches so I can give it a go (I can’t be asked to cross the whole city because of coffee, even if I love it that much).

This week the latest discovery was the Workshop Coffee (Holborn branch)

This is a really spacious place and I was surprised to find it really quiet! Perfect to enjoy a nice coffee and sit on the coach.

I went for a flat white rather than my usual espresso, so delicious!

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Also had a small brownie which was very tasty too! Will come back more often, since it’s just a 5m walk from the office.

Workshop Coffee Co. Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Other good places I’ve already tried:

I have loads more on my wishlist!

You can also visit the list from the Cosy Coffee Shops for more inspiration.

What is your favourite coffee place in London and how do you normally drink your coffee?

.: Around London and Natas :.

I love walking around London and taking some photos, each corner is so different from each other and then there’s always those amazing food spots!

I also wanted to see the balloons in Convent Garden. Should have stayed for nightfall to see them with all the light around, but oh well

And then all the street food, so colourful!

But what I really wanted was my chance to try I Love Nata, and my oh my, I wasn’t prepared for all that awesomeness! It’s certainly the best Natas in London and quite better than many places in Portugal itself. The place itself is quite small and simple, but it’s for the Natas that really counts. To my surprise they also had Delta machines in there, so the coffee was really good. I left with a big smile on my face, so good! Hard to resist to have only 1

On our way back to the train, we were presented with an amazing music around us and we found this gentlemen playing in the street. There’s not many cities in the world with so many amazing street musicians as London

And here’s another lovely lady, you can find more about her on facebook

What’s your favourite place to walk around in London? Have you found any amazing street artists?

Enjoy your sunny weekend 🙂

.: London Open House 2015 :.

Why do holidays fly so fast? Why oh why 😦 Just to think that just a few days ago I was still in Portugal enjoying a bit of summer, but reality kicks in and I’m back.
Anyway, I returned just in time to visit the London Open House, which for those of you that keep on reading my posts will know it’s an event I really love.

Previous years

  • 2014 – Guildhall & the royal courts of justice (Just notice I never did a post on this one)

This year it was the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, which is a gorgeous building

Have you been into the London Open House before? Which one is your favourite building?

.: Exploring Osterley Park :.

As we were feeling quite lazy after our journey to Birmingham yesterday, we’ve decided to stay local. So just before lunch we went to Osterley Park which is just 10m away from home (yes, we’re trying to make the most of our National Trust membership). It was also a good occasion to practice landscape photos with my new A6000.

This place is really beautiful and really easy to forget you are still in London! Perfect for families, a picnic or just a walk like we did

The house looks really nice as well, maybe next time we’ll go in

This is one of my favourite, love the light

So overall quite please with the photos. Still trying to get used to the camera and to the fact that any little adjustment in the settings is a lot more noticed in the Sony sensor. Also, because I’m used to my canon and image stabilization need to stop and focus and can’t simply stop quickly, press the shutter and off I go. But quite adapted already to the portability 😀

It’s Sunday afternoon, you fancy a walk in a Park, where would you go? What do you recommend?

Cheers 🙂

.: Exploring London as a Tourist :.

For all those of you that live in London, you will all know the feeling when you have friends visiting and you want to take them some place nice. It’s easy if they’ve never been in London before, but if they have, if you feel that you have a challenge in your hands simply because there are so many options!

I’m having friends this weekend and where’s what I’m planning to do:

Lunch @ Tino‘s in Camden Town

Yes Portuguese food for lunch! I miss going Tino’s, it always feels like visiting an old friend 🙂

Then going to the market, which is one of the best and more unique in town, the smell of food is just amazing!

(Note, none of the photos below are mine as I can’t find any old photos from Camden, haven’t been there for ages)

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If you are planning a nice meal in Camden I recommend the Gilgamesh, the place is really nice and the food too. Remember going there for an event at work which I’ve really enjoyed:

If you have time for a beer, then go to BrewDog

Then ice cream at Chin Chin Labs

Ok, enough food. After the market, one of the best things to do around Camden is to stroll along the channel.

The idea is to walk all the way back to Regent’s Park and then check the view from London from Primrose hill

 

Then a stop by the Sherlock Holmes museum

Finally, planning a stop in a traditional and historical pub like these

Other options:

  • Sky Garden – You need to book in advance and I couldn’t get any available tickets for this weekend
  • Kew Gardens – An afternoon in Kew Gardens on a sunny (almost) day is always a good plan
  • Cabaret Night – Like this one in Knightsbridge
  • Go to a musical, like the Book of Mormon, which I totally recommend!

What would you recommend?

.: Hide & Seed – Putney :.

I know many times most of us avoid hotel restaurants because we don’t believe they offer good value for money. But as I’ve realised in the last few years after spending a lot of my time in hotels sometimes we get good surprises.

Hide and Seed is part of a boutique hotel in a quiet area of Putney. My plan for the day was to start with a good lunch and then go for a walk along the river.
The restaurant is really easy to find and feels peaceful as soon as you arrive. Maybe because it was a Sunday lunch we were surprised to be the only guests. The decor is really charming and cosy, it feels you are in a beautiful library.

The menu is quite simple but as everything you need. As soon as I saw the wine menu I was delighted to see vinho verde (green wine) on the menu.

I jumped starters and ordered the chicken with mushrooms where he had the hide and seed burger. My chicken was really tasty and the Jasmine rice cooked within vegetables was a nice fresh surprise.

He said the burger was really tasty but should have been more mixed together, as it was handmade. I have to admit I was to greedy with le chocolat!

It was an overdose of chocolate, next time share it! He had the lemon desert which was really soft and yummy too. My espresso was tasty and creamy as well. Staff was really friendly through the meal. Considering we were alone they’ve managed to leave us some space and took care of us anyway (if you know what I mean). So overall a really lovely lunch, totally recommended for a relaxing day in Putney.

How to get here?

* By train – it’s less than a 15m walk from Putney rail station
* By Underground – East Putney on the district line – 5m walk
* By car – there is a parking area in the hotel, although typically this area has loads of traffic all the time! So would advise you to take public transport

Thanks to the zomato team for inviting us!

Click to add a blog post for Hide & Seed on Zomato

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.: Exploring London :.

After the visit to Sky Garden, we’ve decided to go for a walk in the city centre. It’s not always that I have the chance to really walk in this part of town on holidays and just explore around.

First stop was the Spitafield Market – which has been quite popular for a why and it’s easy to understand why! Central location, easy walking from the city heart and lots of trendy restaurants and shops. I have to admit I don’t always come here as I live in south west, but I like walking around and exploring.

Next time I need to stop by Taberna do Mercado – a cosy Portuguese place by Nuno Mendes. I’ve ready really good reviews.

I do recommend the Alternative London Tour, which I did a few years ago, to explore the “alternative and artsy side of london”. Probably I should do it again, because in the meantime east London has changed quite a lot!

Then we kept on walking towards the river, and with a next market in Mind, I was keen on exploring the Borough Market which is a personal favourite. I have to say it was a bless to have a visit on a Friday, as over the weekends it’s really crowded!

This is a food heaven! Any food lovers must give it a go

We kept on walking along the river until we’ve reached Waterloo, where we did a stop just to enjoy the sunshine and have a few beers

The light was amazing around 18h!

So you can see it was quite a walk!

What is your favourite area in London to go for a walk? Any favourite market you would like to share?

Wish you all a lovely weekend!

.: Sky Garden – London :.

There was always a lot of expectation around one of London famous buildings, especially one with such a start like “Walkie Talkie” – or the building that burns cars, not even any cars, a jag!

I used to work next door, and this building was always quite an impressive one. It took them forever to cover the whole building in a protective layer to avoid any more meltdowns.

It’s still quite an impressive shape nonetheless

Not as impressive as The Shard (or the All-seeing eye for me), but with a unique feature, a sky garden. Since I love rooftops, actually anything that offers me a good view, I was more than keen for a visit. Unfortunately the free visits only work during weekdays which meant I had to wait for a day off to have my go. The best way to get there is to book a reservation in one of the restaurants

Note to self: No, it’s not a good idea to go there with only a prime lens (50mm). Which meant my phone was better usage than my camera. Also didn’t help that I received a call from work on my day off and was pretty stressed out!

Here’s the view, way better than what you get from a place like the London eye – which I still find overrated!

My best photos were actually taken with my phone

I don’t think the garden is that impressive, but the light and the view is something quite unique! Love the whole concept and how everyone seem really happy. Totally recommended!

Final note, the ladies on the ground floor were extremely rude! I know it doesn’t look nice for such a “posh” building to have some peasants queuing up, but I felt they were being too rude! It’s not a good visit card to London I would say. “Can you please squeeze in? Against the wall please!” Seriously?

Next time I’ll book myself a table to get a visit over sunset, oh that would be awesome!

How to get there
* The Walkie Talkie is located on Fenchurch Street – actually on the back of it if you want to enter the skygarden. Don’t attempt to get into the front reception and avoid yourself the embarrassment! You need to reach the back of it and there’s a dedicated reception for the restaurants & garden.
* You can reach it by getting out @ Bank on the central line, or Monument for the district line
* You won’t get lost outside, since it’s one of the tallest buildings in the area you just need to follow the skyline

Let me know your thoughts if you have been there already

.: An afternoon @ Kew Gardens :.

I have been saying for years now that I need to get back to Kew Gardens and was waiting for the full blossom to get back, but for most weekends the weather was actually too cloudy for me to go, and then last weekend we had a nice afternoon!

It’s a shame this was only my 2nd visit, especially when I can literally walk there. But sometimes we never explore what we have closer to home. I guess that having Richmond Park for free makes a difference most of the times. Actually I could just apply for the yearly pass, which is an excellent idea if you plan to go there more than twice a year. For all information click here.

It’s not everyday you can walk on top of trees! This definitely feels like you are part of Jurassic Park Movie 🙂

Useful Information

How to reach Kew Gardens
* The easiest way to reach Kew Gardens is by taking the underground – Richmond line and stopping at Kew Gardens (District Line)
* You can also take the train from London Waterloo and strop at Kew Bridge – it’s a short walk from the train station – pretty much crossing the bridge and you’re there. If you take this route maybe you can have a beer @ One over the ait (It’s my favourite pub!)
* You can also take any train to Richmond and then take Bus 65 direction Ealing Broadway
* Other possible routes would be train / underground to ealing broadway or south ealing and then taking Bus 65 direction to Kingston

Where to eat
* Actually you have a few options within Kew Gardens itself like Orangery
* If you fancy an historical tea, amazing scones and pies check The Maids of Honour, is brilliantly located near the Victoria Gate (One of the main entries for Kew Gardens)
* Fancy a good steak? Then head to Kew Grill – booking recommended
* For a unique moment and delicious food head to The Glasshouse – also located in the Kew High Road
* If you fancy a brunch and some bubbles, Rock & Rose is the place for you
* Finally, if you want to relax and have a nice beer check The Botanist – they actually have their own beers, from which I would recommend night porter for the stout.

For my first visit to Kew Gardens check here.

Have you been in Kew Gardens before? Any tips you would like to share?
Wish you all a great week ahead