Sunday, 31 July 2016

Tate Modern :: Switch House

About a month ago, I was watching the local news as they announced the opening of the new ten storey extension to the Tate Modern. This surprised me no end, since I cycle past the gallery every day and had not noticed this apparently very large addition! Jasmin and I were in the area recently having brunch (here) and as it was a nice day I suggested we pop over to see the new part. It's located just behind the original Boiler house section, and isn't that noticeable from the river side (which is presumably why I hadn't noticed it at all!) 

We were there on a Saturday, so it was pretty busy. The new galleries were fairly interesting, and weird as to be expected from a Modern Art gallery. Unfortunately the lifts to the 10 floor, where the viewing platform is, were constantly full and the queues to board were crazy. So we decided to leave that for the day.

The following week I had a few days off of work, so I headed back down early on in the day mid-week to take a look. I always like to climb up tall buildings and enjoy the view and this was no exception. It's right on the river and the weather was pretty clear so I could see a fair way across the city. There was one side that basically just looked straight into the apartment buildings next door - with floor-ceiling windows - which I can't imagine the residents are particularly happy about, but I did enjoy gazing out East to my side of town!

I would say that the view isn't as good as that from the Sky Garden in 20 Fenchurch street, but I'm always happy to have a new place to head for free views of the city.



Jasmin and her origami box


The following were from the Louise Bourgeois permanent exhibition. I was familiar with her work, as its often spider shaped!













Busy busy lift





Canada Water right back there across from Canary Wharf






Apartment living



Sunday, 3 July 2016

Wanderings Lately :: June

June had flown by! It has mostly been characterised by everyone moaning about the weather. This includes me, and has meant that I haven't been able to cycle to work as much as I had hoped. Rain on and off all day, almost every day! So far our first couple of days of July have seen a little better weather, but still temperamental. 

June was my first full month without dissertation responsibilities, and I actually don't think I have used to time as well as I could have, so for the next month, I plan to take more advantage of having completely free time, getting out and exploring my city again!

Celebrations








This month was my mum, brother and one of my uni friend's birthdays, and fathers' day (where does that apostrophe go, does the day belong to all fathers or just to mine?)

We had a little surprise for my mum, as my brother come over from Barcelona without her knowing. Due to the weather the day ended up being us sheltering from the rain in a pub, and then walking to our dinner reservations in Bermondsey Street in the evening. 

For fathers' day I went back to Essex to cook, other brother came as well as my nan and I annoyed everyone by snapchat filtering them as much as possible!

For Hannah birthday, again the weather didn't cooperate, but we made the most of it, just spending the time together. SHe also ended up with three cakes - one for every decade!

Sport




I had two sports related sucesses this month, first when my netball team finally managed to win a game! We were a completely new team at the beinning of the season, and it took us quite a while to get used to playing together, and since there are usualy one or two people who can't make it each week. In our final game of the season however, the whole team was there and we managed to beat the league winners! Afterwards we all spilled out from the court to the nearby pub and had a shot together to celebrate!

I have been wanting to take part in the colour run for quite a while and signed up for the 2016 one earlier in the year. The day of the race came round this June and I was not prepared for it at all. Thankfully I managed to get around to the finish without stopping, or getting a stitch! I have taken this as a kick start to get running regularly again. As I don't like running in the evenings, but find it incredibly hard to get up earlier on a work day to run - when I know I'm going to have to jump on my bike straight afterward - this is just one a week for now. Either Saturday or Sunday. Who know, maybe I'll get the itch to go mid-week once I'm back in the swing of things!

Democracy




The last two weeks have been very strange. I voted to stay in the EU, but as we all know I was on the losing side. This makes me very worried, and as events of the last week have shown, the government is in complete disarray. The future is very uncertain but I hope and pray that our leaders sort themselves out and take us forward in the best way possible. 

This month I attended the "State of London Debate' at the Indigo at the O2. This was an event with Sadiq Khan, and three of his deputy mayors, firstly giving us an overview of his vision at this early stage of his station at Mayor of London and then taking questions for the audience. I realised the other day, that Sadiq becoming Mayor is the first time I've found myself on the winning side of Democracy. I've always voted, I think it's important even when I had no real idea who was running or even what I was voting for (local, regional, national or European MPs). In that time, no one I have voted for has won, except Sadiq Khan for Mayor. I'm really proud that he won, and whilst I don't doubt that he will probably not be able to fulfill everything he wants to, I believe he will do his best for this city. He did really well at the debate, giving the audience real examples of how he plans to tackle various issues in London. I think he's a unifying politician, and in this time of turmoil, I'm glad to have him representing our city.

My fixed life



I ordered a desk chair a couple months ago, and it was finally delivered this month. My housemates thought my excitmenet very entertaining on delivery day. This is the first piece of furniture I have ever owned. Yes that desk is mine, but my mum bought that. Everything else in my house is rented. I moved around, in London and abroad that I never really bought anything - besides a full length mirror in Korea which obviously I left there when I moved home. This chair will come with my wherever I might move next and that's quite grown up!


 :: How are you feeling post-Brexit? ::

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Wanderings Lately :: April & May

Well, it was all going very well and then April hit and I could think of nothing else but my dissertation and impending deadline. Would I be able to meet that deadline? To be honest I was convinced that I couldn't and wasn't truly trying. Although I was still using all of my free time to work in the library I just thought the 17th May would come and go without my having written and bound a 15,000 word thesis. Heaven knows how, but I did finish it in time and enjoyed popping into my uni during my lunch break from work and handing it over to my student administrator. Phew, it was finally done! That day I had to travel to Oxford to attend a farewell dinner for one of our Spring groups. That same week two other Summer groups arrived. The busiest time at work is well underway now, but I can't explain fully how freeing it was to hand in that report. I could finally plan to see friends, and my weekend suddenly opened up. I could crack open my Secret London guide book and search out some gems.

The story of my dissertation is an epic one, spanning almost two years. BUT IT'S DONE NOW! (as long as I pass...)

Anyway as I was caught up in study mode, I didn't manage to get out April's wanderings lately and May's is really quite late. So this post covers both months and sets me back on track with blogging! Woop!

Paperchase




Paperchase is one of my favourite shops. I know many people who also love new stationery and their cards are very unique and pretty. The shop on Tottenham Court Road is their flagship store and covers three floors of wonderful paperchase-ness! They also have a little cafe that looks over the bustling street below.

One lunchtime I wandered in and collected a few cards for future birthdays and was also seduced by a reduced umbrella with a panda handle (so nice!). As this is a large store, they have a lot more than just stationery and cards and I was also won over by a large pineapple jug. At the time, whilst I really liked it, I just thought 'I don't need a big jug shaped like a pineapple...' So I left the jug there. This is a shopping tactic I have, introduced by my thrifty mum, where I will see something I like but decide it's something I don't need or can't really afford. I'll leave the shop without the new item but if I am still thinking about it after I've left, I think 'No I do actually want it' and will go back. If said item has now sold out, it wasn't meant to be. If it's still there, my joy is all the sweeter because I waited to know whether I really liked it!

On this occasion, the jug was still there and I was happy to make it mine! In the same range was lunch box set above, which obviously I had to also have. I have used this every day since to take my lunch to work. Stylish and economical! I have also used the jug twice for drinks at our Canada Water BBQs. I'm chuffed at how many compliments it gets as well. Definitely worth the investment!

Queen's Birthday



It seems like it's been the Queen's birthday since January, and I know she has two and all that but this still a bit much! Thanks to this over-celebration, and some serious friend perks, I was invited along to a party at City Hall at the end of April. The highlight was the view over tower bridge (extra strong binoculars available to spy on passers-by a little weird though). 

Voting


In May we voted for our next London Mayor, and I was happy to see Sadiq was the choice for Londoners. I am very much expectant for him to keep his promise of a bus-hopper ticket, so I won't get penalised for having to take two buses within an hour. This is something that is already in place in Korea, in fact they have a transferable journey fee from tube to bus as well. I probably won't use it that often, but it's something that I liked from his manifesto.

I will be attending the State of London debate at the end of June too, so will see what else he has to say about the city.

This month we will be voting again, this time about whether or not to stay in the EU. It's really not clear how the country will vote, and the polls have proven themselves to be worthless over and over so I don't even want to consider them. We'll see come the 29th June. Just let it be known that I want to remain in the EU.

Summer





We had some shocking weather recently, but they have been interspersed with some wonderful days - usually during the week when everyone is at work. They have prompted me to try and get out of the office to eat my lunch and get a bit of fresh air. The cherry blossoms were out and a colleague at work organised for a bulk order of burritos to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. This is a celebration I have no idea about, and only discovered after making American friends in Korea but it was nice to change my lunch from a salad and sit in the sunshine eating this in Tavistock Square!

The bulbs I planted in my garden have also started growing - this photo is from about the end of April time, and the plants are much bigger now, and probably planted in the wrong part of the flower bed, but I'm still looking forward to when they flower!

Studying



And this was my view for most of the last two months... But as I already mentioned I have now finally finished and the dissertation is all handed in!




Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Afternoon tea down the Rabbit Hole

To celebrate Jasmin's 30th un-birthday, we took her for the Mad Hatter themed afternoon tea at the Sanderson Hotel in London. I've been to a lot of different afternoon teas - both for work and socially - and have had very mixed experiences. 

I feel that generally, as long as you have tea, sandwiches, cakes and scones the difference is really about the surroundings. I have a draft post for a future date with my top picks in London. But for a bit of a spoiler: this one was awesome!


I couldn't really work the Sanderson out... it didn't seem to really know what it was. Walking past the outside, it's very non-descript. In fact I didn't realise until I booked this tea that I'd actually walked past it many times before. The outside is a bog standard 70s style building, set on a narrow street between Oxford and Goodge streets. Inside it wasn't particularly grand. The reception was a very large space littered with quirky seats (as in the above photo). This large expanse ended at a fairly small check in desk.

It seemed to want to make a big statement, but it was neither welcoming nor beautiful and impressive. It was mostly just trying too hard to be 'cool'.

Having said that the restaurant was nice. We were seated outside, but under cover next to heaters and with fleecy blankets if we needed. 


The menu was hidden inside an old novel and the description of each of the teas was on the back of these playing cards.


We got to smell the teas before we chose which we wanted to try. We ended up having a pot of each of them to test them all.






Croque Monsieur was definitely my favourite of the sandwiches.




And the cakes were all themed. I really enjoyed them all. Highlights included the chocolate Oreo soldier biscuits, marshmallow toadstools and the lady bird almond cakes.






I personally didn't like this one as it was coconut. But the idea is you drink the cocktail through the straw and get three distinct flavours.


Jasmin got an extra little something as it was her birthday. We didn't ask for this but they asked whether we were celebrating anything when we first sat down. That was a nice surprise.


An 'extra' that everyone gets when they have finished their sandwiches and cake was this little flower pot of ice cream. We were all pretty stuffed by the end but this was an unusual little ending of the meal. The flowers were edible.

This tea is one of the more pricey in London, but I really thought it was worth it. The food was excellent and you are probably paying a little more for the quirky nature of the day but that really does add to the experience.

::Have you been to afternoon tea? What did you enjoy most? Do you eat your scones cream first or jam first?::