Monthly Archives: February 2017

“You can learn a lot about a woman by getting smashed with her” Tom Waits

When in London I use to have an intense nightlife, pity I can’t drink too much since my hiatal hernia doesn’t allow me more than a two glasses on alcohol, the same amount I need to get very drunk.

One of the fanciest places I’ve ever been, is Sketch in Conduit street (a cross street of Regent’s street): an unique place where food, art and music meet. The location is magical: there’s an hopscotch at the entrance (I loved it since it recalled  me Cortàzar’s novel) and various artworks on the walls.

 

 

It has five different restaurants and bars:

-The Gallery, where you can have a classy afternoon tea as we did (they also have a gluten free menu) or a dinner; if you’re on a budget I suggest you to check the prices in advance: the food is lovely, but minimal and, to me, a bit overpriced. The location, however, is incredible: the monochromatic pink interior contrasts with the witty David Shrigley’s artworks on the wall, since this place is a part of a of a long-term programme of artist-conceived restaurants. The Gallery’s walls host the largest group of original drawings David Shrigley has ever exhibited.

 

 

Then there are the three parts of Sketch where we haven’t been yet:

-The Lecture Room & Library that is a two Michelin starred gastronomic restaurant.

-The Parlour where you can have breakfast, afternoon teas and evening drinks.

-The East bar that is an evening bar where to have pre-dining drinks

This year we had an enchanting time at the Glade, drinking exquisite cocktails in this magic woodland bar. On the walls there is a fairy tales découpaged forest and the rattan furniture was maybe a little uncomfortable for my aching body, but absolutely perfect for the location. My cocktail was gorgeous and the company even better. I don’t like too much taking pictures when I’m in a bar or in a restaurant, so here’s only a small view of what Sketch is. If you’re interested you can visit its web site: https://sketch.london/what.php#gsc.tab=0

 

 

And here’s comes the reason why Sketch is so popular: its exclusive egg shaped toilets that completed this insane experience.

 

 

TRACK OF THE DAY: dRuNk-Zayn

 

“I was so thin I could slice bread with my shoulderblades, only I seldom had bread” Charles Bukowski

There is something I’m always reluctant to talk about and it’s my unintentional weight loss. And while everybody seems having the opposite problem and struggles between diets and gym courses, it’s hard to say that I’m losing weight without dieting or increasing physical activity. To be completely frank, I never went to a gym, I love to walk, but the closest I can ever be to a sport, is yelling at the tv while watching football, rugby or golf.

So I never talk about this, because people won’t understand, they will probably say that I’m lucky and because I noticed that skinny people are often body shamed by being called unhealthy, bunch of bones or anorexic. Should I be ashamed of my skin and bones (just to say it in Coldplay’s words)? According to the nasty looks people give me on the beach, I should and that’s so unfair.

The real problem is not being fat or being thin, but looking at the others’ bodies to imitate them or to criticise them. No one is bearer of an absolute truth, let alone the perfect body type. So, look at yourself and yourself only, lose or gain weight only for health reasons or if you (and only you) like your body and stop thinking that people like underwear models are an evil example.

So here it comes the second part of this post: visiting Victoria’s Secrets store in London. I know, I already blamed those who go to London only to show their purchases in popular places, but in my defence, I have to say that I buy my underwear in the kids section and that I was dragged there, by someone who thought I would have loved luxury and invisible panties. Let me say that lace thongs are a big NO from me, since it’s like having a rose stem in the middle of the butt cheeks, but if you fancy sexy lingerie, here’s my tips.

There are three Victoria’s Secrets stores in London: one, I’ve never been to, is next to Brent Cross area, another one, the most famous, is located in Central London at 111 New Bond Street and you can get there by hopping off either at Bond Street or Oxford Circus station. It’s not hard to find, just a cross street of Regent’s Street.

 

 

The third store is inside the Westfield Mall, next to Sheperd’s Bush Station. Well, to be clear, there are two shops: the classic and bland Victoria’s Secrets and the Pink store for younger women that has cuter and more comfortable items (according to me). Anyway both have workout clothes, tank tops, underwear… just in a different style.

 

 

So, if you like this brand and you want to wear something sexy (and expensive) for a hot night under London stars, here you are. And don’t ask me what we bought, I won’t tell you: it’s a (Victoria’s) secret.

 

 

TRACK OF THE DAY: Little Things – One Direction

 

“Never make fun of someone who speaks broken English. It means they know another” H. Jackson Brown Jr.

If you have a look at my categories you will easily spot a spelling mistake “goddness” instead of “goodness”. I hate when I find out mistakes above all on Twitter where there isn’t the edit button, so I have to delete my tweet. I have no clue how to change the categories, so you have to bear it (and who knows how many more mistakes in my posts).

It could be easier to write in Italian, but it’s a language I don’t feel mine, I have an English mindset and honestly I use to speak more in foreign languages rather than in my native one.

I was a curious kid, I learned to read at 3 because I wanted to be able to read the books I wanted anytime and my mom was fed up of me always wanting new stories. When Italian lost all its attractions, I started asking myself what foreign languages meant and insisted to learn English instead of doing a stupid dance course. I wasn’t a genius, I was just smart and I ended to be average when I was 15, as it’s stated in John Green’s “Paper Towns”.

What never ended was my love for languages, my desire to know “what they are saying”, so I ended learning also French and Spanish. It is said that speaking more than a language improves multitasking abilities and it’s a good training for the brain who is forced to switch from an idiom to another, keeping itself active and healthy. Being multilingual for sure helps to understand and appreciate cultural references and nuances. There’s nothing better to read a book in the language it has been written or  being able to understand all the puns in a movie or a tv show.

My best friend is currently trying to teach me Dutch, but it’s difficult and I only learned swearing. We will see. Anyway I’m grateful for this gift of mine, even if I always feel uncomfortable when foreign people speak aloud on the bus or in the doctor’s waiting room, thinking nobody understands them, while I’m able to mind their business.

TRACK OF THE DAY: Speak my language – The Cure

 

“Please mind the gap between your life and your dreams”

I know that the story behind the tube announcement would be more interesting than what I’m going to post, but it’s a bad health day, so my mood goes along with my pain.

(but in case you’re interested in the story of Mrs.Margaret McCollum who goes to Embankment station just to hear the voice of her deceased husband who recorded the Mind the gap message in 1965, here’s the video: https://vimeo.com/103459634).

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When we talk about dreams and desires, the most often heard sentences are “stop wishing, start acting” or “you’re not a tree: if you don’t like where you are, move” as if any dream we are chasing would be easy to be fulfilled just by working for it. That’s wise and sensible, but quite utopian.

What if your body is fighting against you, so you can’t get a proper work and earn the money you need to move to another country? What if you’re too old for the person you like? There’s no time machine, I’m sorry. And no, good will, a positive attitude, an optimistic view aren’t enough against objective difficulties. There are obstacles that can’t be overcame, no matter how hard you work for your dream. And this frustration and sense of impotence goes along with depression in a never ending cycle.

I will be very glad to fulfil all my wishes, I just need an healthier body. While waiting I must pay attention to the gap between what I dream and my life, I don’t want to get crushed.

TRACK OF THE DAY: To wish impossible Things – The Cure

 

“Please be a traveler, not a tourist. Try new things, meet new people and look beyond what’s right in front of you”-Andrew Zimmern

I trust my instincts and my vibes and I always get it right, unless it’s about people: they’re too unpredictable and fake. But London has been a constant positive feedback to my hop off the tube randomly game where one the rules is often “I like the name of this station”.

This happened when we got off at Elephant and Castle, that my local friends considered only a purely a transport interchange or a place to pass through on the bus or a train, besides considering it a “no posh” borough. To be honest, Elephant and Castle is a vibrant neighbourhood just south of the River Thames whose area was once famed as the “Piccadilly of the South” and probably it still is if you take the chance to venture around.

The area takes its name from a pub that once was a coaching inn and that owed its name to the emblem of the Worshipful Company of Cutlers of its early owner. But knowing how much Brits love puns and playing with words, you will be told that the area takes its name to the heraldic symbol of a Spanish princess who is said to have stayed here. So “Elephant and Castle” is simply a corruption of the Spanish words “La Infanta de Castilla”.

The first thing that stroke my attention once out of the tube, was the bronze statue of the Elephant and Castle that now it’s located outside the shopping centre, but that once stood high on top of the pub.

We spend a few time wandering through the open air market and shopping at the mall that includes a Tesco, several East Europe shops and restaurants and a Poundland that’s one of my favourite places to shop at.

Once out, we took a glance to the Imperial war museum, but since I wasn’t interested to visit it, we didn’t go and then we had a quick stroll around the tube station. My friends told me that there was a Mercato Metropolitano in the nearby that it was worth a visit, but we had other plans, so I saved to see it when I come back.

I didn’t have meals there, but as regarding gluten free options, there’s a Nando’s (that I personally state as safe) or you can buy some fruit at the shopping centre.

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To be frank, Elephant and Castle area isn’t that attractive and appealing due to its big, characterless and dull buildings, but at the moment there’s a big plan about investing in the regeneration of this borough. This investment includes new homes, better transport, improved shopping centres and shops, leisure, new schools and community centres. The biggest project should take place around Elephant Park.

What to say more? I can’t way to go back there.

TRACK OF THE DAY: The City-Ed Sheeran

“Don’t follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail”-R.W.Emerson

One of the things I hate the most about London are Italian (and French, but that’s personal) tourists. You can spot them from miles since they’re loud, bad mannered and with a Starbucks cup perpetually in their hands. Last year I was waiting for the train, an Italian young couple hampered my friend, me and another commuter who turned to us saying disgusted “Italians!”. And my friend couldn’t stop laughing and menaced me to tell the man I was Italian too all along our tube ride.

What’s the point in taking a lots of pics at a Starbucks, hitting only tourist destinations and going shopping only in the Oxford-Regent Street-Piccadilly circus triangle? I don’t think it’s smart, it’s kind of a wasted trip, isn’t it?

This year we spend a lovely time at the Spitafield City Farm, that is in Buxton Street, a cross street of Brick Lane.

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The farm is a registered charity managed by volunteers and it’s free to visit even if donations are always welcome. It has a wide variety of green spaces and you can buy eggs and a homegrown selection of wildflowers, flowers and vegetables whose availability depends on the seasons. They only sell vegetables on Tuesday and Thursday, 11 to 4: the nursery, situated in front of the Office, grows these flowers and herbs for both the farm and for sale to the public.

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There are a lot of farm animals (that can be sponsored) a bug hotel and a beehive. You can pet the animals, but it is forbidden to feed them.

The Farm hosts educational visits for school and groups and it takes part to the “learning outside the classroom” project.

There’s a coffee called Tea Hut, but since it’s closed for the winter, I can’t tell you if they have any gluten free option.

We had a lovely time there, I highly recommend a visit if you have kids. So, if next time you’re in London, instead of hitting a Starbucks, you want to take a selfie with a lovely donkey as I did, here’s the Farm’s web site: http://www.spitalfieldscityfarm.org/

TRACK OF THE DAY: Country House-Blur

“Happy Hunger Games! And may the odds be ever in your favor”― Suzanne Collins

As you can notice, I change mood often. Today was a high pain day, I was emotionally down, but texting with my special medicine gave me the strenght to face this day. And this reinforces again my theory, according to which, any random kind of kindness or any supportive act could have a positive effect on the recipient’s mood or day.

Talking about positive things, here we come to today’s topic: Ed Sheeran is coming to Italy, only one date in a quite small venue, so getting the tickets was worse than winning the Hunger games. I had my future  tickets paid by a generous person, so I only had to be that lucky to get them (and hope in a low pain day on the gig’s date).

Besides of this not interesting informations, what I really wanted to say is that this time we experienced the shameful thing called secondary ticket sellers, that always happens when there are big events (Coldplay, U2, Red Hot and so on). The tickets are gone in five ten minutes and it’s not the fans that get them, but those scammers sites who buy a lot of tickets and sell them again overpriced.

This must end, but unless people stop buying from this sites, it won’t happen. At my concert of The Cure  I had a coveted seat and I was the only one who had her ticket bought from the official seller at the right price.I know you all are big fans, you want to see your idols and you don’t matter to pay a little (or much) more to see them, but you’re only stoking the secondary tickets phenomenon.

It’s so sad reading angry tweets for those who couldn’t get the ticket, the illusion of those who got to put them in the cart, but when they confirmed, the system said they were already sold out. I know we have so many bigger problems in Italy and in the world, but music is something people hold on to and it should be easily affordable for everyone.

What about me? Were the “Edds” in my favour? I won’t tell you 😉

TRACK OF THE DAY: Castle on the hill-Ed Sheeran