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Archive for July, 2013

Focus On: Notting Hill Carnival

As London attempts to cool down from the never ending heatwave, things are just starting to hot up again. That’s right dear friends it is time again for the vibrant and extravagant Notting Hill Carnival.


Have you got your maracas and costumes at the ready? Witness as many sequins as a routine on Strictly Come Dancing as the largest street festival in Europe comes to the capital.


Taking place in Notting Hill during the August Bank Holiday, you better let your hair down to the rythms and sounds of steel bands as well as Calypso inspired music and a number of different food stalls.


Dated: / /2010 Matt Lloyd - The Times

(c) Matthewglloyd.co.uk


There is a real Caribbean theme that will have you reaching for a Pina Colada in no time. But this is West London though! Don’t worry as everyone will certainly be in the Latin spirit…time for a Bacardi perhaps!


Since its inception back in 1966, this party is open to everyone and sees thousands of visitors every single year. With all the colours of the rainbow you will have the chance to enjoy a real rainbow of colours on the surrounding streets. So how did the Notting Hill Carnival burst into life?


The first event actually took place two years previously and was a result of the Trinidad Carnival. You may be surprised to discover that less than 600 people attended the first time round. It was set up initially for many Caribbean folk in West London who wanted to experience and taste again a slice of home.


Notting Hill Carnival

(c) shinystyle.tv


However, fast forward some 4 decades and you will see more than 2.5 million people line the streets of W10 and W11 over the 2 day period.


In addition to this, you will have the opportunity to witness around 50,000 performers shaking their thing. Around 2.5 million people attend over the Carnival weekend.


Admire the colourful floats pass by your very eyes not to mention costumers that will dazzle your socks off. Sunday is considered to be Children’s Day which offers a reduced parade whilst plenty of prizes are given away for the best costumes.



(c) fotoura.com


Bank Holiday Monday is the occasion of the main parade, taking place during the evening. Other highligts on show feature soca musicians not to mention large sound systems blasting out an array of music – and of course a large collection of feathers.


With several stages specifically set up you can dance the night away to the tunes of dub, hip-hop and jazz-raggae. Please note that you should plan extra time in order to arrive at the Notting Hill Carnival as a host of surrounding tube stations will be closed.



(c) wikimedia.org


It may be as packed as a commuter train on a Monday morning, but Carnival remains one of the must visit events on the London social calendar. You may even find yourself Dancing on the Ceiling with Lionel Richie.


Need somewhere to rest those weary feet? Well there are plenty of hotels in Notting Hill if you want to escape the hustle and bustle.



Simon Lazarus is an experienced PR/Business Consultant and copywriter with a number of clients across different territories including the US, Europe, Asia, China and the Middle East. His vast portfolio includes writing content for a variety of sites on food and drink, travel, personal finance, news, showbiz, sport, technology and much more. He also advises businesses on strategies and marketing across different sectors.

Intercontinental O2 is underway




Work has commenced on the regeneration of the Greenwich Peninsula, an area which covers more than 7 acres of prime London real estate.

Centre piece of this project will be the Intercontinental o2 Hotel.  It will offer 452 guestrooms and a massive 4800 square metres of conference space.

Features will include a Sky Bar which will have views across the Thames estuary and Canary Wharf.

There will also be a full blown spa and several restaurants.

The hotel will go “green” with water catchment facilities.

The hotel is scheduled to open in mid 2015 and is a welcome addition to the area around the O2 offering long awaited quality accommodation for attendees at the “dome”.

London City Airport will be a simple 15 minute journey whilst the North Greenwich tube station (400m away) will allow travelers to go directly to London Bridge and Oxford Street.

The commitment of Intercontinental Hotels really endorses the validity of the Greenwich area as a prime London area. Watch out for other hotel groups taking the plunge into Greenwich.


London’s best open air swimming pools

Life’s a beach and don’t we know it. When there’s snow abound and the capital freezes we receive literally blanket coverage across a number of different channels. Yet when the sun shines and we all bake like potatoes on a barbie, we also have a few gripes!


Yet there is a solution to cool down as the UK experiences an official heatwave – the first of its kind for more than five years. Even the golfers at Muirfield at the Open are sweltering as they trundle down the dusty brown fairways!


But how can you keep your cool amid record temperatures? Check out below some of the best lidos in the capital to dip your toes in.


(c) brucesussman.com


Parliament Hill Lido (Nearest tube: Gospel Oak)

Parliament Hill Lido

(c) carolineno.com


Better known as Hampstead Heath Lido it has recently undergone a transformation and is open now for swimmers of all ages and abilities. You can escape the mercury thanks to a 60 metre pool which is not heated.


In addition, there are opportunites to swim late into the evening  on Mondays, Thursday and Fridays during the summer until the end of September. Opening times are from 7am until 6pm. Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays is adult swimming only between 6.45pm and 8pm. Entry is £5.50 for adults.


Serpentine Lido (Nearest tube: Knightsbridge)

Serpentine Lido

(c) flickr.com


Situated in Hyde Park, this is considered to be one of the oldest lidos in this fair city. Swimmers have been coming here to do their front crawl or show off their butterfly for the best part of a century.


When it comes to outdoor swimming, there are numerous sessions for the more experienced swimmers as well as beginners. In addition there is a children’s paddling pool and lots of space if you want to enjoy the sun.


The Hyde Park pool is also a favourite with many Londoners. It enjoys the longest stretch of water anywhere in London at more than 100 yards. Both the lido and paddling pool are open daily until the 12th of September 2013. Adult entry is  just £4.00.


London Fields Lido (Nearest tube: London Fields)


(c) wikimedia.org


One of the best hidden gems across Hackney, London Fields Lido delivers an Olympic sized promise. This is thanks to its official outdoor heated pool that Michael Phelps would be happy splashing about in!


As far as open air swimming is concerned, at 50 metres in length it is the only heated open air venue in the whole of London and is certainly a popular haunt. It has caused many waves with its pretty location in the north of London Fields Park where both kids and families come out to play.


This is especially the case during this period of glorious weather we are currently experiencing. London Fields Lido is open from 6.30am to 7.30pm every day during th week and between 8am in the morning and 5pm at weekends.


Entry for those who are not members is priced at £4.30 for adults whilst it is only £2.60 for children less than 15 years old.


Image Gallery of London hotels with swimming pools


Simon Lazarus is an experienced PR/Business Consultant and copywriter with a number of clients across different territories including the US, Europe, Asia, China and the Middle East. His vast portfolio includes writing content for a variety of sites on food and drink, travel, personal finance, news, showbiz, sport, technology and much more. He also advises businesses on strategies and marketing across different sectors.

Restaurant Spy: Shake Shack, WC2

Summertime and the living is easy or so they say. But if you are sweltering like a well oiled hog ready for roasting, you can shake things up at one of the capital’s latest openings.


Ladies and gents welcome to the Shake Shack! The brainchild of Danny Meyer, this American joint has been causing a stir across the pond since it first opened in 2001.


They expanded their chain which now incorporates six different states including Florida. Whilst their other venues in Manhattan and Massachussetts may be miles away, you can grab your own slice of the action in Covent Garden this summer. The shack is definately back and here to stay!



(c) mondomulia.com


Having taken over the Market Building, you may want to cool off in their exclusive outdoor terrace and escape the heatwave that’s currently hit the UK.


So what’s in store? If their Angus roadside beef burgers and signature ‘shroom burgers are anything to go by it wont be long before those long queues start to form. But if that does not tempt you from your seat, then how about their top dogs?


The look and feel to this site is very much reclaimed thanks to their Victorian style interiors as well as flagged flooring and tabletops that have been recouped from the wood of former bowling alleys. Now that’s the way to create a striking impression.





Is there anything spare to mention? Well there’s still plenty to mention as Shake Shack brings all the fun of the fair to WC2 with its classic ShackBurger not to mention its aptly named Shack-cago Dog.


Other highlights that are causing a real shake feature the emphasis on high quality British ingredients that have been carefully sourced. This includes from their Angus beef and Wiltshire smoked bacon to their Cumberland Sausage. Certainly a meaty offering.



(c) mypartofnairobi.blogspot.com


But one of the main quirks here are their frozen custard shakes. As retro as Angel Delight, the Shack brings together fresh custard that is a gloopy, squidgy and indulgent treat.



(c) Shake Shack


What shacktastic delights can you expect? Check out the British inspired Union Shack that incorporates chocolate custard, sinful brownie, a rich fudge sauce and chunks of chocolate from renowned chocolatier Paul A. Young.


If you are thirsty for more then why not refresh yourself with a ShackMeister Ale hailing from Brooklyn Brewery and a wealth of bottled beers taken from several local breweries such as Meantime.


For those  oenophiles you can choose from both Shack Red and Shack White wines which are made especially by Frog’s Leap based in Napa Valley, California.


Bournemouth Beach Crowd

(c) my.opera.com

Before you burst into that summer hit by Chaka Demus and Pliers, here are several hotels in Covent Garden to tease you if it gets a little too much in the heat.




Simon Lazarus is an experienced PR/Business Consultant and copywriter with a number of clients across different territories including the US, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. His vast portfolio includes writing content for a variety of sites on food and drink, travel, personal finance, news, showbiz, sport, technology and much more. He also advises businesses on strategies and marketing across different sectors

Best for Cocktails in London


Alright so times are lean, but London must still be enjoyed. And whilst it mightn’t be a good idea to sashay down Bond Street picking up exquisitely wrapped parcels at your whim, supping on a cocktail, dressed in your finest, will be a sure (and more purse-friendly) glamour fix. A string of wild (and often distinctly unglamourous) stories abound about the origins of this mixed drink. Whilst it’s hard to dispute that the USA created the first cocktail, the UK, and London, now makes some of the finest.


Best for Martinis…
(Courtesy of Dukes Hotel)

…And James Bond fans. The Dukes Bar’s martinis have acquired worldwide fame. Ian Fleming was a regular, and it is likely that his equally famous, fictional secret agent discovered his taste for martinis here. Their simple classic (stirred though, not shaken) is hard to beat – with its perfect mix of Beefeater Gin, extra dry vermouth and lemon oil. Or make a companion of one of Bond’s leading ladies and choose from a Miss Moneypenny with a sharp kick of lime and passion fruit, or a sumptuous Ruby Windsor, all warmth and luxury with creme de cacao and cherry marnier. As you’re served at your table, and sink back into a blue velvet chair, wondering just what drink those in the portraits around you might have chosen, it’s sure to summon up in you the connoisseur of the finer things in life.
The Dukes Bar, Dukes Hotel, 35 St James’s Place, London SW1A 1NY 020 7491 4840

Tube: Green Park

Best for a polynesian paradise…


Courtesy of Mahiki

Mahiki’s two floored bar is festooned in faux-Hawaiiana, which extends to the grass-skirted bar staff. It crams in all things Tiki – including on to it’s drinks menu, where it’s tropical cocktails steal the show. Rum is their spirit of choice – and the bar takes it so seriously that they make their own – on Barbados – the oldest rum producing caribbean island. The music played is mostly tunes from the seventies and eighties and it’s crowd is as mixed as its cocktails, although if you happen to be caught in the grip of celebrity worship, you’ll find a steady supply to gawp at here – as regular and much-publicised patronage by junior members of the Royal Family testifies to.
Mahiki, 1 Dover Street, Mayfair, London W1S 4LD 020 7493 9529

Tube: Green Park


Best for pretending your drinking is all in the name of historical research…



The Lonsdale’s exquisite cocktail menu traces the history of the London cocktail – spanning centuries and locations. The aim is simple – to showcase the best drinks that have originated in the UK and, in particular, London. As a thriving world city, London has seen numerous cultures settle within it – and with different cultures come different drinking styles. So, alongside your Cosmopolitans you’ll find drinks that have come to the city from all corners of the world, from authentic 16th century punches (Drake’s Mojito – 1586), to 18th century ‘Flips’, 1920s ‘Bucks’ – and back to the present day.
The Lonsdale, 48 Lonsdale Road, Notting Hill, London W11 2DE 020 7727 4080

Tube: Notting Hill


Best for Regency indulgence (and cigars)…

Not as old as it might first appear, the sumptuous Library Bar at the Lanesborough is designed in the style of a Regency library. The bookcases are lined with leather bound books, and the crackling fire, subdued lighting, and deep leather wing chairs, enable you to sample their outstanding collection of ‘liquid history’ vintage cognacs and bespoke cocktails in as relaxed an environment as you’ll find outside your own home. This gentleness is perpetuated by discrete waiters and a tinkling pianist.
The Library Bar, The Lanesborough, Hyde Park Corner, London SW1X 7TA 020 7259 5599

Tube: Hyde Park Corner

A Royal Arrival


As there isn’t long before the Duchess of Cambridge’s baby arrives the Museum of London has put together a small display of royal baby clothes and memorabilia from their collection.

A Royal Arrival runs until October 2013 and celebrates royal births of the past as well as the special addition this year. Whether a boy or a girl, William & Kate’s child will be third in line to the throne and therefore very likely to go on to rule the UK and Commonwealth realms.


Royal baby shoes in order or date  © Museum of London

Royal baby shoes in order of date (1841-69)
© Museum of London


Hopefully something from the latest royal baby will reach the Museum of London’s collection which includes objects belonging to the infant Charles I, George III and Edward VII coming out on display for the summer. Many of the items have not been on public display before and this small exhibition actually covers 400 years of UK history.


P Wales book - Prince Albert Edward (Edward VII) c. 1841  © Museum of London

P Wales boot – Prince Albert Edward (Edward VII) c. 1841
© Museum of London


Timothy Long, the museum’s Fashion & Textile Curator, is also the exhibition curator and has brought together garments worn by the new baby’s Great-Great-Great-Great-Great Grandmother, Queen Victoria, reminding us this is family history as well as royal history.


Linen vest - George Wiliam Frederick (George III) c/ 1738  © Museum of London

Linen vest – George William Frederick (George III) c. 1738
© Museum of London


Objects on show include a delicately embroidered skullcap worn by an infant Charles I (then Prince Charles Stuart) who is the new royal baby’s Great x 13 uncle. Other pieces include a tiny linen vest embroidered with a crown and a small lace mitten belonging to George III. A nursing apron for discreet breastfeeding belonging to Queen Victoria is included as are shoes worn by her many children. A dress blazoned with the three feather insignia belonging to her eldest son, Prince Albert Edward (later Edward VII) is delicate and worth seeing. Also worth seeing is the family tree along the wall so you can work out how the royals from our history are related to the royals of today.


Close up of Prince of Wales Feathers on robe worn by Prince Albert Edward (Edward VII) c. 1841  © Museum of London

Close up of Prince of Wales Feathers on robe worn by Prince Albert Edward (Edward VII) c. 1841
© Museum of London


It’s always free to visit the Museum the London and A Royal Arrival is on from 28 June to October 2013. The display can be found at the entrance to the galleries on the ground floor.


Want to find a hotel near the Museum of London?



Restaurant Spy: Tom’s Kitchen, Canary Wharf E1

Making its grand entrace onto the Wharf is the latest venue from renowned British restaurateur Tom Aikens. We may be all gearing  up for the Wimbledon finals this weekend, but Aikens has certainly come up with a winner in the restaurant stakes.


Located at Westferry Circus, it follows on from his successful openings of recent months which have included his restaurant at the iconic Somerset House.


great british spelt recipes

(c) greatbritishspeltrecipes.co.uk


Aikens has been around a while and has gone on from strength to strength after the opening of his first venue in Chelsa way back in 2006.


With many reviewers lapping it up like strawberries and cream, Aikens bring this British brasserie to the Square Mile that also incorporates an outdoor terrace as well as a delicatessen and bar area.


tom's kitchen wharf uk

(c) wharf.co.uk


This features an impressive marble construction whilst the interiors blend a sleek space with plenty of tiling and soft leather banquettes resulting in a diverse but vibrant palette.


Serving up a treat for diners, it will use a host of fresh local ingredients which have been carefully sourced and is even open every day of the week. Now that’s they way to tempt the punters.


Sustainability is definately the order of the day with plenty of support for the local British farmers. It’s enough to raise the flag and perform a salute!


daily record

(c) Daily Record


So what’s cooking? Well it seems plenty as you will have the opportunity to sample a host of tasty treats that take inspiration from French classics.


This includes the likes of Chicken Liver Parfait as well as a host of British dishes from Fish Pie and Mac Cheese finished with a dose of truffle to Sticky Toffee Pudding.


Meanwhile there is also a delicate lamb confit that has been slowed cooked for seven hours not to mention an impressive brunch menu.


Check out the potato rosti that’s brillianty done alongside a fried egg, brioche French toast with caramelised apples or the sinful Belgian waffle with a blueberry compote and lashings of chantilly cream.


There are plenty of champagne cocktails to put some fizz into your meal or you can sample their special biodynamic wine thanks to the Chateau La Coste estate. Meanwhile, you can wash everything down with one of their individual beers from the renowned Redchurch Brewery.



(c) Tom Aikens


Thirsty work you might say but someone has to do it.


Searching for the ultimate place in the city? Then check out these superb options including the stunning 5 star Four Seasons with picture perfect riverside views or the stylish Hilton Canary Wharf ideally positoned to make you feel like Gordon Gekko from the film Wall Street.


Tom’s Kitchen, Canary Wharf

11 Westferry Circus

Canary Wharf

London E14 4HD

W: www.tomskitchen.co.uk/canary-wharf



Simon Lazarus is an experienced PR/Business Consultant and copywriter with a number of clients across different territories including the US, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. His vast portfolio includes writing content for a variety of sites on food and drink, travel, personal finance, news, showbiz, sport, technology and much more. He also advises businesses on strategies and marketing across different sectors