Sunday 5 October 2014


 Guardians of the Galaxy
I’m starting to think that you just can’t fail with a Marvel movie. A sleazy raccoon? A monotonous tree? The trailers weren’t really selling it to me as a smash hit, but boy, was I proved wrong (not to mention the box office figures – did you know this is now Vin Diesel’s highest grossing movie, despite him only saying one line?!).

This supernatural story of a band of unlikely superheroes was action-packed, CGI crazy, hugely humorous and has a terrific soundtrack… and Chris Pratt? Certainly a new pin-up.

Summer Exhibition
I love visiting the Royal Academy’s annual Summer Exhibition. There’s no white space on their gallery walls as every inch is packed with artwork of all kinds. Make sure you get down next year if you haven’t been before as there’s something to suit everyone’s interests, whether you want to whizz round in 10 minutes or stay for hours. Picking up a brochure at the door and indulge in a great game of “HOW MUCH?!” is also great fun.

Some highlights for me included David Mach’s Van Gogh and Marilyn portraits made entirely from pins, Rob and Roberta Smith’s letter to Mr Gove, and Yinka Shonibare’s Cake Man II.

School of Wok, Chandos Place
Hidden away in Covent Garden’s Chandos Place, the School of Wok offers a huge range of excellent cookery classes. I had a fantastic afternoon at their Introductory Dim Sum course (another nugget of knowledge – did you know Dim Sum translates as “touch of the heart”?). Go hungry as you make lots, and get to eat EVERYTHING. Doggy bags provided if you’re defeated.

On the menu that day were BBQ spare ribs, pork dumplings, vegetable spring rolls, and an incredible glutinous rice parcel with my new favourite ingredient lap cheong (Chinese sausage). As well as the cooking we learnt some essential knife skills, and had a beer and a laugh with some wonderful instructors.

The Brasserie, Brompton Road

You may be familiar with the Brasserie on the Brompton Road, but did you know that on a Sunday or Monday afternoon you can have a two-hour cocktail master class for only £10 a head? I thought this would be an excellent moving-in present for my boyfriend as our Mad Men themed flat-warming party was the following weekend. During the session you get a complimentary glass of wine and then get to make a cocktail of your choice from the menu. I picked a classic vodka martini, and my boyfriend chose a Moscow Mule.

Alex was a great teacher and gave us ample advice for our party including an extra Watermelon martini to sample. By the time 8 o’clock came we were skipping out of the Brasserie! An afternoon incredibly well-spent and we were the hosts with the mosts at our bash, showing off our shaking all night long.


My first trip to the Shard last year when it opened was blissful; no queues, no crowds and no restrictive time slots. When I took my Grandma back in August, I didn’t expect it to be as before, but surprisingly we had exactly the same relaxed experience. It goes without saying that the views were fantastic, especially when the poppies were still on display at the Tower of London, but I would certainly put it on the list of tourist attractions I would be happy to go to over and over again.

Visitors and Londoners alike, you’re unlikely to see a better view; impressive even on a slightly cloudy day.

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