I’ve often wanted to grow an Amaryllis but never seem to be in a garden centre in mid winter when the bulbs are sold and so simply forget, kicking myself when I see my Mothers in her bow window glowing its vibrant red for all to see.  So when, this winter,  I saw some gloriously huge bulbs which would produce snow white flowers I popped one in my basket.  I love white flowers in the house, I can’t have lilys in my home anymore as they are poisonous to cats, but if I can buy a bunch of white freesias or tulips I am a very happy girl, so you can imagine just how pleased I was to come across this giant of a bulb. amaryllis opened 1 amaryllis opened 2

Just so beautiful and as you can see I have a second spike coming!  Last week hubby and I did the Ikea run and low and behold they were selling off Amaryllis bulbs already planted up an inch or two already grown. I chose a pink and a red one, to add a little variety and see how those perform.  I must read up on how to keep the bulb from year to year. Happy Days.


When you emerge from the underground at Oxford Circus it is always busy, I mean really busy, you brace yourself because you know the possibility of walking straight into a crowd where you are shoulder to shoulder to the next person is pretty much a done deal in the afternoon at the weekend. So when I tootled in on Sunday at half two, I knew it would be packed, so as I surfaced and the noise levels of music rose and rose and rose it was normal(ish) and then I realised it wasn’t so started to try and peer through the crowds to see what it was.  After several attempts I saw them, roller skaters, ‘Oh how wonderful’ I thought. I grabbed my mobile and pushed my way through the crowd, took lots of snaps and then, in a flash, they were gone. The photo’s are not good, but the essence of the moment is all there. Rollerskaters 1rollerskaters 2rollerskaters 3rollerskaters 4rollerskaters 5rollerskaters 6rollerskaters 7

Window Shopping, Westfield, Stratford City, E20.

I think Westfield has to be the ultimate in window shopping, it is mind blowing. It even has its own viewing platform.  Westfield 2 2

So that you can see this. Westfield 1 1

And that only gives you a flavour of just how big it is. It is one of the largest shopping centres in Europe – 175,000 square meters.  You can do a lot of window shopping here.  I’ve been twice and both times I have actually loved it, although a once a year trip is probably enough for me.

When I was growing up in the seventies in leafy Warwickshire we never knew what a mall was. I used to hear about them on t.v. programs such as Happy Days and hear how people would ‘hang out’ at ‘the mall’ and I just didn’t understand it, why would you want to do that?  I understand it now.

BAO, Lexington Street, W1

Bao 1Bao has been the talk of the instagram London foodie culture for a while now and every time I have seen one of those steamed milk buns rammed full of juicy tender meat my stomach has growled, loudly, I knew it was only a question of time. I love small tasty dishes from all nationalities, ranging from the noble pork pie, beloved by British picnickers and Boxing day teatimers to steaming bamboo baskets arriving at my table filled with Chinese Dim Sum.  You know that to have stood the test of time, as a small picky bit, it’s going to be good.  And so did half of London, tales abounded of a wait time stood in a queue of an hour and a half.  So I came up with an evil plan, I would arrive early for lunch. Bao 2I arrived quarter of an hour before Bao opened. There was a queue. But I had a feeling I would just about get in on the first round, even though Bao is very small but beautifully formed restaurant. As your waiting in the queue the waiters come and give you the menu for you to peruse, which is a genius idea. Bao 3Again like the restaurant the menu is minimalist, which I think is a good think, it allows them to be very good at what they do. Bao was selling their Taiwanese buns as street food so to make the transition to a full blown restaurant is quite a step and its good to see they stick to what they know. This is the bun menu, I want them all, Bao 4and this is the Xiao Chi menu, meaning ‘small eats’. Bao 8It was difficult to decide but I thought I would start my new taste bud adventure with a classic Bao, consisting of braised pork, peanut powder and fermented coriander, it was, delicious.Bao 11Next I decided on trotter nuggets, which were just slightly sticky, moist and gloriously porky. Bao 9Then in an act of daring I decided to add a lamb Bao to my meal, succulent lamb shoulder, coriander sauce, garlic mayo and a soy pickled chili, it was sticky and sweet yet garlicky and savoury with that lovely freshness of coriander and a hint of warmth, bliss on a plate. Bao 10Bao only do one dish of sweetness, Horlicks ice cream in a fried bao. I had to ask how to eat it and was advised to pick it up like it was ice cream in a wafer, this was an excellent idea. I got to nibble a little bit of the hot caramelized sweet, sweet bun whilst greedily licking the Horlicks ice cream as it melted from the heat. It was genius, cold and hot, sweet, creamy and malty and very satisfying.

Would I go back, absolutely, it was a lovely, lovely treat.

Pelicans, St James’s Park

As you gently wander around St James’s Park you encounter a multitude of wildlife which include squirrels, waterfowl and woodland birds in very good numbers, but it’s when you round the corner to the Duck Island Cottage that your woken with a start from you meanderings. For there are four gorgeously white Pelicans, all in their long beaked feathered glory.  I saw them last year in the bleak mid winter on a particularly cold day and promised I would come back at feeding time.  It must be something I like to do, wander through parks in the winter, because here I was back on another very cold day in January but this time, timed to near perfection, only a half hour wait, for feeding time. It was very comedic watching them spread their large throat patches whilst trying to catch the fish, along watching the Herons compete for any stray fish.  I’m coming back in the summer, when its warmer and brighter and I can get faster shots, but at 3.00 p.m. mid January on a cloudy day you are pleading for light.Pelicans 1Pelicans 2Pelicans 5Pelicans 3Pelicans 6Pelicans 7Pelicans 9Pelicans 11Pelicans 8Pelicans 10Pelicans 14Pelicans 13Pelicans 12Pelicans 15

Lumiere London 2016

Last weekend Lumiere came to London for the first time and it was indeed a magical event. We took a picture perfect walk from Oxford Circus, down Regent Street to Piccadilly Circus with a quick trot down Piccadilly, then back tracked to walk through to Leicester Square then Trafalgar Square and onto Strand. The weather was cold and sharp, perfect weather for wrapping up in all your winter woollies and thick woolly socks and gently strolling through the magic that is London. lumiere 1Lumiere 2lumiere 5lumiere 6lumiere 3lumiere 4lumiere 10lumiere 11lumiere 9lumiere 8lumiere 7

Vintage Magazine Shop

I was tootling around Soho when I came across this amazing vintage magazine shop. I popped inside and found one treasure trove after another, there were old magazine but then there were giant posters of old films and advertising, life sized film star cardboard cut outs, t-shirts, bags, postcards, photos, buttons and more. One day I am going to let my inner goddess who loves cats have full reign and furnish the study with Art Nouveau posters by Toulouse-Lautrec, Mucha and Steinlen (who does the most adorable cats)Vintage Magazine shop 1Vintage Magazine shop 3Vintage Magazine shop 2Vintage Magazine shop 5Vintage Magazine shop 4Vintage Magazine shop 6Vintage Magazine shop 7Vintage Magazine shop 8 and I think I may very well find them in the Vintage Magazine Shop. Definitely one to pop back to and to give myself plenty of time for a good and thorough browse.