London Daily Photo: Flowers of the Forest

LDP 2014.08.08 - Flowers of the Forest

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Win an Assortment of Yoghurt Treats from The Collective

Win an Assortment of Yoghurt Treats from The Collective

COMPETITION IS NOW OVER AND THE WINNER HAS BEEN CONTACTED. THANKS SO MUCH FOR READING TIKICHRIS. PLEASE STAY TUNED FOR LOTS MORE FUN AND FREEBIES TO COME!

Known for its innovative approach and “daring dairy” spirit, gourmet brand The Collective makes some of the yummiest yoghurt on the market today. Fancy a taste? Keep reading for a chance to have a chiller bag full of luscious Collective products hand delivered to your door for free.

Recently, The Collective launched a range of four yoghurt drinks produced with British milk, and containing no refined sugars, artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. I got a taste of the new drinks and was glad to have done so. I especially liked the Coconut, Vanilla & Honey drink, a “moreish, indulgent and perfectly balanced blend” of live yoghurt, Madagascan vanilla, coconut cream, coconut milk and honey; and the Bloody Mango, a mix of live yoghurt, crushed Alphonso mangoes and blood oranges.

Sounds delicious, right? Check it out:

To be in with a chance to win an assortment of items from The Collective including the full range of newly launched yoghurt drinks simply tweet the following:

RT to win a chiller bag full of #daringdairy gourmet yoghurt from the @collectivedairy compliments of @tikichris: http://bit.ly/1lGH2Hq

Good luck. Please take a moment to read the terms and conditions before tweeting!

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I’ll pick one winner at random on Friday 22 August at 11.30am BST. The winner will receive an assortment of items from The Collective including the full range of newly launched yoghurt drinks, delivered to your door by courier (if a courier is not possible, The Collective will send you coupons to redeem your prize). To be eligible to win, you need to have an address in the UK.

Find out more about The Collective at thecollectivedairy.com.

COMPETITION IS NOW OVER AND THE WINNER HAS BEEN CONTACTED. THANKS SO MUCH FOR READING TIKICHRIS. PLEASE STAY TUNED FOR LOTS MORE FUN AND FREEBIES TO COME! 

Check out more tikichris competitions.

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London Daily Photo: Lever Street

LDP 2014.08.07 - Lever Street

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High Spirits Afternoon Tea at Paramount, Centrepoint

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A boozy and panoramic double entendre, Paramount’s High Spirits afternoon tea yields a civilised chance to catch a lofty buzz while taking in some of the best views of London.

Created by Head Chef Kryzsztof Zachwieja, this new tea offered at the top of the Centrepoint building (the tower situated over Tottenham Court Road Station) features alcohol in every element, from spiked sandwiches along the lines of gin and orange-cured salmon with lemon butter on lemon bread to pie-eyed pastries and cakes like Amaretto tiramisu with lime mascarpone. Scones are served with a Cointreau jam.

Kemey and I very much liked everything presented during our recent Saturday visit. I was especially partial to the whisky-smoked ham and wholegrain mustard sandwiches, and we both thought the Brandy & Cherry Cola (cherry and brandy compote with cola jelly, cola granita and sherbet) was delightful.

There is actual tea to go with all this juiced up food. I had an enlivening “High Tea Cocktail” (which despite the name and the theme contained no alcohol) herbal blend of orange, ginger, gingko, milk thistle, ginseng and schizandra. Kemey went with a more classic “English Rose” Earl Grey.

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And of course there are the actual the cocktails. I was deeply impressed with exquisite The Green Hour (Grey Goose La Poire, apple liqueur, fresh lemon and apple juice, pistachio syrup, La Fontaine Absinth and egg white) as was Kemey with her Italian Gentleman (Gentleman Jack whiskey, Mozart Dark chocolate liqueur, crème de fraise, Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur, Angostura bitters, and Aztec chocolate bitters). It was a bit of a toughie deciding on those two sippers. The drinks menu is an inspired read and I would be most keen for a repeat visit for further sampling!

Afterwards (if your knees aren’t too wobbly), guests can head up stairs to Paramount’s viewing gallery with its near-floor-to-ceiling windows and 360-degree views over London.
As much as I loved the tea, taking in all the scenery was the real highlight. I’d been to Paramount a few times before; the views from there are among my favourite of London. You’re right there in the heart of town with Oxford Street extending from just below and the rest of the city seeming to unfold from there.

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Th High Spirits afternoon tea costs £28 per person tea (or £42 including a cocktail of your choice) which I reckon extremely good value given the price of comparable teas. During our visit we were seated by the window (which I would think is pretty much guaranteed with a booking but it wouldn’t hurt to ask). Service was friendly and efficient.

Paramount is located at the 32nd floor of Centre Point, 101-103 New Oxford Street, WC1A 1DD. A variety of afternoon teas are available daily between 2.30pm and 4.30pm. Find out more at paramount.uk.net.

Tipsy sandwiches include gin and orange-cured salmon with lemon butter on lemon bread; whisky-smoked ham with wholegrain mustard on tomato bread and even a Bloody Mary on wholegrain bread! Scones will be served with Cointreau and orange jam.

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London Daily Photo: Independent Jaguar

LDP 2014.08.06 - Independent Jaguar

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I Survived the Suicide Wings Challenge at The Back Room Bar, Hyde Park Corner

Suicide Wings Challenge at The Back Room Bar

I laughed. I cried. I lost my voice a few times. But in the end I succeeded and met The Back Room Bar’s Suicide Wings Challenge. In all honesty I was about 30 seconds behind the 15 minute time limit but that was really more because I was chatting and just having fun than not being up to the task. I did let a girl beat me though and that kinda burned – but not nearly as much as my mouth did after eating ten majorly hot wings!

The Suicide Wings Challenge presents “those brave enough to have a go” with 15 minutes to eat “clean to the bone” a portion of ten jumbo wings coated in half a tablespoon of Psycho Juice, half a tablespoon of Jekyll or Hyde You Decide, two drops of Jekyll’s potion and four ounces of classic wing sauce. This combo is so super hot that the bar requires you to sign a waiver before committing to the challenge, during which time you can only drink a single beer (I had a Meantime London Pale Ale). If anything other than the one beer is used to assist with completing the challenge, such as water, milk, napkins, sour cream or anything else you’re disqualified.

It was tough to complete, more because of the quantity to consume than the actual heat. But it was egregiously fiery. I really did loose my voice for a moment or two. The subsequent endorphin rush was amazing though and lasted quite awhile. Eaten at a more reasonable pace (and with napkins) the wings would be a treat.

The challenge is available on request everyday at £8.95. However, if you can successfully clear your plate you get the wings and beer for free. You also get your name and photo displayed on the Suicide Wing Wall of Fame plus a voucher for a free regular portion and beer the next time you visit.

Stupidly hot wings or no, The Back Room is worth keeping in mind. Owned by (and just round the corner from) Hard Rock Cafe, the bar offers a high standard of service minus the crowds you’d expect at Hard Rock with drinks, pizza and bar food at pretty nice prices especially considering the bar’s location: 148b Old Park Lane, W1K 1QZ.

Find out more at hardrock.com/thebackroom.


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London Daily Photo: Barb

LDP 2014.08.05 - Barb

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Celebrate National Afternoon Tea Week across Britain: August 11-17 (OneTravel)

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It’s one of Britain’s best loved foodie traditions and a delightful opportunity for visitors from abroad to get a taste of the local culture … and now a whole week’s been set aside to celebrate the ever so British institution of the afternoon tea.

From Monday the 11th of August to Sunday the 17th, venues across the British Isles will present a variety of opportunities for tea aficionados to give a raised pinky in salute to stylish snacking between lunch and dinner with delectable mix of themed menus, special hotel offers, discounts and more …

Read my complete post at the OneTravel blog.

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London Daily Photo: London Honey

LDP 2014.08.04 - London Honey

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Innocent Drinks and the Art of Good Taste

I’m a fan of Innocent Drinks. The London based brand makes some of the tastiest juices available on the supermarket shelf. I reckon its orange juice is the best on the market, and I really like those veg pot meals too. Flavour’s the main reason I’m all for Innocent, but I’m even more enthusiastic than usual about how Innocent does its thing because there’s no added crap to any other the products. More and more, it’s getting harder to buy food and drink that’s not loaded with additives and preservatives for longer shelf life or a shinier look. I applaud Innocent Drinks for keeping its products and its message simply – and for being able to do it on a grand scale.

So the invitation to attend an “evening of good taste” at the company’s Fruit Towers HQ in West London was met with a near immediate ‘yes please!’ RSVP. This would be my second time to vist Fruit Towers. And to be sure, I was keen to return.

During the event, guests learned about Innocent’s ethos and how the brand goes about creating products. We also got to sample a range of treats and of course drinks and even have a go at mixing up our own smoothie. My team’s attempt (mixed in a bicycle powered blender) was … well … unique.

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In addition to the Innocent crew and a friendly gaggle of local foodie entrepreneurs with backgrounds working with or for Innocent (I loved the canapés offered by Anna Jones), Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg – authors of The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America’s Most Imaginative Chefs were on hand to speak. Wow. That was a real treat (as was taking home a copy of their Bible).

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For me there weren’t any OMG revelations but more solid confirmation of how important using quality ingredients is and how keeping food fresh and simple is usually the best way to ensure yumminess.

Find out more about Innocent Drinks at innocentdrinks.co.uk.

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London Daily Photo: Lea Bridge Road

LDP 2014.08.03 - Lea Bridge Road

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Stress Free Dinner Parties Achieved with Food at 52 Cookery School

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Planning to host a dinner party or would you like to build up your confidence before the next time you do? Consider attending Stress Free Dinner Parties course Food at 52 Cookery School near Old Street. It’s one of the school’s many courses designed to help ordinary people with ordinary kitchens cook and eat better. I sat in on the full day course and found it to be fun, enlightening and delicious.

During the course I attended, we (a small group of four which was explained to be only slightly smaller than usual) were taught by Food at 52′s empressario (and ace cook) John Benbow how to make a variety of dishes designed to take the pressure off cooking for guests while still wowing them with your creations. We made and took home the recipes for six dishes: duck two ways with cape gooseberry jam; smoked trout and asparagus tarlets; shallots with Parma ham; cauliflower cake; butternut squash and lentils salad; and stuffed peaches. There were plenty of tips provided as well, like how to perfectly poach an egg and how to make a basic short crust pastry.

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Food at 52′s kitchen is a dream setting too. There are all sorts of awesome utensils and gadgets, and most notably a large centrepiece table that’s as communal as it is functional and serves as a comfortable workspace. But nothing about the space and all its accoutrements is so beyond what’s typical in most ‘real life’ kitchens as to leave you thinking that you wouldn’t be able to replicate what you did during a course.

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The five-hour Stress Free Dinner Parties course costs £150 per person. I very much enjoyed the session I attended and am happy to recommend it to anyone looking to “tackle meals that can be prepared early enough to allow you to spend more time with your guests, and less with the oven.” For me it was a great way to meet nice people, learn a few things, cook and eat very good food (plenty of drink was on offer as well) and leave with me a cache of recipes to share with others in my own home (not to mention a few tasty leftovers from what we made during the course).

Food at 52 Cookery School is located at 96 Central Street, EC1V 8AJ. Find out more at foodat52.co.uk.


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London Daily Photo: Reflections

LDP 2014.08.02 - Reflections

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New Cocktail Menu at Grand Union Bars

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A couple of weeks back I was invited along to sample the new cocktail menu at Grand Union. I Unfamiliar with the London based group of eight bars (and possibly growing) but intrigued when I took a quick look at the drinks I would be offered to try. I’m happy to report I was not disappointed and found GU’s Farringdon bar to be a smart and cosy spot to keep in mind the next time I’m out and about and hankering a drink.

Highlights from the tasting included the Key Lime Pie Martini (Licor 43 and Amarula blended with milk, £8). It’s apparently now the most ordered drink at all Grand Union bars. I could understand why. It was creamy and quenching. Besides, who doesn’t like key lime pie?

I also enjoyed the Fire-ita (£8), a “spiced up” margarita with “a hint of pickle juice and Cajun rim”. And I very much approved of the Bottled Fennel Sazerac (£8) and would happily ask for this “home bottled twist on the classic Sazerac:

Rather than rinsing the glass with absinthe, we bottle and marinade our Jim Beam in the aniseed-rooted goodness of fennel.

Other treats tasted were the Peanut Butter Punch and the Cinnamon Sour (both £8 each). And the drink that really impressed was The Bleating Heart (serves about four people, £25):

Stoli Karamel is added to our house blend of lemongrass, sweet chilli pepper and lime. A dash of grenadine finishes off this “Thai-piroska” style sharer served on a bed of drift wood
accompanied by a ram’s skull.

Yeah, you read that last bit correctly. It’s served on a bed of drift wood and accompanied by a rams skull. More style over substance (the actual drink was just okay) but what style! And it certainly turned heads as it was brought out from the bar.

By the way, there’s a new food menu at Grand Union too which includes some right tasty Aberdeen Angus burgers (from £5), tasting platters and more.

Grand Union Farringdon is located at 55 Charterhouse Street, EC1M 6HA with outlets in Brixton, Camberwell, Camden, Chancery Lane, Kennington, Paddington and Wandsworth as well. A great time to visit any of them might be during happy hour which stretches from 4pm to 8pm everyday (all day Sunday) with a range of cocktail available for £5.

Find out more at grandunionbars.com.

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London Daily Photo: Clerkenwell Road

LDP 2014.08.01 - Clerkenwell Road

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The English National Opera does Puccini’s La bohème: 29 October to 14 December

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One of the opera world’s favourite love stories and probably Puccini’s most celebrated work, La bohème returns this autumn to the London Coliseum with a “stylish and acclaimed production” inspired by photographs of the 1930s Paris Left Bank.

A four-act opera based on Henri Murger’s 1851 book, La Vie de Bohème, La bohème was an instant hit when it premiered in Turin in 1896 and was soon an international success with productions wowing audiences in opera houses in across Europe, the UK and America. The popularity of this tale of an ill-fated relationship between an impoverished poet and a seamstress has never waned.

Set in the vibrant and indeed Bohemian 1930s Paris, ENO’s third revival of this ravishing tear jerker with a stirring and dynamic score is a co-production with Cincinnati Opera. It sees Jonathan Miller directing a cast starring Angel Blue as seamstress Mimì and David Butt Philip as impoverished poet Rodolfo. George von Bergen is Marcello while Andrew Shore plays the cameo roles of Benoit and Alcindoro.

Sung and surtitled in English with a running time of just over two hours, the ENO production of La bohème runs from 29 October to 14 December at the London Coliseum, St. Martin’s Lane, WC2N 4ES.

Pre-performance talks are scheduled for 3 November at 17.15, and there’s to be signed performance on 20 November.

To find out more and to book tickets go to eno.org/boheme.


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London Daily Photo: July with the Promise Foundation #Yimby

LDP 2014.07.00 - Off the Shelf

I hope you’ve enjoyed viewing this past month’s batch of images for my London Daily Photo series. Each day in July, I turned my camera toward the good work of the Promise Foundation, a charity with the aim of providing support through mentoring to young people at a time in their lives when their decisions can have long-term effects on their future.

The foundation was inspired by Promise Campbell, who at the age of twelve benefited greatly through a relationship with a mentor leading her to achieve things far beyond her own expectations. The Promise Foundation is based at Queens Park Community School in North London where Promise attended school when she was a student.

Much of the initial funding to start the foundation was sourced via Yimby, an online crowdfunding tool for social good. Launched this year by Just Giving, Yimby – which stands for “Yes In My Back Yard” in positive contrast to the NIMBY phenomenon – empowers individuals to raise money needed for community-based projects. To date there have been more than 500 project submissions and £550,000 pledged.

Where the JustGiving site focuses on individuals fundraising for charities, Yimby uses the same technology to crowdfund a diverse range of projects that benefit society. There are vast numbers of philanthropic causes out there which aren’t registered as charities. Yimby provides these projects with a new way to raise money that previously wasn’t available to them.

It was a pleasure and a privledge to be able to highlight this Yimby enabled social enterprise through my London Daily Photo series.

For more about the Promise Foundation, go to thepromisefoundation.org.uk.
To learn about Yimby visit yimby.com.

If you have a project you’d like to start which may require some funds to make it happen, Yimby could be the perfect option. So what will you change?

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London Daily Photo: Promise Found

LDP 2014.07.31 - Promise Found

The Promise Foundation is inspired by Promise Campbell, who at the age of twelve benefited greatly through a relationship with a mentor leading her to achieve things far beyond her own expectations.

The foundation is based at Queens Park Community School in North London where Promise attended school when she was a student.Much of the initial funding to start the foundation was sourced via Yimby, an online crowdfunding tool for social good.

If you have a project you’d like to start which may require some funds to make it happen, Yimby could be the perfect option. So what will you change?

Posted in Good Cause, London, London Daily Photo, Photography, Yimby | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hey Häagen-Dazs, Gimme Five! #realornothing

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File this story under an ironic “It’s a Hard Life But Somebody’s Gotta …” as an afternoon spent as a guest of Häagen-Dazs and Great British Chefs to blind taste ice cream and try out the brand’s “real or nothing” approach applied to a meal prepared by winner of Masterchef 2013, Natalie Coleman, proved a lot of fun and especially delicious. Here’s the scoop!

Häagen-Dazs is my go-to ice cream. Honestly, much of the reasoning behind my preference is that I know the shops nearest my flat all stock it. Still, given the choice, I tend to buy Häagen-Dazs as I reckon it’s usually the yummiest option (no matter where in London I’m shopping). So, I enjoy it for its flavour – and its nice creamy texture – but the cool thing about Häagen-Dazs products is that their made without any yucky stuff.

Of course ice cream isn’t health food, but the recipes used by this Brooklyn-born brand with vast global reach can hardly be described as junk. For example, Häagen-Dazs’ vanilla ice cream consists of only five ingredients: eggs, milk, cream, vanilla and sugar. It, as with all the ice cream makers’ flavours, contains no stabilizers, emulsifiers or colorants.

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With the invitation to this Häagen-Dazs/Great British Chefs team up (held at The Chandlery – an excellent venue in Southwark with a killer open kitchen and nice roof terrace) came the chance to discover “secrets behind the world famous ice cream,” but the only real secret found out was that there doesn’t seem to be any aside from exact proportions in recipes and getting the flavour, consistency and texture just right while not relying on additives and such.

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Put to a blind taste test of three vanilla ice cream brands available at pretty much any British supermarket and one that was homemade by guest chef Natalie Coleman, the Häagen-Dazs came out on top among myself and a handful of other bloggers attending the lunch. It was without doubt the one with the most vanilla-y aroma and fullest flavour – creamiest, thickest texture too – and I can only presume the fewest things in it.

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As what often feels like the only human in London who doesn’t watch TV, I’d never heard of Natalie Coleman before. But she was super friendly, and most certainly she could cook! Her poached duck egg with asparagus and generous truffle shavings was a delight, and I reckon her pressed pork belly (served with scallops) was one of the tastiest and tenderest I’d ever had.
Can you guess what was for dessert?

Learn more about Häagen-Dazs at haagen-dazs.co.uk.

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London Daily Photo: Could You Make a Difference in a Young Person’s Life?

LDP 2014.07.30 - Could You Make a Difference in a Young Person's Life?

The Promise Foundation is inspired by Promise Campbell, who at the age of twelve benefited greatly through a relationship with a mentor leading her to achieve things far beyond her own expectations.

The foundation is based at Queens Park Community School in North London where Promise attended school when she was a student.Much of the initial funding to start the foundation was sourced via Yimby, an online crowdfunding tool for social good.

If you have a project you’d like to start which may require some funds to make it happen, Yimby could be the perfect option. So what will you change?

Posted in Good Cause, London, London Daily Photo, Photography, Yimby | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Good Stuff

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Good Stuff and lots of it! Here’s the low down on some fine things to see, sip or savour – all of which I’ve recently come across and thought were worth sharing with you. Enjoy.

Pieminister – Brew Dog Pies

British pie makers Pieminister and craft beer icon BrewDog have teamed up to create a couple of pies using BrewDog beers and a key ingredient. Available in Pieminister shops and BrewDog’s UK bars nationwide from mid-July, the scrummy duo includes the Moon Dog, “ a rich concoction of British beef and free range British smoked bacon slow-cooked in a full-bodied 5am Saint Ale gravy” (yum!) … and … the Chick n’ Hop, made with with free range British chicken, free range British ham and West Country cheddar, and a “good hit of Punk IPA.” I tried both of these pies. I found them to be chocked full of chunky, flavoursome bits. I especially liked (and could find myself craving) the chicken pie.

Organica Pizza

Kemey came across this Finsbury Park pizzeria earlier this week (there’s another outlet in Camden too) … and I’m so glad she did. We had a delicious – and organic –16” Margherita which I thought was a bargain at under £14.

Västerbottensost

I recently had a taste of Västerbottensost the Swedish “King of Cheeses”. It’s good stuff with strong flavour – kinda like Parmigiano-Reggiano but a little more bitter. Look for this hard, cow’s milk cheese at Waitrose, Ocado and Selfridges.

Riverside Lifestyle

Hampshire based artisan food and gift maker, Riverside Lifestyle, does a bang up job with its patatas fritas cooked in hot Spanish olive oil (the olive oil on its own is tasty too).

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London Daily Photo: Promise and Camilla, Friends for Life

LDP 2014.07.29 - Promise and Camilla, Friends for Life

The Promise Foundation is inspired by Promise Campbell, who at the age of twelve benefited greatly through a relationship with a mentor leading her to achieve things far beyond her own expectations.

The foundation is based at Queens Park Community School in North London where Promise attended school when she was a student.Much of the initial funding to start the foundation was sourced via Yimby, an online crowdfunding tool for social good.

If you have a project you’d like to start which may require some funds to make it happen, Yimby could be the perfect option. So what will you change?

Posted in Good Cause, Yimby | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Royal Childhood Exhibition at Buckingham Palace (OneTravel)

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Buckingham Palace has now opened its State Rooms to visitors for the 2014 summer season. An annual occurrence, the opening presents an excellent opportunity to tour one of the world’s few royal palaces that’s still in use as a royal residence while taking in the grandeur and living history of Britain’s most famous home.

This summer, the opening of the State Rooms is coupled with Royal Childhood, a special exhibition giving “an unprecedented glimpse into life as a young member of the royal family growing up at Buckingham Palace.”

Read my complete post at the OneTravel blog.

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London Daily Photo: A Former Mentee Becomes a Foundation Employee

LDP 2014.07.28 - A Former Mentee Becomes a Foundation Employee

The Promise Foundation is inspired by Promise Campbell, who at the age of twelve benefited greatly through a relationship with a mentor leading her to achieve things far beyond her own expectations.

The foundation is based at Queens Park Community School in North London where Promise attended school when she was a student.Much of the initial funding to start the foundation was sourced via Yimby, an online crowdfunding tool for social good.

If you have a project you’d like to start which may require some funds to make it happen, Yimby could be the perfect option. So what will you change?

Posted in Good Cause, London, London Daily Photo, Photography, Yimby | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stacks Poutine at Birthdays, Stoke Newington Road, Dalston

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In a Canuck-ibly delicious kitchen collaboration with Birthdays bar in Dalston, Stacks Poutine presents a gourmand’s salute to one of Canada’s most satisfying creations along with a line up of other equally nosh-worthy bites. Poutine, in case you haven’t had the pleasure, is a dish of Quebecois origin consisting of fries, gravy and cheese curd. It’s mega yum and the Stacks version yields a damn fine example. Here are some notes from a recent foray through its menu.

So yeah, the classic poutine (fries, cheese curd, chicken or vegetarian gravy, £5) is a winner … as is the pulled pork poutine (with pulled pork and slaw £7). A tip of the hat to London’s current Korean food craze, Stacks offers a mean mound of kimchi fries (kimchi, spring onion, coriander, fries, cheese curd, £7) as well. For an even more mound-ilicious meal, consider the bulgogi option (with marinated beef, £8). It’s yummy stuff … and I’m pretty certain that’d be the item I would most likely request upon any subsequent visit (which I can imagine myself hankering some time soon).

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Beyond its namesake, Stacks does a more than decent cheeseburger (listed as a side for £5) too. North Americans: it tasted a lot like a burger from Wendy’s to my American palate. There a few house drinks specifi to the Stacks menu (along with whatever else is available at the bar obviously). On the hot and sticky afternoon when I visited, I could have downed a gazillion refreshing and easy drinkin’ lageritas (lager, tequila, lime, £5).

Good grub for pre-drinks belly lining, excellent nosh to scarf down during any session of laid back imbibing, and presumably ideal to help cope with any hangover, the food at Stacks Poutine is ace Canadian comfort at a reasonable price.

Taking my Stacks orders while working the Birthdays bar during my visit was Hayley – a chilled out, super nice and very accommodating barkeep at that. I reckon she deserves a brava. Thanks for such friendly service!

Stacks Poutine is located at Birthdays, 33-35 Stoke Newington Road, N16 8BJ. To find out more about Birthdays go to birthdaysdalston.com. Visit Stacks online at stackspoutine.com.


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London Daily Photo: Sisters Working Together for Change

LDP 2014.07.27 - Sisters Working Together for Change

The Promise Foundation is inspired by Promise Campbell, who at the age of twelve benefited greatly through a relationship with a mentor leading her to achieve things far beyond her own expectations.

The foundation is based at Queens Park Community School in North London where Promise attended school when she was a student.Much of the initial funding to start the foundation was sourced via Yimby, an online crowdfunding tool for social good.

If you have a project you’d like to start which may require some funds to make it happen, Yimby could be the perfect option. So what will you change?

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Christmas in July? Good Stuff!

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Ho ho huh? Here’s a bagful of seasonally premature Good Stuff to stuff keep in mind as 2014 rolls onwards to a hopefully very festive end. With many major brands (and those wishing to be so) hosting sneak preview shows every July to highlight what’s on their nice lists for Christmas, it’s a fun if odd time to be on the consumer end of media. Anyway, I’m never one to turn down an invite to a party – even if I’m not sure if it’s half a month early or late. So, deck the hall and all that jazz as I share some of the more notable Yuletide prospects I came across this past month. Enjoy.

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Carluccio’s

Everybody’s favourite local Italian has all sorts of yum lined up for your December delights including an age old Christmas tradition in Napoli new to the Carluccio’s Christmas range: struffoli, pieces of deep fried dough tossed in honey and dusted with hundreds and thousands and candied peel. Also, while at the Carluccio’s preview I had a really delicious pear and ricotta ice cream that did wonders for taking the edge off the summer heat and suggesting winter treats to come.

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Dunelm

Affordable homewares brand Dunelm is to feature plenty of winter wonders this year. I like its sleeping fox throw pillow as a gift idea – especially with its sly recommended retail price of £5.

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La Maison du Chocolate

Come December, be sure to drop by La Maison du Chocolate (there’s a shop on Piccadilly and concessions at Harrods and Selfridges) to have a look at its Tree of Wonder – a limited edition Christmas tree comprised of 25 finely crafted dark chocolate disks, 130 dark chocolate “pine cones”, ten drop-shaped ornaments in dark or blonde chocolate with mendiant nuts (almonds from Valencia, enrobed almonds, Peidmont hazelnuts, pecans, Sicilian pistachios, and pine nuts), dark chocolate beads, gold leaf and gold threads. Priced at £700 such choco-tecture might be a bit rich for many shoppers to contemplate actually purchasing. However, the tree’s handmade Christmas ornaments sold separately for about £25 might prove more accessible indulgences.

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Valrhona

For the first time ever, Valrhona has worked with 12 of London’s best pastry chefs to launch a dozen limited edition Buches de Noel for Christmas. Chefs include Luke Frost (Coworth Park), Denis Drame (Pennyhill Park), Joseph Wagenaar (The Andaz), John Grantham (Restaurant 61), Loic Carbonnet (The Four Seasons), Lewis Wilson (The Ritz), Cherish Finden (The Langham), Eric Rousseau (Patisserie Belle Epoque), Sarah Barber (ME London), Regis Negrier (The Delauney), Mourad Khiat (The Berkeley), Ryan Thompson (The Shangi La), and Andrew Blas (Café Royal). Guess who got to have a taste of these fanciful creations? Oh yeah! More about these beautiful buches to come but let me say now that I especially loved Cherish Finden’s somewhat unorthodox take on this traditional French dessert as well as Eric Rousseau’s decidedly festive version. All buches will be available for consumers to pre-order from the respective outlets for Christmas.

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Waitrose

Wow. Waitrose is doing up Christmas in style in 2014. I loved sampling its Turkey Cracker, a turkey breast that’s been rolled and wrapped in butter muslin – a traditional method of keeping the meat moist – with a Christmas stuffing middle and packaged in its very own Christmas cracker-shaped box (£30). I also enjoyed trying the Pork Noix, a pork shoulder joint with a veal stuffing, inspired by a traditional Elizabethan recipe (£11.99 per kg).I got a kick out of the shop’s lobster sundaes and snowman cheesecake too … and could not get enough of its pork crackling straws.

Santa, I promise I’ve been a good boy this year!!!

Posted in Chocolate, Christmas, Design, Drink, Food, Good Stuff, London, Luxury, restaurants, Shopping | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

London Daily Photo: Promise and Tulip Catch up

LDP 2014.07.26 - Promise and Tulip Catch up

The Promise Foundation is inspired by Promise Campbell, who at the age of twelve benefited greatly through a relationship with a mentor leading her to achieve things far beyond her own expectations.

The foundation is based at Queens Park Community School in North London where Promise attended school when she was a student.Much of the initial funding to start the foundation was sourced via Yimby, an online crowdfunding tool for social good.

If you have a project you’d like to start which may require some funds to make it happen, Yimby could be the perfect option. So what will you change?

Posted in Good Cause, London, London Daily Photo, Photography, Yimby | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sickboy: Make It Last Forever at The Outsiders London, Greek Street

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Maybe it had just been awhile since I had enjoyed the pleasure of viewing much work by street artist Sickboy, but his latest offering, Make It Last Forever on view now at The Outsiders London in Soho, seemed to pop with vibrancy while providing plenty of personal symbolism to ponder.

Something about this Sickboy’s art conjures up the thought of a 21st century Hieronymus Bosch doing an episode of Spongebob Squarepants. I reckon that’s a good thing too as I’ve been keen to check out his work every time I’ve heard tell of it – and I’ve always found pleasure in what he’d produced.

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His new Outsiders show is no exception. A “comprehensive showcase,” Make It Last Forever features several “surreal abstract canvases alongside an elaborate installation” designed specifically for gallery’s basement. And – believe it or not – although the artist has done tons of installations and painted plenty of street art around town, this show is his first time his stuff’s landed in an actual London gallery. It’s fun. It’s thoughtful. It’s vintage Sickboy and well worth checking out.

A memorable exhibition that’s as contemplative as it is cartoonish, Sickboy: Make It Last Forever is on now until Saturday 30 August 2014 at The Outsiders London, 8 Greek Street, W1D 4DG. Find out more at theoutsiders.net.


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Hyper Japan 2014, 25-27 July at Earls Court Exhibition Centre

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Returning to London today through Sunday 27 July is Hyper Japan, the UK’s “biggest celebration of Japanese culture, cuisine and cool.” I popped round for a quickie investigation earlier this afternoon. Here are some highlights from my visit to this annual bonanza of banzai.

Like so many of these large scale expos that come to London, Hyper Japan attendees have to pay to get in (£12 online for general admission tickets) and then again for most stuff inside. The majority of vendors I encountered were pretty tight about samples even when I flashed my press pass, and queues were pretty long for a lot of the more interesting things. Still if you’re into cosplay, manga, Kawaii, J-Pop, or gaming (Nintendo’s an official sponsor), then this is the place for you. I has a blast roaming around checking the amazing makeup and homemade costumes of so many of the attendees.

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One of the yummier treats among the few items I managed to nibble was the matcha milk chocolate from Basel based chocolatiers, Beschle (whom I wished I’d known about when I was in Basel a few weeks back!).

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I was impressed by the queue to try Nice Ice’s shaved ice (looked like they were using proper machines for super fluffy texture!) but strapped for time I wasn’t able to wait for a taste. I got their contact details though and am keen to investigate!

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Hyper Japan runs from Friday 25 to Sunday 27 July at Earls Court Exhibition Centre. Find out more at hyperjapan.co.uk.


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Lovely Sunday Lunch at The Latchmere, SW11

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Following a major reno, The Latchmere pub on Battersea Park Road has recently reopened under the guiding hand of the Renaissance Pubs group to offer a comfortable and attractive venue (think: Victorian with light contemporary accoutrements and minus any twee fittings) for all those pubby things we like to do as Londoners. Kemey and I paid visit a couple of weekends ago for one of our most favourite of pubby activities – Sunday lunch! – and were more than pleased with our experience. Here are some of the highlights.

Kudos to the Latchmere staff for immediately bringing a jug of tap water to our table soon after being seated! It’s a little thing, but such a gesture goes a long way to helping ensure a decent dining experience. Service remained friendly and consistent during our lunch. And what a lunch it was!

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A starter course of aubergine and mozzarella ravioli with aged Parmesan butter (£6.75 as a starter, £11.75 as a main) was a nice way to commence the meal (although completely unnecessary given how massive my main course was). My roast – grain fed beef topside, with “all the trimmings” (£14.50) – was a mound of yum dwarfed only by the mega Yorkshire pudding perched atop the meaty mass. A tip of the hat to the importance of provenance and an apparent commitment to supporting nearby producers, the beef came from Renaissance Pub’s “own farm” – an appreciated touch!

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Kemey was pleased with her choices as well: cauliflower and Stilton soup (served with excellent grilled bread, £5) to begin followed by the veggie Sunday roast (pumpkin and trimmings, £10). I think for our tastes, the kitchen could have gone a little easier on the butter and been a tad more generous with the gravy with each dish involved. But I reckon I’d just mention such next time I visit and they’d accommodate.

Puds were pleasant. I liked the salted sticky toffee pudding, vanilla ice cream (£5.50) while Kemey had no qualms with the “strawberry and passion fruit mess” presented to her (£5.50).

A pint of locally brewed Sambrooks Wandle went down well with the meal (and cheers to my waitress for the rec).

The Latchmere is located at 503 Battersea Park Road, SW11 3BW. Find out more at thelatchmere.co.uk.

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London Daily Photo: Tulip Siddiq, Parliamentary Candidate and Promise Foundation Mentor

LDP 2014.07.25 - Tulip Siddiq, Parliamentary Candidate and Mentor

The Promise Foundation is inspired by Promise Campbell, who at the age of twelve benefited greatly through a relationship with a mentor leading her to achieve things far beyond her own expectations.

The foundation is based at Queens Park Community School in North London where Promise attended school when she was a student.Much of the initial funding to start the foundation was sourced via Yimby, an online crowdfunding tool for social good.

If you have a project you’d like to start which may require some funds to make it happen, Yimby could be the perfect option. So what will you change?

Posted in Good Cause, London, London Daily Photo, Photography, Yimby | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Win the Summer Collection from Hotel Chocolat

Win the Summer Collection from Hotel Chocolat

COMPETITION IS NOW OVER AND THE WINNER HAS BEEN CONTACTED. THANKS SO MUCH FOR READING TIKICHRIS. PLEASE STAY TUNED FOR LOTS MORE FUN AND FREEBIES TO COME!

Ah summer! Just another excuse for enjoying chocolate, right? Well, with Hotel Chocolat’s 2014 range of summertime treats, it’s certainly a delicious option. Fusing together the heady colours and flavours of summer, this delectably seasonal assortment of fine chocolates is just right for sultry afternoons and long summer nights. Keep reading for your chance to win a Hotel Chocolat Summer Collection.

To help you make the most of these warm weather months, Hotel Chocolate has teamed up with my blog to kindly offer one lucky reader a free Summer Collection. Valued at £39, this keepsake box full of summer specials is ideal for adding a little sunshine to birthdays, anniversaries, or lazy days in the park. The Summer Collection includes a Summer H-Box, Strawberries & Cream Puddles, Mojito Cocktails Selector, Raspberry Riot Selector, and a 20cl bottle of Sparkling Pink Rosé.

To be in with a chance to win simply tweet the following:

RT to win a Summer Collection of chocolates from @HotelChocolat compliments of @tikichris: http://bit.ly/1mHWIJA #summerchoc

Good luck. Please take a moment to read the terms and conditions before tweeting!

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I’ll pick one winner at random on Friday 8 August at 11.30am BST. The winner will receive one “Summer Collection” from Hotel Chocolat. To be eligible to win, you need to have an address in the UK where the prize can be posted. As the prize contains an alcoholic beverage, you also need to be of legal drinking age to be eligible to win and must be able to show ID that proves your age. Good luck.

Check out all of Hotel Chocolat’s Summer Chocolates at hotelchocolat.com/uk/shop/gift-ideas/summer.

COMPETITION IS NOW OVER AND THE WINNER HAS BEEN CONTACTED. THANKS SO MUCH FOR READING TIKICHRIS. PLEASE STAY TUNED FOR LOTS MORE FUN AND FREEBIES TO COME! 

Check out more tikichris competitions.

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London Daily Photo: Mentors Mingle and Share Ideas

LDP 2014.07.24 - Mentors Mingle and Share Ideas

The Promise Foundation is inspired by Promise Campbell, who at the age of twelve benefited greatly through a relationship with a mentor leading her to achieve things far beyond her own expectations.

The foundation is based at Queens Park Community School in North London where Promise attended school when she was a student.Much of the initial funding to start the foundation was sourced via Yimby, an online crowdfunding tool for social good.

If you have a project you’d like to start which may require some funds to make it happen, Yimby could be the perfect option. So what will you change?

Posted in Good Cause, London, London Daily Photo, Photography, Yimby | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Pear Tree Pub in Hammersmith, W6

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Today (Thursday 24 July), The Pear Tree pub in Hammersmith is offering free BBQ pulled pork finger rolls at two locations. From 12.45 folks from the pub will be outside the main entrance to Charing Cross Hospital, and then from 17.45 they’ll be outside Barons Court Tube. Yum!

I reckon from either of those freebie spots, you should continue on for a complete Pear Tree experience. The Victorian era gastropub is just a short stroll from both those locations (it’s an easy walk from Hammersmith Station and West Kensington as well), has a lovely beer garden and a friendly easy going vibe. I actually dined at The Pear Tree earlier this week and had a really nice meal there. I especially liked my plate of properly prepared pork belly I loved the awesomely massive onion rings too. There’s a smart selection of beer and a decent wine list.

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It’s a fun and laid pub serving great food. Even when not being plied with free pulled pork you’d do well to pop round to enjoy your time at The Pear Tree.

The Pear Tree is located at 14 Margravine Road, W6 8HJ. Find out more at thepeartreefulham.com.

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