London Daily Photo: Jump!

LDP 2014.07.08 - Jump!

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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Tour de France: Cambridge to London with Bonne Maman

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I would like to say a massive merci beaucoup to the friendly folks from Bonne Maman for offering me the amazing opportunity to ride along with the Tour de France in the Bonne Maman procession vehicle yesterday from Cambridge to London. It was super cool checking out the Tour’s Village at Parker’s Piece in Cambridge and taking a behind the scenes snoop of all the goings-on and preparations before the race began. And riding in the procession to encounter the tens of thousands of Tour supporters along the way was phenomenally thrilling.

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I think what impressed me most was getting to see all the many gleeful spectators who had lined up (hours ahead of time in most cases I reckon) between the starting point Cambridge and the finishing line while zooming along in the Bonne Maman van. Hardly 10m of the 155k route was passed without us seeing someone cheering, even in the most rural of spots. Most of the time we were greeted by throngs of smiling, waving fans who’d made a day of the event – with BBQs and picnics, banners and flags. Honestly, I never had seen anything like it in my life.

It was a lot of fun hearing people shout declarations such as “I LOVE YOUR MADELEINES!” or a quite simple yet enthusiastic “JAM!!!” to us as we sped by. People seemed so pleased to have the famed Tour de France zip through their villages and towns – and appeared to be absolutely delighted by the sight of the Bonne Maman van.

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Of course, once in London awaiting the arrival of the cyclists at The Mall the scene was electric!

Follow the Tour online at letour.com as it commences its actual French route today.

To find out more about Bonne Maman go to lovebonnemaman.co.uk.

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London Daily Photo: An Artist and Her Self Portrait

LDP 2014.07.07 - An Artist and Her Self Portrait

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

26 Grains Pop-Up at Old Street Station for the Whole Month of July 2014

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Passing through Old Street Station in the morning? Get a free breakfast this Wednesday and Thursday (9 and 10 July) from the 26 Grains porridge pop-up when you mention this blog.

Yep, that’s right the most important meal of your day needs to be a healthy one and preferably a tasty one. From the 7th and throughout this month, 26 Grains is serving a delicious range of wholesome dishes at a pop-up up in Old Street Station, Monday to Friday from 7am to 3pm.

26 Grains takes its inspiration from Scandinavian recipes to bring you a bowls brimming with filling flavours, slow releasing energy and tasty toppings such as pear, cardamom, hazelnut and rye porridge; and coconut, chia and blueberry bircher muesli. But 26 Grains isn’t just about a fabulous brekkie. Check out these savoury lunchtime ideas: quinoa with poached egg and pesto; carrot and hazelnut risotto; beetroot risotto; kale, apple and walnut risotto.

26 Grains is the creation of self proclaimed “porridge obsessed” Alex Hely-Hutchinson. I met Alex a couple of weeks ago over coffee to chat about 26 Grains and the Old Street pop-up – and to have a taste of what she does best. I loved what I sampled and was actually kinda inspired by her enthusiasm and drive.

It’s a pleasure to help Alex spread the word about her food. To help you get a taste of 26 Grains, Alex and I came up with this generous offer exclusively for my readers:

On Wednesday the 9th and Thursday the 10th of July 2014, from 7am to 10.30am mention “tikichris” to receive a free porridge at the 26 Grains pop-up inside Old Street Station.

Can’t make in during those hours? It’s still worth coming round for a taste of healthy reasonably priced food. Porridge is priced at £4 and savoury items at £6.

And even if you think you don’t like porridge, you might want to drop by anyway in the hopes of catching a warm smile from Alex and having some of her glowing happy energy rub off on you.

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About 26 Grains

26 Grains takes time to prepare food and choose ingredients responsibly so that each bowl contains both nourishing and delicious food. Each flaked grain is hand rolled to ensure it hasn’t been tampered with, extruded or over processed. Grains are then soaked overnight to break down the phytic acid of the grain, making it easier to digest and obtain benefits such as antioxidants, nutrients and minerals, as well as a longer lasting release energy.

Alex and her crew make convenience-focused food without forgoing quality of ingredients or taste. They’re conscious of how much salt and sugar go in their bowls and use natural sugars such as maple syrup and fruit and then pair them with nuts and spices for full-on flavoursome effect.

Find out more at 26grains.com.

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London to Paris in 24 Hours – What to See, What to Miss (by David James Taylor)

Paris Weekend 2008

Paris is unquestionably one of Europe’s most historic, iconic cities. Conveniently, it only takes a few hours to travel from Paris to London by bus, which makes it a wonderful day trip option. As a result, you can get a real taste of the ‘city of love’ by visiting Paris for just 24 hours. However, if this is something that you’re going to do, you will have to plan very carefully to get the most out of your short visit. Here are some recommendations for a 24-hour trip to Paris.

Given that timing is of the essence, it’s best to work out how you are going to get around Paris before you set off. The Metro is good for covering longer distances, although it can be confusing and squalid. For shorter distances, you should certainly register for a Velib bike. Each journey is free so long as you don’t use it for longer than 30 minutes.

So, once you’re on your bike, where should you go? Let’s start with some of the iconic sites which you will probably feel you must see if you’re going to Paris. For a start, there’s the Champs Elysees which brings you directly to the Arc de Triomphe. The Champs Elysees is one of the world’s premier addresses and if you like designer shopping, then there is nowhere better. Nearby is the Place de la Concorde, one of the most magnificent squares you will likely ever see. Of course, perhaps the most famous site of all in Paris is the Eiffel Tower. However, you can expect to queue for at least two hours to climb the monument itself, eating up a valuable chunk of your 24 hours. You might be best off stopping at Trocadero station to take a picture from one of the best vantage points there is. Talking of which, for an incredible vista over the entire city, climb the stairs to the famous Sacre Coeur church. And if you like churches, then Notre Dame is another iconic landmark.

If you want a taste of culture in Paris, then the Louvre art gallery is the natural place to go. It houses the Mona Lisa and other priceless works. However, you could easily spend half a day at the Louvre. If you feel that’s too long but you still need a dose of art, then check out the Musee d’Orsay, which includes possibly the world’s most impressive Impressionist collection.

Paris is also an excellent shopping venue and if the Champs Elysees is out of your price range, then there are plenty more affordable options. There are some excellent boutiques at the Pontdes Arts and the whole Marais neighbourhood is also a trendy location. For an authentic shopping experience, check out the Saxe-Breteuil Market near the Eiffel Tower, where you can try cheeses, bread and other fresh produce before you buy.

If you’re going to be in Paris for the evening, then there are plenty of options for entertainment. The Fleche d’Or comes highly recommended as a free venue for indie and rock music. If you’re looking for a quiet drink then Harry’s Bar has excellent cocktails and was a favourite haunt of Ernest Hemmingway. For something a little more upbeat, Le Rex is a top nightclub venue.

However, if you need to save time on this briefest of day trips, then perhaps one of the most time-efficient activities to enjoy is a dinner cruise on the River Seine. Great food and you get to see plenty of sites all at once.

Written by David James Taylor 

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London Daily Photo: A Mentor Shares His Perspective

LDP 2014.07.06 - A Mentor Shares His Perspective

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 – Imbibe Live Edition

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 … and in this case mostly to sip all from my meander round this year’s Imbibe Live – the “innovative and interactive annual exhibition for anyone who sources, buys or serves drinks in the licensed on-trade.” Enjoy.

1936 Biere

Very crisp, very refreshing, and very much something I’d consider as a first choice beer – this pale lager from the Swiss alps is made with quality Swiss hops, barley, and water.

Nutsu Nuts

Unlike a most wasabi flavoured snacks (which just use horseradish and some sort of colourant to a wabasi effect), Nutsu Nuts’ wasabi peanuts are made with the real stuff for more pow and deeper flavour.

Taste Nirvana

Not all coconut water is the same apparently. I was wowed with the first sip of Taste Nirvana’s extra yummy coconut water. Made from especially sweet Thai coconuts harvested from Nakorn Pathom province, Taste Nirvana was way more flavourful compared to other coconut water brands (and minus any pesky sweeteners or preservatives). It’s been a few days since my taste and I’m already craving another refreshing drink!

Volcano Coffee Works

Volcano Coffee Works is a leading small batch, specialty coffee roaster based in South London. I liked my sample of Volcano’s cold brewed “Engine Oil”.

And in related imbibing news, here’ something I got to sample sometime back. I had fun playing with it but am just now finding the chance to write about it ….

Cosmopolitan R-EVOLUTION Molecular Mixology Kit 

Yep, this handy little kit has all the things needed to make Cosmopolitan Pearls, Cranberry Mousse, Citrus Caviar “using all of the components of the classic Cosmo but in much more exciting ways,” such as reverse spherication and emulsification. The kit retails for just under 30 quid online at the Cream Chargers website.

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London Daily Photo: A Mentee Contemplates His Future

LDP 2014.07.05 - A Mentee Contemplates His Future

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

Norwegian Salmon + a Scandilicious Freebie

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This July and August when you purchase four promotional stickered packs of Morrisons “M” Norwegian salmon at Morrisons supermarkets, you’ll get a free copy of Signe Johansen’s cookbook, Scandilicious, Secrets of Scandinavian Cooking. Just look for the NORGE logo on pre-packed Norwegian salmon when shopping and choose between 440g salmon fillets, 240g salmon fillets and 240g lightly smoked salmon fillets.

Salmon! I’m a fan. Odds are you too. In fact I can’t think of anybody who doesn’t love this delicious fish. And sure it tastes great, but nice thing is that it’s great for you too. This heart-healthy superfood is rich in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins A and D. The world’s biggest supplier of salmon is Norway. It’s cold, clear waters sustain a year-round supply and enjoyed by more than 100 countries worldwide.

This summer Norwegian-American chef, Signe Johansen (I’m a fan of Signe too) has teamed up with Morrisons and the Norwegian Seafood Council to help folks make the most of their fishy endeavours by offering copies of her great cookbook Scandilicious, Secrets of Scandinavian Cooking when you

Find out more and see some of Signe’s excellent Scandi seafood recipes at seafoodfromnorway.co.uk/Campaigns/Morrisons-free-cookbook-campaign.

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4 Foodie Festivals in Italy This Summer (OneTravel)

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Anytime is a good time to visit Italy, especially if you are a foodie! And this summer promises a delicious array of events for folks keen to have as many gourmet experiences as possible during their Italian vacation.

Here’s a list of four particularly yummy festivals in Italy this summer that are worth visiting with an empty tummy! Buon viaggio and buon appetito!

Read my complete post at the OneTravel blog.

Posted in Drink, Food, Italy, OneTravel, restaurants, Shopping, Travel, Wine | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

#TennisCrazy? Here’s a Chance to Win Your Very Own illy Coffee Machine

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One of my favourite gigs is being “blogger in residence” for espressoCrazy, the sole UK distributor for illy coffee and Francis Francis coffee machines. I love illy coffee as I do my Francis Francis machine – and I’ve yet to meet anyone who’s not loved having an espresso made with my Y1.1 Touch IperEspresso Machine. So, when I heard that espressoCrazy was running a #TennisCrazy special during Wimbledon offering free illy espresso makers I thought I would pass the word on.

Here’s the scoop folks! All you’ve got to do to be in with a chance to win your very own espresso machine is to follow @espressoCrazy on Twitter. Yeah, that’s it. The giveaway has been going on since Wimbledon kicked off and will continue until the 2014 tournament ends. So you’ve got a few more days to play but only just!

You can see the terms and conditions for this fantastic opportunity here:
http://www.espressocrazy.com/faqs/#faq24

Beyond the giveaway (and the tennis), following @espressoCrazy is a great idea for coffee fans. You’ll find out about special promotions, facts and fun stuff about coffee and might even get to read a thing or two from me now and then. Ace!

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Bis Später Basel

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I really had a fantastic time during my city break in Basel. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the highlights of my visit.

To help you better browse the posts I’ve published about my recent trip to Basel, here’s a list with links to all of them:

Basel City Break

I think I’ve stressed enough how hassle free travelling to/from/in Basel was. My Swiss International Air Lines flight from London City to EuroAirport (just over the Swiss border in Mulhouse, France) was a breeze and surprisingly short at only an hour and a half. Getting into town was hassle free and fast. I reckon it took about 20 minutes for me to arrive at my city centre hotel from the airport.

Much of what I wanted to see and do was within easy walking distance from my hotel. But when I relied on busses and trams, public transport proved to be the stuff of dreams: efficient, comfortable, clean, and free! Yeah, check this out – I was given a free Mobility Ticket when I checked into my hotel which allowed me access to all of the city’s public transportation for the entirety of my stay. And as I understand it, all Basel hotels give Mobility Tickets to all their guests.

In closing I’d just like to say that for a compact destination that’s big on culture, I reckon Basel should be one of your top choices. I was really impressed with just about everything saw and experienced there and would relish any chance to go again.

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London Daily Photo: Warm Smiles

LDP 2014.07.04 - Warm Smiles

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

See Basel: A City Artfully Designed to Please

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Keen to take a city break that’s chock full of eye candy treats by some of the world’s greatest modern architects, designers, and artists? Go to Basel. I was blown away by all the fascinating stuff I got to behold during my few days there.

Home to more than 40 museums, an impressive array of iconic buildings and more – world class yet quaint Basel yields the sort of visual stimuli you’d more likely expect to see in cities with five times its population. Most of the sights I enjoyed viewing were within a pleasant (often riverside) stroll of each other, while the rest were all easily reached via clean, comfy and very reliable public transport. Here are some of the things I liked looking at the most while I there, a few of which I’d say would have been worth making the trip to see in and of themselves.

Fondation Beyeler

Whoa! Worth the trip alone, this Renzo Piano designed museum housing the collection of celebrated gallery owner Ernst Beyeler and wife Hildy is situated in the leafy outskirts village of Riehen and offers a crash course in who’s who and what’s what among the elites of 20th century art: Monet, Cézanne, loads of works by Picasso, etc etc. I crave a repeat visit to the room with all the Dubuffet works! And I wouldn’t mind another lunch at the museum’s Restaurant Berower Park, a casual dining eatery set in a historical residence with plenty of outdoor seating with views of the nearby countryside and large scales works by artist such as Calder.

On now at the foundation and running until 7 September 2014 is a frickin’ fantastic Gerhard Richter exhibition which for the first time ever explores “works conceived as series, cycles, or interior environments from all periods” of his career.

Fondation Beyeler is located at Baselstrasse 101, CH-4125, Riehen. For details about the museum go to fondationbeyeler.ch.

Kunstmuseum Basel

Just as awe inspiring (if a teensy bit more when considering the breadth of its collection) is Kunstmuseum Basel aka the Fine Art Museum. One of the most important assemblages of fine art on the planet, the museum is home to important works from the 1400s to the present day including the biggest collection of art by the Holbein family, significant pieces from the Renaissance and the 19th century, as well as lots of German Expressionism and American art since 1950, and an impression number of Cubist works from Picasso, Braque and Léger. I especially liked seeing the neon installations by Bruce Nauman, the relatively small piece by monumental sculptor Richar Serra, and the haunting oil paintings by Swiss symbolist Arnold Bocklin.

Kunstmuseuam Basel is located at St Alban-Graben 16, CH-4010. Visit online at kunstmuseumbasel.ch.

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Schaulager

Opened just over ten years ago under commission of the Laurenz Foundation in a colossal exhibition and art storage facility with a snarling sliver of a stylized window crack running through it. Designed local architect heroes Herzog & de Meuron, Schaulager is an amazing place to view edgy contemporary art. It’s a killer place to behold inside and out even without the art on view.

On permanent display are two phenomenal installations: American artist Robert Gober’s Untitled which features a life size and open armed concrete cast of the Virgin Mary with a large metal drain pipe jutting through the middle of her gut; and Katharina Fritsch’s ginormous Rattenkonig, a nightmarishly looming and uniformly circled rat king that suggests feeling somewhat similar to having a vicious guard dog lunging and gnashing inches away from you at the end of its lead.

On now until 19 October 2014 is a delightfully WTF exhibition of Selected Works by Paul Chan that – if you’re something of a jaded culture junky like I am – is just the thing for smirks, giggles and heady contemplation.

Schaulager is located just outside Basel city centre at Ruchfeldstrasse 19, CH-4142, Münchenstein. Find out more at schaulager.org.

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Museum Tinguely

Contraption as fine art, always with a sense of humour and usually one that’s rather dark: the works of Swiss iron sculptor Jean Tingugely are fun to admire. To be honest, I had no idea who this Basler artist was before my visit. But now I’d consider myself to be well on my way to becoming a major fan thanks to this museum and its permanent exhibition of Tinguely’s animated mechanical sculptures.

On now is a beguiling temporary exhibition, I am not You by Czech artist Krištof Kintera that’s as quirky as it is creepy.

You’ll find Museum Tinguely on the north bank of the Rhein at Paul Sacher-Anlage 2, CH-4002. Go to tinguely.museum for more information.

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Vitra Design Museum

The Vitra Design Museum is one of the world’s leading design museums in the field of design, presenting a changing programme of exhibitions and events on topics of design and architecture with guided tours of exhibitions and architectural tours of the Vitra Campus available. Come here for an excellent opportunity to get up close and personal with pieces, structures, samples, and ephemera by leading designers and architects such as Charles and Ray Eames, Frank Gehry, George Nelson, Isamu Noguchi and more more more!!! Most of the photos I took during my Basel city break were of this photogenic dreamland.

The Vitra Design Museum and is located a short distance outside of Basel in Weil am Rhein, Germany. It’s a cinch getting there and back by bus. Learn about Vitra at design-museum.de.

More

There is so much more: a lovely little paper museum set in a working medieval paper mill; a guided tour of the city’s architectural highlights (guide Rudolph Suter is brilliant!); a good bit of street art, loads of design centric boutiques and attractive spots for eating and drinking; and … well, I hope you get the point! There’s a lot to admire in Basel.

This just about concludes my Basel City Break miniseries. I’ll ‘officially’ wrap things up soon with a final post listing all the posts in this series. Merci vielmal!

Posted in Art, Basel City Break, Design, Germany, Graffiti, Museums, Shopping, Switzerland, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

London Daily Photo: Coordinating Promise

LDP 2014.07.03 - Coordinating Promise

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

Eat Basel: A Tale of Two Surprise Menus

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Luckily for me, eating well in Basel is a straightforward matter. Eating well and cheaply is another story all together. But affordable options can be found. Here’s the scoop on two “surprise” dinners I had while in Basel: one a rather upscale affair, the other decidedly low brow and mercifully low priced. I’ve also listed a few other quality venues for food and drink that I came across during my Basel city break.

Restaurant Rubino

My first evening in Basel presented an opportunity to enjoy one of the more refined dining experiences of an especially delicious year at the lovely Restaurant Rubino, where diners are invited to leave any irksome decision making with Chef Manuela Buser and go with her Menü Surprise. So I did and was indeed glad to have done so. Basically, I was asked if I preferred vegetarian, meat or fish and if I was up for two, three, four or five courses. I requested a three course mix of meat and fish.

Soon enough a fantastic Trentino white wine (Muri-Gries Sudtirol Terlaner Weissburgunder 2012) was brought to my table along with a “pizza Margherita divided” amuse bouche – both of which were so perfectly pleasing to my palate that they left me wondering if somebody actually had been studying my blog in anticipation of my visit. A starter course of tuna tartare with gremolata followed by a magnificent main of veal in a lemon sauce served with roasted baby potatoes and seasonal vegetables and paired with a glass of Syrah from Cyprus (was actually good) kept the taste buds popping. A finale course of Jaipur curry crème brûlée intrigued and delighted in equal measure.

Service was gracious and friendly. The dining room: airy, clean, and filled with natural light. Plan to spend at least 75CHF (about £50) for a couple of courses with wine. Making a reservation would be wise. Restaurant Rubino is located at Luftgässlein 1, CH-4051 near the city’s main cathedral (Basler Muenster).

Visit the restaurant online at rubino-basel.ch.

Restaurant Eintracht

My second surprise dining experience came the next evening at Restaurant Eintracht, a quaint and family run dinner located across the Rhein in the traditionally working class neighbourhood of Kleinbasel. Eintracht is famous (among Baslers anyway) for its “mega” Cordon Bleu. But based on a local’s recommendation (cheers Lea!), I opted for the “menu mir isch glich” which at 9.90CHF (roughly £6.50) was a veritable bargain. “Mir isch glich” translates to something along the lines of “whatever you’ve got, I’ll eat it.”

During my din-din the kitchen had fleischkäse (something along the lines of mortadello) at hand. Plenty of it as well. I got two steak-sized cuts of fleischkäse preceded by a cup of veggie soup and served with a heap of rosemary seasoned fries. It all went down a charm with a glass of Swiss lager Feldschossen.

Service was personable and appreciative. The vibe was homey. Restaurant Eintracht is located at Oetlingerstrasse 64, 4057.

For details go to eintracht-basel.ch.

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More

Here are a few other tasty highlights from my Basel city break:

Acero: Ace little eiscafe (cafe serving ice cream) with lots of homemade treats and a lovely and spacious garden in the back. Excellent pistachio ice cream here! eiscafe-acero.ch

Buvette Landestelle: Hanging out by the river and drinking a cold one seems to be as Basel as it gets – in the summertime anyway. And a great place to do just that is at Buvette Landestelle. Once a “favela” installation for Art Basel 2013, this open air bar and restaurant is the place to be if you like the idea of a laid back and post industrial setting with loads of street art to admire. landestelle.ch

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Glaus’s: Traditional cheesemonger on upscale retail row of Spalenberg Strasse with more than 250 different cheeses, mostly Swiss. There’s no online presence that I can find but the address is Spalenberg 12, 4051. Telephone number is 0612618008.

Läckerli Huus: Basler läckerli is a gingery biscuit, and according to just about everybody I encountered this huus sells the best in town along with a range of other traditional sweets. lackerli-huus.ch

Läderach: Maybe you’ve heard that the Swiss have a thing about milk chocolate? Well in Basel, Läderach is reckoned to be the top shop for chocolate yummies for all price ranges and occasions. laederach.com

Union Restaurant: This cool “American” style restaurant with an awesome burger menu was a perfect venue for catching some World Cup action on the big screen. My waitress asserted my Brie bacon burger was to be the best I would ever have. It wasn’t, but it might well have been the most gorgeous smelling cheeseburger ever to have been placed beneath my greedy chin. Yummy stuff! A glass of the region’s own Quintus, Valentin Schiess Pinot Noir, Gamaret was a winner too. The look and feel of this place was kind of like a Swiss outlet of the London burger chain, Byron. Prices were in line with that comparison too, maybe a little more dear. union-restaurant.com

More posts about my Basel weekend are on their way. So please keep an eye out for more tips on having a Rhein time in this compact city that’s big on culture.

Posted in Basel City Break, Beer, Chocolate, Drink, Food, restaurants, Shopping, Travel, Wine | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rachel Khoo and the Patisserie of Steam at Miele Gallery, Regent Street

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Open now until 4 July at the Miele Gallery, Regent Street is a “Steam Patisserie” pop-up featuring treats by TV pastry chef Rachel Khoo made using Miele Combination Steam Appliance including the world’s first ever Doreo, an “exciting dessert hybrid of a doughnut and “the crumbly classic American cookie.”

Guests of the pop-up can sample Rachel’s steam creations, such as the Doreo which is only available during the event.There’s also a chance to sit in on a range of master classes this Friday to learn how to cook Rachel’s signature pastry dishes along with the Doreo using steam. You can even catch a demo of how to bake the perfect loaf of bread with steam.

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The Steam Patisserie events are free of charge and can be booked through sending an RSVP to mielesteampatisserie@frankpr.it.

Timings for Steam Patisserie:
11.30am to 12pm
12.10pm to 12.50pm
12.50pm to 1.30pm

 How to … Master Classes:
 The Master Classes are £35 per head. To book a place call Miele on 0845 365 6610.

 Timings for Master Classes (Friday 4 July):
 Rachel’s Recipes and the Doreo: 9am to 1pm

Miele Gallery is located at 15-19 Cavendish Place, W1G 0QE. Find out more at miele.co.uk/showrooms/london.


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Sleep Basel: The Passage

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During my Basel city break, I stayed at The Passage. Only open since February of this year, the sleek and minimalist four star hotel served as a conveniently positioned base for exploring the city and a comfy HQ away from home that was well worth returning to.

My room met my approval. The bed was large and with a firm mattress (good pillows too), and I had total blackout darkness whenever I wanted to sleep. The walk-in shower was spacious with ample water pressure from both a handheld head and Rainshower.

There was one pesky feature though: a speaker in the bathroom that was connected to the TV. Every time I turned the set on, this speaker came on too (and fairly loudly at that) and could only be turned down by doing so manually in the bathroom. The first time this happened I was already in bed and it was late at night. It took me awhile to figure out why I couldn’t manage to reduce the volume by remote control and then it took some time to realise where the sound was coming from and then where the switch was to remedy the situation.

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Everything else about the hotel was lovely. Each member of staff was friendly and helpful. The fitness room and sauna were fantastic. I even had to do a spot of work while there, one evening in my room and also in the lobby during the afternoon of my last day before heading to the airport. I gladly report there was never any issue with the free WiFi and that both settings were conducive for out-of-office admin and focused writing. All in all, it was easy for me to see why this place has such near perfect TripAdvisor ratings.

From The Passage, it was incredibly easy to go anywhere in or near the city. Most sights (the river, tons of museums, loads of shops, plenty more) were with easy walking distance, and public transport was readily at hand usually just outside the hotel or just a short and pleasant stroll away at the hubs of Marktplatz and Barfüsserplatz. As I mentioned in my introductory post about my visit to Basel, upon arrival at the hotel I was given a free Mobility Ticket which allowed me access to all of the city’s public transportation for the entirety of my stay. And as I understand it, all Basel hotels give Mobility Tickets to all their guests. Travel time between The Passage and the airport by bus took less than half an hour.

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I’ll blog more about my weekend in Basel over the next few days. Please stay tuned for more tips on having a Rhein time in this compact city that’s big on culture.

The Passage is located at Steinengraben 51, CH-4051. I loved the place and am happy to recommend it to you. Find out more at thepassage.ch.


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London Daily Photo: Promise Foundation’s Josephine Campbell

LDP 2014.07.02 - Promise Foundation's Josephine Campbell

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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My Basel: Taking the Make My Switzerland App for a Spin

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Obviously you’ve heard about Switzerland’s stunning panoramas of and from its mighty Alps. But for my first of hopefully many more visits to this friendly little Alpine nation, I found the views shared via a handy Swiss app to be a real wonder to behold as well. The free to download app, called Make My Switzerland, is available via Google Play and Apple’s App Store and offers a wealth of insider knowledge about the things that savvy locals love best in seven Swiss cities – Basel, Bern, Geneva, Lausanne, Lucerne, Lugano, and Zurich. I gave the app a whirl over an especially fun weekend in Basel, and I’m more than happy to recommend the city and the app to anybody keen to explore a delightful and compact destination that’s big on culture.

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During my three night stay in Basel I ate super well; marvelled at truly amazing modern architecture and contemporary design (Basel is home to star-itects Herzog & de Meuron, and furniture company Vitra has its headquarters nearby); and took in some of the best art exhibitions I’ve seen in a very long while. From figuring out where to get the best ice cream to which among the multitude of Basel museums were not to be missed, the Make My Switzerland app served as a useful resource for accessing much of what I enjoyed most  – both for doing research before my trip and while on the ground.

I was inspired and impressed and would love to go back – and if my next visit is to turn out anything like this last trip did then doing so will be a piece of cake.

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My Swiss International Air Lines flight from London City to EuroAirport (just over the Swiss border in Mulhouse, France) was a breeze and surprisingly short at only an hour and a half. Getting into town was hassle free and fast. I reckon it took about 20 minutes for me to arrive at my city centre hotel from the airport. Much of what I wanted to see and do was within easy walking distance from my hotel. But when I relied on busses and trams, public transport proved to be the stuff of dreams: efficient, comfortable, clean, and free! Yeah, check this out – I was given a free Mobility Ticket when I checked into my hotel which allowed me access to all of the city’s public transportation for the entirety of my stay. And as I understand it, all Basel hotels give Mobility Tickets to all their guests. Wow.

I’ll blog more about my Basel City Break over the next few days. Please stay tuned for more tips on having a Rhein time in Basel.

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Posted in Apps, Art, Basel City Break, Design, Drink, Food, Freebies, restaurants, Shopping, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

London Daily Photo: Become a Person of Influence #Yimby

LDP 2014.07.01 - Become a Person of Influence

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 a Discover the Origin Hamper Worth £60 Filled with Quality Food and Wine from Across Europe

DTO hamper

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!

Over the past few years I’ve been “discovering the origin” of five of Europe’s yummiest creations: Bourgogne Wines, Parma Ham, Douro Wines, Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese, and Port, five fine foods and wines with Protected Designation of Origin status. It’s been a lot of fun and definitely one of the most delicious topics I’ve ever written about. To celebrate the arrival of summer, a time for picnics and dining alfresco, I’ve teamed up with Discover the Origin to share more than just my words and offer one lucky reader a hamper full of exquisite products for free. Keep reading to find out how to play for a chance to win.

Discover the Origin is a campaign financed with aid from EU, France, Italy and Portugal that celebrates the provenance and history of these five delicious fine foods and wines, products so steeped in tradition that their status as heritage products is protected, guaranteeing that they’re made using age-old methods that in turn give an assurance of quality each and every time.

So how can you spot real Parma Ham at the supermarket? Look out for the red and gold Protected Designation of Origin logo. Similarly to tell a real authentic Bourgogne Wine look out for the AOC markings on the label. See tips like this and more at the Discover the Origin website where you’ll find recipes for inspiration on how to use these natural, nutritious and affordable luxuries at home and advice on which wines accompany tasty dishes.

Ready to give it a  try? To be in with a chance win a Discover the Origin hamper worth £60, simply tweet the following:

RT to win a @DiscoverOrigin hamper full of delicious food and wine from @tikichris: http://bit.ly/1sRY0L7 #protectedstatus #naturalisbest

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

T&C

I’ll pick one winner at random on Friday 11 July 2014 at 11.30am BST. To be eligible to win, you will need to have an address here in the UK. The winner will receive a hamper worth £60 which will include a selection of each of the Discover the Origin products.

*Hamper packaging may vary from image shown.

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: Overkill

LDP 2014.06.30 - Overkill

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London Daily Photo + The Promise Foundation #Yimby

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For my July batch of London Daily Photos, I’ve focused my lens on 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. Starting tomorrow, July 1st, look for a full month of shots highlighting the good work of the foundation.

The Promise 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.

As the year passes, it is my hope that I will be able to continue using my London Daily Photo series to highlight other London-based social enterprises that were enabled through Yimby.

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: Wood Street Indoor …

LDP 2014.06.29 - Wood Street Indoor ...

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A Delicious June with Genesis Crafty

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The six brothers behind decades old Northern Ireland bakery Genesis Crafty (Adrian, Brian, John, Paul, Seamus, and Damian McErlain) recently presented me with an opportunity to become one of the family so to speak … but only for a few weeks. I was their blogger of the month for June. And as such, I took to the kitchen to see what I could cook up to go with their range of handmade small batch baked goods.

Genesis Crafty has been something of a mainstay on the shop shelves of Northern Ireland for quite some time, and now the family owned bakery has madea push across the rest of the UK. Enjoying their products over these past few weeks, it was easy to see why celebrated chefs like Jason Atherton are fans.

Here’s a list of my posts about the bakery and what I found went well with their assortment of handcrafted baked goods.

Genesis Crafty Blogger of the Month

Thanks so much for reading my blog. Drop a line if you have any questions about the above recipes or other posts.

Find out more about Genesis Crafty and its tasty range of small batch baked goods at genesiscrafty.com.

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London Daily Photo: Monster Time

LDP 2014.06.28 - Monster Time

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Hard Rock Hotel Opens in Ibiza

There’s a new house that’s going to be all the rave on the island of Ibiza. Hard Rock International has just opened Hard Rock Hotel Ibiza – its first hotel in Europe. Are you ready to party “hard” in sizzling hot Balearic style?

Yep, Hard Rock has set up some serious camp right on the beach at Playa d’en Bossa on Ibiza. And making sure the hotel and all its guests enjoy an especially rockin’ launch to member, an extraordinary line up of artists has been slated for the summer celebrations. The Official Grand Opening Party on the 13th of June saw acts like legendary DJ duo Masters at Work and Chic featuring Nile Rodgers and newcomer Brian Cross kick things off. Following that, iconic British Reggae band UB40 wowed fans well into the wee hours of the night on June 27th.

And keeping the party going strong every Friday all summer long, the Hard Rock will see mega stars like Ellie Goulding, Snoop Dogg, Kylie Minogue, Pitbull, and Placebo take the stage at the hotel for audiences of up to 2,500 fans. Plus, pools and “chill out” areas will host a range of smaller and more intimate events throughout the season.

Hard to believe? Just check out the above video for a gorgeous overview of all that awaits – from the sun, sand and sea to Ibiza’s stunning landscape and, of course a tempting glimpse at the amazing new beachside Hard Rock Hotel and its many features and amenities.

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London Daily Photo: £2.50

LDP 2014.06.27 - £2.50

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Having a Spicy Time on Avery Island: Home of Tabasco Sauce (OneTravel)

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In February, my girlfriend and I had a grand ole time road tripping across the Deep South. The definite highlight of our time was in Louisiana, where we enjoyed a range of Dixie delights in dynamic New Orleans as well as the down home hospitality of the Cajun country.

One of the coolest things we did during our trip was pay a visit to Avery Island, the home of Louisiana’s most iconic brand, McIlhenny Company’s Tabasco Sauce. Months later and settled back at home in London, that fun experience still stays fresh on my mind. Indeed, just this morning I reached for my bottle of Tabasco to liven up my breakfast and the memories of the awesome time I had on Avery Island rushed to the forefront of my thoughts.

Read my complete post at the OneTravel blog.

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London Daily Photo: Rise/Set

LDP 2014..0626 - Rise:Set

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4 Freshly Brewed Blogs about Coffee (espressoCrazy)

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Wake up, smell the coffee, and read something stimulating. Here’s a quartet of blogs I’ve been perusing recently and thought might be worth highlighting here with the espressoCrazy community. All four blogs are dedicated to that most inspiring of topics: coffee.

Clearly, reading about coffee isn’t quite as satisfying as actually drinking it. Still, how better to enjoy your coffee break than to make use of that time to read tips and musings from coffee enthusiasts from across the globe? Have a look at these sites by some of the internet’s biggest coffee fans. They’re the the perfect pairing for the next time you sit down to enjoy a cuppa …

Read my complete post at the espressoCrazy blog.

Posted in Blogs, coffee, Drink, espressocrazy.com, Food, illy, Shopping | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

London Daily Photo: London Fields

LDP 2014.06.25 - London Fields

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Grand Palladium Palace Ibiza Resort & Spa

Palladium Palace

Ibiza! It’s been coming up in conversations a lot lately. I’ve never actually been but definitely would be keen to pay the island a visit. I’ve always had a wonderful time in Spain during each of my many trips there, and word is all the Balearic islands are just as amazing and extremely beautiful. And based on what I’ve been hearing recently, if and when I do manage to get to Ibiza, the perfect place to stay might just be the Palladium Palace.

The all inclusive five star Grand Palladium Palace Ibiza Resort & Spa is set on the beach at Playa d’en Bossa. Ideally placed for maximum relaxation, Playa d’en Bossa is the longest stretch of beach on Ibiza with white sands and shallow water extending far from the shore. Of course, this is Ibiza. So there are plenty of bars nearby as well as opportunities to indulge in the infamous local nightlife … or whatever-time-you-feel-like-partying-life with hotspots like the infamous all day/all night venue Bora Bora in the area. Odds are I’d be more inclined to lounge at the pool or on the beach, but it’s always good to know I’ve got options.

The Palladium Palace features more than 400 rooms, all with modern interiors and views of the Med. From state of the art gym facilities and a range of sport activities such as tennis and sea kayaking to a full service spa and chill out areas with Bali beds, the hotel offers an array of services to ensure guest are content during their stay and leave with the hopes of returning. On top of that there are multiple pools, free WiFi, a number of restaurants onsite, and six high tech and spacious meeting rooms suitable for all sorts of purposes.

A quick look over at Tripadvisor reveals a 2014 Certificate of Excellence for the Palladium Palace, along with overwhelmingly positive reviews, and phenomenal ratings – especially with respect to cleanliness and service.

Sounds like a safe bet to me! Now, who’s ready to hit the beach?

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London Daily Photo: Ladyeve Ltd

LDP 2014.06.24 - Ladyeve Ltd

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