A Travel & Lifestyle Blog

Pink Martini, Royal Festival Hall

According to the talented and always smiling Thomas Lauderdale,  they would like to call themselves "the United Nation's Band" and that, right there, sums up their style.
It also happens to be the reason I like Pink Martini so much, since I often say that I live in a "United Nations" family; so it's no surprise that I'm intrigued and mesmerised by this amalgam of different styles, languages, music and backgrounds that shine through their songs.

Last Friday they were performing in Royal Festival Hall, where amongst colourful balloons, they opened with "Amado Mio" and since that very moment my foot wouldn't stop tapping on the floor all the way to the end of the show!

As I was thinking that Royal Festival Hall was a good choice for this show because it's so open, with brilliant acoustics but we really needed to be in a dancing hall of some kind, Thomas and Storm went a step further and invited everybody to join them on stage for a little boogie.
And everyone went! No security, no diva-ish attitude, just good music and a vibrant beat to get everybody happy! 
Pearls and killer heels...had to be done for Pink Martini!

First, Storm Large with her sexy presence, powerful voice and impressive tattoo  across her back appeared straight from the start and took over singing and swaying in Spanish, Farsi, German, Italian, Turkish, Romanian and English off course...what a treat!

Then, I found out that the song I blast on my cd player, on the way to work in the mornings "And now I'm back" is actually based on Schubert's Fantasy in f-minor, with an "I will survive" beat, set in 50's Cuba, as Thomas explained! If only all of my work had such cool stories to go with it! 

To follow this revelation Timothy Nishimoto had us dreaming of Japanese cartoons flying across the stage blended with a 60's bosa-nova vibe in "ZunZunZun ZunZunZunDoko"! Oh! Thanks Ari Shapiro for clearing out what Storm's tattoo read : Lover. It did kinda bother me that I couldn't read it! Ari is the newest addition to the band, side-tracking from politics, to perform in a very sleek and talented manner. Oh he is good! And tall and a really nice guy, as everyone kept saying and he is looking for a flat in London...any offers?

That's another reason I like Pink Martini; they all wear many hats, following what they love the most. Finally, the Von Trapp children, an acapella group, grand kids of the original famous family, had us all going "lei-lo-lei-lo-lei-oh-oh"; give it a go, it's fun!

You got to love Pink Martini's down-to-earth approach when they deal with their audience paired with the most retro, vibrant and almost art deco glamorous performances; great combo if you ask me, keep making people happy guys! x

PS: Ari feel free to come over for dinner once you are settled in London, I dare say I am a rather good cook! 

Grasmere, Lake District

spectacular nature!

Half way up from London to Glasgow there is the fabulous Lake District. I had this image of melancholic rain around the lakes, rolling hills packed with rabbits (it did inspire Beatrix Potter back in the day!) and wet wet wet weather. Well, I wasn't far off but the scenery is ten times better than what you've heard of or imagined. No rabbits I'm afraid! And may I also add...you are in for a treat with the pictures we managed to take. The clouds and the hills were posing for us!

Our view from the breakfast room in Daffodil Hotel, Grasmere Lake

Houses on the hills around Grasmere. Spot the stream surrounding the house and pouring right into the field at the front?
It was raining the whole time we were there but somehow rain suits this place. Streams pop out of every little mountain slide. Low clouds hug the hills as they pass throughout the day. Such a romantic landscape! We stayed at the Daffodil Hotel & Spa, with its' quirky art and spectacular setting. We could hardly concentrate on breakfast; with every bite we were taking a peak at the spectacular scenery: lake Grasmere, hills covered in low puffy clouds and pairs of sheep munching away on grass in the rain, so serene! 

The Jumbleroom

Dinner was at the utterly childish Jumbleroom; bonbons and model planes hanging from the ceiling, kids books stacked on a shelf behind us, farmer & piglet salt & pepper set but grown up food! Sweet and soft pork belly bites, crab millefeulle, crispy sea bream on a bed of skordalia (spiced potato mash with garlic) and a very impressive, light and fluffy fish & chips! Still smiling at the thought of dinner in this place. We'll be back to hire a cottage and explore this romantic and tranquil part of the world and that's that! x


Lake Thirlmere

My Detox Diet Diary

Let's get one thing straight: I don't diet! But a bit of August-weddings, a bit of September-birthdays, a bit of October-travelling all piled up and I felt like giving my system a break!

I opted for "My Detox Diet", with the Juice-till-dinner option. I picked it because it allows you to have dinner, so it doesn't really feel like detoxing - within reason off course, provided you don't go out for a roast every evening! 

They have a great "before-9am" delivery service, so that you get to start day one with a lovely alkaline booster...you are not thinking "yummy", are you? OK, think grapefruit and pears then! You receive a fridge-like box filled with colourful juice bottles and a handwritten envelope addressed to you, with your daily plans included; it's a nice touch!
 
Day One...
"No Sweets" or actual food were not a problem for me, but "no salt" was; lunchtime was time for a broccoli, celery, cucumber concoction and although my skin was rejoicing just at the sound of these super charged anti-oxidants, my brain was missing the salt that comes with chewy food. That was before I had to drink the whole thing. I'm afraid to say that after having had about 500ml of the green monster I didn't actually feel like drinking anything else till dinner. It sounds childish, I know,  but it's all part of the tricks that your mind plays when you know you are not allowed something!
 
Beetroot-carrot drink in the name of "Raw superfood" came at a good time in the afternoon and since it contains natural sweeteners it's the midday booster your body needs. However the mind plays tricks (again) and despite its' deep red colour it doesn't taste like strawberries nor cherries...off course not, it's beetroot! 

Day Two...
You normally laugh it off when they tell you that coffee is addictive but here we are, second day of detox and I went straight for the coffee, only I took a detour and ended up with Utterly Fibre! Carrot, ginger and pear in other words - not great for breakfast I'm afraid! But then came the organic lemonade; regardless of the fact that there were no lemons involved, it was a great spicy orange and cayenne pepper afternoon pick-me-up.


Day Three...
I think this is the best-tasting morning drink of the whole lot! Maybe this Strawberry and oats smoothie is an attempt for positive reinforcement for making it to day three. It worked for me! What a lovely drink to start your day with. It's very filling so no naughty coffee thoughts till lunch. And to top it all off, the Virgin Mary comes to close your three day juice routine. I normally don't like Bloody Marys even when Tabasco and alcohol are involved so  you can imagine how I felt about the virgin version.

Three days later I can tell you that I am not entirely convinced that surviving on juice is natural. However, for a short period, your whole system can do with a break to cleanse and start absorbing nutrients more efficiently. On the upside you end up almost a kilo lighter but the best feeling for me was no bloating or sluggishness during the day, when you need to get on with work.
For it or against it - what do you think?   
 

The Phene, Chelsea

If you are after an urban garden to savour the last days of this very mild autumn we've been having, look no further than the Phene. Lodged in a tiny residential street in Chelsea, it's a good spot for lunch or drinks post King's Road shopping spree, or pre river-side strolling. 


In our case it started with an early birthday lunch...
so we could still spot the lovely Chelsea townhouses!

Very cosy interiors, grey tones and
a bookcase full of drinks! Perfect!
Bright red for fiery chit chat!

...and it lasted till it got dark.
Spot the outdoorsy fireplaces?
See, autumn in London is not all that depressing!  
© Life Love London

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