Tuesday, 30 June 2009

The writing on the wall

I once was part owner of a cafe in Copenhagen and we had quite a lot of fun writing instructions for the costumers directly on the wall. (Our policy was to make them feel at home by making them do most of the work them selves). We mixed a lot of Gin & Tonics while writing and added silly things like ”this is a hole in the wall” and then drew an arrow pointing to a hole in the wall.
Why am I telling this?
I came across sort of the same thing in the über cool Mama Shelter hotel in Paris. This time Philip Starck has been playing with the paintbrush. I am not accusing him of plagiarism but merely suggesting that the best ideas will live forever.
I went to the 20th arrondissement to explore the hotel for an article for the Danish interior magazine Rum (www.rumid.dk). By the way the article is in the August issue.
I love it. Great place to hang out for lunch and drinks. The decor is so full of crazy details, humour – and it is still cosy and stylish. There is just one slight problem. All though the area is up-and -coming there isn’t really any Paris atmosphere around the hotel.
The price is good and the modern backpack shelter is definitely worth checking out, but I think I would still prefer Hotel Amour, which is both cool and close to “real” Paris.

Monday, 29 June 2009

Street poetry

I went around London looking for vintage shops the other day, but couldn't resist popping into LOFT on Westbourne Grove in Notting Hill. The clothes are simple, great quality and chic in the relaxed, typical French way. And I love that even the price tag on the organic T-shirts are printed on recycled paper. Actually I didn't mean to talk about the clothes, but wanted to point your attention to the frames on the wall. Very cool pictures and quotes in thin black frames and it feels really good to be greeted by a comment like "you look really good today".
You can find uplifting and thoughful words in the most surprising location. Take the street poetry in the dodgy end of Portobello Road.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Be curious…

I love the little shop Luna & Curious on Brick Lane.
It’s not just because my own daughter is extremely curious and called Luna.
The little interior shop has a truly unique range – from feather necklaces to tea cups with delicate butterflies. Everything is odd and pretty at the same time. Think rock chick turns romantic.
It always pays off to be curious and do some shopping around Brick Lane.
Last time I bought a great ceramic vase made by an English-Swedish artist in a cool, craft shop around the corner from Luna & Curious.
I have forgotten the name, but will stop by soon and bring you photo and address.
Until then I will remain curious!


Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Spots everywhere

This season is all about spots. The bigger the better, according to my weekly fashion gossip treat Grazia. I can only add that the trend is so big that spots are even dotted all over the trees on South Bank.
I have mixed feelings about the South Bank. There are too many tourists, grey buildings and average food chains. On the other hand the book marked under the bridge is always worth a visit, Hayward gallery has some interesting art exhibitions and some of the restaurants are actually pretty good. Like Belgian Le Pain de Quotidien and Feng Sushi. The take away sushi chain celebrated it’s 10 years anniversary last night. I went to the branch at the Royal Festival Hall for sustainable, delicious sushi bites and toasted the co-owner Sille, who is by the way Danish.

Ps. I did a bit of lobbying again and tried to make Feng Sushi open a take away branch in Richmond. It is after all a recession proof area and we desperately need some decent take away sushi.

www.lepainquotidien.co.uk www.fengsushi.co.uk

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Arty days - Per & Dorte!

Danish artists are making it big in London these days – from young, up and coming to the more established like Per Kirkeby, who after 50 years as a painter has his first ever mayor exhibition in London. Tate Modern is just so über cool and I couldn’t help feeling very patriotic when looking at his amazing paintings hanging there in the middle of London.
Another Danish painting is on display somewhere not quite as extravagant –a wall in my little house with the red door. One of my favourite artists Dorte Naomi has painted it.
Not yet on show anywhere else in London. But when I had it framed the lady in the shop got so many requests that I am sure it’s just a matter of time.
Any way if you happen to be in Copenhagen there is a change to see more of Dorte Naomi’s poetic, dramatic play with demons and masks at the interesting gallery Falkener Project’s summer exhibition (until July the 3rd).

Per Kirkeby - Tate Modern until September the 12th.

Falkener Project Fredericiagade 10, kld. 1310 København K.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Head for the heights

The waiter at George (top of the Centre Pompidou in Paris) did laugh a bit when we acted like tourists (which we by the way were), when we got up in the middle of our champagne to admire the blinking lights at the Eiffel Tower.
Normally I would have felt like an over the top tourist. But it was just a perfect way to end a day in Paris.
I used to made an effort to try to blend in with the locals, but I have discovered there's something joyful in following the crowds especially, when it comes to bars in high places.
Spots and places don't just become tourist attractions for nothing. And there is something truly magical about sunset, cocktails and a view of a city.
I thought about the Paris trip the other day when I found my self on a terrace at Tate Modern overlooking the Thames and the odd mixture of buildings in London skyline on the other side. Sipping wine in the company of fun and interesting people. On the way there we even had a pit stop drink on the 8th floor at Oxo Tower.
So despite my vertigo I am now aiming for the heights.
I just have one rule. Never look down.

P.s. Will soon be testing the new roof top bar at Conran's Boundary!

Monday, 15 June 2009

Got it – part 2

I also got so many great presents and you know your friends love you, when they turn up with the gorgeous and super cool Taschen’s Paris and Taschen’s New York.
That’s how you make books for city lovers.
Check them out in Taschen’s shop on The Duke of York Square on Kings Road in London, in other big cities or on www.taschen.com

Got it!

Just want to bring a small update. I found the dress!
I had to sneak into the dangerously expensive Matches, where I haven't dared to go for ages.
But I had several good reasons. 1) You only turn 40 ones. 2) On that day my paper was running a cover story “Recession is over”. Those few magical words can easily be transformed to “ It's time to wake up the shopaholic from hibernation”.
In the meantime my branch in Richmond have started stocking more of the "less expensive" design from sister brands like Marc by Marc Jacobs.
So at my party I danced for four hours in my new peach See by Chloé dress in a pair of too high sandals from last year. Sometime new + last season = recession proof.
As a result my feet are sore and covered in blisters. But it's worth it.
I do however wonder if I should also have bought those tower high, fantastic, gold Louboutin I was given as "test" shoes when trying on the dress.
Maybe you don't get blisters in the Louboutin world. You never hear Carrie complains

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Weird and wonderful

One of the best and most inspirational newsletters about life in London (and other cities) is the one from Le Cool. The small Spanish company have lots of locals scouting for great cafes, exhibitions, films and clubs and bars. They call them selves weird and wonderful… and so they are. I also love the “Weird and wonderful” guidebook, which they started publishing last year. Le Cool is a must if you are going to Madrid or Barcelona and need cool insider tips.


Tuesday, 9 June 2009

A place to go but not at all dressed up

There are days when even London’s amazing range of shopping let you down. Just returned from such a day. As my big birthday party approaches my hunt for the dress gets more and more desperate.
I must say I had high hopes when I headed for fabulous Harvey Nichols. But even though the city seems to be wearing nothing but dresses I couldn’t find a single one I liked. Okay maybe one in Marni, where the prices don’t match a recessionista’s shopping style. And I will spare you for details on all the reasons for ditching the other frocks from Vivienne Westwood, Vanessa Bruno etc. But it had to do with various parts of my body. At one point I was even trapped inside an orange dress in All Saints. I was so wrapped up in the various layers of fabric I nearly shouted “get me out of here”. I managed to pull it off and pull my self together.
Afterwards my attempt to find a fashionable, cheap copy in Zara failed too.
But luckily there is my new back-up LBD (little black dress) supplier – Whistles. Ever since Jane Shepardson (TopShop guru) took over the brand just gets more and more exciting.

Stylish mezze plate

The new chain Lebanais Comptoir is everything I have been waiting for when it comes to fast food.
The menu offers fresh, delicious, organic food and all the classic Lebanese favourites that will excite my taste buds. From the hummus (spelled hommos), the aubergine dip Baba Ganusj to slow cooked Tagines with lamb, prune, cinnamon and ginger served with cous-cous.
For those of us who can’t make up our mind and want to try everything on the menu the safe bet is always a mezze plate.
Labanais Comptoir is both a canteen and a deli and it is chic with a touch of 70ies style.
The prizes are really cheap and so far I can only complain about the fact that the closer of the two branches (a third one is opening soon) is in the gigantic shopping mall Westfield. The building might be beautiful and almost spacey designed, but I hate these big places.
Anyway there is always the other option 65 Wigmore Street.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Cool tiles

By the way check out those funky coloured tiles in High Road Brasserie. They have almost become talk of town. Too bad I am renting a house and can’t make that kind of major changes.
They can also be found in Copenhagen in my home country in the new restaurant Aamans Etablissement, where the décor and design is made by Superspace.
Head for the toilets.


Two for one deal

I went for breakfast and returned with a vintage Eames chair. It’s a very convenient coincidence that one of my favourite restaurants High Road Brasserie in Chiswick is right next door to the The Old Cinema – a truly cool furniture shop with some interesting pieces of furniture – vintage, retro and antiques. The little shop- in-shop with vintage clothes is like visiting your hip grandmothers walk-in-closet
The Old Cinema has a great collection of old world map and good stuff coming in on a regular basis, which is an excellent excuse for browsing every time visiting the restaurant next door.

The Old Cinema, 160 Chiswick High Road, London W4 1PR www.theoldcinema.co.uk

High Road Café, 162 - 166 Chiswick High Road
London W4 1PR

Tea's Me, please!

You should have included this in your book, complained my new friend.
She was absolutely right.
Tea’s Me is one of those small hidden places that deserves to be found. This little Notting Hill café - just of Ladbroke Grove few minutes walk from the station – would definitely have made it into my book if I had only known about it back then.
To make it up to the readers I am recommending Tea’s Me as the very first thing on my blog.
It’s tiny, stylish, charming and stuffed with personality thanks to the owner Carla.
I completely get why this is a favourite among the locals. I am going back to enjoy hummus for lunch or afternoon tea served in beautiful floral china in pastel colours. But most of all I am going back for another chat with Carla. With so many Starbucks and other chains around it is such a pleasure to meet a passionate owner of an independent café. Sitting around one big table makes the visit even more personal. Like having tea in Carla’s private kitchen.
And her love of art is also worth mentioning. Check out the quirky piece with spinning teacup hanging on the wall.

Tea’s Me, 129 A Ladbroke Grove, Notting Hill (Tube: Ladbroke Grove)