Friday, August 30, 2013

THE WALDORF HILTON, LONDON

On our way back from Finland to New York we had one day layover in London. We had booked an apartment again, but once we got there it was just not what we expected. So we cancelled our reservation right there and started walking around looking for a decent hotel. The first one to come around just happened to be the Waldorf. After some negotiations with the front desk we got the price down and stayed our one night in town in a very comfortable suite with access to the executive lounge for free snacks, drinks and breakfast. Perfection.

Our room was very clean, quite large and the bathroom spacious with rainfall shower head. Bedroom had comfortable king bed and desk. Our windows faced the main street, but we could not hear any street noise and slept our night really well.
The Waldorf Hilton is located in the heart of the theater district within short walk to Covent Garden, which is where we enjoyed our last dinner in London. 

LONDON FOOD

Even London is not known for it's food, I must say that every single meal we had was amazing. Even outside London in Hampshire, where we spent a day with new friends. Of course, we had to try Korean restaurants, twice, while out there and yes, I was impressed. First one was modern Bi Bim Bap in Soho where they had nice selection of vegetarian dishes such as the above kimchi bibimbap and kimchi pancakes pictured below.
Our local friend Danny took us to one of his favorite places, Carom at Meza, but as it turned out, they had changed the entire concept and we're now Pan Indian instead of Mediterranean. It was a gorgeous place so we stayed anyway. Happy we did since the food was amazing.
Mango lassi to start. Yes, it had vodka and brandy in it. Amazing!
DAHI BELLAE, lentil dumplings, yoghurt, chutney
PANEER & PEA CURRY, Saffrani pilau rice. I also had dessert, but for some reason it disappeared from my plate faster than I could snap a picture. I had Kulfi Sampler with pistachio & lychee. Kulfi is Indian ice cream.
The next day we had lunch at Harrod's Galvin Demoiselle. Harrod's had impressive food court, but otherwise I wasn't excited about the store. Not my cup of tea. I prefer flea markets, ya know.
Appetizers.
Delicious wild mushroom risotto. So good. I'm a huge fan of risottos, but unfortunately very few places get it just right. Risotto is a complex dish despite it's simplicity. Galvin Demoiselle got it right. Yum!
InSpiral in Camden Town is a place I must visit next time. Raw, organic vegetarian spot right by the canal.
After browsing back and front Camden Market we stopped by Cotton's Caribbean Restaurant for beverages and meaningful conversations with strangers. We sat in the table outside with a couple that was going to move to Sierra Leone to teach locals about the importance of organic, plant-based foods, sustainability and how you should "let thy food be your medicine". Awesome people.
Yup, yet another Korean restaurant, Assa. Extremely friendly and flexible service, delicious kimchee, tofu and pancakes. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

VICTORIA ONE APARTMENTS IN WESTMINSTER, LONDON

Our one week in London we had booked an apartment in Westminster. This one bedroom (+den) penthouse flat of a small apartment building (Victoria One)had full service kitchen with all tools and gadgets you could wish for, washer/dryer and a dining table. The apartment had beautiful hardwood floors except in the bedroom, heated bathroom floor (yay!), towel warmers and a huge balcony. 
Den with sofa bed and desk for working. Perfect for bringing the entire family!
We liked the quiet area. It was fun to walk in the empty streets at night. We basically walked everywhere from here: the Piccadilly Circus, River Thames, Soho, Buckingham Palace etc. So much walking. Felt good.
We also had free wifi, but it was not working too well. I would definitely stay here again if we come back to London!

OUR BUBBLE AND SQUEAK IN LONDON : OUR WEEK IN LONDON

Old Pot And Pan 'ad Kathy Burke meetings in London wite before our vacation so I decided ter tag along yet again. I explored the bleedin' city of London for Bo-le Of Glue days by myself before 'e was able ter join me. We also 'ad local guide/old China Plate Danny who showed us the bloomin' Mae West nickle and dime ever. Our beautiful flat was in Westminster which i'll review mashed potato on. In the meanwhile enjoy the photos. (written in Cockney)
And so that you non-Londoners can understand: Husband had work meetings in London right before our vacation so I decided to tag along yet again. I explored the city of London by myself for two days before he was able to join me. We also had a local guide/old friend Danny who showed us the best time ever. We spent week in London and stayed in a really nice apartment in Westminster, which I'll review at some point. 
London was beautiful, clean, homey, pleasant, polite, cars were small and drove like crazy and I had to run for my life at all times, weather was warm sunny every single day opposite my expectations, there were way less dogs on the streets than I'm used to, everything was quite expensive and all food we had was excellent (more about our culinary experiences in London later on).
Big Ben
Parliament Buildings near Big Ben
Outside The National Gallery
We loved London! Hope to be back real soon!
P.S. Any readers from Amsterdam? We might be coming for a little trip over there in the next couple of weeks. It would be my first time in Netherlands so any tips on restaurants and things to see are welcome. Also, any blogs from Amsterdam? Or just blog posts about Amsterdam? I'm planning on getting to know the city before I get there so I can get everything out of it in just three short days...

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

WELLNESS WEDNESDAY : BACK AT HOT VINYASA YOGA


I had two week break from yoga while traveling and yes, I missed it. I did my last class the morning of our flight ensuring that I would sleep tight the entire flight from Newark to London, which I did. Those are just the best flights. You close your eyes and when you wake up you're already there. I have great sleeping skills, but hot yoga class always helps to get me to deep sleep fast.
The day after we arrived back home I was already back at the yoga studio. My first class was grueling. It was too hot, too many chaturangas, I felt jetlag-kind-of-tired, I had no upper body strength, I didn't have enough water to drink and everything just sucked. But I thanked the universe at the end and was happy that I came anyway. Namaste.
The next day I went for my second class. This teacher was kind enough to turn off the heat in the room once we started the class since it was already 90 degrees outside. In this class I flowed with ease and really felt the benefits of taking that two week break. Movement was beautiful, I was at peace, confident and energetic. Totally different feel from the day before. I didn't need breaks and only drank half my water. I also got into crow pose without problems for the first time and handstand didn't feel as scary as it normally does (I have fear of head- and hand stands).


Yoga also helps me getting back to eating better and drinking more water. During our vacation I immediately started noticing my skin getting bad and breaking out from too much sweets, dairy (that heavenly chanterelle soup...) and wine. After two yoga classes and tons of water it's already back to normal. It's pure magic. Forget those Proactives and other crappy products! It's all about what you put in your body and how you eliminate it!
P.S. Any readers from Amsterdam? We might be coming for a little trip over there in the next couple of weeks. It would be my first time in Netherlands so any tips on restaurants and things to see are welcome. Also, any blogs from Amsterdam? Or just blog posts about Amsterdam? I'm planning on getting to know the city before I get there so I can get everything out of it in just three short days...