20 May 2013


The weekend after Oslo I was off to London to visit friends and celebrate my friend Karen's 40th birthday. It included a long planned trip to Heston Blumenthal's Restaurant, Dinner, in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, but more of that later.

My first day, after a lazy breakfast I headed into Islington to visit Loop. Can't go to London without visiting a knitting shop and this was my first visit to Loop. I would highly recommend it. In a new shop on Camden Passage, based over 2 floors, they have an amazing selection of yarns - Blue Sky Alpacas, Madeline Tosh, Shilasdair, Brown Sheep, Brooklyn Tweed, Isager, Habu, Quince & Co, Malabrigo, Rowan & Debbie Bliss etc. I, of course, had to have at least one embarrassing incident on any trip and this time it happened in Loop. I sat down on a chair to look at some of the knitting books and a leg fell off the chair and I fell on the floor.....oh well. 

But I would still recommend a visit to Loop, mishaps excepted. Yes they have lots of expensive yarn, but they also have lots of reasonably priced yarn and it is laid out beautifully and there are plenty of places to take a seat and be inspired. Camden Passage also has a lot of lovely little cafes you could visit, such as the lovely looking Issy's Milky Way.

That evening we headed to South Kensington and the Mandarin Oriental Hotel to eat at Dinner. It was a great dining experience, amazing food and great service in a lovely setting. We had cocktails in the bar before dinner and then headed to our table with a view over Hyde Park. I loved the light fittings which looked like old fashioned jelly molds. Karen's brother had bought a bottle of Prosecco for us all to share, which was lovely. For dinner I ate foie gras & liver pate that was made to look like a mandarin orange, an amazing steak withe mushroom ketchup and triple cooked chips and brown bread ice cream for dessert. Sorry - no photos, but take it from me, it looked as amazing as it tasted.

Saturday we wandered to the east end of London, to Shoreditch and Spitalfields, now trendy areas of the city with lots of bars and restaurants - and lots of vibrant street art.

Spitalfields is an old industrial part of the city, with particular association to the textiles sector, where Irish and Huguenot silk weavers settled in the 17th century. The 17th and 18th century saw the construction of a range of town houses where the master weavers lived, for example along Fournier Street. We had just missed the Huguenots of Spitalfield's Festival with lots of walks, talks and workshops. 

The houses in these streets and being returned to the original splendour, with traditional style street lamps, beautiful wooden windows, traditional wooden shutters and doorknobs. The houses form one of the most important collections of Georgian town houses in the UK. It is lovely to see them renovated.

Renovated homes.

Of course it hasn't all been renovated yet.

After our wander we headed to the English Restaurant, just opposite Spitalfields Market for afternoon tea, another birthday celebration and then onto the Commercial Tavern for drinks. 

And now time for some other random shots from London:

St Pancras Hotel


Bethany Hissong said...

I don't know how you could make a decision on what to order at dinner-- the menu looked amazing! (I love that they put what century the dish was from!). I also love to see renovation work wherever it is and I'm sure that whole area would have been very interesting to explore. Did you buy any yarn from Loop? I know...silly question! Olivia was just in London with her daughter (jojoCaramel blog) and so now I am DYING to go to London to sight-see!!! You both have found some amazing places to visit!

Bethany Hissong said...

Oh, I forgot to say that I love the Sherlock Holmes photo! I have to show Caroline!! :) And Olivia's daughter has been posting the photos on her blog: http://laboiteabazar.blogspot.com/ (my mistake).

Anne Marie said...

I forgot to tell you this in your last post: You make me want to visit my own town with your travel blog posts.

I want to travel after reading about your trip to London. It's been faved in case I go to London some time soon.

Theresa said...

What a great adventure!

ibb said...

Love your weekends out! I would love to visit London again...and that yarn shop would be great...
Take a look at my little shop!

Mimi @ hello shiso said...

You always have such great adventures, Di. Dinner must've been really interesting -- the menu is so unusual! (Luckily, I assume you're not a vegetarian!) It definitely looks like a destination spot!