Tag Archives: Tate Britain

A day at Vauxhall

What on earth can one do in Vauxhall, I hear you ask. Surprise, surprise, one can have a perfectly nice day of culture, food, shopping and some fun for the wee ones too.

About 10 minute walk from the station is Tate Britain where you can always find something great to see, right now The Pre-Raphaelites and Turner Prize shows are on, or just a stroll through their wonderful permanent galleries and some truly fab shopping in the museum shop.

Five minutes from the station the little ones can enjoy this sweet small city farm with ponies, horses, alpacas, goats and chickens as well as a vegetable garden and some play area.

Afterward head to the delightfully decorated Brunswick House Cafe for delicious lunch or drink.

The cafe, located in a beautiful Georgian house, shares the space with the most amazing salvage yard – Lassco. They renovated and recreated the house, every room has its purpose and is bursting with great architectural antiques and curiosities. Need a house number or a door knob from a specific era? That’s your shop.

After a quick glimpse at the MI6 building (featured in several Bond movies, including Skyfall) hop back on the train home satisfied.

Tate Britain:

Millbank, SW1P 4RG

Vauxhall City Farm:

Spring Gardens, SE11 5HS

Open Wednesday to Sunday, 10.30-16.00, free entry.

Lassco and Brunswick House Cafe:

30 Wandsworth Road, SW8 2LG

Past week

I spoke too soon, after surprisingly smooth and pleasant chat with the taxman I found some spare time this afternoon so here are few things that I have been up to lately.

Cold times call for cakes and tea. Two favourites this months are raspberry and pistachio Victoria sponge for M’s birthday and Raymond Blanc’s lemon drizzle cake, which is absolutely the best lemon cake ever. Ever.

I am so in love with my new Whistles panther jeans worn with neon bangle and Petit Bateau stripy top. I only wish for warmer weather so I can still wear small jackets. Big coats are not my thing.

The boy got treated to the softest fluffiest orange cashmere gloves by his Dad and I finally said enough to those horrid first shoes and got him a pair of lovely desert booties from Clarks Originals. Of course the first thing he did was stepping into mud and grabbing filth.

Freddie’s cousins came to play and I cooked up some play dough and got out my cake decorating accessories, some cookie cutters and rolling pins. They were busy for hours.

I went to see the Pre-Raphaelites exhibition at Tate Britain, it was good but very packed. I was so happy to see William Morris’ designs including a lovely desk, cray fabric and the tulip and willow pattern. There were many pictures by Ford Maddox Brown, probably my favourite of them all and one lovely Mouse painting by Rosa Brett. I am not crazy about the Pre-Raphaelites movement but what I like is the colour, I just couldn’t stop staring at the greens and teal. However if you do like them it will be a treat, the show is very well edited and there is a great representation of women painters.

I am slowly gearing up for the pre Christmas posts, there will be gift guides, events and recipes. Stay tuned!

July things

I can’t believe it is already July, it certainly doesn’t feel like July, where is the sun and blue skies? What’s with the greyness and rain? Well, we have to do something so here are our plans and things we did so far if you’d like to know.

The garden update: hollyhocks have opened, I am so proud of this giant, I grew it from a tiny seed and this one is the only survivor of slug wars 2011; more hollyhocks have been planted this year and are all doing well. French beans are climbing beautifully and have the lovliest red flowers, unfortunately following Monty Don’s advise of putting some seeds directly in the soil didn’t work, they came up nice and fast but got nibbled on by the chief enemy.

We did some shopping and got ourselves a smart watering can, it was a great find and cost only £24 at Garsons Farm as opposed to £40 for an old battered thing from Petersham or A French Life. We also visited the local car boot sale and brought home this very nice planter and a jug for the garden at a whopping total of £5.

Charity shop crawl resulted in this great indoor plant pot and Monica Dickens’ One Pair of Feet. I must admit I hardly ever go to charity shops anymore, they are so expensive especially in the crockery department, thanks Mary Portas!

We baked mini banana breads and Freddie had them with ‘milk’ in an egg cup.

Of course we had our monthly visit to Petersham Nurseries for some cake and drooled over plants and accessories but came home empty-handed. I will go back for some succulents for my new plant pot though.

Beauty genius cream – Neal’s Yard Wild Rose Beauty Balm. Since I weaned Freddie completely back in April the hormones went absolutely berserk and I struggled with painful outbreaks. One day I stopped by the shop and was given a couple of samples, miracle happened, it took about four nights and my skin was back to normal.

Plans: Catching Picasso at Tate Britain before it ends on the 15th, maybe also getting to see British Design at V&A and Munch at Tate Modern; watching Moonrise Kingdom; visiting Chelsea Physics Garden; visiting NGS’s allotments this weekend; reading some Alexander McCall Smith; lots of DIY.

Have you got any exciting plans this month? I need some inspiration so please share!


What have I (not) managed to acheive in my week off

The cold dragged on and on and turned into a chest infection so most of my plans for the week off went out of the window. I was tired and to keep the bub happy I wasn’t allowed to take any medicine, not even cough syrup!

- I sold our glass table on ebay which means the desk is now our table till we find a new one

- I am enjoying Justine Picardie’s Coco Chanel biography, it is a very informative, well researched and written book

- I have iron deficiency so I have to go heavy on red meat and broccoli, I am fan of neither. I have gone through few recipe books and picked some exciting looking stews and roasts, beef ragu for dinner tonight

- I am craving sweets, I could just eat ice cream and chocolate but that would be silly. Instead I reminded myself of semolina, I used to eat a lot of it as a child, this time the recipe is slightly adjusted, I make it with soya milk and water with addition of vanilla beans and honey. For the topping I stewed white peaches with a bit of sugar and vanilla bean. Delicious!

- I managed to spend proper quality time with few of my friends, a huge bonus!

- went to see Muybridge at Tate Modern which is a very good exhibition, history of photography fascinates me and Muybridge was a big part of it, more of a scientist and explorer than an artist. Besides, he was a rather interesting person, he shot his wife’s lover and got acquitted of the murder, apparently back in the days this was considered a perfectly reasonable behavior.

- watched another episode of Nigella Kitchen and now she is just irritating me, what she prepares is one step up from student food, I do get amused by her fake friends though!

- I finished a baby jumper but it came out so wonky hubby and I had a good laugh about it. I need to redo it else my baby will look like a right old hippie.

- this is the bump week 28, I can’t believe I am in my last trimester. the baby likes all sort of classical music especially clavichord, he goes crazy when I play tunes from Barry Lyndon, in particular Funeral of Queen Mary

- I didn’t go to all the other exhibitions I was planning to go to, I missed Exposed altogether (I did manage to catch Sargent on its last day though)

- I didn’t go to the cinema once, this is a bummer, I love going to the cinema in the afternoon

- I didn’t go to First Thursday

I just hate being sick.


It’s the time of the year when the summer exhibitions end and autumn blockbusters start. I haven’t seen much this summer so a slight panic set this week followed by manic planning of the upcoming weekend to try to catch the best shows.

Here is my rather condensed list:

Tate Modern: Exposed, recommended by many

Tate Britain: Muybridge, this one runs till January so plenty of time left

Royal Academy: Sargent and the Sea, on till Sunday, a must go

And few things I am really looking forward to:

Diaghilev and the Golden Age of Ballets Russes, 1909-1929


Treasures from Budapest

Quality time with myself

Lately all my weekends were packed with chores, last week I was on a shoot which left me exhausted so I took two days off and decided to only do things I really want to do.

My plans were ambitious but as the baby is growing fast now I get tired faster than before so I did about half what I intended.

I went to Tate Britain to see the very funny Rude Britannia exhibition, I knew there will be a number of Hogarths but to my absolute delight they had Rake’s Progress which I always love to see. There was a lot of David Shrigley too who I find hilarious.

Reading room at Rude Britannia

It’s a great show for everyone who likes politics, history and humour, a well spent hour indeed.

Afterward I wandered to the newly opened Chelsea Space and had a quick peak at the current exhibition. There were some colorful windmills outside.

I had a house viewing later on and planned to go to the movies after but when I got home I just had enough.

On my second day off I had more grand plans, Tate Modern and Borough Market in the morning and a movie in the afternoon. I had to stop a little, I spent the morning at home.

I started knitting a baby hat.

And I baked Nigel Slater’s peach pie which was delicious.

Re-energised I took the bump outside to see a film. Here it is, just started to show at 18 weeks.

My outing was very pleasant, I went to see Gainsbourg – a great biopic. Beautifully made and so well cast. A real pleasure to watch.

And there is still whole weekend ahead!

One fine weekend

Yesterday was a very exciting day, I got to meet Miranda from Skirmishofwit. We met in Hamspstead and headed to Ginger and White cafe for a blissful afternoon of tea, cakes and wonderful conversation. It was great to meet you Miranda and I am really looking forward to see you again soon!

Ginger and White serve everything on Poole two tone crockery which I absolutely adore.

Later on I met hubby in China Town and went to see A Single Man. I didn’t love it so I will try to dissect it a little. The acting was very good, especially Julianne Moore and Nicholas Hoult, Colin Firth was not bad either. The story is very interesting, exploring a day in life of George Falconer who decides to kill himself after loosing his partner in a car accident. I thought Tom Ford didn’t show enough of George’s pain, the film is edited with way too much focus on beauty shots which make it look like a perfume commercial, and not much on George’s feelings, there are nice touches where the colors change as Falconer is happy or sad but I could not see his real suffering. It is definitely worth seeing but it left me a bit disappointed.  What didn’t disappoint is the set designing which was absolutely amazing as well as Hoult’s mohair jumper. I’d like to read the book as I really believe the story is too good to be judged by Ford’s film.

Time for dinner, we found a real gem in Lisle Street, a cottage – like Taiwanese place which had steaming dumplings in the window and a queue outside, always a good sign, it is called Leong’s Legend. After waiting for 5 minutes we were lead up a very narrow staircase to our table. The atmosphere was lovely with dim lights and wooden interior.

The food was delicious: steamed bao with pork, crab and ginger with a tiny bit of roe on the top, Beijing dumplings, duck pancakes with plum sauce and squid with ginger, chillies and garlic. A real feast for very little and they serve beer in bowls!

I have finished Gaskell’s North and South which I enjoyed enormously. She is so good with describing characters and places. The South was all warm, sunny and described with yellows and reds while the North had depressing grey and blue-ish feel to it. The story is beautifully written with a lot of detail making a precise picture of a Victorian industrial town. There is a bit of humor in the novel as well, the author calls the northern county Darkshire. I cannot wait to reach for Wives and Daughters next.

Today we cycled to Tate Britain, mainly to see Henry Moore exhibition. We meandered through the main gallery rooms and discovered a Francis Bacon room. I really believe if you get lost you can always learn something interesting. What we learned today was that in the 1920s and 30s Francis Bacon was a very talented interior decorator, inspired by the Cubists he designed a screen and few very attractive rugs.

The Henry Moore show was truly amazing, from early sculptures of primitive masks and bodies through reclining women, mother and child series to war time sketches of miners and people in underground shelters. By walking around the works you can discover the real angle and see the shapes of human bodies. He was very respectful of his materials, he carefully carved shapes out of stones till the real shape got revealed. This is a must see show, the curators did an excellent job by bringing all those wonderful works together.

As we were at Tate we decided to see Chris Ofili’s show too but this turned to be so underwhelming after seeing Moore’s and Bacon’s works that we left promptly.

A year of art

So this is my last sum-up of the year…

As usual, London delivered some amazing exhibitions this year  however not as many as the couple of previous years, here is a brief list of my favorite ones:

Funny and smart works of John Baldessari at Tate Modern.



Amazing paintings by Elizabeth Payton at Whitechapel Gallery.


A great introduction to Futurism at Tate Modern.


My favorite photography exhibition – André Kertész On Reading at The Photographer’s Gallery.


Sunning works at Turner and the Masters at Tate Britain.


And I still must catch Ed Ruscha at Hayward, Norman Parkinson at Somerset House and RA’s Jacob Epstein, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska and Eric Gill. Let alone all the upcoming shows, my new year’s resolutions should be: don’t leave too many shows till the last minute!

The importance of being ruthless

I had a great day today and yesterday, I have posted near to 30 items on ebay and they caused a stir! Fingers crossed all will sell which will give my wardrobe much needed breathing space. I have decided that if I haven’t worn something for a year or longer I will never wear it again and it must go. I have also revisited the boxes of designer treasures that are not such treasures now I look at them, no classics, time to go. My fashion investments will remain in the bag and shoe stock.

I have loaded a bag for charity shop and will deliver it to Oxfam with all the ebay failures.

You know all the tasks that get put away like mending your clothing, polishing shoes and sewing missing buttons on? They have been staring at me from the depths of my wardrobe for some time and yesterday I finally faced them all at the same time. Such a relief.

I have invested into a small catering business in Philippines on Kiva. I really hope these ladies do well.

I have purchased two nice belts from All Saints, in brown and black leather. They are my only sales hunts so far, unfortunately the other belt sold out so I don’t have a picture.


I have really cracked on with my book pile, I have managed to read:

High Raise the Roof Beam, Carpenters by J.D. Salinger

Seymour an Introduction by J.D. Salinger

Nine Stories by J.D.Salinger

I know it is a lot of Salinger but he is such a good writer, I also found out that he is still alive, 100 years old!

The Most Beautiful Woman in Town by Charles Bukowski

The Faithful River by Stefan Zeromski

I have decided to put away Ulysses and The Corporation, at least for now.

So the only remaining books left are Tropic of Capricorn and some Chekhov stories and plays. This means I will be able to move onto some brand new books very soon. Really looking forward to it.

I have watched the 2 new episodes of Cranford and am awaiting the DVD of the first series, I might even start reading the books. I am quite glad I have not discovered it earlier because I am in real need of a costume drama fix.

I have made it to Tate Britain today to see the wonderful Turner and the Masters show, they had some amazing Rembrandts and Canalettos. I also checked out the Turner Prize which is definitely better than last year’s and glimpsed at some beautiful sculptures in the hall. This reminds me of few more exhibitions I must see and the time is running out. Especially for Ed Ruscha at The Hayward (Friday 6.00-10.00pm two for one deal) on till the 10th of January, Maharaja at V&A till 17th January and Jacob Epstein, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska and Eric Gill at The Royal Academy till 24th January. I knew I left it too late and now will have to rush.


The Mill by Rembrandt

And tomorrow I will have to take it easy….

Art Etc

Last week, having managed to see all the exhibitions from my list I felt rather pleased with myself. Two days later the Tate magazine arrived announcing the autumn schedule, I scanned through all the galleries and here is my new to see list:

Tate Modern: Pop Life show will include Kippenberg, Koons, Warhol and Hirst to name a few. There will be also a John Balderssari show and Miroslaw Balka will take over the Turbine Hall.

It seems to be the season of Pop Art, The Hayward Gallery is having a retrospective of Ed Ruscha paintings, this should be good!

Tate Britain: Turner and The Masters, I am really looking forward to this show, it will include old masters like Rubens and Rembrandt. I would suggest to visit this exhibition bit later in the autumn as it will be packed in the opening weeks. The gallery will hold the annual Turner Prize show too.

Somerset House is hosting Norman Parkinson: A Very British Glamour, expect a visual feast of some of the best fashion pictures ever taken. I must admit, I have never been to this venue, it has been on my list for ages. Now is the time to go.

Victoria and Albert Museum: Maharaja show, I really hope this is good, the last few times I went the exhibitions looked tempting but failed to deliver. The last one that I really enjoyed was The Golden Age of Couture which I went to see twice.

Royal Academy of Arts, probably my least favorite museum in London, will hold Anish Kapoor show. Looks very interesting.

National Gallery is showing a major exhibition of Spanish painting and sculpture from 17th century, Velazques and Zurbaran are among the artists. The Sacred Made Real show opens in October. This is my favorite gallery in London, I often go in and spend hours looking at the paintings from their permanent collection.

The White Cube Hoxton Square and Mason’s Yard will hold Anselm Kiefer and Damien Hirst shows respectively.

Fashion and Textile Museum have got Foale and Tuffin retrospective. I saw few designs of this iconic company few years ago at the V&A and loved every piece they produced.

British Museum:  Revolution on paper, Mexican prints 1910-1960. This is a real highlight for me.

I did miss one exhibition this summer which was Banksy vs Bristol Museum however Purple Cloud documented it very well so I feel like I have been there. Have a look here.