Category Archives: London

Castles & Palaces - London

Exploring Osterley Park & House

Osterley Park & House

Here I am with another post on a dusty old house. I didn’t think I’d get into visiting historic houses and manors around the city until I was well into my retirement years. But I guess there is a 65-year-old in me that wants to go out now and explore them all. Plus who knows where I or the houses will be by the time I get to pension age!

Osterley Park & House Osterley Park & House Osterley Park & House

I visited Osterley Park and House during its low season, which meant only one part of the house was open and the gardens were out of bloom. Still there was enough to explore and the park itself is lovely for a walk.

Osterley Park & House

Osterley Park & House Osterley Park & House Originally built as a Tudor house in the 1570s, it was acquired by a rich banker in 1713, who saw it as the perfect way to impress and show off to his friends, enemies and clients. His grandson got Robert Adam (the go-to neoclassical architect, interior designer and furniture designer of the 18th century) to remodel and transform Osterley into the impressive neo-classical country estate we can still explore today

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As mentioned, only four rooms were open during my visit and one of those was the entrance hall that was used to welcome the above mentioned friends and clients to dinners, parties and balls and a slap to the face of the enemies. It probably also reminded those lucky enough to enter that they’d never attain this level of wealth.

Osterley Park & House Osterley Park & House Osterley Park & House

The house has also been used as filming location for shows and movies since the 1940s and you might have seen it in Young Victoria, Mansfield Park or Alan Partridge. But I mainly recognised it as Wayne Manor in The Dark Knight Rises. Nolan filmed quite a few scenes there, including the library with the secret door / book cabinet that leads to the secret Bat Cave.

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The impressing continues with the formal garden with a number of little nooks. There is the Tudor Walled vegetable garden, the most adorable Garden House filled with all the Instagram friendly plants and a floral garden that must have been perfect to parade around.

Osterley Park & House

While I did see a lot I still want to go back during the high season to explore The Long Gallery, The Tapestry Room and the Kitchen.

Osterley Park & House is a 20-minute walk from Osterley Underground Station on the Piccadilly Line.

London - Movies & TV - Seen & Done

30+ London Places That Actually Look Like A Wes Anderson Film

accidentally wes anderson london

Anderson has a special place in my heart. His distinctive visual style, with complementary colour palettes and symmetrical framing makes his movies a treat for the eye and not to mention Instagram worthy. And thanks to #accidentallywesanderson we can find thousands of curated images of places that look like they could be a screengrab from one of his many films. Think a mustard yellow lighthouse, a pastel orange store front or a bright pink bowling alley, to name but a few.

I have too often shouted ‘that’s so Wes Anderson!’ when spotting something that could be a backdrop in one of his movies. And today I’m sharing some real places in London whose colour palette or even fonts could be straight out of a Wes Anderson movie.

The Screen on the Green, Islington

accidentally wes anderson london

Victoria Underground Station, Victoria

accidentally wes anderson london

Kew Palace, Richmondaccidentally wes anderson london

Senate House, Holborn

accidentally wes anderson london

Bexleyheathaccidentally wes anderson london

Victoria & Albert Musuem, South Kensington

accidentally wes anderson london

Tower Hill Station, Tower Hill

accidentally wes anderson londonFloring Court, Clerkenwell  accidentally wes anderson london

Kenwood House, Hampstead

accidentally wes anderson london

Borough Market, London Bridgeaccidentally wes anderson london

Camberwellaccidentally wes anderson london

Shadwell

Martini Bar, Barbican Centre

Chelseaaccidentally wes anderson london

Russell Square, Holbornaccidentally wes anderson london

Market Hall Victoria, Victoriaaccidentally wes anderson london

Fresh Fish Daily, Paddingtonaccidentally wes anderson london

Alexandra Palace, Muswell Hillaccidentally wes anderson london

Christ Church, Hampsteadaccidentally wes anderson london

Islington Assembly Hall, Islingtonaccidentally wes anderson londonFulham Palace, Fulham

accidentally wes anderson londonPophams, Arcade Food Theatre

accidentally wes anderson london

Horniman Museum, Forrest Hillaccidentally wes anderson london

accidentally wes anderson london

Victoriaaccidentally wes anderson london

Kentish Townaccidentally wes anderson london

East Dulwich Picture Gallery, Dulwichaccidentally wes anderson londonCurzon, Bloomsbury accidentally wes anderson london

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Officeaccidentally wes anderson london

Imperial Hotel, Bloomsburyaccidentally wes anderson london

Wallace Collection, Maryleboneaccidentally wes anderson london

Maryleboneaccidentally wes anderson london

Eltham Palace, Elthamaccidentally wes anderson london

Islington Fire Station, Islington

Natural History Museum, South Kensington

The Forum, Kentish TownCamberwell Public Baths, Camberwell

 

London

The Things I’m Really Really Really Looking Forward To Doing On A Regular Basis Again

With ‘the new normal’ and the speed of things changing here in the UK I’m not sure when and how, but these are some of the things I’ll be looking forward to doing on a regular basis.

Go Swimming

It’s not like I went swimming every week, but every once in a while when I needed to clear my head I would go to the pool and do a few laps. Initially I just missed it, but since swimming has been added to Animal Crossing I’ve been longing for some front crawl so sooooo bad. The pools are re-opening from next week on, but the hassle of having to shower at home and having to walk with wet hair is putting me off. Maybe when it’s sunnier?

Thrift Shopping

Sure there is eBay and all the apps. But on there I only tend to search for the brands and sizes I’m familiar with to avoid mishaps. All I want is a kilo sale and the sounds of hangers being moved, feeling the fabrics and rummaging through boxes for that hidden gem. But again, not anytime soon.

Visit a Historic House

I save these for Spring and early Summer, so I get to enjoy the flowering gardens that usually come with. And I can’t wait to go explore historic houses, palaces and castles. With the ‘season’ being very short this year I need to start planning. Ham House, Fenton House and William Morris Gallery are top of my list and I’m keeping an eye on when and how they return.

Go on a Walk

This is the one I need most. I’ve walked every street in this neighbourhood and haven’t spotted anything new in WEEKS! I really feel like getting back on the bigger routes like Green Chain Walk, Jubilee Greenway or Capital Ring. Now they really want to get us back on public transport, this one should be crossed off real soon.

Hit up a Food Market

I can get a lot delivered and have been enjoying making a lot of things, but nothing beats going to a food market, looking around at the different stalls and trying to decide if you’re going for something familiar or new while keeping an eye open for a dessert to fall in love with.

What things are you looking forward to doing again?

London

Lockdown Walks in Camberwell + Surrounding

Since lockdown began I’ve been going for daily walks around the block for a break from the screen, a bit of fresh air and to see some green, and then on the weekend I’d do some bigger walks to the surrounding neighbourhoods.

I initially just walked to and around a nearby park, but once the lockdown kicked in it got too busy to keep distance and enjoy, so I switched to exploring side streets and some smaller local parks. The last week or so, the streets have become much busier so the charm might have worn off now, but we’ll always have the photos.

Looking back to when it all started, it still seems so surreal to me. Like when these banners started popping up, then shops in the area advertised their toilet paper range and then anything you could possibly use as outdoor work-out equipment got barricaded.

I keep forgetting that behind the main busy streets there are some boujee houses in my area. There are the cute coloured houses but also a 5 million villa that looks like it’s something that belongs in LA, a converted church tower loft and then this dream of a house. I’ve looked at the listing photos so often that I feel like I know every corner of this place.

Some proper dystopian feels on a 7 AM walk was going past an Army Reserves Centre and the scary looking trucks while a fog covered Central London was in the background. And a bit further up was a street where five houses were for sale, now I want to know what is going on there!

Hidden gems I keep forgetting about or didn’t even know existed: a mews I accidentally stumbled upon, a little park behind a church and the cutest library. I hope they don’t demolish this one to make place for flats.

Other random things I spotted were ‘take me’ spots that started popping up, this one was initially started as a book swap, but later I saw tinned food and even seedlings, then this street art that brought me home for a second or two and an obligatory photo of the local ‘Instagram car’.

Seeing the flowers bloom week by week was something that kept the walks more interesting and you were never sure what colour you would find the tree or bush in. Though I enjoyed wild flowers a lot, this house is the clear winner.

Have you explored your neighbourhood during lockdown or quarantine?

London

Here Is What You Missed From the Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams Exhibition

It’s been well over a year since the opening of the Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibition at the V&A. The exhibition was sold out in no time, the duration was extended and even broke visitor records. I previously wrote a post about my visit and how you could get tickets at the time. I thought I’d share a photo-filled post with everything that you missed at the exhibition.

The exhibition showcased the evolution of House of Dior and spans from 1947, when Christian Dior opened his couturier, to today via the six designers who succeeded him.

What was very interesting about the setup was the immersiveness as well as the set-up: rather than showing the collections chronologically, they were grouped together by themes and highlighted examples from each of the designers.

New Look
Once you got through all the different kinds of queues you were introduced to Christian’s life through a timeline. You then entered the first room that pays homage to the Bar suit that set the New Look off: an ensemble of an hourglass jacket and full skirt which came with shapes and silhouettes. This shaped the brand and set him apart as the design was different from the boxer look which was popular at the time.

Dior Line
This darkened room displayed an overview of garments in mirrored boxes lined with bright white light that showed the different shapes and silhouettes Dior introduced to us. This room was just one big celebration of his craftsmanship and legacy.

Dior in Britain
You then arrived at a section dedicated to Dior’s love of Britain and its culture. It included the famous dress that Princess Margaret wore for her 21st birthday portrait. Also it’s actually a skirt. The room also included exclusive pieces from the Christian Dior London line. This section was for the UK only and I believe it won’t travel to the exhibition in the Hague.

Historicism
The Historicism room showcased the influence that the Belle Époque era had on Dior’s designs – think Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette style. While the dresses in the previous rooms were behind glass, from here on the dresses were openly exposed meaning it was easy to see the details. And details they gave us!

Travel
Next on came the travel room that consisted of dresses from different travel themed collections. It included Asian, African, and South American influences. The designs here were the least Dior-like and there is the question of cultural appreciation, but it was interesting to see how the different designers combined the fabrics and silhouettes to fit Dior.

The Garden
This scented room with paper wisterias spilling from the ceiling and floral inspired pieces on display, including the dress Natalie Portman wore for the Miss Dior campaign, was everything. As someone who loves a good floral dress, this room was so dreamy and I love how you could see the styles and fabrics of the dresses reflected in today’s collections.

Designers For Dior
Since Christian Dior passed away in 1957 there have been six creative directors: Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano, Raf Simons and Maria Grazia Chiuri. They all got their little corner highlighting the contrasting styles and vision of each designer who also abided by the traditions of Dior.

The Ateliers
My favourite room was the floor to ceiling exhibit of toiles (prototype dresses) where you get to see the garment in its purest form before any of the fabric and extras get added and the effort that goes into making each item. Very inspiring.

Diorama
The Ateliers lead you through the Diorama, on one side it was covered with magazine covers featuring Dior garments and on the other side a colour-coded glass cabinet that showcased the accessories. Everything from costume jewellery, hats and shoes to bags, archive lipstick and perfume bottles.

Ballroom
I’m glad I got some photos because I did not know where to look in the Ballroom. How do you display 70+ years haute couture evening wear? With an over the top projected light show that transported you to another theme every 5/6 minutes. The room included the golden dress Charlize Theron wore for the J’adore perfume ad as well as red carpet dresses worn by Rihana, Jennifer Lawrence and Lupita Nyong’o.

And to close it off there was a dress displayed in a mirrored box and designed by Maria Grazia Chiuri, who created it as an homage to 1950’s Dior and that beautifully shows how the legacy of Dior comes back in full circles

Before it went to London, the exhibition was shown at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, and you can catch it from October 2020 on at the Kunstmuseum in The Hague.