Dogs…they’re a great way to sell products on TV, boost your likes on Instagram, or encourage you to see that latest rom-com, but they’re art appeal goes back further than you might thin.
If you’re after dogs in paintings, then you could do worse than visit the Renaissance section of any portrait gallery! That’s one of the useless things I learned from revisiting London museums and doing the Museum Musings. During these visits I also took some snaps for my friend’s Dogs in Paintings Instagram account and thought I’d share some of my fur-vourites today.
The National Gallery – Probably the place to be, the museum has a pawfect selection of dogs in paintings:
The Wallace Collection – Furtunately for us Mr Wallace collected a lot of portraits with pups:
Victoria & Albert – It’s one of my least favourite museums in London, but I do dig their dogs in paintings catalogue:
Tate Britain – Tate Britain might be a bit dusty and outdated … but their mutts on canvas collection goes on furever:
Today I’m sharing my London Summer Bucket List with all the things I can’t wait to go see and do in possibly the best season of the year.
Go To An Outdoor Movie Screening – Between screenings on a rooftop, in a park or in a Neoclassic courtyard, I’m spoilt for choice for my outdoor film fix!
Staycation in London – More specifically… I’m after a hotel with a magical rooftop pool. The Curtain has one and is reasonably priced, so I’m keeping an eye on it and potential swimwear in mind. Otherwise there is always the good old local Lido.
Eat All The Ice-Cream – Really… a summer isn’t complete without gouging myself on the cold stuff at my favourite ice cream spots as well as discovering new ones. Gelato baby!
Give Kew Gardens Another Try – Happy give this historic greenhouse and garden destination a second chance in the right season. Plus I need to check out Temper House as it was sadly shut when I went before.
Check Out An Exhibition – I haven’t been to an exhibition in months so I’m saving it for a really hot day where I can escape to the museum for all of its air-con loveliness. Right now it’s between Stanley Kubrick at the Design Museum or the Manga Exhibition at British Museum.
Finish the Green Chain Walk – I have two more sections before I finally finish the Green Chain Walk and can grab my medal. Ok, maybe there is no medal, but I will feel more complete – and isn’t that the best reward of all?
Finish That Pile Of Books – There will be rainy days and there will be the weekends before pay day where I can lock my self in the house or garden and escape between the pages.
See the art work at Serpentine – A visit to Hyde Park is never a punishment. Combine it with some free art and possibility for dogspotting and that’s a Sunday afternoon sorted. Maybe go all out and have a picnic of cheese, crackers and wine, of course.
This summer is set to break the record of hottest summer ever (what global warming?) in the UK and this weekend the thermometer exploded past the 30 degrees mark in London. Oxford Street might be too hot and crowded to walk around, a train to the nearest beach might be too expensive or you just might want to escape your boiling hot room. So what do you do when you’re melting in the capital?
Get Wet at the Lido
Go dust off that swimsuit, grab a towel and lather up the sunscreen, and you’re good to splash your way through the day. Some of my favourite and easily accessible outdoor swimming pools include the Serpentine Lido, Hampstead Heath Ponds and Brockwell Lido.
Indulge in Frozen Treats
It’s cold, it’s sweet and it will make things better. There’s Chin Chin Labs, which serves liquid nitrogen ice cream in flavours like tonka bean, strawberry hay and burnt butter caramel. Snow Flake gelato have a guilt-free sorbetto range or perk up your ears to listen out for the ice cream van tunes and bag yourself a classic 99 Flake.
That other Ice
When everything is melting outside, the best thing to do is jump into a fridge, so if you are not into the above-mentioned kind of ice why not go to the Alexandra Palace or Queens ice rink to cool off and show off your moves?
Chill Out at the Movies
I don’t know about you but sometimes on a sunny day all I need is a blockbuster in a cool dark theatre, air-con to the max and a big ‘ole bucket of popcorn and a cold drink of your choice. For art house movies, head to Curzon in Soho or Picturehouse Central and for the blockbusters shimmy on down to the nearest Odeon/Vue multiplex.
Check out Museums and Exhibits
Hot days are perfect for exploring a museum and London’s museums have some amazing collections, exhibits and most of them are free, but most importantly they all have air-conditioning systems -for keeping paintings safe that is, they don’t really care about you. The British Museum and the National Gallery are two of the big ones where you can easily spend hours and hours of discovery.
Enjoy a Cooling Drink on a Rooftop Bar
I have to start with saying that water is of course the essential part of staying cool – either drinking it, swimming in it or pouring directly over your head. But at end of the day why not take in the city skyline with a refreshing cocktail or a cold beer or six in hand. Mondrian London, Frank’s and Netil 360 are some of the best spots to do this.
May came and went by so quickly that I forgot to schedule in this post! Here are some things I loved and some things that are a big pass for me – hope it proves useful!
Intercontinental Park Lane
Stumbled upon this place when I was looking for a reasonably-priced afternoon tea that wasn’t too traditional. They were doing a Commonwealth theme one with a lot of delicious flavours to make your way through including Jamaican-inspired chicken sandwich, Australia-style pie and Nigerian-influenced cake. The Park Lane has put a spin on a classic British favourite, and they’ve nailed it!
This urban jungle is the perfect place to spend your Sunday afternoon and dream about all the nice things you could have if you weren’t a serial plant murderer. The best bit? It won’t cost you a cent.
Granger & Co
The brunch menu at Granger & Co is full of delicious goodies, but for me it’s all about the fluffy scrambled eggs with a slice of sourdough bread. I did share the hot buns (Australian pancakes) this time and I think it might be a new favourite. But don’t tell the scrambled eggs.
This quirky museum in Forest Hill houses a lot of stuffed animals, musical instruments from all around the world and African, South American and Siberian anthropology. Also has a great garden and park area where you can spend a lazy afternoon, plus there’s a food market on Saturdays.
Crystal Palace Park
A huge park with a free maze and dinosaur statues. What’s not to love? Did I mention the dinosaurs were designed before Darwin’s “On the Origin Of Species” so they’re slightly … inaccurate. The dinosaurs are also featured in the first episode of the Good Omens TV show.
St Dunstan In The East
A derelict church in a side-street, left to decay and now turned into a little park. You’ll find it on every ‘Hidden London’ list and it’s got crowded since the last time I was there, but it still has its charm and if you find yourself in EC3 then it’s a perfect spot for a pit stop.
Ice Cream Union
It’s a good thing I don’t go to Chelsea often as Ice Cream Union would make me bankrupt. But artisan gelato is something I am ok to splurge on – especially when it is all-natural and handmade. My go-to picks of pistachio and hazelnut were to die for, as was their take on the banana split. They also use compostable cups and wooden spoons. Win.
Wasn’t for me
Oblix @ the Shard
Yes for the view, yes for the mashed potatoes and yes for the raspberry dessert but I don’t think the food was wowing for the price you have to pay. If I ever have the urge to eat at the Shard I would save up and treat myself and my taste buds at Aquashard.
So despite not liking the sorbet watermelon ice-cream last year I felt I wanted to try their rhubarb custard soft serve and went in open-minded and it wasn’t a success: the staff was just rude and I can’t be bothered with their kind of negativity. Ah well.
Once a year, Open Garden Squares Weekend allows visitors to see some of the best private, rooftop and community gardens that the capital has to offer.
I haven’t had a chance to visit a private garden in London, but not too many Londoners have either to be fair. But thanks to Open Garden Squares Weekend you can get the chance to take a peak into some of them. Most of them are open on Sunday, but Royal Crescent (W11 4SN) was open on Saturday so I got to walk around one! They also had Croquet and Cocktails on (which moves to Inner Temple Garden (EC4Y 7HL) on the Sunday). A 15-minute walk from Royal Crescent gets you to Rosmead Gardens (W11 2JG) which was where the famous scene from Notting Hill was filmed.
The Phoenix Garden (WC2H 8DE) is where I used to escape the chaos when I worked in Holborn. If you find yourself going on Sunday afternoon you’ll be able to enjoy National Youth Jazz Orchestra performing too. As Bloomsbury is always nice to walk around I decided to stop by some of the places on offer there. My route included Bedford Square (WC1B 3HH), Ridgemount Gardens (WC1E 7AU), British Medical Association (WC1H 9JP) – (not open on Sunday) and Montague Garden (W1H 2LA) – who has poets-in-residence on Sunday. Highlights include seeing a fig tree at BMA, eye-catching colours at Phoenix Garden and learning the intriguing history of Covent Garden market at Bedford Square.
Next up were the rooftop gardens on the Bankside to enjoy some breathtaking views of London! My office has an amazing view over Canary Wharf, but sadly no green at all so I love to have a look at others for inspiration. If you are heading out on Sunday make sure to visit Nomura (EC4R 3AB) and Eversheds Sutherland (EC2V 7WS). They both have their own charm: Nomura has a huge kitchen garden as well as an envy-inducing seating area, while Eversheds has an inspirational kitchen/veggie garden and beehives. The other major rooftop garden, Cannon Bridge House (EC4R 3TE) will be open tomorrow and has a girl’s choir performing between 12-2pm.
On the other side of the river you’ll find Tate Community Garden (SE1 9TG) with a grape vine and various types of flowers and and herbs. They also sell a selection of plants – in case you get inspired and want to transform your garden/balcony/windowsill. Around the corner is the Deanery (SE1 9JE), which is worth a look. Next to it is 49 Bankside (SE1 9JE), this lush garden was my final stop of the day and I loved the different variety of flowers there were in the small place. But the highlights were definitely the pond and fountain that were just begging to be photographed.
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