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A Review: Mr Fogg’s House of Botanicals

At a glance:

📍 Location: Fitzrovia.
🗣 Social: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.
💸 Price: ££
✨ Decor: 9/10.
🍸 Drinks: 9/10.
💲 Value for money: 6/10.
🌏 Website: https://www.mr-foggs.com/house-of-botanicals/

You might be familiar with Mr Fogg, the Victorian explorer who circumnavigated the world in 180 days in a hot-air balloon. But did you know the well-known explorer now has an expanding drinking empire?

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In photos: Hotboozapalooza at Night Tales with TimeOut London

Forget the mulled-wine, ’tis the season for hot cocktails at Hotboozaplooza.

This year’s festival, organised by the rockstars at TimeOut London, showcased the finest tipple to warm your cockles this winter in partnership with Hendrick’s gin, Monkey Shoulder scotch whiskey, Glenfiddich whiskey and Reyka vodka.

This year’s ani-mulled wine festival took place in Night Tales in Hackney below Hackney’s railway arches.

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Winter Lights in Canary Wharf – Top 5 Light Installations

Sad that Lumiere London is done and dusted for another year? Fear not, there’s a lesser-known light festival taking place a little further east of London – the Winter Lights in Canary Wharf.

Just as dazzling, the Winter Lights in Canary Wharf is an annual light festival showcasing sculptures, structures and installations from innovative artists and designers from around the world. it’s quite a spectacle – the bright installations presenting light in different forms using different light technology. Some installations are interactive and some can simply be admired from afar.

With more than 30 installations to see all around Canary Wharf so, there’s plenty to see. So, here are my top 5 favourite installations:

Dazzling Dodecahedron at Wren Landing

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Step inside this beautiful, jewel-like structure and bathe in the glow of amazing purples, golds, pinks, blues, green and bronze from the 12 pentagon panels made of iridescent acrylic. During the day the installation twinkles with a kaleidoscope of colour created by natural sunlight. At night, the lights go on and the Dazzling Dodecahedron comes to life as a giant disco ball.

Sonic Light Bubble at Jubilee Plaza

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This amazing six-metre wide living, breathing installation pulsates with light and sound when you approach or touch it, emitting a warm glow through 236 programmed LEDs as it constantly generates new visual patterns to a unique soundtrack. It’s super fun.

Abstract Collectif in Montgomery Square

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Apparently inspired by the concept of time and relativity. Abstract is a pixel matrix in which every pixel can move over its vertical axis between the ground and a height of five metres. Movement, sound and light all interweave to create a stunning performance piece repeating on a loop. Time can be perceived as a vertical dimension in which the pixels travel. This movement represents the freezing of time while the audience keeps their feet firmly on the ground.

On Your Wavelength at level -3 Crossrail Place

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Probably my favourite and most impressive in my eyes. This interactive light sculpture and music composition is controlled by your mind, via a headset. As your thought patterns change, the electrical data from your brain is used to control the music and create intricate light patterns. These illuminate a large-scale light installation fitted with over 30,000 LEDs. Kinda cool. Thank God it doesn’t display what’s in your head!

Halo at Cabot Square

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See Cabot Square in a new light as a giant Halo seems to levitate above the fountain creating a powerful light experience. Halos are an optical phenomenon produced by light interacting with crystals in the atmosphere recreated here to delight and uplift. In this piece the Halo refers to the sun as our greatest source of light and warmth, shaping the conditions for life on our planet.

Lumiere London may be bigger, but the Winter Lights is just as exciting to see. I would go as far to say that I actually prefer the Winter Lights.  The installations are just as mesmerising, there will be fewer people (much, much less!), and the installations are all within walking distance to each other. In fact, you can see all 30+ installations in one night like I did.

Some installations are indoors which mean you won’t be freezing all night too.

What I also noticed at this year’s Lumiere London festival is thatsome of the installations there were first showcased in Canary Wharf in previous years! You never know, some of the installations you see in Canary Wharf this January may actually appear in the next edition of Lumiere London.

You can plan your visit by downloading and reading about the Winter Lights on the Canary Wharf website. And unlike Lumiere London, the Winter Lights is lighting up Canary Wharf around for 2 weeks (until 27 January in fact), so take your time and enjoy the lights whenever time suits you.

Have you seen the Winter Lights in Canary Wharf? Which was your favourite installation?

Or are you planning on going to see the Winter Lights (you should!)? Which installation are you most excited to see?

To see more of my images from the Winter Lights, check out Winter Lights in Canary Wharf – In Pictures.Winter Lights 2018 in Canary Wharf – in pictures.

#WinterLights

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Winterville is back!

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Winterville is back for 2017 and it’s the same as I’ve always known it to be: it’s friggin awesome.

Now located on Clapham Common after swapping locations with Victoria Park in the East-End, Winterville is much smaller than its Winter Wonderland brethren. But that’s not a negative thing: it’s still packed with things to do and I didn’t feel overwhelmed or worried that I’d be unable to see everything.

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Free to enter and a few minutes walk away from Clapham Common tube station, Winterville, is ram packed with uber fun things to do: you can claim bragging rights against your mates at Plonk Crazy Golf, show off your ice skating / rollerblading moves to your hot-date, and even get your heart-pumping with one of the many exhilarating rides including the ominously-sounding “Oblivion”. There’s more and I’m only just scratching the surface!

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If a more mellow evening is in order then snuggle in with mulled wine in hand inside one of the many warm bar tents around Winterville with comfy sofas covered in faux-fur. Then catch Christmassy entertainment inside the Spiegeltent, or browse the quirky indoor Christmas market tent where you’ll find unique gifts, and gorge on some of the finest street food all under one roof with Street Feast (the very same purveyor of fine street food who brought us Dinerama and Hawker House) featuring Mother Clucker, Babek Kebab, and White Men Can’t Jerk.

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Winterville, Clapham, Nov 2017 20

You can even catch a movie in the surroundings of an enchanted forest with backyard cinema. Hint: what’s behind that wardrobe… 😉

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I have to admit, when I arrived on a cold Thursday night after work on press night, I was in a bit of a foul mood but I left with a full stomach and a massive grin on my face. I could go on “Oblivion”, “Over the Falls” and “Air Raid” all day long!

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If you ask me whether I’d recommend visiting Winterville, it’s a big YASSS from me. Unlike Winter Wonderland, Winterville is a bit more for grown-ups and away from the mass crowd of Central London. it’s packed with things to do, things to see, things to win, and delicious food to devour/Instagram the shit out of. It’s a bit of trek if you live in the East like I do, but it’s so worth the journey. GO!

 

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Soulful food at Tabun Kitchen, Soho

I’ve never tried Palestinian food before, so understandably I was excited to try some for the first time at Tabun Kitchen.

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Front of Tabun Kitchen on Berwick Street, Soho, Oct 2017

Tucked away in vibrant Soho, Tabun Kitchen is an “authentic Jerusalem street food and Jerusalem home cooking with a modern twist” priding itself on fast, affordable and flavoursome dishes.

Owned by film producer Hanan Kattan, Tabun Kitchen takes its name from a biblical clay oven used to dish up spiritually nourishing Palestinian home cooked food.

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Basement decor

TheJerusalem taster menumight be a little on the pricey at £35 per head, but it gives you the best that Tabun Kitchen has to offer. As a 4-course dinner, it’s going to stuff you.

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Palestinian “pizza” – veggie friendly manaeesh with Akkawi Cheese & Za’atar
olives, sundried tomato, is’ha sesame toppings

Sharing is caring as they say, and that is certainly true in the Middle-East. Tabun Kitchen rings that ethos from Palestine to London. Dig in and help yourself to any of the mains that arrives in the middle of your table.

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From left to right: Musakhan Chicken, lamb makloubeh, Fatet Jaj chicken

Of the many stellar dishes on the Jerusalem menu, it’s the main that takes the limelight. For me, the Lamb Makloubeh that really steals the show. It’s explosive with flavour.

Tabun Kitchen 07Diners with a sweet tooth are well looked after with three selection of treat. Perhaps my favourite was the Knafeh made from akkawi cheese and kataifi pastry soaking up all that sweet orange blossom syrup.

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Interiors on the ground floor

Tabun Kitchen is not the largest but it is comfy and modern with white walls and clean lines. Some may say a bit clinical but that never bothered me.

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Further interiors

It’s refreshing to see a soulful little restaurant like Tabun Kitchen pop up in Soho among all the ubiquitous burger restaurants and pizzerias. For spiritually nourishing home-cooked Palestinian meals, Tabun Kitchen delivers  👍


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Blind Spot Review: One of the Best Secret Cocktail Bar in Covent Garden

Here’s a late-night speakeasy cocktail bar you’ve probably never heard of before, until now.

Secreted behind a boutique tea counter, Blind Spot is located within the opulent surroundings of the St Martin’s Lane Hotel, a boutique hotel just around the corner from touristy Trafalgar Square.

Part of the excellent Morgan’s Hotel group, you know it’s already going to be good even before you start making your way.

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