Champagne and shopping day in London

Our baby has been sleeping really badly lately. It takes over 1,5h to get her to sleep, I sit next to her bed for an hour holding  her hand to get her to sleep and still she just wakes up in the middle of the night screaming and crying for hour or two without settling. Almost two years without sleep. Rough. Unexplainable. Anyway, must be some crazy developmental thing (like I always explain to myself). Due to this I needed a mummy day, a day just for myself, without baby, without responsibilities, without duties, without anything than me, myself. Not hard to guess what it included: shopping and champagne.

I went to our old neighbourhood in Marylebone. We used to live at St. Christopher’s place. The best spot in London I would say.

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I loved that time. Right in the centre, always able to walk home from almost any party, going to see shows in West End…Dream come true!

I tried not to shop too much, I have already so many clothes to import to Australia, but I bought a cute short suit. Perfect for Australian summer, chic but not too hot in a warm (read hot) weather. Will be nice when I finally get some tan on my turkey look a like legs!

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As I took a day off from being a mother and went to the centre I could not prevent of going to Selfridges. It was so lovely. In fact I was planning to go to HIX in Selfridges to have a glass of champagne and read a book but the queue was so ridiculously long that I gave up. I wandered on the second floor where all the big brands have their spaces. I just love to see all the amazing pieces of clothes. After a while I ended up in the third floor which is women’s clothing and lingerie. How beautiful is everything there! Was so hard not to hand in my credit card and get crazy.

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My Saturday night has mainly consisted of sipping champagne, Pol Roger which is my absolute favourite! I never get bored with it!

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It has this delicate and soft taste.

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My memory wanders to the days back in 2009 when I used to sip Pol Roger every Tuesday in Grotesk in Helsinki with my dear husband. Oh it feels like eternity after almost 730 sleepless nights. ( I probably should not count.)

Two weeks until the removalist company comes to pack our stuff and three weeks until we fly to the other side of the world. I have mixed feelings. I could not be happier to move to Australia, I absolutely love the country but I am so afraid how our daughter adjusts the situation of being without own home for 2,5 months. She is such a bad sleeper. I hope our amazing family time will be enjoyable, happy and full of joy! Cheers.

pol roger

L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon -Fine dining at its best

Last Saturday my husband and I went to L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon which is one Michelin star restaurant in Covent Garden. A true jewel of West End. We were both so excited about our date night. With the small toddler and being away from your home country you don’t really get much time off as a couple as there are no grandparents to help you out. Luckily our nanny does baby sitting for us occasionally which is great.  It is so relieving to leave our daughter to her hands as we know she know her inside out plus has done such an amazing job with her so far! It was a beautiful day in London and was lovely to walk hand in hand in the Central London.

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Like I said in my previous post London Restaurant Festival was still on so we got an amazing deal of full three course menu with matching wines in this fantastic restaurant.

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My husband and I chose different courses from the menu so that we could taste as many as possible.

We got an amuse-bouche from the kitchen to start with. It was some kind of chevre foam with port wine. Absolutely heavenly. So unusual but tasty.

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Sorry about the dark photos.The restaurant had a very dark interior, black and red so photographing was challenging!  The seating was Japanese teppanyaki style -super cool and modern, high bar stools around the kitchen. I loved it as we were able to watch chefs working and decorating each meal to their finest detail.

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My starter was this gorgeous foie gras with green beans. It was amazing. The wine with it was strong oaky chardonnay. I have to tell you a secret. I had the most horrible cold the day before and I was terrified that I could not taste anything the day after. I had a snotty nose but luckily I tasted most of it, maybe some super fine flavours I could not capture. Such a bad luck isn’t it!?

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My husband took the eschabeche of kipper with potatoes. Super good too! He got a crispy Sauvignon Blanc with it.

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My husband went for 4 course instead of 3 so we got an extra starter which was this phenomenally poached egg with Comte cheese sauce. The poach egg was a piece of art, it was cooked into perfection!

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My main course was salmon. I was suprised that the restaurant chose to serve it with rose wine. I was a bit doubtful of this combination as for me rose is more of a socialising summer wine but it went together with the salmon so well that I will definitely try this combination again, maybe serve it even for my guests!

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My husband chose pork belly with beans. Obviously he got a strong Spanish red with it. It was delicious although I am not a big pork belly fan. in fact I don’t eat pork at all…

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For dessert I went for chocolate macaroon with hazelnut cream filling and convinced my husband to take the strawberry cheesecake so that I could taste both…I got some red dessert wine with it, it was almost like a port wine. My husband got some super tasty Riesling dessert wine from Germany.  The combinations of flavours were just fantastic.

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How beautiful are these desserts!!!?

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I ordered black coffee with my dessert too. It was an amazingly tasty coffee, I guess Michelin star restaurants need to choose their coffees carefully too. They brought more cakes with it…luckily my husband had some room in his tummy.. I could not fit anything in…

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The food was so tasty, beautifully presented, each ingredient on the plate had its purpose. My husband was so fascinated about this eating experience that told me we needed to go again as it was so amazing. We have been fine dining a fair bit. Unfortunately I so often get disappointed not only due to the food but usually just the setting, I don’t like pretentious restaurants with white table cloths and dry waiters. This place was great. I loved the relaxed atmosphere, teppanyaki setting and music being rather loud which gave the restaurant an edgy club vibe.

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I warmly recommend this place. They do now the same menu as their pre-theatre menu. If you have a chance to go to L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon go, don’t miss your chance!

Gordon Ramsay’s York and Albany -Gordon Ramsayn York and Albany

I have had a busy but wonderful past week. First my dad was visiting us and then my Finnish friend came to stay with us with her two children. I have had such great time and it has been incredibly nice to just speak Finnish and let Isla to hear and speak Finnish!

I took my dad and husband to York and Albany on last Saturday. It was my husband’s birthday so it was a perfect place to go. Before lunch we took our sweet little daughter to the playground at Primrose Hill. She has been there before and loves it as it has a big sandbox.  The weather was good and warm, almost like a summer day! After the playground time we did our typical ”feed the baby and put her to sleep” routine which worked perfectly again. As our baby girl loves her 3h naps we were able to head to the pub and enjoy a long three course lunch.

I started with some champagne and men went for Bloody Marys.

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I started with some salmon and salsa verde and men decided to get some foamy mushroom soup which by the way was amazing!.

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For the main course my dad and I ordered some haddock wrapped in parma ham and my husband took truffle pasta.

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Like I have mentioned before I love chocolate desserts so I ordered the French style chocolate tart with black coffee whereas men went for the savoury choice of cheese platter which I helped them out with…super tasty.

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I picked the wine for us which was a fruity and smooth Italian red, perfect for socialising as it was not too heavy or full bodied. I was actually extremely happily surprised how good the wine was as I did not go for an expensive one.

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We had a wonderful day. Food was superb, beautifully presented and what was even more amazing was that we happened to have a Finnish waitress. I noticed her slight Nordic accent and was able to locate she was from Finland and bravely asked if I was correct. She was so happy to serve us in Finnish. To thank her for the good service my dad gave her Finnish chocolate. She was so happy about that!

Back to the lunch…I cannot believe the  price value of the lunch menu York and Albany has at the weekends. Three course lunch is £24. The food is excellent and the dining room in the pub is gorgeous. If you have not been there it is worth going. If you don’t want to go for the set lunch menu you can always order from a la carte. Wine selection is great too! I think the bottle of Italian I ordered was only £26 and I have to say it was extremely tasty!

I am now heading back to continue my Norwegian knit which I am determined to finish rather soon. I hope you have a good start of the week!

Busy Times -Kiireistä Aikaa

I came back to London on Tuesday. I had a wonderful holiday back home and it was even nicer when my dad was travelling back to London with me. Tomorrow is my husband’s birthday and we will go to have a pub lunch in Gordon Ramsay’s pub called York and Albany so watch this space, next restaurant review and photos will be from there!

I have been terribly busy these last couple of days. We have had all the removal companies visiting us and assessing our stuff to estimate the container size. All of them are quoting 20 foot container as we have lots of stuff. It is good as it means we get a sole use container and after packing it will be delivered straight to the port in South Hampton. If anyone of you is ever planning to move overseas by shipping your goods, here is the list of companies that we have requested quotes from: Anglo-Pacific, Pickfords, John Mason, White and Co, Moving Company and Fox. Out of all of these my absolute favourite has been Anglo Pacific. They are specialising in Australia and New Zealand, they have a long experience of shipping to those countries and as Australian customs are super strict you want to go for a company that knows them back and forth. I got so many great tips from the guy who visited us, the things that I thought would be fine were listed as risk items such as woven baskets, bamboo decorative items and pine cones in Christmas decorations. Fortunately we don’t have those. Not all the containers will be inspected but if you happen to be the unlucky one it is not worth taking a risk as it costs a fortune if they need to fumigate the goods. Shoes and pram wheels need to be cleaned perfectly too. The guy gave me a good tip of the disinfectant liquid to use to remove the soil from those: Jeyes Fluid. This is the reason why we decided to give up our garden table set and BBQ, we just cannot bother cleaning those and still after cleaning they are kind of risky items. I am so excited though!!! I guess I was first very sad of leaving my job and knowing that I need to say so many goodbyes in Europe but now I am finally getting so excited and cannot wait to get onto the plane and head towards our next adventure. We will take at least 2 months off and just relax on the beach until our container arrives to the port of Melbourne. If we did not have a baby I would love to take the ship all the way to Australia just to experience that but with the baby the sooner we get there the better. We are booking our flights today. We are planning to have 2-3 day stop over in Singapore on the way to ease the jet lag and also to get two night flights in a row. This way hopefully the baby will sleep both of those flights! After the flights have been booked the next step is that I have to start washing our clothes so that they are clean and ready to go to the boxes. I got my permanent resident visa granted so I can bring an extra migrant luggage with me which is great! I certainly need it.

The other thing that has kept me busy for the past few days is my new knitting work. I saw a perfect Norwegian knit in my favourite blog Kalastajan Vaimo (Fisherman’s Wife) and I decided to make one. The pattern is gorgeous and I cannot wait for it to be ready.  It will be perfect for these couple of winter months in London and so great in cold Melbourne houses next summer (Aussie winter). It won’t take more than maybe a week or two to finish this. Here is a sneak peak if you want to see what it looks like. I will post the instructions here in my blog later as I know that some of you cannot read the original instructions from Kalastajan Vaimo blog as it is all in Finnish. The knit is super simple and I would classify it as medium or even easy level. I will probably knit pink and grey one for my daugther too.

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In Finland I made a reindeer-trumpet chantarelle pie (Yellowfoot). I will post the recipe as my next post. It was tasty and I was particularly happy with the dough.  I was also a proud Finnish mother when my daughter tasted reindeer for the first time! I know some of you think it is horrible to eat Rudolphs but to all of you who have not tasted the reindeer meat I can tell you it is super good and amazingly tasty game meat. I personally love it as I also love moose roast.

Anyways, I will run to continue my Norwegian knit now as my daughter is having her long lunch time nap. I hope you have a lovely Friday evening today!

Randall and Aubin restaurant in Soho -Randall and Aubin ravintola Sohossa

I used to work on client site in Soho in London all last  spring and most of the summer. There was a place in Soho that I passed almost daily when going to get my lunch. I so often wondered what it was like and thought I should try it. My colleague had it also on his hit list to go so inspired by that when my sister and mum came to London for a visit we gave it a try. The place is called Randall and Aubin.

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It spesialises in seafood and you can see all the fresh seafood in the window. They do all sort of dishes on their à la carte list so you are not only restricted to seafood. The wine selection is amazing too!

I ordered chevre salad for my main. The size was perfect. I love when meals are rather small so that I have definitely room for dessert.  This salad was the most incredible combination of flavours, one of the best chevre salads I have eaten ever.

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My mum and sister had fish and they were both extremely happy with their meals. My sister is a difficult one. She used to work for one of the most prestigious hotel and restaurant groups in Finland.  Being so she has eaten so many fine dining dishes and tasted too many rare wines that taking her out for a dinner is always a challenge. This time she was super happy with my choice!

Randall and Aubin has changed their wine list since we were there but I remembered we went for Italian Vermentino and it was heavenly good. I tasted quite a few wines until I ended up choosing it. Was a good choice.

For a dessert as usual I went for a chocolate cake.

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It was tasty but compared to the main course it was like a shadow..but good, nothing to complain. I guess my main was just so perfect that there was nothing really to compete with that.

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Me pulling a silly smile when getting my cake…

One funny detail for all the ladies who read my blog..this place has the most stunning male waiters. My sister, mum and I were laughing so hard when thinking of the job interview..they must have some extra  standards that applicants must fullfil :)!

After the dinner we headed to another place. It is a Spanish tapas place, we did not eat there but I have eaten there before and I wanted to mention this place in the same post. It is not far from Randall and Aubin, maybe 10 minute walk away. The place is called Copita. I may have mentioned it before. It is super nice.  I have eaten there and I have also tasted quite a few of their wines (the wine list is amazing!). So if you fancy a good after work drink I recommend to go there.

 

Banana Republic Marimekko Collection and Yellow Jacket

So long, so sorry.  I really struggle to find time for my blog at the moment. Work is hectic and my baby at the stage of walking and running everywhere which keeps me busy! I had to post this one outfit though. Banana Republic launched a collection with Marimekko -Finnish iconic brand- and as soon as I saw couple of items I had to get them. Almost everything was sold out online but I ran to the store on Regent Street and manage to get what I wanted! One of the purchases was these lovely trousers Marimekko ”Kivi” print.  In addition to Marimekko I have been looking at this yellow jacket in Zara for almost a month now and today I decided I need it, well I didn’t really needed but I wanted it 🙂

We had a wonderful family day in Notting Hill today. Our baby is so sweet and lovely these days and I can warm heartedly say I enjoy every moment of motherhood at the moment. I guess that is why I struggle to find time for my blog as I feel like spending every moment with my little sweetheart. I promise I try to soon get back here with some good recipes. Here some pics of my outfit today.

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How beautiful is High Street Kensington and Notting Hill area! One of my favourite parts of London. We found a fantastic pub in Kensington area by the way. It is called Windsor Castle -I recommend it  to everyone. Really high quality food, amazing beer garden and impressive wine selection.

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Have a relaxing weekend!

Christmas time in London -Joulunaikaa Lontoossa

Christmas is almost here, crazy. I think despite all the decorations I have not realised it is Christmas, I have been so busy. Typical me though, always so many things to do. Sometimes I laugh at myself thinking, I could live life a lot easier, I could not try to do everything!

Anyway, I love German.Swiss, French and Austrian Christmas Market culture. The atmosphere is just enchanting. We have Christmas markets here in the UK but I have to say they are not as authentic with all the wooden toys and gluhwein as the Central European ones.

I went to the one in South Bank, no snow so I really had to use all my imagination to get the Christmas feeling. Here are some pictures I took. I apologise the quality, I took them with my Lumia phone instead of our good camera but I think they’ll do and you get a picture of the type of markets we have here.

ImageI bought amazing pearl earrings from these markets I love them!

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ImageThis fake snow that everyone wanted to touch made me really laugh as a Finn who has lived with the snow for over 20 years. I tried it and it was nothing like real snow 🙂

ImageThis BFI (British Film Institute) Riverfront Restaurant is awesome! I went there with my friend, in fact she had her birthday there. It is in the South Bank. Really good value for money. Nothing fancy but really cosy and casual. For hamburger lovers it offers a great selection including pulled pork burgers!

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More pictures about the restaurant. I warmly recommend it. It is also very family friendly during the daytime.

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I had to take this photo. One day we can show our little baby girl where she spent her days. Crossing Thames on the pedestrian bridge from impressive St. Paul’s Cathedral in the City to South Bank. In the background you can see the Shard (over 72 floors) the new skyscraper that will be the tallest building in Europe!Great views aren’t they! My tiny Londoner in the pram. I will miss London when one day we may not life here. Until now I do feel that I have a privilege to enjoy this fantastic city and all it can offer!