Catching up @ Maison Bertaux, Soho

My heart sinks every time someone suggests to meet up at a pub.
Don’t take me wrong. I do visit pubs. And I have my own favourite pubs too.
However, I prefer to meet over tea & cake, rather than for a pint.
Especially, with my girl friends, meeting up at a pub just doesn’t sound very enticing…

Anyway, when Becca suggested if we could catch up at somewhere in West End, I invited her to Maison Bertaux with no hesitation.
Maison Bertaux is a gem of Soho. I have been enjoying their cakes for nearly 20 years…

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I love Maison Bertaux.
While others, such as Patisserie Valerie, who decided to expand as a chain and as a result of that, lost most of the character & quality which made them outstanding in the first place. However, Maison Bertaux, a legend of Soho, has been upholding their tradition diligently and faithfully as long as I’ve known them. They are an institution. I don’t want them to change, EVER!

It was almost dinner time. So we ordered a slice of savoury thingies to share…

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The cheese topping was crispy without being tough and the crust was so fluffy and melted in our mouth like a dream.

Becca ordered a slice of plum-cake and I had a fruit eclair, my firm favourite…

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It was her first time at Maison Bertaux.
She pledged that she would definitely bring her beau next time. I am sure he will love here too!

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Cemetery @ Bunhill Fields

There was a place I had never visited in my neighbourhood.
Bunhill Fields Burial Ground, that was.
Please don’t take a wrong end of stick. I was not at all superstitious. Far from it.
However, Mr.B disliked the place. Therefore, I never bothered to venture in.

Anyway, I decided to pay an homage there when Mr.B and I were walking back from the Monument the other day.  A luscious green facade of the cemetery was too tempting to ignore after trekking through a concrete jungle, City of London and dodging all those quick-marching City suits…

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A cemetery in the middle of Central London.
It was so quiet. Just stepping in under the canopy of green foliage, we were insulated from any usual commotion of city life. Is this a tranquility? The air was fresh but not damp. The place seemed to possess the power to hush everything.

Rows of tomb stones, just standing still…

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Some of them were leaning left and right.

As well as inscriptions of those who deceased, the stones bore the passage of time…

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This head stone indicated that it had been standing here since the early 19th century. The occupants of the grave were all children, dying young within a short space of time. This reminded me that the life then was much harsher than the present one. My heart ached, wondering how their grieving parents felt when they had to add yet another name on the stone.

While it looked like the time stood still in the midst of the tombs, the only thing disturbed the silence was this…

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Squirrels! So many of them.
They were absolutely everywhere, roaming around the head stones, shuffling leaves, scurrying up and down the trees… They seemed to be the least frightened by me or Mr.B. In fact, they were curious about him. One of them even ventured out to the edge of the fence and gave Mr.B a good “up & down look” inspection while he cowered behind me (=_=;)
Hey you. Show me a little more gut…

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Alas, his tail being firmly tacked between his legs, he avoided the confrontation with Mr.Squirrel.

This rather grand tomb belonged to John Bunyan, the author of The Pilgrim’s Progress…

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Mr.Squirrel was on duty, standing vigil.

The cemetery was dotted with well-kept wooden benches which offered a welcoming breathing space in the midst of offices around Old Street & Finsbury Square. We entered the cemetery from City Road entrance and walked across towards Bunhill Row.
Even though Mr.B was not at keen and needed a fair amount of persuasion and encouragement from me to walk, at least he was away from the fume on busy streets of London.

Aren’t you enjoying a bit of adventure?

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‘No, not at all. Let me get out of here!’

Do you think he sensed something I didn’t? Did he see something supernatural through his doggie 6th sense? Or was he just frightened by the rustling noise made by the squirrels? Mmmm…

P.S. I’ve noticed a strange smudge on the second photo which I didn’t see then and can’t explain.
Hubbie is adamant that I must have captured some supernatural phenomenon. Really strange…

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Fête @ Queens Park

Last weekend, I was at Queens Park Fair with my friend Alex and her beautiful son.
It was cloudy with a bit of wind. Not entirely ideal for visiting a fair. Still, I put on a leather jacket and headed to the tube.
Alex picked me up at Westbourne Park, and we drove to the park.

It was around noon, and stalls were already up & running.
The stalls, mainly offering cakes & biscuits or promoting causes (such as after school courses for children, charities, fitness classes for adult…etc), were lining the footpath…

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I skipped breakfast that morning. Therefore, looking at all those cakes & cookies and walking away from them was like a torture. If they offered coffee or tea with it, I would have bought a couple in no time. Why didn’t they?

Alex’s son was 5 years old and liked to collect twigs. I must have had some fixation when I was a kid. Couldn’t remember what fascinated me though. We walked up the path while he was vetting his twigs very seriously…

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We found donkeys!
They were groomed before being tacked up. Oh, I love donkeys! They are sooooo cute. Especially, their fluffy ears. I wanted to give them a cuddle so much…

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A little shop by the tree. So sweet, don’t you find?
How about some cups & saucers decorated with pigeon motif? Mmmm… Pigeon is probably hovering in a bottom group of my “Most favourite creature on earth” list. They are just everywhere in London, aren’t they? Most of them look dirty & wretched.
Still, I found the ceramics rather charming. Instead of employing easy motifs (like rabbit or raspberry or anything sweet & boring), the artist used pigeon as her (or his) inspiration. I found it cool. Don’t you agree?

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After a brief stop at the park cafe for a quick bite of pain au chocolat & latte, we headed towards an area with fair rides. I could see bouncy castles bobbing up & down with excited youngsters inside…

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Her son was a little intimidated by more energetic peers. So, we decided to ride a tea-cup together. When did I ride a tea-cup last time? Maybe a good few decades ago?
As soon as the ride commenced, I remembered that I shared two bottles of Chardonnay with three others previous night. Slow spinning of the device was much more effective to induce a nausea than a roller coaster, I found…

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We were smiling but we weren’t really…

After I stumbled out of the ride, swearing that I would never go near any fair ride in future, we headed back towards the stalls area. Alex was busy on a phone, trying to locate her friends and their son.
We managed to rendezvous with them near the donkey ride and chatted at the play area while two boys played together. It was interesting to observe those boys interacting with each other. They were like an atom with same charge. Obviously, they were best friends and enjoying the company. Yet, if they got too close, they pushed each other away. I remember that I used to fight with my sister every single day when we were small. She was my BBF. Still, it was not easy to hang out in harmony all the time. Oh well, that’s kids for you.

The boys got hungry and so did we. We folded up Alex’s picnic blanket and walked to the area with food stalls. A smell of BBQ, it is so seductive. The whiff was too tempting to ignore. So, most of us ended up queuing for a venison burger…

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Only a few people were ahead of us when we joined the queue. Then, next time I glanced back, I found the queue grew much longer! It’s an interesting human psychology that we tend to get attracted to the things which seems to be popular amongst others.
Anyway, standing by the grill while the burgers being cooked was not an entirely pleasant experience. Way too much smoke for my liking, I must say…

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This was what I queued and was smoked for. I found it tasty since I was really hungry.

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Then, I discovered that I had a lucky escape.
Alex texted me that she found herself so sick next day. She reckoned that the culprit must have been the burger. Apparently, her friend who had the same was also ill. I distinctively remembered that my burger was throughly cooked while the others’ were pink in the middle. The burgers were handed out to the diners indiscriminately. Therefore, I could have been given any undercooked one by chance! OMG…

By the time I bade goodbye, the fair was in full swing…

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It was fun to walk around the fair. Even though not a natural fair-goer, I enjoyed the atmosphere very much. Thank you for inviting me, Alex (^-^)

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Sauntering @ the City

My nose is stuffy since yesterday.
It must be to do with a temperature which has dropped significantly since weekend.
My duvet should be replaced with a thicker one soon. Mmmm… It will be so nice to snuggle up in a warm fluffy duvet, won’t it? One of joys I look forward to during a colder season…

Mr.B & I went near the Monument by London Bridge yesterday.
We caught a No.43 bus on City Road.

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With my beloved Church’s Burwood today.
Anticipating a long walk on our way home…

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During the bus ride, we struck a conversation with a fellow passenger. We heartily agreed how much we enjoyed living in the midst of city. Any amount of fluffy sheeps or honey coloured stone cottages or shining green meadows could never substitute stimulations I savour in this city. I have to be here to thrive…

So this is the Monument, the place where Great Fire of London had started…

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A flaming urn in gold decorates the top of the column. It was simmering in the afternoon sun.

We shopped at House of Fraser London City and headed home.
Are you ready for a walk, Mr.B?

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Mr.B & I strolled down the streets while suits-cladded city workers overtaking us with much brisker gaits.
At M&S at Finsbury Pavement, I found a cute cap which I fell in love at first sight. Despite being size S/M, it was way too large for me. Still, I was really smitten and determined to do whatever I could to alter the cap…

Ta Dah! A navy blue felt cap. How do you find it?

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I had to nip the back of the cap as well as to stitch a piece of elastic band to shorten the circumference of the rim. During the operation, I managed to stab my finger with a needle more than a few times. Oh, I loathed sewing!

The fruit of my labour!

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I was mightily pleased with the result (^-^)

In the meantime, Mr.B was crashing out on the rug, using a toy as a pillow…

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Sorry to disturb you. The click of my iPhone alarted him…

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Don’t look at me so accusingly. I thought you looked sweet…

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Turkish feast @ Taz, The Cut

Weatherwise, it was another glorious weekend, wasn’t it?
Letizia, Hubbie & me, sitting by the Thames at Royal Festival Hall, mused how pleasant this September turned out to be so far. The pale blue sky was decorated with salmon pink-tinted wispy clouds. There was little wind.
I hadn’t been to South Bank for many years as I actively avoided any place tended to be saturated with tourists. Therefore, the extensive transformation & commercialization of the area was an eye opener for me. So many outlets, though mainly eateries, were attracting tons of customers. Now I know, what I’ve been missing…

Nursing bottles of lemonade, we tried in vain to capture a magical moment of the sunset, just before it disappeared…

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You may be wondering why we were sitting at RFH then?
We were waiting for Fei, who organized a dinner for four of us at Taz the Turkish restaurant. She was running late because the tube line she intended to travel with was suspended. Poor Fei had to make her journey by bus which was agonizingly slow.
In the meantime, a whiff of cooking smell from the BBQ stall nearby tormented our empty stomachs constantly. we were moaning and salivating over the thought of our impending feast.
Eventually, a breathless Fei was materialized and we all quick marched towards the restaurant…

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Mmmm… Finally, we are here!
A bottle of Chardonnay from Argentina was brought to our table. And we nibbled a basket of warm breads & a plate of olives. We delegated Fei to choose foods for us since she had been here numerous times.

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This is Maydanoz Salatasi (Chopped parsley salad of tomatoes, onions, cracked wheat, olive oil & lemon juice).

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On the left is Borek (Filo pastry filled with feta cheese & spinach). The right is Zeytin Yagli Bakla (Broad beans cooked in olive oil with red & greed peppers, corriender and garlic). I particularly liked the pastry. The crust was very fluffy…

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On the right is Patlican Biber Kizartima (Fried aubergines and pepper served with tomato sauce and yogurt). On the left is deep-fried whitebaits with mayo – I am sorry but I don’t know the Turkish name…

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For main, I had Kofte. It was served with salad & rice. The meat was well-seasoned and very tasty…

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Hubbie had lamb shank. I tasted it a little and found it delicious…

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Letizia had fish because she had a terrible migraine during the day…

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And Fei had steak…

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After our stomachs being comfortable filled, we could crack a broad smile or two…

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Sadly, we had no room left for dessert so had just tea & coffee.
On our way home, we found Southwark Station was closed due to maintenance work on Jubilee Line. This is the problem with going out on weekend, isn’t it?…

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