No Quick Fix…

‘Oh, you have to talk to your GP if you need anything stronger’, my local pharmacist shrugged his shoulder apologetically. I was at a chemist, hoping if they had any effective solution to my ongoing hay fever misery, but I was out of luck.
As soon as I hit the outside, my eyes, especially left one, become teary and uncomfortable. Unlike Hubbie and Mr.B, I don’t suffer from a torrent of sneezes. However, I feel my left sinus, which is swollen, puts pressure on my eye from the inside and irritates it to no end. Why spends a small fortune on medications which only gives me a weak & short relief?! I’ve already been taking Piritons, Beconase nasal spray, Prevalin spray as well as eye drop since the beginning of the spring. Yet, my day out is always slightly ruined by stuffed nose and prickly eyes. Before taking refuge in the Starbucks by the tube, I was going to West End. However, I found it too gusty and dusty and ended up changing my mind. It looks like I am gonna be under house arrest until this damn grass pollen season is over… *SOB*

Now, these are a couple of sights I encountered on my way home.

The claddings reminded me M.C.Escher’s Impossible Constructions…

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And fluffy clouds resembling flying saucers…

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Please someone and anyone, invent a miracle cure for my seasonal ailment…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Hay Fever Blues…

Most definitely, love is not in the air but pollen is!
My eyes behind a pair of shades feel sharp pricks from the particles in the atmosphere and at the same time, I experience a strangely dry and itchy throat. Oh, it’s so unfair that I can’t enjoy a sunny late spring day like this!
By the way, Mr.B also suffers from hay fever too. He sneezes frequently when he goes out this time of the year. His cute little black nose appears ever more black because it is so runny. As being a doggie, he has no option of blowing nose and therefore he must resort to licking his nose constantly. Mr.B and I are not a big fan of British spring time, I’m afraid.

Despite our seasonal misery, the allure of alfresco dining was too hard to resist and Hubbie, I & Mr.B found ourselves seated at an outside table at Ask Italian on Grafton Way near Warren Street tube one Sunday lunch time…

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It was far from sunny but that seemed to lessen the amount of pollen in the air and we definitely sneezed less…

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Ahhhh, the crusts!
Mr.B was so keen to inspect what was brought to our table…

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I ordered Quattro Stagioni.
This pizza with four different toppings was a perfect solution for someone like me who always got bored in the middle of the meal…

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After lunch, we strolled to Waterstone’s Gower Street near UCL to find guidebooks for Hubbie’s trip to Sydney. He was to give a few lectures at a design conference and would be there for 12 days. I imagine the Sydney Opera House would be one of the first images to be captured by the Leica rangefinder he bought the other day…

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Then, we dropped in Hubbie’s office in order to print out the itinerary of the trip.
He had to find it through tons of emails and Mr.B & I were very bored…

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‘Will he leave this denim with me while he is away?’…

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Oh no, I don’t think so.
Why don’t I dig out his old t-shirt and give it to you instead?…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Franco Manca @ Tottenham Court Road

I am very sorry for not updating my blog at all recently. My Mac went haywire and it disrupted my routine greatly. Anyway, it’s started to behave again and therefore I am back in the blogosphere!

‘Yes, they are gone!’ Now I remember. Gahhhhhhh!
One Saturday afternoon, I slapped my forehead as I stood on the pavement opposite to where once Jossep the camera shop used to be but now replaced by Morrison the supermarket.
I was after a certain bland of memory card for Hubbie’s Leica however, the task proved to be trickier than I anticipated. I trekked to three different locations but none of the shops stocked what I wanted. Specialist camera shops in Central London are a dying breed, aren’t they? They seem to have gone virtual or folded all together. And all the spaces they used to be are now occupied by fast food chains! There are too many of them! How many Starbucks and Pret alike do we need?

When I eventually knocked on the door of Hubbie’s office, I felt defeated, miserable and hungry.
‘I’m starving!’
So we headed to Franco Manca on Tottenham Court Road. Ever since opening their first West End branch in last November, there has been a sizeable queue in front of the restaurant all the time.
Even though the sight intrigued me but I was not a huge pizza fan and therefore I did not taste their offering until then…

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It was around 5ish in the afternoon so there was no queue.
The first table we were ushered to was too draughty due to being too close to the entrance. So we moved to the seating further down the dining room…

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I had a pizza with ham.
So this is the real McCoy…

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I wish if I could rave how great the pizza was. However, I was rather underwhelmed. Don’t get me wrong though. The pizza was decent and proper. But would I queue up for it? No, I don’t think so. My pizza just didn’t blow me away.  Oh well, never mind. At least I know what it is like.

Normally, the outside of the restaurant looks like this…

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Maybe I should have tried their Margherita instead…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Bring Back Our Grils!!

Please rescue the poor school girls of Nigeria!

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Let’s do what we can do no matter how small it may be. We want our girls back…

Henri Matisse: The Cut Outs @ Tate Modern

“Never repeat the David Hockney at RA” is Hubbie’s & my mantra we recite to each other when a major art exhibition hits the town. As you have probably guessed it from our mantra, we missed the Hockney’s retrospective show at the Royal Academy in 2012. Every time I expressed my desire for the show, Hubbie kept on putting it off by saying ‘Let’s wait until the show becomes less popular’. A few months passed as such and when we finally agreed to visit, it was already a final week and no ticket was available. Gah!! We learnt our lesson and vowed never to miss another show willy-nilly.

So when Nicholas Serota, director of the Tate galleries, announced that the next major exhibition following their immensely successful Paul Klee retrospective would be featuring Henri Matisse, we were determined not to miss the boat!

The Sunday during Easter Bank Holiday was a wet one…

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Turbine Hall was filled with a ripple of excited chats by visitors who were free from umbrellas and macs…

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Matisse’s The Cut Outs was our primary objective, however, we had an even more urgent desire to fulfil… LUNCH!
A queue in front of the ground floor cafe was too long for my empty stomach which was nearly keeling over. Therefore we made a beeline for the lift and climbed up to a top floor restaurant.

A view of St.Paul’s from the window of the restaurant heaving with lunchtime diners…

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We were literally the last people to have lunch there for the day! A couple queuing right behind us was told by a receptionist that the kitchen was closed for lunch and therefore they could offer afternoon tea menu only. I hope we weren’t looking too smug then.

Yayoi Kusama’s art graced the wall of the dining room…

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Yippee, my fish & chips!!

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I highly recommend the fish & chips at the Tate. Either at their ground floor cafe or top floor restaurant, it is seriously good. The batter is crispy outside and fluffy inside but non-greasy while the fish was moist and succulent.
Since knowing this fish & chips was the last one out of the kitchen, it tasted even better.

With our stomachs comfortably lined, we headed to the gallery on the second floor…

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The exhibition was not as packed as we feared. Most of the works on display were large and therefore they were even better to be viewed from the distance. We hired audio guides and sauntered around the galleries, feasting our eyes on Matisse’s colourful creations.

After Matisse, we also viewed Richard Hamilton’s retrospective show too…

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I could see how a certain YBA artist inspired by his work. However, it was a little too similar and I found it rather disturbing.

We also admired works by Dan Flavin…

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I saw his collection when I visited Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas. One of his installations was displayed in the town, utilising an unoccupied shop space. It was a strangely alluring sight that coloured fluorescent tubes in pink, blue, green and yellow were shimmering and the light was bleeding out from the window and onto ordinary everyday surroundings of the American suburb.

We were a little tired so moved on to the members room for tea & cake….

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I had a raspberry macaroon and a pot of Darjeeling….

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Tate Modern’s new extension under construction…

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Hubbie and I speculated how this Herzog de Meuron’s addition would turn out to be in 2016. Hubbie was a little concerned about the slanted walls, reasoning it wouldn’t be great for hanging arts. I am sure there must be a plenty more of vertical walls in this massive extension.

Broken lines on their concrete structure…

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Are they for hanging wall claddings?
I love ogling buildings especially the one under construction. How each element is put together three-dimensionally, it is so clever and fascinating. Oh, I can hardly wait to see the result…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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