Midsummer Night’s Fête @ Royal Academy, W1

‘OMG, it’s bright!’ I winced and rummaged around in the bag for a pair of shades as the early evening sunshine whacked my retinas unexpectedly.
Oh yeah, it’s the summer solstice, isn’t it? No wonder it stayed so bright until so late…

A balmy summer evening on Piccadilly…

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At Royal Academy of Arts, I was to rendezvous with my gorgeous girlfriends, Fei & Nicky, so we could enjoy A Midsummer Night’s Fête together. At the main gate, I was given a ticket for one free drink and looked for Fei & Nicky who were supposed to be amongst the lined crowd…

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Thanks to our iPhones, we managed to locate each other. A group photo with glasses in our hands…

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The British summer evening at its best. Mellow & balmy…

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The upstairs galleries were a venue for the 246th Summer Exhibition…

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In the first gallery, we were greeted by the artwork “Cake Man” by Yinka Shonibare…

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The figure, bearing a tower of cakes precariously stuck up on its back, was a representation of greedy bankers in the City and Wall Street, a description by the artist explained.

The next space accommodated large-scale paintings…

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This work was my favourite, BTW…

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The gallery also housed a bar which served gin & tonic as well as Pimms. At the end of the room, there was a stage for live music too…

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A typical scene of the Summer Exhibition at RA. The walls were covered with artworks in all shapes & sizes…

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Some works were romantic & dreamy…

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while others were rather dark and scary…

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Is this how Jerry sees a cheese grate? Oversized utensils in the middle of the gallery…

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Unfortunately, I was rather underwhelmed by James Turrell’s light sculpture. The venue had too much ambient lighting which dulled the intensity of the colours. What a shame…

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A figure of a young girl with her eyes closed stood demurely in the corner of one gallery…

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The work reminded me porcelain dolls by Lladró. The profile was delicate and sensual which made me want to stoke it (but I didn’t, of course)…

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The last room was the smallest and the most intimate space and Fei, Nicky & I unanimously agreed that it was our most favourite…

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The all four walls were adorned with small artworks, resembling a Victorian reception room proudly decorated by a fabulously eccentric old lady…

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Two unicorns in the wood. We all adored this painting / sculpture…

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From this photo, the work looks like a conventional painting but it is in fact a 3-D! It was so romantic! We sighed and then, we mused that it would be wonderful if we could hole ourselves up in a sitting room like this with a bottle of good wine & a box of chocolate. All night long, we would discuss about each one of artworks and it would be such fun!

Amongst the visitors, there were also a few performance artists roaming around the exhibition.

This ghost-like artist scared me the most…

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He carried a pink column like object with him and was shuffling around the galleries quietly.

He stopped time to time, asking visitors to scribble on the column…

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This lady with enormous paper hat was chatting with spectators and handing out lollipop-like paper object…

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I wasn’t sure what this gentleman was up to…

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When we came out of the building eventually, the party in the courtyard was already in full swing – a band, bottles of bubblies, cupcakes & pork pies…

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The hands of my wristwatch indicated that the time was nearly nine o’clock. No wonder we were so hungry…

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So we headed towards Chinatown eagerly, salivating over the thought of soup dumplings at Dumpling Legend…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Ozone Coffee Roasters @ Leonard St EC2

I am standing in the queue at my local post office with a few parcels which are to be returned to the stores so I can claim refunds. For some unknown reason, all the self-service machines are out of order and therefore I have to join a looooooong line trailing from the counters. At least, I am grabbing this detour so I can update my otherwise sluggish blog…

Around Old Street tube station, there is another notable coffee joint, named Ozone Coffee Roaster. They not only offer carefully brewed cups but also an extensive breakfast & lunch menu which has proved to be hugely popular amongst the City workers as well as the tech crowds around the vicinity…

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My flat white. I must say it was not the best one I tasted from them. A faint but noticeable bitterness was left on my tongue as the liquid trickled down my throat. Roasting and brewing a perfect cup of coffee is quite an art, isn’t it?…

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For late lunch, I had Eggs Benedict with salmon…

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The poached eggs and rashers of smoked salmon were laid on top of bubble & squeak cakes instead of usual English muffins.

My friend went for the same except changing the filling to Portobello mushroom & spinach…

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As the knife was thrusted into the bulging egg yolk, a delicious golden ooze seeped out and slowly disappeared into the warm starchy bed. It tasted absolutely divine…

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My friend’s brand new Dr.Martens…

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He bought a pair of 1461…

Next to us, an incredibly well-behaved Airdale terrier was lying down…

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He hugged the floor quietly as his owner went through his lunch…

By the way, while England’s World Cup dream is prematurely over and done with, the Wimbledon has kicked off. Thank god! Come on Andy! Show us what you’ve got!!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Bits & Pieces…

I am not into FIFA World Cup.
Do you know why? Because I am rather disgusted by all those fake dives performed by “world-class athletes”, which acts are followed by them rolling around on the turf in crocodile tears, clutching their shins like toddlers, wanting attention from their mummies. Especially, the match between French vs Honduras, how often did I notice the blue shirts curling up in a foetal position? Is it morally ok to pretend that the one is hurt in order to milk from the situation? Is lying acceptable if it happens on the football pitch? What kind of example do those dubious behaviours set to impressionable youngsters who are watching the games? Professional footballers are hardly a positive role model nowadays but their “lying & cheating” styles are really over the top. No wonder I prefer ice hockey to football! While NHL players pretend they are not hurt after collisions, those world-famous footballers pretend they are badly hurt. What a bunch of sissies they are! Since FIFA has introduced goal cameras from this competition, they should consider giving refs lie-detectors in the 2018 tournament so the beautiful game will become cleaner.

A cool weather has descended upon London since last Saturday. The sky is covered with grey clouds and the wind is rather chilly. Where has the summer gone? Is it already over?!

By the way, there are a few things I came across while I was out & about recently.
A London Underground logo emerges from under layers of posters at Old Street station…

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A building wall off Oxford Street looks like a wall of cascading surf…

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Undulating iron works on the building by Finsbury Square…

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A bagpiper treating two rather grumpy looking toddlers to a birthday tune in front of the Selfridges…

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A gigantic flea about to leap over a Royal Mail van on Great Eastern Street…

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Tonight, I will be watching NHL GameCenter LIVE on my Mac while Hubbie is glued to TV, watching the footie…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Saturday Lunch @ Charlotte Street W1

Even though the amount of grass pollens in the air was at its highest, Hubbie, Mr.B and I decided to have a leisurely lunch on Charlotte Street last Saturday.

We waited for Hubbie on tha pavement while he brought a car out of the underground car park. It was rather breezy and Mr.B looked like as if he was being blow-dried…

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We parked our car near Hubbie’s office and walked towards Charlotte Street.
BT Tower was standing tall against the sky decorated with wispy clouds like an Olympic torch…

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We found a table at Côte.
Mr.B was excited to be greeted with a basket of bread…

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Across the street, I saw Josephine’s Filipino Restaurant

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Come to think of it, I never had any cuisine from Philippine and am very intrigued.
I suggested Hubbie if we could have a go at the place one evening. However spice-shy Hubbie suggested that I should look for an alternative dining companion… *RAT*

We tucked in steak and French fries. The sirloin was slightly overdone which I found rather regrettable…

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To accompany the steak, we shared tomato, shallot & basil salad…

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Then, we rounded up our meal with apple tart with ice cream…

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After lunch, we strolled to Park Camera off Oxford Street to buy a tripod.
Mr.B waited patiently in the carrier while Hubbie pondered which one to buy…

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Being ever so workaholic, Hubbie couldn’t help checking his inbox while Mr.B looked up to him quizzically.

‘What are you looking at?’

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Charlotte Street glows in the mellow afternoon sun…

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On our way back to the car, we came across Pollock’s Toy Museum on Scala Street…

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The museum has been a place which I was meant to visit for years but not yet done so. I must must come back to it very soon…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Pop-Up Book Sale ICA @ The Mall

The recent London has been blessed with a blue sky and fluffy white wispy clouds. And the weather of the last Saturday was no exception.
‘We are going to the ICA today!’ Hubbie declared breezily. He explained that we were to visit a weekend-only pop-up bookshop held at the gallery. Oh, okay…

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I was not an avid Royal calendar follower and therefore I had no idea what was held at Horse Guard Parade that morning but along the stretch of The Mall, a row of crowd-control barriers was in place on both sides and onlookers were milling about…

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We had a quick bite at the gallery’s cafe before plunging our nose between pages of precious prints…

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The coffee at ICA was not bad at all and the sandwiches were really tasty.

After climbing two flights of stairs…

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And we were greeted with table tops and shelves laden with vintage art & photography books…

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While Hubbie was wandering between stalls, I came across intriguing looking pins at one of the venders…

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The staff explained to me that their designs were inspired by fonts and borders. I decided to take two of them home with me, the pins in the first and second row, because they reminded me the artworks of James Turrell…

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A corridor of the ICA…

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Once outside, we headed to the nearest ice cream van. They were making a brisk trade as customers swarmed around the window, wanting to have an icy treat…

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We licked our soft ice-cream and sauntered to the Royal Academy…

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Alas, the Summer Exhibition was not on yet so we headed home.

A back view of the statue in the courtyard resembled a bullfighter, squaring at a bull in the ring, I thought…

Do you agree with me?

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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