Padella – London

Just a stone’s throw away from London Bridge you will find Padella. Weirdly, I had never heard of this place before. I say weirdly because when we got there the queue was wrapped all around the building and the next table for 3 was available an hour and forty-five minutes later. So clearly Padella is a popular place!

After a nice girly catch-up and a few drinks at a close by venue (more on that one very soon!), we finally took a seat around the bar with a prime view into the kitchen, where all the magic happens.

Padella kitchen London

And it is not any magic happening at Padella – it is delicious Italian-pasta-magic!

Being a girly catch-up dinner, we all ordered wine of course and we decided to share two starters – the burrata and the salame. Both were delicious and between three people the perfect amount of food to save our appetite for the pasta!

Burrata and salame Padella London

The burrata was creamy and filling and the salame had the flavour of real well-made charcuterie (for a few bites I felt like I was back in France).

A special mention to the staff, one of my friends doesn’t like parmesan ( I know, weird, but we are still friends). The staff went above and beyond to make sure she enjoyed her main and that there would be minimal traces of parmesan on her plate (rather challenging in an Italian restaurant).

We all went for a different dish but all tried each others’ so I can comment on all! It is also good to note that Padella is very affordable. A meal without drinks will only set you back a tenner!

Padella London menu

Hemma went for the spinach and ricotta ravioli. These were excellent and so creamy!

Spinach and ricotta ravioliPadella London

Camille went for Padella signature dish Pici cacio & pepe, a very satisfying and simple cheesy plate of pasta! Comfort food at its best!

Pici cacio & pepe Padella London

I went for something a little different, the tagliarini with chilli, anchovies and capers. I felt adventurous and wanted to try something new. It was really good, neither too fishy nor too sour. All the flavours were subtle yet noticeable and it wasn’t too spicy either!

Tagliarini with chilli, anchovies and capers Padella London

So is Padella worth staying in the queue for? Absolutely! And while you are waiting, make sure to go explore and have a drink at Flat Iron Square, another nice discovery I made that same day (I can smell another blog post)!

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A heron in Kyoto

Dear Mr Heron, thank you for kindly taking the time to pose for me. I hope you like the picture! Regards, Claire

Kyoto – 2017

Heron in Kyoto

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In Bridgetown

I love the colours and liveliness of Barbados!

Barbados – 2018

House in Bridgetown Barbados

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Restaurante Noah – Santa Cruz, Portugal

On our first evening out of Lisbon, we headed north-west to the Atlantic coast and decided to spend a few days in the Torres Vedras region. The owner of Vila Louro recommended we grab dinner at Restaurante Noah in Santa Cruz which was only a 10-minutes drive from where we were staying.

Unfortunately, it was already dark when we arrived at Restaurante Noah. The restaurant is on the beach and I assume that the view during the day must be amazing.

Restaurante Noah Santa Cruz

Not knowing what to expect, we were pleasantly surprised by the very modern and nicely decorated venue. The place looks like if a beach-hut had a baby with a very sleek Scandinavian house. And you know me, I love good interior design!

Restaurante Noah Santa Cruz

After a long day on the road, we immediately ordered some bread while waiting for our drinks. It was good but a tasty mistake we would regret later. Don’t worry I will explain why.

Bread Restaurante Noah Santa Cruz

Our glasses of wine arrived, which made me very happy and we placed our order. After almost half a loaf of bread, we decided to share a starter and have a main each.

Restaurante Noah Santa Cruz

That is when we discovered that the first serving of bread had been a mistake… It was delicious BUT imagine our faces when we realised that the starter we had chosen, a local sausage, was served with another loaf of bread. We ended up full before our mains even arrived! So one tip for you: avoid the bread if you are planning to have a starter, a main and a dessert. The sausage was delicious though and we polished off the plate nicely.

Sausage Restaurante Noah Santa Cruz

Our mains arrived, squid ink linguine for Andrew and octopus for me (as usual). Both dishes were really good! The pastas had all the flavours of the sea (in a nice way). The octopus serving was very generous and had the right balance between the meatiness of the polpo and lightness of the vegetables and hazelnuts.

Squid ink linguine Restaurante Noah Santa CruzOctopus Restaurante Noah Santa Cruz

Our only disappointment was to not have room for any dessert, both of us were completely stuff!

I also want to give one bonus point to Restaurante Noah for the bill. When it arrives in such a creative container you are almost happy to take your card out!

Restaurante Noah Santa Cruz

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Under Lisbon bridge

You don’t really realise how big the 25 de Abril bridge is until you are under it. I also love the colour coordination between the bridge and its surroundings.

Lisbon – 2017

Under 25 de Abril bridge in Lisbon

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Lx Factory – Lisbon, Portugal

Some places are so unique that it hard to describe them! This is the case for Lx Factory, in Lisbon. Lx Factory is not a restaurant, not a food market, not a bar, not a shop or an art gallery… Lx Factory is all of the above!

Lx Factory Lisbon

Nested under the 25 de Abril bridge, Lx Factory used to be an old manufacturing complex which has been transformed into a trendy art and food district. The 23.000 m2 industrial site is now home to some creative companies, restaurants, bars, shops and art galleries. From breakfast to the last drink of the day, Lx Factory will keep you entertained.

Lx Factory Lisbon

We arrived there around lunchtime, after exploring the neighbourhood of Belem in the morning. On the hunt for a light bite to eat, we settled on LXeeseCake which had the most appetising salads on the menu. There are plenty of food options and you will find something for everyone’s’ taste.

Lx Factory Lisbon

Andrew went for a chicken salad, I went for a cheese and berries one. Both delicious and very welcome after days of eating fish, beans, rice and Pasteis de Nata.

LXeeseCake salad LisbonLXeeseCake salad Lisbon

We ended our lunch with some delicious yet slightly less healthy deserts. It is all about balance, right? I am not a cheesecake fan (I know, I know, how is that even possible?) but even I enjoyed it!

LXeeseCake cheesecake Lisbon

We went for a digestive walk and explored all the small alleyways of LxFactory.

Lx Factory LisbonLx Factory Lisbon

The street art scene is amazing in Lisbon, the locals fully embrace it and LxFactory really reflect this!

Street art Lx Factory LisbonLx Factory Lisbon

We visited all the shops! Some very trendy some… A lot more quirky!

Vintage shop Lx Factory Lisbon

We ended our visit on the south side and hopped on a train from Alcantara-Mar station back to Lisbon city centre.

Street art Lx Factory Lisbon

Lx Factory is definitely one of the trendiest spots in Lisbon and could easily compete with the very hype Shoreditch or Brooklyn. So make sure to add it to your Lisbon itinerary!

Street art Lx Factory Lisbon

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Breakfast view in Bathsheba

Missing our breakfast view at the Round House in Barbados on this rainy London day…

Barbados – 2018

Breakfast view at the Round House in Bathsheba

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Colours of Japan

I love the colours of Japan! Most shrines, taxis and other national amenities and services use primaries (red, blue and yellow) and secondaries (green, orange and purple) only.

Kyoto – 2017

Yasaka Shrine and taxis in Kyoto

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Breathless by Cornelia Parker

Breathless‘ a wonderful installation by Cornelia Parker hidden away in the Victoria & Albert Museum.

London – 2018

Breathless by Cornelia Parker

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Vila Louro – Torres Vedras, Portugal

When we plan our vacations, we like to find places to stay which are comfortable, with a boutique feel, and reasonably priced. With my obsession with interior design, I am also a sucker for nicely decorated spaces. This is why we decided to stay at Vila Louro, for a few days during our trip to Portugal. It is authentic, beautiful, gives easy access to the coast and is the perfect spot to relax in the sun.

Vila Louro

Originally a family home, brothers Filipe and Paulo Louro da Silva transformed the place into a tranquil and elegant oasis. We met Filipe who told us that rather than selling this family property, they decided to keep it an recreate the atmosphere and experiences of their childhood for others to enjoy. With only 9 rooms, all modernly decorated, Vila Louro has an authentic yet updated feel.

Vila Louro

We stayed in one of the Superior Double Rooms in the annexe facing the pool. The bedroom was very spacious and comfortable and the polished concrete floors and bathroom gave me major interior inspiration.

Vila Louro Superior Double RoomVila Louro Superior Double Room

We also had our own little terrace where we had lunches a couple of time (there are a few supermarkets close by).

Vila Louro terrace

Breakfast was included with our room and delicious! Filipe explained to us that they made sure to include in the buffet some traditional and family recipes.

The garden is beautiful and covered with orange and lemon trees. A green escape away from the drier fields around the village.

Vila Louro orange tree

The swimming pool area is inviting and most of the time quiet which makes it a great place to catch a bit of sun and finish a good book.

Bikes are available for the guests to cycle to the beach and around the village. It is good to note that you will still need a car to visit the towns and beaches a little further away.

Vila Louro garden

A great relaxing stay where rural Portugal meets the Atlantic ocean!

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