Clifton Greens

MAIDA VALE, LONDON – One of my favourite outings for the week is heading off to Clifton Greens in Maida Vale to do my fruit and vegetable shopping.

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Clifton Road is a busy street in Maida Vale that serves the local area with all your necessities. There are several independent shops such as the organic butcher, this gem of a fruit and veg shop, Clifton Greens, as well as some cafes (I love Baker & Spice’s almond croissants) and a beautiful florist.

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In the past I’ve headed to Tesco (I’m weaning myself off of this convenience store in London) and heading to more mom and pop places. I think I overspend on food. And worse, I waste a lot of  food too.  I think I spend too much because I go into a shop to buy milk, but come out having purchased many items that are not necessary but simply wanted.

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So I’m now trying specialist shops and seeing if I spend less and also less frequently.

Clifton Greens has a good selection of fresh fruit. A great deal of the fruit is imported in the UK so you don’t get the quality you want sometimes, but this shop hasn’t disappointed me and as a result, I’m eating more fruit and hopefully I’ll stop reaching for the junk food…i.e. chocolate and pastries all the time! Price wise it’s a fraction more. But worth it.

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Harris and Hoole

LONDON – Discovered Harris and Hoole tonight on Cannon Street. Popped in with a friend after work for a cup of hot chocolate – by far the prettiest I’ve ever seen in London. Was a perfect way to end the day as the rain came down.

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Got a favourite spot for a rainy day in London?

Vapiano Restaurant

LONDON – I received a £5 voucher from Vapiano in the mail this week and decided to cash it in.

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Each time I go to Vapiano (three times and counting) the place is busy! A good sign no doubt. This is an inexpensive restaurant where you can eat a pizza (starting at £6.75) or pasta (starting at £6.75) and get a drink in Central London for under £10 and still feel like you went to a pretty decent restaurant for a nice meal out.

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The restaurant runs on a different concept to most. When you arrive, each person gets a card that is swiped each time you order something from the counter. Only on your exit do you pay. It makes it nice for large groups where everyone wants to settle the bill separately. The downside is that since you order your food at the counter, you have to stand around and wait for it and you and your friends won’t necessarily start eating at the same time. Apart from that, it’s a decent meal out and I’d definitely recommend the Toscana pizza.

Bottom line: Nice Italian food at a decent price.

Vapiano

19-21 Great Portland Street, London, W1W 8QB

A night at the Proms

LONDON – On a whim I headed to the Royal Albert Hall to go and listen to the Proms last weekend.

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I arrived pretty late. My friend was already in the queue near the door but I had to go to the back of the line where they give you a number. It helps staff at the Royal Albert Hall gauge the expected crowd size and it lets the visitor know whether tickets are available. There was a long line. But after waiting for about 30 minutes I was ushered in and got my £5 ticket. Cheap as chips.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

At each evening of the Proms, there are 1400 ‘promming’ tickets on sale i.e. tickets for the gallery and the arena. I’ve sat in the arena before and although you typically get a good view, it’s tough on the legs. So when my friend suggested we go to the gallery, I was up for it.

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And this is what you can expect to find. People picnicking. They bring blankets, pillows and plenty of food. It’s quite amusing. But we got into the spirit of things with our blankie and chocolate.

In case you didn’t know, the Proms is an eight week summer festival of daily orchestral classical music concerts. The theme for our evening was film soundtracks!! It was pretty cool. Makes me realise that some of the best music today is coming out of Hollywood.

Bottom line: certainly worth a visit to the Royal Albert Hall during Prom season. Great music at prices for all. Sadly tonight’s the last night. Until next year.