09 Oct

Icelandic delicacy at Borough Market

12066052_955169254576686_1571104862316647427_nFoodies interested in trying Icelandic food are in for a treat this weekend! If you go to Borough Market I highly recommend you try f.ex. flatbread with smoked trout or lamb, harðfiskur and skyr.

The Icelandic Pantry brings the best of Iceland’s cuisine to London and this is how they introduce it on Facebook:

‘From 7-10 October, Londoners will be able to experience a taste of Iceland when Icelandic farmers, fishermen and other independent food producers will be selling their produce at London’s famous Borough Market for the first time.

“The Icelandic Pantry” marks the first time Borough Market has hosted an Icelandic guest market allowing the primary food producers to travel from Iceland to speak directly with UK shoppers and sell their products.

Shaped by the harsh climate, Icelandic food traditions are inspirational to modern food producers. From blueberry-cured lamb to artisan pastries, the world’s only geothermally produced sea salt to an eco-whey drink blended with wild Iceland moss and Arctic thyme, Icelandic producers are renowned for their unique and innovative approaches to food and drink production.

The country’s different regions are represented with organic lambs fed on angelica to give it a special flavour from West Iceland, hot-smoked mackerel from the East and artisan rhubarb brittle from South Iceland will all be there. Some foods also give an insight into Iceland’s rich history, such as a special flatbread dating from the settlement in the 9th century.

Farmers markets are growing in popularity in Iceland and The Icelandic Pantry is the country’s largest artisanal food fayre, taking place in Reykjavik. Founders, Eirný Sigurðardóttir and Hlédís Sveinsdóttir have brought together 14 of the Icelandic producers to travel to London in October.

Eirny Sigurðardóttir says: “For the first time, Icelandic farmers are traveling to London to sell their products there. The purpose of the trip is not only to introduce Icelandic food culture and products to Brits, but it’s also a learning experience for us, which will help us grow and improve.”

Borough Market’s David Matchett added: “The Icelandic Pantry event is an opportunity for the city’s food lovers to sample and learn about Icelandic cuisine, as well as a chance for local and small scale producers from the country to showcase and talk about what’s special about what they eat to a new UK audience. Icelandic people are among the healthiest on earth and are also one of the most resourceful, living in a harsh and unforgiving environment. They also have a focus on sustainability, which is a way of life rather than an aspiration, so as a market we have a lot of shared values and are excited to welcome them here in October.”’

Enjoy!

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07 Oct

Meryl the Suffragette

12091187_10206531030888599_2629639756224094965_oThis morning I had the pleasure of watching the film Suffragette by director Sarah Gavron, written by Abi Morgan.

Suffragette is a drama that tracks the story of the foot soldiers of the early feminist movement, women who were forced underground to pursue a dangerous game of cat and mouse with an increasingly brutal State. These women were not primarily from the genteel educated classes, they were working women who had seen peaceful protest achieve nothing. Radicalized and turning to violence as the only route to change, they were willing to lose everything in their fight for equality – their jobs, their homes, their children and their lives. Maud was one such foot soldier. The story of her fight for dignity is as gripping and visceral as any thriller, it is also heart-breaking and inspirational.

I thoroughly enjoyed the film and think it’s fantastic. The cast couldn’t be better; Carey Mulligan is captivating in the leading role of Maud Watts and all the other actors are brilliant. Suffragette is beautifully shot and the set design is perfect. I’ve read reviews by men saying they had difficulties connecting to the film emotionally. They claim that something is lacking in the storyline and the film is too feminist.  I don’t understand those remarks and neither did three women I talked to after the press screening. We were all moved by the story and had tears in our eyes.

Meryl Streep plays the role of Emmeline Pankhurst and has been promoting the film, even though she only has one scene. At a press conference this morning she spoke about the need for more female movie critics, and it made me think it’s perhaps not strange how often I don’t agree on which films stand out, or should get more recognition. She said:

‘I went deep, deep, deep, deep into Rotten Tomatoes and I counted how many contributors there were, critics and bloggers and writers. And of those allowed to rate on the Tomatometer, there are 168 women. And I thought, ‘that’s absolutely fantastic.’ If there were 168 men, it would be balanced. If there were 268 men, it would unfair but I’d get used to it. If there were 368, 468, 568…. Actually there are 760 men who weight in on the Tomatometer.’

Meryl also went on the New York Film Critics’ website and found that there were 37 men and only two women.

‘The word isn’t ‘disheartening,’ it’s ‘infuriating.’ I submit to you that men and women are not the same. They like different things. Sometimes they like the same things, but their tastes diverge. If the Tomatometer is slided so completely to one set of tastes, that drives box office in the U.S., absolutely.’

Suffragette opens the BFI – London Film Festival 2015 tonight.

30 Sep

Hampstead Heath – photo gallery

12052384_10206488167297036_3093669693632837370_oOnly a few miles from central London is this magical place called Hampstead Heath. It’s an ancient and historic London Park, covering almost 800 acres of woodland, meadows, grasslands and ponds. Hampstead Heath is an important refuge for wildlife and history nuggets are everywhere to be found. The captivating sights have been an inspiration for artists and several movies have been shot in the area. Even some of London’s most infamous crimes have been committed there. The Heath is also famous for being the perfect place for lovers.  A stroll there is simply a delight and highly recommended for visitors and locals alike.

24 Sep

An Icelandic restaurant pops up in London

425594_405887002760625_337106445_nIt isn’t often people can visit a restaurant from Iceland in London, but now is the chance. During the last weekend of October, a restaurant with the ideology of the Icelandic restaurant Friðrik V vill open in a space called A_SPACE, near the Angel tube station.

Friðrik’s V speciality is that the restaurant does not have an à la carte menu. Instead, the guests are invited on a surprise trip, where the chefs create a magical evening, cooking from the freshest material from Iceland.

This pop-up restaurant will be open three nights, from the 29th – 31st of October. A five course surprise menu with selected drinks will be served. Booking has started and there’s limited seating.

Information and booking:

fridrikvlondon@fridrikv.is

www.fridrikv.is

Friðrik V on Facebook

tel. (354) – 461-5775

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21 Sep

History at every step

5History is at every step in London. Tudor, Victorian and Edwardian architecture is everywhere and as are the stories of famous people who used to live in the buildings.

Guided history walks are really popular here in London. I’ve been on a few of them myself and have never been disappointed. On Saturday, I went to a ‘Historic Local Walk: South Hampstead’, held by Friends of St Mary’s, a charity supporting vulnerable young people.

We had an excellent guide, David Brown, who most definitely knew the art of mixing knowledge and entertainment. I had never heard about the Hampstead murders, nor had I ever heard about Martina Bergman Österberg, a pioneer in physical education for women and a suffragette. I was also introduced to a very different lady, Lillie Langtry, one of the many mistresses of Albert Edward the Prince of Wales.

The house Sean Connery lived in while filming James Bond.

The house Sean Connery lived in while filming James Bond.

The house where T.S. Eliot was a lodger when he met his first wife Vivienne.

The house where T.S. Eliot was a lodger when he met his first wife Vivienne.

If you are visiting London, I highly recommend going on one of these walks.

 

 

11 Sep

Icelandic short wins London Calling awards

feature_Rainbow_Party_London_CallingYesterday, the Icelandic short Rainbow Party by Eva Sigurdardottir got the London Calling awards.

The winner was awarded a £2,000 prize and this is what the jury had to say about Rainbow Party: ‘We felt it was brilliantly-performed and incredibly well-crafted, with excellent casting. It is rare to see teenage sexuality so bravely and intelligently interrogated.’

London Calling. BFI. 10/9/2015

London Calling. BFI. 10/9/2015. Photo from their website.

The film was produced with production funding from Film London, amongst others. Eva Sigurdardottir (director/writer/producer) and Ragnheidur Erlingsdottir (producer) attended the London event at the BFI.

A selection of shorts will premiere at this year’s BFI London Film Festival on Thursday 15 and Saturday 17 October as part of the London Calling programme. I can’t wait to see Rainbow Party at the festival.

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Eva’s production company, Askja Films, has many interesting projects in development, like the documentary The Hot Tub I told you about in June.

‘Eva Sigurdardottir is a BAFTA nominated Film Producer who is based between Reykjavik, Iceland and London, England. Eva’s Producer credits include the BAFTA nominated short film Good Night (2012), as well as Red Reflections (2014), The Substitute (2014), and Foxes (2014). Eva also Line Produced the feature film Rams (2015) by Grímur Hákonarson which premiered at the Festival de Cannes in the Un Certain Regards section and won the prestigious award.

Upcoming projects include the feature film Heartstone (dir: Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson) with Join Motion Pictures, which is due to shoot in the autumn of 2015. Short films in production include Salvation (dir: Thora Hilmarsdottir), the short documentary Hot Tub (dir: Harpa Fönn Sigurjónsdóttir) and Rainbow Party (dir: Eva Sigurdardottir). Eva is also currently developing a range of feature film projects with the directors that she nurtured through short films as well as with new talent.

Eva studied Television Production at the University of Westminster in London, graduating with a first class honours degree in 2008. Since graduating Eva has worked on shorts and feature films, and has travelled the world self-shooting a documentary series on world religions. Eva worked at the BBC for three years, specializing in children’s animation, acquisitions and drama. Later she worked as the Production Manager of the Film & Photography department at the charity Save the Children. Currently Eva is working as a Film Producer in Iceland and the UK for her company Askja Films, as well as she is employed at Netop Films as a Producer and Project Manager. Her work at Netop Films include Line Producing the feature film Rams (2015) by Grímur Hákonarsson and the feature documentary Óli Prik (2015) by Árni Sveinsson.’

Text from the Askja Films website.

 

09 Sep

One is still reigning!

555px-Elizabeth_II_greets_NASA_GSFC_employees,_May_8,_2007_editCongratulations to Queen Elizabeth II on becoming the UK’s longest-serving monarch!

Today, at 5.30PM, she has passed the record set by her great-great grandmother, Queen Victoria.

Adored by so many and hated by others, this tiny woman has reigned for 63 years and seven months. Her Majesty has said that she doesn’t want a fuss to be made, but of course there are celebrations.

Since I moved to England I’ve thoroughly enjoyed observing the complicated relationship this nation has with its Royal Family. In a way, The British Monarchy is their Disneyland. I used to wonder why on earth a nation would spend so much money on something as trivial in modern times. The answer is quite simple, I’m told they cash in even more than they spend on it. It’s always about money, isn’t it?

It’s also about entertainment. Nothing has made me giggle more recently than the Queen’s fake twitter account.

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I love people’s diversity. This would be one boring life if everyone was the same. There are Royal fans and there are super fans.  Here are two videos that made me smile.

 

28 Aug

What on earth is Promming?

IMG_2992I’m watching ‘BBC Proms: The Story of Swing’ on BBC4 at the moment. Enjoying myself immensely, dancing around my living room. Being there is even more fun though, so I wanted to tell everyone traveling to London about Promming.

You’d think it was really expensive to buy a ticket to a Proms concert at the Royal Albert Hall, but it doesn’t have to be.

The popular tradition of Promming, standing in the Arena or Gallery areas, is central to the unique and informal atmosphere of the BBC Proms. Up to 1,350 standing places are available for each Proms concert. All you have to do is turn up on the day of the concert and then you have the chance to buy a ticket for only 5 pounds. However, if you are going to a concert with famous performers or music loved by many, get there early and be prepared to stand in line for hours. People are usually in good spirit so being part of those queues can be a whole lot of fun.

The Proms has a long and wonderful story, read about it here!

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26 Aug

A hidden gem!

IMG_2704There are so many hidden gems in London. When I decided to visit Kenwood House, a mansion from the 18th century, it was purely because I wanted to see the location of a scene from Notting Hill. For those who know the movie; I’m talking about the scene where Anna Scott is filming and William overhears her dismissing him to a fellow actor.

Little did I know that Kenwood House has a truly exceptional collection of paintings by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Gainsborough, Turner and Reynolds, not to mention the 112 acres of glorious parkland. It’s the perfect place to visit if you want to spend a day admiring art and be able to take a stroll in beautiful surroundings as well. It’s also interesting to walk around the house and explore the stories of it’s inhabitants and if you are hungry there’s a restaurant on the grounds, offering food that’s nice.

Kenwood House was built by Robert Adam for the 1st Earl of Mansfield and saved for the nation by Edward Cecil Guinness, 1st Earl of Iveagh.

I highly recommend a visit to Kenwood House if you’re traveling to London.

Mother of all selfies. Rembrandt van Rijn - Portrait of the Artist.

Mother of all selfies. Rembrandt van Rijn – Portrait of the Artist.

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04 Aug

Pleasure and Pain

shoes v aGoing to a museum in London is obviously very popular among tourists. The National British Museum is amazing and so is the Tate, but the world’s greatest museum of art and design, The Victoria and Albert Museum, is one of my personal favourites.

On the 13th of June, a new and interesting exhibition opened at the V & A. Shoes – Pleasure and pain looks at the extremes of footwear from around the globe. The museum has an unbelievable collection of shoes, around 2,000 pairs spanning more than 3,000 years of history. The exhibition is on until the 31st of January 2016 and I recommend booking your tickets in advance if you’re thinking of going.

If you don’t have a chance to visit the museum, you can always take a look at their fascinating website. Did you know that the Stiletto heel was named after a Sicilian fighting knife? The Shoes Timeline gives you a unique look into the history of shoes.

The museum is on Instagram as well, and to those of you who have unusual pairs of shoes, it tells you that: ‘Whether it’s on #TuesdayShoesday or your favourite daily #Shoefie, we want to see your extreme footwear. Simply take a photo of your favourite shoes and tag it on Instagram with the exhibition hashtag #vamShoes.’

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Photo from the V & A website.