03 May

How To Be Broke in London

Primrose Hill

One of the best things about this diverse city is how easy it is to find something to enjoy, even when you’re broke. Here are three of my favourites.

  1. Gardens. – Over 60% of London is green. Strolling through the gorgeous gardens can make you forget about all the problems in the world.
  2. Museums. – London has some of the best museums in the world, and most of them are free to visit unless you wish to see a special exhibition. Recently I had a splendid time at the Tate Modern, enjoying the art by the amazing Rebecca Horn, a pioneer in various fields.
  3. Farmers’ Markets – Being a foodie and being broke is not the best combination. However, I know how to lessen the frustration of not being able to buy expensive ingredients for your cooking or dine in fine restaurants. Last weekend I tasted lots of lovely food and divine cheeses at one of the Farmers’ Markets. Managed to skip dinner that day and my taste buds were happy nonetheless!

Greetings from Pollyanna! 😀

Swiss Cottage Farmers' Market

 

 

11 Feb

Keen Spring

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See those gorgeous Magnolias, blooming since early February in Primrose Hill. Meteorological spring doesn’t begin until the 1st of March, but they don’t care. Those pink flowers are a sight for sore eyes and make me happy. Like the Magnolias, I can’t wait for the lovely spring to come with its pastel colours and lovely scent. It’s my favourite time of the year in London.

Late February days; and now, at last, 

Might you have thought that 

Winter’s woe was past; 

So fair the sky was and so soft the air.

–  William Morris

27 Jan

A Minute with Mirren

12079780_10153090086422124_355767851808785471_oIn October I was granted the honour of interviewing Dame Helen Mirren on the red carpet at the European premiere of TRUMBO, directed by Jay Roach. Bryan Cranston gave a cracking performance as Dalton Trumbo, the Hollywood screenwriter who was blacklisted after refusing to testify in the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1947. Mirren is great in the role of Hedda Hopper, the infamous and nasty gossip columnist.

Being one of the reporters on the carpet is sort of mad; desperately trying to get the movie stars to notice you and answer your questions. More than half of these reporters go home empty handed.  Before I knew it, I was telling Helen Mirren that it was the first time Icelandic TV had a reporter on the red carpet for a film event of that scale. Her attention was caught, and I asked her whether she thinks films can influence people and send dangerous messages.

27 Oct

An Icelandic Play in London

Moments+(17+of+30)MOMENTS is an Icelandic play, originally written for radio by Starri Hauksson. It was aired on RUV’s Channel 1 in 2008, to critical acclaim. I listened to it back then and the characters played around in my head for a while afterwards, which is always a good sign.

Now MOMENTS has found its way to London, put on stage by a company made up of young Nordic theatre professionals who have combined their skills and ambitions to create this fantastic piece of authentic Icelandic theatre, performed by an all Icelandic cast, in both English and in Icelandic (with subtitles).

The story follows a young man named Andri who, after a tragic loss, has withdrawn from society and seemingly given up on life. We watch as Andri struggles with the ghosts from the past, as well as his own existence and relationships in the present. The play, set in modern day Reykjavík, addresses the subject of family, loss and forgiveness with brutal honesty, revealing the imperfections and raw vulnerability of the human mind and being.

Directed by Maya Lindh

Andri – Aron Trausti
Torfi – Siggi Holm
Edda – Vala Fannell
Illugi – Bragi Arnason

Performances are at the Drayton Arms Theatre in South Kensington until October 31st, at 8pm and 3pm for Saturday matinees, excluding Sundays and Mondays.

Reviews have been positive so far, you can read it here and here.

Moments+(1+of+30)

15 Oct

Cate Blanchett, Maggie Smith and Alan Bennett

12079780_10153090086422124_355767851808785471_oBFI – London Film Festival is almost over. It’s been fantastic! I can’t decide which film is my favourite, but there are a few I love and some I thoroughly enjoyed watching.

Suffragette is the film I’d been waiting for like a kid waits for Christmas. I wasn’t disappointed, it’s a really good movie and I loved it. Another film I loved is Carol by Todd Haynes with Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara in the leading roles. It’s a brilliant movie. The Lady in the Van will perhaps be too theatrical for some viewers, but I loved it. Watching the fine acting of Dame Maggie Smith and Alex Jennings was a pleasure and I can say the same about Lily Tomlin, starring in that clever little film Grandma. She’s such a good actress and I enjoyed the film. Trumbo was good, not a perfect film but enjoyable. Great actors again, Bryan Cranston, Helen Mirren and John Goodman.

Other films I’d like to recommend are; The Here After (Efterskalv) by Magnus von Horn, the documentaries Ingrid Bergman in Her Own Words and He Named me Malala and finally the dark and twisted Men & Chicken (Mænd & høns).

Finally, here’s some interesting and entertaining words from the stars. Sorry about the bad quality of the recording.

First up, Cate Blanchett reflecting on better roles for women in films.

Dame Maggie Smith was asked if she’d gone method for the role of Miss Shepherd.

Alan Bennett and Maggie Smith on ageing.

Cate Blanchett was asked if she thought it would have mattered if Carol was made 5-10 years ago.

 

 

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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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.