Culture: Imperial War Museum

Hi Everyone! Welcome to another instalment to the Pineapple Chicken Blog. I hope all my readers in the UK enjoyed a great bank holiday weekend! I had a few adventures so I am going to split up the days into several posts so I do not inundate you with too much information :)!

Imperial War Museum

First stop was the Imperial War Museum (“IMW”), the closest station being Lambeth North on the Bakerloo Line. I went to museum specifically to see the People Power: Fighting for Peace which has unfortunately closed on the 28th August. However, I thought that I would share with you what I saw and encourage you to visit the museum for all the other exhibitions.

I had never been to the museum before (despite living in London for 28 years) and was thoroughly impressed. It is housed in a beautiful building and it is amazing that it is possible to fit in a relatively small space! You walk through a beautiful park to reach the entrance where you come face to face with these two massive naval guns and ammunition shells (see photos above). If you keep walking around, you will also spot a piece of the Berlin Wall.

Once you enter the museum (please note they do bag checks), I was blown away by the sight in front of me. There were fighter jets, spitfires and other planes artistically displayed, dangling from the ceiling! The IWM is also not as crowded as other London museums making it a much more tranquil experience. You can wander the floors in your own pace and reflect in peace.

All temporary exhibitions are located on the 3rd floor, so my sister and I took the lift straight up to for People Power: Fighting for Peace. Unlike other museums, the ticket did not require us to enter at a specific time slot. The ticket was just valid from 10am (when the museum opens) and we were allowed multiple entries into the exhibition, which I must admit is the first time I have seen! (It is a very nice change!)

The exhibition explored how different peace movements influenced the perceptions of war. The main historical periods covered started with the First World War, moving to Second World War, to the Cold War and present day. It told the stories of individuals who stood up to conscription (conscientious objectors), who organised marches, and even one man’s decade long fight for peace (Brian Haw). It was a real eye opener for me because it is not an area that I had ever explored and thought much about. However, it is very relevant to all the threats that we face today, especially with the current tensions between American and North Korea.

Through all the paintings, letters, banners and even music, it gave an insight into the struggles of the anti-war protesters and gave reflection on what it must have felt like being a pacifist during a particular period. One particularly letter that stood out, was when a friend during the First World War wrote to a conscientious objector and called him a “livered cur”! Personally, I thought it was a humbling experience and wished that I went to see to the exhibition earlier to encourage you all to visit!

During my visit at the IWM, I also took an opportunity to visit a free exhibition. Sergey Ponomarev: A Lens on Syria. It is the first UK exhibition from the photographer. I highly recommend a walkthrough, especially if you love photography. The exhibition, however, is not for the faint-hearted, though the photos are not graphic (i.e. gore-y) it was heart wrenching for me to see the suffering of other individuals. There are two parts to the exhibition. First is “Assad’s Syria” which gave insight into how people lived in government controlled areas of Syria. Second, “The Exodus” covered the stories of families and individuals who sought asylum in Europe. This really hit close to home and was very humbling.

In my opinion, the IWM is a gem and often overlooked when people visit London or even living in London. I encourage everyone to stop by if they have a chance to wander through the free exhibits, if not, the temporary exhibitions. The IWM gets a well-deserved 4 starts from Pineapple Chicken!

There is also a new exhibition at the IWM, Age of Terror: Art since 9/11 which will be available until 28 May 2018. I hope to be able to go back again really soon to cover the Age of Terror and wander through the other floors.

Next up on the blog will cover my second day of the bank holiday – Richmond Park and some food reviews! Can’t wait to share with you all!

With Sweet and Sour Love,

Pineapple Chicken

Tickets to the exhibition cost me £5 with the Art Pass

 

Travel: Paris in a Day

Hi Everyone! I hope you are having a wonderful week so far. I am really excited to share with you my adventures in Paris for a day. You are probably wondering why would I possibly want to just spend several hours in Paris when there is so much to see? Well this is because I bought a return Eurostar ticket for £60!!

My colleague/amazing friend introduced me to Snap Eurostar. You can book for 1 to 4 passengers, and currently, able to book between 29 August and 19 September. Destinations include Brussels, Lille and Paris! I highly recommend it, if you are either staying in London for a couple of days and thinking of a day trip; or just in the mood to get out of London. This is the best way to do it! The only catch is, you don’t know the time of your train until a few days before, but it is guaranteed that you leave in the morning and return in the evening. Check it out and do let me know if you go on an adventure!

I must admit that it has taken me a while to enjoy Paris. I went when I was younger and don’t have much recollection from my childhood. However, I have been twice in 2017 and I am absolutely in love. Maybe because I can appreciate the architecture and the culture? Not sure but for whatever reason I am now completely smitten by Paris.

The day started at London St. Pancras at 8:30am to catch the 9:24 train to Paris Nord. I live very close to Kings Cross St. Pancras, so the Eurostar really is a no brainer for me. Being able to travel to Paris in 2.5 hours, door to door, is an absolute dream! Given that my friend and I had visited Paris before, we didn’t want to do the major sightseeing spots. Instead we wanted to enjoy a super chilled Sunday – filled with food and great company. This is pretty much how I would like to spend my Sundays in London.

First stop: Canal Saint-Martin

I have always wanted to see the Canal Saint-Martin, as it is suggested in every blog about Paris. Sundays in a European city is always quiet and tranquil, especially when compared to London. A short walk from Jacques Bonsergent (Line 5) metro station and we were there! The sun was shining and a wonderful breeze was blowing. First thing we see is the infamous bridge as featured in the movie Amélie. Yes, it is only a bridge, but it is really beautiful and from the top, you have this wonderful view of this wide and straight canal (see photos above). On the day, there were small groups sitting by the canal, chatting away with a drink or just sunbathing with a book. It felt so serene. I am going to have to wander around London to see if there is anywhere similar to this!

Second stop: Lunch at Cafe Charlot

We walked towards le République stopped for a few snaps and then meandered our way to Marché des Enfants Rouges. This is one of the oldest covered markets in Paris where inside there are stalls selling various cheeses and meats. There are also two restaurants – one specialising in Italian cuisine and the other, North African cuisine. Though we tried to get a table it proved impossible! Instead we headed out and just over street was the most typical Parisienne café – Café Charlot (because it is located on Rue Charlot), with the weaved chairs and super small tables. We managed to find a table out in the sun. After squeezing our way onto the tiny terrace to our tables and me knocking several people’s head with my camera, we were seated. Everyone around us was chatting away with a glass of wine, basking in the summer sun. This is the life!

After a very substantial lunch (sorry forgot to take photos, I basically inhaled my omelette) and getting a nice tan, we started our adventures again wandering down Rue Charlot (which is the cutest street in Paris) and the Marais area.

Shopping in Marais

Having walked up Rue Charlot, we u-turned and back down Rue de Turenne and passed Jacques Genin. We were just window shopping but this is probably the fanciest chocolate shop EVER!! I slightly regret not going in, but whoever does get a chance to visit, please stop and have a look!! We continued to stroll down to Rue Vielle du Temple and found the cutest shop, called Nice Things. If the name was not a giveaway, when we walked in, I just fell in love with all their cutest prints and knitwear, and as always, I got distracted by shoes! I ended up buying a suede pair of grey Chelsea boots (photos to come!), which I can’t wait to wear this autumn.

As all great girlfriends do – I don’t shop alone, so of course, my friend ended up buying red suede heeled loafers too! It was not my intention to go on a shopping spree in Paris, but if you are in this area, it is hard not to fall in love with the Paris style.  (I do not want to bore you with my shopping adventures, I did end up buying a raincoat from Petit Bateau as well, before making our way back to London.)

Tea: Crepes

Obviously, after all the hard work exerted from shopping, one must treat oneself to something sweet. This is when we stopped at Creperie Suzette on Rue des Francs Bourgeois, which is the main shopping street of Marais. We made use of the summer sun and ate our delicious crepes outside next to a wonderful french couple, who had a heated debate the whole time we sat there!

Dessert: Photos & Berthillon Ice Cream

We continued to wander around and soak in the Paris vibes. There were artists selling their work on the streets, ranging from beautiful ceramics, paintings, and photos. I ended up buying two photos from a photographer travelling the world with a working Rolleiflex camera. The photos I chose happen to be from Northern India up in the Himalayas (a yak and a shepherd). The photographer was telling us that he was preparing for their next trip back out to Southern India for 6 months. Clearly our contributions were helping a great cause haha! It is really inspiring though, hopefully, next time I visit, he will be there so I can buy more of his pictures.

As we wandered the streets, it was nearly time we had to make our way back to Gare du Nord. We didn’t have enough time for dinner, so we stopped at a cafe to have the famous Berthillon Ice Cream, which you must try! My favourite Yogurt with Yuzu. TRUST ME – this will be one of the greatest things you have EVER tasted 🙂

We left will a full stomach and a very satisfying day, we slowly made our way back to London. Paris je t’aime! Until next time….

With Sweet and Sour Love,

Pineapple Chicken x

Science: Whale Exhibition at the Natural History Museum

Hi Everyone! Welcome to another fun filled adventure on the Pineapple Chicken Blog. This post is especially close to my heart as it covered all my shenanigans my 28th birthday. As per tradition, I do not work on my birthday and took the day off. Luckily, my sister was also able to join me in my wanderings.

Palm Vaults, Hackney

First stop, I visited the most instagrammable cafe in London. I would honestly say that it was love at first sight! Pink and with hanging plants in pots, just my idea of heaven. The staff are super friendly and given that I was there around 12pm on a Tuesday the atmosphere was chilled. A great way to start the day.

They are famous for their smoothie bowls, so I ordered the mango smoothie bowl with blue algae. It was surprisingly not too sweet and refreshingly cold. If only the London weather was warmer! My sister ordered their banana cake topped with coffee mascarpone and cocoa nibs. Though sweet, the texture of the cake was dense and moist.

Accompanying my smoothie, I ordered the “layered matcha” drink. I had no idea what I was expecting but I really enjoyed it. My sister gave a scrunched-up face of dislike. It came iced and when mixed together became this rather unappetising grey/purple colour, (I am really not selling it!) but tastes of a refreshing matcha latte. I loved it and I would recommend it as a good alternative to coffee. My sister ordered an iced latte – good coffee, no complaints.

Though, Palm Vaults was out of the way for me, I really loved it there and it gets a smashing 4/5 pineapples from me. For the first time, I believed in the hype, so much so that my sister bought the t-shirt!

Temple of Hackney (Seitan), Hackney

Whilst I was already in the area, I thought I would go to the Temple of Hackney to try their vegan fried chicken. Yes, VEGAN! When I mentioned this to my colleagues the next day, everyone just gave me a “Gross”/”Yuck” comment, but that is because they are all meat eaters (haters!). I, on the other hand, am grateful that there is a restaurant out there trying to accommodate vegetarians and vegans need for fried chicken tasting things!

When we walked over from Palm Vaults (10 minutes), there was a queue outside of shop. The few seats out in the front were also filled with patrons. Clearly, there is a very loyal following. I spent a lot of time looking the menu. It was diverse, ranging from burgers to wraps to just the meat itself. They have chicken wings and pops with a variety of sides. This is definitely an attempt to being the real deal and not your average Chicken Cottage!

I decided to go for the 2-piece meal (fries and a drink) with a side of gravy as this is what I would have normally ordered when I was a meat eater. I was excited and anxious to see how seitan would taste as a meat alternative. For those who are unaware of seitan, it is made from wheat and has been used in many Asian dishes as a mock meat. I have had it in very traditional forms of cooking in Hong Kong temples but this is the first time I have had in a fast food context. It has been nearly a year since I have had fried chicken, so you can imagine how I was feeling (wiping the drools)!

I was disappointed with the food – I am sure I am upsetting many loyal patrons, so I would like to apologise in advance. Firstly, the gravy – do not order it. It was extremely watery and tasted like salty water. Considering I had paid £1 for a very tiny pot, it was not a good start. The size of the chicken pieces was large so you are getting your money’s worth. The batter was crispy but lacked texture – it was just a thin covering and the seitan, though flavoured was just a poor substitute. It is extremely dense and after a few bites, I gave up because I ended up chewing for too long. The fries were good, but I don’t think I need to go to a vegan fried chicken place for good chips.

I am glad that I tried because I have wanted to for a long time. However, I left disappointed and will not be going back any time soon, therefore, it only gets 1 pineapple out of 5 from me. (I apologise that I don’t have any photos of the food, I forgot to save the photo from instastory – FAIL)

Whales: Beneath the Waves – Natural History Museum

The grand finale of the day is visiting the Natural History Museum for their new whale exhibition to celebrate the new Blue Whale display (who has replaced our beloved Dippy the Dinosaur). The Natural History Museum is my favourite place in the whole of London, I have joined as a member and loved the fact that I can go to certain exhibitions for free and skip the long queues to get in! Personally, I think it is worth every penny and it is supporting an institution that pioneers in research, education and conservation (all my favourite things!).

I have seen part of the Whales: Beneath the Waves exhibition when I attended the launch party of the new Blue Whale display in the Hintze Hall (see some photos on my instagram) but didn’t have a chance to go all the way round. This time, dragging my sister along, I was looking forward to the rest of the exhibition. Though it was not as large as I hoped it to be, it was very informative. It is suitable for all ages filled with interactive activities and videos – it wasn’t just a bunch of skeletons and some letters on a wall.

The most memorable feature was the display showing the gestation stages of a whale. It was so bizarre and I was convinced that it was fake until my sister assured me that it was the real deal! They were perfectly formed but could fit onto a size of an A4 piece of paper. Mind-blown! Another impressive feature was the skeleton of the Thames Whale that sadly died in 2006.

I really enjoyed myself and I think the Natural History Museum did a great job of using other media to bring whales to life. It gets a solid 4 out of 5 pineapples. I left with a big smile on my face and an AWESOME retro baseball styled tee with a whale on it!

The exhibition is available until the 28th February 2018 and an adult ticket costs £11.50 online.

Until next time…

I am just organising all my photos but I hope to post about my day trip to Paris (and the shopping I did!). I have some exciting adventures this bank holiday weekend! AHHHH can’t wait to share that with you all as well. I hope you all have a wonderful week 🙂

With Sweet & Sour Love,

Pineapple Chicken x

  1. Do comment below if you think that there is anything I should visit or you would like me to review! (:

Art: Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition

Hi everyone!

Welcome to the first every post of Pineapple Chicken *crazy chicken dance around the room*. I am very excited to share my new adventures with you as I turn 28!

Adventures, food and deep dives

The aim of the blog is to provide a snippet of all the amazing things London has to offer. I will try and do something exciting each weekend, whether in London or travelling and provide a review here.  I am open to any suggestions that anyone might have or recommend, so please comment below!

As well as having fun in London and beyond, we must eat! Therefore, I will also be incorporating some food reviews (I am hoping to work through the Michelin Guide’s Bib Gourmand London List), but it will be from the perspective of whether there are any yummy vegetarian options. For all the omnivores out there, I will be relying on friends and family on their comments.

As I have aged, I have found that I have less and less time to spend time on my interests and passions. Having realised this, one of the main reasons I decided to keep a blog was so that I would be able to research and do a “deep dive” on topics I really care about and hopefully you will engage in these discussions too :). For more details  about me and the blog, please visit the “About” page.

Now, without further ado, let us begin with the weekend beginning 12th August 2017.

Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition

I was very lucky to start my adventures on Saturday 12th August relatively dry given the torrential rains we had experienced during the week in London, though you might spot some ominous grey clouds in my photos!

I had planned to visit the Royal Academy Arts for their annual Summer Exhibition. For those who would like to visit, please note that it ends on the 20th August. If you would like to purchase tickets you can find them here but you better hurry!

An adult ticket costs £15 with gift aid, if you have an Art Fund Pass it costs £13. I highly recommend purchasing the Art Fund Pass because it gives you free entry to over 240 museums, galleries and historic houses across the UK as well as 50% off entry to major exhibitions. I have found it invaluable and absolutely LOVE IT. It has encouraged me to explore art exhibitions outside my comfort zone as I try to maximise my use of the pass. Currently, if you order an Art Pass the are offering a free graphic tote too (until 20th August)! TOTE Life! 

The Royal Academy of Arts is situated near Piccadilly Circus tube station (Piccadilly and Bakerloo line) in the wonderfully elegant Burlington House. If you are planning your day, there is a lot to do around the area as well, including the iconic Fortnum and Mason, as well as cute little market – Piccadilly Market which are just across the road!

My cousin recommended the exhibition having gone herself. I did not realise that there was so much history behind the Summer Exhibition (250 years).  The exhibition’s aim is to celebrate young artists of today and is open to all submissions. According to their website, it is one of the largest open submission exhibition in the world. This really gives you an idea of the sheer size and number of art works that is exhibited (over 1,200).

If you do get a chance to visit, I would suggest to purchase a printed list of works for £3.50 at the shop before entering the exhibition and bring a pen! All the artwork is labelled with a number instead of the usual didactic panels as you would expect. I believe this was to partially aid traffic flow, though, I thought this was a shame because I would have loved to have delved deeper into my favourite pieces and understand what inspired the young artist’s work. All the artwork is available for sale so you might want to bring your cheque book or a credit card with a large limit! (though most were already sold as indicated by the red dots).

In my opinion, the number of works was the best and worst attribute. It is truly phenomenal to see different mediums of art, from paintings to sculptures. However, I did find it at times, overwhelming and queried the quality of some pieces, though that might be due to my untrained eyes. Nonetheless, there were some memorable pieces (which I couldn’t afford or were not for sale).

Overall, the Summer Exhibition gets a 4 out 5 pineapples from me! There was so much to see and it does leave you feeling inspired by the talent of all the young artists. I recommend taking your time, enjoy a glass of bubbly or G&T (there is a bar inside) and embrace all the beauty and quirkiness it has to offer!

Next posts will be the new Whale Exhibition at the Natural History Museum, London and Paris! As always, do comment on any suggestions on where I should go or what you thought of the blog!

With Sweet and Sour Love,

Pineapple Chicken

PS. More photos of the day will be posted my instagram @pineapplechicken_ so keep an eye out!