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Jamie Oliver’s Recipeas


When we were visiting Notting Hill this spring, we happened upon Recipeas, one of Jamie Oliver’s kitchen shops. Have you heard of it?

I have nearly a dozen Jamie Oliver cookbooks and am a faithful fan of his TV programs, but hadn’t heard a peep about Recipeas. Taking a walk inside, I was struck by this charming little deli/cafe/cook store that also offers cooking lessons. So many intoxicating aromas! So many wonderful breads, olive oils, wines, cheeses, items perfect for packing into a picnic! Yet it was intimate and cozy, not intimidating or snooty.

I will definitely think of booking some lessons on our next trip over! Some classes center around a specific dish like beef wellington, roast pork belly or Thai green curry, led by cooking pros. Others focus on a technique like bread baking, filleting fish or rolling sushi. It might be the inspiration I need to get back into the kitchen with gusto!

Recipeas, 92-94 Notting Hill Gate, W11 3QB. 0203 375 5398.

2 British films to watch for

I love a good movie trailer, but I have to say that I’m growing irritated by the extended time that commercials and trailers are taking up these days. Twenty minutes? Seriously? Are you with me?

But sometimes, it is great to spot something you’d actually like to see!

Last weekend, we went to the movies and saw “Frances Ha.” along with a couple of British films that I would love to see …

First up, “About Time” written by Richard Curtis of “Love Actually” and “Notting Hill” fame. It’s due out Nov. 8 in the U.S.

Secondly, Simon Pegg stars in “The World’s End,” which looks as good as “Shawn of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz.” It’s due out Aug. 23 in the U.S.

Space NK

At the height of the dot-com boom, I used to work for an online communications agency based in Notting Hill. It was a fantastic neighborhood – still is! – and I used to look forward to my walks to and from the Tube station, passing some fantastic shops, restaurants and pubs along the way.

One of my favorite spots was Space NK. I bought my first NARS lipstick there. It was a place way beyond my budget, but an oasis. I haven’t been back into a Space NK for 10 years. This weekend, we took a trip to the Marin Country Mart, a super-chic outdoor shopping area in the same vein as the Malibu Country Mart.

And what in my wondering eyes did appear but a Space NK, stateside!

The minute I walked in, I was met with this fresh smell of candles and clean laundry – it was literally the same smell of the Space NK in London. It was magical. Everything was still beyond my budget, but very fun to browse. Even more magical was the presence of Space NK founder Nicky Kinnaird (Ms. NK herself), in store giving makeovers.

When I left the shop, I felt at least 10 years younger.

Epic tea time with Alan Rickman

When it’s tea time for Alan Rickman, clearly he means business. Watch him make a cuppa in super slo-mo and then watch the drama that ensues. It is a “Portrait in Dramatic Time” by David Michalek.

I’m still not sure what it’s all about, Alfie, but Alan Rickman can make walking down the street into an art form. I should know. While working in London’s Notting Hill in 2000, there was a period of time where I would frequently see Professor Snape himself in the morning on my way to work. I would walk on one side of the street (Westbourne Grove), he would walk on the other, always looking down, serious, purposeful on his way to get a cup of coffee.

I never stopped him. I would never dare interrupt his morning routine. One morning, I spotted him inside a Caffe Nero, having a cuppa with Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (AKA Maid Marian from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves) and the scene was near perfection.