See my London. 5 years around town

This is the first of a series of mini-guides I’m going to publish here and…somewhere else.
If you have been with me long enough, you know I love lists, collections and notes, so here is my “London List”, some of my favourite places around the city that was my home for the past five years.
The stars you see in the map are places I’ve tried and loved. I know it would be easier to share the map directly, but nope, I’m not going to do that, as I would miss all the fun. However, if you do wish to have a copy of it, leave a comment below and I will see what I can do 🙂
The list below is not comprehensive of course, firstly because a post wouldn’t be enough, and second because I can’t share ALL my secrets in one go, can I? 🙂

This guide is divided in five sections.

BUT FIRST, COFFEE
I’m a coffee addict, so here are some of my favourite places for a good espresso, a flat white or a cappuccino

EXPLORE
Some of my favourite galleries, landmarks museums and other interesting places

EAT
What guide would it be without some tips about food?

READ
Putting coffee aside, reading is my other life-lasting relationship.
Here you will find my favourite bookshops as well as interesting books to read ahead or during your trip.

DREAM
Where to stay? The best hotels in town

Continue reading

The ancient art of globe-making

Sometimes all you need in order to exploit a new passion or even create a new business is to disregard mediocre results from others and get stuff done yourself. This is what Peter Bellerby did in 2008 when he couldn’t find a decent globe for his father’s 80th birthday and started making one himself. What he thought was going to be a long, but accessible task revealed to be a very tough job. But a year later,  he realised he had done something very special and unique and founded Bellerby & Co, Globemakers.  Today, Globemakers is one of only two handmade globe making company in the world and the only handmade globemaker.

I had the most amazing start of the week, as I was exploring their beautiful studios in North London with my friend Alex. It was like an immersion in the past, in a world where things are made with care, patience, love and time. Lots of time. I learnt about painting and I watched the most careful hands placing slices of the world on naked globes. As you know, I’m a traveller and I have this obsession with globes and maps, because every time I look at one of them I learn something new. They inspire me to travel more, to respect planet Earth but they also make feel me so close to other human beings. So, for me, being able to spend a few hours there, it was just one of the most inspiring experiences of my life. In fact, if I wasn’t leaving in 10 days, I’d ask Jade  and Pete to hire me for an internship 🙂

From their stunning studio in Stoke Newington, they do everything from scratch except the fabrication of their moulds which come from Formula 1 experts. Again, as perfection is the main goal, Pete and Jade decided to kill the probability of errors from the start and have perfect globes.  From there, applying the slices of paper and paint them, it’s a very delicate and long process. In fact, a small globe can take four weeks while a large one can take almost a year. At Bellerby, the team is obviously the perfectionist type. They would never let gores (the slices of map) to overlap or compromise quality with wrong latitude lines. And I get his point. I’m a detail-oriented person too: why would you want something, anything, if you are not getting the absolute best? Pete told us that if there is any mistake, the globes get stripped completely and they have to start from scratch again.

It was fascinating and mesmerising to watch Isis paint her way through China heading towards Japan. Pretty much my trip, or part of it. With the touch of her brush she took me to foreign and unknown lands and I think I spent a good ten minutes staring at her hand and being lost in lands I don’t know yet, but I already love.


Today, from this special studio filled with a young and creative vibe in north London, the team of trained globe makers produce high quality globes of all size and style, but they also take commissions for maps personalisation and other bespoke elements. Personally, I’ve already made arrangements for a globe that highlights my upcoming journey through Asia and Australia. I can already see Isis painting her way here, along mine there, so that, in a year time, when I will be back, my real-time travel globe will be ready for collection.

 

Read more about Globemakers here, their blog is one to follow too here, or have a glimpse at their stunning studios on their instagram page, curated by the lovely Jade.

Notes:
Their studios are not open to the public, you can see some of Bellerby & Co globes at Harrods in London and on their website.
I was a guest of Bellerby & Co during my visit. All views are my own.

 

Alexander McQueen – Searching for an answer 

‘Fashion is a big bubble, and sometimes I feel like popping it.’

Alexander McQueen

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I am not a big fashionista, quite the opposite in fact: I am a beginner minimalist who has carefully avoided virtual and actual shops for the past twelve months or so. Seriously, I haven’t bought any clothes during this period, except for a pair of trainers (my old ones had two large holes) and a pair of jeans (the old one had one leg-lenght tear). And yes, my wardrobe is still full of things and I still complain about not having enough stuff to wear. How funny.

So no, it wasn’t my fashion-drive that pushed me to the V&A Museum last weekend. No, it was my obscure desire to see why people were raving about this exhibition, why Alexander McQueen was, well still is seen as a genius, as unique talent. Most of all, I wanted to understand why, such a world-recoignised and famous fashion designer had decided to kill himself. Why, would somebody escape success, power, money? Yes, I was hoping to find the answers in his dresses and shoes. A bit naive, I know. But I do think, I might know why, now.

Alexander McQueen

You’ve got to know the rules to break them. That’s what I’m here for, to demolish the rules but to keep the tradition.
– Alexander McQueen

Give me time and I’ll give you a revolution.
― Alexander McQueen

 

Alexander McQueen

Fashion should be a form of escapism, and not a form of imprisonment.’
– Alexander McQueen

 

Well, I don’t think I found my answer, but I did see the best fashion exhibition of my life so far. Savage Beauty had nothing to do with fashion, Vogue, Vanity Fair or catwalks in their pure sense, McQueen was a genius, an artist of various forms.

The settings, the music, the architectural design of the overall show was simply outstanding and I felt like I was being transported in a dream or a fairytale.

Savage Beauty is the most successful exhibition at the V&A ever. I know why.

 

There is no way back for me now. 
I’m going to take you on journeys you’ve never dreamed were possible.’
– Alexander McQueen

Lavender fairytales | A photo essay

– watch –

Now open for portrait bookings and other enquires. Please email me: thestorytellerphotos@gmail.com
[August: London | September: Italy / Dubai | October: Delhi / Agra / Varanasi / Mumbai]

Your Ultimate Guide to a Weekend on the Jurassic Coast

The Jurassic Coast, I’m sure you all know, it’s a beautiful part of England. But if you only have a weekend there, it can be hard to choose what you really want to see and experience. That’s why this guide is going to take off your shoulders the heavy duty of deciding where to go and what to do. In a very simple way, this is also the perfect route if you just took the impromptu decision to take off to Dorset on a Friday morning. Old Harry's Rock

Day One

Let’s say that you’ve left London (or your home town) early in the morning to start your long drive to Dorset, if you have been smart (and lucky) enough, you should hit the coast around lunch time. So, what’s best than a pub lunch to stretch your legs and get some fuel into your belly. The best place is  Banks Arms, an award-winning and stunning pub perked on the coast of Studland. Not only has a beautiful indoor area, but also has a grand al-fresco area looking into the sea. If you are a member of the national trust you can park here for free.* The Bankers Arms  Once you have recovered from your first leg of your road trip and you are finally ready to explore, gather your things, set your camera ON  and head to Old Harry’s Rocks. Leaving the pub behind you,  walk down the road on the right and take the first little path on the left. There you can enjoy a very first view of the stunning white cliffs and warm your camera and fingers with some first stunning shots. Once you’ve done so, walk back and carry on on the main path towards the coast. Take time to embrace the scene, the stunning coast changing shape and colour around you  and if you are not too scared, go up to the edge to see how high you are. Old Harry's Rock Once you are done, go back to the car and drive to Corfe where you can once again park for free* at Castle. You can then walk up the castle ruins and enjoy the view from there. It’s pretty impressive. Corfe CastleThe view from Corfe CastleBut once you are in Corfe, don’t forget to go to the train station for a short time travel when a on old-style train will pass by.  Check the train timetable as they are not very frequent.   Corfe Station While you are in the centre, you should also go and visit the little church in the main square and if you are lucky as we were, you might bump into a groom holding hands with his freshly wedded bride. Watch the show and maybe wish the couple well. And I know you are a bit peckish by now, so head to the bakery in front of the church and try their onion and cheese pies and yes, there is a fabulous Sweet Shop next to it. Buy some sugary fuel for the rest of your journey too. The Sweet Shop in Corfe If you didn’t have a very long lunch and didn’t spend hours at the sweet shop, you should be now ready to see the most famous part of Dorset, so go back to your car and drive to  Lulworth Cove.

IMG_4401 You can once again park here to admire the untouched beauty of the cove and embrace the calm of the place. After this and depending on your energy level, you have a double option. You can either get into your car and drive to Durdle Door for sunset photo or if you have time you can walk your way there. It isn’t close nor easy, but surely is a great experience with some stunning views of this incredible coast. Take some beers and crisps and enjoy the sun go down sitting on the beach at Durdle Door, see the ray of light painting it and changing the coulor of the sea itself, embrace nature and its incredible, speechless beauty. IMG_4402You are almost done for the day, it’s time for dinner, so drive to Wareham and eat some burgers or sausages and mash at Hall & Woodhouse. Service is friendly and food is great. Remember that kitchens close early in the countryside (even earlier than London!), so make sure to hit here or any other restaurant in the same square before 8pm. Hood & Woodhouse

Lulworth Cove

Day Two
On your second day, go and explore the west side of the Jurassic Coast. Start your day with a delicious full English breakfast or, if your are watching your weight, some skinny pancakes at Cafe Blue in Weymouth.
Cafe Blue - Weymouth Weymouth looks like a city that stopped in time and when we were there we were lucky to stumble on the Armed Forces Seafront Parade with over 1,000 veterans, marching bands and historic military vehicles.Weymouth The ParadeThe Parade
After your breakfast, you should totally take a walk on the beach and maybe cool your feet in the water for a bit or maybe go for a swim if the weather allows it. But don’t chill too much! There is still so much to see 🙂
Weymouth beach
Once you are ready, head back to your car and drive towards the Isle of Portland. On the way there, drive slowly: safety first, but there are also some stunning viewpoints over Portland. The street can be narrow sometimes, but you should be able to find some space to park here for a couple of panoramic shots.
Once you get to Portland head to the still functioning lighthouse and maybe walk down on the rocks or take a  leisurely walk throughout the beach huts and do some people watching. There are some stunning views here both towards the sea and the countryside: in the summer the green is greenest and the blue is bluest.
Portland Bill Lighthouse
Nissan Figaro
Beach huts in Portland
Porland beach huts But we are not done for the day yet, so it’s time to go again and this time we are going to…guess.. yup another  beach! Well, probably the most famous beach in Dorset: Chesil Beach. If you haven’t read the novel by Ian McEwan, you should maybe bring it along with you so that you can read it while you sit on the perfectly-rounded stones that form this 29 km long, 200m wide and 15m high beach. I was told you cannot take these beautiful rocks with you as they are part of the protected UNESCO site that covers the entire Jurassic Coast, so…you’ve been warned!
Chesil Beach
Once you are ready you can hop back on your car and drive to one next and last destination for the day: Lyme Regis, another small, beautiful village by the coast. On your way there, if you have time, remember to stop in some of the small towns you will pass by; Attonsbury, one of them, is super-cute, and filled with colourful cottages. Once you get to Lyme Regis, park your car on top of the hill before entering the city centre so you can take a pleasant walk down through the main street. Grab your ice-cream from Parlour Stores on Cobb Road (it’s like proper Italian gelato) and walk along the Cobb.

 Once again, look at the fishermen and weekenders working on their boats and admire the landscape. Inhale the atmosphere and breath deeply. Take a wander through the little streets and the colourful houses or maybe chill in the park for a while.

Lyme RegisThe best way to close the day is to get some fish & chips and couple of drinks from Cobb Gate Fish Bar right on the beach and sit there to enjoy your food and the sun going down. But beware! The seagulls here are particularly hungry and brave, so make sure to protect your food and eat quickly!

Day Three

You are on your third and final day of your weekend away and it’s time to explore the east side of the Jurassic Coast. The best way to start your day is to head to Clavell’s Cafe in Kimmeridge’s; a super cute family-run restaurant. The food here is amazing and prices very reasonable

Covell's Cafe Covell Cafe

After you have filled your stomach, you can either walk up to Clavell Tower (about 20 minutes) or drive at the bottom of it. Whatever you decide, make sure to stop on the way to take pictures of the cutest cottages right outside the restaurant.
Best house of KimmeridgeIf you decide to drive it’s 5£ for the toll road and parking there. We decided to drive as it was raining, but I guess it is a pleasant walk to the tower on a sunny day.
Clavell Tower Clavell Tower is a four storey circular tower that stands on the cliff overlooking Kimmeridge Bay  Built in 1830 its location has attracted many writers including Hardy and PD James and it was recently turned into a holiday accommodation with one bedroom on each of the four floor.
Clovell Tower
Jump back on your car and drive to Swanage. Park on top of the hill for long car park stay and take in the view over the bay. Walk towards the beach and pay 0.65£ to stroll to the new pier and take some pictures of the fishermen in action. The wooden floor of the pier is filled with plaques with names and words dedicated to beloved ones who’ve passed away. Sit on one of the benches and let your cheeks be caressed by the wind for a while and maybe give some thoughts to your own beloved ones who are no longer here.
The Pier
Walk along the beach up to the other end of the cove and admire the colourful beach huts and stop somewhere for people watching and for taking in the scene and the sky.
The PierSwanage
But a trip to Dorset wouldn’t be complete without an afternoon tea, so head to Swanage city centre and sit at a table at Love Cake Etc. Beware that portions are very, very generous so keep that in mind before ordering.  Staff is incredibly nice and genuine too.
Love Cake Etc Menu
Love Cake Etc
Love Cake Etc
Have a safe journey back!!
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During this weekend we stayed at an amazing converted church in East Stoke, kindly sponsored by AirBnb. You can see a few pictures of this property below and book here. *All views on the the accommodation or the places mentioned above are my own. 
AirBnb AirBnb AirBnb AirBnb AirBnb
Notes to the reader:
*Car Parks: many of the locations and sights mentioned above offer free car parking to National Trust members, if you are one remember to bring your sticker, if you are not, but are thinking to explore more in the next few months, if might be worth getting a membership ahead.
**This guide is tailored for a long weekend away – obviously, if you are travelling during the week, it can also work, but please double check opening times of the places listed above.
*** In order to really enjoy and explore the Jurassic Coast, a car is necessary; this was the way I managed to see so much in such a limited amount of time. If you do not own a car, I recommend you to rent one through one of the most popular rental cars or ask a car-owner friend to come with you! 🙂
*** *If you have some extra time or even an extra day, add the Blue Pool to your itinerary. We couldn’t see it, but the pictures of it are very promising!Did I forget anything? Would you add something to this guide? Let me know below!
Copyright © 2015 Sabrina Andrea Sachs. All rights reserved.
Unless otherwise indicated, all materials on these pages are copyrighted by Sabrina Andrea Sachs. No part of these pages, either text or image may be used for any purpose. Therefore, reproduction, modification, storage in a retrieval system or retransmission, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical or otherwise, for reasons other than personal use, is strictly prohibited without prior written permission. If you are interested in buying any copy or prints, please email me to thestorytellerphotos@gmail.com

On the right track…

Why on the right track? Because, cycling is cool again. Thanks to the Olympics and Bradley Wiggins, owning a bike and being able to get around London on it, now represents an achievement. We are back on the right track because cycling respects the environment and allows us to do some inexpensive exercise on top of seeing the world at a different pace from an overground perspective.

But cycling is back also around the world, and a little selection of my bikes’ hunt from my travels exhibited at Vinarius in London, wants to show that people are cycling again and more than ever, not only here, but also in Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, New York, Ubud, Venice, Rome and beyond… In this show, bikes are pictured as models, as status symbols as objects of desire or as part of our daily life. But what if you couldn’t ride? What if your disabilities didn’t allow you to cycle the world? What if your legs wouldn’t collaborate when you were sitting on your shining fixie?

On the Right Track supports Wheels for Wellbeing a Brixton-based charity that removes barriers to cycling. Through their person-centred approach they enhance disabled people’s lives by ensuring that anyone can access the physical, emotional, practical and social benefits of cycling. For this reason, and to get us all back On the Right Track, I’ve opened a JustGiving page where I’m hoping to raise £500. Any piece sold through this exhibition will contribute to this goal with 100% of the sale given to “Wheels for Wellbeing”.

These pictures are available in other size, type and format; if interested please contact me to thestorytellerphotos@gmail to arrange your prints and/or make an “offline donation”.

If you are not interested in any prints, but still wish to contribute directly to the fundraising, please visit https://www.justgiving.com/OnTheRightTrack to make a donation.

Thank you for your help and support.

 

In loving memory of P, a great cyclist who helped me to get back…

On My Right Track