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Beijing

Today, waking to another hazy Sunday morning in Beijing, I checked in on my  Marylebone blog for the first time in what seems like years. Right now I am living in an old hutong lane in China’s capital, and have worked here for 18 months at Time Out magazine, so this blog will be on hold until I get back. But missing the area, good coffee and great bookstores (aka Daunts). When I return to London (and Marylebone) for good later this year I’ll start posting again.

Until then…

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Interested in studying music? The studyGuardian has details here about courses at the Royal Academy of Music in Marylebone.

I walk past there on my way to Regent’s Park. Sometimes you can peep in and see students practising on their violins or windows. It looks like a wonderful place to study.

Another article purring over the beautiful, old-fashined Daunt Books in the Londonist.

Daunt Books is how a bookshop should be – rows of gleaming books ready to be devoured, comfy chairs placed near coffee table books, helpful staff who read and can reccomend.

It is a sanctury for those who love reading. I often go in there when I am passing, not even to buy a book (although sometimes I cannot resist the temptation) but just to sit among books in a beautiful setting.

It is also the perfect place to get books for travel writing. Every section on the bottom floor is divided by country and has easy to find travel books, cook books, coffee table books, history books, biography, fiction…all about that one place.

On my recent trip to Spain I dipped into the Spanish section on the ground floor to find a book to accompany me on the journey. I found a lovely, small travel book about an English writer living in an obscure Andalucian village called The Factory of Light, by Michael Jacobs.

A gem.

Daunt Books, 83 Marylebone High Street, London W1U 4QW.

(Open Monday – Saturday 9am – 7.30pm and Sundays 11am – 6pm)

According to the London Informer the history of Marylebone will be put together this summer in a montage of films under the title Reflections of Marylebone.

 Baker Street Entertainment will use old footage from the 1930s, 40s and 50s and supplement this by interviewing long-standing locals.

The film will be directed by Simon Moorhead for St Marylebone Society.

I know I’d like to see the changes on film. When my grandfather lived and practised here as a doctor, it was a professional but low-key area. According to him the High Street was rundown – a mile away from the fashionable, chic urbanity of today.

Read the full article by the London Informer here.

I just returned from a trip in Southern Spain that ended in Granada. During the first three days of May they celebrate by adorning squares throughout the city in crosses covered in red flowers. The Cruces de Mayo.

Women and children don their flamenco dresses,  and swarm the streets. There are balloons and ice-creams, nuts for sales and generations of families all enjoy delicacies such as garlic prawns and steamy croquettes in the outdoor tapas bars.

What really struck me, as people greeted each other and families enjoyed the fiesta outing together, was the sense of community there. While Marylebone is celebrated as a village inside London, it also has a typical English reserve. People love the local feel, but do not know their neighbours. I’m not sure that is ever something that will return.

There are some advantages to living five minutes from Selfridges. I popped in there the other day and came out with this Kate Moss Liberty-inspired bandeau dress. Its bright, beautiful and bold and perfect for rain or shine.

I’m not a big Topshop/Kate Moss  fan – which
I find too grungy usually – but this, with its splashes of poppy red, is classic.

There are still some left in the store or go to the Topshop website.

me-in-dress-in-miror1

Biggles – best English sausages in Marylebone.

Or at least according toLondonist who reviewed the legendary sausage shop (est. as London’s first all-sausage emporium in 1989) for St George’s Day.

The first bite almost overwhelmed us with patriotism. Images of Winston Churchill flashed, our ears rang with the stirring sound of Jerusalem and our stomachs filled with pride. For this is a superior sausage sandwich. The meat was totally without gristle. It burst with moisture and didn’t feel fatty. The spices delivered a peppering of background heat. Under normal circumstances we would have smeared it with English mustard, but unfortunately the St. George’s flag doesn’t offer scope for this in its colour palette!”

Read the review here

Biggles, 66 Marylebone Lane, London, W1U 2PF