Saturday, 6 October 2012

mr specs and the monaco adventure

so it's time to get this baby back on the road...

...and what better way to start than with some pictures of monaco! after all, it hasn't been all work and no play for the past 6 months for mr specs!

so this is what mr specs saw and liked...

monaco is not wildly big (so don't plan being here for more than a weekend) but it is wildly expensive and lavish so take plenty of plastic and bravado.

the style is as you'd expect - a mix of riviera and 1960s high-rises - but anish kapoor's ubiquitous sky mirror outside the casino provides a distraction.

the roads are a maze of twists and turns with diana-style underground tunnels which include the world famous hair-pin bend. this was my specs' view from the fairmount.

the views of the sea are amazing but if you venture out along the seafront you might stumble upon these geometric multi-coloured roof tiles. a treat for colourists.

the palace isn't quite versailles but the walk up to the gates has great views of the marina and the hillside. check out the oddly dressed guards and the bronze statue of the duke of garibaldi, who seized monaco over 700 years ago dressed as a monk (this is not a lie).

and here is the view - all you could hope for. a dense mix of boats, opulence and apartments overlooking the water.

mr specs had high hopes for the casino and even donned a blazer and bow tie for his visit but disappointingly it was full of crass grannies in tracksuits spending their children's inheritance. even the private rooms had old chinese ladies in last year's primark hunkered around the roulette tables. not the casino royale experience mr specs was hoping for but he did manage to content himself with a vesper at the bar.

fortunately mr specs had cleverly booked a table at joel robuchon which was fabulous. the discovery menu was an adventure and the dessert trolley was worthy of a standing ovation. if mr specs could give one one tip for your trip it would be a visit to joel.

breakfast at the fairmont is served on the roof terrace in the sunshine overlooking the sea. the best way to start the day.

and here is the roof top pool with views of the casino (which was designed by the same man who designed the opera house in paris). great by day but at night they turn the pool-side into a club called billionaires - with gold cushions. no further commentary required.

jazz brunch on sunday was a highlight. as you can tell, mr specs went a bit crazy on the desserts but, for the record, he ate them all. his favourite was the white chocolate dome filled with strawberries.

the azure is stunning. it really is that wonderful. the only downside to monaco is that you can't get in the sea unless you're prepared to go round the bay to the man-made beach (which according to guides is made of coarse imported sand). so if you want to frolic in the sea you may have to go down the coast to nice.

finally, it wouldn't be right not to include a picture of the cars. this is a car park like no other.

Friday, 20 April 2012

japanese coffee and latte art

tokyo is full of great places to go for coffee with many independent coffee shops serving hot drinks and beers (favourites include the sunday issue and streamer). the latte art is cool too. here is one of my favourites from double tall.

Monday, 9 April 2012

taster of tokyo

after a long absence, caused by a new job, mr specs will be back with some new content shortly. but for now he is seeing loads of new things in tokyo. more to follow...

Saturday, 11 February 2012

saturday in marylebone

spent this saturday afternoon in the sunshine wandering down marylebone high street.

conran has great windows featuring "into the woods" - furniture of different wood types with trees depicted in the background -

looks like the space left by belgian bistro cafe luc will be replaced by a new italian restaurant which is due to open in march - watch this space.

onwards to designers guild which has fresh spring colours in store - check out the green bedlinen and towels for a bit of zing -

next was daunt books and i picked up a copy of leo benedictus' "the afterparty"which i am really looking forward to reading... daunt has so many tables of good looking books it is hard not to walk out empty handed (

a quick whizz round le fromagerie (for cheese of course) and then sight seeing in the ginger pig, i then picked up a new propelling pencil in monocle. the lady was terribly nice but i was frustrated that the new edition is out and although i have a subscription it still hasn't arrived! sort it out tyler...

finally a pit stop was taken in sensory lab (the new sister of st ali of clerkenwell fame  the place and the staff are warm and welcoming.

another good afternoon for mr specs (and a haul of goodies as well).