Frieze-Mania: Frieze Art Fair 2015


All Photos in this post belong to NHYM Copyright 2015. 

A Taste of Frieze… 

As always, October is a mad rush of art-in-the-city, where everyone in the art world congregates in London to the Frieze or has an event in parallel with the Frieze Art Fair. Right now, there is PAD, Frieze, Frieze Masters, and a ton of exhibits around the city. Considering I am very time-poor at the moment, I had to decide on a single event, which was the opening preview night of the Frieze, giving me a taste of what is currently going on in the Art world.

Forget Kidzania, it’s all about Frieze-mania

Oftentimes, modern and contemporary art can be a little bit ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes,’ in that you can see a work of art and even though everyone else gushes and praises it, you feel a little like ‘Uhm, what?’ This year, I felt that there was more accessible art than in the past years, especially in Rows A-C of the fair (which tends to be the most well known galleries), whereas once you go to the F,G,H, it gets a little too abstract and conceptual for me.

Accessible Art

Here are some of my favourites that I would have liked to take home with me:


Takashi Murakami. Frieze 2015. NHYM 

My favourite piece of the art fair from Takashi Murakami sold immediately for £180,000. A bit mainstream, but definitely ‘Happy Art.’


Oil and Acrylic on Canvas. NHYM 2015. 

Another artist I quite enjoyed, Secundino Hernandez. Going back to basics, some artists are going back to what we, the mainstream, are comfortable with.


Charcoal on Canvas. NHYM 2015. 

Mr. X’s lust-piece was this charcoal drawing on canvas. It really looked like a photograph. Quiet in the middle of Frieze-mania.


Big Smile. Frieze 2015. NHYM

Inspired Art


Warhol-esque Marilyn Monroe – NHYM 2015. 


Colourful Rothko-inspired art. NHYM 2015. Or is it a Rothko? 


Jeff Koons Inspired Inflatable Cartoon. NHYM 2015.



Naked Lady. Frieze 2015. NHYM

This naked lady was impressive. She never blinked. Until I realised that she was a sculpture and not a real woman.


Naked Lady Frieze 2015 NHYM


Real life-sized dolls. Frieze. NHYM 2015. 


Silver Polka Dot Aubergine. Frieze 2015. NHYM 

Weird Art


Just weird. Not sure what it is or what it represents. Don’t want that in my living room.


Planes on dishwashers. Frieze 2015. NHYM

I think this gallery won a Gold Prize for something. Not sure what it is. Definitely an ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ moment for me.



Ken Kagami Portraits. Frieze 2015. NHYM

The most popular/talked about installation was the free one-to-one intimate portraits drawn by Ken Kagami. In 30 seconds, he will draw a portrait of you, for a man, his penis, for a woman, her breasts. One thing it did was make people smile. Read more here…


Sound installation inside a model replica of the Frieze Fair. Music made at frequencies for foxes to hear. Frieze 2015. NHYM.


Modern Life: Overstimulation of modernity. Frieze 2015. NHYM 

Then there are the people…


Part of the art or part of the crowd? Frieze NHYM 2015 

Sometimes, in the art shows, you can’t quite tell who is part of the art and who is part of the crowd. The Art crowd is a mixture of young Art students in student-wear, established artists dressed in girls clothes (Grayson Perry), pretty 20-something-rich-girls interning at a gallery, gallerists and socialites, and uber wealthy collectors in their Chanel/Dior/Birkin/Big Lips. It is always interesting. No slebs spotting this year. In the past I’ve seen Sienna Miller and 1-Direction’s Harry Styles. Must arrive earlier next year…


Funny Shoes Frieze 2015 NHYM

I’ve had my dose of modern art for a while, but it was entertaining, interesting, and brain-bending.





Restaurant Review: Dinner by Heston Blumenthal


Dinner By Heston Blumenthal. Photo courtesy of the Internet. NHYM 2015. 

Dinner By Heston Blumenthal 

Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park

66 Knightsbridge 

London SW1x 7LA

Tel 02072013833


Food: 4.5 stars

Atmosphere: 4 stars

Service: 4.25 stars

Design & Theatrics: 4.5 stars

Price/Value: 4.25 stars

Overall: 4.3 stars


The Kitchen, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. Photo Courtesy of the Internet. NHYM 2015. 


The main meal of the day, taken either around midday or in the evening.

A formal evening meal, typically one in honour of a person or event.

Dinner unfortunately has a lot to live up to: this year it was rated No. 7 Best Restaurant in the World, it has earned two Michelin stars, and was rated 3rd best restaurant in the UK 2015. I went to dinner at Dinner the other night (which, by the way, is really annoying to say), with very high expectations. It’s not the restaurant’s fault, but every critic and journalistic review about this restaurant just gushes about how wonderful it is, so I was feeling dubious about the whole experience. Nothing can live up to its reputation, surely. I remember going to my first Gordon Ramsay restaurant at Claridge’s probably 15 years ago and all I remember about it was that it was a terrible let-down. I don’t remember the food, not the room, not the atmosphere. Just that there was nothing memorable about the experience. So, going to another celebrity-chef restaurant full of accolades and applause left me a little lukewarm.


Chef preparing The Meat Fruit. Photo Courtesy of the Internet. NHYM 2015. 

Heston is known for his chemical-food wizardry, creativity and innovation, which made the Fat Duck Best Restaurant in the World in 2005. I read that this restaurant was going to be a very different experience. Where the Fat Duck is an ‘experience’ of theatricality and surprise, Dinner was meant to be somewhere you would want to go back to over and over for a nice meal rather than a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The whole point of Dinner is to re-create old (ancient) British dishes in new, modern and creative ways. Having seen some of Heston’s magic tricks on TV, I was looking forward to some kind of experience (so many restaurants dish out the same dishes over and over that lack any creativity).


Dinner Menu. NHYM 2015. 

The menu, as described by Heston on his website is ‘inspired by historic British gastronomy’ with all dishes documented with the year of its origin. From the reviews I had read, there are some signature, ‘cult’ dishes that are a ‘must-try.’ And what’s the point in going to a restaurant without trying it’s world famous dishes. Some friends hadn’t been that impressed and I didn’t know if I was ever going to go to this restaurant again, so might as well try their ‘cult dishes’ or those that have been highly praised. So here’s what made the final list:

Starter: Meat Fruit (c.1500) Mandarin, chicken liver parfait & grilled bread.


The Meat Fruit. Photo Courtesy of the Internet. NHYM 2015. 

Neither myself nor Mr. X are particular fans of chicken liver parfait, but when in Rome… It is one of the ‘Cult Classics’ of this restaurant, so not to be missed. This dish is really a feast for the eyes. His Mandarin look-alike is really quite stunningly perfect as food-behaving-like-other-foods (and very appropriate eating it in the Mandarin Oriental). It is worth ordering just to see the mastery that comes with creating this dish. It is good, but it was never going to completely win us over in terms of taste. But even Mr. X was impressed by the artistry involved in creating the dish.

Frumenty (c.1390) Grilled Octopus, smoked sea broth, pickled dulse & lovage


Frumenty, photo courtesy of the internet. NHYM 2015. 

The grilled octopus was perfectly cooked and chargrilled, lifting the salty, sea flavours out of the octopus. The ‘lovage’ (some kind of plant) was interesting, but for me it was all about the octopus itself. I skipped the sea broth etc.. which left my palate as I wanted it. Personally, I didn’t need all the extra garnishes.

Roast Iberico Pork Chop (c.1820) Smoked hispi cabbage, confit onion, apple & mean, Robert sauce


The Pork Chop. Photo Courtesy of the Internet. NHYM 2015. 

The pork chop was delicious. The quality of the meat immediately stood out. It was really tender and perfectly cooked and seasoned. Again, I didn’t need the added sauces etc… as I thought the meat to be perfect on its own. The smoked cabbage was a nice addition, but didn’t particularly need the confit onion, apple & mead.

Tipsy Cake (c.1810) Spit Roast Pineapple


The Tipsy Cake. Photo Courtesy of the Internet. NHYM 2015. 

The Tipsy Cake is another ‘Cult Classic,’ which I couldn’t resist ordering. It was served with spit roast pineapple, rendered sweet and salty on the spit. The doughy, sherry- soaked, sponge cake was full of sweet yet soft flavours, reminding me of my carefree childhood of devouring indulgent cakes in the backyard without the worries of muffin-tops and middle-aged-post-baby-fat.

Ice – Cream Machine


Ice Cream Machine, photo courtesy of the internet. NHYM 2015. 

We didn’t manage to try the ice-cream machine, but it looked really fun and gimmicky. Next time…


Unlike many two star Michelin restaurants, there weren’t amuses bouches and palate cleansers in between each dish, which was a pleasant surprise. This makes it easier to come for a quick meal rather than a 3-hour sit-down extravagance. The service was great in that the servers were brilliant, knowledgeable, helpful and enthusiastic. It did mean they were a bit slow at times, but it was made up by our waiter’s charm and expertise. The room is a bit bland, but it is a 5 star hotel so can’t digress too much from the mainstream to please a demanding and varied clientele.

Finally, the food is really, really well executed, researched and cooked. Some of the added flavours were not to my liking, but I just didn’t eat what I didn’t like. I am too old for feeling like I need to eat everything on my plate, even things I don’t like. I am pleased that this restaurant wasn’t a let-down. I would happily go back and have the exact same meal over and over again, which I think was Heston’s intention with this restaurant. Now that I’ve found a good formula of starter-main-dessert, I would find it hard to break away from it. The price is quite similar to very pricey restaurants in London: Chiltern Firehouse/Arts Club etc…so not a deterrent for superior cooking.

Hats off to Heston and his team, helmed by the chef Ashley Palmer-Watts who runs the kitchen. It’s a foodie destination with some theatrics, some excellent cooking, and some flaws, but overall, I was won over and have become a devotee of the Heston-Cult.


Chef preparing the Pineapple of the Tipsy Cake. Photo courtesy of the Internet. NHYM 2015. 




Dinner By Heston Blumenthal - Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Presenting The NHYM Shoe: Designing my own shoes with Upper Street


The Notting Hill Yummy Mummy Shoe. NHYM 2015. 

A few months ago, I was approached by Upper Street, an online luxury shoe designing service, to see whether I wanted to design my own shoes. I checked out their website and thought to myself, this could be really fun. I could be creative, sip champagne and macaroons at their Shoe Lounge, and end up with my very own NHYM shoes! I agreed immediately, opting to come and visit their offices and their Shoe Lounge.

The Concept: 

Julia Elliott Brown founded in 2010 and has been growing her company steadily ever since. The concept is simple yet smart: design your own shoes online. For women who never find the right sizes or have a very distinct idea of what they want, this certainly could help. In my case, I can’t wear high heels because my feet are a funny shape, so need medium-height heels, which aren’t always that easy to find.

Granted, there are pre-designed styles to choose from so it’s not designing them entirely from scratch, but there are new designs and designers being introduced regularly, which is a great feature ( For those who are a bit weary of buying shoes online and not being able to try them on first, there is a Shoe Lounge in central London, where you can try various shoe sizes and shapes to make sure they fit comfortably and where you can actually look and feel the swatches of materials.


To design my shoes, Janine, my stylist, asked me to go online to the Upper Street website and choose a style, the heel, the front, the back, straps, embellishments and colour prior to coming in to the Shoe Lounge so that she could get samples ready for me. Luckily, I found a style that I really liked and decided on silvers and snakeskin in terms of materials because a) it was summer b) my fave silver strappy shoed had recently experienced a slow demise c) who doesn’t love snakeskin? c) I thought something fun and brash would be oh-so NHYM.


A few days after sending in my choices, off I went to visit the Shoe Lounge, which is located in Fitzrovia, a townhouse in the garment district.


I was welcomed by Janine who brought Champagne and Macaroons for me to taste while she laid out a bunch of material swatches based on my colour and material preferences. This is where the fun began!


While I tried on a sample pair of shoes to ensure a good fit, I looked around the various shoes on display, and I could see that you could really try a million different combinations and get very creative with it.


I am very particular with my shoes because I can’t wear very high heels, you see, I don’t have ‘Happy Feet’, I just have ‘Funny Feet,’ funny-looking, funny-shaped and funny in general, which if you recall, are not the prettiest on the block: So it is difficult for me to find shoes that fit well. I was somewhat worried about how comfortable the shoes would be, given my shoe history: I have definitely bought a number of shoes that just didn’t fit my feet that ended up laying down to rest in my shoe cupboard untouched for years.


Sample shoe with materials. NHYM 2015. 

I found the shoe style I liked, and started choosing fabrics and materials to go with it. Choosing is really difficult! Especially since I already really like the shoe sample itself. It is difficult visualising the different materials together and imagining how they would fit together. It made me realise how hard designing shoes really is. But I loved feeling the various swatches and coming up with different combinations for my shoes.


Sample shoe. NHYM. 2015.

Ok, so my shoe isn’t very different than the sample shoe I tried on (I know, can you even tell the difference??), but I switched the satin silver for metallic silver, lowered the heel, and added silver snakeskin. I could have gone crazier with the shoe colour scheme, but I wanted shoes I could use regularly. I will let someone else take the risk. These shoes would be perfect with a white summer dress, or dressed up with a Christmas cocktail dress.


Red sparkly shoes, Shoe Lounge, Upper Street. NHYM 2015. 

After agreeing to the final shoe design, all I had to do was wait three weeks until my shoes would magically appear.


A few weeks later, my very pretty, Net-a-porter-influenced shoe box finally arrived with my very own NHYM shoes inside!


The Verdict: 

I love my new shoes. They are more comfortable than I had imagined, which is very important for someone with ‘Funny Feet’. I wore them out to a dinner and so far, no blisters and no aching feet. I haven’t gone through the ‘dancing on tables’ shoe test, which will be the real test of comfortable-ness, but so far so good. The quality seems good, but only time will tell whether they will be durable like good old Jimmy Choos that I have had since 2003.

Upper Street is a fun, young, dynamic company that has a great vision. The only minuses are that there are only limited amount of styles and you can’t actually get your feet ‘moulded’ for the perfect shoe, but if that were the case, the shoes wouldn’t be hovering around £300 but rather around £1,000+. (£225 for flats, £380 and above for ankle boots). They now have their own workshop to really ensure quality control and to create a proper brand. Now that winter is coming, I am rather coveting Janine’s ankle boots, so they will be next on my list for autumn/winter ’15!


Ankle boot. Photo from Upper Street website. NHYM 2015.