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Allie Abgarian

Allie Abgarian

Articles (3)

The best online fitness classes

The best online fitness classes

Starting to go a little stir-crazy in lockdown? Just because you’re stuck indoors doesn’t mean you can’t do some of the things you normally would – like working out. Gyms and fitness centres may have had to close their doors temporarily, but many are offering online classes via Zoom or their own digital platforms. Here’s our selection of the best online sessions available right now, from soothing yoga to body-pumping HIIT. Bonus point? No one can see if you need to lie down and relax mid-class.

The best places to read books in London

The best places to read books in London

When the author William Styron said: ‘Reading [is] the best state yet to keep absolute loneliness at bay’, he probably had no idea how true a statement it was. If you're looking for inspiration on where to spend some quality alone time with a good read ahead of World Book Day on March 5, we have good news: you are spoilt for choice.  London is absolutely bursting with spots to connect over books; from the hipstery streets of Hackney to a Conservative-club-turned-Brixton-pub, and from the magical shrines of public libraries and bookshops to grassroots book clubs that have sprung up across the city. Here’s our pick of the eight best places to read in London. RECOMMENDED: London’s best bookshops

Kidult activities in London

Kidult activities in London

Kidults of London listen up: you no longer have to grow up. The city has become one big adult playground - from massive slides and tree climbing, to ultimate frisbee, boating lakes and Lego robots – it’s bubbling over with childish silliness for big kids. So, forget about your pension plan and ditch your daily routine, here’s how to enjoy the simple fun of childhood in the capital.  RECOMMENDED: Summer in London for actual children

Listings and reviews (1)

Birdies

Birdies

If you think crazy golf isn't cool anymore, Birdies is here to tell you that putting balls into holes is still all the rage. The venue opened in November 2019 with a dark spin on the traditional tee-time fun; miniature windmills and artificial grass has been replaced with pressure pads, towering ramps and holes like Fat Shot (where you go head-to-head with a mate) and Lights Out, where it's, well, lights out. After the game, dig into some well-deserved Asian and Latin American fusion grub from Taco-Yaki and sip on fruity cocktails.  

News (21)

The Natural History Museum’s magical exhibition inspired by ‘Fantastic Beasts’ is back

The Natural History Museum’s magical exhibition inspired by ‘Fantastic Beasts’ is back

Even a sprinkling of Potter magic couldn’t stop the Natural History Museum’s ‘Fantastic Beasts’ exhibition, which was due to open this spring, from falling foul of the annus horribilis that is 2020. But, better late than never, the beasts are back.  With a new opening date, Wednesday December 9, ‘Introducing Fantastic Beasts: The Wonder of Nature’ will centre on JK Rowling’s magical universe and features creatures, specimens and artefacts from the museum’s scientific collection – but with a mystical twist from magical zoologist Newt Scamander’s world. Photograph: Trustees of the Natural History Museum The exhibition will showcase some of the most enthralling beasts that have ever lived on our planet, such as a Galápagos marine iguana, as well as more magical specimens, like an Erumpent horn and the dragon skull from Professor Lupin’s classroom. You can also learn about the mating rituals of real-life creepy crawlies like the peacock spider, and gawp at a sea monster known as the oarfish, the world’s longest bony fish (fair warning, you’ll probably think twice about swimming in the sea ever again). The exhibition isn’t just meant to amuse and amaze: there’s an underlying message to encourage visitors to care more about the animals that are currently roaming the globe and protect our planet’s biodiversity. Photograph: Trustees of the Natural History Museum ‘Bringing characters from the wizarding world together with some of the most fantastic creatures from the natural world

Bao is launching a home-delivery service

Bao is launching a home-delivery service

Covid-19 is wreaking havoc on London’s food scene, with restaurants struggling to keep going as diners stay in the safety of their homes. But they’re not giving up without a fight – some are offering voucher deals, while others like Bao are launching their own home-delivery services. While you might not be able to order the fluffy, hot Taiwanese bao buns the restaurant is known for to your door, the service – named ‘Rice Error by Bao’ – is described as ‘Almost Bao but rice’ on its Instagram page.   We’ve seen a copy of the menu, and at-home diners can tuck into four different flavours of chi shiang rice box – prawn, grilled beef, mushroom and chilli chicken leg. And on the side, some of Bao’s famous Taiwanese fried chicken is available to order by the bucket, as well as fried tofu.   The news comes just one day after founders Erchen Chang, Shing Tat Chung and Wai Ting Chung announced they are closing three of Bao’s sites, barring Xu, the fine dining tea house in London’s Chinatown – though that may well shut soon, too.  View this post on Instagram A picture of a Tatung Rice Cooker to cheer you up A post shared by Rice Error by BAO (@riceerror) on Mar 17, 2020 at 10:37am PDT Just a week ago, Bao also revealed plans to open its first-ever breakfast cafĂ© in Pancras Square, offering an all-day dining experience inspired by Yƍshoku (Western-influenced) cuisine, featuring dishes like bao loaf with syrup and butter, and salted egg muffin baos. Doors wer

The Cheese Truck is delivering ‘self-isolation survival kits’ around London

The Cheese Truck is delivering ‘self-isolation survival kits’ around London

If you’re in dire need of cheese during self-isolation (that’s everyone, right?), we have good news. Expert in all things cheese Mathew Carver has announced that a fleet of trucks will set off across the capital to deliver dairy-derived products. Having closed his Pick & Cheese site in Seven Dials due to coronavirus, the founder of The Cheese Bar is putting together ‘self-isolation survival kits’ which can include cheese, wine and charcuterie for two to three people to share. Photograph: Nic Crilly-Hargrave Our pick of the cheese hampers is The Big Boy, featuring individually wrapped wedges of Quicke’s mature cheddar, perl las and edmund tew, or go for The Meaty Boy, a kit stuffed with spiced salami, rum-glazed ham and smoked coppa. Or both (who knows how long this self-isolation will last?). The cheese-based selection boxes also contain crackers and condiments. But what’s a night of cheesy dining without some wine to pair it with? Those who fancy ordering a kit can add on a small-producer bottle of wine, too.  The Cheese Truck will be delivering the gouda-ness every day to four different locations in the capital. Locals can sneak out from self-isolation to collect their kit. If you want one, you’ll have to pre-order (and don’t forget to wash your hands, okay?). Keep an eye on the website to see updates on locations.  Need some bread for all that cheese? Learn how to make your own with Bread Ahead’s free online tutorials. And then eat your loot while watching free live conc

Pret is giving NHS workers free hot drinks and 50 percent off everything else

Pret is giving NHS workers free hot drinks and 50 percent off everything else

These are dark times, but even so, the coronavirus pandemic is bringing out the kindness in everyone. To help those on the frontline stay fresh, alert and fed, Pret a Manger has just announced that NHS workers will be given special discounts for the (un)foreseeable future. From today (Wednesday March 18) onwards – with no specified end date – anyone who works for the NHS can pop into a Pret shop and collect free tea or coffee, and will also get 50 percent off everything else; from croissants to sandwiches, cookies to cakes.  The food chain made the announcement on its social channels today, thanking NHS staff and saying ‘we look forward to serving you’. Following recent government guidelines of avoiding public gatherings to stop Covid-19 from spreading, Pret has also made the decision to operate the majority of its shops as takeaway only, with seating areas closed off. In other random-acts-of-kindness news, the National Trust will be opening its parks and gardens for free, so that people who need fresh air and exercise (or just a reviving nature kick) during self-isolation can step out for a walk.  Inspired to do your part? Help this Hackney kitchen supply free meals to vulnerable people. Or to get away from it all, join one of Bread Ahead’s free online baking tutorials.

London bakery Bread Ahead is hosting live baking tutorials on Instagram

London bakery Bread Ahead is hosting live baking tutorials on Instagram

So, you’re stuck in self-isolation. You could spend the next few weeks (or months, if coronavirus gets worse) watching TV and eating takeaways, but once you get bored of that, why not try your hand at acquiring a new skill? More specifically: baking. Bread Ahead, the bakery school and shop in Borough Market, has just announced free online tutorials on its Instagram page for anyone who wants to get their hands dirty kneading in the kitchen, starting with a doughnut workshop today (March 18) at 2pm. The step-by-step tutorial will teach you how to roll up globules of dough and custard into sweet, sweet ‘custard grenades’, as the bakery calls them. Have a look through the stockpiling cupboard: you need flour, butter, sugar, eggs and sunflower oil. Photograph: Bread Ahead If you can’t make it for today’s baking session, founder and master baker Matthew Jones’s tutorials will be available on the brand’s Instagram story for the next 24 hours. And there are more sessions to come over the next two weeks, including focaccia-making (March 19), chocolate brownies (March 24), hot cross buns (March 29) and more. Bakers, ready your rolling pins. Prefer savoury over sweet baked treats? Get inspired by London’s best bread. Once you’re done baking, curl up with a good book. You can get one delivered for free by this London bookshop.

Glastonbury festival 2020 has been cancelled

Glastonbury festival 2020 has been cancelled

Many have dreaded that the rumours were true and now it’s official: Glastonbury 2020 has been cancelled. Organisers took to Instagram this morning (March 18) to share the announcement with music fans across the UK and worldwide. The big daddy of UK festivals was due to celebrate its fiftieth anniversary this year, but in the light of the coronavirus pandemic has decided to push the event back until 2021. Although the five-day festival takes place in June, organisers have made the decision to protect the thousands of crew members who would be at risk while putting the festival together on the Somerset farm in the coming months. If you are one of the 135,000 people who has paid a £50 deposit for a Glasto ticket, don't worry, organisers are offering the chance for you to roll it over, meaning you’d have a guaranteed ticket for next year. This will happen automatically, but if you prefer, you can get a refund by contacting See Tickets in the next few days.  Those who have booked more extensive deals, including coach packages, accommodation and local Sunday tickets should keep an eye on the festival’s website as more information will be shared soon. This year's line-up included Kendrick Lamar, Taylor Swift, Paul McCartney, Dua Lipa and Diana Ross. ‘Again, we’re so sorry that this decision has been made,’ the post on the festival's Instagram page reads. ‘It was not through choice. But we look forward to welcoming you back to these fields next year and until then, we send our love a

LA’s Eggslut is opening a second London restaurant

LA’s Eggslut is opening a second London restaurant

Last year, Eggslut opened its first restaurant in London on Notting Hill’s Portobello Road, where it’s been churning out eggs stuffed into brioche buns ever since. The Los Angeles-born breakfast chain with a questionable name has now confirmed that it will be opening a second site in the capital.  The new location is a short walk from Tottenham Court Road, a prime spot for serving up sloppy sandwiches to oozy egg floozies, tourists and hungover punters from Soho on the hunt for a greasy treat.  Foodwise, it’ll offer the same as its sister joint, including Eggslut’s speciality: The Slut – a coddled egg on top of purĂ©ed potato. You’ll also find the Fairfax (scrambled egg with chives, cheese and caramelised onions) and the classic bacon, egg and cheese brioche – the Insta-version of a British breakfast buttie. Photograph: Picasa Speaking of social media, you can probably expect to see punters snapping egg-cellent pics. The chefs are setting up plates with this in mind: ‘The egg itself was brilliant: orange, runny, and like it had been specially laid for the ’gram.’ That’s what we said when reviewing the original London site. Though, our reviewer was less sold on the ‘unpleasantly greasy’ cheeseburger. Let’s see what the new site has to offer egg fans this spring.  Eggslut will be opening its second site at 19 Percy St in spring 2020.  Prefer a Brit breakfast over brioche? Dig into one of London’s best fry-ups. Or try a Taiwanese twist on your morning meal at Bao’s first breakf

Acts from cancelled SXSW are playing a last-minute London gig

Acts from cancelled SXSW are playing a last-minute London gig

As coronavirus cases rise across the globe, countries are implementing safety measures by cancelling or postponing public events, including music festivals like Coachella and South by Southwest (SXSW). For heartbroken London fans who had plans to attend the latter, there may still be a chance to recreate the magic close to home. A last-minute pop-up show at The 100 Club on Oxford Street, hosted by NME, will feature artists who were meant to perform at the festival in Austin, Texas.  Although artists taking to the stage in London are yet to be revealed, some of the bands due to perform before the event was cancelled included TSHA, The Posies, Alex Somers, Declan J Donovan and Walshy Fire. ‘When the cancellation of SXSW was announced last Friday, it was clear from our conversations with artists and fans that this was extremely disappointing and financially devastating to many of the bands and musicians involved,’ said Meng Ru Kuok, CEO of BandLab Technologies and NME. ‘We had to find a way to make sure the show would go on in order to support the emerging artist community. The silver lining is that Austin’s loss is London’s gain.’ Londoners aren’t the only ones to witness a music miracle. Yesterday, co-founders of Focus Wales, a festival organisation that was due to fly six emerging artists to SXSW, revealed that there would be a special one-off gig held at Clwb Ifor Bach in Cardiff on Wednesday March 18, which will be streamed live to fans in Texas.  The SXSW pop-up will ta

Amy Winehouse has been honoured on Camden’s Music Walk of Fame

Amy Winehouse has been honoured on Camden’s Music Walk of Fame

Billed as the UK’s answer to Hollywood Boulevard, but with solely musicians honoured and with ‘stones’ instead of stars set in the pavement, Camden’s Music Walk of Fame has started to commemorate the area’s musical heroes. Once completed, the ‘Walk’ – which first opened in 2019 – will feature 400 stones leading from Chalk Farm to Mornington Crescent. First to be commemorated was British rock band The Who, followed by Madness, the late-’70s ska band who also hail from Camden. Both received plaques in a ceremony hosted by Dizzee Rascal.  And this week (March 4), a local legend was honoured with another stone set: singer Amy Winehouse was the third act to be named on the Walk of Fame. View this post on Instagram I took my daughter to Camden Market this morning (her first time, my first time in about 20+ years 😂). We had such a good time but it's changed a lot. #amywinehousestatue #camdenmarket #camdentown #halfterm #motherdaughter #relivingmyyouth A post shared by Lisa Trehy (@sew_what73) on Feb 22, 2020 at 2:37pm PST The late artist had a deep love for her stomping ground of Camden, where she could often be found hanging out at the Hawley Arms pub along with Noel Fielding, and she’ll now be immortalised in the area. Despite only releasing two albums before her death, and one post-humously, Amy is considered a music icon, and during her short but successful career won multiple Grammy awards. This isn't the first time the artist has been celebr

The South Bank’s tropical dining pods have a ‘Press for Margaritas’ button

The South Bank’s tropical dining pods have a ‘Press for Margaritas’ button

The perfect foil to a taco feast? Margaritas at the push of a button. And that’s just what Wahaca’s tropical dinner pods have got.   Dubbed the 'Mexican Eye’, these tiny dining units have popped up along the South Bank so you can lap up some views along with street food from a special feasting menu. Aside from guac (which is obviously an obligatory part of any Mexican fiesta), diners can dig into duck croquetas, crispy cauliflower bites and sharing boards of buttermilk chicken, pork pibil and roasted butternut squash tacos – followed with sugary churros and chocolate. Photograph: Rich Fairclough The set menu is £28 per person, but you can also dine from the restaurant’s regular menu. Pods can be booked for parties of four to six people. And yes, there really is a ‘Push for Margaritas’ button. Use it responsibly.  Wahaca Southbank’s riverside dining pods can be booked for parties of four-to-six people up until Mar 29. Or think outside the pod with our guide to London’s best Mexican restaurants. And these bars might not have buttons, but they make the most excellent Margaritas. 

Six new blue plaques for pioneering women will be unveiled in London this year

Six new blue plaques for pioneering women will be unveiled in London this year

International Women’s Day is coming up on Sunday, but celebrations have already begun. English Heritage, the charity that looks after the UK’s historic monuments, has just revealed that four British female icons – including World War II spies and an armed forces leader – as well as two suffragette organisations will be honoured with blue plaques in London. The decision to add these to the list comes as part of an ongoing campaign to bolster the number of plaques that recognise women, because only 14 percent of the existing plaques do. All of the selected candidates have made substantial contributions to their country, but one woman, Christine Granville, led an unusually exciting life as the first and longest-serving female special operations executive (SOE) in Nazi-occupied Europe. Because of the dangers of her job, she rarely stayed in one place for long, so it's fitting that her plaque will receive a permanent home at a west London hotel that was her only long-term base in the city. Photograph: English Heritage Granville isn't the only war heroine on the list: Noor Inayat Khan was the first Muslim SOE agent and female radio operator sent to France during World War II, where she was killed by the Gestapo. Noor was posthumously awarded the George Cross in 1949; now there will be a blue plaque outside her house in Bloomsbury. Dame Helen Gwynne-Vaughan, a leader in the first women’s British military corps, as well as a celebrated botanist, and Barbara Hepworth, the artist fro

A wheelcake dessert bar has arrived in Selfridges

A wheelcake dessert bar has arrived in Selfridges

If you missed Pancake Day last week, don’t fret, because a new pop-up has just arrived in Selfridges Food Hall with a menu that will make any dessert lover drool. Wheelcake Island, which specialises in the fluffy Taiwanese pancakes stuffed with custard, will be serving up three flavours at the luxury department store for a limited time, including classic vanilla, chocolate and one made with adzuki (red bean) and matcha custard – which is exclusively on the menu at Selfridges. The custard-oozing, mouth-watering morsels known as wheelcakes are named after the Taiwanese island where the founders are from and were inspired by their favourite childhood snack. They are made using traditional methods, with each one decorated with the company mascot: a frog. Photograph: Selfridges Previous flavours sold at Wheelcake Island’s permanent sites in Spitalfields Market, Seven Dials Market and Westfield have included Oreos, Hojicha, and a version filled with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  They cost £3 each, or get three for £7 (and let’s face it – you’ll want to try out all those flavours). Because the wheelcakes are made to order, you’ll also get a chance to see bakers in action as they whip each one up for you. Just don’t expect them to flip it in the air – it’s not that kind of pancake.  The pop-up in Selfridges opens today (Wed March 4) and will run until April 28.  Obsessed with pancakes? Take a tour of London’s best pancake restaurants. Don’t have a sweet tooth? Check ou