We were contacted by a reader about a fantastic video he made of Holland Park during the recent snowfall. Featuring both the park and the area in general, Hugh Hood’s great little film shows some wonderfully snowy scenes, including some at a clearly very tranquil part of the day – beautiful to see.

If you’d like to revisit some scenes of the neighbourhood at the peak of the snowfall – or would like to see what it looked like if you’re not based here – then do take a look…it’s highly recommended viewing. I especially love the incredibly cute little robin!

Holland Park, Winter 2013:

Anyone that’s passed by Notting Hill Gate recently, near the intersection with Pembridge Road, may have been excited by a big poster display in one of the shops there announcing the arrival of the latest addition of the London-based itsu chain of sushi restaurants.
Due to open in the second week of March, itsu’s new Notting Hill location will be its fourth restaurant and its largest, with some rather special additions such as its first-floor Butterfly Bar.
The downstairs area will accommodate 92 diners, who will be served tasty Asian dishes from three conveyor belts. Dishes will include the spicy tuna X-ray roll – line caught yellow fina tuna, and soft shell crab maki rolls – a whole soft shelled crab, cooked tempura style, avocado, cucumber and tobiko, wrapped in steamed rice & nori with a fresh chive jacket.
There will also be a shop area downstairs for customers to choose from a takeaway menu, with a local delivery service arriving in the Spring.
Upstairs will be the sumptuous Butterfly Bar which will serve a variety of cocktails, sake, beers, wines and champagnes, including the bar’s signature cocktail – the Bell’itsu, a combination of champagne, lychee puree and creme de cassis.
Be sure to stop by at the new itsu restaurant when in opens in March – it’s certainly a very welcome addition to the area!
100 Notting Hill Gate, W11 3QA
Tel: 020 7229 4016
Opening hours:
11am – 11pm (shop)
6pm – 11pm Monday to Friday, 12pm – 11pm Saturday & Sunday (restaurant & bar)
Those of you who live and work in Notting Hill may have been lucky enough to come across Cookie Girl and her delicious cookies and cupcakes in real life. And now here’s your opportunity to further enjoy her wonderful creations!
Australian actress-turned-baking entrepreneur Xanthe Milton came up with the idea of baking cookies and selling them locally as a way of making extra income (not to mention using her baking skills, well-honed since childhood). Her first experience saw her prepare a batch of 100 Belgian chocolate cookies and hit the streets of Notting Hill, selling them door to door to homes and businesses. With all of the cookies snapped up within a few hours, Cookie Girl was born to become an instant success with a legion of fans – including names such as Belinda Carlisle, Will Young and Take That – following.
As Cookie’s Girl popularity grew, a regular column in Notting Hill’s Grove magazine followed, before TV appearances on Masterchef and Market Kitchen – as well as having her cookies stocked in Selfridges. Today, Cookie Girl – Xanthe – also runs cupcake decorating classes; see her website for further details, on which you can also order her cookies!
Xanthe’s success has now seen her publish her first book – Eat Me: The Stupendous, Self-Raising World of Cupcakes & Bakes According to Cookie Girl. This wonderful book includes 80 amazing recipes of cupcakes and cookies organised according to season and occasion (Halloween, Valentine’s Day), interspersed with a some beautiful photographs. This is the kind of book you’ll curl up on the sofa with and read – before even trying any of the recipes – which is not something that can be said for many cookbooks!

I’ll be giving some of the recipes a go very soon, so do stay tuned for a proper review of the book – personally, I can’t wait to try recipes such as “margarita cupcakes”, “blueberry clouds” and the absolutely amazing-looking “Bollywood cupcakes”.
Eat Me is out on 4th March 2010, priced at £15, and is published by Ebury Press.

According to today’s Independent, Channel 4 have commissioned a new reality TV show that will be based in Notting Hill – and used to fill the void in the station’s TV schedules left by the cancellation of Big Brother.

For starters, the mention of Big Brother doesn’t really bode well. Nor does the fact that the Independent article starts off with the sentence, “David Cameron’s London neighbourhood of Notting Hill”. (Is that all it’s known for?) To add to the this-is-a-programme-that-sounds-horrifying vibe, this show will attempt to have the “real-time drama of big reality shows such as Big Brother and ITV’s I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here!”
Sweeping all these nightmares aside, it doesn’t sound all bad. The programme, with an amazingly inventive provisional title of “Notting Hill”, is supposed to have more of a documentary rather than a reality-show feel (though the words “soap opera” have also been mentioned), with the central characters – ten locals who have yet to be chosen – followed by cameras as they go about their day-to-day lives. One-hour episodes will be screened each week, and the show will have an indefinite run following its start in the autumn. Channel 4 execs are promising a revolutionary show, suggesting it will be a documentary on a vast scale that’s never been done before.
The show could, I imagine, be very watchable and interesting – if it’s something on a similar format to Channel 4’s highly-entertaining The Family. However, I can’t help thinking that it’s been done before. Does anyone remember the BBC programme, Paddington Green, that aired in the late 1990s? Actually set around the Paddington area (of course), that was a rather engrossing docu-soap following the lives of a number of local residents and business owners. So I guess it’s going to be just like that…but bigger?
Channel 4 had better be very be vary careful – and clever – in choosing the main characters. Let’s not go for too many stereotypes, please.