Remembrance day 

  • By The Alchemist About Town
  • 11 Nov, 2017
Armistice Day is on 11 November and is also known as Remembrance Day. It marks the day World War One ended, at 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month, back in 1918. 

The anniversary is used to remember all the people who have died in wars, not just World War One.The first two minute silence in Britain was held on 11 November 1919, when King George V asked the public to observe a silence at 11am. He made the request so "the thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverent remembrance of the glorious dead". The poppy has a long association with Remembrance Day.

The significance of the poppy as a lasting memorial symbol to the fallen was realised by the Canadian surgeon John McCrae in his poem In Flanders Fields. The poppy came to represent the immeasurable sacrifice made by his comrades and quickly became a lasting memorial to those who died in World War One and later conflicts. Scarlet corn poppies grow naturally in conditions of disturbed earth throughout Western Europe. The destruction brought by the Napoleonic wars of the early 19th Century transformed bare land into fields of blood red poppies, growing around the bodies of the fallen soldiers. In late 1914, the fields of Northern France and Flanders were once again ripped open as World War One raged through Europe's heart. Once the conflict was over the poppy was one of the only plants to grow on the otherwise barren battlefields.

I do know that many people object to war and do not wish to "wear a poppy" for this reason.

To be fair, who likes war?

I strongly doubt the millions of soldiers in battlefields today or in the past or the fallen soldiers "liked" war; they are doing and did their duty and sacrifice/d their lives so that we can have today a democratic debate about it.

If you disagree with war, sign a petition, protest, march, let your voice known to your government .

Do not disrespect these courageous men and women who died for us. They only deserve our thanks.

The People Alchemist Blog

By The Alchemist About Town 23 Nov, 2017
There is nothing better than relaxing with a spot of lunch or dinner after some shopping and perhaps before the theatre ( I knoooow, so much lady who lunches...). Well if you are in Islington and enjoying the antique market and boutique shopping or are in to see a show,perhaps at the Almeida , then La Petite Auberge is for you.

I must admit I do have a penchant for french food which my previous reviews of La Ferme , Salut , Robuchon and Le Boudin Blanc   confirm. This is more of a rustic French resto but bang in the middle of Upper Street rather than in the French countryside . The place is traditional French exactly as the English would image it to be.

I love dining here - and often do.  The food is always good and very homely with generous portions and follows the French tradition of locally sourced, seasonal ingredients ( sample menu ). My super favourites are Cuisses de Grenouilles   (e.g. frog legs cooked in Calvados & cream) and the  Jarret d’agneau rôti  (roasted lamb shank cooked in Port,honey, balsamic vinegar & button onions, I normally skip the mash potato).
And to finish off a  Cafe Gourmand  after the  Selection de Fromages.  Happy days :-).

If you like, they also have an extensive Crêpe menu  with a selection of sweet, savoury and vegetarian crepes all freshly made.

You always feel so very welcome here and you can take your time, have long conversations - a little piece of France.
The staff is extremely friendly . It is particularly good for pre/post theatre as the Almeida is jut across the road. 

I love it here and it is definitely #MyBestMealIslington - Upper Street for November , a #mustgoto.
You're welcome ;-)

Laura xxx


Mon to Thurs: 11.30 - 23.00
Fri to Sat: 11.30 - 23.30
Sun: 11.30 - 22.30

By The Alchemist About Town 20 Nov, 2017

The International Women' Day pledge for 2017 was #BeBoldFor Change to create a more gender inclusive world, blah blah blah...... In 2016 it was # PledgeForParity to help women achieve their ambitions, blah blah blah........and 2018 will be #PressForProgress ,a call-to-action to press forward and progress gender parity. Blah blah blah...

"S TOP IT! It is all in your head"

Has anything actually changed?

We cannot deny that boardroom diversity is increasing although women still remain under-represented: if you are looking at top global companies  women in leadership represent  12% of total (depending on what research you are looking at).

Who does it better?

The highest percentages of women on boards can be found in the old continent with Norway ( 46.7% ), France ( 34.0% ), and Sweden ( 33.6% ) leading the way - source  Credit Suisse -  (in Europe equality between women and men was ingrained in the Treaty of Rome as one of the European Union's essential values over sixty years ago).

The percentage of women in FTSE 100 boardrooms rose to 26.1% in 2016  but the UK is still seventh across the main international stock markets.

According to recent research carried out at the BI Norwegian Business School by Professor Øyvind L. Martinsen and Professor Lars Glasø , women are better suited at leadership than men based on 5 personality traits, which can be measured for effective leadership ( after surveying more than 2,900 managers to ascertain leadership personality traits).

Women scored higher in:

  • Initiative and clear communication;
  • Openness and ability to innovate;
  • Sociability and supportiveness; and
  • Methodical management and goal setting.

 So, if women possess most of the qualities necessary to be a leader, what is stopping them? What are the barriers?

Cultural, religious and family paradigms have and are playing a part; sexism, misogyny and patriarchy and attitudes exist many times intertwined with other social and political aspects and ways of thinking (and by patriarchy I mean a system of power relationship between men and women where both men and women are complicit, benefiting specific kinds of gender and sexual identities over others).

Of course for women wishing to have children, there are also added barriers...

What is a "woman's place" then?

What a "woman's place"  is or seen to be has changed dramatically throughout history; women had and lost power at different times ( insert the cultural, religious subtext here).

You know what? It is time to STOP IT! Stop giving power to external forces and let them control your life.

Smash that ceiling and I mean the ceiling in your head, the only thing that is truly stopping you to achieve what you really really want. Time to adopt airlines' guidance - put on your own oxygen mask first and  #SmashYourCeiling!.

This is blog is an extract from my book "S TOP IT! It is all in your head" Part I: Blah, Blah, Blah.  To see how the book was developed/written : " What is the best way to write a book in 30 days"

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