Wednesday, 29 July 2015

My Favourite Things - The London Edition

St Paul's Cathedral
As most of you (Hey mom!) know, I recently moved to London and this Friday marks my first 2 months in this excellent city. In that time, I've exercised my rights as a lady of leisure (read: unemployed bum) and explored many a London enclave and have made some firm favourites along the way. 

Read on for my Londontown favourites!

The Churchill Arms in Notting Hill

  • The Churchill Arms, Notting Hill - quirky pub full of Churchill memorabilia, covered in flowers. Regularly (and quite rightly!) wins London in Bloom.
  • The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town, Spitalfields - Possibly the worst kept 'secret' bar in London. Go to The Breakfast Club in Spitalfields and ask to 'see the Mayor'.
  • The Bluebird, Chelsea - Great for people watching! Gorgeous space and the £25 3 course set menu is too delicious.
  • Drink, Shop, Do, Kings Cross - Quirky and fun. They do Beyonce dance workshops, quiz nights and old school R&B nights!
  • Bar Italia, Soho - This iconic Soho stalwart is pretty great for people watching. They also do some incredible coffees and if you're lucky, will have some tasty lemon sfogliatelle for you to have with your espresso. 
The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town
Neal's Yard, Covent Garden

  • Kensington High Street - All the usual high street faves are here (H&M, Zara, Uniqlo, M&S etc), along with the first Whole Foods in London (with an awesome food court upstairs).
  • Covent Garden - If you can deal with the truckloads of tourists, there are some excellent makeup stores to be found (Bobbi Brown, MAC Pro and Urban Decay all have stores here). There's also the kitschy market and the gorgeous Neal's Yard.
  • Bond St - Slightly quieter than Oxford Circus. Selfridges, Marks & Spencer, Primark and a huge Zara are all down this end. Make sure to visit both the M&S and Selfridges Food Halls. Even better, head a couple of streets north of Selfridges towards Marylebone High Street and check out the excellent Daunt Bookshop. 
  • Notting Hill - Some great bookshops live here, like Books for Cooks and Notting Hill Bookshop which is allegedly where they filmed the movie Notting Hill! There is of course, Portobello Market on the weekends and if you're into cooking, you should check out Kitchen Ideas on Westbourne Grove for all the kitchen gadgets you'll ever need.

The T22 Ramen at Bone Daddies at Kensington Whole Foods

  • Square Pie Company for Pie & Mash - Cheap and cheerful. Get a pie and a couple of sides for just over a fiver. Locations all over London. Aussies will probably still prefer Mrs Macs though. 
  • Shake Shack, Covent Garden - Despite the burger fest across London, this American import is still my fave. 
  • Bone Daddies - While I still prefer Dosukoi back home in Perth, this place wins points for their super rich broth. Very trendy, decently priced and they even provide hair bands for you to tie back your luscious locks with!
  • Oddono's Gelati - Amazingly good pistachio gelato, giant scoops AND they have shops all over London. If I'm in South Kensington, I always make a note to visit the Bute Street shop for a cup of the good stuff.
  • The Big Easy, Chelsea - Kitschy Americana style food and decor. Gigantic servings of lobster, ribs and steak will surely put a smile on your face and a frown on your cardiologist's.
  • Flat White, Soho - They do vegemite on toast! And avocado toast! And really, really good flat whites! Finally! Homesick Antipodeans should head here for a quick fix for the Australia shaped holes in their hearts.
The Courtyard at The V&A

  • The Wellcome Collection - This museum is full of the strange and wonderful. Shrunken heads, medieval medical tools and early tattoos on fragments of real human skin. Super creepy but extremely fascinating. Free to enter.
  • Museum of Brands & Advertising - Maybe one for the marketing majors out there! Tucked away on a quiet mews in Notting Hill. They have examples of adverts & packaging from the Victorian era through to today. Entry is £7.50 and keep in mind that they are due to move very soon.
  • The Wallace Collection - If you're into all things gilt and Classical, you're sure to love The Wallace Collection. Full of goodies that were saved from the French Revolution; it's beyond gorgeous and well worth a visit. Entry is free!
  • Parliament Hill Lido - It'll cost you £6 to get in during the day and you'll get to spend hours pretending you're a 1930's movie star in this Grade II listed building. Can get very busy during the summer though.
  • Postman's Park & St Dunstan in the East - Tranquil spots in the City. Postman's Park has the Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice from the film Closer. St Dunstan was partially destroyed in the Blitz but the remaining ruins have been preserved as a public park.

St Dunstan-In-The-East
The view from The Tate Modern's 3rd floor balcony

The Rotunda at The British Museum

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