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City Guides « Covet Living
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Archive for the 'City Guides' Category

How To Spend A Day In… London (We’re At It Again)

‘Ello there, lovies.  Soooo I’m a lucky ho bag and once again got to head to Europe for two weeks of work.  It was another three pronged journey: a trip to the gloriously sunny (it was 80 degrees!!!) London.  Then it was off to Munich for a couple days, then Cannes.  But seriously, the weather in LDN was the most guh-lorious I have EVER seen in my years of traveling there.   I mean usually a peak out your window looks like this:

But when I was there, it was more like this, with millions of people clamoring to gorge on some Vitamin D:

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Often I’m in meetings from morning to evening for about a week straight.  However, this go around I actually had a day to venture around this fine city for some eating and shopping and it was just about the most pleasant day you can imagine.  So, lemme recommend a fun little day for you, based on my experiences a couple weeks ago, plus some of my fave Brits’ suggestions as well. But first, begin your day’s soundtrack with this tune:

Breakfast at Wolesley’s: Hey, if it’s good enough for Gwyneth, it’s good enough for you and me, right?!  But seriously, this institution amongst the well-heeled circles is divine; it’s got glamorous, old school decor and the breakfast… well, there’s even a book written on it.  The menu has everything from Italian-style cooked breakfasts to traditional French croissants and chocolate brioche and, for a healthy option, Wolseley granola (which is what I had, with greek yoghurt… delicioso).

After you’re fueled up, it’s time for serious shopping, duh.  And what better place to venture than Notting Hill?!  How many people do you think trek to this quaint neighborhood in search of a glimpse of the quiet Brit romanticism so perfectly captured in the 90s rom com?  Well, there’s a reason.  This neighborhood is just darling, with multi-colored flats…

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Adorable homes…

And the always bustling Portabello Market, where you can scour tables on the sidewalk brimming with antique jewels and clothes… or

Duck into one of the many boutiques and find yourself a little Sienna Miller-type dress (for cheap, yo!), like the one I purchased, below left:

After dropping barely a few quid on your cute new attire, it’s time to splurge a bit. Head over to Matches, a wicked cool clothing store I love because not only cause it’s got glam clothes from DVF, Chanel and Alexander McQueen (rad), but it showcases emerging talents and brings them to their customer-base. Previous seasons have seen Matches work with designers such as Brian Reyes, Sykes and Rag & Bone.

Let’s be honest.  At this point it’s been about 3 hours so it’s time to eat again. Head into the gem known as Daylesford Organic Farmshop & Cafe, a foodie haven where local farmers’ wares are displayed proudly amongst fresh meats, exotic breads and cheeses, and elegantly wrapped candies and assorted treats. From what I understand, it’s kind of like a super posh love child of Whole Foods and Bristol Farms, and if you’re the kind to drive to the store in your Range Rover wearing your Lululemon yoga attire, why you’ll just feel right at home:

After shopping and noshing, naturally it’s time for a pint, no?  I’ve got a new favorite pub – oh yayer – and it’s The Victoria in Lancaster Gate.  Now, this is the kind of pub I could imagine heading to every week for a Sunday roast.  It’s cozy, and you’re greeted warmly upon entering.  Oh.  AND they have a menu that’s strong to quite strong.  Try the barbers vintage cheddar and chutney sandwich and THANK ME LATER:

If you’re not wanting to stop making sweet love to your taste buds, make a reservation at – no joke – my new favorite, favorite restaurant in LDN. Its name: Salt Yard.  Seriously, for any of you who haven’t yet been to Spain, it’s ok.  I mean not really, but for now yes.  Cause if you’re in London, look no further than this godsend, which has the most delectable Spanish and Italian tapas in the city.

(From upper left: Classic Tortilla Espanola. Courgette flowers stuffed with goat cheese and drizzled with honey. Radicchio and rocket salad with toasted walnut, pear and marjoram.  Patatas fritas with romesco sauce and aioli.)

After this feast, cap your night off with a performance of Ghost in the West End. Sigh.  Going in I had pretty low expectations due to once viewing another American movie re-made as a London musical.  It was a disaster.  But this time the actors were awesome; the magic, even awesomer (think the character Sam’s ghost going thru a door.  Sick) and the essence of the love story truly came through.

Lastly, time to head to your adorable boutique hotel Number Sixteen, the sister hotel to my favorite hotel ever, the Soho Hotel, for some shut eye.  Like the Soho, each room is cozy, cozy, cozy and individually designed by the owner’s wife.  As the travel web site Mr. and Mrs. Smith writes, “The bright, feminine rooms at this well-groomed Kensington hideaway are as refreshing and tasty as a cup of Earl Grey on a spring morning”.  Couldn’t have said it better:

Cuddle up in your luxe bed and pray that my new fave show Made In Chelsea is on.  Picture Laguna Beach but for the posh young British set.  What, I never said I had the most sophisticated tastes… just the fun ones.  Check out a glimpse here.

Have a good Monday dahlings!

xoxo,

How To Spend a Day In… London

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Hello, Mates.  I’m currently in London for the first of a three-pronged European tour for the ol’ jobby job, and as with every trip I make here, I’ve once again fallen in love with this city.

It reminds me of the Big Apple; it has the familiar hustle and bustle, but with a dash more dignity due to the ol’ monarchy pervading the city. The people are polite (and I swear it’s not just the the accents), the shopping is varied – at times sophisticated, at times totally funky – and it’s incredibly easy to find your way around.  If one day is all you had in London, here’s how I’d recommend spending it:

Breakfast at Princi: Inside this chic Italian bakery (other location: Milan), which is open 24-7, are two rooms: one in which a group of bakers are kneading dough day-and-night into delightful treats such as chocolate croissants and “four season ham and cheese pizza”; the other, an open dining area with high chairs for diners to taste the fresh breads and sip a cappucino.  Tip: try the dark hot chocolate.

After the cappucino and pain au chocolat, a little retail therapy.  You’ll need a soundtrack to the day, of course!  And it’s a good thing you’ve uploaded the new album by Plan B.  A British rapper/singer who reminds me a bit of Mark Ronson, the upbeat sounds will guide you to your first stop: Furniture store Habitat.  Not yet available in the US for some reason, it’s chock full of fun, modern, well-made furniture and as my Brit colleague puts it, “is a cross between Crate and Barrel and CB2, but it’s not up its own ass.”

Then, well, it’s just not a trip to jolly ol’ LDN without some time spent scouring the racks at the mothership otherwise known as Top Shop.

I myself tend to think of it as the British H&M, but it’s still fun to see what the sassy trends are and scour through the racks in hopes of finding that one perfect purchase.

Then it’d be time to duck into my favorite, favorite pub, The Crown and Two Chairmen.  God bless the London corner pubs that overflow with rowdy Brits come happy hour time.

This particular pub oozes with charm and serves up beef bourguigon that’d rival the Barefoot Contessa’s (yeah, I said it).   Its cozy atmosphere brings to mind the scene in The Holiday when Cameron Diaz walks in and surprises Jude Law at his local pub.  *Sigh*

After lunch it’d be time to mosey through the Borough Market, one of the largest food markets in the world that sells everything from seafood to cheeses to veggies. It’s kinda like walking into a different world, and is oddly peaceful.

Speaking of fresh seafood, I’d make a reservation for dinner at Pescatori for mouthwatering fresh seafood.  Wait, fresh seafood in London?  In the UK, any mention of ‘fish…’ is usually the precursor to ‘and chips’.  But at this restaurant, seafood arrives daily from family farms by the sea, and their pasta is dee-lish as well.  What to order: Pasta filled with pear, amaretti, beef and pork, smoked butter & sage sauce.

After dinner, it’d be time to head back to my hotel, the Soho Hotel, to tuck myself in for a cozy night inside one of its luxurious yet homey rooms.  All the rooms were designed by the owner’s wife and every one is unique.

I’d nestle into the down beds, turn on the telly, and say a prayer that my new favorite UK show was on: Pineapple Dance Studios. A docu-soap series set in one of the top dance studios in the UK, my newest obsession is in Louie Spence, the Artistic Director.  He needs no further explanation – just watch this link:

Next up on the tour is Munich.  Just so happens a little festivity called Oktoberfest is coinciding with the work trip.  Oh, this should be fun.

Mind the Gap,





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