London, how I love thee. Or do I? Days spent weaving through commuters and tourists and nights spent dashing through winding streets to find the latest pop up that’s in a basement-cum-crypt-cum-waffle factory leave me exhausted, and I sometimes find myself wistfully gazing at the instagram accounts of those who live in the country and bake scones in AGAs and have time to make sloe gin. My sloe gin invariably comes from an extortionate emporium in Soho, more’s the pity.
But I’m not here (solely) to complain. I’m here today to share tales of my town, and a recommendation of a place to rebalance when it all gets a bit much. And also where to groom. That’s important too //
Polo Bar in The Westbury / Noteworthy as a little spot because it’s very central (Bond Street is a five minute walk), and because they’ll make you a mini version of the cocktail your pal/date is having. This holds massive sway this end – I suffer frightfully from drinks FOMO but also loathe sharing them with a passion on account of my obsession with evading germs. Check it out (and strategise when you go – if you don’t eat first you’ll end up gorging on those little bar snacks they bring which are altogether too delicious to ignore unless you’ve filled your belly prior).
Farmacy / And on the other end of the health spectrum, we have this place. I think it’s a dream – they let Monty boy come in with me (despite him having once had a wee on the floor), and serve up healthier than healthy dishes morning, noon and night. One little caveat: the boys I’ve brought here seem to hate it – my sister’s boyfriend declared the pizza ‘the most disgusting thing I’ve put in my mouth’. I now go with my sister or friend Nusch, both of whom are inured to the wholesome taste of pure health foods.
The Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre / Currently closed, but one to bookmark for next summer – they put on wonderful shows in the prettiest of surroundings. My trip last month to see Pride and Prejudice was one of my highlights of the summer thanks to the combination of seeing Mrs Bennet huff and puff around on stage as the breeze blew the early autumn leaves around and the fairy lights twinkled in the background. It was all quite magical.
Hotel Cafe Royal & SJP / I clearly didn’t need to add the SJP to this recommendation, but when you’ve sipped wine at an event hosted by the great lady herself, I think it’s perfectly acceptable to shoehorn it in everywhere. I was at this hotel for the launch of her perfume Stash (a post on it will follow – expect breathless praise), and it is a good old find. Right off Piccadilly Circus, where I always feel overwhelmed and in need of a retreat, this place is deliciously old school and very swanky. And sometimes SJP is there.
Jack Howard at Paul Edmonds / One of my favourite colourists at one of my favourite hairdressers (the people who work there are nice and helpful, no snootiness), gave me a pretty brilliant colour refresh last month. There’s nothing noteworthy to add to the various other times I’ve written about him (and interviewed him for MC on video – click here to watch), but I just wanted to remind you of his existence should you be fond of a little highlight.
Luton Hoo / The Hoo, as I now refer to it, is a gem. About 20 minutes by car from North London, it’s fancy and peaceful and ideal for a treat. I went for a friend’s hen and enjoyed the grandness of the rooms, opulence of the restaurant and beauty of the grounds that we took a turn around, Austen style, the morning after the night before. I’d like to say that this is where I’ll be when the going gets tough, but I’d have to remortgage my house for that to be the case.