London has to be my favourite city in the world! so much so, it is somewhere I called home for two years and would love to return to one day. London offers so much more than just buzzing city life. There are green spaces and parks on almost every corner and if you are feeling a little overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of Central, you can always retreat to areas like Kew, Barnes or Richmond for some quiet time and a real sense of escaping the city. There is an incredible arts and food scene and lots of unique independent clothing and book stores. No matter what borough you're in, London always has somewhere exciting and diverse to explore.
CAFES & RESTAURANTS
2-4 Old St, London EC1V 9AA
I love the Grind breakfast spots! As part of a chain of six cafe/bars and three restaurants across a variety of London locations, the Grind group serves up a breakfast and brunch menu, with the restaurants offering an all day menu. I opted for the vegetarian breakfast and it was one of the best I have ever tasted. Even if you are not veggie, just try it for the delicious sweet potato rosti. All of the Grind's coffee is roasted in Shoreditch, London so be sure to grab a coffee alongside your food. Alternatively why not stay after hours for the late night at Clerkenwell Grind, which is open until 2am Wednesday to Saturday and offers the most amazing Espresso Martini, using the famous Grind coffee beans.
GRANGER & CO.
1, Stanley Building, 7 Pancras Square, Kings Cross, London N1C 4AG
Granger and Co. hosts four great locations, with my favourite being Kings Cross. I mean, just look at the interior! Each restaurant and menu embodies the spirit of Australia and the laid back, sunny Australian lifestyle. I ordered the ricotta hotcakes with banana and honeycomb butter and they did not disappoint. Sweet, surprisingly light and fresh, all enjoyed in a casual and lively atmosphere.
20 Bedford Hill, London SW12 9RG
Hands down my favourite breakfast spot in London - and has been ever since opening in 2012. Milk is fun, friendly and most importantly, serves some amazing, innovative food. For meat eaters there is The Convict - inside is a sausage patty, streaky bacon, eggs, hash brown and the famous hangover sauce. For veggies there is the delicious sweetcorn fritters and halloumi served with field mushrooms and the secret recipe sauce. You can add some extra tasty bits on top too. On weekends, they usually serve some amazing pancakes which vary in toppings each week. Mine on this occasion were strawberry, honeycomb cream and almond brittle - heavenly!
169 Hemingford Rd, London N1 1DA
What better place to sip your morning coffee? Sunday offers homely, modern British cooking in a relaxed and social setting. Sharing tables and benches mean you can go along in a large group and have a chilled out breakfast or why not sit on the outdoor patio, surrounded by greenery and watch the world go by, it makes for the perfect brunch setting. I opted for the vegetarian breakfast, which was a simple take on the British fry up, swapping meat for spinach. The menu changes with the seasons and offers not just breakfast food. Sunday is definitely worth a visit if you are looking to escape the usual city feel and crowds.
GINGER & WHITE
2 England's Lane, London NW3 4TG
Ginger & White resides in both Belsize Park and Hampstead, with both locations having plenty of outdoor seating and both situated on leafy green suburban streets. Ever since my first visit in 2013 on a cold winters morning, I ordered a hot chocolate and homemade beans on toast. I sat at the large, communal wooden table and read one of the papers on offer. In such a small space, sat next to a family of four, we all began to chat. I have been a regular ever since and the food and family orientated atmosphere is the reason I will keep on returning. On this occasion, I ordered the pancakes with bananas and cream which are a firm favourite of mine!
15 Broadway Market, London E8 4PH
You have probably already seen so many breakfast pic's on Instagram from Sans Pere, the beautiful Broadway Market brunch stop is decorated in pastel pinks and is a bloggers haven. We opted to visit the lesser known site over in Shoreditch which doubles as an in house bakery and cafe. The interiors aren't any less cool or well designed, but it definitely has a more grown up feel as we were surrounded by London city boy types in suits. None the less, the food was amazing with a really simple, well thought out menu and plenty of veggie options. I opted for the dipping eggs and homemade sourdough and Jamie, the avocado and pesto on toast with sundried tomatoes and artichokes.
197 Richmond Rd, London E8 3NJ
Super excited to eat breakfast at Rawduck, we woke up earlier than normal and set off for the day arriving at the restaurant at 9:30am. We were disappointed to find that the restaurant didn't open until 10am, which is a little frustrating considering we wanted an early breakfast. It was even more disheartening when the wait staff left us waiting outside for a further few minutes after opening in the rain. We headed inside and proceeded to be joined by a few more customers on the large concrete communal tables and things started to look up when the menu arrived offering some delicious Asian inspired food. Already a little agitated and hungry, the wait staff decided to take four other customer orders who had arrived after us. I ordered the rhubarb buckwheat pancakes with fresh mint tea and Jamie the shakshuka with ginger tea. I had such high hopes for Rawduck and had heard some great things from friends, the food was so delicious and we ate every bite but it was disappointing service all round!
42 North Audley Street, London W1K 6ZR
If you want delicious fresh pastries or to get your hands on those cream filled donuts that are always sold out at Borough Market then head to Bread Ahead in the heart of Mayfair. A large, light and airy cafe that serves up some great hot drinks and every cake, croissant, quiche you can think of!
THE CORNER ROOM
Town Hall Hotel, Patriot Square, London E2 9NF
Located inside The Town Hall in East Londons Bethnal Green, The Corner Room is a beautiful spot in an impressive historical building. Nextdoor to an old disused courtroom, the restaurants runs alongside the hotel catering to guests and anyone stopping by from outside, reservations are only taken after 12pm so feel free to just wander in for breakfast. The interiors are finished beautifully and the wood cladded walls with wrought iron staircase gives the feeling of an old Victorian drawing room and hallway. It really is something special. The food was good but not spectacular, I ordered the pancakes and berries and Jamie the vegetarian breakfast, I would still definitely recommend a visit in the mornings while its quiet, if just for a coffee and a look around the Town Hall.
Borough High St, London SE1 9AH
My favourite way to spend a Saturday afternoon is at Borough Market. A bustling food market selling fresh produce ranging in everything from honey to cheese to fresh meat and seafood, at Borough you will find whatever it is you're looking for. You'll find me at the stalls that are cooking fresh street food dishes and I always opt for the British favourite, Pieminster. You can't go wrong with a good ol' pie served with mash, gravy and mushy peas! For dessert, the donuts baked freshly for the market trade by locals Bread Ahead are worth the trip alone.
18 Phipp St, London EC2A 4NU
This place, wow oh wow. Leroy is a new venture brought to East London by the geniuses behind the now closed Michelin star restaurant Ellory. Located in Shoreditch, Leroy is everything I want from a restaurant and more. There is fantastic food and produce, simple but exciting flavours and it is all mastered without showing off or being overly pretentious. The menu is considered and offers small plates ideal for sharing and every course we ordered harmonised perfectly with the following dish. As expected, the decor is simple, fresh and minimal and the furniture and interior design by Fred Rigby is so inviting and comfortable, you never want to leave. As expected, the guys have absolutely nailed it and I am seriously considering a move back to London so that I can eat here regularly!
Somerset House, London, WC2R 1LA
I had to photograph how incredibly beautiful the dining space was, as even the prettiest of plates could not compete, the lighting had also turned pretty dark by the time dinner service had begun so food photography was near impossible. Spring was an amazing experience from start to finish. The wait staff were incredibly attentive and charming, taking your coat on arrival, always topping our drinks and cleaning the table between courses, which I always appreciate. The food and the recommendations were perfect together and the cocktails were sweet and delicious. Spring centres around offering the best of seasonal produce and that is definitey displayed with how delicately they enhance each ingredient on the menu and serve nothing too overpowering or fancy. We shared the crab linguine to start, hake and butter with sauteed greens for our mains and chocolate tart for dessert. I would hands down go back for a second night on the run!
344 Upper St, London N1 0PD
You would be forgiven if you walked past Oldroyd and thought it was a dingy run down London eatery as from the outside, it is certainly unassuming to say the least. Spread over two floors with very minimal space and a teeny tiny kitchen close to the entrance, the restaurant is anything but spacious. However, once inside it is charming and has a homely comforting feel. I felt privileged at having managed to bag a table at such a small, in demand restaurant! Brought to Islington by Tom Oldroyd, the restaurant serves small plates with a daily changing menu and is super relaxed and fuss free so each day is a new surprise. I wasn't overly impressed by the service but I would definitely be keen to return to try Meat Free Monday and hope things would be better. The food was ambitious, fresh and delicious and I would recommend Oldroyd for a cosy date night. Pictured is my gnocchi - but sadly it probably wont be on the menu if you do decide to go!
OTHER CAFES & RESTAURANTS TO VISIT
493-495 Hackney Rd, London E2 9ED
An oasis like plant store for the urban dweller, Conservatory Archives is packed full of tropical indoor plants to make your home look that little bit greener. Inside the plants are sporadically placed across two rooms with a sense of organised chaos, which I love. Plants are hanging down from the ceilings, spilling out from the walls and there are concrete planters at your feet, but with all the green and vast amount of natural light, there is a difinite sense of calm. A gorgeous space to visit in chaotic London.
22–24, Duke of York Square, London SW3 4LY
Aesop is one of my favourite cruelty free skincare and haircare brands, as you know. The packaging is beautifully designed, the products are natural and botanical and the stores are always a visual delight. The recently opened Duke of York Square store in Chelsea is a made up of pink concrete and glass work surfaces. It is so beautiful and definitely worth a visit if you are new to shopping cruelty free, the staff are incredibly helpful and knowledgable on all ingridents and products.
274-275 Upper Street, London N1 2UA
During my last visit to London, we stayed in Chalk Farm. On a wander to meet our friends in Islington, we found this interior and furnishings store. The store hosts emerging contemporary designers as well as classical designers and whilst the furniture is all unique and visually striking, it was the prints and decorative household items which took my liking. The rugs, jewellery, candle holders and prints are all the perfect balance between contemporary, minimal and unique. There is a sense of having something designed specially just for you and your home, unlike the feeling I get when I browse Urban Outfitters Home, H&M Home or Ikea. Sometimes, it is nice to have something to take home which feels a little special and to remind you of your travels (that doesn't cost a small fortune.)
129 Bethnal Green Rd, London E2 7DG
If like me you are a sucker for sneakers and love to find stores selling unique designs then pam pam is your kinda place! Close to Shoreditch, pam pam offers not only women's footwear but contemporary clothing and lifestyle pieces. The brand aims to encompass a store for women to feel mature, sophisticated whilst offering a typically more masculine style .
151 Curtain Rd, London EC2A 3QE
I mean, this store hardly needs any introduction - but just incase you missed it - GOODHOOD is amazing. It has long been one of my favourite clothing stores in London and every time I visit there is a new and eye catching brand out on display. Just like the slogan says 'Its a Lifestyle Baby!' GOODHOOD perfectly embraces the London urban lifestyle. Selling male and female streetwear of up to two hundred brands, GOODHOOD actively aims to create a culturally relevant experience with a desire to stray from fleeting fashion trends. Across two floors is the clothing and accesories, with downstairs offering the best selection in contemporary homeware. A store not to be missed on your next visit.
54 Cross St, London N1 2BA
Le Labo is one of my favourite niche fragrance brands. The stores always have a real rustic and shabby chic feel and the staff are incredibly knowledgable and passionate about the hand manufactured products and raw ingredients. Le Labo Santal 33 is one of my favourite fragrances and it lingers on your skin all day using only the finest natural oils and ingredients. The body and haircare range smells so natural and fresh, I am yet to try!
79a Wilton Way, London E8 1BG
Tucked away down a residential road in Hackney is the heavenly Momosan shop. The store is small but filled with delicate handmade ceramics and homeware. Pieces are chosen by Momoko Mizutani and aim to link differently cultural pieces in imaginative and resourceful ways. Momosan is the one to visit if looking for a beautiful unique piece for your home or as a gift.
34 Wigmore Street, London WIU 2RS
Margaret Howell is one of my favourite contemporary British designers as she does classic, minimal fashion so well. The clothing tends to be unisex and has a utilitarian feel offering the perfect pair of tailored trousers or boxy oversized jacket and always a perfect Breton or plain t shirt. Both myself and Jamie will wander in and choose all of the same items because MH does non gendered clothing so perfectly. The clothing is understated but of the best quality and I dare you to go in and not fall in love with something!
OTHER STORES TO VISIT
LABOUR AND WAIT