A whirlwind week in London with the familia!

Its always an exciting time when you have people to visit from around the world and when its someone very close to you, like your Mama, its really time to pull out all the stops and make it an experience in London worth remembering for them. My mum and her partner Jason were in town for the week so I wanted to make sure they got to see the best the city has to offer without sticking to a tight pressured schedule (cause nobody wants that on their holiday).

Playing host to family and friends its always a lot of fun, as I find it gets me to places I haven’t quite got around to checking out (yes there are still loads!) which tends to happen when you get stuck into the daily routine of ‘life’. 

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Oh and before I start to ramble on too much, I wanted to tell you about a standout Japanese restaurant I visited just a day before with my blogger pals – Angie Silver (Silverspoon London) and Ayushi (The Foodie Diaries)

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Called Sosharu, in other words ‘to socialise’ in Japanese. I thought it should get a special mention since it was a perfect way to kick off the week and being a Jason Atherton restaurant, I knew it was going to be a goodie.

There was a lot of food ordered, (in true blogger style) although mostly small plates to share between us, which I much prefer these days and to stop me from being such a greedy guts.

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Ayushi is vegetarian but me and Angie were happy to taste these dishes  as well (while trying to stick to being healthy!). Personally for me, I really adored the tuna, scallion Tobiko dish. Well presented, with a crunchy seaweed exterior, filled with rice, fresh tuna and small dollops of wasabi mayonnaise to give it that hint of spice. The platter of sashimi is also a treat if you love raw fish. Five different types in fact. Go hard.

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The decor of the restaurant is filled with wooden features, dark and moody with a modern twist. Downstairs, we sprung upon a wicked basement bar with the best neon sign I have seen in a while. (says the sake drinking lover!) I don’t think I expected such a trendy drinking space to be hidden away like that…Bonus!

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Final verdict = food is fantastic, service was superb but don’t come on a tight budget (mark my words though, the food does justify every penny)

 

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Right, back to my London adventures with the folks.

I really wanted to mix things up a little, so they were able to experience from a locals perspective, rather than the normal touristy activities, which don’t get me wrong I have no karms doing, I just believe its nice to explore the city with knowledge from a resident who knows the place like the back of their hand.

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East London, or Shoreditch, is somewhere I never really get the chance to visit very often and its a shame because it has so much uniqueness to it. Filled with street food markets, quirky bars and bursting with creativity , its one place you can let yourself go and know one will give two hoots about it!

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The Spitafield market – old and new, both are such brilliant places to find loads of cool designer clothes, jewellery, accessories, even down to cool threads for the bubbas. If you have a passion for food, then buckle up because this is the place for you.

I couldn’t walk past without ordering a sourdough donut from Crosstown Donuts. Filled with a creamy banana custard and topped with gooey salted caramel, lets just say it didn’t last very long in that paper bag! I also took Mum to the Bricklane food market which is an interesting experience. I find it always super crowded but I can totally see why. Every cuisine you can think of is under one roof and the smells are mind blowing. I kid you not, you will be in here for quite sometime 😉

I had the Vietnamese and being completely un-ladylike I sat on the footpath with the many hundreds of others frantically trying to find a decent spot to perch on. Im not sorry. 

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Unfortunately Dinerama was closed (disappointment like you wouldn’t believe!) which is another rad street market the East has on offer. There’s also the Backyard Market which is pretty similar to that of the Spitafields but still worth the wander. (especially when theres juicy coconut water involved)

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The afternoon was spent preparing a hearty BBQ at mine. Yep more food once again.

Followed by a few bubbles and ending with a night cap of honey cognac.

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Monday was a little less paced and after a well deserved sleep in, I wanted to take them for a stroll along the wealthy streets of the Kings Road, with a visit to the Chelsea farmers market and a pit stop at Gail’s bakery.

My word, there is some fine looking cakes in that shop!

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I also wanted to stop by and show them the cutest pub going in Chelsea – the Jam Tree, which serves some pretty enticing cocktails and features a private beer garden equipped with fairy lights and a BBQ.

That evening I had organised a special dinner at Berners Tavern in the gorgeous Edition hotel. If you don’t already know, there is a stylish bar hidden away called the Punch room serving some of the best whisky cocktails around. This includes a welcome drink which is changed on a daily basis. Im really serious 🙂

And some pretty moorish selections of nuts. A little dangerous before dinner don’t you think?

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The restaurant itself is exquisite, with bold high ceilings, glistening chandeliers and covered wall to wall in many different beautiful pieces of artwork. It really is mesmerizing to look at when you first enter the room.

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For the food side of things, the cuisine being served is full of modern British dishes, so Mum and I agreed that the fillet steak was the best way to go. Team that with some mashed swede & carrot, extra fat sized chips and you’ve pretty much got a match made in heaven.

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Aaaand me being me, couldn’t help myself once I saw the dessert menu. It seemed most appropriate to finish off the evening with some rich chocolate cheesecake. I mean duhh, as if you wouldn’t.

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Suddenly it was Tuesday morning and on high on the agenda of things to do, was to catch a train to Bath for the day. Now you would think after living here for quite sometime that I would know the situation with booking trains in advance. NOPE. Possibly a slight boo boo on my part, meant paying a hefty fare (about £75 return) which was not what I had in mind but I couldn’t let something like this over-shine the day and in the end we had no choice but to pay it. Oopsie

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The journey will take you about 1 and a half hour from Paddington Station and straight into Bath Spa station, which is situated in the centre of town. Everything being reachable by foot and there are loads of retail outlets for shoppers, the roman baths if you’re a history buff. lush gardens and plenty of hidden pathways to mooch about. 

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Wednesday was a very exciting day because that only meant one thing – Champagne afternoon Tea at one of my favourite luxury spots in London, Claridges Hotel. This five star hotel, nestled in the heart of Mayfair, is breathtaking from the moment you step inside the magical art decor foyer. Dating back to 1856, this iconic hotel also boasts a 1930’s swanky bar (which we had to have at least one drink at) and a high end restaurant called Fera.

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Which I have also dined at. And yes its amazing.

The afternoon tea is a quintessential special treat to spoil your Mummy or a bestie or even your beau (and judging by the feedback from mine, I get the hint that it might be alright).

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Keeping with the traditional theme, the menu includes the most delicate handmade desserts, fresh, melt in your mouth scones and array of perfectly prepared sandwiches. Can I just say the corn-feed chicken with truffle mayonnaise is mind blowing. It really is worth the mention here. 

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As well as sipping back a lovely glass of Laurent Perrier bubbles, there was also a mountain of teas to choose from – anything from white, black, green and herbal. I can highly recommend Malawi Antler, which by the way, is one of the most sought after teas in the world and Claridge’s happens to be one of the two places where you will find that it is served. I feel honoured.

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Big tip from me? Always come starving hungry because I warn you, like most afternoon teas, the are mega filling and you’re always left walking away wishing you hadn’t ate that very last decadent looking cake. Damn you!

 

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Since it was such a balmy clear blue sky kinda day, I couldn’t resist a trip up to the Shard with a glass of vino in hand on level 31’s trendy Aqua bar. As you might have read from previous posts, I have visited on several occasions and that view never seems to gets old (even if it means paying a hefty price for a cocktail just to be there – its really worth every penny).

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Thursday was a special day for a certain someone who was celebrating his birthday and a certain amazing girlfriend had a lovely evening in store for him, which included some italian cuisine at Da Mario on Gloucestor Road (loaded with ample amounts of prosecco) and a trip to a concert hall that I utterly adore,The Royal Albert Hall for Above and Beyond, acoustics.

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Their live performance was phenomenal and at times, hard to fight back the tears of emotions! It definitely bought back my love for classical and jazz music in a big way and an impeccable way to finish off a very busy week.

 

 

Sorry for the long winded post and the truckload of pics, went a little overboard but wanted to share as much as I possibly could with you all 🙂

Its hard to believe how quickly the week flew past, but I am ever so grateful to have spent some quality time with the fam, exploring the sights and making the most of our short time together. If there is one thing I could say about about living in this city, it’s that you never run out of things to do! Whether its a freebie or costs a pretty penny, the choices are endless and you never go a day without feeling completely bored out of your brains. Truth.

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Comments

  1. Marie Collins says:

    Once again another wonderful blog!!!!

  2. I loved seeing you at Sosharu!

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