Guided | A little London
I've been living in Sweden now for more than 6 weeks which is a rather scary thought, it's gone insanely fast. After being in Sweden for a few weeks I realised how cheap it is to travel to cities around Europe - $7 flights to London anyone? Yes please! Let's be honest, it would have been stupid of me not to so off I went to stay with a dear friend in their lovely townhouse for 5 nights.
After months of being totally obsessed with spending hours photographing food that I had cooked at home whilst living at the coast in Australia, I have really enjoyed shifting that focus and energy to photographing other people cooking, cafes, food that I eat out, street food, bakeries and also photographing the streets and people of new cities. I love looking at cities through the lens of my camera, playing with lighting, trying to get the right thing in focus. It's a real challenge for me but I love it. Coming to a new city and the thought of what I am going to discover - new cafes, amazing food, dangerously tempting stores, art, people - really excites me.
London was incredible. It is definitely one of my favourite cities. I spent a few days wandering around taking photographs of the busy streets full of red buses and black taxis, of the most amazing town houses, of people, of food. I could have walked and walked and walked. It's a beautiful city with a great atmosphere. I spent my days exploring different areas with my fab friend Claire who is Australian and is living in London with her boyfriend. I'd flick through Instagrams, guides, blogs in the morning over a cup of tea and breakfast in her lovely house and then out we would go. We wandered the streets of Notting Hill, Shoreditch, Soho, Covent Garden only stopping to take photos, grab a cup of coffee or a delicious treat (i.e a chocolate, banana tart from Ottolenghi or a flapjack for 2 pounds).
By the end of my first day in London I had made my way to Monocle Cafe, somewhere I had been dreaming of from Australia. I spent a few hours there sipping coffee, flicking through Monocle magazines and books and chatting with another girl who was also travelling. It was a perfect spot to recover after all of the walking I had done. The international menu looked so good and has something for everyone - Scandinavian breakfast, chicken curry, bircher muesli... The Monocle shop was just as good and I picked up a copy of their London City Guide - so helpful. I had started the morning at Tate Modern, walked across the bridge crossing the Thames towards St Paul's Cathedral and then down Fleet Street towards Covent Garden and eventually made my way to Liberty where I drooled over the clothes and prints. Would definitely recommend this walk!
London, you are fabulous. Going to London has definitely awakened the wanderlust in me. It made me realise how important travel is to me and just how passionate I am about travel journalism, photography and gastronomic tourism. I had started to lose my passion for these I guess with the whole moving to a country on the other side of the world, and it feels so good to be back doing what really excites me.
This trip also reminded me how important it is to have good friends around you and how important it is in life to be generous and hospitable. Claire and Simon were the most incredible hosts - so generous, relaxed and such fun to be around. I also got the chance to catch up with a few friends from Australia and was lucky enough to be invited to a show at Leicester Square Theatre called Shitfaced Shakespeare (I'll let you figure out what exactly it is) but it was hilarious. I am so lucky and grateful to have these friends in my life, even if they only pop up every few years when we happen to be in the same country.
London - I will definitely be back, there is so much more of you to explore. In the mean time, it was so nice coming home to our cosy apartment in Sweden on a cold and rainy night with an eventful weekend ahead!
Ottolenghi - The most delicious salads and cakes, eat in around a communal table or take your goodies to a Notting Hill park
Portobello Road Markets - Definitely a must do if you are in town on a Saturday to browse vintage clothes, antiques, food etc...
Granger & Co - For a delicious breakfast (poached eggs, salmon, avacado, ricotta hotcakes..), Australian chef Bill Granger represents the Australian cafe culture very well indeed
Daylesford - Incredible food products + good for lunch/sweet treats
Farmgirl - Great for breakfast, avocado on toast and great coffee
SHOREDITCH | HACKNEY
Beigel Bake - The most incredible salted corned beef, mustard and pickle bagel, hands down the best bagel I have ever eaten
A wander down Brick Lane - Full of great stores, vintage shops and eateries
Shoreditch Grind - Coffee
Allpress - Great coffee/ cafe opened by New Zealander
Labour and Wait - Homeware, clothing, accessories and gift store that's definitely worth a walk through and probs a purchase or two
SOHO | MARYLEBONE | COVENT GARDEN
The Monocle Café - An international café menu + cakes and excellent coffee, a cosy space with plenty of room to hang for as long as you like and access to many of Monocles mags and books
The Monocle Store - Pick up one of their amazing guides, coffee table books + clothing and other goodies that you see in their mags
Liberty - don't have to say much, definitely worth a walk through if nothing else, it's amazing - particularly the clothes and the liberty printed handkerchiefs
Fernandez & Wells - Perfect spot for a drink, also great cured meats and cheese, coffee and cakes
Tate Modern - free entry and access to some great exhibitions + one of the best museum shops I have been in
St Paul's Cathedral - nice to walk by just to see, I didn't go in
Borough Market - London's incredible food market that I didn't get to in the end but will be heading here on my next trip
NOPI - Excellent breakfast (or lunch/dinner) spot created by the legendary Ottolenghi along with Ram Scully (the cookbook is fab too)
WALKSHyde Park - Buckingham Palace
Notting Hill streets
Tate Modern - St Paul's Cathedral - Fleet St
One last thing, I would highly recommend Monocle's travel guide to London, or any other city that you might find yourself in. The guides were recently produced and reveal the gems (often hidden ones) of cities around the world. Such a nice thing to bring home from your trip too.