Pia Östlund & London Craft Week

Alice went to hear Printmaker Pia Östlund talk during London Craft Week.

London Craft Week ran from 9th-13th May this year, and there was a plethora of exhibitions, talks and activities taking place all over London. You could design your own loafers with TOD's, make a Turkish Iznik tile at the Yunus Emre Institute, watch a demonstration by the Little Globe Company (they make little globes), and even visit a Georgian-inspired kitchen designed by HOWE and Plain English. There was so much making taking place.A number of events caught my eye, and I was sad to miss out on glassmaker Jochen Holz talking at about his exhibition Superficies at Flow Gallery; and Michael Ruh talking about his collaboration 'Edition' with Another Country - take a look at their beautiful 'Cob Decanter' (I have a thing for hand-blown glass, it is just so incredible).Another event I was intrigued by was Dan Cox and The Room Service, in which he spoke about the ceramics he has made for his new restaurant Crocadon (they are super, Paul Mossman made the ceramics, and Dan Cox created the glaze).  And I am now just so so very excited about the launch of The Room Service - essentially an online platform which sells the beautiful items you often spot in hotels and restaurants - and having gone home and hunted high and low for on the inter web, can never ever find. The Room Service may well have them, go and have a look.One event I really wanted to go to, was a talk and demonstration by printmaker Pia Östlund, all about her journey into the lost art of nature printing. It took place on Friday evening, and I got rather a lot of friendly disbelief (you are going to a nature printing workshop and not straight to the pub with us?!).However I stood firm, and at 6.30pm last Friday, found myself on the top floor of Daylesford on the Pimlico Road, surrounded by a number of ladies of a certain age, who had all been enjoying a day out in London, and who happen to be incredibly keen on printing.And I am just so pleased that I went along.Pia, who is Swedish, was wonderful. She was so warm and friendly, and after everyone had finally got the correct cup of tea, gotten over the confusion of what exactly the talk was to be about (nature printing, not flower pressing) and taken a seat - she began.Pia is a printmaker and graphic designer, and has spent 3 years developing her own version of nature printing. She had discovered a book in the Chelsea Physic Garden library containing prints using a process she did not recognise. Delving deeper, she made her way back to the Victorian era and to Bradbury Wilkinson and Company who had used this specific method of printing (having acquired it from Vienna). At that date it had been used extensively for the printing of plants - the Victorians were super keen on their ferns. However, other than this history and the book she had, there was very little further information on the actual printing process itself.So Pia set out to try and recreate this process. She spent two years working with lead, with numerous visits to lead factories. She even went on a trip with The British Pteridological Society, to collect ferns to work with. Eventually finding lead just too soft a material, she ventured to Vienna, where, amazingly, someone dug up some uncategorised copper plates in the Botanic Library - which turned out to be the very ones used to make the prints in the book from the Chelsea Physic Garden. So she turned to copper, and after a period trying out all sorts of processes using metals, has since been producing incredibly beautiful prints of foliage and flora.I really enjoyed Pia's talk, and fear I haven't really done it justice (she has written a book with Simon Prett if you want more detailed info). It was amazing to hear her talk about her journey into re-discovering this lost art of nature printing, her love for her work, the ups and the downs, and her perseverance with it.After the talk, and another cup of tea, we all had a go at a earlier form of printing, recreating the finest details of leaves in oil paint. It was incredibly satisfying, and so easy to do, once you have the right materials.It was such a fun evening, and I am so happy to have spent my Friday learning all about nature printing.Thank you Pia!Alice xxx

Christmas Party Outfits

Tis' the season to pull out your party frocks, and dust off your dancing shoes, for the Christmas party marathon is well under way. From the dreaded work Christmas do, to the mulled wine bash that always gets a little out of hand, you are going to need something to wear. Read on below for our advice on looking your very best this Christmas time.

Alice & Olivia xxx

The Lunch Party

An early Christmas lunch with all your boyfriend's relatives, or a lunch with friends who are decidedly more 'grown-up' than you (they have a 2 year old, you have a dead pot plant), Boden and French Sole are your friends here try these trousers, this shirt and these pumps, and you'll look tidy and trendy, perfect.

The Work Christmas Party

This is easy in some ways, all your colleagues will be discussing their outfits weeks before so you'll be able to gauge the appropriate dress code. We say, as it's Christmas, go full on sequins, and pair with an appropriate level heel, you don't want to be staggering at the beginning of the night.

The Drinks Party

Pull out the stops for this one, first of all this may be the only chance to see the boy you fancy who is friend of a friend of a friend - he'll for sure be at this party. Dress up because it's a good excuse too, and because when everyone else sees you they'll wish they had made an effort too.  It's also the perfect time to wear that dress that's too smart for going out but not wedding-attire appropriate.

The Birthday Brunch

The selfish friend whose birthday is in December, I mean really, don't they know how many other Christmas social engagements are already in your diary?  However off to the birthday brunch you must go, and looking good is a must, particularly when you haven't seen them in a while. A wool skirt with over the knee boots and a cashmere sweater is cool yet v casual.

The Winter Wedding

It's happening, you're nearly 30 and your friends keep getting engaged.  It turns out the wedding season is a season that never ends, ever - May bank holiday, the middle of the week, Easter Sunday - there isn't a single day of the year that is safe, even New Years Eve has been hijacked. Photos will be taken, and put on Facebook whether you like or not, so outfit recycling is just not an option, and beware anything from Zara, the girl two pews behind you will be wearing it. You are however, almost refreshingly, allowed to wear black, so for that winter wedding, try this dress and a bespoke hat.

Christmas Day Outfit

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It's important to make an effort on Christmas day, so plan ahead and make sure you pack something comfy yet chic.  It's the year of the metallic pleated skirt, we love it paired with a polo neck and ankle boots, and don't forget your Alex Monroe necklace and fun tights.

The Black Tie Party

Who even knows what 'Black Tie' means anymore, is it short, is it long, does it include jumpsuits and does it even matter? Really you can choose a dress you like provided it's not uber short / too revealing, and dress it up how you want, what fun. Any dress from Needle & Thread will do very nicely, and make sure you have a suitably snazzy clutch bag too.

New Years Eve Party

The big night of the year everyone dreads, WHAT to do for New Year (should celebrate, must celebrate), and certainly must look good. This year it's all about the glitter jumpsuit, surprisingly it works on most shapes, just pair with some magenta velvet block heels and your ready for 2018.

Words Alice Bray, Illustrations Olivia Dueser

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The Museum Gift Shop

I have a thing for museum gift shops.  They are full of such wonderful delights, you never know quite what you might find in these treasure troves. I always enjoy a quick unplanned pop into a favourite shop, and I often come away with an unexpected gem.  I like that books on far ranging topics sit alongside silly nik naks artfully inscribed with a museum's name, and that there is always an excellent selection of postcards.  I am a great appreciator of exhibition themed objects, am often tempted by a print or a pretty ceramic, and really love a designer collaboration printed scarf or pair of earrings.

I also think museum gift shop shoppers are a friendlier type, the shops tend to be calmer, less bustle, more quiet browsers.Most museum websites are looking pretty smart these days too and are very enjoyable to peruse.  I often think working for one of these sites would be the perfect combination of old and new - discovering, choosing and commissioning exciting art related products for these venerable museums and galleries, whilst delving into the intricacies of ecommerce and analytics.Recently I admired a fantastic pair of earrings, which were made up of one white pearl drop and one black pearl drop. It turns out they are from the Metropolitan Museum's shop in New York, and are after Rubens's painting of Venus, in which she is wearing one white pearl earring and another 'black' pearl earring that can be seen reflected in a mirror. It is likely Rubens painted the pearl darker to show it in shadow, but I love the concept and I love the earrings, there is just so much scope for art themed gifts.Museum shops are also the perfect place to find all manner of Christmas related things - that advent calendar not yet bought, a Christmas decoration for a God child, or a interesting book for a cousin.  So below are my Christmas present museum gift shop finds, just click on the images to find out more.

Alice xxx

Dulwich Picture Gallery

Dulwich Picture Gallery is one of my favourites, partly because Dulwich is very nice, and I love the setting of the gallery, but also because they always have interesting and fun collaborations.  The Tove Jansson exhibition is currently showing, and the shop is happily full of all sorts of Moomin creations.

Tate

The Tate has it all, I particularly like the shop in the Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern, nice and spacious.

The V&A

A big favourite, great cards and great jewellery and the shop is located just off the sculpture gallery, so you can easily come back when you've seen enough of Canova and decided what you want.  Their Winnie-the-Pooh exhibition opens on 9th December, so even more of a reason to visit.

Royal Academy

I have to admit, I don't know if you can get into this shop without viewing an exhibition, but do go see Dali / Duchamp, it is on until 3rd Jan, and buy some postcards after, they always have good postcards.

The National Gallery

It's all about the shop on the ground floor of the Sainsbury Wing. While your there, nip up to the gallery to see the very distinguished Doge Leonardo Loredan by Giovanni Bellini who lives a couple of floors above.

The British Library

There are two shops here, to your right is current exhibition curiosities, to your left is the book shop, it's bigger than it looks, keep going.  And go see the exhibition, it's just up the stairs and is currently 'Harry Potter: A History of Magic'  - what more could you want.

I like the shop in the basement, there rarely ever seems to be anyone in there, lots of time for happy browsing and situated right next to the cafe. And Cézanne and his Portraits are currently on show, a must visit.

Situated right next to the Armoury Collection, ensure you have a wander around this museum first, there is a whole room of full of Venice paintings by Canaletto and Guardi, it's such a super place. Shop is small but good, there are two parts, so don't be disappointed if you don't find something in the first room, keep going!

I haven't been here for a quite a while but they have a shop, and if you haven't been to this museum you really ought to. It's close to Holborn and so fun, wind your way through this town house and Sir John Soane's absolutely incredible collection of so many things.

Online only, you can buy both prints and books, as well as image licenses of the UK's national art collection.  The best place to find an interesting lesser known print for that perfect Christmas present.

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A Day in the Life Of...

...a Russell & Bromley Tassel Loafer

7:30am ah that must be the morning bell! Octavia’s up and rushing to the shower before you can say “Rise and Shine!”

Speaking of shine, how fly do I look today?

What a quick shower - must be a personal best. Ha! She beat the rest of those Sleepy Susans to it.

Uniform on, hair perfectly blow dried, tie straightened and she slips me on to complete the look. There never was a more chic Head Girl.

Down to breakfast. Out of the way you stupid First Formers - urgh they are so cocky these days - didn’t even bother to hold the door open!

Yasssss! It’s Friday and that means MUFFIN DAY - her fave. I wish they wouldn’t drop bits on the floor though - very squishy ewwww.

Off to the first lesson - photography. Obviously Octavia is top of the class, her Andy Warhol inspired self-portraits are SO original.

Textiles up next. Corset dress nearly complete, and the look is finished off with me - edgy but classic. Srsly she is the next Vivienne Westwood.

Free period! Thank God. Sooo much O.C to catch up on. It’s been SUCH a busy morning, poor darling needs a rest.

Lunch - hmmmm. Nothing suitable on the menu so Octavia and Podge order a pizza from Dominoes and eat it behind the Cookery Hut. SO naughty! Not much fun for me, it’s a bit gritty round the back here - and my soles are a bit sensitive to rough surfaces. I was designed for the Kings Road, not THIS.

Maths - urgh who needs it. Especially when Daddy owns a bank - surely everyone has other people to do their maths for them?

Quick ciggie break behind the Sports Hall - What a thrill! Not enjoying the mud though, and traipsing through years of cigarette butts is v nasty.

Finally a sports lesson! And today we are watching Wimbledon to learn how to play tennis - how heavenly.

Dash to Tuck Shop to get a packet of Discos and Diet Coke to see her through until supper time. What an array of footwear the younger girls wear these days - surely Doc Martins aren’t classed as school shoes … ?

Spending the evening working on the old UCAS application - but Octavia will probably get into Oxford anyway, when Daddy donates a library.

Another perfect day in boarding school paradise.

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Words Emily Bray, Illustration Olivia Dueser 

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A Christmas Card Menagerie

Christmas card time is almost upon us!

I began this post with the idea that I would display my favourite Christmas cards below, a couple of snowy landscapes perhaps, a reindeer or two, maybe even a tasteful Father Christmas. However it turns out that I only have eyes for animal themed Christmas cards, with dogs definitely top of the list. So below is my Christmas card menagerie, hounds in silly poses mainly, a couple of rudolfs for good measure and of course a Christmas unicorn...

Happy Christmas card sending!

Alice xxx

V & A

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British Brand Shopping Edit - Jigsaw

I nipped into Jigsaw recently for the first time in ages.  I have to admit - when I think of Jigsaw, I think mumsy, a little safe and just not that exciting, which is why I rarely visit.Jigsaw was first opened in Brighton in 1970 and in 1989 won the British Fashion Council Award Contemporary Designer of the Year. They also own The Shop at Bluebird on the King’s Road and their Emporium on Duke Street combines both brands.On my chance visit to the King’s Road shop I was pleasantly surprised, yes a lot of it is very safe, but amongst the navy blue cashmere roll necks and the midi dresses were a number of gems.  A fun colourblock pleated skirt, part of their A by Jigsaw collection (their luxury yet affordable range), some excellent accessories including velvet backpacks and trainers in rich jewel colours and a fun chocolate coin purse as part of their collaboration with Rococo.My eyes also wandered into the children’s section. I secretly sometimes want to be a children’s clothing Buyer – such fun, I don’t know if the clothes look better in miniature, or it’s just the fun designs that draw me in – Why don’t they make them for adults?!I came away with a pom pom hat (I seem to acquire one every year - a grown ups one, not a children's one) made in collaboration with Mackie’s of Scotland.I really enjoyed the entire experience, the shop on the King’s Road is a great space, and there were lots of things to catch the eye. Jigsaw I’m definitely coming back for more.Below are my favourites pieces from the current collection.

Alice xxx

And for children:

A Day In the Life of...

...  Jo Malone's Lime Basil & Mandarin Cologne

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Goodness, what a beautiful morning. Ah! There's nothing like the sun streaming through a large Chelsea window on a sunny morning.Gosh, the light really bounces off the marble in the most gorgeous way. Although I'm not sure this bathroom is big enough, the one in St Tropez is much roomier.Ah, she does look lovely today. Looks like she's off to yoga. Yes, as I thought, a spritz of me is the perfect addition to her Luluemon ensemble. Although I do wish she wouldn't wear those garish trainers. Monochrome is much more chic...Oh no, she's forgotten her Chanel hand cream! Someone's going to regret that later...La la la, what a divine day. Although I do wish she would store me further along the shelf from those hideous Nivea products - so tacky.URGHThe wonderful Maria is here to clean - at last! Hmm not very thorough. Spent more time checking her phone than cleaning. I can feel the dust building up on my side - how unsightly.Yay, she's back from yoga, glowing as usual. How does she do it? Yes a nice bath with some of my bath oil variant is exactly what she needs. I really do smell splendid.Go on, light the candle...LIGHT THE CANDLE.She lit the candle!Oofttt - bathroom got a big fogged up with all the overpowering fragrance. Just heavenly.Off she goes to her book club. Pearls on. Latest Jilly Cooper in hand.What a wonderful life...

Words Emily Bray

Illustration Olivia Dueser

A Day in the Life Of...

... An Alex Monroe Bumblebee Necklace

London is brimming with fashion clichés, whether it is a sloaney pony catwalking the Kings Road in her Zara staple, or an edgy kid trudging the streets of Dalston in their Vans stripe trainers.  For this post Alex Monroe's Bumblebee, a common sight in London's Parsons Green, shares a typical day with us..."URGH - dragged out of the Smythson jewellery box again this morning at some ungodly hour. It's so dark and cluttered in there...I can't believe she stuffs me in there every night with those tacky bits from Accessorize and Topshop. Puts me on just after she's had a shower - what an idiot...I will start to lose my shine if she continues to do that - I REALLY don't like water.Brilliant, she's decided to go with the black polo neck again, she really has no style - I definitely go best with a blue or a green. Late for the tube, classic. Every morning she gets up and procrastinates for about half an hour about how to do her hair - it literally looks the same every day. When will she realise that?At the desk just in time, god Barbara looks hideous today - what was she doing last night? I've noticed she has a knock off version of me on - wonder where on earth she got it?Meetings, meetings, meetings.Another boring trip to Pret for lunch. Ohh, treated herself to a Choc Bar did she? Someone's going to have to hit the gym later ...Admin, admin, admin.When will this day ever end?Finally she's escaped. Back on the tube - ewww. Why is everyone here wearing Zara?Ah going for a quick drink with Quentin after work are we? He complemented me - I like him!A glass of Rose? Honestly she couldn't get more basic if she tried. I'm really getting bored of The Orange Pub, she really needs to get more original in her date spot choices.I noticed about 5 other Bumblebees draped around Sloaney necks at the pub. God - when did I become so generic?Quick snog with Quentin at the tube - he was wearing a Schoffel gilet, it was quite cosy to snuggle up to.Back home - it took her about three goes to get the key in the door. If this wasn't Kensington she would have 100% been mugged by now. What a piss head.No food in the fridge - so she eats about half a loaf of bread with butter and marmite - she really needs to get her shit together.Oh no! Clarissa is home and crying about something boring. Thankfully we slip past her unnoticed and get into our room before she stops us for a DMC. THANK GOD.Now she falls asleep watching 'Gossip Girl' - with me and the light on. Good times...Well, at least it's better than that bloody box.xoxo

Words Emily Bray

Countryside Pursuits

Alice🙋🏽

This is not a post about tweed wearing, fire-arms bearing activities (although if you haven't yet bought a ticket to Miss Knight's Crawley & Horsham extravaganza in November - you know who you are - you better be quick smart, it's going to be a fantabulous evening 😘).I just wanted to write a little post about a few places and things I have discovered recently whilst in the countryside.  I like escaping London, I may have mentioned this a couple of times 😉.   It's always so nice to be in the fresh air and away from the constant rush of the city, and enjoying a slightly slower pace of life.  So below are some of my finds 🌳😃.

Alice xxx

Marourde Mead

In a small village in Kent, William Boscawen has been perfecting the recipe for his delicious mead. Using mostly local ingredients, hops and honey are from the farm, he has created three sparkling meads each with their own distinct flavour.  The mead is aptly named 'Marourde' as this is the historic name of the village of Mereworth where it is made.

I spent a delightful afternoon with William, we had a tour of his meadery and of course a tasting.  With no expectations at all, I really enjoyed this sweet yet satisfying drink, which is best served very chilled.  William is also growing vines, so watch this space for the next in great English sparkling wines..... and in the mean time check out Marourde's insta for all things mead.

I am quite a bit fan of Eric Ravilious. I really like his woodcuts and many of them are currently on display at The Towner Art Gallery in Eastbourne.  This is particularly fun as many of the places Ravilious depicted in his pictures are close by, nestling in the South Downs.  So not only can you see his artwork, you can also seek out the locations in which he painted.Off we went down to Eastbourne, and it was very exciting indeed, there is great selection of his original woodcuts and paintings -  I love his book illustrations - alongside many other works by his friends and fellow artists, Edward Bawden, Paul Nash and John Nash.  I highly recommend going to see this exhibition, we followed our visit with a blustery walk up onto Beachy Head, and I am excited to go back and explore more Ravilious countryside soon.

Hannah Peschar Sculpture Garden

This beautiful garden, hidden away near Ockley in Surrey, has a wonderful display of contemporary sculpture.  It's rather fun to wander about, weaving in and out of the water features and catching the sunlight as it shines through the giant foliage.  We had a greatly enjoyable evening discovering all sorts of weird and wonderful works of art, they display over 200 pieces varying them throughout the summer, so there is lots to see!

And a few other English countryside happenings 😍

A Weekend in London

I can get a little despondent 😔 about living in London - the pollution😷, the packed tubes🚃, the traffic 🚗🚕🚙, the people EVERYWHERE👷🏻👨🏻‍💻👩🏻‍🍳👨🏼‍🔧👨🏽‍💼👸🏻👨‍🚀👨🏻‍✈️👰🏻👩🏻‍⚖️🙆🏻🤷🏻‍♀️ - it can all be a little bit too much sometimes.But I also love that there is so much to do 🎭🎨🎻🎧🚴🏻🎯🥂🍿💃🏻and so many new things to discover and places to explore 🗺 - I am constantly curious, and love trying out new things💁🏻.And I am a firm believer that if you live in London🎡, for however long, you must use it to it's full potential - it is all too easy to go to work 👩🏻‍💻and back again🏡 and miss out on all the exciting things happening🍸☕️🍭🍱👗🎨🎭🎪. The summer ☀️☀️☀️is the perfect time to get out and do things, so below I have found 5 things you should do if you are in London 🎡 this weekend.Alice xxx 💕

Visit the Pear Tree Cafe and have a Jude's Ice Cream

This beautiful cafe 🍐tucked away in Battersea Park serves delicious ice cream 🍧by Jude's - the black coconut is the one you want to try, it's very yummy indeed. They also do a great brunch (try the smashed avocado🥑), and are open in the evening for drinks 🥂 with a fun outdoor area right next to the boating lake🚣🏻. Absolutely worth a visit.

See a film on top of the Bussey Building

Sit outdoors on the roof of the Bussey Building in deckchairs and enjoy a beautiful sunset🌅.  Once the sun is down the film🎥 begins, it’s all very modern with wireless headphones🎧 and most importantly they provide blankets.  There is also a bar at the top and, and you can take drinks 🍹🍿in, and Peckham itself is just a vibrantly fun place to visit 🍻. This weekend they are showing The Nice Guys 🕺🕺 and La La Land 💃 – maybe go twice and spend two evenings with Ryan Gosling😘.

Go and see Kiss Me at Trafalgar Studios

Claire Lams and Ben Lloyd-Hughes star ⭐️🎭 in Kiss Me 💏 by Richard Bean (you'll know him from One Man, Two Guvnors) a love story 💔set against the shifting world of London post World War 1.  It’s 75 minutes of    pure enjoyment 😃 (although maybe not first date material) with time for dinner and drinks after too, try Sticks'n'Sushi in Covent Garden 🍣🍸👌🏻. 

Have Afternoon Tea at Fleming’s Mayfair

I love afternoon tea 🥂🍰🍭☕️🍩and am always on the hunt for a new one. The décor in the Drawing Room of this hotel is very beautiful, I’m slightly obsessed with their teal sofas and chairs💚 and I really love the murals on the walls🎨🐘.  An excellent tea in beautiful surroundings 😃.

Experience LOOP with BoxLess Physical Theatre

Tucked away in the attic theatre 🎭 at N16, this fun-loving play is a journey through 50 years of love 💘and music 🎶 . A superbly entertaining evening with a score of classic old school tunes 🎤🎼and laugh out loud moments, LOOP will put you in the perfect mood for a night out on the town💃🏻🕺. Check out The Exhibit in Balham for drinks  🍻after.

A Day Out in Shoreditch

This week I am helping with the hush homewear pop-up in Shoreditch. I always love visiting a different part of London and exploring, and Shoreditch has so much going on, below are a few things I discovered.Alice xxx

Hush Pop In

The hush pop-up is in the very trendy Protein Studios - you can go and try on the new Spring collection, and then place an order to be delivered to you tomorrow.  I am a big fan of the this top and this scarf, and they look even better with this jacket :-) Protein Studios, 31 New Inn Yard, London EC2A 3EY

Attendant Cafe

I love Attendant - I've been a big fan ever since it opened in Fitzrovia, and was very excited to visit the one in Shoreditch.  This cafe is bigger (the one in Fitzrovia is in a former Victorian public loo - very fun but quite teensy).  They do a great club sandwich, really good coffee and amazing cakes and cookies, and I also had a brilliant Jasmine Tea (not too bitter). 74 Great Eastern Street, London. EC2A 3JL

Anna Walker London

I was so pleased to discover this little pop-up.  Anna sells beautiful minimalist leather products - think really simple tote bags in deep tans and dark greys, card holders, keys rings and an assortment of other useful bags and fun trinkets.  What's best though is she will personalise your items for you, using foil stamping or blind embossing with no additional cost.  I really love the handbags, I may just have to go back... 67 Redchurch Street, London, E2 7DJ

Taylor St

A good coffee is essential and Shoreditch is the place to find one.  I love Taylor St. - it's basically a small shed outside an office and sells very good coffee indeed as well as rococo hot chocolate and an assortment of delicious looking cakes.  Definitely worth seeking out. 110 Clifton Street, Shoreditch. EC2A 4HT

Block Shoreditch - Flat Top Burgers

And of course you need a good burger for the end of the day.  There are endless options, but we decided on Flat Top Burgers and really loved the Truffle Burger, the fries are great too.  You sit undercover, but essentially outside, so wrap up warm.  I'm excited to visit again in the Summer. 186 - 187 Shoredtich High Street, London. EC2A 3ETAlso do have a look at my Mother's Day Gift Ideas on the menu drop down (3 little horizontal lines at the top right of the blog) 💐😍.

Brunch Time

It's Wednesday which means the weekend is fast approaching,  and it is definitely time to start planning some fun weekend activities 😃.

I am a great believer in brunch ☕️🍴on the weekend (this is partly because I like sleeping 💤 very much), but also because it is the perfect way to kick start a day that otherwise has the potential to be very lazy.  I like brunch food - the choice of savoury or sweet, healthy or indulgent, and being able to order two drinks at once and not look like a weirdo.

I am, however, quite fussy about my brunch, and I am afraid a greasy fry up doesn't really interest me, and have to admit I have succumbed and am a self-confessed smashed avocado, flat white bruncher through and through 😘.  What I really like, is an interesting menu with healthyish food that actually tastes nice (I am a secret healthy food lover), along with a proper coffee and a green tea.  I'm not too fussed about alcohol, it's nice to start the day with a clean start, although I did once go to a prosecco soaked brunch at Bunga Bunga which was the best fun ever, I urge you to go.

I would also say one of the MOST important things about brunching is being able to walk straight in and sit down at a table.  I DO NOT WANT TO QUEUE.   There are places I have eaten very good food, The Breakfast Club and Brew are two, but I have absolutely no wish to stand on the street for 45 mins (usually in the cold) whilst they chivvy someone else away from their breakfast to make a place for me.  Brunch is to be enjoyed and should be lengthy, if you want it to be, and relaxing, it is the weekend after all ☺️.

I also need to be able to either walk or cycle to brunch from home, having possibly indulged in a few too many cocktails the night before, so places I go, tend to not be too far from where I live (although I am doing a very dry January, and made it all the way to Notting Hill from the deep depths of Wandsworth on my bicycle in time for brunch last weekend, and I am perhaps feeling a little smug).

So here are a few of my local favourite brunching spots. 😃 ☕️🍴.

Alice xxx

Bean & Hop

424 Garratt Lane, Earlsfield, SW18 4HN

brunch at Bean & Hop

brunch at Bean & Hop

I like Bean & Hop.  They are really friendly and their menu is interesting, and unexpected.  You can choose between porridge with spiced poached pears, an excellent bacon butty (I always have smashed avocado in mine) or Black Bean Fritters which sound a little on the scary healthy side but taste delicious.  They do really good coffee and always have a special smoothie, my favourite so far was a berry smoothie with chocolate brownies mixed in - superb 👌.

Birdhouse

123, St John's Hill, Battersea, SW11 1SZ

Coffee at Birdhouse

Coffee at Birdhouse

For me, Birdhouse is a quick brunch place.  This is THE best coffee, and they always ask if you want sugar, which I find weirdly endearing in the current 'sugar is evil' climate.  I usually have the banana bread which they will butter for you even if you are taking away, but they also have a varied savoury brunch menu, including bocaditos - Cuban sandwiches.

Cafe Tamra

63 Northcote Road, Battersea, SW11 1NP

Brunch at Cafe Tamra

Brunch at Cafe Tamra

Cafe Tamra is brunch with a twist, they have Moroccan, Mediterranean and Greek inspired dishes, so you can have Shakshouka (Moroccan baked eggs) and they also do all the normals too - eggs how you like them or pancakes, so there is something for everyone.

Toast Rack

314 Trinity Road, Wandsworth, SW18 3RG

Brunch at Toast Rack

Brunch at Toast Rack

Toast Rack has a very friendly vibe to it, and a very good, more traditional menu.  It's refreshingly not too trendy, being based in Wandsworth you more likely to encounter small children and small dogs than bearded philosophers.  I like it a lot.  They do an excellent selection of teas, and a good simple full english breakfast, or you could branch out and have kedgeree.

Flotsam and Jetsam

4 Bellevue Road, Wandsworth, SW17 7EQ

Brunch at Flotsam and Jetsam

Brunch at Flotsam and Jetsam

If you are a yummy mummy living in Wandsworth I suspect you have been to Flotsam at least once..  Flotsam has a lovely atmosphere, although this is the one place on my list I am afraid you may have queue for.  But once inside, they do a mean BLT Toasted Sandwich - bacon, lettuce, smashed avocado with ailoi, or you can feel really good about yourself and have the coco-mango bircher (in the photo) all sorts of healthy things looking pretty in coconut yoghurt.

Ground Coffee Society

79 Lower Richmond Road, Putney, SW15 1ET

Brunch at the Ground Coffee Society

Brunch at the Ground Coffee Society

This may be my current favourite.  If you go, you must have the blueberry pancakes with bacon, they are the best and come with creme fraiche too.  The fresh juices are terrific and so is the coffee (they first started with only coffee) and they have a fun outside seating area at the back, which is open to the air when it is sunny.