London: Short, Sweet & Trendy

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Hello my loves!

    My affection for the international city of London, is rapidly growing. I adore becoming attached to a place. It motivates me to better understand the culture, curiously explore and get to know amazing people. Whenever I am visiting a new or familiar city, I ask myself, Could I live here? Often the mental response, is no. ( ’cause I am so dern picky) But a few spots have creeped into my heart, and then magnetically pull me to plan my next visit. London happens to have crawled into my life and does not want to leave. It wants me to go go go to London and stay stay stay. Until I can plan to move my booty to London, I will prance around and discover the best nooks, cocktails and boutiques! Enjoy this little weekend guide to London for the chic, health conscious and occasionally trendy traveler. Xo

*All restaurants are celiac/gluten free friendly.*

P.s. I will be sharing more about my current whereabouts & life happenings soon !! Keep those eyes peeled because my laptop is fixed and I am ready to write! Meow Meow xoxoxo

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Clean & Lean cafe at Bodyism. Breaky of an almond matcha latte & avo toast on gf/paleo bread

Clean & Lean Cafe at Bodyism 

When to go: Stop by for a light breakfast, coffee rest (limited seating) or an in-between snack

What it is: The cafe at the uber chic, members-only wellness center called Bodyism. With the warm & energetic atmosphere, you will feel right at home. It is difficult to tear yourself from the hot trainers & positive energy of Bodyism, but you must keep on keepin’ on! I mean the staff and guests are seriously good looking and the food is so tasty and friendly for my people (celiac people) !! 

Must try: Matcha latte with RICE milk (for a sweet & smooth addition to the earthiness that is matcha), as well as the gluten free/paleo bread

Celiac Awareness: Nearly everything (if not everything), is gluten free friendly. Fast & yummy nibbles that make you feel happy happy healthy. Bonus points that the team at Bodyism cares about the ingredients of their products as well as dietary restrictions !! 

Where: 222 – 224 Westbourne Grove, London, W11 2RH

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Peanut Butter protein pancakes at Clean & Lean with a nice matcha latte (aaaand thanks to my friends at Bodyism, I gave this matcha a go with rice milk –> DELISH)
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Duck & Dry boutique blow dry bar in Chelsea. Sadly, my stylist this visit was not thorough or the slightest bit friendly. It did not make the experience as nice as it should have been. <y lovely Sarah visits this spot frequently, and only has issues when she unfortunately is passed to that specific stylist. (book in advance)
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Wearing: See sunnies (unsure of availability), Tee found at Urban & Club Monaco pants (on sale !!) paired with Stuart Weitzman mules (no longer avail.) & LV Neverfull MM.

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The Ivy Chelsea Garden

The Ivy Chelsea Garden 

When to go: Literally any meal you could ever hope for… but I would say an indulgent lunch or dinner would suffice. However, one must plan ahead of time and book in advance. TRY to book a table in the garden !!

What it is: Incredibly chic and wildly delish. I usually avoid large menus, but I genuinely feel that the variety of options at the Ivy Chelsea does not hinder the quality and taste of the dishes.

Must try: An anytime cocktail (IE breakfast, lunch or dinner. Go wild.) I had the Six Bells Tea Cup (served in a china cup and served with a refill) & Sarah sipped on the Lavender Lady. We both agreed these cocktails just might be the best in London…

Celiac Awareness: They were very accommodating at the Ivy Chelsea, and helpful as I made my lunch choices. A+ friends !

Where: 197 King’s Road, Chelsea, London, SW3 5EQ

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The Ivy Chelsea Garden 
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The Ivy Chelsea  
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Seasonal Soup: Roast iron bark pumpkin soup with truffled goat’s curd and sage leaves. Dying to return to this meal and recreate this soup in my kitchen. { The Ivy Chelsea }

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Ottolenghi Notting Hill

Ottolenghi Notting Hill

When to go: Early lunch. This little spot gets mad busy during lunchtime. Either go at an off time to pick up some grub, or allow time for a short wait.

What it is: Where does one even start? My sister-friend Blaire, introduced me to Ottolenghi. She is a big fan of his cookbooks, so these dishes are assimilated into our kitchen-culture in Charleston. (love you bb Blaire !! ) This Notting Hill gem gives you a little taste of Yotam Ottolenghi & his team’s extensive culinary talent. Each bite contains exuberant flavor that somehow does not overwhelm the senses. I am not a spicy girl, and I really appreciate intense flavor that is not painful for my tongue and/or tummy! So go. ASAP. 

Must try: Grab a few things! (Veggies, fish, etc… your options will be equally mouthwatering) Have them toss your goodies in a take away bag and you can make your way to a park for a moment of rest with a yummy lunch. 

Celiac Awareness: Most of the food is gluten free and there were several sweet options friendly for my people during this recent visit.
Where: 63 Ledbury Road, London, W11 2AD 

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I was happily surprised with the gf sweet options at Ottolenghi !! I am all about it, and this Lemon Pistachio Polenta Cake (gf) ft my nude nails, was tasty and moist (grody word but a real struggle in the celiac sphere of baked goods)

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Raw apps at Farmacy London

Farmacy London 

When to go: I was not enamored with the brunch, and prefer the full lunch menu. I am hoping to return soon and investigate the dinner situation. Bookings are available, however we did not book in advance and happily sat at the bar.

What it is: Healthy & upscale. The clientele all appear to bloggers with a mass of followers; given their indoor sunnies and decked out ensembles.

Must try: One of their seasonal dishes.

Celiac Awareness: Everything on the menu has some little “*” pointing to the allergens, or lack thereof. However, they were very cautious about my celiacs, as cross-contamination was a possibility. They were very thorough and kind, and thankfully I felt fine after my meal. I was surprised they weren’t more allergen friendly, given their obvious healthy mission.

Where: 74 Westbourne Grove, London, W2 5SH

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Avo toast on gf bread at Farmacy
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Farmacy London
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People watching at Farmacy London

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GF Granola served with almond milk {Daylesford Cafe}

Daylesford Farmshop & Cafe 

 

 

When to go: Breakfast or Lunch

What it is: Organic farmshop and cafe in Notting Hill. Daylesford has an organic farm and has created a mini bio empire in the UK! The cafe and farmshop in Notting Hill, is just a glimpse of all that Daylesford has to offer.

Must try: Gluten free granola & almond milk !! Being gluten free and lactose intolerant, the luxury and simplicity of cereal and milk as an option at breakfast join is unheard of! 

Celiac Awareness: Certain of the ingredients, the staff was accommodating.

Where: 208-212 Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill, London, W11 2RH

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Organic market at Daylesford Farmshop
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Anntian top at Couveture & The Garbstore

Couverture & The Garbstore 

Why worth a visit? It’s got a nostalgic air of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, meets the modernity of the women of Notting Hill. Eclectic & tasteful brands can be found along the likes of Trademark, Apiece Apart, Rachel Comey and the list goes on… They’ve got women’s, men’s and children’s clothing along with a selection of trendy cat-lady home accessories.

Where: 188 Kensington Park Road, Notting Hill, London, W11 2ES

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Rugrats vibes at Couverture & The Garbstore
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Lutyens & Rubinstein Bookshop

Lutyens & Rubinstein Bookshop

Why worth a visit? If you like books and have lovely taste in reading material, you will dig this. 

Where: Lutyens & Rubinstein Bookshop, 21 Kensington Park Road, London, W11 2EU

Purchased at the bookshop: 

   NW Zadie Smith

   How Fiction Works James Wood

   Between a Wolf and a Dog Georgia Blain

Recently Read:   

    A Moveable Feast Ernest Hemingway  

    Kitchens of the Great Midwest J. Ryan Stradal 

    The Opposite of Loneliness Marina Keegan

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I adore you, Notting Hill.

London. September 2016.

Photos snapped via iphone. Taken by yours truly, aside from the obvious where I am in the picture. 

 

A Cornwall Wedding

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So my mom has been shoving a book in my face for days. She made me promise I would read one specific essay, of course I mumbled, “yes… you got it.” Needless to say, it did not happen immediately. It was not to spite my precious, well read mother, but I am enamored with my current read.

Fast forward a few days. I’m lounging at my house in Maine, wrapped in a soft blanket and tactfully tucked in bed. So classic, I am in said position whilst waiting for something to load on my computer. I glance at my bedside table, to see the book my mother has been begging me to read. I pick up, “The Opposite of Loneliness essays and stories” by Marina Keegan. The young and accomplished author, passed away a week after her graduation from Yale University. I was instructed by my mother, to find the specific essay, and title of the book, “The Opposite of Loneliness.” I flipped through the pages and quickly found the essay. Her words pulled me deep into a feeling that is wildly difficult to describe. The description of the opposite of loneliness, evoked tender memories and tears quickly slid down my cheeks.

“We don’t have a word for the opposite of loneliness but if we did, I could say that’s what I want in life… How I feel right now. Here. With all of you. In love, impressed, humbled, scared. And we don’t have to lose that.”

I get it. I understand it. I feel it. The simplicity of her wonder assures feelings we do not even have a word for. The opposite of loneliness.

All of this, to explain the sensation of fulfillment that is so often, difficult to express. I have recently felt loved and filled, during the few days of celebrating the union of a happy couple in Cornwall.

The joys of weddings are seemingly never-ending. I love reunions with old friends. The vulnerable experience of guiding a bride through the havoc of a wedding. Happy mother-of-brides, tickled with excited anxiety. The beginning of committing two lives into one journey, is a remarkable statement of humility.

Our days at Boconnoc Estate blissfully flew by. We laughed, cried, and made nutella toast. We snuggled sweet Aurora (maid of honour’s sweet new beb). There were countryside strolls with bewildered goats. We happily rejoiced for a blue sky on the wedding day. Dresses were steamed… with tedious caution. Concealer was applied in copious quantities and perfumed readily spritzed. And on a rare occasion, we may have caused the bride to cry?

It was an honor to stay at Boconnoc Estate, and help Sarah prepare for her wedding day. The sweet girl was a classic beauty on her special day. She was easily, the most thoughtful bride and graceful with every ounce of stress thrown her way.

When I found myself leaving Cornwall, my heart was so full. Eyes so heavy. Curls a day old (or so). I wish I could have played those sweet days on repeat. Over and over and over.

It was a fairytale. Yet, it was real. It was real and lovely. There was so much love at Boconnoc Estate. I grasped the tangible love, every minute of our days celebrating the wedding.

I felt every smidge of feels possible. Let me tell you, they were completely, the opposite of loneliness.

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Hotel Views

It was a busy day when I arrived in the UK. I hopped on the Heathrow Express to Paddington (SO efficient & affordable. Tickets are available on the platform. Seriously do not waste time or money taking an uber straight out of the airport.) From Paddington, I made my way to Cornwall. The ticket to St. Austell, was pre-booked and with my card of purchase, I was able to pick up my ticket at a self-service machine. Additionally, prior to my arrival at St. Austell, a cab needed to be booked to retrieve me. (Thanks Sarah. lol) Another travel note, get cash. Either arrive with it, or get a decent amount somewhere.

I loved my quick stay at The Cornwall Hotel & Estate! Albeit short, I was very comfortable while I dozed for hours. My stay was very brief, as I was due to head to the wedding venue the following morning of my arrival. Had I stayed longer, I would have been very happy exploring the grounds!

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GF Croque Monsieur at the restaurant downstairs

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AAaaand then I arrived at Boconnoc… treat yo self with these drool-worthy images

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Boconnoc Estate has only been very recently restored, and is now available as a venue rental, read about Boconnoc’s History here

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explorin’

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Boconnoc was the venue for the wedding, as well as the accommodations for the bridal party and family. There are rooms at the main house, as well as rooms in the barn (still absurdly adorable, don’t let the word fool you.)

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The perfect view from my sweet room
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countryside strolls
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creatures…

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The Chapel at Boconnoc, where darling Sarah & Mark were married
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Boconnoc Estate
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Snooping at the wedding flowers the day before…
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Wearing Elizabeth & James (now on sale) – found at Beckett Boutique, Stuart Weitzman Nudist High Heel (similar here
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The barn & venue for rehearsal din din

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Sun for the wedding day!

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Boconnoc Estate in all its glory
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Hair and make up on the wedding morning!
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Co-maid of honour of the year

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Wedding portraits
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Isabel’s bouquet

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Vintage portraits, I have mine and it is ready to be framed! Such a sweet memory
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Most thoughtful bride and incredible catering- they found me to present gluten free scones with clotted cream and berries!
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Our lovely bride
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Love you little bean

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Before I had a chance to fix my ratty hair… ps wearing Yumi Kim Tokyo Night Kimono Dress & same heels

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Love you guys!
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Isabel & Aurora

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Quick snuggle break

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Post-reception coffee & tea
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Waking up after the wedding festivities, with not one bit of enthusiasm to leave Boconnoc

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Pictures taken via iphone. Taken by yours truly, aside from the obvious where I am in the picture.

Cheers to Sarah & Mark! We are all so lucky to witness a love centered on Christ. Thank you Mark, for taking such fantastic care of our princess Sarah. From what I saw at the wedding, you two have so much support for this marriage. We are all here for love & prayer, whenever it is needed.

All my love,

Hannah