little blue door london
It has been a hot minute since I’ve recommended a bar-first venue to you gastro-obsessed babes (takes one to know one!), but I think The Little Blue Door might just tick all your boxes.

Firstly, the concept is ridiculous. The venue itself is hidden behind a blue residential door and is managed by a ‘bunch of friendly flatmates’ who want you to treat their quirky little house like its your own.

If you’re not drinking the hipster Kool-aid, you’ll realise that it is – in fact – a bar. With food and cocktails. Like other bars.

What sets its apart is its infectious attitude. The Fulham-standard ‘flatmates’ are audacious, unusually attractive, and welcome you with the affection of a best friend at a house party. It’s weird. And wonderful.

Settling into their Shoreditch-style sitting room, I sifted through their list of cocktails (all based on the flatmates’ favourite films and TV shows) and settled on the Godfather Part II. Like revenge, it’s a drink best served cold, and blended a promising mix of Slane Irish Whisky, Disaronno, apple and cloves.

My mid-week sensibilities opted to steer clear of their house party hooches (like The Mick Jagger Bomb -Bombay Sapphire Gin, Crème de Violet, Maraschino & Prosecco) but bookmarked them for a future weekend visit to their ‘recovery buffet’.

The food, after all, was surprisingly great; the best philly cheese steak I’ve had this side of the Atlantic (with arguably better bread), a truffle-heavy mac & cheese, chips as crispy as their salt & pepper squid, and all the trimmings.

I planned my second visit (supper club, I’m coming!) before I finished my first. It’s a schismatic set-up but one every guest seemed to love – if that’s not blog-worthy, nothing is.

little blue door london
little blue door london
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Bar a few ‘accent’ pieces, most of the non-sartorial things I own are so carefully compiled they can be thrown together anywhere I move and make a house a home. It was a conscious choice; I knew white, gold, black and reclaimed wood would always work together no matter what era or price point I found each piece in.

It has, however, meant I haven’t taken the time to update my ever-travelling home interiors in years. Even after moving into the refurbished riverside military barrack of dreams.

I needed to scratch the itch and was quite literally enveloped in the perfect way to do so while on a weekend trip to the seaside. Though I wouldn’t be able to fit the four-poster bed I was luxuriating in inside my own bedroom, I could make my own hotel bed at home.

Rather that simply changing the look of something, I could tackle the feel. I could treat myself to a hotel-worthy mattress and raid the end-of-season sales for luxe new bedding to match.

It was the mattress that stumped me. While I have always been able to find luxury shopping deals with Sherlock-style sovereignty, I had no idea where to start with mattress shopping. Then, along came Leesa. In an inarguable muddle of modern mattress ‘concepts’, Leesa piqued my interest with five-star review after five-star review. To which they’ll now have to add my own.

The Leesa mattress is different. It has been designed from the inside out and meticulously engineered to offer a universally comfortable sleep. Their three premium foam layers work together to contour around your body (squishy pressure relief, tick!), support your core (no matter how you sleep!), and regulate your temperature (unlike many mattresses that offer this level of comfort!). And they believe in it so much they offer a 100-night free trial with free delivery and returns.

They’re also wildly easy to set up. Your mattress comes wrapped up in a box – whether it’s a single or a super king – and you simply unpack it onto your solid or slatted foundation to begin. From there, you simply unwrap it from its plastic and watch it expand into its full shape.

From there, it’s love at first night. We were genuinely distressed to get out of bed the first weekend we set it up.

If you’re thinking about treating yourself to your very own, I’ve managed to wrangle a discount code for you to receive £100 off the Leesa mattress of your choice! Simply use the code LELALONDON at checkout (and know that each purchase does some good, as well, as Leesa donate one mattress for every ten they sell and plant a tree for each order)!

The Leesa mattress is also available to try in the London and Kingston-Upon Thames West Elm locations before using my discount code online.


happy home

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film journalist
It’s been a bit too long since I’ve invited y’all here to cosy up for film o’clock, hasn’t it? We have a lot to catch up on…

Trailers are starting to trickle out for the Neil Armstrong biopic First Man and my spideysense feels we’re in for another stellar show from wunderkind director Damien Chazelle. The man who helmed Whiplash and La La Land has once again partnered up with everyone’s future husband, Ryan Gosling, to tell the story of the first man to walk on the moon and early indications from film festivals suggest it could once again land Chazelle in Oscar talks.

Despite a childhood spent championing Buzz Aldrin to anyone who wouldn’t listen (always here for the underdog), I can’t wait to see the film. Moreso than my typical cinematic geekery allows. I have been wrapped up in idealistic debates on the inherent dramatic potential of a major figure’s biopic. In the hands of the right cast and crew, biopics can educate, fascinate, and inspire us all at once. They do what I believe film was made to do and can easily (if not arguably) become Hollywood’s most valuable tool for change.

As luck would have it, there are several more exciting biopics heading to the silver screen over the coming months. With First Man just around the corner, here is my painstakingly decisive pick for the best of the rest…

Mary Queen Of Scots

One of the most famous chapters in British history is empire’s trials and tribulations during rule of Queen Elizabeth I. Even deeper, her soap-worthy rivalry with cousin Mary Queen of Scots. While historians have already aired their grievances with this film and a few inaccuracies hinted at in its trailer, the basic story is about to be brought to life in what looks to be a sensational – or sensationalist – fashion. Elizabeth will be played by Margot Robbie and Mary by Saoirse Ronan, both of whom were nominated for Best Actress Academy Awards just this year. A less familiar Josie Rourke will direct and – inaccuracies aside – she looks to have pulled off a wildly charismatic viewpoint. Early glimpses suggest Mary will become Ronan’s role of all roles.

Bohemian Rhapsody

Freddie Mercury. Rami Malek. X-Men direction. I mean, come on Bohemian Rhapsody. It’s almost too much for a filmgoer to take.

The long-awaited musical biopic looks set to become one of the greats – the ones that come along once or twice a decade and enthral those who don’t consider themselves fans of the group or genre at hand. Granted, everybody likes Queen at least a little bit.

The film’s focus on frontman Freddie – one of the bravest and boldest rockstars of our time – is carried by the critical care of Rami Malek (Mr. Robot, to the masses). By all accounts he assumed the role under incredible pressure, with astonishing dedication, and helped Bryan Singer’s direction (best known for handling the bulk of the modern X-Men franchise) reach unparalleled heights.

On The Basis Of Sex

This may be millennial bias speaking, but it’s hard to remember a Supreme Court justice who shook the proverbials up quite like Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The “Notorious RBG”, as she now known, has not only become a hero for the liberal faction of the United States desperate to hang onto influence in the Supreme Court, but also an indisputable icon of women’s rights. Beyonce in wire frames, if you will.

Though she was the subject of Netflix’s RBG only recently, On The Basis Of Sex is taking the modern marvel to the megascreens. The film has been directed by Mimi Leder (who also happened to be the first female graduate of the AFI Conservatory) and Felicity Jones will play a young Ginsburg bringing a gender discrimination case to the highest court in America. Regardless of personal politics or interest in the (ghastly) American system, this is going to be phenomenal watch.

Leonardo Da Vinci

While we all recognise Leonardo Da Vinci as one of the true greats of art history, our cultural impression of the man behind the Mona has always skewed towards rumour and  fiction. The Da Vinci Code remains the most famous work from renowned thriller novelist Dan Brown and, to the everyman, infused the artist’s work with fake conspiracies that do little more than entertain. One of the most popular slots in a growing internet gaming category incorporates Leonardo Da Vinci’s portraits in ‘Da Vinci Diamonds’ with cliché slot symbols, effectively turning the artist into a generic source of historical nuance.

On the flip side, Walter Isaacson – most famous for writing the definitive Steve Jobs biography – completely reframed Da Vinci for his literary masterpiece and unknowingly convinced John Logan to adapt the book into a film. With our very own Leo D (Caprio, that is) starring as the artist and inventor, the biopic is full of promise.

Enzo Ferrari

If the sound of an Enzo Ferrari biopic sounds strangely familiar to you, it is likely you were one of the millions glued to HBO drama Entourage. The show had a real knack for delivering its protagonist – fictional A-list actor Vincent Chase –  dream roles in films that have since been produced by non-fiction Hollywood bigwigs. A biopic of entrepreneur Enzo Ferrari (creator of Ferrari, as you’ve likely guessed) was one such project that Chase got particularly excited about, and we can now follow suit. The film is slated to be directed by Michael Mann (director, screenwriter and producer of everything from Heat to Hancock) and Hugh Jackman will star in the lead role. Interestingly enough, the film will likely come out within a year of another gargantuan project, Ford v. Ferrari, which will tell the tale of the respective companies’ dramatic 1996 rivalry with the help of Matt Damon and Christian Bale.

modern vintage style
I wear jeans about once a year. It’s not that I have an issue with them (quite the contrary, I think they’re a classic component of any chic closet), I am simply too sleepy to put anything more than a dress together in the morning.

When I started to pack for a beautiful wedding in the Cotswolds, it seemed a great time to throw a pair on in an ode to smart packing (1 extra shirt and dress means nada to carry!) and kick it old school. As a cherry on top, I got a beautiful blow dry from Rush Kentish Town before hopping on the train and my stylish created two mini victory rolls as a vintage nod that would hold more bounce for the following day’s celebrations.

Max prep. Max chill. Max annual denim.

What I Wore:
Black crop top
Vintage tie-front off the shoulder top (similar here)
Turned up Levis 501s
Floral platform heels

modern vintage style
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I spent most of June on an all-seafood diet and came home with the star-crossed seafood snobbery to show for it.

When you grow up in the Big Smoke, you learn to shy away from anything more spectacular than a midweek battered cod. Landlocked London has forever fought a losing battle against sustainable seafood that tastes anything better than mediocre.

Somehow, Bucket beat the odds.

The new restaurant (which, like a lot of my new favourite restaurants, decided to hop on the gentrification wagon in Westbourne Grove) is the great British high street’s own little slice of Croatia.

An ex-Gaucho team have flipped a failed American-style diner into a rustic luxury beach shack with a spring in its step and the menu to match.

As its name suggests, small and large seafood buckets are their calling card but a tummy tide pulled me elsewhere on my introductory visit.

Their innovative small plates drew me in; I ebbed into salmon crudo (with grapefruit,pink peppercorn & lime), grilled squid steak with lemon purée, and tuna tartare (with breakfast radish, avocado mayo & seaweed crisps) with reckless abandon, expectations far exceeded from my first bite.

Indulgently, I added three oysters (with a selection of vinaigrettes) to compliment a Zacapa Old Fashioned (Ron Zacapa, Pedro Ximenez, chocolate bitters, & orange). They weren’t the best I’ve ever had – keeping in mind I used to eat them straight from the water as a child – but they were the best I’ve had in London. Especially at the side of such an infallible cocktail.

Bucket-wise, my date and I opted to share a small bucket of coconut and chilli mussels alongside a sesame-sprinkled seaweed and cucumber salad. Both touted a sensational, balanced flavour profile and interesting Southeast Asian touches.

At the recommendation of our incredibly friendly and attentive waiter, I took a pre-dessert pause with a Seaweed Martini which – despite looking like actual filth – blended Hendrick’s, St-Germain, seaweed, sea algae, & cucumber to umami perfection.

While I was tempted to carb up on my booth neighbour’s lobster mac & cheese and dive into the rest of the cocktail menu, I decided to bookmark such plans for a future visit and wrap things up with pineapple carpaccio (with pink peppercorn, lemon thyme cream & coconut ice cream) and a bite of my date’s mascarpone-heavy tiramisu.

Whether you’re popping in for £1 oysters* or a Lela London-style feast, there is no doubt in my mind you would leave anything less than thrilled. But I have to put my wind behind the sails of the latter.

It is quite literally a Bucket list restaurant.

(* With any bottle, jug, cocktail or bucket of beers. 4-7pm on weekdays and 4-6pm on weekends.)

bucket london food review

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