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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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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home house afternoon tea london
The never-ending stream of ‘National’ days and weeks that PRs seem to throw around the Twittersphere has me wildly disconnected. A little petulant, truth be told. I refuse to eat burgers on National Burger Day. I refuse to relax on National Relaxation Day. I may even go as far as supergluing my mouth shut on National Smile Day.

The exception was always going to be National Afternoon Tea Week. The one I’m currently clotted cream-ing our way through. I take afternoon tea unnecessarily seriously.

With a friend was in town and on the hunt for her first taste of British teatime, I had to go heritage. Home House‘s English Country Garden Afternoon Tea heritage.

The jaw-droppingly beautiful member’s club and hotel shook their afternoon tea menu up to incorporate country garden themes right on time. We booked in, skipped up Robert Adam’s opulent staircase, and settled in to their neo-classical Drawing Room with a glass of Moët & Chandon for the quintessential afternoon tea.

Simply heightening the traditional, we started with a sandwich selection of roast beef & horseradish on onion bread, smoked salmon & cream cheese on granary, cucumber & cream cheese on white, and cressed-up wholegrain egg mayo on white.

The fresh scones – with plenty of clotted cream and jam – were next, riding on a Darjeeling sea that led to spectacular dessert plates. While I rarely take more than a bite of teatime’s sweet treats, the mini Pimms trifle, Eton Mess meringue sphere, cherry & chocolate dacquoise, honey & thyme mousse sable, violet & blackberry open macaron, and raspberry & rose tartlet vanished within minutes.

If you’re looking for a traditional tea that won’t disappoint, I couldn’t think of a better spot to settle in for the afternoon.


home house afternoon tea london
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I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about a weekend in so-called ‘Shoreditch by the Sea’ before visiting Margate. My research seemed promising (beach, food, amusements, et al) but I had yet to hear many people say much of anything about Kent’s north coast.

The trip was, affectionately, a gamble in a heat wave. One that offered just enough intel to help you do your own introductory trip in the best way.

What to do in Margate

The seafront
The primary draw of Margate is the ability to be on the beach within a single hour and a half train journey from London. And it doesn’t disappoint. Margate’s seaside has golden sand, warm water, and a refreshing lack of ‘sea and be seen’ behaviour you get outside of British beaches.

Compared to destinations like Brighton or northern Cornwall, there were also significantly fewer people than expected for genuinely hot weather meaning both the beach and its surrounding restaurants felt more relaxed and accessible.

Dreamland
Dreamland is a funfair on steroids. The amusement park has been on a rough ride of its own since launching over 100 years ago (administration, multiple closures, and more) but has since been re-imagined to perfection. With new owners and investment, Dreamland now hosts new rides, live music, street food, film clubs, a roller disco, and more.

You can even purchase ‘twilight tickets’ which give you access from 5 to 9pm Thursdays to Sundays which, with alcoholic slushies in hand, offers an unforgettable night out.

It is also undeniably Instagram-friendly with neon lights, giant rainbow racing slides, and delightfully colourfil landscapes.

Turner Contemporary
Though the contemporary art museum is less than ten years old, many people thank it for the resurgence of tourism and development across Margate at large. I didn’t have the time to make it inside but admission is free and it sits right on the edge of the seaside, making it an ideal pitstop for a day in Margate.

Where to eat in Margate

There are quite a few well-reviewed spots along the seafront, so we made sure to beeline for two of the best – Peter’s Fish Factory and Cinque Ports. The fish factory is exactly what you’d expect from a chippy with a line around the block; fresh produce, friendly service, and a wide variety of finely-fried fishies.

Cinque Ports offered something a little more refined, without being pretentious. Their focus is on elevated pub food, sourcing everything seasonally and locally. Though I initially sat down for a recovery plan of fried pickles and Bloody Marys, everything that came out to our table of six was phenomenal. Double corn fritter burgers to smashed avo on toast.

Where to shop in Margate

Though the small town hosts a handful of high street favourites, Margate’s real shopping destinations are its Shoreditch-synonymising vintage stores. Pink-walled Peony Vintage and its surrounding shops on King Street hold some of the most unique French vintage I’ve seen in years, but there seems to be a little vintage space worth exploring around most corners. Even RG Scott’s Furniture Mart offers an Aladdin’s Cave of restored and vintage finds.

Want to plan your own trip? Enjoy Margate has the goods!



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