gin afternoon tea
I have been fortunate enough to (over)indulge in a number of afternoon teas over the last few years, but nothing has been as experiential as the G & Tea at Mr Fogg’s Gin Parlour.

Launched just in time for National Afternoon Tea Week (my Christmas), the Mr Fogg’s team have set up a real afternoon delight; your traditional tiered treats alongside a gin & tonic, gin cocktail teapot, and taster session of two wildly different botanical mixes.

The Parlour itself has a selection of over 300 varieties of gin and leads into the ultimate Phineas-inspired lounging area; tophats, foliage, ‘bar wench’ and all. It is the perfect little hideaway to enjoy sandwiches, savoury treats, and a few updated Victorian sweets. Though a little off expectation, the lack of monster scones (my usual highlight) was made up for with a mini banoffee pie and a pot of Green With Env-tea (rose & cranberry green tea, Tanqueray London Dry gin, bergamot, honey, lemon & grapefruit).

The original will always be my go-to, but the Gin Parlour makes for an excellent escape from real-tea.

gin afternoon tea
gin afternoon tea
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london road trips
In collaboration with the wonderful crew at Carspring, I am sharing one of my proudest ever guides with you today: The Best Short Road Trips for Londoners – by area – meaning local road trips should take you no longer than one hour from door to door!

The thing I love about all of these trips is their individual versatility and the fact that – though TFL has amazing links across London – none of these destinations are an easy reach by public transport. They all provide a perfect excuse to grab some loved ones and hit the road!

North London Road Trip

Alexandra Palace to Lee Valley National Park and Paradise Wildlife Park (40 minutes)
This road trip begins at one of favourite viewpoints of The City of London – Ally Pally. Sunrise is especially beautiful (as it is on the highest point of a hill) and provides almost completely traffic-free access to Lee Valley National Park and Paradise Wildlife Park. You could do either – or both! – and get back to nature in less than forty minutes. The former is perfect for long walks but the latter is wonderful for families.

West London Road Trip

Pergola on The Roof to The Harry Potter Studio Tour (40 minutes)
This is probably the road trip best catered to my personal taste; that of food, views and Harry Potter. To begin, you can visit White City’s hipster-friendly pop-up parking lot ‘Pergola’ for lunch with some of London’s best street food vendors (expert tip: you can’t go wrong with Patty & Bun) and move on to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (also known as the WB Studio Tour) in less than one hour! Book in advance to make the most of broom rides, special events, Butterbeers, and more.

East London Road Trip

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to Hylands House (40 minutes)
This is a great option for those in East London who want to escape the associated “scene”. Beginning with a power walk/Instagram sesh around the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (the beloved host of the 2012 Olympic Games), you can then take off for the tubeless serenity of Hylands House; a gorgeous country estate that will make you feel like an extra in Downtown Abbey.

South London Road Trip

Richmond Park to Mayfield Lavender Fields (30 minutes)
Last but certainly not least, South London provides us with the shortest and most photo-friendly road trips around. In Richmond Park, you not only have a protected and completely undisturbed telescopic view of London but beautiful landscapes filled with baby deer! If that wasn’t enough, you have the Mayfield Lavender Fields just thirty minutes away – and they’re currently in full bloom! Don’t forget to charge your camera/cameraphone!

Enjoy your journeys, mi amor.

london map

pizza fold gif
Donna Margherita: when a restaurant is so good you’re scared to write the review for fear you’ll never get a table again.

Where do I even begin?

Donna Margherita doesn’t look like anything special from the street. Without an insider tip, I would have passed it without a second thought.

It would have been a real mistake.

Donna Margherita is personified in Gabriele Vitale – its owner, Head Chef, and authentic-as-they-come Italian. From the second my dinner date and I sat down, Gabriele flooded us with warmth, excitement, and a menu so genuinely Neopolitan we couldn’t help but order a little bit of everything.

Honestly, if the food wasn’t so incredible I’d probably go for the family feels alone.

Over the course of a few hours, we indulged in freshly-baked Focaccia (smothered in their house Sicilian olive oil & balsamic vinegar), Gaetan l’aulive, fried polenta, bruschetta, the world’s best aubergine parmigiana, an al dente pasta to rival the freshest of south Italy, and quite honestly the best margherita pizza I have ever had the pleasure of tasting…

Quality tomatoes, mozzarella, extra virgin olive oil, parmesan and fresh basil folded like it would be in Napoli. Simple. And fiercely delicious.

Intoxicated by the kitchen’s continually fresh aromas (ones you could likely smell from 100 feet away), it seemed sensible to honour the restaurant’s incredibly broad wine menu with savoured sips of Albente Feudi Di San Gregorio which – like Donna Margherita – is world-class yet modest to potential fault.

Take everyone you know. And tell Gabriele I sent you.

donna margherita london
donna margherita london
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rah rah room 1
Under normal circumstances you couldn’t pay me to spend a weekend night in the centre of town but I decided to dip my toe in the tourist-filled water after hearing rave reviews of the Rah Rah Room‘s Revue in Piccadilly Circus.

I love burlesque, you see, and Rah Rah’s newly launched Friday and Saturday night show promised burlesque, plus song, dance, comedy, and physical spectaculars galore. Led by a compere beyond compare, the cast of performers included some of La Soiree‘s best (I live for Asher Treleaven), comedic geniuses EastEnd Cabaret, and burlesque performers both weird and wonderful.

Having reserved a stage-side table with some of my favourite ladies, the show felt as thought it was being held in my living room – aerial acts and all. I was genuinely a bit heartbroken when the lights went up.

(But, thankfully, Rah Rah opens up as a club after the show and you know how I feel about a good dance…)

rah rah room 2
rah rah room 3
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