one new change
It’s finally here, mi amigos. The day I get to pop the champagne and announce my brand new partnership with One New Change as their Instagrammer In Residence!

Over the next year, I will be sharing my favourite parts of One New Change through @lelalondon and @onenewchange (so make sure you’re following both!) and holding four exclusive Instagram masterclasses to meet and treat you all at the luxe retail destination.

Their panoramic roof terrace has long been my favourite hidden gem for indulgent London ‘me time’ but their sixty-plus shops (Topshop, Oliver Bonas, et al) and sensational restaurants make this twelve month alliance a genuine dream come true.

Thank you all for your support and stay tuned for much more!



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Unbeknownst to my former self, one of my favourite Londoners managed to eat her way through years in this multicultural mecca without ever trying Indian food.

That is, until I got involved.

Wanting to introduce her to one of my all-time favourite cuisines, I hedged my bets on the rave reviews of Thali‘s traditional North Indian faire and booked in a dinner date.

Playing our respective parts as the spice-fearful (my date) and Kashmiri-obsessed (sup), Thali beyond delivered.

Over a bottle of red, we sampled their lightly spiced grilled scallops, mint & coriander packed spicy crab patties (a moreish delight) and vegetable samosas before diving into the deep end of their spiciest waters.

For myself, the Goan fish curry (Cod fish matured in my beloved Kashmiri red chillies, coconut & tamarind) met every complexity its spices demanded. For my chilli-wary pal, however, the comforting chicken tikka makhani (herbed butters, fenugreek, creamy fresh tomato sauce, et al) provided the perfect cherry pop to a well overdue culinary exploration.

Even if I managed to clear the dish of cumin-spiced saag paneer (with spinach and garlic) before her Peshwari Naan got the chance to scoop so much as a paneer cube.

As a concession of curdlessness, the delivery of a small Indian rice pudding coaxed my date into fully-fledged Indian fandom.

Though they’re not reinventing the wheel, Thali’s authentic dishes offered more than an introductory meal demanded and managed to delight my customarily experimental culinary impulses through the very last grain of sweetened rice.



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showstopper the musical
Musical theatre has made me a relatively intolerable human to be around.

Some time around the purchase of my first pair of tap shoes, I realised that every moment in life had a song and dance. Also that – regardless of my company’s desires – I would indulge it.

Mine and every millennial’s favourite, Wicked, has graced* my life on almost ten occasions and I have spent most of my OCD-addled adult life thinking there would never be another musical I would want to see as many times.

Then a ridiculous, no-budget musical came along and turned my Elphaba upside down.

Showstopper! – exclamation intended – is an entirely improvised musical for both intolerable show choir graduates (hello, friend) and the musically indifferent.

The Olivier Award-winning ‘Showstoppers’ have created an all-singing, all-dancing triumph of unpredictable genius.
Each show is curated purely on live suggestions from the audience and hilarity ensues at a level often difficult for practiced performers to reach.

Showstopper! takes the sharpest lolz imaginable and almost makes them feel intimate. It was unlike any show I’ve seen before and one I’m likely to stalk as they tour the country.

Do. Not. Miss. It.

Virus-free. www.avg.com

canova hall
While I respect anywhere with the balls to promote a restaurant, cocktail bar, hot desking workspace and nightclub as a single venue, I’m not sure Canova Hall should call themselves a quadruple threat just yet.

The newly-opened 4,500-ft Brixton baby was launched to expand on the success of the owners’ popular London Fields pizza pub, Martello Hall, and fans will be pleased to know their beloved sourdough pies have made it south of the river.

Looking like an old market canteen of hipster dreams, the atmosphere is also rather remarkable. From the moment I sat down, there was a very low bar set to charm my discerning pants off.

The food, however, fell short. The meatballs (in a ‘Nduja tomato sauce with parmesan & pecorino) were drier and less seasoned than my own. The smoked scarmoza & pancetta crocchettas (with rocket pesto) needed the pesto to draw any flavour.

The highlights were the plate of torta fritta (Italian dough balls) with salami, truffle taleggio, pecorino, riccota salata & salsa verde and zucchini fries. But I am looking for much more from a fully-fledged restaurant experience than an adoration for prepared charcuterie and fried vegetables.

Naturally, there will be teething issues. Ones I can only hope I’ve experienced here as their drink selection is incredible.

Canova Hall might actually be the sexiest place to get your drink on in South London. Their beer selections are suitably crafty (Five Points, Yeastie Boys, Fourpure, etc), they have 12 delightful wines on tap, a massive & classically-served absinthe offering, and a Barrel Aged Old Fashioned so perfect I may actually elope with it (Woodford Reserve from their barrel, maraschino cherry extract and orange bitters).

Though I left feeling relatively indifferent towards its culinary exploits, I feel Canova Hall is one to watch. Post-training wheel removal.

(Or visit for a tipsy-binge on zucchini fries, at least).

canova hall
canova hall
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santi london e20
Authenticity has been bastardised by the food industry for far too long. Any old restaurant with a creme brulee on their menu seems comfortable calling themselves an ‘authentic French restaurant’ and great menus of undisputed origin have been lost somewhere in the culinary hullabaloo.

Bizarrely, East Village (London’s former Olympic Athlete’s Village) now has one of the most authentic Italian restaurants I’ve been to in years.

Though it is only one year old, Santi has built a reputation on the handiwork of their Napolitan pizza chef and his specially-imported Italian flour.

Well aware that real Italian food is much more than pizza, I ignored all dough-swooning inclinations and decided the rest of the menu had to be put to the test.

As my dinner date clinked her well-deserved Aperol Spritz with mine, every Italian in East London seemed to decamp across the tables around us in colossal groups. For a relatively frill-free atmosphere and unconditionally Italian restaurant team, this only assured its apititude in the quest for authenticity.

At prices more competitive than any restaurant in the vicinity of Westfield Stratford, we went on to have a deliciously bona fide Italian feast; fresh calamari fritti, involtini di melazane parmigiance (translation: decadently baked mozarella-loaded aubergine), a wildly generous guazzetto (mussell, clam, prawn & sea bass casserole) served with toasted bread, and perfectly cooked sea bass with fries and vegetables.

The addition of a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc del Veneto (a dry and elegant Italian pairing for gluttonous flavour chaos) tricked us into believing we had room for dessert. We quite obviously didn’t when a handmade tiramisu larger than my head arrived next to the richest tortino al cioccolato (think chocolate lava cake with a little less lava) in existence.

I only managed a few bites but their mascarpone and espresso-heavy tiramisu was worth a return trip alone.

Santi get my authentic seal of approval and then some.

santi london e20
santi london e20
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