|Coat: £180, Atterley. Cashmere jumper: Gap (old but buy similar here). Wool skirt: £35, Asos. Bag: £115, The Cambridge Satchel Company. Trainers: £65, Adidas. Photographs: Christopher O'Donnell|
One thing I decided, was that London has become a bit like Tokyo - split up into districts, each with its own independent vibe. It'd be silly to just do London in one succinct sweep, so my first London city guide is Covent Garden.
WHERE TO START...
Monmouth Street, without doubt is one of my favourite Streets in Covent Garden, perhaps even in London. The cobbled streets, the small boutiques, the Covent Garden Hotel with its iconic striped awnings and Union Jack flag...it's an instagram dream.
Monmouth Coffee Company
|The gorgeous set-up outside Club Monaco|
Laura Lee is my favourite type of jewellery, fine, dainty and affordable. My engagement ring is from here and I love everything:
|Cashmere jumper: Gap (old but buy similar here). Wool skirt: £35, Asos. Bag: £115, The Cambridge Satchel Company. Trainers: £65, Adidas|
|Signet rings, £185, Laura Lee|
|9ct gold initial necklaces, £230, Laura Lee|
Savvy shoppers should download 'The Pass' app (free) for daily updates, discounts and deals for Covent Garden stores, restaurants and events.
WHERE TO EAT
Indian for breakfast? We're not just getting ready for our Indian holiday, it's just really, really good. I'd heard about the breakfast here from a few people, and was sold on the idea when it meant it was the one time you don't have to queue to eat in this now famous restaurant.
I've only ever had the bacon naan roll here, mainly because it's so good I'm scared to try anything else. There's something about the soft naan, chutney...it's to die for. Trust me.
Our new favourite lunch spot in Covent Garden. Traditional French food (the owner hails from Lyon) - Croque Monsieurs, home-made soups and charcuterie - all reasonably priced, served with a wonderfully homely atmosphere and to a typically french soundtrack. You don't feel like you're in a restaurant, you feel like a guest in her home. And a stones' throw from Covent Garden market. J'Adore!
If not to eat, then to photograph, yes?
WHERE TO SHOP
The Cambridge Satchel Company
I love everything about The Cambridge Satchel Company - it's ethos, it's branding, its attitude. My 'Cloud' bag is my go-to bag at the moment - the perfect cross-body weekend bag. Being a boring woman in my old age, I went for black - but the colours in store are amazing - and I love all the small leather goods, all of which can be personalised and embossed (with metallic embossing, even) - perfect for Christmas gifts.
|In store embossing: £7 a letter (but capped at £21). Leather luggage tags: £10, The Cambridge Satchel Company|
|Notebooks: £9.50, The Cambridge Satchel Company|
|The Cambridge Satchel Company x Vivienne Westwood bags (from £115)|
Okay so it's not particularly glamorous but have you seen the product in store...? Rag & bone, Elizabeth & James, even Dolce and Marni...definitely worth a look - and the Covent Garden store has the best product I've seen.
INSTAGRAM SPOTS (or just for a wander)
Who can resist meandering through the colourful, hippy vibe of Neal's Yard? I've heard great things about The Wild Food Cafe, too.
Covent Garden Market
The market is not what it used to be for me as a child, it's definitely more about the more modern stores for shopping, but it still can't be missed - I like the antique phone stalls and all the hand-made soaps...
|Coat: £180, Atterley. Cashmere jumper: Gap (old but buy similar here). Wool skirt: £35, Asos. Bag: £115, The Cambridge Satchel Company. Trainers: £65, Adidas.|
I may not be able to afford a class at this wonderful academy, but I sure can appreciate a good floral display.
|'Cloud' bag, £115, The Cambridge Satchel Company.|
And for somewhere to stay? London prices are sky-high as we know but I treated my husband to a stay at The Nadler last year for his birthday and can't recommend it enough - rate are between £165-£210 a night and it is perfectly located, right in the centre of Soho (you hear a bit of Soho noise but more of a murmuring), a 10 minute walk from Covent Garden, and it really feels like a luxe boutique hotel rather than a basic tourist feel.
|Tile porn at Balthazar|