Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Frugal City Guide: Covent Garden

Coat: £180, Atterley. Cashmere jumper: Gap (old but buy similar here). Wool skirt: £35, AsosBag: £115, The Cambridge Satchel Company. Trainers: £65, Adidas. Photographs: Christopher O'Donnell
In seemingly quick succession to my last city guide, I've finally done one in my own city (to popular demand!). Living and working in London everyday, I never play tourist, and often forget how useful my insider knowledge is...

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





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



Every morning in London should start with 'proper' coffee. I love the decor in here as much as I like the coffee. And it's always worth the queue...





The shops on Monmouth Street are great for window shopping, but also more affordable boutique shopping - my favourite stores are Laura Lee Jewellery and the newly opened Club Monaco.




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, AsosBag: £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

Breakfast: Dishoom

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.






Chez Antoinette

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!









Laduree

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



Embossing options
The Cambridge Satchel Company x Vivienne Westwood bags (from £115)
TK Maxx

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)

Neal's Yard

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, AsosBag: £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 the evening? I've just been to see Mark Rylance in 'Farinelli and the King' (on until December) and it is fantastic, at the Duke of York theatre - we bought the more affordable 'restricted viewing' seats but it actually didn't dampen the evening or the show too much, as the performances were outstanding. And as a special treat, I love 'Balthazar' for dinner - a slice of New York for a fraction of the price of an airfare.

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
This Frugal City Guide was made in collaboration with The Cambridge Satchel Company. I hope you found it useful.

17 comments :

  1. What a great guide. Inspired me to plan a day trip to Covent Garden with my daughter. Love the Cambridge Satchel cloud bag have just ordered it together with the embossing as a birthday present to myself. Thanks!

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    1. It's such a lovely place to go with your daughter, lots of nice beauty stores too like Bobbi Brown, The Ivy Market Grill is also a great place for brunch xx

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    2. My daughter is only 4 but she would love Bobbi Brown ❤️ I was thinking of trying the Matthew Williamson Afternoon Tea at Balthazar as coffee and cake is her favourite thing to do. Like Mother like Daughter!

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    3. Wow - mature 4 year old! Lucky you! xx

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  2. Nice guide!
    xoxo

    www.donkeycool.es

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  3. Great guide. Have you tried the food at Abokado on Drury Lane? 😋

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    1. No...have always walked past but not been good. Am assuming this means good? x

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  4. Great guide, I really want to go there, because I've heard that this place is magical:) I adore the coat and white shoes together! I love to wear these two things together, they always look great:)

    http://www.cojograab.com

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    Replies
    1. You must! It's gorgeous, especially around christmas time x

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  5. i love that camel coat! going straight on the wishlist

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    Replies
    1. It's a bit darker than usual camel, more a toffee, which is its charm - and the super long length, so it feels like a dressing gown ;)

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  6. Great guide and I agree that the bacon naan at Dishoom is amazing!

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  7. Love your outfit! Looks like you had an amazing time in Covent Garden too :)

    http://www.gemmacarey.com/

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  8. Theater breaks give an astounding method for engrossing this most cherished diversion. In the heart of London's West End lies Theaterland, a range extending from Piccadilly Circus to Covent Garden and taking in around 40 theaters.

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  9. Many agree that Covent Garden offers the best shopping experience in London. Whatever you are looking for Covent Garden has it. Whether it be fashion, jewellery, beauty products or that unusual gift, you won't have to look far in the shops and markets of Covent Garden.

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  10. With that hot look after me-day in London, you should walk yourself to some nice place. Maybe a party on the roof under the sky will make everyone see how bright you are! Check the full list of events for london concerts!

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