Italy is of course filled with little treasures in the form of ancient villages, restaurants, food, gelato and this place where I spent my Easter week. The Hotel is called Pietra Campana and has individual apartments in an adjacent building as well as rooms/apartments in the main building. We stayed in one of the apartments which are all individually decorated and are supplied with organic, handmade soaps and the olive oil produced by the hotel. The view from the hotell is of the old part of Orvieto and it's around a 10 minute drive to get to the city.What I really like about this place is that you get the privacy of your own apartment which comes with a large outdoor area which is shielded from the main house, but you can always ask the hotel owners if you have any questions or issues. My mum loves this place so much she wants to go back at least once a year, more if the family would agree to it!
My new favourite London hotel, this little place is an oasis of calm in South Kensington. Number Sixteen is very small indeed, and they don't even have a proper restaurant so if you want to go there and you are not staying the night you will have to go for afternoon tea. If you just want to hang, get yourself a room, outsiders are generally not allowed in without a food reservation. But on a warm summer day there is no place I would rather be than their hidden garden, wearing sunglasses and sandals, with a cup of tea.
Primrose Hill is a really nice area where everyone has a dog, there are more cafes than people and you will never find somewhere to sit outside when the weather is nice. Apart from that, you should definitely go to Primrose Hill if you haven't been yet and sit down with the dog owners for a coffee and a bit of celebrity spotting. Alexa Chung strolled past us when we were there, but it just didn't seem right to take a picture!
This hotel was a gem, great common areas, good restaurant with good food, lovely breakfast and fireplaces all over the place. Definitely going back!
Some restaurants deserve a second visit and Osteria Basilico is one of those. I went there first time last year (and briefly mentioned it here) and my second visit was today! And it's still good. Actually it's very good, so good I'm in love with their burrata cheese and all of us going (the same crowd as my first visit) felt like we had died and gone to food heaven. So the message is: get going. It is located in Notting Hill, off the beaten path that is Portobello Road, and so easy to find. And it's also extremely popular, come early or prepare to queue for quite some time to get your italian fix.
Paris is a fantastic city and there is just no point in trying to write a city guide for the whole city at once because there is so much to see that you won't see it all in a week end anyways. My recent trip to Paris was more a one day thing and I have learned that rather than tryibg to see everything at once, stick to one area and see everything there! If you are a first timer to Paris and want to sight-see then going only to the Marais area might not be the right thing for you, but if you want a days worth of Paris in a really nice area, keep on reading!
Marais is the 4th arrondissement in Paris which basically means its very central. If you go here you will be a stone throw away from Notre Dame so there is alway the possibility to pop over there. Start in Rue de Temple, which is really a street for wholesalers, where the family run Hotel Duo is situated. This is not the cheapest of Paris hotels, but it is so well kept, modern, extremely friendly staff and just really cool (see their website here).
Head up to Rue Rambuteau/ Rue Francs-Bourgeois where you can find tons of small shops. And when you feel a bit tired from the walking and shopping head to the very small Rue du Tresor where there are a lot of small and very cute restaurants. I visited the one called Tresor which had the most amazing beef I have had in a long time, but prices are higher than other Bistros around. If you don't feel like a sit-down lunch the Falafel places in Rue des Rosiers are packed which to me means that they must be good! This street is also where most of the Jewish bakeries and delis are and they are just the sweetest thing, not to forget how good all the pastries I can't pronounce are!
Marais is also home to frozen yoghurt at My Berry. Yum!
Finish off your day in Marais with a a visit to Place des Vosges where there are galleries you can wander to fill up on culture. Stop for an espresso whenever but try to avoid the places around the Place des Vosges as these places are usually a bit more pricy than others. My hot chocolate from the corner of Ruede Turenne and Rue Rambuteau/Rue Francs-Bourgeois was very good.
If you want to know a bit more about Marais then check it out at parismarais.com which is the official website!
Notting Hill has been known for it's Portobello Road and become a place for tourists, however it still has charm and if you walk one of the paralell roads to Portobello Road, Kensington Park Road, you get away from the most touristy parts of Notting Hill and still get to experience the area. This is also where Osteria Basilico is located and this is by far one of the best italian places I have been to in London and it is highly recommended. Westbourne Grove is another street that deserves a little attention, with a lot of designer stores and super cute places to stop for coffee and a bite to eat its worth the walk!
While I have never before visited Brick Lane and the surrounding areas I have heard so much about it and was told that Spitalfields Market and Brick Lane was a good place visit. The only good thing about Spitalfields Market is the coffee and croissants at The Luxe. So if you do go take the tube to Liverpool Street Station and walk from here to Spitalfields to start with a coffee. Then walk from here to Brick Lane which is basically around the corner. Brick Lane is mainly for lovers of Indian food at very good prices and vintage shopping (Rokit, Vintage Shop, Vintage with Love, This Shop Rocks and Hunky Dory). After all the vintage shops we sat down at Les Trois Garcons and had their set menu which was AMAZING and HIGHLY recommended. The place is usually booked out for dinner, but lunch was a bit more quiet, the food was very good and the service friendly and fun. One of the most special things about the restaurant is the interior which is mismatched antiques and crazy jewellery draped over life-size animals. Definitely worth the trip. And the Founders of the restaurant also have an antique shop in the area which is full of well-chosen pieces and charming pillows.
I didn’t think that I would find a market with food here in London that I loved more than Borough Market, but I did! And that is Broadway Market in Hackney! I went on a Saturday and the atmosphere was amazing, just tons of people buying food and enjoying life. There was fresh produce and the surrounding cafes were all full of young people getting over their hangover with a strong coffee and some dark shades and starting the weekend for real with some freshly cooked food from one of the many vendors. This place has all you need for your grocery shopping and I left with fruit, vegetables and cheese to last me nearly a lifetime...
This is from the Broadway Market website: Broadway Market in London E8 runs from London Fields park to the Regent’s Canal. It forms part of a pedestrian and cycle-friendly route from Hackney Empire through the park, over the canal and on to Haggerston Park and Hackney City Farm at the junction with Hackney Road.
Lots of buses run to Hackney Road and Mare Street. The nearest rail stations are London Fields (a few minutes walk away, 10 minutes to Liverpool Street) Haggerston on the London Overground and Hackney Central near the Empire. The nearest tube station is Bethnal Green.There’s plenty of space to park in the streets around the market. But it’s much easier to walk or cycle. And the canal towpaths run all the way from Islington to Canary Wharf.
The market is only open on Saturdays and you can visit their website here. If you wa
A friend of my parents used to live in London and sent me some restaurant recommendations a couple of year back. I have only been to a couple of these places but I am working my way down the list slowly...
1. Rules, 35 Maiden Lane, this is London’s oldest restaurant and is supposedly very cool, go here for dinner.
2. Le Caprice (French), Arlington Street behind the Ritz, go for dinner
3. Scotts (Seafood and some meat dishes), 20 Mount Street by Grosvenor Square, go for dinner
4. E&O, 14 Blenheim Crescent in Notting Hill, go for lunch
5. Locatelli (Italian), 8 Seymour Street close to Oxford Street, go for dinner
6. Notting Hill Brasserie, 92 Kensington Park Road, this place has white table cloths and style, its a cool place for lunch
7. Julies Wine Bar, 135 Portland Road in Holland Park, charming place with mismatching interior and very good prices
8. Cipriani, 25 Davies Street in Mayfair, this place has tons of character and a mafia feel, this is a dinner place
9. Botanist, 7 Sloane Gardens on Sloane Square, I have been for lunch and it wasn’t the best food, but the place is cool so only go for drinks and champagne!
10. Zuma (Asian Fusion), 5 Raphael Street in Knightsbridge, this place is cool but it is very expensive.
11. Greens, St James street in the City of London, this is a lunch place you go to if you want to see how the business people live and work.
12. Vertigo in Tower 42, 25 Old Broad Street, this place has a view of the city, go for lunch.