It’s no secret that I love modern, Scandi-chic decor. My various interiors round-up posts can attest to that. But, if you can believe it, this development in my tastes is actually relatively recent, borne out of seeking adulthood simplicity. In fact, for many, many years — and with multiple degrees in Medieval English Literature as further proof — I was most drawn to antiques. Yearning to be an antiques collector in my youth, I dreamt of filling my home with ancient artefacts, ornate objects and curious collectables. A home that would look somewhere between Indiana Jones and Antiques Roadshow, I can only imagine.
My love affair with Bloody Marys began young — with visions of my mother, beginning every ‘fancy night’ with a ‘Bloody Mary: hold the vodka” (the woman doesn’t drink. Smart lady). While it took me years to figure out she was just drinking spicy tomato juice (she insists it’s ‘more complex’ than that, lolz), I quickly fell in love with its sweet, spicy, savoury taste. Done right, it can taste like Sunday morning heaven. Done wrong, and it’s like drinking a can of chopped tomatoes (I’m looking at you, Dishoom). I’ve spent 8 years in London, drinking my way through brunch spot after brunch spot to discover London’s best offerings. The 5 best Bloody Marys in London, ranked and photographed, for your spicy tomato pleasure.
This might be my most controversial post yet. And I wrote an entire post about how I think 99% of skincare is terrible. Us Londoners are a funny bunch: open, welcoming, but fiercely territorial, and weirdly divisive about a rather dull-coloured river. Ask a Londoner what tourist sites to go to, and they’ll probably rattle off the same few — but with a strikingly different opinion about what’s good (and not).
While the rest of the world is going, “Autumn! Sweaters! Pumpkin Spice Lattes!” I’m sitting over here going, “Will we get one last bit of summer?” Perhaps I’m too stalwart of a purist, but for me, Autumn only begins on September 21st. There’s an Equinox, people. Also, Stag and I still have a few ‘summer holidays’ left, one to toasty Italy. So excuse me while I dream of floral dresses, gardens and sunshine.
Which is apt, considering I’m currently going through our pictures from the Chelsea Physic Garden, a 17th-century medical garden that we visited on a sun-drenched, warm early August day.
“Is there anything you particularly want to do while in London?” I asked my good friend, Amy, in a Facebook message. It was September 2013, and she was visiting me from the US for a week in London. I had thoughts of the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey — or perhaps something a bit more unusual, like The Hunterian, or Columbia Road Flower Market.
My phone dinged not two seconds later, with the message, “Can we go here?” She popped through a link: Mayfield Lavender, a lavender field located not too far outside of London. But far enough away that it made me go, “Really Amy?” and roll my eyes slightly. Amy loves nature and the outdoors — she was on her way to do a year of WOOFing through Europe, after all — so this somewhat strange request didn’t really surprise me.
In the end, we didn’t have time to make the trip out to see the lavender during her visit. But this conversation was the very first time I had even heard about Mayfield Lavender (from a non-local, no less!). It is what began a four-year quest to make it down to see the lavender blooming, each year a failure — until this July, when I finally ticked it off my bucket list.