London Brunch: Ivy Chelsea Garden and Chelsea Wanderings

Recently, the London brunch queens decided to head west and pay homage to a very famous London brunch outpost – the Ivy Chelsea Garden. Buzzy, oft-instagrammed and sometimes filled with a celeb sighting or two – the Chelsea Garden is a member of the Ivy family of restaurants and probably it’s most hyped member. So, is it worth it?

Spoiler Alert: the short answer, is yes. Reasonably priced, yummy food, attentive service, and a beautiful and scene-y ambiance make the Ivy Chelsea Garden worth every bit of hype and winding through lines of tourists. I’d even make the pilgrimage out on the District/Circle line for it. That’s love. You may have to make your brunch reservation a month in advance, but have you seen the pink sofas and eggs benedict?

I had the classic while my friends went with the fancy lobster and trendy avocado. Much to the pleasure of my American sensibilities, they have a pot of filtered coffee on the menu with cream. It’s surprisingly very difficult to find classic coffee and cream (half and half) here in the UK, so I inhaled the stuff. Apologies for the lighting. The interiors are gorgeous in person but not the best for instagram food photography. Besides, nothing beats natural light….

The garden terrace tables don’t open until noon, so we missed out on enjoying the famous al fresco space. Once warmer summer weather hits, I will be sprinting to snag a table and sip rose all afternoon long on this patio. I was lovestruck by those seafoam chairs!

After we wandered around the garden and likely overstayed our welcome, we parted ways. I decided to take a detour from studying and explore more of Chelsea. In one of London’s most photogenic neighborhoods, I was not going to waste the fact that I had already made the commute.  Chelsea, and its residents did not disappoint.

I mean, it’s a rule if there’s a bicycle parked out front you have to take a photo, right?

The pastel hues of Lenox Garden Mews are fairly insta-famous, and their pink and lavender facades lived up to their notoriety.

Praise be to the Mercedes driver that parked their car so perfectly in front of this home. Classic London at its classiest and finest. Hate to see the price tag on the car or address.

If you follow me on instagram you’ll have seen this whimsical little porch already. Potted plants, pink facades and purple doors. So lovely. It’s on Bywater Street, and a definite visit for any photographers. Practically every house on that road is begging to be photographed.

Added Scalini to my list of London restaurants to try. Locals filtered in pretty regularly and that royal blue facade is enough to tempt me.

After exhausting my feet and appetite for photography (my phone memory was starting to wane as well), I decided to bid adieu to my fantasy Chelsea life. I’ll certainly be back once the summer sun returns, to sip pink cocktails in the garden and waste away another afternoon discovering more dream homes.

 

Linking Up With:

Wanderful Wednesday hosted by Lauren of Lauren on Location, Van of Snow in Tromso, Isabel of The Sunny Side of This and Marcella of What a Wonderful World. Click on the button below to check out more great travel content!

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DISCLAIMER:
This is not a sponsored post and all products were purchased with my money. Affiliate links are occasionally used when linking products. This gives me a small percentage of a purchase total through these links. This does not affect the price you pay for items through these links. All ShopStyle & AirBnB links are affiliate links.

London Cheap Eats: Pepe, Covent Garden

After a surprisingly industrious morning reading for school and photographing some perfectly pink mews in South Kensington (you can see my snaps on Insta), I decided to reward myself today with one of my favorite London cheap eats – Pepe. Right around the corner from Coven Garden and Mr. Fogg’s, this little pizza haven is just off of St. Martin’s Lane.

There’s usually a queue around lunch time, but they really rush people through quickly and efficiently. Also, I’m always down to patiently wait in line when these salivating sights keep me in their thrall.

While I’m always down for a fancy brunch or wining and dining at a posh Mayfair hotspot, I’m still a student and London is DAMN expensive. Pepe is only 4 pounds for two large slices of pizza, so I can feast to my heart’s content without feeling guilty.

Pepe has other dishes like pasta, but I’d stick to the pizza. They reheat the pasta in a microwave, and the sauce (aka the best part) gets all vaporized and gross. It’s also a few pounds more expensive than the pizza, and the slices win quality-wise every day of the week. TEAM ZA!

Trying not to burn my hands on my scalding hot pieces of heaven, I walked a few blocks to enjoy my sausage and spinach selection in solitude at a nearby park. Let’s be honest, I also wanted to find a food photography spot where less passerbys could gawk at me while I burned my hand and held my pizza like Simba over Pride Rock. No shame in my #foodporn game!

Check out Pepe the next time you need a cheap, yet fully satisfying meal in Covent Garden. There are so many overpriced, tourist traps in that area, so I wouldn’t steer you wrong. Plus, you’ll have more money to spend at the bevy of nearby shops. Win-win.

Love traveling? Grab $35 in Air BnB credit when you create an account through THIS LINK! It’s free to you, and I’ll receive a credit when you sign up. Thanks and happy traveling!

DISCLAIMER:
This is not a sponsored post and all products were purchased with my money. Affiliate links are occasionally used when linking products. This gives me a small percentage of a purchase total through these links. This does not affect the price you pay for items through these links. All ShopStyle & AirBnB links are affiliate links.

Valentine’s Day in London

Happy early Valentine’s Day, internet friends! In honor of the much better Galentine’s Day holiday (if you didn’t watch Parks & Rec, you can learn more about the holy day here), I decided to take myself around London on a festive little date. As Tom Haverford says, treat yourself. Lucky for me, the city is adorned with its best red and pink glitz and is almost as charming as when it’s decked out for Christmas.

To start the day, I made a pilgrimage to a famously pink palace in Belgravia that was looking even more whimsical than usual (and a bit like Cupid threw up on it – in the best way possible)….

Right around the corner from Victoria Station in swanky Belgravia, Peggy Porschen is a cake and tea shop known for its insta-famous cotton candy facade. Wrapped in flowers and balloons, the shop looked St. Valentine-approved.

The selection of sweets was just as mouth-watering as the decorations.

Since Galentine’s Day only comes once a year, I settled on a strawberry champagne cupcake for breakfast. Leslie Knope would approve.

Pink Sunglasses

Sidenote: the roses on top are not edible. I may have given them a try, since I have no restraint with food. The rest of the cupcake, however, was entirely edible and entirely delicious. After literally licking my fingers clean, I strolled around Belgravia to discover any other decorated shops. They weren’t as over the top and candy pink as Peggy Porschen, but Neill Strain Florist and Jo Malone also impressed.

Leave it to a florist to nail extravagant romance.

Belgravia is pretty residential and full of quintessential London row houses that I can’t afford.  Sadly, I did not bump into any future first husband potentials while stalking the mansions. Before I could get too depressed by all the fabulous, over-priced real estate, I headed to Mayfair to scout out more of the V-Day spirit.

While there were plenty of chic storefronts that ALMOST made me want a boyfriend, Fenwick on Bond Street was the showstopper.

How fantastic are those balloons? Can I have them for my next birthday party? They also reminded me of one of my favorite movies, Up, which honestly tells one of the best cinematic love stories in its first 10 minutes.  It was the perfect fanciful stunner to cap off Galentine’s Day.

While it’s no Galentine’s Day, tomorrow I’ll likely be spending Valentine’s Day again with my two great loves: food and London. Hope yours is filled with lots of love!

Shop my Valentine’s Day favorites:

Love traveling? Grab $35 in Air BnB credit when you create an account through THIS LINK! It’s free to you, and I’ll receive a credit when you sign up. Thanks and happy traveling!

DISCLAIMER:
This is not a sponsored post and all products were purchased with my money. Affiliate links are occasionally used when linking products. This gives me a small percentage of a purchase total through these links. This does not affect the price you pay for items through these links. All ShopStyle & AirBnB links are affiliate links.

London Brunch: Daisy Green, Marylebone

After visiting our home kingdoms for the holidays, the London brunch queens were finally reunited this past rainy Sunday. To celebrate the end of our winter hiatus, we made our way to Marylebone to do what we do best – brunch and avoid studying. The London sky soaked us with a steady stream of cold drizzle, and I was feeling a major post-spinning and post-drinking-too-much-in-Shoreditch hangover, even several mornings after the fact. Frankly, I needed a cute brunch spot to brighten my day and fill my stomach ASAP.

Enter a new fave, Daisy Green. Just a few blocks north of Oxford Street, this Aussie cafe beguiles you from the rainy pavement. Who can resist a neon sign heralding a “Secret Garden Brunch?” Not me!

At first Daisy Green appears to be your run of the mill cafe, but sneak downstairs to enter the whimsical dining room to get your brunch fill. I never thought a basement could be so bright and bohemian garden-esque.

The space is small and adorned with charming touches like cotton-candy paper flowers and shiny streamers. They do take bookings, but luckily we were able to grab a table without a reservation.

Like most Australian cafes, the menu is mostly nutritious with dishes like corn and broccoli fritters, the full Aussie breakfast, eggs on charcoal toast, and shakshuka. Being me, I managed to find the one gluttonous dish on the menu, however, and tucked into the “fancy” bacon sandwich. I mean, there’s spinach, so it’s basically a salad, right?

It was delicious, and I regret nothing. My friend Riley had the decidedly more lean scrambled eggs on charcoal toast. I’m still not sure what charcoal toast is, but it looked cool?

I would definitely return this fanciful hideaway for another round. It’s centrally located, affordable, and has a delicious but not too over-indulgent menu. Plus, you’ll have ample opportunity to photograph its decor and delightfully photogenic facade. It certainly warded off my Sunday scaries. Do you have any London brunch spots I should try? I’m headed to a special one this weekend, and I can’t wait to share it with you!

Shop my London rainy day essentials:

How to Have London’s Best Afternoon Tea at Sketch

So you’ve seen the notorious pink velvet awash on every fashion blogger’s London posts, or maybe you read this article of London’s most Instagrammed restaurants. No matter how you found it, your heart is set on visiting  the glorious pink halls of Sketch during your next trip to London.

I made my first pilgrimage to this basic betch holy site back in December, and I’m happy to report that it lived up to the social media hype. Yes, it’s really that beautiful and pink, and it really was worth the 50 pound price tag.

In case you decide to make the chic visit to Mayfair during an upcoming London trip, I wanted to share my top tips for having the best afternoon tea at Sketch, so you get your money’s worth and take full advantage of the insta opportunity.

Book Well In Advance
Trust me, you aren’t the only tourist or Londoner to see Sketch on Instagram and want to high tail it to its candy-colored halls. This place is packed, especially on weekends and especially in the pink room (more on that soon), so be sure to book ahead, particularly if you’re in London for a limited amount of time. Reservations open one month in advance for tea on their site, so set a reminder to reserve your table on that date.

Book the Correct Room & Time
While the cotton candy velvet dreamland is Sketch’s most famous room, there are actually several different dining options in the restaurant, and all have very specific themes including The Glade, The Lecture Room and the Parlour. If you’re looking for the quintessential experience, book afternoon tea in The Gallery. Dinner is served there as well, if there are no tea reservations available. Afternoon tea service ends around 5:30PM, so book a late reservation from 3:30PM onward. You’re less likely to be asked to give up your table after two hours (there won’t be any more tea reservations to take your spot), and you’ll have a better chance of taking photos without random strangers crowding your pics.

Get Super Bougie
Oh you fancy huh? London is a fashion-conscious, dressy city to begin with, but you can embrace your inner diva even more during your trip to Sketch. Every patron seemed to don their bougie best (even on a Wednesday afternoon), so have some fun, channel your inner Caroline Stanbury or Princess Kate, and get a bit extra. I guarantee someone will be dressed more outrageously than you. Faux fur coat and Celine sunglasses indoors ? Don’t mind if I do! Don’t worry, they were removed post photo op.

Sunglasses // Faux Fur Coat (mine’s old, so I linked a similar style)

Don’t Miss Your Grand Entrance
Located right near busy Regent Street, the entrance to Sketch can be easy to miss to the untrained eye. Mysterious sculptures don the nondescript entry, and if you’re too caught up in the London people-watching you could easily walk right by. I love the whimsical “Alice in Wonderland” esque arrival, just be sure you don’t miss it!

The intriguing, non-labelled entrance, a bit more festive for Christmas.

Find Out What You Like And Order More
Yes, afternoon tea is expensive (starts at 45 pounds, depending on time of year), but luckily refills are included! The waitress kept offering my friend Riley and I more tea, sandwiches and cake, and we feared a massive bill at the end of our meal. When we found out that ordering more food and tea was included, you better believe I (a little too enthusiastically) asked for more coronation chicken, chai tea and glorified grilled cheese. You also can sub out food you don’t like (I’m not a huge smoked salmon fan) for preferred options, so don’t be afraid to make the request. The staff were very helpful and accommodating, and you should feel that you are getting your money’s worth.

I could drink gallons of their chai tea, especially out of the playful cups and pot.

Lose Any Photo Shame
Don’t pretend you booked this tea without Instagram in mind. You came to get some stylish grams, so you better embrace your inner Mario Testino and take advantage of the opportunity. I sometimes can get a bit camera-shy when I’m in public spaces, but at Sketch everyone is hoping to get those absolutely necessary pink photos to bombard social media, so you have nothing to fear. Plus, every detail is so damn photogenic! Snap away, lose any shame, and you’ll be the envy of Instagram.

Take A Bathroom Break
No, I’m not being a weirdo and reminding you to use the toilet. The bathrooms at Sketch are just a work of art that should be appreciated as much as the dining rooms. Men’s on the left and women’s on the right (it’s not labelled, and you don’t want to wander around the men’s side like I did). There are spaceship like pods, trippy lighting and even a selfie-mirror. Definitely take a tour. And said selfie.

Snoop Around
While you can easily spend hours poring over every piece of pink velvet or rose gold in The Gallery, make sure you enjoy a wander around the entire property. Each room is expertly themed and has its own cavalcade of fantastic details to enjoy. I felt like I could have spent hours more there taking in all of the delights.

 

Let me know if you make the journey to the pink palace – I can’t wait to see your photos! 

DISCLAIMER:
This is not a sponsored post and all products were purchased with my money. Affiliate links are occasionally used when linking products. This gives me a small percentage of of a purchase total through these links. This does not affect the price you pay for items through these links. All ShopStyle links are affiliate links.