Dreary winter weather has us wishing for long, hot summer days and makes the idea of escaping to a warmer climate seem all the more desirable. Talented graphic designer and blogger of Fashion Fitness Food, Isobel Masters has ensured we can all get a glimpse of a London summer by sharing with us the city's must-sees for the sunny season. So if you're visiting London or proud to call it home take these summer suggestions into consideration.....
Visit Rooftop Film Club
With classic hits like Clueless, a beautiful view of the London skyline and my very own deck chair on offer, a night at the movies has never sounded so appealing. I've only graced the Roof Gardens in Kensington here a few times, but with summer starting I can tell this will become a Friday night regular for me and the girls. Popcorn all round!
Head to Richmond Park
Whether I'm picking up a Boris Bike (hireable bikes dotted around London City) or putting on my running gear to do a couple of laps, Richmond Park is an amazing spot to embrace the summer weather. Known for it's wildlife, I always keep my eyes peeled for deer, badgers and some rather cute rabbits. Taking a 10 minute detour out of the park to enjoy the view at the top of Richmond Hill is a must do.
Explore the markets
Eating healthy is important and getting my mitts on fresh, great quality produce helps with this lifestyle choice. Farmers markets are all around London, but my favourite stop has to be Borough Markets. It has everything you could possibly want and more. I head there at least once a week to get as much of the gorgeous, organic and locally grown produce I can find. If you're after a spot that also provides lunch, I would beeline for Sloane Square where there is a street food market every Saturday from 10am to 4pm. This is a lot less 'cucumbers and carrots' and a lot more 'every flavour of cupcake that has ever existed' type food so I always go hungry. You can grab London's largest chocolate chip cookie, soak up the sun and maybe walk a few laps of the shopping district - to burn off that cookie of course! This area is known for being the Middleton girls stomping ground, so it's packed full of incredible designer shops and exclusive restaurants.
Indulge at Nama
A stones throw from the iconic Portobello Road, Nama is the hidden gem of the culinary scene in the UK. This raw food restaurant features a menu bulging with tasty and ridiculously healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner options. Not only do they hands down make the best salad I've ever eaten called the 'raw caesar salad' (pictured below) but I also get to pick from an array of milks (including almond, hazelnut and coconut) to compliment my flat white order. What's not to love?
Enjoy Social Eating House
It's popular after a long day to finish off with a night cap and I often head to this Soho sweet spot that has literally something for anyone in any mood. The cocktail menu boasts impressive concoctions and I can never look past the selection of incredible dips and chutneys served with perfectly toasted brochette on the side - the perfect end to a summer's day.
Thanks Isobel! x
In our latest MY CITY feature, we caught up with Meg O'Hara, another awesome New Zealander doing awesome things overseas, to find out what she loves most about her current home, London.
I currently live in London and right now I'm involved in a fashion start-up called Days & Days as well as working for Dazed & Confused and AnOther magazine , which is great and would also thrill my Wanganui-based, 14year old self. I moved to London, from Auckland, about two years ago and I love that you can do really whatever you want here. There are so many options for work and fun, it's ridiculous. The downside being that I'd never really experienced true F.O.M.O until I lived here. The city is really just a collection of villages and each area is quite unique. I've spent most of my time living in Dalston, but I'm just about to move and looking forward to finding what my new neighbourhood has to offer.
Viva! is a small and cozy restaurant, in Dalston, serving tapas and classic Mexican bebidas. Relaxed, super cheap and the best Mexican I've found in London. It has a 90's vibe in the original sense and there's a 99% chance Sublime will be part of the soundtrack to your visit.
London is old. Like, insanely old, and it's easy to romanticise, especially walking through the old Victorian streets around Arnold Circus. It used to be the site of London's most notorious slum, then cleared for social housing, and it's now the location of some great cafes. Including my favourite Rochelle Canteen which is housed in the former bike shed of a Victorian school.
Finding a decent haircut in London is notoriously difficult, so it was a huge relief to my wallet and everyone who has to look at me, to find Glasshouse. It's owned by the super talented Olivia Crighton and located in a beautiful space designed by fellow Victoria University graduates, Lauren Van Uden & Tim Rundle.
The Barbican Estate
Some people might use the words 'hideous monstrosity' to describe the Barbican, but I love it. I love it's grey brutalist architecture and how you can see its completely overbearing towers from almost anywhere in the city. It's worth a visit in both summer & winter and if you venture into its heart there is some amazing landscape design and always somewhere quiet to escape to.
We spent a lively, five hour, eight course Christmas meal here last year and it was amazing. It's hidden away down a desolate East end street but inside it's a cool hangout complete with cheery decorations by local fashion designer Louise Gray.
You don't come to London for the weather. But when the sun comes out, Londoners try and deal the best they can. This usually means wearing a bikini in a public park (I'm not joking). A nicer option is to head to the swimming ponds at Hampstead Heath.
Frieze Art Fair
There are a ton of amazing galleries and exhibitions in London, but one of the best (purely for people-watching) is the Frieze Art Fair. Held in a huge white tent in Regent's Park and hosting booths from galleries all over the world, I swear there were more jackets draped over shoulders here than at Fashion Week.
The Prince George
I love a specially crafted cocktail in a white-tiled, lampshade-free environment as much as the next guy, but London is the land of the pub. There are a lack of good bars and everyone needs to have a local to fill the hours before clubs are any good at around 3am. Mine is The Prince George. It's horribly lit, with an old jukebox as the only form of music and smells of 30 year-old tobacco. This is England.
I haven't really been taken with the shopping in London but Goodhood is a jewel amongst all of the High St chains, of which there are an abundance. Beautifully styled product and a casual atmosphere with lovely staff. They throw great parties and even stock a few Australasian designers.
There are so many landmarks and architectural wonders in London but all of them are are 4 billion times better covered in snow. Nothing shouts foreigner like making a snow angel, but I love it. Mulled wine and then walking home from a night out because all the public transport has stopped. Thoroughly uncool but amazing.