Firstly, happy new year to all you lovely people. I hope your night was fab and fun filled, whatever you did.
I'm a little sad that my Christmas break has whizzed by so quickly, and while it's with a heavy heart that I'll be leaving my parents and heading back to work, I am also giddy with excitement at returning to London. Despite the fact that the city drives me mad at times, it also affords the opportunity to do just about anything your imagination can conjure. So, here are just a few of the things I can't wait to do when I get back to my adopted home.
1. Sip a passion fruit and ginger caipirihna (or 5...) at Refuel in the Soho Hotel
2. For nights when too many Refuel cocktails have been consumed, stumble on stilettos to nearby Balans, where eggs benedict and many other delicious treats are served 24hrs a day: yum!
3. Saunter through the heavenly Shoe Gallery at Selfridges, which stocks everything from epic Skovgaards to the entirely more gentle Pretty Ballerinas. A place where die hard shoe-holics could easily lose a day!
4. Snuggle into the divinely comfortable leather seats at the Electric Cinema, order a bottle of wine, and enjoy the latest movies in decidedly decadent style
5. Get lost in Liberty, possibly the most beautiful and perfectly edited department store you could imagine. My favourite corners of the store are the book section - perfect for those days when you need a bit of inspiration- and the fabric floor, which I can never leave without buying some new buttons! The Tarte au Citron in the cafe is perhaps the most delicious I've ever tasted.
6. Visit Tate Modern on the South Bank. The current Turbine Hall installation, Sunflower Seeds by Ai Weiwei, is incredibly impressive and you're only a quick stroll from one of my favourite places to eat...
7. Canteen, which specialise in grown-up school dinners, with food that is immensely comforting and totally delicious. The roast chicken with fries and garlic mayonnaise, accompanied by a glass of chablis is basically irresistable to me!
8. Visit Ryantown, artist Rob Ryan's fantastic shop. For as long as I have loved Rob Ryan's work, I have still never made time to get down to his east London store. Whimsical, nostalgic and utterly romantic, his beautiful screen prints hark to a happy little world filled with love, happiness and a sprinkle of magic.
9. Although it's on every list of things to do in London, it's with good reason, as a trip to the capital wouldn't be complete with visiting Borough Market. It's basically foodie heaven, and whatever you want, it's a safe bet you'll find it there. Stock up on Pieminister Pies, grab a wild boar burger and drink as much Monmouth Coffee as you can without causing jangling nerves!
10. Take a stroll over as many of the Thames bridges as you can, some during the day, and some at night. When I first moved to London, I remember being completely awestruck at the sight of the river and the beautiful buildings that flank it, especially by night. That feeling has never left me, and I always pause for a quick glance, even if I end up late for meetings!
So, that's just a small slice of my London must-sees. What are your favourites?
Image courtesy of 7art-screensavers.com