London, you old smoke. I’d love to say you’re hashtag easy to live with.
I could write you a love letter, quote you Hemingway, invite you round for tea, buy you a baby calf-size bunch of peonies, ride around pastel hued streets on a Boris bike serenading you with my Elton John medley, but quite frankly I’d be a lying.
Side note: I am quite keen to know one thing. If Dishoom conquers the suburbs will we ever really need to go into central London anyway?
You see when people ask me questions like have i met the queen? Will i live in London forever? Can i come and stay? That’s ok …maybe because I live an hour away in a
smug married’s ghetto little hamlet of Sussex.
It’s just not a commutable distance for your average time-poor tourist. Sadly.
…Luxe manor would be Luxe-one-bed-studio-flat-in-Fulham if i did.
But that doesn’t make the 20 or so hours a week I spend in London
brunching and schmoozing attending meetings, or the 10 or so hours I put in ‘commuting’ from home …to breakfast …to lunch any less of an education.
On the contrary, it’s taught me skills and coping strategies for what would otherwise be a state of hot collared, hopelessly lost, did i really just pay 5 quid for coffee without sprinkles high-anxiety.
Survival is what it’s about. And as I’m someone who spends an inordinate amount of time and money shuffling from A to B, the travel hacks I’m about to share make this one of THE most important posts I’ve ever written. If you’re in London.
Rule 1. Book ahead.
It almost seems odd to me that people still stand on busy roads waving their arms in the air hoping to flag a cab. Legit who does that anymore… If I can’t do it on my phone it’s just not happening.
Maybe it’s because I’m a multi-tasker and enjoy booking a cab while simultaneously gulping a pricey cortado. Maybe it’s because actual conversations with strangers, drivers, people in general are something I actively avoid. Who knows.
Kind of like that it’s safer – not from a Big Brother virtual tracking type way, but more a i-don’t-wanna-climb-into-a-random-car-without-at-least-one-person-knowing-my-last-pavement-steps. Being a single white female with a pout and a pleasing clavicle makes me a target non?
Rule 2. Trust the timing of your life.
Travelling during rush hour? It’s another world in London. I deliberately book a black cab over a private plated saloon during rush hour. They enjoy the privilege of that very sexy looking bus lane off limits to your 5-door favourite. So it’s quicker, by like a LOT.
Awkwardly, this trick seems to be up the sleeves of more and more Londoner’s. I suggest if you’re a serial taxi-flagger then it’s business as usual for you in Central/East London. If like me you enjoy more boutique-style shopping experiences and only roam in the prettiest parts of London pretending to live there (Notting Hill i see you) then book your black cab using the app.
Rule 3. Fuel is a feminist issue.
Not the petrol kind btw, and no I promise I’m not about to wander off on a random tangent. See this more as a segway to what is without doubt my cheekiest travel tip to-date.
So lunch fuel in London I accept can be utterly fabulous and I fully endorse…. until it’s me paying for it. Then it’s a total time-waste, plus it’s sabotaging my savings and reinforcing the distance between me and my next big handbag purchase.
To save time, money and keep the pesky hormonal rants – notably the 2:15pm blues if I haven’t eaten – at bay, I book a private car using Karhoo (tinted windows the works). I figure YOLO, why not enjoy quality time tucking into my meal-deal salad in complete privacy. Time permitting I might even squeeze in a lap-selfie for the ‘gram. You do you.
Commuting is tough, and rewards like a cheeky rosé in a decent alfresco haunt are welcomed. So I’ve made a list of my top 5 alfresco hangs across the city. London’s a big place. Enjoy.
Central:Radio roof top bar at the ME London – epic views over Somerset House, allows you to reserve, really photogenic tapas (Mr. Luxe’s words not mine)
Notting Hill: Daylesford on Westbourne Grove – their supper menu in particular their wine and cheese board is unsurpassed in my opinion. Cop a spot on their pavement and watch the world go by in the prettiest pastel hued street of all time.
Canary Wharf: Plateau – cos when you’re married to a banker and spend way to much time waiting patiently for him to arrive, alfresco roof tops and free nibbles is what it’s all about. Plenty of marble surfaces for my blogger brethren too.
Soho: Dean Street Townhouse – alway good for cocktails and totally handy for like everywhere in Soho.
Shoreditch: Boundary Rooftop, happiness is just a Seafood (50% off) Sunday away… great for those new to the area and still waiting for their Shoreditch House membership.
wearing: cotton dress | HEIDI KLEIN
check shirt | RAILS LA
men’s denim jacket | GAP
shoes | CHLOÉ via BICESTER VILLAGE
sunglasses | TAYLOR MORRIS
tote | GOYARD
ps. special shout to karhoo.com and to ComCab, Clock Cars and Addison Lee for ferrying me door to door and allowing me extra time at drop-off for the necessary captures – it was appreciated.
*what Karhoo say “Karhoo is the global cab comparison app giving you the flexibility to choose and book your cab based on the features that matter most. We let you compare and book your ride by price, ETA, vehicle style and cab company, so whether you’re looking for a black cab, minicab or executive car, Karhoo has you covered. Karhoo also offers pre-booking and immediate pickup with fixed pricing, meaning no matter what time of day or night you travel, the price you book is the price you pay.”