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Meet a londoner

Meet a londoner

Meet a Londoner: MS Karamat

May 22, 2017

Today’s interview is with MS Karamat an established arts curator/photographer/arts journalist from  London.

Hi MS can you tell our readers a bit about yourself? 

MS Karamat: I’ve been involved within the visual arts all of my life, I think I must have been born with an innate understanding of the arts as my earliest memories are to do with my late mother showing me her ceramic art, the only remaining piece of her work which she showed me was a beautiful green hued bowl with a specific Greek inspired pattern circling it, or regular gallery or theatre trips whilst in primary school, over the years I’ve worked in Film & Music and as an arts & culture journalist.

Now I’m dedicated to developing a two part international book project, a collection of fifty interviews and photographs that I shoot, which brings together the established and emerging artists & documenters of our time from music, film, photography, contemporary art and academia to tell me what it means for them to be fearless.

Every person is incredibly inspiring to me. They includes musicians such as The Pixies, Ed Harcourt, Jack Savoretti, Film Composer Clint Mansell (Black Swan/Requiem For A Dream). Carly Paradis (BBC Line of Duty/Land of Milk and Honey). Humanitarians such as Brita Fernandez Schmidt of Women For Women International UK and many more.

It’s an incredible project that has taken me across the world alongside speaking with numerous artists and visionary thinkers, right here in London, the project couldn’t be more necessary considering our ridiculous fear inducing sociopolitical climate. This project is my nuanced response to it all. It’s as I’ve always believed, that it is through the arts that we can find harmony and understanding- you’re not likely to see people wanting to fight and start a war at a music festival, or when in the presence of artistry in all its forms . Live updates about the project are via twitter @LabelFilm and Instagram: fearandmemory.

Why London? 

MS Karamat: Well I’m a born and raised Londoner, l grew up in Central London, home for me is the South West. Even though I’ve spent a considerable amount of time across North, East and West London socially, for me coming out of either Victoria Station or Waterloo station and walking along the Southbank where the landscape really opens up creating a sense of breathable space unlike any other side of London, really is wondrous.

If you were Mayor for the day what would you do?

MS Karamat: Freeze London transport fares and most importantly make a significant improvement for disability ( including parent & baby) access across London transport .

What are your favourite places to discover new art?

MS Karamat: My favourite places are pop up galleries, street art, word of mouth and social media. Right now I’m always on the look out for artists that have a fearless attitude about their work.

What restaurants can you recommend to our readers and why?

MS Karamat: Brunswick House Café Restaurant in Vauxhall. The food that is well-prepared with love, quality and understanding. It can be trusted to always deliver straight forward incredible service and food made with love in a venue that feels harmonious.

Is there anything that annoys you about living in London and why?

MS Karamat: Pollution. Something NEEDS TO BE done .

Which areas can you usually be found hanging out on a Friday/Saturday evening and where?

Privacy is a virtue my friend 🙂 during university I spent a great deal of time in North & East London especially Camden. In general I recommend along the Southbank, Vauxhall again, Brunswick House and Lavender Hill SW8.

Can you share any hidden gems in London that nobody else knows about?

MS Karamat: OH gosh! Several, I know how to keep a secret though, so I must decline. All Londoner’s will have their own unique experience of the city and therefore have their own hidden gems according to their own preferences. That is what makes this city so unique, it enables everyone to find or create a gem of their own.

Thanks for sharing your London perspective, I look forward to the launch of your book project.

Fashion, Meet a londoner

Meet a Londoner: Aaron Hales – Luxury Accessories Designer

April 5, 2016

Today’s interview is with Aaron Hales a luxury accessories designer. A born Londoner (rare breed these days) Aaron shares with us his favorite parts of South West London.

Meet Aaron Hales

Aaron Hales

Hi Aaron, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I was born and raised in Battersea, South-West London and have always lived in the city. I started life as a classical musician but quickly realised I also had interests and talents elsewhere, which led me down a very diverse path and I have had the pleasure of working on several great projects over the years. My passion for the finer things in life exploded in 2014 when I launched Aaron Hales an accessories label focusing on British craftsmanship, storytelling and my own view of the world. I launched with four designs which, to my surprise, completely sold out. A year and a half later, the brand is growing at a phenomenal rate and we have enjoyed successful seasons at Paris Fashion Week and have nurtured a loyal, passionate customer base. 

Why London?

London has always been my home and even though I enjoy escaping, a part of me will always belong here. I grew up in Battersea, lived in Wimbledon for many years and then moved to Hampstead. I sometimes find the energy in London far too claustrophobic and intense which is why I suppose I have always enjoyed living in areas that I can retreat to, with plenty of green space and a strong sense of community. I did, however, grow up very close to Clapham Junction station so I find a strange comfort in the hustle and bustle and can never bear to be away from it for too long.

Where are your favourite places to go in London ?

I was very proud when the decision was made to make some of our galleries and landmarks free to the public and I am always happy to lose myself in them. I regularly make a pilgrimage to The Wallace Collection as well as to the V&A and Tate to visit my favourite works and I think it is an incredible gift to have such masterpieces on our doorstep.

As someone working fashion where do you go to shop? 

I think working in fashion changes your shopping behaviour forever. I am very aware of the cost of materials and the issues around fast fashion, so I am a lot more focused on timeless, investment pieces. You can always find me in DAKS at the start of Autumn and I think COS has a wonderful Spring knitwear collection.

What is your preferred mode of transport to get around the city?

Weather permitting, I prefer to walk. I will jump on the tube for longer distances and time efficiency but we live in a beautiful city and I try to see as much of it as I can!

Are there any restaurants that you can recommend to our readers and why?

For breakfast, The Atrium at the Landmark Hotel is a wonderful place. Brasserie Max at the Covent Garden Hotel has great food and a fun interior, perfect for dinner with friends. If I’m in Mayfair, I always like coffee and cake at Petrocchi Sede Unica, a great little Independent Italian restaurant on Albermarle Street. It has been around forever, but the Gay Hussar is one of the few places left that conjures up old Soho for me, and the cheese pancakes are to die for.

Is there anything that annoys you about living in London?

I’m annoyed about the number of tower blocks that are being built and I am annoyed that we haven’t been as strict on design consistency as most other European cities would be. We have a beautiful city and I would hate to see a London where natural daylight is a luxury.

As a business owner in London, what advice could you give to others look to start their own business in the city?

Network, be frugal and don’t forget about the rest of the world. London is an amazing place to launch, test and grow a business idea. There are lots of affluent people living here and it is easy to meet those people at events and even through friends, so always push yourself out there and carry business cards with you wherever you go. London is also an expensive city, with cost of living one of the highest in the world, so don’t forget to be frugal and put your money into the area that will truly help you grow. As wonderful as London is, it is not the only city in the world and I think it is really important to understand that. There are lots of potential customers around the UK and just across the pond – they could be your ticket to serious growth.

Can you share any hidden gems in London that nobody else knows about?

There is a place called Falcon Park, very close to where I grew up. It is a stretch of wild green, hidden by buildings and railway arches and it is empty most of the year. I always found it very peaceful and remember sunbathing there with friends in the Summer.
 Falcon Park

Finally, If you had to leave London where would you go?

I fell in love with Marrakech the first time I visited and nearly moved there. I think it is a wonderful place, with an intense magic I haven’t experienced elsewhere. I could definitely see myself living there.

Thanks so much Aaron, you’ve really given us some great places to check out. 

Aaron’s beautiful scarves and accessories are available to buy from
Meet a londoner

Meet A Londoner: Vanessa Agyemang, International Model and Designer – Copper Dust London

April 1, 2016

VAnessa Agyemang

Today’s interview is with Vanessa Agyemang, international model and designer of Copper Dust London. Vanessa’s luxury home decor brand is fast becoming known for its bespoke handmade lampshades and unique fusion of eclectic British and African culture. As a fellow British African I was keen to get her perspective of living in the city. In this interview she shares with us her love of Greenwich and favourite things to do in London.

Hi Vanessa – Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I don’t think a lot of people know, I have degree in Interior Architecture & Design. Outside of being an award winning model I founded luxury home décor brand Copper Dust specialising in handmade limited edition lampshades and illustration. I’ve been lucky enough to combine both my passions. My designs have been featured in The World of Interiors, Elle Décor and House and Garden. Alongside this  I’ve had the opportunity to work with brands such as Nars, Samsung and ASOS. 

Vanessa agyemang - copperdust

Why London?

London is a multicultural city infused with daily inspiration from art, music, theatre and so much more. I live in Greenwich, which means I’m surrounded by parks and Maritime history. I was drawn to Greenwich for it’s quaint boutique shops and Greenwich market. I’ve lived in here for over 10 years and my favourite feature is the freedom to walk across the heath to clear my thoughts and reset.

Where are your favourite places to go in London?

Definitely Shoreditch for its edgy street style,  King’s Cross St Pancras as I love to people watch and see how they interact with the environment. The British Museum is a must because, it always has changing exhibitions, which are always inspiring. 

As an international model – can you share your favourite places to shop?

Nothing can beat a good vintage store, I love to mix that up with African prints from Dalston or prints I’ve sourced from Ghana.

What is your preferred mode of transport to get around the city?

German Gymnasium is a new discovery, with such an unusual name, the fact that it’s a restaurant can throw you. An old gym that has been converted to expose the original beams, with marble columns is an absolute gem.  Tom’s Kitchen set in the beautiful area of Wapping, at the first glance it looks like the french Rivera, the cuisine is British traditional,  I cannot wait to visit place in the summer.  Searcy’s Champagne Bar, the longest Champagne bar in the world. Once again beautiful architecture, with exceptional lighting and the Food is simply divine.

Is there anything that annoys you about the city?

The commute, especially on the London Underground, packed on the trains like sardines can make travelling around the city incredibly uncomfortable.

As a business owner can you give any advice to others wishing to do the same?

Research, research research, there is a lot of support available for start ups is a matter of putting your brand and product out there and networking with the right people.
Vanessa Agyemang

Your work is so unique and beautiful, where does your inspiration come from?

I draw inspiration from my environments, the people and the work and I surround myself with. My work is influenced by my cross culture between Ghana and the UK. I love bold prints, contrasted by block colours. My illustrations are intense and express depth and emotion. I use mixed media depending on the product, each item is handmade with love, and a limited edition. Copper Dust products are made for the design conscious home to add a timeless feature to your living space.

Can you share any hidden gems in London that nobody else knows about?

There is a pedestrian tunnel that starts in Greenwich and goes under the river Thames and you come out in East London, a great stroll and a secret discovery.

Are there any other cities you would live in?

I’ve always known I would like to expand my business internationally, and since the first time I visited Barcelona I fell in love. The food, lifestyle and abundance of things to to do makes it my number one spot.

Thanks Vanessa – i’m mentally making notes to check out German Gymnasium – it sounds amazing!

Meet a londoner

Meet a Londoner: Cherry Collins, Creative Director of shopping app GRABBLE

March 10, 2016

Today’s we meet the ‘FashionITster’ – Cherry Collins, Creative Director of one of London’s hottest tech start-ups and must-have shopping app GRABBLE.

Meet Cherry Collins 

cherry collins

Cherry, can you tell us a bit about yourself? 

Having spent almost a decade working within the fashion industry doing everything from print design to styling, I joined Grabble – a new mobile shopping app – in 2015 where I’m now Creative Director.

Why London?

I moved to London from Tunbridge Wells. I was absolutely desperate to escape to the city and loved the idea of being a small fish in a big pond. As much as I love the country and ironically, am now at an age where I appreciate it, I found it quite suffocating and was definitely craving a more creative, vibrant atmosphere.

I live in Greenwich and have done for 12 years now. When I left for university, I didn’t want to be paying extortionate rates for student accommodation that I inevitably wouldn’t like. Luckily, I managed to persuade my sister to go halves with me on a flat, and that’s where I’ve been ever since. Greenwich is leafy, has a great little village atmosphere with coffee shops and a wonderful park, much like Tunbridge Wells, but it’s also only a 20 minute tube journey to Bond Street. That said, in two months i’m moving to Battersea so that I can ride my bike to work and take advantage of a different park and excellent brunch spots.

What are your favourite places to go in London?

There’s nothing quite like strolling around Borough Market before walking along the South Bank in the Summer. Somerset House at Christmas is magical, as is the Natural History Museum at night.

Where do you usually shop?

I love walking around Selfridges, Liberty and The Conran Shop, but I also love stores like Monologue and Modern Society on Redchurch Street.

Are there any restaurants that you can recommend to our readers?

Andrew Edmonds is perfect for a romantic date. Bob Bob Richard is a great way to start a night with the girls. Dishoom’s Shoreditch branch serves the best breakfast, and Ask For Janice is perfect for a quick bite to eat at lunch or for cocktails in their basement after work.

Is there anything that annoys you about living in London?

After 12 years I seem to have finally reached the stage where people pushing me on and off the tube, walking slowly in front of me, and tourists stopping just in front of the tube gates, no longer annoys me!

What advice could you give to others who want to choose to start a business in London?

We’ve moved offices 6/7 times and now we’re finally settled at Runway East, Moorgate. We work with 10/15 other start-ups and it’s not only a great environment, but it means there are always people around to inspire you and to help if there’s something you’re not sure of. My biggest piece of advice would be to choose your location wisely!

Can you share any hidden gems in London that nobody else knows about?

I’m sure other people know about it, but I love breakfast on the water at The Counter Cafe in the Summer, before cycling along the canal to Angel and looking around the little shops there. I’m also a fan of the restaurant No67 in Peckham, they have a lovely greenhouse and bookshop…most of my favourite places revolve around brunch!

Finally, are there any other cities in the world that you’ve visited that you’d live in?

I absolutely love New York, I’d live there in a heartbeat, similarly Vancouver, Stockholm and Copenhagen. I love how similar they are to London in that they’re fast pace and creative, but also how different they are in their offering. New York has superb restaurants, bars and shopping, Vancouver has incredible hills and lakes and such a healthy, clean way of life, Stockholm and Copenhagen are arty and have wonderful homewares.

cherry collins

Grabble is free to download on iOS and Android: Live The Stylish Life. Mobile shopping made simple.

Thanks Cherry for sharing your perspective of the city.

Meet a londoner

Meet a Londoner: Alex from Notting Hill, Instagrammer for Alex On The Road

February 25, 2016

Today’s Meet a Londoner takes us to Notting Hill, a place many of us know and would love to live. It’s beautiful Georgian architecture and pretty little streets have captured the attention of Notting Hill resident Alex Zouaghi who documents it through his very popular instagram page Alex on the road. In this interview he shares his love for the area.

Meet Alex, Notting Hill

pretty Notting hill house

Alex, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Hello ! My name is Alex (Alexandre), I am 28 and I come from Paris! I work in a French School here in London where I teach…Chinese! When I am not in front of my students, I love to take pictures on my instagram page Alex on the road and work on my blog Mr.Swaggy on the Road

Why London?

London has always been a city in which I could picture myself living in! I used to live in Paris and I had the chance to come to London twice before moving here. Each time, I remember thinking that it would be great to live in the city! The reason why I finally moved to London is because I got a position in the school where I am working right now. The project was really exciting so I decided to jump in!

I am now living in Notting Hill which was for me the place I was dreaming of but in which I never thought I could live! And yes, sometimes miracles do happen haha! And I absolutely LOVE my neighbourhood! As you can see on my instagram, Notting Hill really is my daily inspiration for pictures: There is so many beautiful houses, nice coffee shops and restaurants here!notting hill street

Where are your favourite places to visit in London?

While I am not in Notting Hill, I love to go to Hampstead, Primrose Hill or Richmond. I love the village spirit which makes this part of London charming.

Where is your favourite place to shop? 

I am not a big fan of shopping! I only buy things when I need them, especially clothes but I love to go to stationery shops like Pedlars in Notting Hill or even bigger shops like Tiger!

What restaurants can you recommend to our readers and why?

That’s such a difficult question! I love Farm Girl in Notting Hill, the food is delicious and the place is lovely! If you love eating vegetarian, Nama in Westbourne Park is your place! And for those of you who would love to try something different, why not give Danish food a try? Snaps & Rye, in Golborne Grove is great for that!

Is there anything that annoys you about living in London?

Before moving to London, I was living in New York which I fell in love with but which is also really stressful and noisy! I don’t have those problems anymore but here in London there are two things I don’t like about the city: The price of transport and when the tube is not working correctly!

pretty notting hill house

Can you give our readers some tips to capture the best photos of the city?      

There are so many different possibilities to shoot good pictures here! My advice would be to go away from the main streets and get lost in the small alleys and paths to see something different! This is what I love to do and I am always very lucky to find beautiful homes, an old vintage car or a cute solo bike!

Can you share any hidden gems in London that nobody else knows about?

I am now very familiar with Notting Hill that I have walked through it a thousand times! A lot of people only stay in Portobello but I will recommend to go a little north, closer to the Ladbroke Grove tube station, there’s a really small village called Clarendon Cross village. The place is cute and so quiet with great shops nearby and coffee places!

notting hill car

Finally, are there any other cities in the world that you’ve visited that you would live in?

I used to live in Beijing while I was studying Chinese. Living in China is so different from what we can experience in Europe but that really was a great time in my life! I also had the chance to live in New York for my work and it’s there where I started my blog! New York is a fantastic city that I am really excited to go back to someday!

Thanks Alex for sharing your love of Notting Hill, I will definitely be checking out Clarendon Cross Village when the weather is a little warmer.

Art, Meet a londoner

Meet a Londoner: India Whalley – Founder Of The Dot Project Gallery

February 16, 2016

Today we speak to India Whalley, Founder of The Dot Project. After several years working in Interior Design India founded The Dot Project, a new art gallery in the heart of Chelsea that not only caters to the seasoned collector but is inspiring a new generation of young collectors.

Meet India 

india whalley

India, Tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m Founder of The Dot Project – a new contemporary art gallery in Chelsea which showcases emerging international artists. I have a passion for discovering great art that will stand the test of time.

Why London?

I was brought up in London, which for me is one of the most exciting cities in the world for contemporary art right now. I also love it’s history. Chelsea – where my gallery is located – housed the first art studios in the 1870s, where it gained a reputation as an artistic and bohemian colony. In the 20th century many artists’ studios were gradually acquired for other purposes, forcing artists to move elsewhere. I love being part of the original, vibrant art scene in Chelsea.

What are your favourite places to visit in London?

I love the Royal Academy of Arts on Piccadilly. I’m a member and love being one of the first to view their shows. The recent Ai Wei Wei exhibition was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen.

This is one of my favourite places too, especially the cafe!

Where are your favourite places to shop?

I love popping into the beautiful boutique shops near my gallery, such as Baar and Bass, which houses the most amazing collections. Im all for supporting small local businesses in the area and finding that unique one of a kind piece!

Are there any restaurants you recommend to our readers?

I’m a member at South Kensington Club, which is perfect for a healthy lunch meeting (and a quick dip in their Watsu Pool after!)

Is there anything that annoys you about living in London?

I used to live in New York when I was an Interior Designer and I loved the fast pace and the ease of getting around the city for meetings. In London I go on many studio visits and social events and I find myself darting from one side of town to the other. I wish everything was nearer!

As a business owner in London, what advice could you give to others look to start their own business in the city?

Have a vision, surround yourself by people who inspire you and believe in yourself! My gallery is approaching its first anniversary – we are going to celebrate by exhibiting for the first time at Art16 in Olympia.

the dot project gallery

The Dot Project

As an art gallery owner can you recommend any London Artist’s that we should pay attention to?

Last month we showed Brixton-based artist, Milla Eastwood. Her paintings are intoxicating and she is definitely one to follow.

Finally, are there any other cities in the world that you’ve visited that you’d live in?

I love Italy. Last summer, my boyfriend and I rented a car and did a road trip – it was so beautiful. We cant wait to go back again this summer.

Thanks India, lots of great places to add to my list! 

Meet a londoner

Meet a Londoner: Rebecca and Sophia from Lioneye Media

February 12, 2016

In today’s interview we hear from Rebecca and Sophia, owners of Lioneye Media a burgeoning social media marketing agency. These self-confessed foodies are women after my own  heart with a broad knowledge of the best of London’s restaurant scene.

Meet Rebecca and Sophia 

lioneye media

Ladies tell us a bit about yourself? 

We’re Sophia (brunette) and Rebecca (blonde) and together we make up Lioneye Media. What started as a best friendship, bonding over cocktails and a love of travel, has evolved into our own social media marketing business. We started the company just over a year ago, and now look after the social media for a number of awesome bars and restaurants around London. You can find us on Twitter at @lioneyemedia.

Why London?  

Rebecca: For me, London is one of the most exciting cities in the world. I love the fact that you can jump on a tube or bus, and within twenty minutes be in area that has its own completely unique vibe. And the fact it’s such a melting pot of cultures, resulting in a huge variety of cuisines, definitely helps! I’ve always lived in the South West, and am currently in Battersea. I really like the sense of community around this area – and all the brunch spots! It’s also brilliant to be so close to London but not feel too swamped by the city. And being near to the park is great.

Sophia: I’ve lived in London for a few years now and I just love it – sometimes it takes a bit of travelling and seeing other places to realise that we are in one of the best cities in the world. London has offered me so many opportunities that I wouldn’t have found elsewhere. I’ve lived East, North and South – and now I’m way out East, but it’s pretty easy to get to Soho from where I live, which is where most of our clients are based and probably my favourite area of London. One of the best things about London is the sheer amount of amazing restaurants and bars there are – as you can probably tell, we’re major foodies, and it’s exciting to know there is always somewhere we haven’t been before.

What are your favourite London Landmarks/places to go and Why?

Both: We love Soho. It has its own wonderful identity, and we think it’s a huge shame that people are trying to ‘clean it up’, which will only result in one boring high street of huge businesses and faceless corporations. The myriad of shops and eateries here is incredible, and whatever time of the day or night you visit, something is going on. We’re also fascinated by its history – to think that the London cocktail scene was born here; that Dick Bradsell created his famous Espresso Martini on Old Compton Street – it’s mind-boggling!

Where are your favourite places to shop? 

Rebecca: I love the array of interesting shops and boutiques around Seven Dials – you can get some really unusual stuff. Sophia and I spent a lot of time near Exmouth Market last year and a ramble through there always yields great results. And I could also spend a whole afternoon in the Nike store.

Sophia: I’m only into shopping if it’s interrupted by a cocktail here and a lunch there… I really like Clerkenwell for its small, quirky shops, Camden Passage Market in Islington is great – and you can always find a good gift in one of the bookshops in Soho!

What restaurants can you recommend to our readers and why?

Both: There are so many! Randall & Aubin has to be visited – it’s got its own fun and flirty charm, the seafood is sensational and the service is second to none. Plus, there’s a giant disco ball rotating above which puts you in a party mood no matter what time of day it is! For brunch, we love Ben’s Canteen and Foxlow. BRGR.CO do the best burgers in London hands-down and Roxie Steak is fantastic for a relaxed evening of delicious steak and really great wine. Also, for a sophisticated dinner, we really enjoyed 35 New Cavendish in Marylebone. Lovely!


Is there anything that annoys you about living in London and why?

Rebecca: It doesn’t annoy me, but I do occasionally miss the green fields and fresh air. But then I just hop on a train and head home to Bath for a few days.

Sophia: Not really. Some people moan about how busy it is, but what do you expect in a capital city? And everywhere isn’t like Covent Garden or Piccadilly. The concept that other people have of ‘rude Londoners’ actually annoys me because it’s not usually the case – people help each other out a lot more than you’d expect, like helping with a heavy bag up the stairs – and some of the Underground announcers are particularly cheery!

As someone who spends a lot of time socialising for their job where can you recommend to our readers to let their hair down?      

Both: El Camion is a funky Mexican restaurant in Soho that has a members’ bar downstairs called The Pink Chihuahua, open until 3am. They serve the best margaritas and are an industry favourite. Plus you can get tacos at 2am – amazing! Ain’t Nothin’ But is a blues bar just off Carnaby Street – it is the place to go on a Friday night for live music and good times.

Can you share any hidden gems in London that nobody else knows about?

Both: We adore the bar Cartizze in Lancashire Court – it’s so classy, with that old-school glamour. They do a perfect martini. Some of the best cocktails are found in hotel bars, and we fell in love with The Chesterfield in Mayfair. They do wonderful Woodford Reserve Old Fashioneds – as well as cheese on toast bar snacks! For something more casual but with food that will blow your mind is Bang Bang Canteen in Fitzrovia. We love Southeast Asian flavours and the Vietnamese food here is to die for. And The Smoking Goat on Denmark Street is another tiny place where we could happily spend the whole day sitting at the bar, eating their delicious food and drinking their perfect cocktails.

Finally, are there any other cities in the world that you’ve visited that you’d live in?

Both: We try and go on a big trip together once a year, and so far have done New York, LA and Thailand. All of them have a special place in our hearts, and we could probably live in any of them! For Thailand, it’s the weather and food; for LA it’s the outdoor lifestyle; and New York just has an incredible personality all of its own, especially Brooklyn. We’re off to Madrid in two weeks, so that might be a new favourite!

Thanks ladies, you’ve given us lots of new places to try!


Twitter: @lioneyemedia

Instagram: @lioneyemedia

Meet a londoner

Meet a Londoner: Benjamin Lipari – Suave Instagram and Digital Comms Guru

February 4, 2016

In today’s post, suave Benjamin Lipari, Instagram guru and antipodean traveller shares his love of East London, great food and shares his tips to help you Instagram like a pro!

Meet Benjamin

Benjamin Lipari

Hi Ben, can you tell our readers a bit about yourself?

I was born in Italy and moved to Sydney, Australia when I was young. I was lucky enough to grow up in a stunning part of the world called The Northern Beaches or Summer Bay for you Home and Away fans. I studied Marketing and Communications and worked in various roles across Brand and Advertising for The Commonwealth Bank. In my free time I love playing around, plotting/planning my next Instagram post. Instagram has alway been a creative release for me and I love how it connects people from all walks of life.

Why London?

Basically I was on a 9 month sabbatical (like a good Australian) and was asked to MC my friends wedding in Surrey at the start of my trip. I came to London and completely fell in love with it. I was meant to stay for 3 days but ended up being here for 2 weeks and knew it was where I belonged. I continued spending the summer gallivanting around Europe before settling in East London just over a year ago. I believe London provides an opportunity for everyone to find their tribe. There is so much diversity, I genuinely feel there is something for everyone. I was consumed by East London. There is something so real and raw about it which I love. From collecting ingredients for brunch sessions at Broadway Market to purifying yourself with a wander down Columbia Road Flower Market, East London well and truly has me.

As someone who’s moved to London from another country, what is different about London compared to where you’ve lived previously?

Probably the biggest difference would be the amount of things that are always happening. Back in Sydney, (for me anyway) Monday to Thursday were be in bed by 10pm nights (party animal right?). But here in London there is always something happening, always some way to spend your time, be it exploring new areas, tasting new foods or going to the theatre. I absolutely love it.

Where are your favourite places to shop?

I’m a sucker for a good market and love going to Maltby Street Market on Saturdays to sample the culinary delights that are on display. Coming from Australia and living on the beach (ok I’ll stop), being close to the water is really important to me. I absolutely love walking up Regents Canal and stopping for brunch at one of my favourite little breakfast places on the canal especially The Barge House (get the breakfast special and thank me later). If it’s clothes I’m looking for, you’ll find me on Redchurch Street in Club Monaco convincing myself that I need another scarf haha.

benjamin lipari

What restaurants can you recommend to our readers and why?

Ok, I never want to refer to myself as a ‘foodie’ but being half Italian I certainly appreciate decent food. It all depends on the occasion but when friends visit from out of town, I can’t go past Sushisamba. From the ride in the lift to the 38th floor, to the yellow tail, it’s a complete experience from start to finish. That being said, one of my favourite places for dinner is a small Georgian restaurant near Broadway Market called Little Georgia. It’s run by a lovely family who moved over from Georgia many years ago. The pride they take in sharing their culture with every dish is amazing. It also happens to be BYO which, lets be honest, is a MASSIVE plus haha 🙂

Is there anything that annoys you about living in London?

There are some aspects that I’m still coming to terms with like eggs being in the baking section of the supermarket…Seriously guys, eggs are for breakfast and belong next to the bread. Also at work, people bring in their own cakes and treats when it’s their Birthday or they have something to celebrate…It’s YOUR Birthday, it’s YOUR celebration….we buy YOU cake! Haha.

I agree with you on this Ben, we got it backward! Haha!

Your images on instagram are so beautifully captured – what are your top tips for getting the best shot?

Lighting, lighting, lighting. I can’t stress it enough. I’ve only just discovered the power of correct lighting when taking photos. It gives a far more authentic image than trying to brighten and edit after you’ve taken the shot. Play around with different lighting and shadows to see what works for your account. I’d also say that it’s important to establish your own brand for your Instagram account. This helps create consistency and allows you to develop your own style that you can own.

Where can you usually be found hanging out on a Friday or Saturday evening?

This is going to sound so boring (old man alert) but I live with 6 absolute legends who all share a passion for 90’s RnB and beautiful food. We’re often found cooking up a storm on the BBQ (look at that, an Aussie with a BBQ…) all together dancing around to ‘No scrubs’ by TLC before heading off to one of the local pubs (Mother Kelly’s or The Sun Tavern) for a couple beverages. We’ve been known to recruit people from the pub to come back for a dance at our place from time to time.

Can you share any hidden gems in London that nobody else knows about?

What isn’t a secret is my love of Jazz and a decent cocktail. What’s a little more of a secret is the bar Kansas Smittys which has some of the best Jazz and cocktails in London. They play till all hours of the night. Sit back, grab yourself a Smitty’s Julep and enjoy the smooth sounds hitting your eardrums.

Finally as an avid traveller are there any other cities in the world that you’ve visited that you’ve loved?

Cinque Terre on the Italian Riviera would have to be my favourite. The plan was to stay for a couple nights which then got extended into a week. This town and the locals way of life is so infectious. Each of the 5 towns has something different to offer in their own unique way. Coming from Australia there’s nothing like it back home. I felt like I was inside a child’s imagination. I spent a day with an Aussie girl I met one morning. We spent the day going from each town by train (lazy I know) starting at Riomaggiore with the plan to get to the furthest town to swim and get our tan on.

Along the way at each town we were making friends with locals and travellers alike. Stopped at the third town and found a local family deli where we ordered cheeses, different types of ham and tomatoes for a mezze platter along with beverages. We sat on the rocks with our fresh local produce, sun beating down, the locals fishing, kids running and swimming. It probably one of the most perfect moments of my life. We managed to get to the last town and a train back to Riomaggrie in time for the sunset. We took a bottle of wine to the highest point of the town which happened to be a church and watch the sun set over the Mediterranean. Dusk is my favourite time of the day because of the colours it produces and given Cinque is already socked in colours it made for something really special.

Wow, that sounds idyllic. Thanks Ben for sharing your infectious love of East London. As an East Londoner myself I really do identify with your sentiments. 

Want to feature in our Meet a Londoner section? Get in touch, we want to hear lot’s of different perspectives of living in London.

Meet a londoner

Meet a Londoner: Katherine Omerod – Editorial Director –

February 2, 2016

Meet Katherine

Katherine Omerod

Today’s interview is with the very stylish Katherine Omerod, Editorial Director of I came across Katherine’s instagram and was struck by the beautiful images of the places she has visited and her well put together style. In this piece Katherine shares with us her love of North West London.

Katherine, tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m Editorial Director at global digital shopping destination, and I live in Queens Park.

2) Why London?

I went to school in the suburbs close to Bromley, but was born in Munich, where my dad still lives. From a really young age, I knew it was always going to be bright lights, big city for me. I went to Uni in Edinburgh which was lovely, but felt very small after 4 years. There was never any question that I would live in London – I’ve been here for more than 10 years now.

What drew you to live in Queen’s Park?

I was drawn by its walking distance to Notting Hill, but it’s much more affordable. There’s diversity, artisanal coffee shops and a local farmers market as well as great amenities including my gym Frame which was what drew me from Kilburn where I was living before my move to Queen’s Park. I’ve been living here for two years and five years in North West London overall. I’ve lived in Islington, Hackney, Chiswick, Hammersmith and Kennington. All had their ups and downs, but Queens Park feels like home.

What are your favourite places to visit in the city?

The National Portrait Gallery is my favourite of all of London’s incredible museums – as a history student, it is just the ultimate cultural destination. I love Hampstead and spend a lot of weekends on the Heath. But Notting Hill is probably my favourite place to while away hours.

Where do you usually shop? 

I’m a big online shopper, but love mooching in Notting Hill – Matches, Maje etc. I love Iris in Queens Park and if I’m high street shopping I’ll go to the King’s Road.

Katherine Omerod

What restaurants can you recommend to our readers and why?

Ida in Queens Park is an incredible neighbourhood restaurant and during the week you can get a fantastic plate of homemade pasta and a glass of red wine.

Is there anything that annoys you about living in London and why?

Not much, I love my city. I mean, the rain gets you down, but it makes you appreciate the sunshine that bit more!

What do you do to de-stress from busy city life?

I do Pilates and Yoga at least three times a week. Socialising with red wine is the less saintly version – that takes place probably more than three times a week.

As a Londoner working in fashion describe your style?

My style is really varied, but generally I’m pretty polished. I’m definitely not conservative though, and I would never be nervous to try anything new.

Can you share any hidden gems in London that nobody else knows about?

The flower shop at Queens Park station is so lovely. The man that runs the stall is very charming and puts a smile on my face nearly every day.

Finally as an avid traveller are there any other cities in the world that you’ve visited that you’d live in?

Los Angeles is right up there. My best girlfriend lives there, I love the sunshine and the space. New York is my home from home—we have an office there which I work out of regularly. I could definitely see myself living there. I’m still very connected with Munich culturally and Amsterdam is my favourite European city!

Thanks Katherine, I’ll have pay Queen’s Park a visit soon! 

Meet a londoner

Meet a Londoner: Andrea from @prettylittlelondon

January 29, 2016
big ben - @prettylittlelondon


Meet Andrea – @prettylittlelondon

Today’s interview is with Andrea who runs a successful instagram account @prettylittlelondon, Andrea’s IG beautifully captures London’s unique architecture and design providing inspiration for those looking to visit.

Hi Andrea, tell us a bit about your background?

Hi my name is Andrea and I am an admin for @prettylittlelondon my curated Instagram page. I work as a Project Manager at a Bank and I love photography and sports. I arrived in London 2 years ago and I have been in love with this city since.

Why London?

I chose London because I wanted to attend an MA in the UK. I currently live in London Bridge and have been here for 5 months now. I have chosen this area as it is in walking distance from where I work, and it avoids me taking the tube during rush hour, keeps me healthy and saves me a lot of money I can then spend in booze. One of the best features of where I live is that it is really central, I am 10 minutes walk from the Tower Bridge and right next to Borough Market, where you can find any variety of food.

Where are your favourite places to visit in London?

I love to go to Notting Hill and Hampstead in my free time to take pictures. There are so many beautiful houses and lovely vintage cars to photograph, it’s overwhelming. I also love going out at Oxford Street where my Uni used to be, there are nice shops in the day time and good clubs to go out in.

Where do you do your shopping?

My favourite place to shop is without any doubt Westfield. It is the biggest shopping centre in London and you can often find good deals. But be careful and don’t get carried away, last time I went I spent over £600 in Zara. In my defence their winter collection is great this year!

What restaurants can you recommend to our readers?

I would definitely go to Sketch or the Aqua Shard. The food is fantastic and the venue is dreamy. Sketch, in Regent Street, has this unique pink style inside and the best toilets in the world (I know I sound crazy, but wait till you see them). And The Shard just has the best view in London, with excellent food and service.

Is there anything that annoys you about living in London?

The only thing that annoys me about London is that there is no night underground, and I am hoping that it will open soon (even if it’s not likely). It would make it easier for people to get home safe after a night out.

Where can you capture the best photos of the city?

For good photos I would definitely try the Monument of the Great Fire of London in Monument, the Sky Garden, Waterloo Bridge at sunset, the View from the Shard and Primrose Hill.



Can you share any hidden gems in London that nobody else knows about?

I would look for Neal’s Yard in Covent Garden or any narrow street in Notting Hill, where you can truly find some really colourful hidden gems.

Finally, are there any other cities in the world that you’ve visited that you could live ?

I have been to almost every capital in Europe as my parents own a travel agency and have worked as a travel agent, and I can say that no city comes close to the beauty and diversity of London.

Thanks for sharing your perspective Andrea.