AUGUST, IN REVIEW

The month when London is ‘quiet’ (save for the packs of tourists), the month when it’s supposed to be gloriously sunny, the month that my birthday falls. August wasn’t really much of a month, it came and went, the latter part was fun though.
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I'm admitting it. I can't help myself from buying a morning coffee. I'm supposed to be saving my pennies but the beans have got a hold on me! I like to switch up my coffee destinations over the weeks. In mid-August I had a lovely flat white at The Larder, just round the corner from my office. It's such a chill environment, serving lights snacks throughout the day and offering wine tastings in the evening. I am yet to attend the latter but I'll be sure to give it a go!

I'm admitting it. I can't help myself from buying a morning coffee. I'm supposed to be saving my pennies but the beans have got a hold on me! I like to switch up my coffee destinations over the weeks. In mid-August I had a lovely flat white at The Larder, just round the corner from my office. It's such a chill environment, serving lights snacks throughout the day and offering wine tastings in the evening. I am yet to attend the latter but I'll be sure to give it a go!

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I'm probably the only person who spends an afternoon at a gorgeous hotel, only to leave with photos of the lavatories!

That being said, I was too engrossed in enjoying the moment reading Monocle's Summer Newspaper to take photographs.


I enjoyed a lovely light lunch of small plates; cep arancini, mixed leaf salad and pork belly, accompanied by a latte and two delicious cocktails.

Service was charming and the vibe, despite it being rather quiet, was very pleasant.

A 'must-visit' when in Cambridge.

Once again, en route down Wardour Street, Soho, this divinely scrumptious window display stopped me in my tracks. I had walked by a few of times before, but never realised it was one of the famed Gail's Bakeries! I opted for honey cake (centre, with purple edible flowers) and pistachio, lemon and rose cake (top left, pink icing). Yes, they tasted just as good as they looked.

Once again, en route down Wardour Street, Soho, this divinely scrumptious window display stopped me in my tracks. I had walked by a few of times before, but never realised it was one of the famed Gail's Bakeries!

I opted for honey cake (centre, with purple edible flowers) and pistachio, lemon and rose cake (top left, pink icing).

Yes, they tasted just as good as they looked.

Another week, another coffee shop. On this occasion, I was sipping my morning flat white at Tinderbox (I thought these only existed in Scotland?!), within the massive Paperchase store on Goodge St. It's quite a pleasant space, with wall-to-ceiling windows overlooking the hustle and bustle.

Another week, another coffee shop.

On this occasion, I was sipping my morning flat white at Tinderbox (I thought these only existed in Scotland?!), within the massive Paperchase store on Goodge St.

It's quite a pleasant space, with wall-to-ceiling windows overlooking the hustle and bustle.


Bank holiday weekend away at SOPWELL HOUSE, Hertfordshire

Well-deserved
R&R.

A summer highlight.
 

I stayed at Sopwell House for three nights, seeking relaxation, time out and a bit of indulgence; blessed with glorious sunshine throughout, I got exactly what I wanted.

The location is so convenient, only a 20-minute train journey from St Pancras to St Albans, then a quick taxi drive from the station.

As soon as I entered the foyer, I got the feeling of yes. I knew I had made the right decision.

 

EAT

Friday evening, I dined at the casual restaurant, The Brasserie.

I ordered pollock on puy lentils and horseradish mash with cubes of root vegetables. It was lovely (despite the fish ever so slightly overcooked and the horseradish slightly too strong for my taste). The portion was also quite generous. Service was attentive but not too fussy and I was pleased that the maître d gave me a personal welcome upon arrival.

Overall, a pleasant dinner for a casual evening – which was just what I needed.

DRINK

Champagne cocktails and gin were my drinks of choice over the weekend.

The cosy cocktail bar was well-stocked and the bartenders were more than happy to go off-menu for me.

I tried Plymouth Sloe Gin for the first time and I was very impressed.

The only disappointment to the bar was that there was no table service.

RELAX

I got my well-overdue relaxing session in over the weekend. The room was so cosy, the tv had a plethora of channels (there was a Simpsons marathon on... many an episode was watched).

I had an hour-long Clarins rebalancing massage–my first ever massage–and it was fantastic. Ever so slighlty painful as times, but I figured that it was for my own good, so I had to soak it up!

Feeling so zen, the next day I had a fantastic swim in the pool – it was rather small and got crowded easily. However, unbeknownst to me (otherwise I would've took my copy of Monocle) there was a Spa Garden.

Outside, the grand grounds made for a lovely early afternoon stroll. There was also a little pond area with lots of koi carp.

On the Saturday evening, I got all dressed up and dined in The Restaurant, a fine dining.

I thoroughly enjoyed it there, the service was wonderful, the vibe was formal yet relaxed and the food was well balanced. Dining alone is great fun – people watching and soaking up the atmosphere – I loved it.


Sunday evening was super chill. After getting back from my swim, I had a hot bath with lots of bubbles, put on face and hair masks and watched lots of tv.

So, it was a no-brainer that I had to go for room service.
Margherita pizza and a chocolate brownie – it was a perfect treat meal for my final day.

If you're seeking a long weekend getaway to escape the city, I highly recommend Sopwell House (www.sopwellhouse.co.uk). 


DIARYNaomiCAMBRIDGEComment