Sometimes the road to career success isn’t always a smooth one. But, as these three trailblazers prove, you can still achieve your dreams
These three female pioneers of unconvention prove that the road to success isn’t always a smooth one…
Ava DuVernay, 46, film director
‘If you’re on a path that’s not the one that you want to be on, you can pivot, and you can also move, and age doesn’t make a difference, [nor does] race, gender.’
The Oscar-nominated director of Selma and A Wrinkle In Time – for which she was the first African-American woman to direct a film with a budget over $100 million – Ava Duvernay started out interning as a news journalist. She moved into PR, founding her own agency in 1999. It was at the age of 32 that she picked up a camera and started taking directing classes.
Angela Ahrendts, 58, senior VP of retail at Apple
‘At some point in your career, maybe you too have made the life-altering decision to start anew. If so, you know first-hand how exciting, challenging, and sometimes disorienting the first 30, 60, 90 days can be.’
Apple’s senior vice president of retail (and the brand’s highest paid executive), Angela Ahrendts started her career in fashion. From a merchandising role at a lingerie company, she moved to Donna Karan, Liz Claiborne and, most famously, was CEO of Burberry from 2006-2014, where her leadership escalated the firm’s value from £2 billion to over £7 billion.
Whitney Wolfe Herd, 29, founder of Bumble
‘Often, the best jobs come out of just meeting people and letting one thing lead to another.’
After a degree in international studies, Wolfe Herd turned down ‘safe’ corporate job offers for a role at a tech incubator funded to make apps. There, she co-founded Tinder, but left in 2014 following sexual-harassment claims. Despite vowing never to go back into online dating, she came up with the idea for female-focused dating app Bumble, which Forbes values at over $1 billion.
Forget climbing the career ladder, today work success is more likely to be about the ‘swerve’ – zigzagging between different jobs and industries
Patricia Bright explains how an unconventional route can be the key to achieving your goals
In 2016, LinkedIn research found that making four job changes by the time you were 32 was ‘normal’. In May 2018, an updated LinkedIn study found that for Generation Z – today’s under 24s – those four jobs had already happened. So, how do you turn an unconventional start into stable success? Here, 31-year-old fashion and beauty vlogger Patricia Bright, who has a following of 2.6 million, reveals the best career tips she’s learned on the path from banker to influencer, and how starting out with nothing fuelled her drive for success.
1. Things can be taken away in an instant. Be prepared
‘I grew up in Battersea, south London, to Nigerian parents. When I was six, my dad was deported. One night, policemen came into the house and took him away while my mum pleaded and my sister and I sobbed. My dad had outstayed his student visa, but hadn’t applied for residency. It took six years to get him back. Alone, Mum could have been broken, but instead she grafted. She cleaned offices at 6am and trained as a nurse, so that she could join the NHS Staff Bank – a talent pool for temporary and part-time work. She opted for the ungodly 2am-6am shifts that pay time-and-a-half. Thanks to that, Mum invested in her first house. She proved that your past doesn’t define your future. But that showed me nothing was guaranteed, and now I don’t just have a professional Plan B – I have Plan C, D and E too. Ask yourself: if everything crumbles, what would I do? You don’t have to reinvent the wheel; consider ways to expand your earnings based on what you know. One friend makes wigs and, rather than just sell them, she set up a class where people pay hundreds of pounds to learn how to make them. I also know a graphic designer who has branched out beyond web design – she now scouts customers via social platforms and offers to curate their Instagram feeds, with font and colour styling. Even if you work nine to five, you could get a bar job on a Saturday night.’
2. If you’re going to fail, fail fast
‘My family wanted me to become a lawyer. In African immigrant families, you’re either a doctor or a lawyer because those professions give your children more academic opportunities. I’d studied A-level biology, chemistry, psychology and business studies – hardcore academia – so I went to the University of Manchester to do a fashion marketing degree as an opportunity to explore my creative dreams. I expected it to be cool to work in fashion, but I hated it. I didn’t enjoy making clothes; the only module I liked was accounting. After a year, I dropped out and switched to an accounting degree. I always say you should try something and see how it goes. If it fails, fine, but move on quickly. Don’t be afraid to fail, just be a fast failure.’
3. Challenge your self-perception
‘After my degree, a friend secured a job at investment bank Merrill Lynch. I thought that sounded great and discovered there was an internship available, but I needed 360 UCAS points to apply. Because I’d previously dropped an AS level and changed degrees, I had 280 – not even close – but my male friend said I should apply anyway. Research shows that men are more likely to apply for a role whether they’re qualified or not. Women, however, wait until they’re qualified or even overqualified. I felt I could do it, so I networked. I went to a Women in Technology event to connect with senior management and recruiters from Merrill Lynch, so they’d remember me. It worked. My application was accepted, but I failed part of the entrance exam. Somehow, they let me resit it and I got the internship. The version of me on paper wasn’t supposed to be there, but I hustled and made them notice me.’
‘When your side hustle is held back by your main job, that’s the time to leap’
4. It’s OK to feel like an imposter
‘In 2009, I started working at Merril Lynch as a business analyst, but I never felt confident. It took seven months for the stiff corporate culture to warm up. Then, two years in, I was made redundant. I felt dread. For one, I had pride in working at Merrill Lynch, but I’d also come from a graduate programme where I was almost babied through it. With that ripped away, I applied for jobs – still feeling underqualified – and moved to Deloitte, consulting for investment banks. Here, your job is to pretend you’re the expert. I remember meeting the head of Camden Council, a 50-year-old Caucasian male. There’s me, this 23-year-old, telling him that his business model is wrong and he should implement my strategy. I had no choice but to forget about my self-consciousness.’
5 .You can survive humiliation
‘I began vlogging in secret at university. I was always into beauty, and there were forums, such as Fotki [similar to Reddit], where women would share their hair journeys or make-up collections. I started doing YouTube tutorials, recording videos in the bathroom, whispering as I didn’t want my housemate to hear because I thought it would be embarrassing. It was my private hobby until an intern at Merrill Lynch picked up my camera and saw a video of me talking and said, “Look at Patricia. Why would anyone do that?” This was around 2011 or 2012, and I felt like a joke. Work colleagues warned me that it didn’t look good for the bank. I shut my YouTube page down for months because I was so ashamed. Even after I started vlogging full-time, I hid it from my family. When I eventually told them, my parents put it so well, saying, “You have to do what career is right for you.”
6. False starts make you stronger
‘By the time I started at Deloitte, I’d been YouTubing undercover for three years, my following was approaching 100k and I was getting vlogging work requests. But the Internet thing still felt random and it wasn’t enough to quit a solid career for. Instead, I was headhunted by MUFG, Japan’s largest bank, as a senior business analyst. While back in banking, I could see that YouTube was moving forwards quickly and I gained more confidence to see where it could take me. When I resigned, citing “personal reasons” because there was no way I could tell them the truth, YouTube became my full-time profession. Well, for three weeks – until I panicked, got cold feet and joined a digital company called Base79 for three months, consulting for brands on how to use YouTube. In a weird way, I needed this false start at an online media company to see the real potential of my channel. I said to myself, you need to go full throttle, put your foot down and do this. Mike Lewis, who wrote When To Jump, about people switching careers, calls it ‘the 10,000 unsexy steps’ you’ll make while chasing your dream job. It’s easy to get so caught up with planning a leap that you never actually do it – it’s called analysis paralysis. But when your side hustle is held back by your main job, that’s the time to leap. To help: invest in your decision. Even putting £10 towards something vital flicks a switch in your brain that says, “If you don’t follow through, the person it will burn is you.”’
7. Confidence comes and grows with putting in the hours
‘Lack of confidence affects everyone. But the number of hours you put into something makes a big difference. If you want to become more confident, you have to apply yourself. I’ve got over 1,700 videos and, taking into account the ones I’ve deleted, I’ve probably filmed 3,000. So, why am I confident on camera? Practice. In my first job, I wasn’t confident. My second job forced me to become confident. Third job, I knew what I was doing because I’d put in the hours. Today, I feel fully in control. Trust yourself. And, more than that, trust your trajectory – whatever it might look like.’
Heart & Hustle by Patricia Bright (£18.99, HQ) is out now
Double, double, toil and trouble – witchery is officially a thing. Here’s what you need to know if you’re thinking about entering the occult
Four months after Netflix’s remake of Sabrina The Teenage Witch launched, black magic is experiencing an unprecedented surge in popularity. The tag #witchesofinstagram now boasts 2 million posts (and rising), and ’grammers like @thehoodwitch (382k followers) and @light_witch (122k) are proving that witches can be influencers, too. Even high-street retailers such as Topshop and Urban Outfitters are offering the kind of traditional ‘Wiccan’ accessories (think pentagon jewellery and spell books) that would have got you executed in the 1400s.
According to Semra Haksever, author of Love Spells: Rituals, Spells And Potions To Spark Your Romantic Life, our growing obsession with witchcraft isn’t all that surprising. ‘In many ways, it’s just another way of exploring wellness and spirituality,’ she says. Hot on the heels of mindfulness, crystals and reiki, is our growing obsession with witchcraft just a natural progression? Or is the reality darker? Could witchcraft – a space arguably inhabited by women alone – be offering us a way to vent our frustration at the status quo, and even seek revenge? Lana Del Rey famously admitted to casting a hex on Trump in 2017.
So, if you want in, for £19.20 (plus delivery), you can order an XXL sage smudge stick to arrive at your door within 20 minutes (thanks, Deliveroo). Incidentally, you can also order crystal eggs, rose quartz and howlite wands (said to help heal, encourage romance and relieve stress, FYI).
Your basic witch starter kit
Add these to your shopping list for maximum sorcerer points
1. Sage smudge stick or Palo Santo. Because nobody wants a dirty aura. (From £1.99, Etsy)
2. Your coven. Witches don’t ride solo, so you’re gonna need to recruit the Salem to your Sabrina.
3. Salt. Don’t waste those flakes of Maldon on your supper, use them to create boundaries and remove negative energy by sprinkling some in the corners of rooms, or at your front door.
4. An old key. The best talisman for manifesting your desires, don’t forget to charge it with your intention (a few chants will do it, but add moonlight or smoke for extra oomph) before using in spells, advises Erica Feldmann in new book Hausmagick.
5. Amethyst. Loved by mystics in the medieval ages for its calming properties, no basic witch should be seen without it.
A spell for long-lasting love
According to Haksever, this is how to magically bag a hot Tinder date
You will need: A pinch of Allspice, a pinch of dried thyme, five cloves, five drops of rose essential oil, a pestle and mortar, a charcoal disc and a heatproof dish.
1 Blend all of the ingredients using a pestle and mortar.
2 Light a charcoal disc in a heatproof dish and add the mixture. Carefully place your ‘swiping’ finger in the smoke and, as you do this, chant out loud what kind of person you would like to meet.
3 Hit Tinder with your spellbound finger!
Love Spells: Rituals, Spells And Potions To Spark Your Romantic Life by Semra Haksever (£10, Hardie Grant). Hausmagick: Transform Your Space With Witchcraft by Erica Feldmann (£16.99, Penguin Random House)
Photographer Brock Elbank has photographed 30 women and children with the rare birthmark disorder Congenital Melanocytic Naevus for his new exhibition, How Do You C Me Now?
From Jameela Jamil’s #I_Weigh campaign, to model Maya Spencer-Berkeley raising awareness of the rare skin condition epidermolysis bullosa, the number of body positivity influencers is happily on the rise.
On Wednesday 13th March, world-renowned photographer Brock Elbank is bringing How Do You C Me Now?, his series of portraits of 30 women and children who have the rare and untreatable birthmark disorder called Congenital Melanocytic Naevus (CMN) to the gallery@oxo, Oxo Tower Wharf.
How Do You C Me Now?, which has been organised by the CMN support group Caring Matters Now, will run for two weeks in London, before it goes on a worldwide tour. One of the subjects of the portraits, Yulianna Yussef, now inspires a huge audience through her Instagram. With her 95,000 followers, Yulianna shares her daily life as someone with CMN, using the hashtag #bareyourbirthmark.
Yulianna was previously bullied because of her birthmarks, and uses her Instagram as a way to inspire body positivity, as well as dispel any myths or untruths about the condition.
She told Marie Claire, ‘I couldn’t even find the right words to describe how happy and grateful I am to Caring Matters Now for this exhibition… [the exhibition] is so important to everyone who has the CMN: it shows you how beautiful you are, how confident you could be and how strong and powerful each one of us is.’
Photographer Brock Elbank, whose previous exhibitions have highlighted the idiosyncratic beauty of people with vitiligo and people with freckles, counts diversity as a key component of his work. He added that How Do You C Me Now? is ‘about raising positive awareness for CMN, the charity and the people with the condition and their families as well as educating the general public that to date haven’t seen the condition.’
As well as causing birthmarks, CMN can also lead to neurological complications in children, as well as increasing the risk of malignant melanoma for some people. Caring Matters Now was established by current CEO Jodi Unsworth, who was an 17-year-old patient at Great Ormond Street Hospital with extensive CMN when she established the charity in 1998.
We’re all trying our best to be ‘woke’, ethical and sustainable. But then again‚ sometimes it’s hard to know what the damn rules are. Here, Francesca Hornak breaks it down
Essential, obviously. But if only waste disposal didn’t come with so many diktats. How clean must an empty pot of Yeo Valley be to guarantee recycling? What about an empty can of sustainably sourced tuna? Is a rinse fine, or does it need to go in the dishwasher, or is that a waste of energy? Which bin does cling film go in? What about cellophane? And Jiffy bags – part paper, part plastic? These are the kind of quandaries that have seen sane people get out of bed to give the hummus pot in the green box an extra wash, for luck.
Hooray for KeepCups! So simple, so stylish! Except that every morning one of two things will happen. You’ll either realise, as you rummage for the sodding cup at the front of a long, tetchy queue for coffee, that you have forgotten it and will have to sidle to your desk with a shameful disposable cup, conscious that yesterday you were talking loudly about ‘that documentary on plastics’. Or you’ll remember the KeepCup just as you’re about to leave home, and locate it sitting in your bag, coated in stale coffee from the day before. You’ll then make yourself late washing it, and detect a hint of Fairy Liquid in your flat white.
‘Why do I never have one of my 500 canvas totes when I’m actually in a shop?’
Isn’t there something innately unclean about Facebook? Even before fake news and all its attendant moral dilemmas, the whole place always felt grubby, posting content for likes from people you neither like nor care about. But still we can’t help ourselves stalking the girl everyone fancied at school and then cursing Mark Zuckerberg for stealing another hour of our lives.
Bags for life
Is it wrong to miss, just slightly, the time when there was always a spare plastic bag kicking around at home? Something to line the bathroom bin with, or shove your muddy trainers in? It is wrong, and you know it. As a result, you now have a huge collection of bags for life under your sink, and an uneasy feeling that these might take even longer to biodegrade than the flimsy plastic bags of yesterday. See also: why do I never have one of my 500 canvas totes when I’m actually in a shop?
Once, you could unwrap a Tampax Compak without seeing a little grenade of toxic plastic, waiting to wash up on a beach. And in a few years’ time, we’ll probably all have mastered Mooncups and Dear Kate pants (does anyone else find this off-puttingly close to a nappy?). But until then, no woman should be begrudged the occasional Lil-Let.
Touted as the no-brainer route to a more sustainable life (assuming you can find joy in life without cheese). That is, until you Google ‘air miles from almond milk’ or ‘is coconut oil worse for you than butter?’ and feel immediately exhausted. But let’s face it, who regularly has time to roast legs of lamb anyway? You’re probably unintentionally vegan half the time out of sheer culinary laziness. Job done.
Stylish spots in the capital for when you need a hit of cake (and sandwiches, obvs)
Looking for the best afternoon tea in London? As people of Britain, it’s our God-given right to indulge our sweet tooth in lavish surroundings at least once a year as part of the sacred ritual that is High Tea.
From tiny sandwiches cut into squares (never triangles – please) to cherry-topped desserts and immaculate white-gloved waiters, here are the best places to have afternoon tea in London.
Festive Afternoon Tea at The Lanesborough, Knightsbridge
The Lanesborough Festive Afternoon Tea
If you’re after a proper luxe, old-school-with-a-twist Afternoon Tea, then let us direct you straight to the five star Lanesborough hotel in Knightsbridge, where their award-winning afternoon tea has had a seasonally-sweet festive makeover with Head Pastry Chef, Gabriel Le Quang, re-imagining all your favourite Christmas classics.
Served in the incredibly grand setting of Céleste dining room, with its chandelier-adorned ceiling, soft blue walls and sink-in sofas, you’ll be serenaded by classic Christmas carols played out live on the piano. Sitting alongside your classic homemade scones, fruit preserves and clotted Devonshire cream, get ready for new festive additions including turkey cranberry on cranberry bread, salmon with wasabi mayonnaise on matcha bread, and brisket beef horseradish on granary bread, with seasonally apt sweets bites coming in the form of chocolate Christmas baubles and hazelnut snowballs (our pick). If this doesn’t get you in the festive swing of things, nothing will…
The Festive Afternoon Tea costs from £55 per person, or from £65 with a glass of Irroy Champagne (well worth it). Available until 30th December 2018.
The Corinthia has always been one of our fave hotels in London, mainly due to the fact we have collectively interviewed many an A-list face within the hallowed walls of this hotel, but don’t let its starry reputation fool you, it is one of THE most welcoming hotels in the capital. Case in point, the afternoon tea – where the staff are not just well informed and friendly, but also very generous with the portions. Want more tea? No problem. Extra sandwiches? You betcha! Yes, unlike some afternoon teas where there are sandwich rations aplenty, afternoon tea at the Corinthia is a plentiful affair.
Taking place in the grand Crystal Moon Lounge (!), with a background buzz of live piano and happy patrons, you will experience the tastiest pastries and cakes and finest teas around (don’t forget to try their bespoke house infusion). Our tip? Opt in for a flute of Laurent-Perrier Champagne, because nothing is more decadent than sipping on fizz whilst eating a finger sandwich.
Afternoon Tea at St. James’s Hotel and Club, Mayfair
Tucked away in a back street behind the Ritz in the heart of London’s Mayfair sits one of London’s best kept secrets: afternoon tea at the St. James’s Hotel & Club. The venue is an institution, renowned for its lush interiors and unique art collection, and is more like stepping into the dining room of a posh Georgian townhouse than a hotel, a real refuge from a day’s shopping in London’s West End. The menu includes bespoke Victorian-themed cakes, scones, sandwiches and teas inspired by the 1840s, the decade in which Afternoon Tea was born. Offerings includes St James Ham and Alberts Chutney, Ox Tongue with Mustard Butter sandwiches, home-made Cheshire Cheese Scones, and Victoria Sponge and Lemon Drizzle cakes to finish. The quality is just what you’d expect from one of Europe’s smallest Michelin-starred restaurants. Visit this Mother’s Day for a special treat. The hotel, which has partnered with the luxury pearl experts, PLAX Jewellery is offering a glass of champagne each, and a unique gift of a pair of handmade pearl earrings alongside your scones.
Alexander Hamilton Afternoon Tea, The Lanesborough
In the heart of Knightsbridge, The Lanesborough hotel’s newly launched Alexander Hamilton Afternoon Tea is just as much of a hit as its musical namesake. Served in the Michelin-starred Céleste dining room, guests are treated to brand new pastry creations inspired by the Broadway smash and created by Head Pastry Chef Gabriel Le Quang.
On top of these incredible pastries, get ready to enjoy scones still warm from the oven, sumptuous finger sandwiches (including the best coronation chicken you will ever taste), a huge range of teas and of course, a glass of champagne to top it all off.
We loved the exotic lace cupcake and the blackberry cheesecake and, as nothing is too much trouble for The Lanesborough team, gluten-free guests can enjoy equally delicious tea-time treats. As they say in the show, ‘you’ll be back!’
Afternoon Tea Dance, Waldorf Hilton
This tea has it all (champagne, Charleston and a bonafide jazz band). Set in the 1908 Waldorf Hilton’s airy Palm Court, dancing duo The Twin Swing will treat you to a silver-sequinned display of classic 1920s dance, accompanied by the Berkeley Square Society Band. When the girls aren’t doing their thing, the marble floor is free for the tea-takers (cue adorable older couples waltzing across the dance floor). After a tea of warm scones, finger sandwiches and delicate cakes, there is an (optional) dance lesson where you can try your luck at the Charleston (warning: you may come away with heightened sympathy for contestants on Strictly), followed by more jazz tunes. This is an afternoon excursion that will warm your heart, leaving you pleasantly full, and possibly a little breathless.
Japanese Afternoon Tea, Sosharu
Escape from Britain for a little while and head out east to Sosharu, which offers a gorgeous Japanese take on an English classic. Combining traditional Japanese desserts such as taiyaki, a fish shaped pastry filled with cream, and creating new staples such as matcha iced fingers, the entire selection stems around the ritual of tea ceremony. Of course, you can’t have afternoon tea without said drink and the tea list is long – as well as the cocktail list.
Summer Garden Afternoon Tea, Strand Palace Hotel
Revamped especially for the summer, the culinary team over at Strand Palace Hotel have revised their classic afternoon tea and made it a little more summer-friendly. The entire set is a stroll through a British garden, with floral touches such as white chocolate roses and milk chocolate butterflies. You can’t go wrong with the savouries either and they put a little spin on the standards – think sirloin steak and horseradish served on orange bread and smoked salmon and cream cheese on charcoal toast.
Designer Afternoon Tea, Thomas’ Cafe at Burberry
Head to the Burberry flagship store on Regent Street to delight in a truly British offering at Thomas’ Cafe – primed and ready for Instagram. With all the classic staples like delicate finger sandwiches, scones and a selection of miniature desserts including lemon drizzles and apple choux buns, it’s all served on a vintage-chic brass cake stand. It also washes down a little easily with a complimentary glass of sparkling rose, which might make perusing their store slightly dangerous.
The Savoy, The Strand
Afternoon tea at The Savoy is practically an institution and their beautiful glass domed Thames Foyer is the perfect setting for it. Their multi-course treat features savoury delights such as a selection of finger sandwiches ranging from the staple egg salad to mozzarella, tomato and pesto options. It wouldn’t be a proper afternoon tea without some tea and scones, which come with a hefty helping of clotted cream, lemon curd and preserve to slather on top. Curated by their Executive Pastry Chef Ludwig Hely, there’s a delightful selection of desserts – think raspberry macarons, tiramisu eclairs and more.
Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea, Sanderson London
Take a tumble down Fitzrovia’s rabbit hole to Sanderson Hotel‘s courtyard garden, where you’ll be treated to a smorgasbord of Alice in Wonderland inspired treats, including a chessboard gateau, a chocolate and pistachio blue caterpillar, an apple, cinnamon and peach ‘Drink Me’ potion, alongside Tweedle Dee’s lemon curd financier. A guaranteed crowd-pleaser for literary fans, each addition is inspired by key characters and chapters from the Wonderland books, served with “Alice” China black tea, (or something stronger if you prefer). It looks so good that you’ll almost have trouble finishing it off (emphasis on ‘almost’). Follow the white rabbit for directions.
Jazz Afternoon Tea, Sheraton Grand London Park Lane
Get inspired by 20s London with this Jazz Afternoon Tea served in the art deco surroundings of the Sheraton Grand’s Palm Court. This musically inspired tea is available for 90 days from April 30th (International Jazz Day) to celebrate the hotel’s 90th anniversary, and is accompanied by live jazz. It arrives in a bird cage – an homage to the unique structure of the 1920’s hotel. Highlights include the edible saxophone atop a chocolate tart, and the pinacolada crème topped with a musical note. There’s a veggie sandwich option too, and of course champagne and fresh fruit juice on offer. As for the tea, there are 27 flavours from which to choose – we recommend the Passion Fruit Ceylon from Sri Lanka.
The Chelsea Harbour Hotel, Chelsea Marina
The great thing about this tea is it gives you harbour-side views without having to leave London. The Chelsea Harbour Hotel has partnered with Whittard of Chelsea, bringing the world-famous 130-year-old tea brand back to its roots. They offer a curated selection of traditional, herbal and speciality teas, which you can leave to brew while enjoying the repertoire of the live pianist. The scones and sandwiches are as delicious as you’d expect, but don’t forget to save space for the sweeter treats – the mini bakewell tart and red velvet cupcakes being the ones to look out for. And at just £22 per person, it’s affordable too. Go on a sunny day to get the best views over the marina.
The Balcon at the Sofitel London St James
High Tea with a difference – think traditional afternoon tea but with a classic French twist. The Balcon serve traditional Dammann Frères tea (which dates back to 1692 when tea was exclusively sold in France by Monsier Damame), accompanied by a delicious array of finger sandwiches and cakes, as well as Parisienne pastries. If you wish, opt for a glass of champagne or signature cocktail – or opt for 90 minutes of free-flowing champagne for an afternoon of decadence. Taking children out for their first afternoon tea experience? The adorable children’s version comes in a paintbox with an accompanying colouring kit.
Balthazar, Covent Garden
Cake lovers and beauty junkies (so everyone then), this one’s for you! To celebrate 25 years of Bobbi Brown, the beauty brand has collaborated with Balthazar to bring you chocolate treats reminiscent of all your favourite products, alongside their traditional afternoon tea menu. Expect champagne infused Shimmer Bricks and Pot Rouge macaroons.
The Bulgari Hotel, Knightsbridge
If you’re less of a ‘chintz’ person (and you fancy a spin around Harrods afterwards) try the ultra-sleek Bulgari Hotel’s festive afternoon tea. The menu includes a nod to the hotel’s Italian roots with mini panettone, while there are other Christmassy flavours in the orange and winter spiced macaroons. If you’re feeling seriously decadent, you can even add a glass of Ruinart champagne.
Hotel Cafe Royal, Mayfair
A quintessentially British choice. Hosted at the hotel’s Oscar Wilde bar, the Royal Tea offers an insight into the history of the tradition, followed by a London-themed menu including strawberry jam roly-poly, their Queen of Heart’s Bakewell Tart, and of course, a choice of custom-blend teas.
Mr Fogg’s, Mayfair
Looking to sip on something a bit stronger than a cup of Earl Grey? Mr Fogg’s is the place. A cocktail menu, a hidden location and a new botanical garden make it a top choice for those looking to indulge their inner-glutton in style. If you’re a gin fiend, you’re in for a treat with their bottomless gin tea.
Muriel’s Kitchen, Soho
Banoffee pie jars, brownie bites and little carrot loafs all accompany the usual suspects at cute Muriel’s Kitchen which is known for its healthy but hearty food. We suggest hitting the Soho branch for cake and Prosecco before heading out to the shops for a bit of tipsy retail therapy.
La Suite West, Hyde Park
This is one of very few vegan afternoon teas in London – at La Suite West’sNosh Garden Kitchen the cream is coconut and the cream cheese is cashew nut. If you haven’t got on board with the whole vegan thing don’t be put off, because there’s plenty here to please. (The chocolate brownie and home-made cinnamon scones are a particular highlight). Plus, it can be enjoyed al-fresco in the hotel’s garden terrace, alongside a tea of your choice or a passion fruit and vanilla lychee mocktail (perfect if you’re trying to cut down on the booze too).
The Modern Pantry, Clerkenwell
If you’re looking for insta-worthy food, The Modern Pantry has got it. Sip on a flute of bubbles while munching on some classics with an innovative twist, like their roast chicken, red pepper, wild garlic pesto and sweet chilli mayo sandwiches.
Bluebird Chelsea, King’s Road
Been watching too many Made in Chelsea re-runs? Then get the whole thing out of your system with a calorie blow out at Bluebird Chelsea, a regular haunt of cast and a great little spot for some people watching. Located on the King’s Road, the first floor restaurant serves a Traditional Afternoon Tea with finger sandwiches, scones and lashings of clotted cream. Jolly good.
Scones not your thing? Artisan gelato and sorbet specialist, Amorino are all about the ice cream. Expect gelato-filled macaroons, gelato roses, refreshing sorbetti drinks and rich Italian hot chocolate to mark the opening of their new Fulham venue.
Sketch, Oxford Circus
Sketch is probably the name on most people’s lips when you ask for a high tea recommendation. Step into the pink parlour, which is decorated by the work of David Shrigley, for an endless supply of tiny, tiny finger sandwiches and fantastical cakes. Before you leave, take a detour to the loos where you can powder your nose in a giant egg-shaped capsule. We’ll leave you with that thought.
Aqua Shard, London Bridge
Not just a delicious menu and some of the best views in the capital, Aqua Shard also offers a glorious nostalgia trip in the form of afternoon tea. As a tribute to the iconic children’s author, Roald Dahl, you can enjoy a selection of novel delicacies from James’ giant peach (meringue) to Mr Twit’s bird pie. In case you were wondering, Snozzcumbers didn’t make the cut.
There’s Christmas decorations, then there’s London’s Christmas decorations. The English capital has really turned things out this year with Oxford Street’s iconic lights, Christmas events galore and Covent Garden putting up a Christmas tree that you can hardly fit in a photograph. It’s not just the big tourist destinations that have been totally transformed as there’s one spot which is attracting a ton of attention, for all the right reasons. If you’ve been on Instagram recently, you may have noticed all your favourite influencers and pals have been snapping pictures outside what looks like an extravagant gingerbread mansion. And we finally know where it actually is.
It turns out that it’s actually an installation at The Ivy Chelsea Garden, a swanky restaurant over on King’s Road. They explained that it’s decorated with “colourful sweets, rock candy and a gingerbread roof” and TBH if this is what that witch’s house looked like, we totally get why Hansel and Gretel stepped in to say hello.
It’s not just the ultimate Instagram opp, as if you drop by you’ll also be able to snag sweet treats for yourself. If you look a little closely, there’s a set of little red boxes you can reach into to pull out treats like candy canes and bon bons. That’s enough reason to drop by in our opinion.
It turns out that it’s been a long labour of love as Pedro Carvalho, The Ivy Chelsea Garden’s general manager, said, “We’ve been planning our Gingerbread House installation for quite a few months and we’re very excited to bring some Christmas cheer to the King’s Road. We hope our guests like the installation as much as we do and we’ll be fully encouraging passers-by to enjoy sweet treats from within the Gingerbread House’s windows.”
If you decide you do want to check out The Ivy (and you absolutely should), they’ve also made a special cocktail themed after their decor. It’s called the Gingerbread Espresso Martini and it brings together espresso, gingerbread syrup, Wyborowa Vodka and Bepi Tosolini Expre liqueur for a delish sounding cocktail.
The installation is lasting through to the end of 2018 and they’ll be packing it all up on January 1, 2019. If there was ever an excuse to go for brunch with your pals next weekend, this is it.
Londoners are used to hearing how impossibly expensive the capital is to live in, after all, web-blinds.com analysed rent prices across UK postcodes and saw that the average person should be earning around £56 an hour (!) to live ‘comfortably’ in the city.
This is because, apparently, rent shouldn’t be more than 35% of a tenant’s income.
Now, obviously that is really not realistic – but what it does show is how pricy things are becoming.
It goes without saying that Christmas in London is a pretty big deal, with every inch of central London strewn in Christmas lights and gigantic ornamented trees popping up like daisies wherever you look. It’s hard to be a Grinch around this time of year as the English capital really gets into the spirit, with a whole range of festive activities packing out the city’s events calendar. While there’s no denying the charm of Winter Wonderland or a classic Christmas panto, there’s a ton of other things going on that you’ll want to get involved with.
For anybody who wants to give a new winter carnival a go, Clapham Common’s Winterville is fast emerging as the hipster’s alternative to Hyde Park’s major offering with a street food market, roller disco rink and more. If you’re looking for something fun to do with your pals, some of the city’s most beautiful locations make ice skating in London a reality with pop up rinks at the Natural History Museum and Somerset House. And of course, if you’re sick of hearing the carols and bells – you can give Sink the Pink’s drag horror show or new musical kid on the block Hadestown a go.
Ready for some festive cheer? Here’s a few Christmas events in London to keep your eye on…
Winter Wonderland in London is always one of the most hotly anticipated events of the year, transforming Hyde Park into a festive paradise. Every year, people flock to the Christmas escape to chow down on mulled wine, bratwurst and other festive delights and hop onto various theme park rides. With classics like the ice skating rink, Christmas circus, Bar Hutte’s Christmas karaoke booths and the ice bar returning, they’re introducing a brand new Peter Pan on Ice show, a Teletubbies extravaganza as well as a new theme for the Magical Ice Kingdom: the Secret Forest.
Where is Winter Wonderland?
Hyde Park, London
Winter Wonderland opening hours
Opens November 22, 4pm-10pm; November 23 – January 6, 10am – 10pm (Closed on Christmas day)
It’s totally free to enter the park, however certain Winter Wonderland attractions require that you book tickets in advance. These include ice skating, the Magical Ice Kingdom, bar ice, the giant wheel, Zippo’s Christmas Circus, Cirque Berserk, the Snowman Experience, Peter Pan on Ice, the Teletubbies Christmas Show, Bar Hutte, the Comedy Club and Ice Sculpting Workshops.
If you’re somebody who prefers the offbeat things in life, Winterville’s emerged as the hipster’s alternative to Winter Wonderland. Fittingly, it takes place in Clapham Common and it’s run by the team behind both Field Day and Street Feast – meaning you can expect banging live music led by Sporty Spice herself with a throwback DJ set and food from London’s most promising culinary geniuses. You can also expect Backyard Cinema to be screening some festive flicks, neon mini golf antics, roller disco, ice rinks, stand up comedy and even Mexican wrestling (because why not). With so much to see and do, you’ll definitely want to drop by and check it out.
Where is Winterville?
Winterville opening hours
Open November 15 – December 23
Entry to the park is free, however attractions including the ice rink, roller disco, Plonk Golf, Backyard Cinema, Chivaree Circus, Bus King Theatre are paid. The full list of ticketed attractions is available here.
Ice skating in London
Ice Skating at Somerset House
Somerset House becomes a dreamy Christmas getaway every year and 2018’s no different. This year, they’ve returned with their gigantic ice skating rink and brought a 40 foot Christmas tree to the table. This year, Fortnum & Mason are actually helping sponsor the rink and they’ve also thrown in an alpine-inspired restaurant lodge and a Christmas arcade for all your gift-buying needs. Plus, there’s also going to be Skate Lates where a number of DJs will light up the ice with some banging tunes.
There’s nothing quite like skating at the Natural History Museum’s rink in the shadow of the architectural masterpiece. It’s an experience that’ll send goosebumps across your skin (and not just because the weather’s freezing) as you skate around a gigantic Christmas tree and under the surrounding tree’s canopy of fairy lights. If you’ve had enough of gliding around, you can also retreat for a mulled wine at the Cafe Bar and balcony where you’ll be able to watch the skaters down below.
Where is it?
Natural History Museum, South Kensington, London
When is it?
Open 25 October 2018 – 20 January 2019, 10am – 9pm (closed on Christmas Day)
How can I get tickets?
Tickets start at £12.65 for adults, £8.80 for children and £9.90 for families. Students pay £9 for access to the rink and a drink and there’s also a parent and toddler package, which is priced at £11 and also comes with a beverage. Tickets can be booked through Ticketmaster.
Christmas Events in London
Christmas Pantomime: Snow White at the London Palladium
There’s nothing like a panto to put you and the family in good spirits and this is set to be one of the biggest this year. Snow White will be taking over the London Palladium this year with the likes of Dawn French, Julian Clary, Paul Zerdin, Charlie Stemp and Danielle Hope ready to banter. Given that last year’s show snagged an Olivier Award, we’re betting this one’s going to be just as impressive.
Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You Tour
We’re not kidding you, this is actually happening. After bringing festive cheer across the United States last year with a Christmas-themed tour, Mariah Carey is taking Europe by storm with a concert full of carols, her biggest hits and of course that eternal classic: All I Want For Christmas Is You. Your biggest issue is going to be trying to snag tickets at a reasonable price…
When is it?
December 11, 7.30pm
Where is it?
The O2 in London, however she’s also touring across the UK at locations like Nottingham and Leeds.
Think you know this age old tale? Nearly There Yet theatre has taken puppetry to the next level with this family-friendly show, in which Pinocchio ventures out into the great unknown and tries to become a real boy. With circus elements, singing and some pretty crafty puppet mastery, it’s a great shout if you’ve got little ones with you over the festive period.
Sink the Pink x Pleasance Theatre: How to Catch a Krampus
Sick of the panto? This show run by drag collective Sink the Pink promises to be unlike any other Christmas show you’ve seen before, with a creepy spine-tingling thriller. Based on the monster myth of the same name, a spiritual medium is put to the test when her latest trick takes on a life of its own and the Krampus is unleashed upon the world. In fact, it promises to be so scary that the show’s even “arranged for first aiders to be present at every performance”. Yikes. Merry Christmas?
Where is it?
Pleasance Theatre, London
When is it?
13 November – 23 December
How can I get tickets?
Tickets can be booked online through Pleasance Theatre’s website here.
This brave new musical has just opened in London and it’s racking up favourable reviews left, right and centre. Forget all the traditional shows on the West End, this folk musicals centres on the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice – transported to an alternate depression-era America. Orpheus, an optimistic musician ventures into a mining town to find his fiance, only to be confronted with its imposing overlord Hades. I’ve personally seen it and I’m not going to lie, I’m seeing it again. It. Is. Glorious.
This cosy little spot on the Southbank is back for the fifth year running, serving up a taste of Scandinavia from the heart of London. With fire pits, a massive Christmas tree and healthy servings of Rekoderlig’s Spiced Plum cider (served cold or hot on those icy nights), you’ll be able to clink your glasses with as the London skyline in full view. Plus, you don’t have to pay entrance – just wander in.
Entrance off Southbank Centre’s Queen’s Walk, London SE1
The Four Realms at Christmas
The Nutcracker is nothing short of a Christmas classic and Disney’s going to be releasing a brand new take on the beloved story with their film The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. To celebrate the movie, Bombas and Parr has created an immersive experience inspired by it where you’ll be able to travel through all four of the magical universes. From the candy-themed Land of Sweets to the mysterious circus realm, this half hour experience is the perfect way to make the magic last.
When is it?
10 – 31 December, 12 – 8pm daily except Sundays, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve (open 12 – 6pm).
Where is it?
The Atrium, Westfield London, Ariel Way, Shepherd’s Bush, W12 7GF
How can I get tickets?
Tickets are priced at £5 for adults, while children aged 12 and under go free. They can be booked through Eventbrite here.
So whether you’re hanging out with friends, family or just trying to figure out a cheeky date night – we’ve got you sorted.
Vuitton lovers, listen up! The newest Louis Vuitton exhibition, Volez Voguez Voyagez has just opened in Shanghai and is a veritable treasure trove all all things Vuitton. Retracing Louis Vuitton’s great journey from 1854, starting with a portrait of a young Louis Vuitton by Chinese artist Yan Pei-Ming, expect to see everything from custom made trunks, portraits and some of the most exquisite custom-made dresses made for the red carpet. Susie Lau attended the opening and documented her trip exclusively for us. Read on to find out her highlights from the exhibition and what she’s up to next.
What are you wearing for the event?
I am so happy to wear an outfit from the Cruise 19 collection which I loved! And yes I can bounce around all night long in these thigh high trainer boots.
How did you decide to do you make up for the event?
I have statement outfit and shoes on, I decided to go for a classic make-up style. A subtle eyeliner/eyeshadow action was perfect for the opening of the Louis Vuitton Volez, Voguez Voyagez exhibition.
Who did you hang around with?
These trips are always great because I have the chance to re-connect with old friends. I loved hanging out with the beautiful Yoyo Cao @yoyokulaka, Chinese stylist/ fashion personality Leaf Greener and Aleali May @alealimay.
What did you have for dinner?
The first night I had dinner with Yoyo at a Sichuan fusion restaurant Dao Jiang Hu. It was delicious!
The day of the event, we went to Sense 8 for lunch. Honestly these were some of the plumpest and most luxurious dim sum I’ve ever had.
Finally, It was a surreal final dinner, I sat with Jaden Smith to my left and Chinese up and coming rapper Lexie Liu to my right. It was a fabulous ending to the trip.
What are you favourite moments at the exhibition?
Oh there are so many…
The venue! It was an incredible space inside the Shanghai Exhibition Centre, which was built by the Russians in 1950s.
It was great to see a close-up of the custom made Louis Vuitton gown Alicia Vikander wore to the Oscars in 2016, where she won Best Actress.
Obviously the Cat’s pyjamas from the Grace Coddington’s latest collab with LV which I saw at the Cruise 19 show this summer!
There was the Cheongsam inspired dress from one of Marc Jacobs collections for LV, which was great to see in person.
I couldn’t stop taking photos of the Shanghai-specific lantern which decorated the entrance to the VVV exhibition. The after party took inspiration from this and had more LV monogrammed lanterns inside where the Chinese mega idol Kris Wu performed.
Artist, He An’s Neon sign that read “Dream With the Wish to Create Desire”
Leaving the exhibition and where off to next?
Ending the night in a digital backdrop photo booth that also featured the beautiful Bund skyline of Shanghai. Itching to get back to London but sadly no rest for the wicked as I’m flitting between Milan and Paris for the next few weeks…
Louis Vuitton will showcase “Volez, Voguez, Voyagez – Louis Vuitton”
at the Shanghai Exhibition Center, an iconic historical building in the center of the city, from 16th November 2018 to 1st February 2019.