Except for brief stints in Israel, the US and France, I’ve spent my whole life living in London. There really isn’t anywhere in the world I’d rather live. London is a city I love. It’s home.

So when Time Out’s Love London Awards are back on the radar I’m always interested to see who gets the votes. And because Chelsea is where I have spent most of my life, I am particularly keen on reading about the local hotspots round here.

When I think about my favourite restaurant I would have to say Sophie’s Steakhouse; it’s a home away from home. The staff are always so friendly and welcoming; their tuna steak salad is a favourite; it’s a great place for cocktails or for a family meal with the little one. In fact the list is endless and I consider Sophie’s to be a local institution.

As for my favourite local brunch spot, while I love Sophie’s, I have to also mention Granger & Co. I could sit here all day, people watching and soaking up the beautiful interior. And when the weather is warmer and the terrace is open their outdoor seating in Pavilion Road’s courtyard is a dream.

But what about coffee spots? That’s an interesting one with more new places popping up. But my vote has to go to The Roasting Party on Pavilion Road for quality coffee and great service. I also love their airy upstairs for somewhere to go to.

Time Out’s Love London Awards have several more categories that include (I’ve added my favourites alongside):

  • Local late-night spot – Brinkley’s on Hollywood Road
  • Local place to drink in the sun – Chelsea Farmers’ Market on Sydney Street. Great music, atmosphere and when the sun is shining, the best place to be in Chelsea.
  • Local bar/pub – Hollywood Arms on Hollywood Road
  • Local music venue – Cadogan Hall on Sloane Terrace
  • Local park – Battersea Park
  • Local club/party – Barts on Sloane Avenue
  • Local LGBTQ hangout – Sadly I think the only LGBT pub in Chelsea has now closed down. I might be wrong; please leave a comment below if you have any suggestions.
  • Local culture spot – Saatchi Gallery at Duke of York Square
  • Local landmark – Sloane Square
  • Local shop – Partridges at Duke of York Square

What I love about Love London Awards is it gives us a chance to celebrate local businesses. The ones I have mentioned are just a few I love. I could have also easily mentioned Rabbit, Wulf & Lamb, Hagen or Bread Ahead. In terms of food and drink the last couple of years in Chelsea have been very exciting.

Voting has already opened and will close on 10th April 2018. The winners will be announced on 2nd May 2018.

So if you fancy supporting your local, you can vote here.

I can’t tell you how old I was exactly; perhaps five, six or seven. But the first time I watched a movie in a cinema it was at Curzon Chelsea and the film was Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. My memory of the whole experience is quite vague but I do remember the excitement, some of the images on the screen, a few of the songs, stepping outside afterwards and asking my mother if we could go to the library across the road.

Since my first cinema visit, Curzon Chelsea has been home to some of my fondest memories: watching Grace Kelly in High Society on the big screen with one of my oldest and dearest friends; seeing Ryan Gosling live on stage during a Q&A for his directorial debut Lost River. Needless to say Curzon Chelsea is where my love affair with the big screen started and continues to this very day.

So I am relieved to hear that when Curzon Chelsea closes its doors at the end of March 2018 this will only be a temporary closure.

First opened in 1937 as the Gaumont Palace, this cinema has experienced various transformations. The most recent will be completed in 2022 to allow for a new state-of-the-art cinema with 600 seats across three screens; full wheelchair accessibility (which Curzon Chelsea currently doesn’t have) and improved viewing as well as food and drink experiences.

On top of this the entire block will also be transformed. Waitrose (which is remaining open throughout the works) will be improved; there will still be a large pub next door; new stores and homes (both affordable and market rent) will be built, along with high quality office spaces.

And something I am very excited about; there will be a rooftop bar which will provide a unique view across Chelsea and beyond.

So while doors may be closing at the end of this month, there is a lot to get excited about. This part of King’s Road is not only getting a facelift but there will be plenty of quality reasons to enjoy this area of Chelsea again.

See here for more details on 166-222 King’s Road 

Spring is finally here and as the countdown to Easter begins with the idea of new life being celebrated through endless forms of mouthwatering chocolate, another renaissance has taken place on King’s Road.

The Imperial Arms has had new life breathed into it and one of the last remaining original Victorian pub buildings has been resurrected to a whole new level.

Comfort and style run throughout the pub; making it a very pleasant place to dine. I love the spacious feel and the less awkward layout which I remember from the past.

On top of The Imperial Arms’ impressive makeover the pub’s food, which includes classic dishes, a vegan menu and a breakfast menu, it has James Barlow at the helm of the pub’s team of chefs. Barlow’s experience includes London’s Soho House and Fig & Olive restaurant in New York.

When I popped in for lunch last week I started with the crab and crayfish samosas with mango, chilli and coriander which I absolutely loved.

The OH had the veal carpaccio with mustard caper emulsion, pine nuts and basil.

For main and probably because I was recovering from a horrid cold, I decided to go for a classic; beer battered cod and chips with minted pea purée and tartare sauce which I really enjoyed. There was a lovely twist to the fish which made me feel I wasn’t being too predictable.

The OH also felt like having a classic for lunch so he went for the prime beef burger with raclette cheese, chipotle mayo and beer candied bacon with fries and slaw. He also added a fried egg to his burger. I admit I couldn’t resist a bite and it went down very well.

For dessert we shared the rhubarb on shortbread which was the perfect way to end such a lovely meal.

I’ve visited The Imperial Arms under various ownerships since starting my blog and I do think the new owners have got it right with the food, interior and their very lovely team.

The Imperial Arms, 577 King’s Rd, Chelsea, London SW6 2EH

We were guests of The Imperial Arms.

There’s a lot of buzz around Salon Sloane‘s hair stylists and colourists but there’s another reason to step inside Chelsea’s most stylish hair salon and her name in Lanh.

Lanh is Salon Sloane’s amazing manicurist who is very much in demand. Before Christmas I popped in to see Ivan and was treated to a complimentary manicure by Lanh, which I absolutely loved. So, I wanted to give you a chance to get to know Lanh more so you can see just how special she is.

I asked Lanh a few questions …

What is your manicure background? I grew up in a family of beauticians; all four sisters are beauticians. I started helping out when I was 13 years old; training and learning about the business. During my 25 years experience with 4 years London experience working in high end nail bars in Berkeley Square, Mayfair and Chelsea, I became the personal manicurist for Sarah Doukas and her team (founder of Storm Model agency). I was frequently called for editorial work, celebrity and VIP clients.

What do you love about Chelsea? I live in Battersea and I walk across Albert Bridge to get to work via King’s Road. It’s such a beautiful walk with the park and the river view and then there’s the buzz of Sloane Square and King’s Road which is exciting.

What are the current nail trends? Classic short length almond shaped impeccable manicured nails with a perfectly polished glossy finish. The go-to colour this season is the sweetest, softest pale pink nail polish. What I am using right now is OPI Infinite Shine for a gel-like wear and shine.

Can you share some top hand care tips? Treat your hands as you would your skincare routine. Don’t forget to love your hands. Use a natural based sugar and honey scrub for a radiant glow and keep your hands moisturised especially through the winter months.

What type of experience would your clients at Salon Sloane expect? A relaxing tailored service where you will feel looked after and leave with perfect nails.

Salon Sloane, 186 Pavilion Rd, Chelsea, London SW3 2BF

A couple of the greatest pleasures from blogging are the wonderful folks you meet and the experiences you may not have considered if the blogosphere hadn’t introduced them to you. Both coincided a couple of weeks ago when Emma invited me to join her along with Angie and Jen for lunch at Aqua Kyoto.

Located on the fifth floor of a building on Regent Street (its entrance is on Argyll Street) I would never have happened upon Aqua Kyoto by accident.

Its beautiful interior immediately made me feel I’d happened upon a hidden gem in the West End; this definitely isn’t a place you stumble across by accident. And meeting up with three fabulous bloggers isn’t something I get to do every day, so this lunchtime felt like an absolute treat.

We were there to try Aqua Kyoto’s Go Zen lunch menu which won me over instantly. Go Zen is a traditional Japanese meal which includes a selection of seasonal dishes. Aqua Kyoto’s Go Zen bento boxes included 12 meat, fish or vegetable dishes while their Shojin Ryori vegan selection is something that Buddhist monks in Japan are traditionally known for.

After the miso soup, which was very good, the Kyoto Go Zen bento boxes arrived and included wagyu beef, black cod, sushi and seasonal vegetables. To experience the vegan bento box, the four of us shared the Sohjin Go Zen. It’s difficult to say what I enjoyed the most because the whole meal was pure delight. Each dish was beautifully crafted and their flavours were both rich and satisfying.

Dessert was also very special. We had ordered the Chokoraito Delisu and Foresuto Froa between us for a taste and I enjoyed the surprising bursts of flavours from each dish. The Chokoraito Delisu involved smoked chocolate delice, sesame praline, kaki fruit, sorbet and ginger wafers while the Foresuto Froa was created from a ‘forest floor’ yuzu oba leaf cream, almond praline, chocolate and azuki bean paste with sour cherry sorbet.

Japan is a country I hope to visit one day but for now I could happily eat Japanese food all day. And as for the wonderful ladies I dined with, I could catch up with them every day too. So if you’re looking for something new to try Aqua Kyoto’s beautiful Go Zen bento boxes are quite special.

Aqua Kyoto, 5th Floor, 240 Regent Street, (Entrance 30 Argyll St, W1F 7EB), London W1B 3BR

We were guests of Aqua Kyoto.

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