Just back from an amazing run along Chelsea Embankment and I wish every autumn day could be like this. There’s nothing better than running along the river, across Albert Bridge (despite the current hoardings) and through Battersea Park. Days like these remind me of how beautiful Chelsea is.
But not every autumn day is as crisp as today and running outside in the cold and pouring rain isn’t necessarily ideal. I’m also not a gym bunny. I used to be. But I became bored of staring at myself in the mirror whilst on the treadmill. I prefer the outdoors and when the weather isn’t my friend, I know that I can rely on King’s Road Sporting Club and Chelsea Sports Centre to help me out in my moment of get-fit.
My indoor exercising routine is nothing without my Casall Rock Ring, which is unlike any other hula hoop. This one has weight bars that provide bumps on the hoop to pummel your waist as you hula. It really isn’t as painful as it sounds and it is so much fun starting the day listening to my favourite tracks whilst spinning the hula around. It really sets me up for the day.
Chelsea Sports Centre is also another great winter option for exercising especially on a Wednesday night between 9pm and 10pm for women, when the pool is at its least busy. Sometimes I find myself alone in a lane, which is so delightful. Swimming during rush hour feels quite hectic that it stops being fun or relaxing.
So as it becomes difficult to get out of bed in the cold mornings, I am determined that the only winter coat I put on is the one I can take off when I get home.
Bring on the season of indulgence. I am ready!
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The other day, I popped into Vivienne Westwood’s shop on the King’s Road to browse the handbags. Oversized and textured, colourful and rebellious, the latest collection is a true feast for the edgy.
This shop that once confused me as a child with its iconic anticlockwise turning clock is the embodiment of what is so great about the King’s Road.
Steeped in history as the cornerstone of the punk music and fashion scene of the 70’s; yet still relevant to today’s fashion scene as Vivienne Westwood’s Empire Capital, this shop is an iconic Chelsea landmark.
Recently, I also visited another legendary Chelsea establishment. The Chelsea Bun is this area’s best kept secret even though it has been opened for 26 years. Situated just off the King’s Road, two minutes away from Vivienne Westwood, The Chelsea Bun feels like a hideaway for the locals that we don’t share with the rest of the world.
And now, I am about to reveal its secrets!
A modest establishment yet very buzzy, especially during the weekend’s breakfast and brunch hour, Chelsea Bun serves the best Benedict Breakfasts in SW10. If I’m not indulging in the Benedict Royale then I’m relishing their delicious salads. My boyfriend usually plunges into the American and Gourmet breakfast menu but then again he cycles a hundred miles a week.
What I love about the King’s Road is the variety it has to offer. Towards Sloane Square there are the well-known high street brands of Duke of York Square, as well as the very popular The Botanist and historic Royal Court Theatre.
Yet towards World’s End there is the more cutting edge Vivienne Westwood, the local’s favourite Chelsea Bun and the experimental Chelsea Theatre.
There is so much on offer. Where I end up next week is anyone’s guess.
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Yesterday, I popped into Proud Chelsea on the King’s Road to catch Can You See Me? A Life Through A Lens…, the Jimi Hendrix exhibition, before it ended today.
When I was 16 I had met Hendrix’s bass player Noel Redding after sneaking backstage at the Clapham Grand following a Hendrix tribute concert.
Having convinced the security staff with my apparently winning smile, to let my friend and I through, I found myself talking to one of Hendrix’s closest friends moments later. And as my friend sat silent and gobsmacked, I bombarded Noel Redding with a barrage of questions about Jimi Hendrix.
That night, I learnt about the man behind the rock legend. I learnt that Hendrix liked to play hide and seek on the Peckham housing estates when he was high on acid and so I Iearnt that despite all the rock and roll media glamour that defined Hendrix, he was ultimately a child at heart.
Proud Chelsea’s exhibition also manages to give us an insight into Hendrix as a playful spirit as well as the rock star.
Whilst some of the photos are iconic set pieces, the others are stolen moments that betray the mischievous glint in the man’s eye. His captured smiles are heart-warming whilst his rehearsal and performance photos show us a serious musician.
The backstage photos of Hendrix with Eric Clapton and Mick Jagger also give us a chance to see that rock and roll royalty are merely like-minded people.
Stepping out of the exhibition, I started to think about the rock and roll spirit of the King’s Road, which Hendrix was largely a part of.
Then I asked myself, where next? Of course, Vivienne Westwood.
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The Chelsea Flower show may be a long distant memory especially now it is autumn. But that doesn’t mean Chelsea is a barren land.
Take The Botanist on Sloane Square. Most nights are guaranteed to be buzzy with a crowd of people spilling out onto the street. Normally when I go there, I hang out in the bar area but last week I tried their restaurant for the first time and what a discovery it was.
The art deco inspired dining hall with its atmospheric lighting and elegant botany themed art at the back create exactly the type of environment I love: stylish and warm.
I had half a dozen juicy oysters for my starter and for my main I had the duck with foie gras ballotine. My main was given an interesting and delicious twist with the Muscat grape purée and star anise jus.
Instead of pudding, I decided on a Martini and had the King’s Robe: fresh watermelon with rhubarb liqueur and vodka with the rim of the glass sprinkled in rhubarb sugar. My kind of dessert. So far, this cocktail is at the top of the leader board in my search for the signature Chelsea cocktail. It was simply yummy.
Later in the week, I popped into the Cath Kidston AW fashion show on the King’s Road. In keeping with this season’s trends, the Nelson Tweed Coat is perfect for something military. In a shop full of floral, this coat is one example of Cath Kidston balancing its signature style with fashion.
I really can’t wait until the winter lights dress the trees of Sloane Square. This is my favourite time of the year!
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I am a firm believer in having cocktails at midnight to kickstart my birthday celebrations.
So as the hour approached, we stepped out onto the King’s Road and headed for Beaufort House Brasserie. But as we turned up, the man on the door kindly directed us to the members club and said we could make our way to the 1st floor. They weren’t letting anyone else in downstairs. Result.
But when we arrived at the members’ door, we were told that we weren’t allowed in. The shame. So off we went to the Bluebird instead. There, I decided on a margarita to toast in my new year and enjoyed every sip of my delicious cocktail.
The funny thing was that on our way home, when we passed Beaufort House again, we saw a small crowd of people from the brasserie being sent into the members club. The man on the door who initially turned us away even waved over in a surprisingly friendly manner and invited us in. Perhaps they were trying to fill the place up.
Nonetheless, I decided that I had spent way too many birthdays crawling along the King’s Road in broad daylight because of a deadly hangover and so I walked on, shrugging off the fact that I had been messed about in the first place.
Kicking off my daytime celebrations the next day, I started at Riccardo’s on the Fulham Road for lunch. Riccardo’s was the perfect venue for such a crisp autumn day and the food was delectable as always, especially the lemon sorbet in vodka!
Sunday wasn’t about hiding under the covers either. A wander around Frock Me! Vintage Fashion Fair at Chelsea Town Hall and my ritual Sunday lunch at Sophie’s Steakhouse were both perfect ways to ease me into my *coughs* year!