Reviews

Review: Cloud Twelve Family Member’s Club

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Photos courtesy of the internet. NHYM

When I gave birth to my first child, I remember thinking that it would be great to have a nice space where I could have a coffee with my friends while my child could play in a clean, nice, play area. I even went as far as thinking that Notting Hill needed a space like that and started a business model. Unfortunately, the idea died when I realised that rent in Notting Hill is so bloody expensive and that mums could easily stay hours sipping just one coffee and that wouldn’t pay the rent.

Fast forward eight years later, and Cloud 12 has opened with a different business model: the family & lifestyle member’s club. Here, there’s an annual membership and there are classes on tap and a very fancy spa upstairs. A friend of mine who is a member invited me to visit last week. As you walk in, the ground floor has a very cool and fun play area which I would say is best suited for 0-6 year olds: it is like a very cool, clean, fun and creative kids club. There are classes and a creche where you can leave your child for two hours. If you were looking to have it all under one roof for a young child, this is a great option. There are all kinds of classes like singing, ballet, science and art classes.

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There is a small cafe in the kids area and a larger cafe upstairs, which is for adults. The food is all organic and vegan – which is fine for the adults – but I have heard that the kids have a harder time with it. Their ethos is sustainability, wellness and eco – friendly which is all the rage at the moment, so it def ticks those boxes.

Upstairs is the salon and the spa, which has treatments from cryotherapy to colonic therapy to quartz beds. Its decoration is Japanese inspired, from the time the founder lived in Japan, so very zen and full of tree and nature themes. I didn’t have a treatment so couldn’t tell you my thoughts, but it looks very high end and wouldn’t mind coming back to try one.

The club is lovely, but as it is Notting Hill, can be quite costly if you don’t use it but if you use it regularly, my friend tells me it is worth it.  My children, who are both in school, I would say are too old for this as they have so many after school activities, but if I had young children and babies, I would definitely look into it.

The day I went, it was very quiet, but I heard that the last Bank Holiday weekend, it was packed and I heard that James Blunt was there and another celebrity mum is also spotted there regularly. So, if you want a bit of privacy, a nice kids area and a place to do your hair all in one place, this place is great and shame it wasn’t around when I first had a baby.

Cloud 12

2-5 Colville Mews

London W11 2DA

http://www.cloudtwelve.co.uk

0203 301 1012

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

 

 

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Reviews

Meditation @ Redemption

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Redemption Restaurant. Photos courtesy of NHYM 2016. 

This week I was invited to a new event, Soul Food, by Sophie Purvis, a Yoga and Meditation instructor. The event combines a 30 minute meditation followed by a lovely and healthy lunch at Redemption, ‘the healthiest bar restaurant in London,’ at their Notting Hill location. Now you all know how stressed I’ve been and the beginning of the new school year has piled on extra stress as quickly as I piled on extra pounds during the summer holidays. Meditation + healthy eating sounded like just what I needed to settle my mind.

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Redemption Restaurant. NHYM 2016. 

Redemption is located on Chepstow Road and I have been meaning to try it for ages, but somehow time has flown by and it has already been open for a year. I am amazed at all the ‘healthy,’ ‘organic’ and ‘vegan’ places that are sprouting up faster than mushrooms on a wet day. First there was Planet Organic, then came Daylesford and now the restaurants have followed suit: NAMA, Redemption, Farmacy, and the latest JUSU brothers. I mean, Notting Hill is fast becoming San Francisco. Next thing we know, everyone will be swapping their cappuccinos for juice cleanses (Noooo!!!).

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Sophie Purvis in the foreground, Catherine Salway in the mirror reflection. NHYM 2016. 

Back to the event. I went along on Monday not knowing exactly what to expect. When I got there, Sophie Purvis introduced herself and immediately I thought I was in good hands. Sophie has the most soothing, calming voice and aura that immediately put me in the right mind set. She usually works out of a studio in Parsons Green but found this great collaboration with Redemption here in Notting Hill.

We started the guided meditation, which is a type of meditation I particularly like because all you have to do is listen: Sophie does the rest. Her calming voice told my mind where to go and soon enough, the knot in my stomach relaxed and I could feel myself become less tense. It was a lovely 30 minutes. The only thing I would say is that the meditation is done in the restaurant so you do hear the buses go by and you do feel slightly exposed. (I mentioned this to the founders and they are looking into putting up curtains to create a warm cocoon – much better I told them.)

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Redemption food and detox tea. NHYM 2016. 

After the meditation, we were treated to a lovely lunch and detox tea. Everything I would expect from a vegan restaurant: sweet potato, quinoa and pomegranate salad, raw chickpeas, carrot salad and a few enoki. The food was very good, tasty and filling. Catherine sells her place as a place away from ‘temptation’, wheat-free, sugar-free and alcohol-free. Stella McCartney is apparently her biggest customer and orders staff lunches from here. The restaurant itself is sparsely decorated and has lovely touches like the pineapple lamps, the antique French farmhouse furniture and plush velvet banquettes, but I feel that the decor could use some cohesiveness.

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I had a really lovely time at Redemption – thank you Sophie and Catherine! The meditation was lovely and the food equally so. I felt lighter and healthier coming out of it, as if I had gone on a mini-holiday. For anyone looking for a little peace and soul-feeding in the city, this is one to try out.

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

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Reviews

Review: Nailed! A new nail salon in Notting Hill…

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All photos courtesy of NHYM 2015. 

Nailed

70 Chepstow Road

London W2 5BE

Tel 0207 221 6685

A few girlfriends of mine mentioned a new nail bar in Notting Hill over the last few months, so when I received an invitation to try out the new Nailed on Chepstow Road, it wasn’t hard to convince me to go. Nailed opened in April by Richard Naylor, ex-management consultant, who has a background in business with an MBA and having worked in the city.

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Indoor Nailed Salon Bar. NHYM 2015. 

When I came in on a rainy Tuesday afternoon for a mani-pedi, I was warmly welcomed by Richard who set the girls on me right away. There are two pedicure reclining chairs at the back and four manicure tables in the front. He is also planning on starting waxing and eyebrow treatments downstairs in a few months. There are all the ESSIE and Shellac Colours you can ask for, and he mentions specialised, bespoke nail extensions that sound rather impressive.

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Adrienne my manicurist. NHYM 2015. 

Adrienne (or was it Arianne?) my manicurist was lovely, as was my pedicurist. The salon is bright, clean and warm. The herringbone wood flooring is great, and there are flowers adding some life to the place. There are a lot of nail salons that can end up looking a bit sad or grubby, but this isn’t one of them. It is clean and modern. Richard explains that he wants to provide a clean, professional approach with loads of great customer service. That day, I must admit that the customer service was 5/5. I had three people fawning over me, which is always a nice feeling.

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He tells me that the salon is doing very well, he even had Kate Hudson come in over the summer with a friend. His hopes are that he can open a second salon next year in St. John’s Wood. He has a whole business plan worked out in his head, and it seems to be working so far.

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Nailed Manicure. NHYM 2015. 

Time flies as Richard gives me the history of his lifelong dream to open a nail salon, which all started during a year abroad at McGill University. My mani – pedi is done and I didn’t even get a chance to see what the girls were doing. But the results are good. I really like my manicure, which is subtle. My toes are not in the best of shape after the summer, so they are not photo-worthy at the moment.

Richard is a lovely, friendly guy who could talk to you for days about his adventures, girlfriends, and godchildren. He makes the place what it is. The salon is open until 9pm on some nights to cater to the professionals, and he is there each and every night. But he loves it he says. It doesn’t even feel like work, it’s a party every day.

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

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Press

NHYM in Harper’s Bazaar July 2015

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I was interviewed by Rachel Johnson for an article she wrote about the Highs and Lows of Notting Hill for Harper’s Bazaar, to promote her new book, ‘Fresh Hell.’

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Ok, so my interview ended up being more just a one-liner quote in the article, but hey, I am still pleased to have made it in Harper’s Bazaar!

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xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

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Social Commentary

‘What Postcode are You?’ London’s Poshest Postcodes…

I used to be what you could call a ‘Chelsea Girl’ about 10 years ago, with my SW3 postcode, Saturday lunches at the Chelsea Farmer’s Market and drinks at Eclipse on Walton Street. Then, I moved up ‘North of the Park’ where I swapped King’s Road for Westbourne Grove, Eclipse for the Westbourne Pub, and Saturday lunches at CFM for Daylesford lunches and went from ‘Chelsea Girl’ to ‘NHYM’. As a Chelsea girl I remember thinking that Notting Hill was a) not as pretty b) a bit grungy/scary c) a little ‘too cool for school,’ but I followed my other half and 10 years later, all the remnants of ‘Chelsea Girl’ are well behind me and with two kids in tow, I have fully embraced the Notting Hill ‘cool.’

I recently wrote a short piece about London’s most expensive postcodes and the bankers who want to live there. http://news.efinancialcareers.com/uk-en/205575/6-london-postcodes-that-show-youve-made-it-in-banking-and-the-bankers-who-live-there/. It got me thinking about London postcodes and how we identify with them. So what does your postcode say about you?

Zoopla’s Rich List of the most expensive postcodes: http://www.zoopla.co.uk/property/richlist/uk/england/

Highest value areas
Area Zed-Index
1 W8 (Kensington) £2,707,386
2 SW7 (Knightsbridge) £2,493,204
3 SW3 (Chelsea) £2,324,889
4 SW10 (West Brompton) £1,857,677
5 W11 (Notting Hill)

Here is my guide to London’s Most Expensive & Poshest Postcodes:

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1. SW1X: Knightsbridge

Your neighbours: Sheiks & Oligarchs

Your Style Icon: Queen Rania of Jordan

Knightsbridge is Blingland. It is home to One Knightsbridge, one of the world’s priciest residences where Sultans, Sheiks and Oligarchs love to mingle with their own kind. For them, the postcode and address are clearly more important than cost per sqm. Their motto is ‘the more expensive, the better.’ Of course with Harvey Nics and Harrods at their doorstep, shopping is a vital past time for the SW1X residents. They love labels, flashy cars, yachts and PJs. Competition is rife amongst the SuperRich, and Knightsbridge is the perfect place for them to show off their latest bling.

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2. W8: Kensington

Your neighbours: Kate Middleton & Tamara Ecclestone

Your Style Icon: Kate Middleton

With Kensington Palace and Kensington Palace Gardens, W8 has won the trophy for the most expensive postcode in the UK. It is easy to see why the SuperRich drop £75 Million for a house on Billionaires Row, aka Kensington Palace Gardens, with Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens as their backyard. Then just a few streets away, Phillimore Gardens houses will keep you drooling, which is the best place for Halloween Trick or Treating, with a competition for the best, excessively decorated house on the street. Kensington divides the Chelsea set and the Notting Hill set who are constantly competing for ‘best postcode.’ Ideally located with Holland Park to the West, Hyde Park to the East, South Kensington to the South and Notting Hill to the North, no wonder it is considered the Billionaires Postcode.

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3. SW3: Chelsea 

Your neighbours: Charles Saatchi, Roman Abramovic, and Hugh Grant

Your Style Icon: Amal Alamuddin (Amal Alamuddin may appear straight out of Chelsea, but she is in fact a Notting Hill Girl). 

Chelsea used to be for Sloaney Poneys and the Posh British set, but times have changed. Even the ‘Made in Chelsea’ cast can’t afford to live in Chelsea anymore. Hugh Grant remains one of the last Chelsea Toffs that can be seen toffing around in Chelsea at Brinkley’s on Hollywood Road, right around the corner from his house (unless he moved since my last sighting). Nowadays, it is rich American Private Equity and Hedge Fund kings who sweep up many of the Chelsea Square mansions. The Chelsea set tend to be immaculately dressed and coiffed with head to toe Chanel or Ralph Lauren, thanks to the Chanel store on Brompton Cross or Ralph Lauren on Fulham Road. They do tend to think that ‘it’s Chelsea or nothing’. Chelsea is beautiful, immaculate and manicured, home to the Boltons, some of the most expensive London real estate. But let’s be real, Chelsea is like that really, really good looking guy, who knows it.

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4. SW7: South Kensington

Your Neighbours: Italian and French Aristocrats

Your Style Icon: Marion Cotillard, Clemence Poesy

South Kensington used to be ‘the’ place for all the Italian and French to decamp to from Paris, Rome or Milan, helping to make London France’s 6th biggest city with 400,000 French inhabitants. The French of course love it so much that it has the French consulate and the Lycée Francais within 2 blocks of each other. There is even a French street, Bute Street, with a French bookshop and delis filled with Lycée boys and girls. For the French who want a piece of France in London, South Kensington is the ideal place. Their Mediterranean neighbours, the Italians, equally love South Kensington, paying homage to it with the 2001 film with the same name, South Kensington. The Italian aristocrats can’t get enough of South Kensington, and you may just find yourself on one of their 42 m sailing yachts off the coast of Capri if you’re lucky enough.

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5. W11: Notting Hill 

Your Neighbours: Stella McCartney, Richard Curtis, Writers, Musicians and Fashionistas 

Your Style Icon: Stella McCartney and Kate Moss

It used to be that Notting Hill was the edgy, cool, hip Postcode, but with the 1999 Notting Hill movie and the Bankers and Funders entering the neighbourhood, Notting Hill has gentrified and become the home of the NHYMs and those artists that have ‘made it’. Some of the Modelistas, such as Elle McPherson and Claudia Schiffer have left, but the newer and younger ones like Arizona Muse have moved in, and Stella still remains. It is also popular with many musicians like Blur and Coldplay musicians and Adele reportedly bought her first house here in NH. Notting Hillers like to think themselves as cooler and hipper than their Chelsea counterparts, but the reality is that they both drive their Black Range Rovers, carry a Bottega Veneta handbag and shop at Net-a-Porter but with a rock chick look like Kate Moss. W11 though still prides itself of its multi-coloured homes and magnificent Private Gardens like Ladbroke Square that most can only dream of.

So what your thoughts on your Postcode?!

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

 

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Spotlight On...

Spotlight On: Leslie Saglio, Yoga guru, Reiki practitioner & Wellness coach

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All photos in this post courtesy of Leslie Saglio. NHYM 2015. 

Lately, I have been hearing all about the stress and anxiety of parents getting their kids into the ‘right school,’ passing the 7+ or the 11+. Normally calm and relaxed parents have become screaming messes and super-powered CEO mums and Magazine Editor mums have been put on anti-depressants, diazepam and other anxiolytics due to the stress of their children’s exams.

Isn’t it time for us to realise that this is really not the way to go? Shouldn’t we be kinder to ourselves? Here, I have interviewed Leslie Saglio, a local Yoga teacher who has started teaching at the brand new, beautiful West London Buddhist Centre on how to become more zen. She is also a Wellness Coach, a Reiki practitioner and a mother of 2 living in Notting Hill. She helped launch Serene Social in the UK last year, is a contributor to the US site MindBodyGreen and is a Brand Ambassador for the eco-friendly lifestyle apparel company Wellicious, based in Notting Hill.

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1. What’s your story? 

I am originally from Calabasas, just next to Malibu beach, in LA. I grew up a child of the sun and sea, enjoyingthe outdoor lifestyle.I have always been fascinated by other cultures and spent a lot of my youth travelling throughout the U.S. and Asia. I graduated from Business School at the University of Southern California and worked in the Entertainment industry, and then took a leap of faith and co-founded a real estate mortgage company. I moved to London with my French fiancé in 2006, we got married in 2007 and have two beautiful kids. I have lived in the Notting Hill area since then. So London is well and truly my home!

2. What made you decide to get involved in Wellness/yoga/serene?

While living In LA, I was feeling the strains of city life and this showed in my unhealthy lifestyle. I managed to break from this cycle when I moved to Europe, but my life changed more dramatically in 2010 when my loved ones became seriously ill. I regrouped to become stronger and it was then that I began my holistic and spiritual journey towards a healthier lifestyle.

I became a yoga teacher in 2013 and while students were coming to me for advice on the healing effects of yoga, it felt like a calling as I knew I wanted to help others. While exploring other disciplines such as Reiki and Feng Shui, I decided to become a certified Wellness Coach. During this time in 2013 while on a trip in New York City, I met Millana Snow, co-founder of SERENE Social, a women’s wellness and conscious networking community, originally based in New York. As I loved everything SERENE stood for, I helped them by becoming their London Lead and launched them last year. I feel blessed to be able to light the path for others to start their own journey towards a more purpose filled life.

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3. What is a Wellness Coach? And what exactly is Serene Social?

A wellness coach is someone who empowers others to lead a lifestyle beyond enhanced health. I’m a certified and dedicated Energy 4 Life© Wellness Coach, which means I take a progressive holistic approach founded by my teacher Caroline Shola Arewa. By taking a three-dimensional approach (body, mind and spirit) and focusing on disciplines such as yoga, complementary medicine and spirituality, I help clients reclaim wholeness and personal energy. It requires tremendous strength. But with time, it can repair the damage caused by poor diet, lack of exercise, negative thoughts and overall stress.

SERENE Social is a community that was set up to inspire a life of passion, power and purpose for women around the globe. SERENE provides a source of conscious content, connections and empowerment via yoga, networking sessions, meditation, online courses and more. For more info on how I helped launch SERENE London read here

4. You are now running Yoga lessons at the West London Buddhist Centre. Can you tell us a bit more about the centre and what you do there? 

The West London Buddhist Centre is a charity linked to a wider movement called Triratna Buddhist Community. It’s just one of the many businesses, retreat centres and other initiatives you’ll find worldwide. WLBC is based in a beautiful new Notting Hill building on Porchester Road and hosts a programme of classes and courses in mindfulness disciplines such as meditation, yoga and other bodywork.

I teach weekly Yin and Vinyasa classes, monthly yoga and coaching workshops as well as private coaching sessions. My ethos is to empower my students and clients to have their own unique experience. I do this by providing them with a space to begin healing themselves and find their full potential.

Although I’m not Buddhist, I fully embrace its philosophy to transform our responses to life experiences and it’s an ethos that crosses over many different cultures and religious beliefs. Mindfulness practices such as meditation and yoga not only help train the body to a more healthy physical state, but also enable students to shift their emotional and mental states towards a more conscious and balanced life.

5. How do you stay positive when you are faced with difficulties and obstacles? 

To stay positive as an expat mum in the city, I do daily mindful practices such as yoga, meditation and gratitude and try following a healthy diet. I definitely feel the difference if I’m not keeping up and doing the work. I’ve learned that if you consistently do the work, it does get easier. As with my clients, I also practice techniques such as repeating daily positive affirmations to manifest my dreams, and have regular Reiki sessions to replenish my energy. But most of all, I remember to breathe!

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6. What advice would you give to all the stressed out mums (and dads) out there?

As parents, to really fully support the ones we love, we must remember to first take care of ourselves. We need to learn how to set boundaries with our own time and our energy. Sometimes it’s ok to say ‘no’ to going out and just be comfortable staying quiet at home. Equally, it helps to remember to take some time for yourself – whether that be a girls’/guys’ night out, a mani/pedi, going to the gym, or getting a babysitter so you can enjoy a date night.

7. Many mums I know would love to find something they can do that helps others while staying flexible around their family time. What advice would you give to anyone who wants to become a yoga instructor or wellness coach like you? 

  1. Do your research – There are so many part-time and online training/teaching options available out there that will compliment a parent’s lifestyle. Just make sure you choose a teacher/coach whose personality and style resonates with you.
  2. Seek support – Make sure you have a reliable and flexible nanny and friends. Schedule play dates and activities so your kids stay busy and connected while you’re out/away
  3. Get organised – Make regular lists and acknowledge what you have accomplished. It’s all about baby steps.
  4. Stay committed – Anything worthwhile will not come easy. Remember, a profession in wellness has the power to make you a better mum and better wife so don’t ever feel guilty for putting in the hours.

 8. You are a Yoga teacher, a Wellness Coach, a Reiki Healer and you led the London launch of Serene Social. How do you manage it all with being a mother (and a wife!)? 

It’s all about how you manage your personal energy and everything I do with my students and clients is simply that – shifting energy so they can become healthier in their entire wellbeing. The mind and body are truly inter-connected and when we start to live with that consciousness, we live from a more authentic and harmonious state. We begin to experience life more beautifully.

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 9. What are your favourite places in Notting Hill?

The Life Centre for their inspirational yoga teachers, Planet Organic for wholesome goods, Neal’s Yard Remedies for a relaxing massage, Granger & Co. for brunch with my girlfriends, and Taqueria for some yummy Mexican food and a taste of my hometown L.A.

10. What advice would you give to your younger self, now that you’ve had all these life experiences? 

Enjoy every moment, count your blessings, know that every experience you have is meant to make you a better person on the other side and lastly, just be yourself.

http://www.lesliesaglio.com

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

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Reviews

Review: West 36 Restaurant, Golborne Road

West 36 Restaurant

36 Golborne Road, London W10 5NR

Tel 02037520530

http://www.w36.co.uk

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** All Photos in this Post Courtesy of the Internet. NHYM 2015.**

Food: 4 stars

Service: 3 stars

Atmosphere: 4.0 stars

Design: 4.5 stars

Price/value: 4 stars

Overall: 4.15 stars

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West Thirty Six, the latest venture by Robert Newmark, the man behind the Beach Blanket Babylon franchise, is West London’s newest hipster hangout, with bearded staff dressed up in overalls, suspenders and bowties. The Telegraph Newspaper has called it ‘West London’s answer to Central London’s Chiltern Firehouse and East London’s Shoreditch House.’  When I went last Saturday, Ellie Goulding was there on a ‘date night.’ You want to know where the hipsters go for date night? Here’s your answer.

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Third floor bottle service. 2015.

The Service

Although it has only been open for a month, I have already been there twice and I already have a reservation booked in the next few weeks, even though when I was there opening week, the service was laughably atrocious. Despite waiting for our food for 40minutes, the staff not speaking English and our food being sent to the neighbouring table, I still really wanted to go again. So, how could a restaurant still convince me to return when the waiter, as cute as he was, looked completely overwhelmed and admitted to being completely stressed out and unable to manage his tables? This review will mostly be of my second time there, since the first time would have been dragged down by the confused, disorientated, and clearly first-day-on-the-job staff (It was like being served by a better looking Charlie Chaplin waiter with a bow tie and suspenders and a One Direction haircut, but he had enough Latin charm to pull it off and be forgiven by the end of the night.)

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First floor dining area. 2015. 

The Design

So, why, you ask me, would I ever return to a place where the staff is picked based on attractive looks but not their knowledge of English, the food arrives 40 minutes late and ends up on someone else’s table, I was charged for my dessert twice on the bill, and the waiters look at you cluelessly when you order a Pisco Sour is? Turns out, the design at West Thirty Six, made to look like a ‘member’s club’ without actually being one, is just very cool, the atmosphere is fun, and the food is surprisingly good relative to the service you receive.

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Ground floor, open plan kitchen and bar. 2015.

The ground floor is a brasserie-style restaurant where a lot of the action is, with cramped, small, metal tables are scattered around the main shiny bar and crowds of people trying to a) enter the restaurant b) have a drink at the bar being squeezed by people trying to get through c) squish past the waiters to get to the stairs to go to the first floor. The tables are so close together on this floor that you are practically sitting on your neighbour’s lap. There is door by the stairs where the staff keep appearing from, but always when you are trying to get up the stairs and therefore causing constant human traffic jams. Whoever designed this place had the aesthetics right, but was not a spatial engineer; the space was not designed for this many people.

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First floor dining room. 2015. 

The first floor has a bar and small lounge area with leather chairs and low, wooden coffee tables on the left, and on the right is another dining area, Soho House style, cozy, lounge-y, and full of candles, which I have wanted to try to but am still not hipster enough to get a reservation there (there are mostly tables for large groups in this dining room). The top floor is reserved for ‘bottle service’ that you can book through the Manager, and where I believe Ellie Goulding was partying until 1am (way past my bedtime, ladies and gents). This floor is meant to be seen as a ‘member’s area,’ where you can keep your bottle until the next you come, or as a place to work during the day.

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The chunky chips, ribeye steak and mac ‘n’ cheese. 2015. 

The Food 

The menu here is a ‘man’s man’ menu; lots of meats, chips, and more meats. Vegetarians need not apply. Steaks, chicken wings, ribs, lobster were all on the menu to get the men salivating, following the Steak & Lobster trend. For the sides, there were skinny chips, big chunky chips, mac ‘n’ cheese, and bone marrow mash. Everything looked delicious when we looked at our neighbour’s table. For starters, we ordered the beetroot salad and the blue cheese salad, both which were tasty and of hearty proportions, and the maple syrup chipotle chicken wings, which Mr.T said were the best wings he had ever had.

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Half a rack of ribs. 2015.

For the mains, Mr. X and I had juicy, tender ribeyes, which were nicely done medium rare. Mr. T had an entire rack of ribs, which was enormous and fed all four of us, while Ms. D had the lobster which was delicious but the dressing was perhaps a bit too flavourful, which she said took away from the lobster taste. All the portions are huge, so no one was about to leave with an empty stomach. This is hearty ‘brasserie’ food with hearty portions, whose portions will probably start to decrease as time goes by (which restaurants always do after the first few opening weeks), but for now, keep on bringing those ribs.

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Lobster. 2015. 

As a dessert, we had the famous Apple Pie which is brought in its baking tray to your table and dolloped on your plate, as well as a ‘Make Your Own Sundae,’ of vanilla and chocolate ice cream sprinkled with salted caramel popcorn and bitter caramel sauce (Note: half the toppings were unavailable).

The Verdict

The service was much better the second time around, and even though you feel cramped and squished from the moment you enter the restaurant, I still plan on coming back. The building is a huge space of multiple nooks and crannies, rooms and drinking dens that charm you, reminiscent of Paradise by Kensal Rise. The outdoor areas, from the first floor outdoor terrace to the Toolshed smoking area, look all like they will be a great alternative to the Westbourne in the summer.

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It is already packed full, which shows its popularity. And I am fuelling this, since despite the dazed and confused service at times, I still really like it. It’s buzzy and busy, maybe even a bit too much, which creates a good atmosphere. Both times I was there, I befriended our table-neighbours, mostly because of the size of the our rack of ribs, but also because we were playing footsie with them due to our close proximity. But rubbing shoulders with your neighbours in this restaurant is a rather pleasant experience, which makes it OK. This is exactly what this place is about: meeting friends, making new friends and leaving feeling very full.

An after-dinner drink was impossible, the place was so packed, and we were not quite feeling young and trendy enough for the bottle service upstairs, so opt for a pre-dinner drink when it is less busy, or head back towards Portobello and have a drink at Santo for a night-cap.

See you there next week.

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

West Thirty Six on Urbanspoon

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Spotlight On..., Uncategorized

Spotlight On: Raphaele Canot, Jewellery Designer

In a new series of interviews, I will be asking inspirational women and mothers for their story and what advice they have to give to their younger self. 

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Raphaele Canot knows her jewellery. After spending twenty years working for Cartier and DeBeers as Creative Director, Raphele has launched her own Jewellery Collection last May exclusively at Dover Street Market and is launching a new line, OMG, in time for Christmas. Her pieces are romantic, playful and flirtatious, easy to wear day and night, and perfect for your Christmas wish list. There is something for everyone, with a price range starting at £500 and averaging around £1,000. Alongside her collections, Raphaele does bespoke diamond pieces, so if you’re looking for a creative, bespoke piece, look no further and let your husband meet with her for something sophisticated, timeless, yet young and fun. http://www.raphaelecanot.com. On top of running a jewellery business, she has three children and lives in Notting Hill.

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OMG ring from her latest collection, all pictures in this post taken from http://www.raphaelecanot.com

1. What’s your story? How did you become a jeweller?

I graduated in Intellectual Property law in Paris, didn’t like it but managed to get an internship at Cartier… And stayed for 11 years! My creative flair caught up with me and made wonders for my career combined with my lawyer/ business background. I was lucky enough to grow in the jewellery business at one of the most inspiring global brands, before moving to London for De Beers 10 years ago. I made my way from business backoffice to creative directing to mumpreneur, launching my first solo collection at Dover Street Market last May.

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Bracelet from her Skinny Deco line. 

2. What is your favourite piece of jewellery?

Diamonds! Diamonds are iconic yet playful, timeless yet fashionable. They are the epitome of style. Small diamond jewellery for everyday life, icons revisited with an edge. That’s my motto!

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Bespoke piece from her website http://www.raphaelecanot.com

3. Describe your style 

My style is parisian with a hint of Notting Hill relaxed attitude. I believe in basics spiced up with an iconic piece. Think a red Couture coat or a Courreges trench coat thrown over you favourite slims, a neat designer handbag and heels. I used to run errands in heels in Paris which I would not do in Notting Hill. That’s the big change in my wardrobe in the past years: trainers and low boots for school runs!

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Bespoke piece. 

4. What is your most prized possession?

Artwork… Most of it in storage unfortunately! That’s what can happen when moving countries!

5. What are your favourite places in Notting Hill?

The Grocer on Elgin for morning coffee and last minute lunch or dinner panic on a hectic day. Lutyens Rubinstein for grown ups and kids books!

6. Where would you be living if you weren’t living in Notting Hill?

In Paris in the 6th arrondissement overlooking the Luxembourg gardens…a nice alternative to our lovely communal Garden.

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Gold and diamond earrings from her Set Free Collection. 

7. What is your favourite holiday destination?

Chamonix for adrenaline, Big Sur California for the myth and wilderness.

8. What was the proudest moment in your life?

Launching my business after 20 years of corporate life. Reinventing my daily life with all the compromise that comes with it…it felt really good!

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Gold and diamond bracelet from the Skinny Deco collection. 

9. What advice would you give to your younger self or to young people?

Follow your instincts and work hard on them. Passion brings love and success!

10. What book are you currently reading?

The Power of Now. Brilliant!

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

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In the Press

‘Tis the Season for Giving: Rugby Portobello Trust Christmas Market 18/11/14

It’s already Christmas season all over again, with not-so-subtle hints of Christmas trees, baubles and silver sparkly decorations everywhere I look, from the Paperchase displays to the Whiteleys Christmas tree. The Christmas marketing machine is well under way only 17 days into November and even Take That has already lit up Regent’s Street’s lights last night. But this year, for a change, I’ve decided to look at giving to charity rather than spending my time finding more gifts for a) my children who have more toys that they know what to do with and let’s face it, become more spoiled by the day b) my husband who will feign happiness at the wallet/socks/tie/sweater that I will get him and c) my mother who doesn’t need any more candles, perfumes or beauty products from my complete lack of imagination.

The Rugby Portobello Trust, a charity for local, disadvantaged young people, is having their 25th Christmas Market in the 20th Century Theatre on Westbourne Grove on Tuesday November 18th and 19th. There will book signings by local children’s author Emma Chichester Clark, Yottam Ottolenghi for the Ottolenghi fans, and India Knight for my ‘ageing’ mother. There will be plenty of stalls with jewellery, arts and crafts, and cashmere which will be provide great gift ideas for Christmas stockings and Christmas gifts.

So stop by on your way home from work or after your children’s school drop off and hope to see you there!

http://www.rptchristmasmarketauction.co.uk/auction/index.php

xx

NHYM

 

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In the Press, Social Commentary

‘The Garden Wars’: Notting Hill’s Private Gardens

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Ladbroke Square Gardens, Notting Hill Yummy Mummy 2014

The Sex and the City episode entitled: ‘The Private Garden Issue’

Private Gardens in Notting Hill first attained worldwide fame in the 1999 film ‘Notting Hill,’ which firmly put Notting Hill and its communal gardens on the celebrity map. 15 years later, I still see people lined up to photograph the Blue door and the Travel Bookshop and try to find the eponymous private garden used for the Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts nightly tryst. But my love of private gardens actually started in New York, also in 1999, when I was famously dumped by my boyfriend because of the ‘Private Garden Issue’, which really could be an episode of ‘Sex and the City.’ Picture this:

Carrie Bradshaw is falling hard for an achingly handsome, brilliantly intelligent and creative Film school graduate and aspiring Film Director. He is thoughtful and romantic, sends Broadway musical tickets by post as a surprise, takes her away to Cape Cod for the weekend to his PhD father’s house, and draws her portrait as they sun themselves in Central Park. He even leaves her John Donne love poems on her pillow when he wakes up and leaves quietly for a film shoot (Ok, totally cheesy, but at the time felt very romantic). It is all going swimmingly well until one day, they pass Gramercy Park downtown, the last remaining private garden in New York, which was having an exceptional open day and party. They enter, Carrie wide eyed and beaming turns to her boyfriend and says: ‘Wouldn’t you love to have a key to this garden? I would just love to have one of the golden keys, it really is the key to New York, you know.’ And as she turns to face him, flashing a Carrie-style smile, he turns to her startled and says; ‘Private gardens are for elitist, materialist, and superficial people.’ Her smile fades and the camera zooms out. Fast forward to the end of their relationship three weeks later, in a West Village Italian, when he tells her over her perfect plate of Spaghetti; ‘This isn’t going to work. I will never be able to give you a golden key, and I will never be able to marry someone with values like that.’ And with that, the perfect relationship ended over a plate of perfect pasta.

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Ladbroke Square Gardens Playground, Notting Hill Yummy Mummy 2014

Give me that key!!

Fast forward 15 years, meeting Mr. Right, getting married, procreating two precious little ones, I finally have a key to a Notting Hill Private Garden, which next to Gramercy Park’s garden, is the closest thing to my 20 year old dream. Getting a key to a private garden can be quite a difficult feat. One American couple in South Kensington spent hundreds of thousands of pounds in court over their right to access to Ovington Square in Chelsea http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1293386/Hedgefund-boss-squanders-170-000-failed-bid-win-exclusive-access-garden-square.html . To many Notting Hill mums and dads, having a house backing onto a communal garden is their aspirational dream.

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Springtime in a Notting Hill Private Garden Square, Notting Hill Yummy Mummy 2014

There is also a hierarchy of garden desirability depending on various factors: the amount of sun vs. the amount of shade (as the gardens go down from the top of the hill, the less sunshine there is and more shade), does it have a tennis court? Does it have a playground? Are most of the houses on the square full houses or only flats? The more desirable the garden, the harder it is to get a key. My garden is rather flexible with whom it lets in from the neighbourhood, as long as you pay your dues and don’t bring your friends in. Other gardens measure out the exact distance from the garden wrought-iron door to your front door. Ladbroke Square Gardens, considered one of the finest and most beautiful private gardens in London, only allows those residents with houses that back onto the garden and with direct access to the garden. Properties on the two side roads opposite the gardens do not have access (as per the Bye-Laws on their website), so for them, it is like looking onto the garden of Eden, knowing they will never get entry. And even if you have access to the garden, it doesn’t grant you access to the tennis courts. For this, one must be placed on a waiting list and hope that someone moves away or dare I say it, give their last breath away.

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Guy Fawkes Fireworks, Ladbroke Square Gardens, Notting Hill Yummy Mummy 2014

One urban myth floating around of how determined people are to get access will be demonstrated by this story that I have adapted to another ‘Sex and The City’ episode ‘The Missing Key’: Charlotte York has just moved to London with her successful Jewish husband, Harry GoldenBlatt, and into one of the biggest mansions on Creek Place, one of the most expensive streets of Notting Hill, which despite its 5,000 sq ft size lacks a proper garden. Creek Place is renowned for some for the most beautiful and grandiose houses around the neighbourhood. Around the corner is Wiltshire Square Gardens, a great and famous garden, home to more than one celebrity and hedge fund ‘genius’.  Charlotte is determined to get a key to the square, (she after all always get what she wants) although residents of Creek Place are not entitled to a key. She befriends some neighbours who are key holders and hears that the President of the Gardens Association of Wiltshire Square Gardens, let’s call her Bunny, has always wanted to visit a house on Creek Place, so beautiful are the houses. She therefore invites Bunny for tea by sending a cream coloured, embossed card with her address on top: 64 Creek Place. Charlotte pulls out all the stops and they have a lovely afternoon of tea and scones, discussing the virtues of living in Notting Hill. As they are saying their goodbyes and air kissing, Bunny, the President of Wiltshire Garden Square Association, turns to Charlotte and says, ‘Thank you for the lovely afternoon, but you’re still not getting a key to Wiltshire Square Garden.’

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Guy Fawkes Fireworks, Ladbroke Square Gardens, Notting Hill Yummy Mummy 2014

Which do you choose, the Garden Dream or the Garden Drama?

For many residents in Notting Hill, backing onto a communal garden is the creme de la creme of Notting Hill real estate, paying over 30% premiums for the privilege of being able to open your doors onto the lush greenery of an English garden (Now, would you pay over £1,000,000 for this privilege?). These gardens are idyllic green spaces of paradise in what is the concrete jungle of London, where doors are open and children run from one house to another for playdates, fuelling our dreams of owning part of this green dream. There are wonderful parties thrown such as Guy Fawkes night with bonfires, Guy Competitions and fireworks at Ladbroke Square Gardens, Summer Fetes with Bouncy Castles and Pony rides at Crescent Gardens, Summer Parties with DJs and a disco for the teens and pre-teens and Operas in the Blenheim and Elgin Gardens. All protected from the outside world, your children can run safely, especially with all the stories of attempted abductions in public parks, a private square is the dream of most mothers. (Especially those with a thing for Robbie Williams who used to jog around his communal garden in Little Venice before he moved onto Michael Winner’s Holland Park McMansion). There are swing sets, wooden houses, climbing walls, slides, treehouses, climbing nets and sandboxes almost as nice as Princess Diana’s Playground, but without the 1 hour wait to get in on a sunny day.

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Guy Fawkes Fireworks, Ladbroke Square Gardens, Notting Hill Yummy Mummy

But behind this picture of paradise also lies the politics and dramas of Garden Residents and Garden Committees. There are coups to overthrow Garden Presidents, neighbouring wars over construction sites, wars between the dog-owners and non-dog owners, and between the families and the childless. And everyone knows your damn business, from who is having affairs with whom, what you’re doing or wearing at any time, who is on holiday at their Tuscan Villa, it is like a fishbowl into your life. Rachel Johnson, sister to Boris Johnson and columnist writer, famously wrote the book ‘Notting Hell’ based on a communal garden in Notting Hill, which is likely Rosmead Gardens (also the garden from the film Notting Hill), where Rachel Johnson lived. In it, she describes in detail the infighting, the competition, the affairs and the neighbourly tensions. To live on a garden means to be a part of a privileged and cosseted community, but be prepared for the gossip, keep a close eye on your husband and your dog, and beware of the Garden Police. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Notting-Hell-Rachel-Johnson-ebook/dp/B002RI9KJ0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1415187169&sr=8-1&keywords=notting+hell

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Guy Fawkes Competition, Notting Hill Yummy Mummy 2014

Beware of the Garden Rules

The Rules to some private gardens in London can be very strict, Pol Pot strict, with the bye-laws enforced in the upmost rigidity by the Garden Police. In my anti-social garden, only members are allowed, possibly one or two children may be acceptable, but guests, nannies, and friends are strictly forbidden. One must apply to the committee if one should want to invite a guest (what’s the point of a garden if you can’t share it?). I once attempted to circumvent the rules and lent my key to a friend while I was away on holiday, and she subsequently organised a playdate with another friend on a glorious sunny summer’s day. Within 10 minutes, the Garden Patrol was on her: ‘Don’t you know friends are not allowed in the garden’ a rickety old lady reprimanded my friend who pretended to be me. My blissful holiday was then interrupted when I received a threatening email reminding me that friends are not allowed in the garden, ‘only members are allowed’ they repeated to me in various formats (verbal/email/Bye-laws/post scripts). This is how I learnt my lesson and won’t be lending my key anymore, so don’t bother asking me. I was officially terrorised by the Garden Police.

These Bye – laws (collected from various gardens) are to be taken very seriously please:

1. No person shall destroy, by any means whatever any domestic animal or birds in the Gardens.’

2. Games should be primarily for children, but adults are permitted to join

3. No person suffering from any infectious disease shall use the grounds (although this garden does allow ‘servants’ in it as mentioned in the Bye-Laws)

4. No fire arms nor small cannons shall be fired

5. No catapults, bows and arrows, slings, firearms, arrows, saws or sheathed knives will be allowed into the Gardens.

6. No person shall cut, break or otherwise injure the trees and flowers.

7. Any person who wilfully obstructs any member of the Committee or its servants, in the lawful conduct of its duties shall be committing an offence.

8. No person shall shout or sing noisily in the Pleasure Grounds

9. Ball games are prohibited save in the following circumstances: a) between parents and/or supervising adults and children under the age of 11 b) not involving more than four persons in total c) a soft ball of less than 15 cm in diameter or a plastic beach ball d) But not in the Central Garden

And finally:

10. Any person committing a breach of these Bye Laws is liable to prosecution

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

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Guy Fawkes Bonfire, Ladbroke Square Gardens, Notting Hill Yummy Mummy 2014

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