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LONDON VISIT by TORI.XO

F O O D • F A S H I O N  • C U L T U R E 

MUSEUMS
V & A (Victoria and Albert Museum) Free admission
Exhibitions: The Glamour of Italian Fashion, 1945 – 2014
5th April – 27th July, 2014
I was lucky to be in London for this timely exhibit. The Glamour of Italian Fashion is a comprehensive look at Italian fashion from 1945 to the present day. I was enchanted by the Pucci’s, Dolce & Gabbana’s and fell in love with the Valentino gowns on display.
On show was the desirable emerald and diamond piece by Bulgari worn by Elizabeth Taylor. (see picture above)
 
TORI.XO Highlights at the V&A:
Jewellery room: prepare to be mesmerized by one of the best collections of jewellery on display to the public in all of Europe. Upon entering the dimly lit room is a flash of gemsTo my right is a cabinet, 2mtrs x 2mtrs, containing an alphabet of gems from Aquamarines to Zircons. The room continues with a timeline of over 3,500 jewels from over 800 years ago through to  today’s contemporary jewelers.
 
Ironwork & Keys @ the V&A
With a fascination for antique keys, this room held over 100 keys dating back hundreds of years. The selection and beauty of ironwork on display was like nothing else I had seen before.
 
TATE Modern
Matisse: Cut Outs
17th April – 7th September.
This is a MUST see exhibit for any Matisse lover in London.
Book tickets in advance online.
Each room exposes the mind of this master. From the very first cut-outs in the early years to some of the grander pieces Matisse ‘painted with scissors’ in the 50’s. The 2 dimensional collages come to life when you see them up close with the brush strokes of each colour made by applying gouache to paper.
My favourite part of this exhibit was learning of Matisse love of snorkeling in Tahiti where many of his inspirations in later years were drawn from (and is the inspiration for the TORI.XO 2014 collections also)
http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/henri-matisse-cut-outs

MARKETS:
Portobello Markets
http://www.portobelloroad.co.uk/the-market/
If you are in London on a Saturday make sure to pay a visit to Notting Hill.
Here you will find an array of antiques and bric-a-brac at the Portobello Rd Markets. Eye-catching pieces I scouted on this trip were teapots and teacups, beautifully carved woodblock stamps and of course the signature essence of TORI.XO – Lace. Mixed in between the classic pastel coloured houses of Portobello Rd are the veggie and flower stalls and further down the street is a local food market too. Bring cash and empty bellies and a trunk to carry your treasures.
 
Camden Markets
I had the privilege of having a local show me around Camden Lock and Camden Markets. It is quite the maze and juxtaposition of finds:
from funky vintage stores (where I picket up a 1970’s Marks & Spencer navy blazer) to prints from the 1800’s to the latest trends in T-shirts and touristy items.
Camden Town is a place of colour and vibrance. If you meander into the side streets make sure to check out the ever-changing street art. A stroll along the canal past the London Zoo is a nice afternoon thing to do.
 
SHOPPING
Harrods
www.harrods.com
Welcome to the world of Harrods, a place for royalty to shop. Doormen greet you upon entering and the staff are ever so friendly. I had my eye on a Dior ring (Paraiba blue tourmaline, white gold and diamonds) and the sales clerk insisted I try it on. “Oh…..if you insist!” I was then guided towards the Fabergé exhibit of jewels and infamous eggs on display for Easter, a rare opportunity to see these creations up close. I pondered through the floors of classically British fascinators to the high-end fashion designers and UK leaders in fashion such as Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen.
 
Old Bond Street & New Bond Street
This is some of the most expensive real estate in the world (ever played Monopoly) so you can imagine the shops that exist within. I enjoyed walking up Bond st taking in the window displays of these boutiques.
Top Shop
This is the pride and joy of affordable fashion in London
They have a fabulous section now dedicated to showcasing upcoming designers of the UK. I picked myself up a gorgeous silk floral jumpsuit for the summer by a rising label LOVE.
Hatton garden
http://hatton-garden-london.com/
Home to London’s historical Jewellery quarter. Each storefront is home to some of the finest diamond jeweler’s and gem dealers in the world. Weekdays are quiet but weekends you find couples lining the streets choosing where to shop for their wedding bands.
 
FOOD
Chutney Mary’s
www.chutneymary.com
I had been craving the Indian Cuisine of London for a while and this definitely satisfied. Located in Chelsea, this dinner went above and beyond my expectations. It was quite fine dining, so not your typical hole in the wall, but definitely worth it. Being a vegetarian I ordered the veggie platter, which came with about 8 mini samplers of from the menu including the ever so tasty raita (thanks for the recommendation Cedar!) The fresh mango cocktail went down quite smoothly too. 5 stars from TORI.XO for this place.
 
Borough Markets
http://boroughmarket.org.uk/
A plethora of local produce to be found here with aromas to entice the taste buds.
After a visit to the Tate Modern & London Tower make sure to have some lunch here.
And then afterwards sample some of the best coffee in London at Monmoth coffee http://www.monmouthcoffee.co.uk/
 
Bumpkin
http://www.bumpkinuk.com/
Surprisingly healthy British cuisine offered here. I like to eat as healthy as possible meals when I travel and this catered perfectly with a menu titled “Super Healthy Meals”. All produce used was local and the meals living up to their title.
The menu was in vogue with the latest trends in healthy eating too.
 
Dalesford Organic, Notting Hill
http://daylesford.com/notting-hill/
We shared a divine Sunday afternoon in the sun at this Healthy restaurant with a dear friend. The salad bar of options was very generous and the and if you are looking for healthy options, they can be found here. 
 
SIGHTSEEING
Primrose Hill
For the best panoramic views of London and a taste of greenery spend an afternoon strolling around Primrose Hill.
Thames
The famous river of London runs all the way through the city.
Put on your running shoes and enjoy the breeze for a jog along this lengthly river.
There are boat rides you can take from the Tower of London that will offer scenic views also.
London Eye, Tower of London, London Bridge, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace…

 

 

Written by Tori Poynton — April 28, 2014

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