Sponsored post in association with American Express®
As Samuel Johnson once famously said, “when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.” While that may be one of the most overused quotes of all time, it does have a lot of truth to it. Whether you’re looking to work, dine, shop, stroll, party, or do literally anything else, London’s got you covered. Having been born and raised in this glorious city, I know a fair few prime places here and am about to share some of my favourite spots for doing the aforementioned activities.
In case you hadn’t clocked this from the title, I’m not going to be talking about big name chains. Nope, it’s all about independent businesses today. London is renowned for being independent, fearless and often rebellious in its creativity and entrepreneurship. So naturally, it plays home to some of the most interesting, exciting and downright excellent independents around and nowhere embodies that ethos better than Soho.
If you spotted my previous post then you might have noticed that I’m currently working with American Express® which has a long history of supporting small businesses all over the UK. In said post, I talked about the little things in life that make me happy. Another one of those things, would be spending what I’d call a “perfect day” in and around Soho. Wandering, shopping, browsing, drinking… It just so happens that this Saturday is Small Business Saturday, a day when people across the country are encouraged to get out and support local small businesses, which is the perfect excuse to spend the day doing all those things, whilst supporting fantastic local businesses at the same time. American Express, the founder and ongoing supporter of the initiative, has asked me to show you how I like to shop small not just on Small Business Saturday but all year round. So, to help inspire you to explore new areas here’s one of my favourite routes around the wonderful small shops, bars and cafés of Soho, Carnaby St and beyond.
My perfect day starts just north of Soho with a wander through the gorgeous streets of Marylebone, admiring the architecture and day dreaming of owning one of the beautiful townhouses on Welbeck Street. Once a suitable level of property envy has been reached it’s time to take a walk down Carnaby Street, which will bring you to Dahlia, an adorable boutique run by a pair of very chic British sisters. I’ve shopped at Dahlia since before I even started La Petite Anglaise, so watching their brand grow and their design aesthetic evolve has been incredibly inspiring, not to mention excellent for my wardrobe!
From there, it’s a five-minute stroll into the heart of Soho where you can find a plethora of amazing independent boutiques including OTHER Shop and Machine A. Those two are my personal favourites; I’ve long loved their carefully curated selection of new and known labels and the communities they’ve built around their aesthetic. OTHER Shop’s brands are linked by a combination of attention to detail, quality and craftsmanship with an emphasis on unisex pieces and UK manufacturing. Machine A specialises in both emerging and established designers who’ve made their mark by standing out in a sea of competitors through creating collections that are progressive, exciting and powerful. Think Craig Green, J.W Anderson, Margiela, Martine Rose and Raf Simons to name but a few.
If you can still carry your shopping bags by this point, bear right down Brewer Street, across Regent Street and on to Heddon Street. Otherwise hop in a cab to get there because trust me, it will be worth it. Hidden among the restaurants is the spectacular studio-slash-gallery space belonging to the inimitable Elisabetta Cipriani. Elisabetta’s concept is based on persuading renowned international sculptors and painters to create exclusive wearable sculptures with the use of precious materials. As she explains, these are challenging projects for the artists who welcome the opportunity to experiment with a new artistic medium and are often approaching the realm of jewellery for the first time. The results are truly spectacular. Last time I visited I spent several hours trying on every single piece and practically had to be dragged away!
After such an exhausting day of enjoyment, a drink is most definitely in order. So, I’d suggest rambling (or taxi-ing, shopping bag quantity/laziness dependent) across to Soho Square where you won’t be able to miss Six Storeys on Soho whose signature Espresso Martinis will give you both that much needed caffeine boost and a serious taste bud treat. Six Storeys, is a magnificent Georgian townhouse turned bar and events space that I cannot recommend highly enough. It boasts, you’ve guessed it, six different floors each more exquisitely opulent than the last and is the place to go on a Friday night… Or any night for that matter.
If you, your shopping bags and your no doubt weary feet fancy finishing things off with a nightcap then I can recommend just the place. Mere minutes away on Greek Street, Milroys of Soho awaits and their unbeatable whisky selection could tempt even the most tired to stay for “just one more”. Trust me I speak from experience! On the off chance, you get a second wind and stick around then make sure to check out the cellar bar, that is if you can find your way in there through the hidden bookcase door.
I really hope you’ve enjoyed my personal “perfect day” in Soho! Please do let me know if you visit any of the places I’ve talked about and what you thought of them. If you don’t live in or plan to visit London anytime soon then never fear. American Express has teamed up with influencers all over the country to create an online hub featuring our individual guides to the best independent businesses in different UK cities. You can check out the lot amexshopsmall.co.uk” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>here to find out where you can support small businesses in your area throughout the year and get some further ideas for your Christmas shopping.
Love Ella. X
Images by Richard Boll
If you’re an American Express Cardmember you will be rewarded for supporting your local high street with the Shop Small offer. When you spend £10 or more in a single transaction using your registered American Express Card at a participating small business during the campaign period (2-17 December 2017) you will receive a £5 statement credit. There is no limit to the number of participating businesses you can receive your £5 statement credit from – however, you can only claim it once at each small business. Terms apply.
The Shop Small offer is just one way that American Express can make every day more rewarding. The range of Cards from American Express are packed with ways to reward you for your purchases*; from Membership Rewards® points that can be used to treat yourself to virtually anything to discounts at top restaurants and hotels, money back on everyday purchases, or collecting frequent flyer miles* – check out the American Express website” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>American Express website for more information
*Selected Cards only. Terms and Conditions apply. Subject to availability.
Promoter: American Express Services Europe Limited has its registered office at Belgrave House, 76 Buckingham Palace Road, London, SW1W 9AX, United Kingdom. It is registered in England and Wales with Company Number 1833139 and authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.