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Must Do London - Eat, Drink, Shop & View

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London is one of my favorite places on the planet. I had the pleasure of living in Islington and studying a summer at Central St.Martins. I fell in love and pretty much any trip I take to Europe involves a stop over in London.

Must do eat & drink:

1. Afternoon Tea 

Given that this is a traditionally British past time I always try to have an afternoon tea when in London. There are lots of places that range greatly in price. When on a short trip I don't always have time for a real sit down in which case I like to go to the basement at Selfridges (more on this amazing store to follow). There's a little cafe called Dolly’s there that does a 3 tier afternoon tea for roughly 20 -25. 

When I have time for a more involved meal I love Fortnum & Mason. Their afternoon tea is basically bottomless.

2. Fortnum & Mason

This store is famously known to be where the queen shops. It has been around for 300+ years. They produce their own range of tea, biscuits, sweets, jams, honey, etc. Perfect packaging across the board and a quality product. This is a favorite of mine to get presents. The store spans 5 floors and has several restaurants inside.

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3. Mildred's

The first time I visited London I was 19 and studying abroad for the summer. I was lucky enough to meet a native Londoner in my class. She took me to many places, one of which is still my favorite restaurant in the world. It’s called Mildred’s. Though it has since moved from its original location, Mildred’s has maintained its integrity. It’s a no frills place that serves the best vegan / vegetarian food. I make a point of going at least once every trip. They now have a cookbook published and have expanded to a few more locations. Mildred’s flagship is still in Soho just a few blocks from it’s original storefront.

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4. Ottolenghi

Originally opened in 2002. There are now a 5 locations. The lunch special is a great value and the food is magnificent. Many options for vegetarians as well. You can expect fresh, clean, inventive and delicious food.

5. Nightjar

This incredible bar is a little gem. From street level all you see is a door with a man standing outside, you have to know to look for that.

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Once inside, it's a dark moody bar serving epic cocktails. Pretty much every cocktail comes in a special glass with awesome garnishes.

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Must do shop:

1. Laura Lee Jewelry

This little jewel box (literally) is located in Covent Garden. Laura Lee is a jeweler that makes a wide array of necklaces, rings and earrings. She also happens to carry a few pieces from my line. I wear a tiny ruby band in one of my stacks and I love love love it.

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2. Selfridges & Co

This is a UK based department store that is beyond exceptional. They have one of the best assortments of products I've ever seen. Their women's shoe department spans roughly 1/3 of one of the floors, where you can find affordable brands to very high end designer brands.

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3. Liberty London

Liberty was founded in the late 1800s. It is one of the oldest department stores in London.

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They have an exquisite selection of goods made by others and their own brand. Liberty has come to be known for their beautiful floral and art nouveau prints. They have produced a variety of goods in these prints ranging from fabric by the yard, notebooks, scarves, etc.

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The building itself is a Tudor revival, its stunning and not to be missed.

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It is a long time dream to have my work carried there (hopefully someday it will happen). Their jewelry section is exceptional and leans toward the truly special a prime example is my dear friend Polly Wales who is carried there.

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4. Sweet Pea

This beautiful boutique sells gorgeous jewelry in Primrose Hill. Siobhan O’Neill is the mastermind behind the brand the the shop. The shop obviously carries Sweet Pea Jewelry, but also has many UK jewelers like Laura LeeJo Hayes Ward and Polly Wales.

5. Shoreditch

This area of a east London has tons of little shops with more and more opening all the time. This is one area where you can still find smaller brands and independent boutiques. One store where I like to shop for special presents for my niece and nephew is  Luna & Curious. They have a wide array of products here for people of all ages. 

6. Portobello Market

This market happen every Saturday. There is a wide array of antiques and vintage clothing as well as new up and coming designers.  

Must do view:

1. Tate Modern

Whether going for a specific show or just wandering their permanent collection, the Tate modern is a fantastic museum! The entry way alone is worth a visit even if not viewing the collection.

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2. Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A)

The V&A has a remarkable permanent collection which is always fun to see. They also have special exhibits that are outstanding. One of the best shows I saw there was The David Bowie show. David Bowie is one of my personal heroes! This exhibit has been traveling and when it came to the USA the MCA in Chicago had the privilege! I had one of the highest honors of my life when the gift shop bought my work to sell in the store when the exhibit was there. I made some cosmic guitar straps for that show.

I made a few extras and gave them to some friends. You can see Kyp Malone from TV on the Radio with one and Jason Faulkner who plays most of the time with Beck.