How Florence found… Notting Hill

A couple of weekends ago, I headed to London for a weekend of investigating the areas I don’t normally visit as a tourist. One of my main missions was to visit Graham and Green, the interiors store that I obsess over but have never visited and I opted for the Notting Hill store thinking the area would be good for exploring too.

Being a complete novice to the area, we chose Saturday lunch time to head over from our base in Shoreditch, The Hoxton Hotel and emerged from the tube into the midst of the masses also heading towards Portobello Road and the market of the same name. In retrospect, I should have realised how busy it would be, but it probably wouldn’t have put me off despite my extreme dislike of being shoved around, which was totally inevitable.

We flowed along in the general direction of the crowd and eventually hit the market with what seemed like endless collections of almost anything you could possibly want, silver and lace being most popular. On the way we passed rows of pastel painted houses with brightly coloured front doors and pretty gardens, perfect for imagining who lives behind them…

The whole trip became a bit of a gastronomic walking tour and I was drawn into Arancina pizzeria with a classic orange Fiat 500 in the window, used to display long rectangular pizzas while they cooled. We bought a ball of risotto rice which in this case had cheese and ham in the middle and was covered in bread crumbs and went some way towards mopping up the hangover I was battling from the night before.

Before I knew it, we were upon the Hummingbird Bakery and tempted into buying a black bottomed cupcake which we shared as we carried on. My justification was that I’ve never made that particular recipe and it was worth every mouthful 🙂

When we finally got to Graham and Green I was a bit disappointed by the size of the shop although it was packed to the rafters with covetable items. Most annoyingly, my favourite items that I wanted to see up close before considering a purchase, (this desk, this mirror and erm, another desk in case you’re wondering,) weren’t on display. We could have headed to the other store but I decided I could live without seeing them for now. I left with a gift for Anna K, whose birthday party it was later, a single champagne flute and a ceramic tray, both for my dressing table.

Next we decided it was time for lunch and headed to Electric, as recommended by Rachel where the chicken, bacon and avocado salad was lovely and pete had a Croque Monsieur. We sat outside and watched the bustle from the market but the decor inside was right up my street, all oversized industrial lights, metro tiles and reused wood.

Although we were recommended Ottolengis, we decided we had had enough of the area and headed back to East London to make some headway on our epic to-do list over there.

I’d love to hear if you have any Notting Hill area recommendations that I’ve missed, be they shopping or food destinations… Do share them and help the travel section become useful as a resource for other readers planning weekend or needing a Notting Hill guide, particularly if you have lived or worked in the area. 🙂


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