A couple of months ago, Danny told me to book a day off work and told me he was taking me on a surprise trip away. He didn’t give me any more information. As much as I wanted to relax and enjoy the surprise, I couldn’t help but probe for more information; are we going to a town? a city? the countryside? What should I pack? He almost burst out laughing when I asked if I need to bring a swimming suit.
I packed some neutrals, some new shoes (what a mistake) and various layers for the unforeseen climate I was about to experience. After a short taxi to Jersey airport, we sailed through security and began queuing for our flight. Panic set in – I knew the flight was hand luggage only but hadn’t remembered that Easy Jet only allow one item per person. My small (okay not that small) wheely holdall plus my backpack were not, in fact in my excitement I had slightly over packed and thrown in one too many big jumpers. After a bit of rearranging, we were on the flight and heading for London Gatwick, Jersey doesn’t fly to many places directly so I didn’t know if we were stopping at Gatwick or continuing on our journey. Can you imagine how annoying I must have been guessing every step of the way? I’m so surprised that Danny was able to keep it all a secret and how well he managed to plan it all. We boarded the shuttle to change terminals were I continued to guess where our final destination would be, and he told me… We were to have a weekend together in London and stay at the beautiful Hoxton Holborn. If I had a photo of how big my smile was I would insert it here, but let me just tell you, by the end of the weekend my cheeks were hurting!
I love London and even more so when I get to explore it with Danny. We always explore areas which are new to us or seek out the shops we’ve been admiring closely on Instagram, all while stopping for bites at the tastiest of place and spending time together. Staying at the Hoxton was such a treat, It feels like such a long time since I stayed in a beautifully presented hotel with Airbnb being the norm these days.
The Hoxton Holborn was right up my street, industrial interiors in a great location with high attention to detail. Free wifi, complimentary water, and milk (which is replaced daily as needed) so you can enjoy a much-needed cuppa, and even a free light breakfast bag is optional each morning. Hubbard and Bell is located on the ground floor, however, a great option if you want to sit down and have something hot to eat or The Holborn Grind next door does a great latte and breakfast to go these are not complimentary, though.
We arrived early for check in and reception were happy to look after our luggage, we wandered down to Covent Garden which was so close by and always so festive this time of year. We decided on Shack Shake for a spot to eat, I’d never been before and Danny had only been once on his first trip to NYC. The festive Alpine Burger was so good and I highly recommend stopping by if you want something super quick, if you don’t fancy burgers, The Seven Dials are full of numerous places to feast. After a quick freshen up we headed to Shoreditch for a bit of exploring. Box Park is always great for discovering new brands and we also love Spitalfields market and just generally wandering around these areas.
After a quick freshen up we headed to Shoreditch for a bit of exploring. Box Park is always great for discovering new brands and we also love Spitalfields market and just generally wandering around these areas. There were a few pop ups we wanted to check out, one of them being Away in London. We’re really glad we went as Danny had debated investing in one of their cases for a while but after seeing them in person we were actually put off. Not easily done when you’re a keen shopaholic like myself!
On our way back to get changed for dinner, we wandered past Somerset House which I’m sure is gorgeous any time of year (neither of us had been) but how phenomenal does it look at the moment? With a huge Fortnum & Mason decorated Christmas Tree, the pillars of the amazing architecture illuminated, and the letters ‘S K A T E’ shining down on you, would you really want to ice skate anywhere else?
We were able to see the London Eye from our room at The Hoxton whilst we got ready for dinner. It’s so hard to choose places to eat in London as there are so many incredible eateries. We actually keep a list of places we want to try, and some spots have been on that list for quite some time!
With all the walking around we’d been doing we were pretty hungry so it didn’t take us long to make up our minds as to where we wanted to go. We headed to Polpo, an Italian tapas style bàcaro with a few branches spread across London, Brighton & Bristol. Tapas is one of our favourite style meals as you get to try lots of different dishes. There are very few tastes that Danny and I disagree on so it makes sharing meals very easy. The stand out dishes for us were definitely the classic meatballs and the gorgonzola and prosciutto pizzette. Portions are bigger than most sharing dishes which is refreshing, the house red was the perfect accompaniment to our meal. We’d highly suggest skipping the stuffed fried olives as there was no taste of olive instead, pure anchovy.
Cocktails were next on the menu, we walked to digest all the deliciousness we’d just indulged in and ended up on Carnaby Street. I have no idea where we ended up as we just made a beeline for the only place without a queue outside. Once inside we made our way downstair where we found a tiki bar and ordered rum-based cocktails. We happily sipped our drinks and spent time talking about Christmas and plans for the future before heading back to The Hoxton to seize another day together in London.
We started our day right next door to the Hotel at The Holborn Grind, lattes to fuel us for another day exploring. Less than 10 minutes away is the Aram Store, a showroom store of design porn for the interiors obsessed, that was our first stop. I could have spent longer sitting on nearly every piece of furniture but it was our last day in London so on we went.
Labour & Wait has been on our list of shops to visit for some time, we love the utility products they sell and it’s a great place for gifts too. There were lots of other interesting places nearby, we bought a new personalised candle from Le Labo ( one of our guilty pleasures). We still haven’t lit the one we picked up when we were in Paris! We sampled some chocolate at Mast Chocolate’s store which made us aware of how peckish we were.
I was dying to take Danny to Dishoom. I’d been there once on my own (it’s another tapas place so I don’t think people often go on their own!) and I was desperate to take him there so he could appreciate how amazing it is. We started with Passionfruit Sharbats, sweet and tangy – the perfect drink to compliment the spice of the dishes to come. We ordered a selection of amazing plates but the chicken tikka and the ruby chicken were standouts. We’ll definitely be back as there was plenty more we’d like to try.
After quite a few glasses of wine and cocktails the night before we went back to The Hoxton for a bit of rest before braving Oxford Street. I say braving because apart from a couple of shops, it’s not somewhere that I’m drawn too. It was also a Saturday and Winter Wonderland was on… I hope you’re imagining just how busy the area was. But we headed there anyway. We wanted to go to H&M as unfortunately, they don’t ship to Jersey, and Danny also tried on things in a few other shops before we made it to Selfridges. It was so busy in there that we quickly decided it was time for dinner (I told you we indulged on this trip). We decided on Meat Liquor because it was close by, Meat Liquor is very popular and it’s not due to the atmosphere of the place. Danny described it perfectly as a TGI Fridays where someone had been murdered. I’m not joking. However, after a 20-minute wait at the bar, we were seated and we got to see the menu. We split the Xmac ‘n’ Cheesier (deep fried camembert & stilton mac n cheese log with a cranberry dipping sauce), the Buffalo Fries and the Chicken Parma Burger. The food was ridiculously amazing. That really must be why it is so popular as we couldn’t think of another reason. Maybe next time we should go for the takeaway option?
After dinner, we headed back to Selfridges. At this point, it was a lot less busy and the perfect time to do some shopping. The lower ground floor is always our favourite as we love nick nacks. We picked up a few things and also managed to find something for Danny’s nephew who turning 1 this weekend.
The Hoxton was the perfect base for us on our weekend in London and I couldn’t have been happier that Danny picked it for our stay. We stayed in a ‘cosy’ room which was just the right size. I found the bed really comfy and it had everything we needed. We were able to have a bit more of a lie in on Sunday before heading to Gatwick to get the short flight home to Jersey. Not much is open in London before 12 so we felt no need to rush around.
Instead, we got showered, packed our bags and ate a leisurely breakfast at Hubbard and Bell (ground floor of The Hoxton). You can bet the Eggs Benny and it tastes just as good as it looks!