It’s a winter wonderland in the midst of London’s hectic Christmas crowds.

Dalloway Terrace is a beautiful little café and restaurant that has completely designed its interiors and exteriors to look like a winters dream – it just happens to also make the most warming hot chocolate too…

We stepped out on a Wednesday on a mission to get in a Christmasy mood in central London, and Dalloway Terrace sure did the trick.

We turned up without a reservation (despite the website stating they are all booked up) – but there’s nothing a little tweet and lucky visit can’t do. Luckily, we arrived and the place seemed near enough empty.

Don’t be deceived by its frosty interiors: blankets, cushions and hot water bottles galore are on offer her at the terrace, and we were pretty much roasting towards the end of our visit.

I was dying to try out the rest of the menu but I’ll have to save that for next time. Our hot chocolates had to do us for today – I guess the thick hot chocolate comes with a gingerbread men to nibble on if you do feel a bit peckish…

They have the most beautiful little florist pop-up shop outside too, which you just have to explore.

 

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Sometimes the city can get all too much.

I love London, but I also appreciate the countryside. So many of us when we are young hate those country walks and forest strolls but as we grow older we really do realise just why our parents dragged us around fields and villages – because its just so pretty.

It was only really when I moved to London that I started to appreciate the countryside a little better.

The countryside holds a special place at the heart of English life and culture, and I always feel that if you visit England but only see London, you haven’t really seen England at all.

The countryside remains for most of us in Britain as an idyllic place, where we can relax and us Brits love to go to the country. For me, the countryside isn’t just areas full of history, nature and protected areas, but also all the little things: that pretty little village or old country pub that does a good, cheap pint.

So however damp and dismal the weather may be over Winter, don’t let it colour your own impressions of the countryside.

My hometown is in Kent, also known as the Garden of England. And it truly is. We’ve visited various areas throughout my childhood in Kent (and outside of it, too) and there are few places that remain favourites.

Teston isn’t far from my old hometown and it’s a small, quiet, yet beautiful place for a walk. The other weekend we got out our wellies and coats and marched off for the countryside.

Views are spectacular, it’s always a bit better when you know there’s a warm pub at the end, too…

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The golden leaves are fading away almost as quickly as they appeared here in London.

If there is one place you can still catch the last of Autumn in London, its Regents Park.

I’m used to the colours of Richmond Park and Hyde Park, but Regents Park truly topped them all this year.

The leaves may be falling from the trees, but that just makes the pavements even more beautiful – just try to resist kicking around in the absolute piles of leaves…

The park is big enough to spend hours in whiling away the day. Grab a coffee and snack from one of the teeny cafes or even go for a full meal in the few restaurants that are here.

But what really is worth a visit, is Primrose Hill.

Not far from Regents Park itself, Primrose Hill is a gorgeous viewpoint that looks out over the whole of London. Going in fall was probably the best decision I’ve made in a long time; those gorgeous colours just looked breath-taking amongst the famous London skyline.

I do love winter and getting festive, but I’m sure going to miss fall.

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Easy like a Sunday morning.

These Fall Cinnamon Persimmon Pancakes are a perfect morning treat in the lead up to Christmas.

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Easy, peasy, persimmon squeezy – they can be made in a matter of minutes, and are so simple you’ll probably wonder why you have never tried it before.

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Using a basic pancake recipe, adding some slices of persimmon and a sprinkle (or a dash, depending on preference) of cinnamon; voila, you have pancakes with a very wintery twist.

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Using cups and spoons only to measure the ingredients, it requires no messy weighing of all sorts:

  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • One persimmon (at least)
  • Ground Cinammon
  • Maple Syrup (to serve!)

In a bowl, mix the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Make a ‘well’ in the centre and pour in the milk, oil and egg. Combine, mix and stir until smooth!

Now, slowly add as much ground cinnamon as you wish…

Slice the persimmon into thin slices (aim for no bigger than half a cm really), and heat a lightly oiled frying pan over a medium heat.

Place one slice of the persimmon in the middle of the pan and flip a couple of times for about 20 seconds maximum, before scooping one spoonful of batter onto the pan, on top of the persimmon. Brown on both sides and serve up hot with maple syrup! This recipe gave me the chance to use my mouth-watering Maple syrup from Maine…

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You have it all planned out. You’ve booked your ticket and have packed your things for that big move to London.

One thing is for sure. You want a life in the Big Smoke and need some handy, useful tips. Well, here are a few words of advice…

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Research All Areas Of London

Try to think of London as a load of little towns rather than one collective city. Each borough, area, and street has a different feel and vibe to it. Think about what you want, what matters to you and what you wish to be close to before just renting in any old area in London. Research each area in depth before deciding: choose Shoreditch or Hoxton if you’re a bit quirky (aka “hipster”), or Brixton for the diversity, etc.

Consider A Flat Share

Of course, many of us wish to rent a flat for ourselves. But unless you’re very lucky or are earning enough, there really isn’t much point. Many one bedroom apartments won’t be under £1,400, but you could easily get a 3+ bedroom flat for £1600+. Splitting the cost leaves you with a lot more money to play with – and what’s the point of living in London if you have no money to enjoy it?

Don’t Pay A Deposit Until You’ve Seen The Property

Landlords and letting agents only want you to pay for that property, so don’t rely on photos and their advice to show you the full picture. Book a viewing if possible (which only takes 10 minutes!) because you don’t want to be stuck somewhere you hate. See the area and property for yourself before signing your money over.

London IS Expensive

You’ve heard this one before. But unfortunately, unlike many London myths, this one is true. If you’re moving from abroad, check out Numbeo before you head here to compare the prices to other cities.

Londoners Love A Discount

Despite the expensiveness, you can use food blog advice, a TasteCard for great food offers, or even Groupon and Woucher for great offers on both essentials and activities within London.

You Will Never Be Bored

Endless restaurants, pop-up venues and bars make this a haven for foodies, socialisers and boozers. And the museums and London parks are FREE. If its sunny, head to Hyde Park and relax, or if its raining (more likely) choose from all of the museums to venture through.

You Do NOT Need A Car

I spend most of my time in London, and the fastest – and sometimes cheapest – way to get around the city is via public transport. Car parks are extortionate (think £10 UPWARDS per day, sometimes even just for an hour or two), congestion charges, and the often horrendous traffic…

Get A Contactless Bank Card

Nearly everywhere in London offers contactless payment, and you can even use them for the tubes/buses. It is my back-up if I ever lost my oyster card. You CANNOT use cash on any of the buses.

You’re Only One Tube Stop Away? Walk.

Most stops on the tube are actually extremely close together. Unless it is pouring down with rain, you could probably walk to the next stop in the same amount of time that it takes to tap in, get on the tube, get off, and tap out. For example, Leicester Square is only 250 metres from Covent Garden. Walk it.

Find Your Favourite Spot

When the frantic pace of the city, or the cloudy skies above are getting you down – its important to have a place that reminds you why you love London so much. Whether it is a pretty garden square, one of the many awesome coffee shops and cafes, or just a great bar that makes a mean Cosmopolitan – there are a thousand reasons to fall in love with London.

After all, why else would it be so busy, right? 

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