West London: Chelsea, South Kensington, & Notting Hill

November 16, 2016


FROM CHELSEA TO NOTTING HILL VIA SOUTH KENSINGTON:
A WEST LONDON DAYTRIP, POWERED BY THE FIAT500

POSH, BROKE, & BORED x FIAT: Part 1 of 2


"I'm moving to South Chelsea." "Where?" "Battersea!" "Oh, Jasiminne..."


What? Would you expect anything less than so-ironic-she's not, pseudo-posh but actually rather posh affectations from an art school kid who probably peaked at Central Saint Martins and has since graduation has been extending her 'life imitates performance art' schtick by writing a hobby blog dubbed 'Posh, Broke, & Bored' yet by some stroke of serendipity (as with all the lucky flukes in her charmed life) turned it into a brand with some a little gravitas? What was not expected of me, though, was less so my choice to set up camp in East London but rather that I've lived seven whole years without a Jo Malone or White Company in sight. Even more astonishing that this Malaysian native who practically learned to drive before she could walk has yet to buy a car - but then again, playing Pokemon Go on the bus is still the surest and safest way to hit Pokestops and hatch 5km eggs.

I've finally come full circle. Although 'South Chelsea' isn't quite like my first London digs in Kensington Gore, there is a certain allure of living in a lifestyle-centric complex (the Kuala Lumpur way!) in an iconic London building. But ever since I bought an apartment in Battersea Power Station I practically forgot that the place existed. Fast forward 3 years later and I suddenly find myself faced with the increasingly looming deadline of having to pack up and head West. To Battersea South Chelsea!

I have seen my future, and it is glorious. To aid my understanding of my new life in South West London, FIAT handed me the keys to a shiny new Fiat 500s which I took for a spin across the Royal Borough**. My favourite restaurants, museums and galleries, and shops; once a trek-and-a-half from the far end of the Central Line turned into an idyllic day trip. Inspired by my up and coming move to SW London, I've created an itinerary of destinations for a day out in Chelsea, South Kensington, and Notting Hill. 


Lo and behold, my soon-to-be local haunts*.

*cue clutching of pearls, shattering of monocles, and gasps of "Well I say!" 
followed by mutters of "There goes the neighbourhood..." DEAL WID IT.
*yes, I know that Battersea is in Wandsworth.




PRODUCED FOR AND WRITTEN IN COLLABORATION WITH FIAT 
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JASIMINNE YIP WITH ASSISTANCE FROM LEONOR
ADDITIONAL PHOTO CREDITS: 7, 16, 20, & 22

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Bluebird Chelsea
Bluebird Chelsea
Bluebird Chelsea

Bluebird Chelsea
Steak tartare, french toast, & virgin lychee mojito. Weekend brunch, 2 courses: £18.50
10:00 AM
BLUEBIRD 

Unabashedly glossy, this art deco complex-turned-dining destination is the quintessential setting for that inimitably Made In Chelsea brand of refreshingly unapologetic, high-octane drama. Indeed, the Bluebird has been a backdrop for many a Binky/Dobby/whatever their names are showdown but the star of the show has always been the restaurant. I spied on the going-ons in the courtyard and the bar from the restaurant upstairs to the languid pace of never-ending Anglo-French dishes - now that's reality entertainment.



Duck & Dry

Duck & Dry

12:00PM
DUCK & DRY

Birds of a feather certainly flock together: a short flight away is another good egg in the King's Road nest - boutique salon Duck & DryNestle in and preen that plumage: D&D is the Chelsea birds' choice for an express blow dry or updo (they hold a special place in my heart for demystifying the fishtail braid). 

335-337 KING'S ROAD, SW3 5ES
Duck & Dry

Champagne Life, Saatchi Gallery
Why the long face? Moje Sabz, Soheila Sokhanvari's taxidermied horse on a 'Jesmonite blob'. 

1:30 PM
SAATCHI GALLERY

You don't have to love the man to be a fan. Depending on which art critic you ask, Champagne Life (left) - the Saatchi Gallery's first all-female artist show - is either a transparent attempt to distance itself from unfortunate misogynistic associations and cash in on the 'smash the patriarchy #FEMINIST' zeitgeist (who else but the self-proclaimed 'World's No. 1 Museum on Social Media'?) or a commendable effort to redress the imbalanced status quo. I caught the penultimate day of Champagne Life, which was reasonably interesting, but it's the behind-the-scenes showcases such as 'Festival des Métiers': a rendezvous with the Hermès Craftspeople and gorgeous displays of fashion-meets-surrealism like 'Flâneur Forever': Hermès Wanderland (below) that keep me coming back to The Saatchi Gallery

DUKE OF YORK'S HQ, KING'S ROAD, SW3 4RY


Saatchi Gallery

Natural History Museum

South Kensington

POSH, BROKE, & BORED x FIAT: Part 1 of 2  FROM CHELSEA TO NOTTING HILL VIA SOUTH KENSINGTON: A WEST LONDON DAYTRIP, POWERED BY THE FIAT500
You'd look smug too, if you had just smashed a stereotype in one swoop three-point-turn move.
...if you prefer your contemporary to come with a side of classic, head to South Kensington (London's Museum Quarter) for The Big 3: The Natural History Musem, The Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A), and The Science MuseumJudge me not when I tell you that my favourite aspects of 'the trinity' are the society soirees at The Natural History Museum and the Instagrammable marble stairs of The V&A. I would've anchored my trusty steed in a nearby car park, handily located on Parkopedia - a fantastic database of parking spaces including garages and even private driveways - but luckily, I wrangled a rare 'Pay & Display' spot on Harrington Road. The magic didn't end there: I managed a flawless parallel park (a feat given London's notoriously narrow streets) which has less to do with my skill and more to do with the Fiat 500S's responsive steering and sexy, tight figure.



Maitre Choux

4:00 PM
MAITRE CHOUX

By way of congratulations I stepped into Maitre Choux to actually buy something as opposed to, ya know, just taking a photo of South Kensington's most photogenic pastry shop (the occupational hazard of beauty: social media obsessives hovering about. Gotta live life on the 'Gram). Joakim Prat's gorgeous confectionaries are the perfect sweet souvenirs from South Kensington. I myself am partial to the Tahitian vanilla with pecan and Spanish raspberry eclairs. I wanted to Fall into Autumn so I also picked up their seasonal Baileys pumpkin spice, cinnamon, and caramelised apple eclair.

15 HARRINGTON ROAD, SW7 3ES

Maitre Choux


The Churchill Arms

It's not all Bedknobs & Broomsticks on Portobello Road. Notting Hill is more than the sum of its pastel-coloured houses, although admittedly some of her more compelling attractions lie beyond the rows of Georgians and Victorians or rather within, going by some of the house parties I've been to. Visitors seeking a less than typical Notting Hill experience would do well to make their way to the retail island in Westbourne Grove via Kensington Church Street. Pause to take in the blooming marvellous floral display of The Churchill Arms before nipping inside this historic 18th century pub.


5:00 - 7:30 PM
CHURCHILL ARMS
WILD AT HEART
DAYLESFORD ORGANIC

Load up on flowers from Wild at Heart and produce from Farmshop at Daylesford Organic.

119 KENSINGTON CHURCH STREET, W8 7LN
WESTBOURNE GROVE, W11 2RJ





Notting Hill
A scenic stroll down the foliage-strewn residential streets of Notting Hill if well worth the gander even on the mistiest of days - if not for the architecture, but also for car-spotting... 

The Ivy Garden Chelsea

...with the sun long since set on my West London sojourn, I headed back to Chelsea for one final hurrah.

Though I have fond, if conflicting memories of Henry J Beans - the infamous American-themed grill on King's Road - I am grateful for its rather more grown up replacement. A year and a half on has yet to dampen the desirability of The Ivy Chelsea Garden: even with her elegant, ornate gardens (the place to see and be seen in summer) closed for refurbishment, dinner reservations had to be made weeks ahead. Seated facing a mirrored wall, I had a coy, yet all-encompassing view of the sprawling Art Deco dining room while the silver fox at the table beside me had an interesting view of me pouting and stick my tongue out (gotta stay on my Snapchat game...) much to the displeasure of his trophy wife. I'd like to imagine that all hard feelings dissipated over my well-received suggestion of upgrading to truffle parmesan chips to accompany the steak tartare...



8:00 PM
THE IVY CHELSEA GARDEN

Got a designated driver? Lucky you. Sample one of The Ivy Chelsea Garden's cheekily-named cocktails. Sloane Ranger, Queen's Permission, and Smoking Honey, anyone?

195 -197 KING'S ROAD SW3 5EQ
Ladbroke Grove

Bracing autumn winds be damned - I kept the top down and drove along the river back to East London. As I glided past the Thames to the haunting, evocative strains of Dvorak, Florence and The Machine, and Lana Del Rey; I waved a 'goodbye for now' to South West London. Here's looking at you, kid...

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