I recently left the UK to start a new job stateside (sobbing). While America is of course great – life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and all – there are a few things that I wish I’d stocked up on before I left London for good. I’m not saying this is a “wishlist”, per se, but I’m also saying that I have a doorman who accepts packages 24/7… in case you did want to send a little package my way.
Firmdale’s eight impeccably curated hotels are designed by Kit Kemp, who is renowned for her quintessentially British taste. If you can swing a stay at one of her hotels – Number 16 in South Kensington is our favorite – we highly recommend it. If an overnight visit isn’t in the cards, take home their signature pillow and linen mist – a relaxing, luxurious fragrance that will trick you into believing you’re staying in a five-star boutique hotel.
While anyone with an internet connection and an interest in cooking or food has surely heard of London-based chef Ottolenghi by now, London is the only city in which you can dine in his restaurants (for now). If you’re visiting, make sure to take advantage by grabbing a bite at one of his restaurants (his take-away boxes make great picnics), and grab a box of his deluxe granola to take with you. It’s smoky, heavy and nutty... They just don’t make it like this in America.
Cowshed products are a staple of British spa culture, having been developed in Babington House (Soho House’s country cousin)’s spa. Rose otto, sandalwood and vanilla lend this roll-on perfume a seductive scent, but to be honest we mostly like it for the cheeky name. I don’t think we’d find anything of such high quality so boldly marketed in the USA! Bonus: their products are all-natural and paraben free.
While you can of course buy Vaseline in the USA, the small tins that they come in in the UK are perfect for grabbing on the go and toting around in your purse.
Another quintessentially British brand, and another fresh, vibrant scent. This candle burns for over 40 hours and is light, invigorating, and will always remind me of the first few weeks I lived in the UK – my mom bought me one and it was the candle I burned as I was settling into life in London over three years ago.
One of my favorite things about walking home from work in the spring was taking a slight detour and strolling past (and often through) Liberty – especially when they had their infamous flower display out front. While those days are behind me, this tea-towel would have been an easy grab to take home and remind me of that stroll!