Do! John Lewis Gardening Society

Okay, it’s a Sunday afternoon, but you’ve been neglecting some errands because life got in the way, and now you find yourself on Oxford Street buying unglamorous items  on one of the nicest days of the year. What do you do for a quick escape from reality? You head to the John Lewis rooftop for their summer Gardening Society pop up!

The John Lewis Garden Rules, London

A private garden shed in the John Lewis Garden Society pop up

The Gardening Society pop up will make you absolutely forget you’re in a department store on one of London’s busiest streets. From the fifth floor you take a separate elevator to the rooftop with the help of friendly staff guiding the way. You emerge from what may as well have been a great glass elevator with how different the scene is at the top. The manicured terrace pays tribute to the Wimbledon gardens with classic logos and clean lettering, beautiful plants, and grassy walkways. All along this transformed space are walkways,  garden seats, small tables, private little sheds, a bar, and a restaurant. The experience is complete with a skyline view and, of course, sunshine!

We snagged a table within the pop up restaurant, Morty & Bob’s Cafe, where we relaxed in comfortable leather chairs at a breezy covered table. The helpful servers brought us a gooey grilled cheese, healthy avocado and crab on sourdough, and perfectly crisp truffle fries. The temporary eatery offers table service as well as the opportunity to walk up to the bar and kitchen counter and order food and drinks to take back to any garden seat. 

Inside the John Lewis Morty and Bob’s pop up

Cheesy goodness at Morty & Bob’s pop up, London

The low-key atmosphere was an absolute perfect break from the stresses of shopping…especially for my husband. I actually had visions of leaving the restaurant and stepping onto an island sidewalk because the Gardening Society really is such a nice escape. Unfortunately, that was not the case, and I was immediately assaulted by the Oxford Street crowds and the smell of diesel once I left my little oasis. The good news, however, is that the John Lewis rooftop garden will still be there the next time I have to head to the join the masses for a day of shopping. If you too need a break, take my word for it and check out The Gardening Society. Enjoy!
A modest reminder at John Lewis, London

The Gardening Society
John Lewis Roof Top Garden
300 Oxford Street
London W1C 1DX

Categories Do!

Do! Gelateria 3Bis-Notting Hill

In honor of Memorial Day Weekend, I have to give a must-do to the closest thing to an American pastime I could find in Notting Hill–an almost ice cream parlor. 

Sure, it’s a bank holiday weekend here in London, but that basically means everyone gets out of dodge and a lot of restaurants are closed. In the US, however, there’s a true spirit to the weekend. There are parades, picnics, BBQs, uniforms of red, white and blue, and, of course, the must-have foods to celebrate the summer kick-off weekend. These foods include watermelon, hot dogs, burgers, pasta salads, American flag sheet cakes, and ice cream cones!

If you are like me, and feeling a little homesick missing out on all that good stuff above, head to the brand new Gelateria 3Bis to fill the Notting Hill ice cream cone void! 

A free taster at Gelateria 3Bis’s grand opening, Notting Hill
Gelateria 3Bis just opened on May 25th, and smartly offered free gelato to everyone for their grand opening afternoon. I went at the perfect time and only had to wait a few minutes to get my hands on a hazelnut gelato cone. It was absolutely delicious. Very sweet, so the small portion suited me just fine. But amazing how it took me right back to having my feet in the grass in New England and trying to catch the drips from the melting treat sliding down my cone. 

Gelato and ice cream are close enough to me to make this a true place to visit when I need to be taken back to my roots. I’m sure connoisseurs would be happy to argue the differences, but if you’re like me, looking for a sweet treat, head to Gelateria 3Bis! And, oh yeah, if someone could tell me how to pronounce their name, that’d be cool too. Enjoy and happy MDW/bank holiday!

Inside Notting Hill’s Gelateria 3Bis
Gelateria 3Bis
Portobello Road
Notting Hill

Do! The Elgin

The Elgin seems to be a popular name in West London. At first, I thought The Elgin over in Maida Vale was under the same umbrella as The Elgin pub in Notting Hill, so when a friend suggested the Maida Vale location for a coffee, I was very confused. Pubs don’t scream good coffee to me. Once I arrived at the Maida Vale Elgin, however, I realized the two corner spots are very different from one another. The name, which apparently means “white” (strange), is about all these locations have in common. The Notting Hill pub is just that. A pub that serves your typical pints to all types of neighborhood folk. (Though I have yet to pop in since it’s latest renovation.) But, the focus of the post today, is a young cafe by day and a cool gastropub by night.

When I first walked in for my coffee date, I found the cafe’s open space refreshing. It was filled with subway tiles, exposed brick walls, metal stools, and bistro chairs. It had the feeling of an airy, NYC loft. Most tables were occupied by well-dressed singletons that were focusing on some version of an Apple device. MacBook Pros, Airs, iPads–seriously every last person was staring into the digital world in front of them. I liked it. I followed suit and took my iPhone out while I waited for the rest of my party.

While waiting, the friendliest server ever came over and took my order for a cappuccino. He told me about the place, explained that it had no relation to the Notting Hill Elgin, which was super obvious at that point, and told me what pastries he had that day. I settled nicely into a corner of the restaurant and sipped my coffee.

Coffee break at The Elgin of Maida Vale

While people-watching freelance workers and sales folk in between meetings, and maybe a college guy’s study session, my group arrived and joined me in the front corner. Though we did feel like we were intruding on all the other tables’ quiet time by all our catch-up time cackling during, we still felt comfortable at The Elgin. 

While I can’t speak for those other patrons that may have hated us, I can say the venue was a good choice for us and we look forward to heading back next month for our standing group date. Our numbers vary, so a place like The Elgin is an easy spot for just a few of us, or sometimes more, for girl talk over coffees, teas, and pain au chocolats. So, whether you’re in a little group, or someone looking for a spot to chill (with or without a Mac) walk right past the Maida Vale Starbucks and head to The Elgin on the corner. Enjoy!

The Elgin, Maida Vale

The Elgin
255 Elgin Avenue
Maida Vale
London W9 1NJ

Categories Do!